July 29, 2008
July 22, 2008
I lugged about 10 pounds worth of camera and lenses to Blogher, and the only photos I have in my possession to share with y'all are these two, taken with Kristen's iPhone. During our impromptu Floor Party in the pantyhose department at Macy's:
After realizing that I was simply not getting nearly enough attention, I decided to have a dramatic fainting spell en route to the shoe department portion of the Blogher cocktail party. (For anyone who wasn't there and is thinking...Macy's? Shoe department? Cocktail party? What? Yeah, I don't really understand either, and I was both THERE and SOBER.)
The party started out in Handbags, and I started out very horrified by the sight of hummus and various hors d'oeurves plates perilously close to the Marc Jacobs, I was soon distracted by this vague feeling that Oh Shit, I've Possibly Gone And Overdone It, and started meekly asking people if they knew where I could get some water. Various people went on a search mission for me, but returned with the news that champagne appeared to be the only option available. (Pregnant traveling ladies, I highly recommend you get yourself a whole posse of Danas and Catherines and Traceys and and Isabels and a couple Laid-Off and/or Backpacking Dads, who will ignore your protestations that you are FINE, stop FUSSING, and bring you chairs and shake down cocktail waitresses on your behalf.)
And then, while walking through the aisles of pantyhose, I found myself grabbing the nearest elbow and hissing that I needed someone to GET ME ON THE FLOOR, RIGHT NOW, and...I remember spinning, high-kicking, thigh-highed mannequin legs and very cold marble and Catherine rushing off to find water and returning with a little thimble of a Starbucks cup and wailing that it was all they'd give her, and then I laughed so hard I thought I would puke, and that's when I noticed pretty much every conference attendee filing by and staring at me strangely. After awhile a nice group of people joined me on the floor, where we accepted bottles of water and Luna bars from anyone who could scrounge one up for me, like some kind of really fucked-up Nativity scene.
(TANGENT! For anyone who has been to Blogher, you know how you go with a List? That List of bloggers you're just really jazzed about and hoping to meet, and you possibly rehearse what you'll say when you meet them [because OF COURSE you'll recognize them, being so excellent with names and faces already] just so you don't do something lame like SCREAM DIRECTLY INTO THEIR FACE [sorry, Cecily] or otherwise make a fangirl ass out of yourself? It was at this moment, there on the floor of the pantyhose department, that Jenny the Bloggess sat down next to me. All I can say is that I'm very happy I was having some kind of horrific Blood Sugar incident at the time because at least I am not forced to live with very detailed memories of what a spastic dork I was -- it's all lost in a glorious haze of dizzy spells and those weird spots that cloud your vision. Ahh.)
(TANGENT, PART TWO! I missed all the drama, is all I can say about all the drama. I was TRYING to rest up and take care of my delicate little self and missed the keynote.)
THEN the party moved up to Furniture, where I at least got to recline on a sofa while signing books with Cagey and Kristen (the Non-Dramatic Pregnant Lady) and...oh God, everybody else, until I 1) kicked over somebody else's glass of red wine all over the rug, and 2) really really really really really had to pee and had to take an ELEVATOR to another floor and it was like I was back at the airport and once I found the bathroom I was completely baffled by the stall doors (they didn't look like doors! and you couldn't tell if they were occupied unless you hurled your body at them and after slamming myself into the third locked door I turned around and randomly screamed to the heavens and scared a lovely group of young 20-something non-mommybloggers before spotting a slightly open door and peeing for oh, about the entire running time of Juno.
On Sunday my friend Julie (some of you may remember her as Bunny. Met her in Gymboree, bonded over our hatred of everyone else at Gymboree, moved to California in February, broke my heart, is total whore) picked me up at the hotel and whisked me off to her house/decompression chamber, since she knows about my blog but doesn't read my blog, doesn't read ANY blogs and if I dared spend one second trying to rehash some kind of OMG DRAMZZ! moment from the conference she'd...she'd...well, probably just call me an asshole and change the subject. Perfect.
Now I'm home, surrounded by the dozens and dozens of business cards I picked up, marveling at how many new people I met, old friends and whores I reconnected with however briefly, and then there were the people I technically met for the first time who already felt like old friends, in that weird Internet way. And that's just culled from my memory (haaaaa) and the cards I stashed in my camera bag (well, I had to use that bitch for SOMETHING)...I'm pretty sure I have about a hundred more in my actual suitcase, but opening that one means I would have to do laundry. And...it is not time for laundry yet, I don't think.
Jason and Noah met me at the airport last night, and Noah pointed and screamed (he gets that from me -- he'll be a huge hit at business conferences!) and came barreling at me for a huge hug, and then pulled back and said (for the first time ever), "I love you, Mama."
