July 29, 2009

The Sum of the Parts Was Not That Great.
However, the Whole Kicked Some Major Ass.

This will be my last BlogHer 09 Post. While I will be doing some select reviews of products I received, those will be shuttled over to my review site, Queen of the Free Bees. That is, as soon as I can quit making love to my Land's End Eco-Friendly Backpack. Ahem. (Hat tip to MomSelect and I did not even have to pummel anyone out of the way for it.)

I feel compelled to point out that this Blogging-Conference-For-Women-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named was actually a great conference. Meaning, nearly all of the shenanigans that folks are ruminating over like cows on hay actually happened at outside events, not the actual conference itself. For example, the Swag Bag Smackdowns were happening at parties, not at the registration table. Furthermore, Nikon hates babies, not BlogHer (Dude, JOKING. Nikon does not hate babies. Rather, it was the Chicago's Flatwater club, the venue in which the party was held, who hates babies.)

I think it does a great disservice to the founding ladies of BlogHer and to the conference itself to wrap up a few greedy grubbers into the single moniker of "BlogHer". I am seeing loads of wide-sweeping, grand-standing statements written to the tune of ".....and this is why I would never go to BlogHer." Which is quite sad, because the conference is fairly well-organized with a plethora of topics on the agenda. A person would be hard-pressed to not find something in which she was interested.

So. While I had a fantabulous time at some parties (most notably, CheeseburgHer, Mamapop, the People's Party and BowlHer), I did enjoy the conference, too. What, pray tell, did I like the most?

First, the Community Keynote - the Keynote is a selection of posts read aloud by their authors (posts are chosen by committee.) It is the type of event that will make you laugh, cry, laugh and cry again, just short of rending your garments. You will walk away inspired by the voices out there. You will want to better yourself and your writing style and become one of those voices. We all have a story lurking deep within our souls and everyone's story has the potential to touch someone else's soul - the Community Keynote drives that statement home.

Second, the Expo - no, it was not just about grabbing free stuff. I actually was able to sit with some vendors and learn something. For example, I am going to be purchasing Picnik Premium - I was able to sit with one of the reps and she showed me the tools. While I do use the free version of Picnik with my Flickr account, it turns out that the Premium version is the perfect, low-cost solution for my photo-editing needs that I have been pondering for months now. Also, at the Elations booth, I was able to sit with the lovely Andrea Metcalf and explain some health issues I have been experiencing. Seriously, I thought I was headed down the path of arthritis, which runs deeply in my family. However, after speaking with Andrea, I have some new things to consider and some dietary adjustments to make that may very well help with my problems. These are just a few of the examples from the Expo.

Third, the lunches and the cocktail hours - at all of these BlogHer related functions, I had a fabulous time sitting with new people and expanding my universe a bit. It does not take a lot to meet new folks - just a "Hi, my name is Kelli. And you are?" will do. As it turns out, folks love talking about themselves. And I enjoyed listening.

Fourth, the panels - Duh, right? If you attended BlogHer 09, what was your favorite panel? Why? My favorite panel was "MommyBlogging: “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog (and the rest of us too)". I have struggled with finding balance in the past - as I suspect many other "online" mothers have. It is a very tiny line between connecting with folks and becoming obsessed with my email, Twitter and feed reader. This panel was informative because there were a great number of gals from the audience sharing their stories - it was not just the panelists. The panel I wished I had gone to? The panel titled "Room of Your Own 2: Blogging as Storytelling" I have heard fabulous things coming out of that panel. Maybe next year?

Speaking of which....... I have registered for BlogHer 10. Economically, it works out best for me - I had the money anyway. And with my registration fee now paid, I can concentrate on strong-arming some folks into bunking with me while simultaneously saving up for the rest of the incidentals. With the exception of 2007 (darned those babies born in July.) I have been going to BlogHer every year since its inception in 2005. And every year it just gets better.

New York City has no idea.Italic

July 27, 2009

I went to the Mamapop Sparklecorn Extravaganza and
All I Got Was This Lousy Stick of Deodorant

Well, I did get to eat a fine piece of unicorn cake ass and I did fondle Edward Cullen's cardboard ass, but still. I received no swag. Those broke-ass bitches at Mamapop totally robbed me!

But I kid Mamapop.

For me, their party encapsulated all that was so very right with BlogHer this year. Yes, despite the Nikon Hates Baby Brouhaha (and why anyone would even think a baby should be at a cocktail party is beyond me) and Hags for Swag Bags Gate (The fist fights for swag bags was unreal this year and while I love free stuff as much as the next gal, bruising babies and elbowing folks outta the way is never cool. Ever.)

