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2007 July

on a completely unrelated note

July 31, 2007

My post is up over at Parenting.

I felt bad that I did not miss them. Surely this was not normal. I overheard other mothers going on and on about how much they missed their children and how they were wishing they could cut their stay short.

I felt bad. Bad that I did not feel the least bit, well, bad.

Posted by Chris @ 5:20 pm | 17 Comments  

They say it better than I do

When I was at the conference I was walking by all the sponsor tables, “shopping” for gifts to take home to my children. My children have never had so much with pedometers. Or me either… go run around the house ten times and then come back in and I will tell you how many steps you ran. It is a win win situation for all of us.

I stopped at one table and they had a pile of t-shirts. I asked if I could have one.

“Are you going to write a positive blog post about our product and tell people how much you really like it?”

“Uh, no I am not.”

“Then you can’t have a t-shirt.” he answered.

“I no longer want one.” I replied.

Well alrighty then. I don’t want one. Nor do I have any interest at all in your product.

My 6 and 8 yr olds are wearing their find.com tshirts right now. They gave me three of them. Not only will I be more likely to use their website, but what about all the people who see the shirt when my children are running around the world like wild heathens. Hmmm, probably good that I left out the wild heathen part.

But I am willing to bet that there were people who took the t-shirts and will blog about this company positively. My kingdom for a $5 t-shirt.

Liz brilliantly talks about PR people and how clueless they can be in dealing with bloggers.

And guess what? I got an email from Pay Per Post this morning telling me how to monetize, or is that monotonize, my blog. I am not sure if it makes it better or worse that they got my name right. I guess they didn’t get the memo that I spoke about them during my panel.

And Mir takes it a step further and holds nothing back. And she is right when she says if no one worked for these slave wages they would have to up their pay scale.

The point in all of this? Value yourself. Value your work. Demand to be paid a reasonable wage. You are worth it.

Posted by Chris @ 10:31 am | 34 Comments  

Snippets of BlogHer

July 30, 2007

So much to write, so few intact brain cells.

I met the Sarcastic Journalist for the first time and as we stepped into the elevator she grabbed my boob. That is how her people say hello.

And so I told her the truth.

“They come off, you know, you can touch them whenever you want.”

****
Tops on my agenda today was pooping. Those shutters at the hotel were not exactly conducive to uh, going. Luckily I lived on a mostly liquid diet. Is this TMI? Probably. I am a sharer.

****

My panel was good, except that I wish we didn’t talk so much about monetizing and advertising on blogs. Holy crap we didn’t just beat that dead horse, we dragged it around the square and stoned it until it no longer resembled a horse, but something else like steak. Or um a dead bloody thing.

****
Speaking of steak, I went out to dinner one night at this ridiculously expensive restaurant. The food was good. But I don’t think I have even been in the situation where we have all passed our money down the table and had someone say, “We are a little short.” And had that “little short” be $600. Honestly I wanted to call the waiter back over and get more meat to wrap in my napkin and take home in my purse. I already carry non-dairy coffee creamer in there. Might as well start practicing for my geriatric days now. Now where are my Chicklets?

****
Oh, back to my panel. Lena and I kept looking at each other and mouthing, “OMG she is like really, really smart.” Yes, Catherine uses big words. And somehow worked Marx and the true definition of politics into the discussion. Lena and I were both feverishly scanning our brains for important people to quote. But, uh, yeah. And so I rambled on and on and used my hands too much, because did you know that when you speak on a panel everyone looks at you? Yes, shocking, right?

****
Oh I did say a little something about Pay Per Post. And I stand by it. I was asked if there was anything that I would not do in terms of advertising on my blog or doing reviews. I don’t do reviews at all, except for the occasional book review. My reason for this is simple, I think writing well written reviews of products is an art I don’t posses. Now if someone wants to send me a car or something for keeps I may just hone these skills.

And I answered. Not as someone who works for BlogHer, or who has ads on my site, but as a blogger and writer. Places such as Pay Per Post do not pay a living wage, end of story. Being paid $5 for a post is ridiculously low. My point during the panel was that when people accept terms like that for their work, they are devaluing their work and that of other writers. You, all of you, imagine my sweeping arm motion here, are worth more than that. Unless you like working for slave wages.

I didn’t have time to fully get into the discussion during the panel, but I would have called out Club Mom too for other reasons. I am not pointing fingers at specific bloggers. When some one writes post after post after post promoting products that they have no interest or personal knowledge of, the writing almost always lacks authenticity.

Moving on, but not for long I am sure.

****
During her session Heather B was responding to something about race and she in turn said, “Do you write as a white person? Are you constantly talking about how you are white or feel this way because you are white? No, then why should I?”

Spot on, Heather. Though for the rest of the weekend I prefaced most things with “I am a white woman and I really like this wine.” “I am a white woman and lit candles in the lobby at 7:00am is just too hip and trendy for me.”