(That one goes out to all my peeps at the Blogging About Special-Needs Kids panel, who both refrain from playing the Pain Olympics AND are okay with me cornering them at parties to talk about SPD Manifestations in Poop without batting an eye. All we need is a gang sign that somehow incorporates what Miralax dosage we use.)
(Regarding Every Other Photo Of Me Out There: Look, I forgot lipstick, AND I brought sample-sized everything, including foundation, which I guess was a TAD PALE, bordering on TRANSLUCENT REFLECTIVE POSSIBLY UNDEAD. The persistent double-chin, however, I have no excuses for.)
July 18, 2008
Or, How I Almost Missed Blogher Completely
As we pulled up to the airport early this morning I sighed and whined (for the zillionth millionth squillionth time) about how much I hate airports. Flying, I can deal with. I was actually looking forward to this flight, since I'd managed to score a fairly awesome deal on a nonstop trip via Virgin America (of the leather recliners and touchscreen entertainment consoles and wheeee, self-serve bottled water minibars), but first, I had to get through the fucking airport.
"I'm just always convinced something is going to go terribly wrong, you know?" I continued, chewing nervously on my index finger. "Like I'll get bumped to standby or find out that my reservation never went through or...or..."
I paused, trying to think of a few more worst-case scenarios, but lo, we were at the gate and it was time to say goodbye. I begged Noah not to grow up any and squeezed in as many kisses for everybody as I could before finally making my way to check-in.
The self-service kiosk was out of ink and served me up a blank boarding pass. Glitch for the trip, I figured. Pretty okay as glitches go, especially since the Virgin counter was absolutely devoid of anyone else checking in and I was able to walk right up to my choice of Actual Human Ticket Dispenser Types.
The woman behind the counter frowned a bit, and asked if I was going to LA.
"No, San Francisco."
She stared at me. "Then...why are you here NOW?"
"8:40 am? Boards at 8:10?" I helpfully suggested.
"We don't...have an 8:40 am flight to San Francisco. Our morning San Fran flight has already left."
I pulled out my Travelocity confirmation email, the tiniest bit of panic starting to creep into my brain. See, when I'd originally booked the flight, I could have SWORN the departure and arrival times were slightly earlier than the ones listed on the confirmation, but I'd just assumed I'd gotten them mixed up or that the flight had just been pushed back 20 minutes or so. It had never occurred to me that I was booking a flight that apparently, just didn't flipping EXIST.
Oh, but it turned out it DID exist. And I was very, very, very, very early for it.
A good 12 hours early.
"PM!" I screamed in horror. How...what...no. No way did I do that. Just...no. Fucking shit ass no.
I started hyperventilating. "Oh my God oh my God oh my God."
I now had two Virgin America employees frantically tapping away at their computers, telling me not to panic...the morning flight to San Francisco was delayed and was still at the airport, although boarding had already started. I had a crystal clear vision of myself waddling frantically up to some remote gate just in time to watch the plane taxi away. I put my hands over my face and wailed.
But the employees were all, NOT ON OUR WATCH, LITTLE PREGNANT LADY, and in lightening speed, printed out a new boarding pass, scribbled PREMIUM all over it, and then one of them jumped over the baggage scale and said they were going to take me through the employee-only security line. The other picked up the phone and called the gate, begging them to hold the plane. By some BLESSED MIRACLE of UNPARALLELED COMMON SENSE on my part, I'd kept my suitcase small and within the carry-on limits, right down to my little Ziploc bag of Sephora sample cosmetics.
"GO GO GO!" hissed the guy on the phone. Then he looked me up and down with a bit of concern. "But don't, like, run."
(Translation: Please don't give birth here.)
The female ticket agent calmly yet briskly led me past the INSANE security lines and down some escalators to the employee security check, which was 1) short, 2) downright effing jovial, with everyone discussing their hangovers and such. I struggled to extricate my laptop, completely befuddled by the zippers on my stupid bag, like I was in one of those nightmares where you're trying to run away from something but your legs are made of cement. The security guard looked at my name and was all, "Storch? Like Larry Storch? Like from F-Troop?"
AMY'S BRAIN: OH MY FUCKING GOD ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
AMY'S MOUTH, WHICH IS BETTER IN A CRISIS THAN SHE OFTEN GIVES IT CREDIT FOR: Yes! Exactly! Ha ha! Props for the recall!