So, despite that and the odd lack of plain old ice water in a water pitcher, I had a great time.

And I have to give some credit to Momcentral. No, I did not go to the party. Hell no. I did not write that post to get re-invited, I wrote that post to call the company out on what was rude, unprofessional and disrespectful behavior. The experience left such a bad taste in my mouth just as I was about the embark on a trip that I had been anticipating for months. However, Thursday morning I woke up and packed my bags with a determination to just let it go and have a great time. To focus on what mattered to me, which was meeting and connecting with people.

And I did precisely that. I had such a fabulous time with my roomies - Rita, Celeste and Blondie. We giggled far too much and far too late into the night. I had a lovely time meeting folks, laughing and having amazing conversations that left me teary-eyed on the plane back home as I reflected on them.

I will not be linking to all of those people in this post as I will inevitably forget someone. And I do not want some links to have a perceived "value" over others because it does matter to me if someone has a readership of 5 or 5,000. It was not about popularity this weekend.Yes , I will be sending out a ridiculous amount of I Loved You, Did You Love Me, Too? emails over the next week or so. And I want to treasure and keep close to my heart some of the amazing experiences I had this weekend. In short, I came away from BlogHer with what I believe, I hope will be a few new friends. Maybe. Maybe not. After all, I had no earthly clue that Brit would become one of my most trusted friends when I met her at Blogher 06.

I linked to Mamapop for a very specific reason. Truthfully, I normally do not read their site, but RSVP'd to their party because I knew it would be fun. But it ended up being more than that - their party was amazing simply because it was about people. People! There was great music, drink and cake. Folks were there not for the free stuff - they were there because it was fun. Everyone was having an amazing time just hanging out. No one grabbed their free stick of deoderant, then hoofed it to the next party for more swag.

They stayed.

And while AlphaMom's CheeseburgHer party was a close runner-up by a mere hair and had the same atmosphere of Good Old Fashioned Socializing for the Nothing Other Than the Mere Sake of Socializing, MamaPop wins my personal stamp of approval for The KickAss Party of BlogHer.

People stayed..... And laughed..... And danced......And connected.

So, the next sarcastic pundit who wants to knock on BlogHer and write us all off as money-grubbing whores, I will remain adamant in my stance that it was not all about the networking, marketing and swag. I personally witnessed folks making friends and having fun.

And truly, is that not why most of us are blogging in the first place?


July 23, 2009

Mom Central Sorta Sucks.

Seriously. They suck. But wait. Do not take my word for it. I will let you be the judge. Won't that be more fun?

On July 6th, I received this email from Stacy DeBroff:

Hi Mother Talkers,

Are you going to BlogHer in Chicago? If so, we would love to invite you to our second annual Have a Drink on Us cocktail party. Along with our friends at Johnson & Johnson and Hasbro, we are throwing a welcome party to give you a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones!

Our party will be held Thursday July 23rd in the Chicago Sheraton at the Java Bar from 4-6pm, and we would love to see you there! Please click here to add your name to our guest list. Please RSVP by July 8th so we can send you a drink ticket before you head off to Chicago. Space is limited, so please sign up as soon as you can!



Stacy DeBroff
CEO, Mom Central Inc.

I RSVP'd and made flight arrangements to arrive early enough to attend this and even arranged for our babysitter to come in today since I was leaving earlier than originally thought. As I thought I would be attending this party, I did not RSVP to anything else at the time and thought this would be my social engagement before the People's Party. And that is where I was wrong. So very wrong.

Yesterday evening, I received this from Ashley Tedder:

Thank you so much for your interest in our Mom Central BlogHer cocktail party. We had an overwhelming response from our blogger community and unfortunately have to keep the guest list to only those bloggers on our Mom Central and Mother Talk Blog Rolls. If you are interested in becoming a Mom Central blogger, please click here to sign up.

Thank you again for your interest in our Mom Central party. We are so sorry we will not be able to meet you at our event – but please look out for us throughout the conference. You won’t be able to miss us....we’ll be the ladies wearing the bright orange “Mom Central” buttons! If you see us walking around, please stop us to say hello as we always love to meet new bloggers!

If you have any follow-up questions on our Mom Central Blog Roll program, please do not hesitate to let me know.