****
Speaking of wine, I don’t think naming your wine OOOPS is the best in terms of marketing strategy. I just can’t think of anything good to go along with OOOPS.

“Ooooops, we meant to make good tasting wine.”
“Ooooops, we come in red, white, and rose”
“Ooooops, we taste better the more you drink.”

It reminds me of the Ford Aspire. “I Aspire to own a real car one day.”

****

One of the most touching moments for me was when Redneck Mommy
came over to meet me. I would have cried except that I was sitting with someone who was having an anxiety attack. And I am not sure could have been the voice of calm reason if I were crying too. Though maybe we could have started a club.

****
My kids are totally into all the schwag I brought home from them. (”You have walked 343 steps. Now go away and walk some more.” I left the dildo behind. No need to go there yet. Although a part of me thought of bringing it home and telling Miles that it is my penis that fell off. But then visions of the story being repeated entered my head and I thought this is really not a conversation I want to be having at my grocery store while I am trying desperately to check out without purchasing every candybar in the aisle.

****

And the answer to the post above is C. Proving what a big dork I am. I was trying to get the lanyard off from around my neck and the name tag portion swung around and hit me square in the eye. And my god, I have new respect for the blind or nearly sightless. Also I think I need glasses because my left eye is sort of blurry. It misses it’s other eye.

****
This afternoon I was laying in the couch– the eye injury is the perfect excuse to just lay there with my other eye closed. The children are slightly afraid of my eye patch. I think some of them think my entire eye is missing. I haven’t corrected them yet because… Hello??? nap for me. Miles suddenly put his finger up my nostril. Turned out he picked his nose and had nowhere to put it. So he stuffed it up my nose.

Yup, I am home.

(links and photos will be up soon. Soon being relative)

Posted by Chris @ 5:59 pm | 34 Comments  

Multiple choice

I am a pirate

How did I sustain this eye injury in Chicago:

a) I was hit in the eye when SJ threw a big pink dildo at my head. (It was in a schwag bag that we got at one of the panels lest you think she brought it from home)

b) I was attacked by the Pay Per Post people who stabbed me in the eye with one of their huge pens

c) I hit myself in the eye with my name badge when I tried to take it off

d) Brawl with the hotel when I found out my bar tab

Posted by Chris @ 10:06 am | 61 Comments  

chicago

July 27, 2007

I arrived in Chicago bright and early and without any delays, which judging by all the people who tried to arrive yesterday, is a miracle.

Yesterday my friend Jeanne picked Susan and I up in the morning and brought us shopping to some funky neighborhood that had a bunch of independent shops and resale shops. As we walked through the resale shops I finally understood what all you people are talking about when you say how much you love them. Where I live resale shops have either a) old musky clothes for the 80’s with shoulder pads and cropped tops with the collars cut off, or b) stuff from stores like Banana Republic from last year that didn’t sell well in the store.

But these stores were so fun and inexpensive. I found a cute top, a belt, and a pair of jeans that seemed like someone made them just for me. That has never happened.

Right now I am nursing a slight headache that is a combination of a few glasses of wine, no real food, and not enough water. Also I am looking at a pile SJ’s business cards which are printed on tampons– informative AND useful.

As always happens I don’t really have much else to write about. Seeing everyone again this year, and seeing people I have only known through the computer, is a lot of fun. Slightly overwhelming at times, but fun. It is hard to put it into words. Maybe I’ll remember to take my camera out of my bag today and take some photos.

I should probably mention the hotel bathrooms and how they have shutters in the wall opening into the room and a sliding woven wood door. It brings the getting to know you better thing to a whole new level.

Posted by Chris @ 8:41 am | 19 Comments  

you will recognize me by my mismatched clothes

July 24, 2007

I have been packing tonight. Or trying to pack. I am not good at deciding what I want to wear for days in advance.

What if I am hot? What if I am cold? What if I decide I just don’t feel like wearing that outfit?

So I just started putting things into my suitcase that I like. I have no idea if they match anything else that is already in my suitcase.

I had my bag laid out on the top of my bed with a couple of pair of shoes inside. My 8 yr old came walking in and looked through my suitcase.

“How many days will you be gone, Mom?” he asked.

“Five days, honey” I answered, trying to contain my overwhelming joy.

“Hmmm. I don’t think you have enough shoes in your bag. You should bring some more,” he said.

And how could I argue with that. I tossed a couple more pair of shoes into the bag. I don’t know what I will wear them with. But just the fact that they are there inside my suitcase, just in case, makes me happy.

Should there be a shoe emergency, I am prepared.

I might be naked or look like I dressed in the dark, but god damn I will be properly shod.

Posted by Chris @ 11:24 pm | 24 Comments  

here today, gone tomorrow, back the next day

July 23, 2007

So, um did you see that post I had up yesterday afternoon? And then it vanished?

I know some of you did. I got emails. “What happened?”