I got through the line without a frisking, at least. I only sort-of shoved my stuff back into my bags (which felt like they were multiplying by the minute, and my shoulders suddenly seemed to be coated in Crisco), and booked off towards my gate, taking a couple seconds to watch the ticket agent disappear into the crowds and wishing I'd gotten her name. Or given her a hug, or managed to squeeze in a few more dozen breathless thank-yous.
My gate was...up an elevator.
Get on, hit button, pound CLOSE DOOR CLOSE DOOR, doors start to close, guy dashes through and -- thinking I'd held the door for him -- says "thank you!"
Pound CLOSE DOOR CLOSE DOOR, and oh my GOD, it happens AGAIN, right down to the "thank you!"
I gurgled out a semi-stifled scream in response.
And then...oh, OF COURSE, I had to take a shuttle. I got on and made my way to the opposite end, snagging a primo seat by the door. I called Jason and told him to pray for me, and for the first time I tried to replay everything and figure out what, exactly-the-fuck, had gone wrong with my reservation. How I had only asked for Travelocity to display morning flights. How the original time I thought I'd booked wasn't even the one on my reservation, be it AM or PM. How this was the only nonstop flight remotely in my price range -- booked mostly because of the nice early arrival time, which ALSO changed by the time the confirmation email showed up. And how I could have POSSIBLY read that email so many damn times and NEVER NOTICED the flight was clearly marked as PM, or at least listened to the alarm bells raised by those weird non-jibeing, not-what-I-booked times.
The shuttle crawwwwwwled across the airport and approached the gate and...oh for the love of crackers, it decided to turn around and pull in so I was on the OPPOSITE end from the exit. I shoved my index finger back into my mouth and bit down. Hard.
I dashed out, spotted my gate and took off. The plane was...was it still there? oh, please still be there...STILL THERE! IT'S STILL THERE!
Of course, the doors were closed and the monitors said closed and the attendant was making announcements for the next gate over and put her hand up to shush me when I lumbered up to offer my boarding pass (which was now marked "PRESHSDKJDFHU" since the ink had smeared all over my desperate, sweaty hands).
My eyes were probably the size of dinner plates by this point, I was half-gasping and half-just-trying-not-to-cry and I could NOT believe this: ME, the girl who arrives at the airport hours early for everything, including the fucking commuter shuttles, and who always checks and double-checks her reservations to the point of compulsion, standing at a closed gate for a closed flight that was supposed to have taken off an hour earlier, and oh, crap, here come the waterworks.
It turned out they HAD been expecting me -- "This is Amy," the attendant said to some guy with a walkie talkie, who ran down the hallway ahead of me to tell the plane that there was indeed one more person, hold up.
I got onboard, blubbering out thank-yous and apologies to just about every person on board, in between likely whalloping a lot of heads with my bags, which were in complete disarray and hanging from my elbows. An attendant got me to my seat and kept asking if I was okay (what, is a sweaty, crying and hyperventilating pregnant lady a WEIRD THING, or something?) and I tried to get out something coherent about changed flights and Mistakes Being Made and how It Wasn't My Fault, At Least I Don't Think So, I Don't Knooooowwww Anything Anymooooooore Sobbbbb. She patted my back and told me everything was okay now.
So I made the flight, barely. I was dehydrated and starving (the two big no-nos my doctor had warned me about when clearing me for travel on Wednesday, but of course I'd assumed I had TONS of time to get water and breakfast before my flight, since I was all early and conscientious and HA HA FAIL) and was having occasional Braxton-Hicks contractions. My index finger, chapped from all that nervous chewing, was split open and bleeding. There was no time to call Jason and tell him I'd made the flight.
(Hi, baby. I made the flight! Hooray!)
I still have no idea what happened with the reservation. I am pretty sure Travelocity shoulders some of the blame, since there did seem to be something pretty glitchy with the confirmation containing flight times I'd never even seen online, and I ended up arriving right at the time I THOUGHT I'd originally booked. But I am certainly not going to pretend that there isn't a decent chance that I just fucked it all up, start to finish, in addition to NEVER NOTICING that the flight was marked PM on the confirmation. Which: Jesus Christ, girl. Remind me to slap you once you're no longer in such a delicate condition.
Huge huge props to everyone at Virgin America, though -- I've never ever had any sort of preference for one airline over another, in fact, I'm generally an equal-opportunity hater, but...goddamn, they did not have to help me get on an already-delayed flight that may have cost a lot more than my cheapo Travelocity deal, especially since I was the moron standing there with piece of paper that was clearly marked PM and acting like I had no idea how that possibly could have happened.