My response? Glad you asked!
Thank you for the notice. I have to say that I am very surprised in the lateness in receiving this. I decided against doing something else to attend this and it would have been more convenient to have been notified of being uninvited earlier so that I could have made alternate arrangements. Furthermore, I made travel arrangements to work around being able to attend this. I understand this event must have been popular, but I RSVP'd two weeks ago. Again, I am very disappointed in the lateness of this notice.


Listen, I am nobody's fool. Wait, do not answer that, I am probably somebody's fool. In this case, most definitely Mom Central's.

I am not living under any delusion that I am a high-traffic blogger. Just don't invite me in the first place. Don't be rude. Canceling someone's invitation the day before the party is simply bad manners. Good grief. Truly, I find it impossible to believe that Mom Central just "discovered" their "overwhelming response" early yesterday evening.

So. Yes, I am sad that I do not get to schmooze with Hasbro, the home of Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers - after all, I have an entire closet devoted to boardgames. No worries, though. I will still have a great time at the Blogging-Conference-For-Women-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. And hey! What's this? I see here that the Art Institute of Chicago has later hours on Thursdays. How very convenient for me.

Still, I am most certainly not impressed with a so-called "professional" group acting like this - uninviting someone at the last minute.

Particularly, when that someone is me. I sorta like me, dammit.

July 21, 2009

Where is?

As I will be heading off early Thursday morning to the Blogging-Conference-For-Women-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named, I can begin dreading the inevitable string of calls and texts questioning the location, nay, the very existence of half of the contents of our home. The desperate inquiries from X that begin with the oft-dreaded phrase "Where is....?"

Folks, we have lived in this house for 5 years and not much has changed. I am a creature of habit and the kitchen is pretty much organized in the same manner as it was when I unpacked. The only foodstuffs in our pantries are edible ones since I go through it nearly every week for trash day, so there is not much lurking in there, not much taking up the view. Besides, it is not as if the bread will suddenly decide to jump ship from the basket where it normally resides to slink its way into another room. Furthermore, as I am an anti-hoarder, I do not store things anywhere but the kitchen. Not in the the garage, not even the basement (Yes, yes, we would die within a scant week should the Apocalypse ever come to pass. Yes, yes, my grandma raised me better than this.)

Regardless, I am expectant of fielding Location Requirement questions all weekend long.

I have always said that I wished the refrigerator came with a checkerboard grid, so that when the location of the new butter was requested, I could shout out "E6!" instead of a weary, complicated set of directions that invariably includes "2 inches left of the yogurt. in front of the grapefruit." Now, I wish the entire house came with a similar grid.

This trip to Chicago will be my first trip sans progeny since my pregnant cankles and I waddled our way through BlogHer 05. It will be odd on Thursday to pack a bag without toys or diapers, to make my way through airport security unencumbered without a kid on my hip and to sit in my seat while quietly reading a book. A book! In my children's defense, they do love traveling and I allow myself a magazine or two when flying with them, but I have not taken a book on a plane for 4 years now. Because that's commitment. Of course, I already know how this trip will go - Thursday and Friday I will be as giddy as a Check Just Cashed Lottery Winner taking a trip to Vegas. Unabashed freedom. Saturday, I will begin missing pudgy, dimpled arms, slurpy kisses and squeaky voices. *Snurp*

I will almost admit I am a bit worried about losing control. Almost. I try to run a tight(ish) ship around here with a minimum (bare as it may be) of rules and regulations. My husband? For someone who has the actual word "no" within his NAME never, ever, ever tells these children "No." Team Chaos will become a reality. I do dread the destruction that will become my home while I am gone, but am trying to just count it off as a price I will have to pay.

Finally, I could not help but notice that I have done more shopping and more personal grooming for This-Conference-That-Must-Not-Be-Named than for either of my high school reunions. Fortunately, my husband has not noticed the pains to which I have taken getting all Fancy Nancy for a conference comprised primarily of women.


July 17, 2009

Waste not, want not.

I have been wanting to write this post for awhile now, but was waiting.......waiting..... waiting...... to be absolutely sure it was not a fluke.

For the past few months, I have finally felt like my old self. I get up early every morning now, way before everyone else, even X. I now look forward to starting my day, enjoying the quiet moments that each morning brings. I am reading voraciously again, knitting new projects, going to the gym regularly, and relishing my children so much that I want time to stand still. Seriously, Father Time, sit your ass down for a bit.

Life is good. And it was not good for a such a long time, that I can scarcely believe it now.

I have not talked much about my post-partum depression. A mention here and there, but I am not that sort of blogger and Rancid Raves is not a really a space for those mental meanderings anyway. There are other writers doing a stellar job with the subject and I had nothing new to add to the topic.

