conferences

It’s a Bird..It’s a Plane..It’s KeAnne Going to Another Conference

Today I felt like I had a split personality. By morning I was “Mommy,” dressed in ratty, stretchy, slouchy PJ pants and a t-shirt that had seen better days. I made Daniel pancakes for breakfast and tried to keep him entertained (because he felt 100% better and was frustrated that we wouldn’t let him go outside) while fighting off my own case of the queasies. By afternoon, I was Professional KeAnne, dressed in work clothes and downtown for the first part of a conference.

It felt really weird and for the first little bit, I felt like I was playing dress-up.  Sometimes after I take a day off – for vacation or for illness – re-entry is difficult. It is amazing how little time it takes for me to become enmeshed in the cocoon of home. It’s surreal. It’s like the real world doesn’t really exist outside of what I read on Twitter or my news sites.  We don’t have cable any longer, so any TV we watch is on demand and doesn’t include news. I’ve gotten better at not checking work email, so it’s like another tether is fraying.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing; it’s just interesting how quickly being “off the grid” in a way takes hold.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I was at a conference today based on the number of tweets I made.  Feel free to mute me until Thursday night if you need. I won’t be offended.  The conference is the Internet Summit, an annual digital conference held in Raleigh.  This is the the 6th year of the conference, and I’ve been to almost all of them. I was at the first one in Chapel Hill in 2008.  That one was interesting because my cousin gave birth to her son at the same time, and his birth kicked off the Year of Boys our family was about to experience.  Four babies.  All boys. November 2008, February 2009, May 2009 and June 2009 (Daniel).

I like the Internet Summit because it is a good conference with a nice mix of topics that appeals to techies, marketers, innovators and everyone else.  After years of being on Twitter and going to local conferences and events, I swear that everyone looks like someone I know.  Some of the ladies I’ve met locally through blogging are attending professionally as well, and let me just say that it is odd when worlds converge.  To Beth Anne, Kathleen and Brandy, I apologize if I seemed overly stiff and weird!

In the past I’ve attended a lot of social media sessions since that was part of my job.  This year I justified going based on the “Big Data” and data analytics sessions.  It is all interesting content, and I’m sure I’ll have a post or two to write about it. I feel at home at this type of conference because I really “get” the content.  Last week’s conference wasn’t in my field exactly, so I felt more like a fish out of water.  It’s good to be with people who spend the conference tweeting and taking notes via laptop or tablet. It feels right.

Tomorrow all of us re-enter the real world again. Daniel will return to school and go on his field trip to the history museum.  Jimmy will have a full day at work.  I’ll try to accessorize well (you should see some of the outfits) and head to the convention center for day 2 of the conference.  It was already going to be a short week for me and Daniel because his school is closed on Friday and Monday for parent-teacher conferences, so after this one day of returning to normal, we’ll be home again.

Fingers crossed that our one day of re-entry is smooth.

 

#HomeHer12: What I Did While You Were at BlogHer12

The blogosphere was quiet late last week and over the weekend because more bloggers than you can shake a stick at were in NYC attending BlogHer 12, a huge annual conference with lots of swag, lots of brands, lots of parties and oh yeah, informative content as well.  The 5000 bloggers also heard from notable speakers such as President Obama, Martha Stewart and Katie Couric.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this mother of all blogging conferences, but do not cry for me, blogosphere, because it turns out my weekend was almost like being in NYC.  A recap of HomeHer12:

I spent quality time with one of my roommates by helping him vomit in sanctioned receptacles and cleaning it up after he woke up with a “sour stomach.”

Always fun to start your day cleaning vomit

I encountered a few divas and catty behavior.

I took in a show.

I wore amazing outfits that were the envy of all I encountered.

So stylish

I ate amazing food I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Pizza!

I braved the crowds and went shopping.

Tax-free weekend equals shoe shopping FAIL

I managed multiple devices during conference sessions while enjoying a glass of wine.

Again while fabulously attired.

I also had a quick visit with fellow blogger Brandy and her super adorable new baby (no pictures unfortunately).

See?  Just like being at BlogHer!

If you attended BlogHer, tell me about your experience.  If not, what was the highlight of your HomeHer12 weekend?

Friday Foolishness: Going Out of Town (Again)

This week has been very “meh.”  I can’t find the motivation for much, including blogging because really, why am I so narcissistic to think it matters?  That’s when I see through the facade of condescendingly insisting that I blog for me and acknowledge that I like to be read (and when did that become a bad thing?). I know I post something like this every week, but the truth is that I’m in a funk.  I’m frustrated because it’s almost halfway through the year, and I haven’t accomplished much in any area.  My house is a mess.  I’m a mess. And when I think about trying to put words together that could possibly be worth anything, my harsh inner critic (she’s a real bitch) scoffs and brings me back down to earth: what could I possibly say about anything that matters?

I could get all soap-boxy because heaven knows, there is a lot of absurdity out there about which I could rant, but I don’t want to be “Oh there goes KeAnne getting all ranty again.”  That’s why I didn’t write anything about the Time breastfeeding/mom enough challenge cover.  I subscribe to Time (apparently one of the few since that seems to be the conclusion for why the magazine did the cover).  The dastardly issue is sitting in my magazine basket right now, and I’ll finally get to read it on the plane on Sunday.