Every time I went to the bathroom (which was a lot, as you can imagine), someone from the crew double-checked that I'd calmed down and was okay and did I need more water? And oh yeah, they've TOTALLY heard of PM flights getting marked as AM online before, or reservations just going completely haywire, happens all the time, sweetheart. Which: probably a lie, but sometimes lying is just an essential part of good customer service, you know?
June 03, 2008
Whoa. The harsh glare of the laptop screen. The pulsing bars of stray wifi signals. Yep. I'm back.
We spent the weekend up with my brother- and sister-in-law and our new delicious niece -- oh, my, lands, what a nummy little bundle of smiles and chub and coos -- out in the wilds of the Boston suburbs where I weirdly did not get cell service and the wifi was a solid brick wall of encryption and passkeys and possibly elvish riddles and while my brother-in-law offered to find me a network cable I opted to slip my laptop back into my luggage and go back to gnawing on his daughter's face instead.
I was VERY busy, clearly.
Completely entranced by the shiny, newer model of child, Amy completely ignores her knick-knack-destroying toddler in the background.
I am, ahem, just more than a little excited now about having a small squishy person of our own again this fall, although Noah's opinion of his cousin mostly leaned towards total indifference with just a touch of outright disdain. And then this happened...
...and then I died. The end.
I think some more stuff happened , although I fear I've probably already maxed out today's Cute Things My Perfect Child Did Including Behave Absolutely Impeccably On Not One But Two Seven-Hour Train Rides And Informed My Sister-in-Law That She Is Also Not Paid Enough And Had Long Conversations With Mickey Mouse Over The Baby Monitor quotient. So I'll save those for another day. But probably not tomorrow, because...
Ultrasound day! Will I be getting my grubby paws on my niece's adorable wardrobe or will I be that obnoxious person who demands all her hand-me-downs back from other people, or will this baby take an early stand against my exploiting his or her every move on the Internet and keep his or her legs crossed? Oh, the suspense!
May 29, 2008
Over here, behind the couch. Shhh! I'm hiding from all the....you know...opinions.
Is it safe to come out yet?
Oh ha, how I kid. All the advice and impromptu product reviews were super helpful...you know...to a point, until my head started spinning and I found myself getting irrationally annoyed when someone would show up and totally bash the product that everybody else seemed to like because they were fucking with my consensus. Don't fuck with my consensus! Or...hmm...that's a really good point you made actually, so maybe I should get out a piece of paper and start making hatch marks in Pro and Con columns for all the different strollers and slings and then my eyeballs started bleeding, the end.
I feel like we have a pretty good handle on the stroller situation and will be sticking with our plan to wait awhile on that purchase -- at the very least to see how the New One takes to babywearing, although...well, if a Phil & Ted's shows up at our local hoity-toity consignment store I will most likely hurl my body at it and start hissing and spitting at all who approach, RAWR, MINE.
Otherwise, total grace, dignity and fiscal restraint. Ahem.
No surprises on the carrier front -- just like every other blog post I have ever read about them, there's no consensus, just some trial-and-error and seeing what works best for you and your particular flavor of baby. We're definitely going with the Ergo, and I am now kicking myself because there was TOTALLY a new-with-tags Ergo on the shelf of the consignment store the last time we were there and I wasn't ready to commit and I called the store and it's long gone and RAWR. NOT MINE.
As for those of you who graciously offered to sell and/or give away certain items, uh...give me a few days to go through the comments again and I shall be contacting you to obtain more information, because AWESOME. Oh! And thanks to everybody who offered the local resources for slings and support groups for people who are too dumb to use slings but like to think they aren't. I will also definitely be checking those out.
But for now, I would like to maybe stop thinking about it all for a few minutes. Whew.
OTHER EXCITING NON-STROLLER UPDATES FROM THE PAST FEW DAYS STROLLER STROLLER SLING MAYA WRAP GAH:
1) After four months of taking my prenatal vitamins, I finally discovered that the "Open at Inside Corner" instructions on the foil packets actually mean ANY inside corner, not just the inside corner that has the little arrow pointing at it. This is terribly exciting, and may have just changed my life completely.
2) Noah will occasionally walk up to you and declare that "I NOT PAID ENOUGH," complete with an exasperated tossing up of his hands. I have no idea what bitter and overtired person first taught him about unfair income disparity in relation to the division of household labor, but I am grateful that she managed to bite her tongue before adding "FOR THIS SHIT" onto the end of that phrase.
3) Yesterday Jason surprised me with tickets to see Ben Folds. He scored them that morning on Craigslist, and people, we were in the fifth row, and honestly he might have just been playing the piano in our living room, if we had a piano in our living room. Which we don't. THE POINT IS I could see his fingers. And the fingers of the nice Wolf Trap sign language interpreters, so I now know the signs for a lot of bad words. Sweet.