Furthermore, X did not want me to talk too much about the PPD and I respected his wish for privacy. If nothing else, I have learned these past 18 months that PPD affects an entire family, not just a single person. It is not just a problem for mothers. And I am now appreciative that X requested that filter. I am also grateful that I had the grand fortune of marrying someone who is solid, capable and utterly forgiving.

These past 18 months I have said and thought horrible, dark, ugly, wrenching words. Twisted logic that only made sense to me at the time. And at times, I felt dishonest as a blogger. That perhaps, I should be sharing my experience for the greater good. Then, I realized there was no good whatsoever to be had from my experience and I am glad I kept the majority of my experience within my own little family.

Of course, there was some good.

Obviously, it was worth it.

Now that the thick, foggy haze of PPD has cleared, I can see my life again.

And I like it.

July 16, 2009

What's in the bag?

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]

1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A desperate swipe at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week.
Long ago, I was in a Walgreens in Lawrence KS. It was raining and I was a drippy, sodden mess. I heard a voice behind me, "Are you Cagey from Rancid Raves?" It was Kenna - a reader. I don't get recognized very much in public and it never ceases to take me by surprise.

As it turns out, Kenna is a huge bag aficionado herself. Ah, a girl after my own heart. She sent me five snaps of her bags and I could not choose just one from this fun group of purses.

Thanks, Kenna!

Poppy Clementine


Betsey Johnson


BCBG MaxAzria

July 15, 2009

Remember that one time at band camp?

No. I never went to band camp, or any other camp for that matter. Wait. I think I vaguely remember a Girl Scout camping thing once. Anyway. I spent my summers at a babysitter's house, usually a teenager. The sitter changed virtually every summer with mixed results. For whatever reason, the sitter always liked my sister or me. Never the both of us. When I turned 12 (the summer after 6th grade) we stayed home by ourselves.

And no, this is not some sort of indictment against my parents (Hi, Mom!) They were working and obviously, my sister and I had to be somewhere during the summer when school was out. After and before-school care was even more varied and wonky. Sometimes, I would go straight home to where my dad was sleeping since he worked nights. Other times, I would go a sitter's home - generally, a little old lady's house. For awhile, my mom dropped me off at a service station because that was where the bus driver worked. I would sit there for about an hour before the bus route began. No, no. I was not scared and the men who worked there were very kind to me, but I remember feeling very awkward, shy and miserable. And bored.

Folks often assume I will just "go back to work" when Anjali begins school full-time. Maybe I will. Maybe I will not. I do not really relish the idea of scrambling around, finding folks to watch my kids as their school schedules change. Furthermore, it seems that in these days, schools take into account parents' schedules even less than before. What the hell is an "in-service" day anyway? What the hell do parents do with their kids on those days?

X does not get it. He does not know how it is to spending hour after hour after hour in someone else's house. A house that sometimes that person does not even want you to be in but they have accepted you because they need the money. I remember one house in particular, we had to get up so early and it was clear that the girl watching us did not relish getting up so early either. Often, she would lay on the couch and fall back to sleep while we fended for ourselves.

So, yes. X has a hard time understanding how strongly I feel about this. His mom was always there. Always. Sure, that presented another completely new set of issues, with how his mother devoted her entire existence to her children and was left with nothing for herself. I am not going to wax maternal poetic on your asses. Her sacrifices were not without cost. And I am not even suggesting I would be willing to make the same sacrifice. I will not be the mommy waiting at the door with cookies when my kids come home from school. But I would like to be the mommy who is home.

But there has to be a middle ground. And I have to find it.

July 13, 2009

If you cannot laugh at yourself, then who the hell can you laugh at?

The other day, Liz at Mom-101 asked for our most embarrassing grade school experience. Are you kidding? I began wearing glasses in 1st grade. To boot, I was a child in that glorious decade of polyester, disco and garish color schemes (and inexplicably, macrame). The era known as the 70s. Dude. My entire grade school career was embarrassing. Those glasses and that decade created a perfect storm of geekitude that doomed me with a tailwind that continued on through the mid-80s. For damned sure, I never got picked to "doesy-doe" when square dancing was taught in gym class.

Kelli and the Purple Magic Marker

I am 2nd from the left in the 2nd row. See, I was not lying. Also, the back of the picture, says "The one I circled is a cutie. His name is Keith McCoy." I signed my name for good measure. Also, in purple Magic Marker. But, of course.