What happened is that I am a loser with a capital L. I save all my posts for other writing ventures here on this blog in my drafts folder.

(Husband: Why don’t you write them on your word program and just copy/paste them?
Me: Uhhhh. Because
Husband: Because why?
Me: Oh, shut up.)

Yesterday, somehow, I hit publish instead of save. And I just went on and about my merry way.

Once I discovered the error I took the post down.

But never fear if you have no idea what I am talking about. You can go over and read the post now over there.

And I promise I am done talking about baseball. Seriously. I have more important things to dwell on now. Like my hair.

My hairdresser just got back from maternity leave last week. I had a long standing appointment for last Tuesday. Then I found out the my refrigerator and freezer were scheduled to be delivered that day and I was forced to cancel my appointment. It is today at 10:00.

I have been having these recurring moments of panic that she is going to have to cancel my appointment and I will have to leave for Chicago with hair long overdue for a cut and color. Or else venture over to my local Supercuts, or whatever that hair place is where you don’t need and appointment and they let the fry girl from the fast food place next door cut your hair for shits and giggles.

I am also sporting the Herman Monster eyebrows. After the unfortunate do-it-yourself waxing incident a many months ago in which I pulled off half of one eyebrow and left a bald patch through the center of the other one, I have been following my hairdressers instructions to leave them alone. “For the love of all things holy do not touch any of those eyebrows. Let them all grow in.”

Do you know how long it takes eyebrows to grow in? Not the ones underneath the brow. Those seem to sprout out right after you pluck them. But the ones that are never meant to be plucked out… they take forever.

I am hoping today that I can return to the world of normal eyebrows. And never be referred to in hushed tones as “the girl with the…uh..eyebrows”

Posted by Chris @ 3:56 pm | 29 Comments  

a kitchen by an other name

July 22, 2007

My days of living with a white vinyl floor are coming to an end.

Today I ordered my new kitchen cabinets. In a mere 6-8 weeks they will be delivered to my house.

Judging by how things usually go around here. I should have my brand new, fully functional kitchen in a year or two. Three tops.

I kid. Sort of.

As I was placing the order and watching the price tag grow larger and larger, to twice the amount we had planned on spending, the kitchen designer began to ask me about upgrades. And I thought, what’s one more torpedo to a sinking ship Sure I’ll take those full extension drawers, garbage can pull-out, and matching crown molding.

Posted by Chris @ 11:34 pm | 27 Comments  

and so it ends

July 21, 2007

the trophy

His last Little League game ever. Next year it is the Babe Ruth League. Playing on the big field, where once again the big boys will be small boys, and the homeruns won’t flow quite so easily.

After being spanked by the same team last week, they rallied and ended up winning the tournament. I almost cried. Happiness for the kids, for the coaches, my son who pitched in the last two innings and subsequently aged me several years. These kids have been playing together on the All Star team since they were 9 yrs old. And every year they came in second place.

boys of summer

The coach was giving them a pep talk and said he was tired of them always being the “bridesmaid” I am not sure any of the kids understood the reference. Nor did they understand when he yelled, “Finally the bride!” after they won. But I laughed.

He was such a great coach.

And so, the season is over.

Cheering on his big brother

Until next year.

Posted by Chris @ 11:59 pm | 24 Comments  

In Which I don’t mention baseball once

July 19, 2007

So there is this conference next week… maybe you have heard about it?

I finally found a laptop bag, so I can stop telling people that I will be the one carrying a laptop around in a plastic grocery bag.

Last night Susan called me, way way past her 8:00pm bedtime, so we could co-ordinate whatever it is we feel we need to co-ordinate. Both of us being the lazy Type-A personalities. (I love you, Susan.) You know they type who really want to be in control of everything and worry endlessly, and yet never do much constructive about it. The type who appear laid back, but that is the result of a glass or three of wine.

(Side note, last night while we were talking I kept hearing this ding-ding noise that sounded exactly like noise sailboats make in the wind. But since she lives in one of those landlocked states I knew she wasn’t hanging out in a marina. So I asked her what the hell that noise was. Turns out she was trying to open her wine bottle with one hand. That is an enviable skill, people!)

Of course the conversation turned to what we will be packing. Susan just wrote a great post over at BlogHer about packing and implored everyone to not overpack. I was forced to share my packing philosophy with her, which basically is “If it fits in the bag, it comes with me.” I hate going places and ending up unprepared. I have 5 days to think about. I might need more shoes than days I am going to be in Chicago. I just might. Not that I am admitting to anything. And what if there is a sudden cold snap or heat wave or torrential downpour or I finally lose those five pounds on the airplane?

I am exaggerating. But only slightly.

And this year I will be packing tampons. because last year it appeared as though the state of California liked to keep them well hidden. Even though I am not due to have my period, all that estrogen in one place might make me spontaneously menstruate.

All of this is just fodder to distract me from the fact that I am speaking on a panel.

Posted by Chris @ 12:57 pm | 30 Comments