4) We're going to Boston to visit family tomorrow. I kind of forgot about this, so I have not packed, and we're taking the train, which means I can't just throw a lot of shit in the car and hope for the best. Plus my in-laws are coming to watch the pets and I think my mother-in-law will be painting some rooms? Rooms for certain small people? THE POINT IS they will be here unsupervised until Monday and I need to put away all the dildos and meth labs. So. Uh. Bye!
April 22, 2008
I took approximately 40,982 pictures of this bee. I do not like bees. I do not like pictures of bees. But here, look at this picture of this bee, and be grateful that I'm not making you look at all pictures where the bee is a little blurry blob because I WAS VERY OBSESSED WITH THIS BEE FOR SOME REASON.
New-found camera skills aside (I should have increased the shutter speed, since I wanted to capture freeze-frame bee wings because I had it in my head at the time that freeze-frame bee wings were the ultimate in photographic accomplishment), there's a reason I should stay away from "arty" shots and photos of boring things like flowers.
For example, my eye for composition is so keen that when aiming my camera at an entire garden of gorgeous blooms, the only one I managed to keep in focus was the dead and wilted one.
It's a metaphor, man. You wouldn't get it.
What does this button do? Oh.
That one was snapped during our initial demo of all the cameras, when we were all particularly giddy and snap-happy, even though there really wasn't much to take photos of, besides the carpet and the chandeliers and oh look! A chandelier!
Okay, clearly it was time to turn the cameras around on our own dork asses.
Tracey, by the way, performed admirably as the group's go-to photography guinea pig, and at one point had about seven different people aiming a barrage of Cyber-shots and Alpha DSLR cameras at her, ordering her to help them test out their metering modes and the Cyber-shot's creepy robot Smile Shutter function, which allows you TOTALLY PWN your bratty, ungrateful child who only smiles two seconds AFTER you've snapped the picture. Because it waits until your kid actually smiles to actually take the picture. The Sony people claim it's an "algorithm," but you and I know it's actually very small hamsters who will one day arise and enslave us all.
Anyway, Tracey handled the mommyblogger paparazzi admirably, and didn't roll her eyes too badly when I made the obvious LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE joke, since I am very Hip and With It when it comes to the kids today and their YouTubes.
Hey, speaking of high-definition video cameras! And dorks!
You stay classy, La Jolla.
And...that was my trip to California. While I'm not under any obligation to write about the event or Sony or the swag (HAVE I MENTIONED THE SWAG), hats off to Sony, man. I've had some baaaaaad experiences with accepting even the smallest gift or sample from big corporations -- sample arrives, sample gets boxed back up and shipped back on my own dollar because nooooo, I won't sign away the rights to my child's image for your marketing stock photography library in exchange for a photo printer, THANKS THOUGH -- but I'm really glad I went.
I mean, the whole point of squeezing my increasingly pregnant ass on a cross-country flight was originally just to get some quality Sweetney time <insert some mid-90s Bryan Adams here, in your head, on repeat play FOREVER>, and other than that I was secretly expecting the whole thing to suck and be all kinds of eye-rolly. And then everybody there was so nice and laid-back and I got a massage and fresh strawberries in my room and a giant bed that I took up as many inches as possible with my giant body. Plus Tracey gave me chocolate and this body cream that smells like cupcakes and I got to share a limo with PlainJaneMom (confidential to Erika: do I owe you $400? I'm a little afraid to look, frankly) and talked about my boobs with Jenny and HAVE I SCREAMED At YOU ENOUGH ABOUT APERTURE. AND THE FACT THAT I KNOW WHAT IT IS NOW.
Okay. That's really it about California. And aperture. I'm done now. I promise.
And now for some extremely boring camera talk, for the two of you who might be interested:
My Canon Digital Rebel, for now, probably beats the Sony Alpha, but only because I already own some really excellent lenses for it. Lenses that are just plain better than the one that comes with the Alpha, but hey. We paid a lot for them, they sure as hell better be better. HOWEVER, for someone just moving away from point-and-shoot and learning how to use a DSLR, I think the Sony is MUCH easier to use. I like the menus better, I feel like I can get to the different settings faster, and the adjustable liveview screen just flat-out rocks. (Although I'm so used to looking through the viewfinder on the Canon that I find myself turning it off more often than I thought I would, but that's probably just habit. When I first got the Canon I couldn't BELIEVE I couldn't just hold the camera out in front of me and get a preview of what I was shooting.) I'm very, VERY interested in getting a better lens for the Sony, especially since I don't have to pay extra for image-stabilization (it's built right into the body of the Sony) (image stabilization = the reason your no-flash pictures on a point-and-click camera look all blurry, Ms. 5 PM Alcohol Shakes).