On Saturday, this class of mine from Oskaloosa had their 20th reunion. While I did not actually matriculate from Oskaloosa Preparatory Academy For the Elite and Over-Privileged living in Jefferson County, Kansas, I am an honorary member of the class since I attended Kindergarten through half of 6th grade.

As I was digging through my class photos, I realized that in our 3rd grade snap, Keith McCoy was circled. Oops. I also realized that my crush was a long, long time ago and that in the past 3 decades I have honed and refined a sense of self-deprecating humor that does not mind my own butt being the butt of jokes. Why not? Indeed. Besides, I remembered Keith had moved away in 5th grade and would not even be there. So, I took the snaps. Except that I did not realize that Keith had moved back after I had moved away and that he did actually attend high school at Oskie. Oops.

Gentle reader, you know where this is heading, right?? Of course, he was there at the reunion.

Thank goodness, I have that wicked sense of humor because telling Keith the whole story was one of the funniest damned things I have done in a long, long time.

July 9, 2009

Isn't she lovely?

Today is Anjali's birthday! There is something about the 2nd Birthday that is pretty cool - this year, she is aware that it is her birthday. As such, presents, cupcakes, a song and attention are required, thank you. Although, you can "Ixnay on the pankingsay". She knows better.

And we are more than willing to oblige.

I could wax poetic on my little girl, but that would be redundant since long time readers of this blog are already well aware of exactly how tickled we are with our girl.

Instead, I will share some favorite photos and quotes with you. If you do not mind.


NO! I can do it myself! (this includes buckling herself into the car, pouring her drink, wiping her own butt, getting out of the car, doing her taxes.....)

I get a handstamp. Den you WEAVE me. I missed you and I CWIED. Can I have a muffin? (She LOVES going to the gym's nursery. Don't believe a single word out of her lying lips.)

Mama! Dat cart stuck in the MUD. It's SCARED. We hafta save it! To the rescue center! (Abandoned shopping carts left on the side of the road inspire compassion in my wee one. Could not be prouder. I guess.)

Ni-hao, Mama!! (Are you seeing a theme with the television, here? Awesome. If she starts calling my dad "ye-ye", we have got real problems, folks.)

RAWR! I a scarwy MONSTER! (Indeed.)

I have ONE neck! (Damned shame, or we could make millions on the carnival circuit, no?)

Anjali and the Giant Cantaloupe

Baby girl loves her some FOOD.

July 7, 2009

Why are there five syllables in the word "monosyllabic"?

Am feeling the need to take a break. Last night, I actually pondered a post about how Anjali kept exclaiming she had one neck. As in, "I have ONE neck, Mama." And then, I was debating whether to talk about how when asked to count, she commences with "uno...dos...tres...." even through I have not taught her a lick of Spanish and how obviously, she is watching too much TV. In that vein, Arun is now officially obsessed with Bindi the Jungle Girl and insists he is Arun the Jungle Boy as he parades around our house with a notebook and pen speaking in narratorical tones "This is Vanessa. She is a jungle cat and eats cat food and this is her friend the jungle cat Harry. Vanessa likes to sleep at night and is afraid of dogs. We must be nice to jungle cats. They are our friends."

And then, I was going to talk about how the marketers have finally found me because I am getting pitches for garages sales sites and bottles of stuff that will clean my washing machine. Which completely squicks me out because dude - is my washing machine not already clean? Fear not, gentle reader, I am sparing you sponsored posts on those particular subjects. I will sell my soul for tacos, but not household products. I have standards.

And then, I was going to talk about how my husband worked in the basement yesterday but it did not help because he was still working in our house and little by little that mere fact is driving me slowly insane oh my god why can he not just leave the freaking house already I am supposed to be the stay-at-home parent here why the hell can I not just sit in the house day after day after day??

And then, I was going to talk about how much I enjoyed the first of the Spellman series - Izzy Spellman is smart like Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone but hilarious like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. I was going to rave about how I love how it is set in the TenderNob area of San Francisco, an area with which I am intimate because that is where we always stay while in town and I know the neighbhorhood like the back of my hand from hoofing the hills. I was also going to complain about how frockin' slow the 1st book in the Outlander series was but also about how quickly the 2nd in the series, Dragonfly in Amber, has gripped me. YUM.

And then, since I was on the subject of books, I was going to rave about how excited I am for Jennifer Weiner's new book, Best Friends Forever, is coming out and about how she is one of the few authors left who makes me feel the urge to purchase a book all sparkly and new-like as opposed to waiting for a dirty, grimy copy from the used bookstore. Still, I sorta wished she would have named this new book Love Ya Like A Sister.

And then, I was going to apologize for my snippy post yesterday about BlogHer and was going to promise my roommates that I am not planning on stalking them throughout the conference. And I would like to promise the entire conference that I will not be the dork sitting in the corner knitting away. Not too much. Anyway.

And then, I was going to bitch about toysellers on Amazon that sell toys for 2 to 3 times as much as what you can get the same damned toy elsewhere. About how I bought Anjali a wee dollhouse for $15 at Wal-mart- the same dollhouse selling for $30 on Amazon. Dude, that's just rude.

But then, I decided that would be entirely way too boring of a post and that I probably should take a day or two off from writing.

July 6, 2009

Are you a sheep in the BlogHerd?

Whoa. Two posts in one day? Do check out the post from earlier today, if you have not already (I think most folks are in feed readers, no? I am never sure where folks are coming from. Just in case.) Anyway. Throwing Things is constantly posting such clever things, but that one was worth pointing out in particular.

Anyway, as you can tell from the title, this is going to be one of those posts. About BlogHer. And while it may seem that I should get all sheepish towards the Bitter Betty posters who are already coming out in droves complaining about those of us writing about the conference, I am not going to do it. Listen up. I know how it feels to not be going. I missed BlogHer one year - it was 2007, Anjali had just been born and X was persnickety about me traveling with a newborn. So, I licked my Feeling Left Out Wounds in private and moved on. Folks, the world does not stop just because a few of us are at a conference. Yes, we are excited. Most of us have been saving $$$ for this all year long and making special arrangements for it. Of course, we would want to talk about it. Anyway, if you have not clicked out of this post in a huff yet and if this is going to be your first BlogHer, I highly recommend Average Jane's BlogHer For Beginners post.

Truthfully, BlogHer has always been a mixed bag for me. I waddled my way through BlogHer 05 while heavily pregnant with Arun. I was not yet a Mommyblogger and I was still finding my footing as an IdentityBlogger. When Alice Bradley declared mommyblogging as radical act, I had no clue what she was talking about (respectfully, I still do not understand the statement since Erma Bombeck and Teresa Bloomingdale had already laid bare the irreverent Soul of Mothering decades ago. ) Anyway. My cankles and I had trouble finding a space where we felt that we fit in during that conference. Then, BlogHer 06, which found me secure in my Mommyblogger status and was very fun, had me feeling completely left out and my feelings were hurt more than once as I was snubbed several times to my face by A-listers. BlogHer 08? Was a much better experience for me - I was still directly snubbed by an A-lister, but by that point I was rolling my eyes about it because I gave up on Caring and instead, focused on my friends. Last year, I had so much fun with Monkey in a Suit, Brit, Average Jane and Rita. And all of the Sleep is for the Weak book stuff? Icing on the conference cake.

So, in a nutshell, my primary focus for BlogHer 09 will be Friends. I am bunking, sorority girl style, with Jane and Rita and Blondie (Tales from Clark Street!) If I make some new friends along the way, that would be grand, but I am not going to sweat it this year. Primarily, I am so excited about having a 3 day weekend to myself - this will be my first time without a child in my midst since Arun's birth and I do not want to waste One Single Iota on trivial matters such as "hurt feelings". If someone snubs me, what the fuckever. My parade shall not be rained upon.

That said, this year at BlogHer there are three people in particular that I am looking forward to meeting in person for the first time:
  1. Mrs. CPA - Kelly has been my friend forever now and I cannot wait to meet her and get all gooey on her and pat her pretty, shiny hair. Am v. sad that CPA Mom will not be there for the hair braiding, though.
  2. Jodifur - I will definitely be checking out her shoes! No pressure, Jodi. Heh.
  3. Jenny, the Bloggess - She gave me faith again in A-list bloggers with her willingness to be able to laugh at her own expense and forgave me for my crude references to her being a "drunken volcano". *DoubleGulp*
  4. Julia at Uncommon Misconception - I have been reading Julia for over 5 years now and she has been such an inspiration to me over the years. I directly credit her for sharing her experiences which made me appreciate my beautiful, healthy pregnancy with Arun. I tried not to focus on my minor aches and pains and as such, really relished that pregnancy, a gift for which I am forever grateful since I remember it now as one of the most contented periods of my entire life.

So yes, friends will be the focus this year. And friends include yours truly. As in, me, myself and I. I am viewing this weekend as my own personal sabbatical from my life. A boondoggle, if you will. In that vein, I am going to do a few special things for myself, some other activities that make me gushy and happy inside. Quite simply, knitting and museums.