(Taken with the Cyber-shot in the low-light ISO setting.)
April 21, 2008
The next night I went to bed at 9:22. Party up! Or on, or whatever it is that people who party usually say.
And then the next night was spent watching hours and hours of my life vanish into the time zone map as my very delayed flight home from California turned into an impromptu red-eye (HELPFUL AIRLINE MONITOR: Reason for Aircraft Delay: Aircraft Delayed), during which I really did share a row with a businesswoman and a Tibetan monk, although there is absolutely no punchline to that story, except that the businesswoman was very kind and filled me in on what I'd missed on the in-flight movie during each and every one of my 439 trips to the lavatory, and the monk brought along about 15 chicken snack wraps from McDonald's and you know what? I don't think those things are really designed to be kept in a paper bag for six hours before consuming.
And now I am back on the East Coast, where I remain solidly on West Coast time, going to bed at 3 am and feeding my child breakfast at 11ish and not updating my blog at all, just like all those California bloggers. With their laid-back attitudes and bean sprouts and whatnot.
(Last night I hallucinated that I heard the garbage truck outside at 4 am and shook Jason awake and ordered him to chase after it with our trash and mixed recyclables, which he did not, and my point is, everything coming out of my mouth at this point is a big, steaming, sleep-deprived lie.)
I went to California, and all I got was a lousy four metric tons of fancy digital imaging equipment.
We had to move our PILES O' SWAG to the floor because they were substantial enough to mess with the hotel's wifi signal.
I have to admit that I am generally a cranky old bastard when it comes to anything that stinks of Bloggers! We Here At <Corporation Name> Really Get and Dig What You Do PR tactics. (A lot of those PR tactics tend to be something like GIVE US VALUABLE MARKET RESEARCH AND FREE ADVERTISING IN EXCHANGE FOR...UH...THIS T-SHIRT! THAT IS NOT ACTUALLY IN YOUR SIZE! NO? HOW ABOUT ONE OF THOSE SQUEEZY STRESS BALL THINGS?) And I got the sense that several of the other attendees were expecting to be similarly annoyed by the whole thing, but then the boxes of cameras and camcorders and lenses and camera accessories starting piling up and everybody started ripping things open and the air was full of bubble wrap and packing peanuts and we all looked at each other, frantically trying to get unspoken permission from the crowd to OMFG SQUEEEEEEEE????
For some reason, I think the view from my hotel room helped improve my usual curmudgeonly demeanor.
At one point, I returned from my 230,293 trip to the lavatory and noticed that almost everybody had been given silver travel coffee mugs. EXCEPT FOR EVERYBODY AT MY SIDE OF THE TABLE. And our eyes got big and ugly and Bilbo-Baggins-like because WE DIDN'T GET TRAVEL MUGS. WHERE'D EVERYBODY GET THOSE TRAVEL MUGS! GAR! SWAG! MINE! NOW!
(The travel mugs were still in the process of being unpacked and distributed. I did indeed get a travel mug, although it's hard to look at, since the polished metal only seems to reflect the blackness of my soul.)
The best part of the trip, hands down, was the fact that Sony did not just hand us complicated A/V equipment and expect us to like, read the manuals. They also gave us the gift of KNOWLEDGE, by bringing in someone who could explain DSLR cameras and aperture and ISO to us in a way we could understand. Also known as drawings on a chalkboard and makeup analogies. (You know how your makeup looks awesome in the bathroom mirror and then looks like ass outside? THAT'S WHITE BALANCE, LADIES.)
(Me Ra, by the way, will be speaking at BlogHer this summer, so if you're as camera-challenged as I
am was, she's TOTALLY worth the price of admission, for real.)
It was jaw-droppingly awesome for this blogger/influencer/opinion-maker, who prior to this weekend had never taken her fancy camera out of the green box mode, but who now desperately needs like, seven different lenses and a wireless flash and sent her husband the following email from the conference:
HI GUESS WHAT! I KNOW HOW TO WORK OUR CAMERA NOW! I KNOW ABOUT SHUTTER SPEED! AND ISO! AND APPERATURE! APPEARATURE? APPATURE? I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT BUT IT'S THE THINGIE THAT CONTROLS THE SIZE OF THE THINGIE THAT LIGHT SHINES THROUGH AND I THINK MY LIFE IS CHANGED FOREVER.
(Yes. I send emails in all caps sometimes. I also call people sometimes just to scream into their voicemail when I am very excited about something.)