I have started a knitting project that travels well and that I can work on while sitting in sessions. Frankly, now that I "stay at home", I am out of practice just sitting like a lump during meetings. Last year, I was a bit of a nervous mess with nothing to do during meetings and my stomach was in knots with nothing to do with my hands. I felt as if I was wasting precious time doing nothing and actually left mid-conference to hunt for some sticks and yarn. This year? I will come prepared. And yes, I am a Type A personality. Why do you ask?

The museum thing? I am also planning on sneaking out of the conference and walking to an art museum - probably the Art Institute and hopefully, the Museum of Contemporary Art as well. One of the things that I miss the most in this Life as a Mother is my lack of art museum time. I used to take Arun to museums when he was a baby, but for obvious reasons, that became more difficult as he got older. Now our museums are limited to the sort that display bones and bugs.

So, there have it - my plan of action (aka Kelli's Agenda) for BlogHer 09. Friends, knitting, art museum and most importantly - me.

Are these truths that evident?

Over the weekend, the astute and talented Mr. Isaac Spaceman on Throwing Things created a lovely little diddy pondering what would have happened had our founding fathers been all wired up with access to email and such - LOL Revolutioncats. Dude. I declare this Today's Required Reading. A sampling??

From: jadams@mass.col
Sent: July 3, 1776, 2:38 p.m.
To: benf@penn.col; tomjeff@monticello.com; livingstonipresume@ny.col; rsherman@conn.col
Subject: RE: George

And so I was like George, chill out, just have some tea and stop the drama for a minute and he goes "TEA, great idea, comes from somewhere, goes somewhere else, I tax it everywhere, gonna put some CHROME on my CARRIAGE." So I said, George, do you really mean that? And he goes, "got a problem with it? Let's have a drink and talk about it IN LONDON see you in seven months hope you don't get scurvy on the boat over ha ha." I mean what could I do, he just doesn't get it


From: livingstonipresume@ny.col
Sent: July 3, 1776, 2:47 p.m.
To: jadams@mass.col; benf@penn.col; tomjeff@monticello.com; rsherman@conn.col
Subject: RE: George

that dude crazy ;)


Why are you still here?? Get your ass out there and read the rest.

There is not much to be had here today - just the usual Fireworks Recap, or the My Husband Grilled a Kickass Tandoori, or the I Read A Grand Book Scribbling or the usual My Baby Girl's Birthday Is This Week Lament. Which I will spare you.

Now everyone say, "Thank you".

July 3, 2009

Who is your worst enemy?

A while back, we ripped out some major bushes. As in "20+ year old evergreens and bayberry bushes" - backbreaking work, but it was worth it. We removed 7 evergreens and 3 bayberry bushes. The problem is that after ripping out these bushes, we suddenly had wide expanses of raw dirt that needed to be landscaped - or something to that effect since my version of landscaping includes loose bricks and mulch. All of that raw dirt inspired hope. Hope that I would plant something interesting. Hope that I would drive to an actual plant nursery instead of veering through Lowe's after a trip to the grocery.

I planted some filler boxwoods in one portion of the landscaping and some ornamental grass in the other. Then, I went about the process of hoping. And I continued to hope. In fact, for well over a month, I hoped. In the meantime, that raw dirt sprouted weeds. Which began to flower. I can imagine the extent to which our neighbors were impressed with these botanical developments.

And then I realized something. Something I have suspected for years. I am my own worst enemy. Time after time after time, I create my own stress.....my own worries. I am not a yard person. I enjoying lounging in my yard, but not actually working in it. I was creating completely unrealistic expectations for myself that I would most likely not meet, yet I would surely flog myself for the failure to meet them.

So, yesterday. I veered into Lowe's and picked up three more boring boxwoods. Okay... Okay.. I love boxwoods, so it was not that painful. Yesterday afternoon, I planted them. And in the evening, I sat in my front yard watching my kids catch lightening bugs and playing with our new puppy.

I need to let go more often.

Git 'er Done
The Landscapin' Edition

Before. Part 1. This is an old picture and actually, this section was covered in weeds before I pulled them all yesterday.

Before. Part 2. Also, an old picture and also, covered in weeds until yesterday.

After. Obviously. (right? Please say "right".)
Stay tuned for Part 2.......

Gratuitous Puppy Snaps

Just like having a baby. And yes, we discuss her bowel movements and nap schedule. Awesome!

July 2, 2009

Have a Heart, Tinman.

Handbag Thursday [hānd'bāg' thûrz'dā]

1. A Canal Street knockoff of Jodifur's Shoe Friday.
2. A lame attempt at regular blog fodder by invoking my own accessorized day o' the week.
3. A frivolous little feature that allows me to talk about handbags every week.
I was having a bad day a few weeks back when Average Jane sends me this link for Handbag Thursday. (Note: I have been begging Jane for a picture of her handbag for months, but she resists. Don't you want to know what she carries?)

Anyway, the link made me laugh out loud and I thought it might make you smile as well!

Via Boing Boing, the Ribcage Backpack. Awesome. Just that - awesome.

Description: Carrying our possessions around has become essential to our lives. Bags have become a part of who we are, a part of us. This bag is a living, breathing backpack. It responds to sound in the environment around it, appearing to breathe. This is one of three identical bags. On the inside of the bag, there is a screen printed lining as well as a change purse with a screen printed heart on it. The bag closes with a draw sting, which has flameworked glass beads on the ends of the string.

Materials and Processes Wool, Boning, Pigment, Borosilicate Glass, Machine Embroidery, Screenprinting

July 1, 2009


Welcome to Pet Week here at Rancid Raves!

So, yes - we have three cats, two tarantulas and now, one dog. If it was my choice, we would have a kick ass aquarium, a 4-horned chameleon and a third tarantula (a greenbottle blue!) However, I think my husband's patience has been pushed to his max.

When I tell folks we have two tarantulas, invariably, I get a simple "Why?". I also get an "On purpose?" , which is my personal favorite. As if two tarantulas meandered through our front door and we let them stay the night.

I see all of these "pets" as a privilige and I am glad that we can do it. Having animals can get expensive, not including the fact that it helps that we live in a house with a yard and thus, have enough space for everyone.

I think most kids are crazy about animals, no? My kids are nutso about them - we have all forms of toy animals littered about the house and at this point, Anjali prefers animals to dolls and Arun prefers them to cars. I am sure my own love for nature has helped this along. I am not afraid to catch all sort of critters in our yard as Arun discovers them. Currently, we have a variety of plastic containers littering our house filled with all sorts of ghastly contents. I am glad that I have the stomach for it.

Last night, Arun was beyond thrilled to have found a garden snail in my sister's yard. Later, when we were about to leave, he was positively distraught that he had lost it - fortunately, we found it. This morning, I went to check in on him and found him snuggled up with his snail (in his bug bucket).

I hope he nevers loses that sense of wonder.


Vanessa is my cat from my Single Girl days and was most certainly a Child Replacement Model (Pet Peeve #234789 When folks won't admit they get pets to fulfill the desire for babies, then proceed to neglect the pet when the human children arrive.) Vanessa was named for the character Vanessa Lewis from the soap the Guiding Light. She is the sweetest, shyest and snuggliest of the cats. She is so desperate for affection at all times that even the kids are acceptable alternatives means for attention.

Harry (Black cat) and Pearson (Orange cat)
Pearson (the orange tabby) is the first pet that X and I got together. He is a pain in the ass, but we love him. Pearson came "pre-named" from the shelter. Harry (the black cat) showed up on our doorstep one icy, snowy night and quickly figured out that not only do we serve premium-quality cat food but that we are complete suckers for mild-mannered felines that wrap themselves around your legs looking hungry. He is named for Harry Potter. The grey cat? Is a neighbor cat who wanders in our yard and our HOUSE if the door is left open. This scene cracked me up how all three cats were just hanging out, so peacefully.

Madison is an avicularia versicolor, also known as a Antilles Pinktoe. She is pretty skittish and I am always a little skittish myself when opening her container. Not because I am afraid she will bite me, but because I am afraid she will escape! I chose the name Madison because it is a Top 10 Baby Girl Name and I have a twisted sense of humor.


Sofia is supposedly an avicularia avicularia (Common Pinktoe). However, she is really way too colorful for an a. avic which makes me suspicious that she is a cross-bred avic and was misidentified by the breeder. Sofia is super laid back, I call her the stoner of the A. Avic set, because truly, she is just not as highstrung as a. avics are generally known to be. I do "pet" her but rubbing her rump sometimes, but overall, I think tarantulas don't LIKE to be handled, so I am in the Do Not Handle Your Tarantula camp of that particular debate. Sofia's name? Again, look at my tasteless sense of humor. Also, I have not yet changed Sofia's cage yet - I was waiting for a new molt and I need to get on it since she molted a few months ago. I had a troll on Flickr who went all Free Range Tarantula on my ass about the size of Sofia's cage, man she would be FURIOUS if she saw that i had not changed it.