(HI GUESS WHAT I AM AT THE MALL AND I GOT THE GREATEST PARKING SPACE IN THE WORLD! I WILL PROBABLY NEVER LEAVE BECAUSE IT'S JUST THAT GREAT! CALL ME BACK, WHORE!)
Did it just get really smelly in here?
So...at some point I do plan to post something other than camera phone photos. You know, maybe some photos with some of the new cameras that really demonstrate just how far I've come as a photographer and as a person. I will. Just as soon as I get over my current bout of hyper-perfectionism ("well, this photo is lovely, but I just didn't really fill the frame with my subject as well as I'd like") and go back to not really caring about whether Noah is really "in focus" or "not covered with yams."
This was the sign on the inside of the bathroom door at the hotel's meeting room. I spent a lot of time looking at it (fetus vs. bladder = rock vs. small defenseless insects), and pondering just what are these "other alcoholic beverages" that are not 1) distilled spirits, 2) beer, 3) coolers, or 4) wine. Cough syrup? Xanaxaritas?
I still have so much to learn about so many things. Including how to get all the pretty photos off of my new cameras, and how to stop staring at the camcorder in bafflement because you don't a tape in it. So how does it record? Where do the videos go? Does it involve some sort of gnome? Does this mean I will be significantly less likely to accidentally record over the birth of my second child like I did with my first? Huh!
April 16, 2008
I'm going to California! Today! Right now! The car service is outside honking pointedly.
("CAR SERVICE" will soon be blogger code for "ALL-EXPENSES PAID CORPORATE JUNKET TRIP THING." Mark my words.)
I was unfortunately unable to attend that Johnson & Johnson Camp Baby thing from a few weeks back, and afterwards I felt really left out so when an invite for a smaller shindig came from Sony I basically whined and whined until Jason agreed to take a couple days off from work so I could go listen to Powerpoint presentations and call him every 15 minutes to screech about how pretty my hotel room was and IT'S SO QUIET! NO ONE IS SHRIEKING IN MY EAR ABOUT CLUES AND PAWPRINTS AND SUPER GROVER! PLUS THERE'S FREE SHAMPOO! I AM SMELLING THE FREE SHAMPOO NOW AND YOU KNOW WHAT? THE FREE SHAMPOO SMELLS PRETTY. OK, PUT NOAH ON THE PHONE. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON BLUE'S CLUES.
I will most likely be one of the only sober attendees, so rest assured that I plan to take full advantage of my fellow bloggers' inebriated states. Mercilessly, with full photographic evidence and Sharpie markers. Or perhaps I shall go to bed at 8 pm instead. You just never know! I'm so crazy and unpredictable.
OK! Jesus. The car service has much to learn about how vitally important we mommybloggers are to the global economy, or whatever the fuck it is these corporations think we are. I am sure I will be online again soonish, and hopefully it will be in California, provided I don't screw something up and end up in Newark.
(Sadly, for me, that's a very real possibility I live with every day of my life.)
November 23, 2007
Despite the occasional blogging-friendly pratfall, I actually do consider myself a fairly competent adult. I can make it through most days without serious injury, I juggle and meet multiple deadlines on a regular basis and I know how to open and close my stupid asshole stroller.
But there's something about New York that turns in me into a bumbling, fumbling idiot. I get on the wrong train! I trip on the sidewalk! I compulsively over-tip cab drivers! I walk around with the tags from my inside-out underwear sticking out of my pants all day!
This week's trip was no exception.
Noah and I left DC on Sunday, smack dab in the middle of prime napping time. Even with Union Station's priority boarding for families with young children, we barely found seats in time. I had our suitcase on my back, the diaper bag slung over my torso and I was dragging the stroller by the shoulder strap behind me while I desperately tried to hang onto Noah by his armpits while he howled and the entire world and several Amtrak employees judged but did not help. I shoved him on the train first -- by God, ONE of us would make it to New York -- and begged and panted to him to please please please follow Mama like a big boy.
When we found seats at last Noah was utterly delighted by the whole choo-choo-ness of the experience. For about a minute, which is how long it took him to realize that choo-choos actually involved a lot of SITTING instead of...I don't know...strippers and Cristal.
He screamed. SCREAMED. I heard the nerves of every fellow passenger in the car grate and felt their burning hot hatred as I fumbled to boot up my laptop while frantically begging Noah to hush and promising my endless iTunes supply of Blue's Clues episodes if he would just STFU.
It turned out that only one episode of Blue's Clues had downloaded correctly, for some reason. A 50-minute special called Meet Blue's Baby Brother. Which features 1) Joe and not Steve, 2) live-action puppets, 3) PUP PUP PUP PUP PUP PUP PUPPYVILLLLLLE!
We met Blue's baby brother a lot this week. Noah was completely pacified as long as it on, although his headphones meant he had no real awareness of the volume of his voice (not that that's a real great skill without headphones, durrrr) and would shout ACLOOOOOO!out of nowhere at the top of his lungs. I hate Blue and I hate her baby brother and I hate Puppyville and Alphabet City and all things bright and primary-colored.
He did not nap, obviously. He fell asleep in his stroller in Manhattan, while we waited in line for a taxi.
The whole real point of our trip was to spend time with my nephew Nicky, who is 19 months old. (Nicky's big sister, by the way, is 19 years old, and my brother-in-law is telling that to as many people as he can for the next two days before Nicky turns 20 months old.) So of course the boys ignored each other most of the time. But whatever. PRESHUS FAMILY MEMORIES. LET ME MAKE THEM FOR YOU.
Since Manhattan apartments are a little on the -- ahem -- snug side, Noah and I stayed in a hotel around the corner, where Noah continued to not sleep. He finally conked out around midnight, but I woke up pretty much every time he moved because I was convinced he would fall off the bed and kept diving for his twitching foot, thinking it was his whole body going off the side, even though he was sprawled out in the dead center of the bed while I clung to about six inches of space off to the side.
I fell out of the goddamn bed around 4 am when I thought a pillow on the floor was my child's lifeless body.
Monday is kind of a blur -- I kept getting my foot tangled up in the diaper bag strap. Noah screamed his head off in a taxi so much that I over-tipped the driver even more than usual. I spilled coffee creamer all over Isabel and could never seem to get the stroller folded and unfolded or through doors and I spent 10 minutes convinced I'd lost a Sephora bag that was sitting two inches from my own ass. Isabel wanted to talk about all sorts of exciting Smackdown-related things and I think I just sat there with my tongue hanging out while Noah played with a pile of sugar.
Then it was back to my sister's place, where Noah napped in the stroller again while I tried to convince her that she should TOTALLY bring her toddler to DC for Christmas. TOTALLY. The train is NOTHING. It's EASY. We're having a GREAT TOTALLY EASY NOTHING TIME.
(I lie! I lie to my FAMILY!)
The boys finally started to acknowledge each other's presence that night, while they ran up and down the hallway outside the apartment. Nicky was not wearing pants. Noah was only in a diaper, which fell off at some point because I bought the large box of size fours, so dammit, that child will wear size fours.
They started chattering to each other -- Noah would hold Nicky's hand and shout GOOOOO! and point in the direction he wanted Nicky to run in, and then they would both run and shriek and laugh and hug and my sister and I laughed hysterically and tears welled up because my GOD, these BOYS. There's an 18-year age difference between my sister and I and more family dysfunction than you can toss a diaper at and yet here we are, with our boys, closer than ever and planning family vacations and I don't think it's a place either of us ever expected to be, but hot damn, it feels great.
My brother-in-law had the camcorder on at the exact moment my sister told us the boys had locked us out of the apartment.
"Huh," we both said.
"Seriously, you guys," my sister repeated, "They locked us out of the apartment."
"Huh," I said again.
I suddenly realized my sister was crying.
"Wait..." I said. The light bulb was starting to flicker a little bit.
My sister and her husband bolted down the stairwell to get a key from the doorman, while it finally occurred to me that yes, we were locked out and the boys were locked IN.
I sat down outside the door and listened -- I heard the sound of books being yanked off a shelf and I heard the sound of toddler footsteps change pitch as they went from hardwood to linoleum and back again.
I knocked. "Let me in, babies! Don't touch the outlets! Stay out of the kitchen! Don't open the TV cabinet! BUT OPEN THE DOOR TO THE NICE STRANGER IN THE HALLWAY."
I at least got Noah to knock back a couple times before my brother-in-law came careening around the corner with a key. My sister was a wreck; Noah's diaper was falling off again. I was like, "Eh. Are there stairs in there? There are no stairs in there. Amateurs!"
My brother-in-law physically put Noah and I on the train the next day and we met Blue's Baby Brother four more times, because it was the only thing in the world Noah wanted to watch. Other than a stupid, stupid, STUPID trip to the dining car on the other side of the train that nearly resulted in Noah getting run over by a suitcase and my probably getting arrested for all the armpit holding/dragging/threats-of-leashing I did, the ride home was fine. Jason met us and Noah fell asleep in the elevator in the parking garage.
The end, MY GOD, the end.
The only preshus family memory I remembered to document. Huh. I wonder how that happened.