I think that my lack of reaction to the cover (kudos to Time for having the balls to use such an asinine challenge on its cover) is that my particular route to motherhood already makes me concede that no, I’m not mom enough.  I can’t even participate in that conversation when I outsourced the carrying of my child.  Or, perhaps, I could conclude that yes, I AM mom enough because I wanted to be a mother so much that I outsourced it when my own equipment didn’t work.  But that’s stupid and not worth even asserting.

I think the likely reason I sort of shrugged was because the older I get, the more I feel that I am not <anything> enough. I’m comfortably mediocre.  There’s always going to be someone who does more, is better, is smarter, is prettier, is harder working, is funnier, is ballsier, is nicer, is more successful, is a better wife, is a better mother, is a better friend.  There can only be one superlative.  Everything else is just a fruitless comparison.  So I shrug although I do wonder how we let a style of parenting primarily advocated by a man dictate how we mother.

We’ve been dealing with our first daycare virus the last few days, and it is a doozy.  I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that it is explosive…everything.  From everywhere.  Think HazMat suit or gas mask needed at least. And hours spent stripping beds and washing everything.  It’s so much fun, yet I feel like it’s a rite of passage and I now belong;  I am officially a daycare parent.

I’m flying to Orlando (again) on Sunday for another conference.  I’m getting the shakes just thinking about it after my last trip, so if  you could send up a little prayer to the travel deities, I’d appreciate it.  I’m excited to present at the conference because I feel like it’s my first real conference.  It’s not that the last conference didn’t count, but it was for a particular group.  Kind of like if  you sell Tupperware and attend a conference thrown by Tupperware.  This conference is for a professional society, and I submitted a session idea and was accepted.  It will be the first time I present on my Master’s Paper research, so it’s like my first big girl conference (And yes, I acknowledge that I spent the first three paragraphs of this post whining about how I haven’t accomplished anything this year. I own my hypocrisy.).  On the other hand, it’s a conference for engineers (blows a kiss at Mannlymama, who received her engineering degrees from my place of employment), so I feel a tad bit nervous about what to expect.  I’m also attending with three other coworkers and to be honest, they aren’t my favorites.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to, um, not see them through the throng of attendees.

Lastly I leave you with the below picture taken by coworkers on their way to an event near Burlington.  I promise you it is not doctored in any way.  Before I offended JJ by insinuating she was old, she corroborated its existence by telling me she saw it many times during her college years.  Apparently in NC, we have no problem legislating hate, but we permit obscenity and poor spelling on our signage.  Oh well.  It gave me a good chuckle when I saw it, and I hope it gives you one too.

I love North Carolina

How has your week been?

Friday Foolishness: Friday the 13th Edition

Happy Friday the 13th!  I actually like Friday the 13th.  Maybe it’s because I think a day associated with bad luck means good luck for me?  Isn’t that backwards?  It probably gives you a bit of insight into how I think and how I view myself and life in general.

This week has been scattered and manic for me.  I’ve had a hard time sitting down and writing the two posts I wanted to write: a book review of The Expats and the latest adventure in baking with Daniel (here’s a preview).

There is a little boy underneath all that flour

Yet, I wanted to write, so here are a few random items on my mind.  Feel free to ignore any or all of them.

  • Ashley Judd’s essay in The Daily Beast taking all of us to task for speculating about her puffy face.  After I read it, I virtually fist-bumped her.  Then I thought about it some more and decided it was a pretentious piece.  I think she used every vocabulary word she learned in the Ivy League. Ms. Judd is absolutely justified in disliking the negative comments and calling out the media for their speculation, but I question her indictment of the patriarchy for turning women into objects when she herself has willingly profited from that objectification. And it appears she wouldn’t have deigned to verbally slap us if the comments had been praise instead of negative and catty.   She can’t have it both ways.  She can’t profit it from her looks and never criticize the system and then turn around and condemn it now that she is aging.

The two biggest beauty stories lately have been Ms. Judd and Samantha Brick and they are similar in that they both are condemning the patriarchy: Ms. Judd for being judged negatively on her appearance and Ms. Brick for believing women hate her because she is beautiful and the attention it garners her.  Are these two really the ones we want to initiate a discussion about the patriarchy and female objectification?  Ms. Judd joined an industry that objectifies women and profited from it.  Ms. Brick allowed herself to become objectified because she sees everything through the lens of her own beauty.  We need legitimate voices talking about this issue, not spectacle.

  • April:  Someone apparently decided that April is the month in which we celebrate everything.  It’s National Autism Awareness Month as well as Multiple Birth Awareness Month.  In a few weeks, we’ll have National Infertility Awareness Week and this week was National Library Week.  Speaking of libraries, I went to pick up a book from a branch of my university’s library this week.  Embarrassingly, I couldn’t find the library.  I walked outside, around the building, several times, my eyes streaming thanks to the pollen.  Once I finally found the library, I must have looked like I was emotionally undone by being in the library.  *Sob* I really love libraries *Sob*  I wonder if they’ll revoke my MSLS.
  • Day Care:  We decided on Daniel’s start date for day care this week.  He’ll go for a few hours on April 26 and April 27 and then start full time on April 30.  I am excited, yet anxious.  We need to buy a lunch box for him, so I hope we can make it seem like a fun change instead of like the verboten s-c-h-o-o-l word that we can’t use because of his preschool adventure.
  • A-Conferencing I’ll Go: I already had a trip to Orlando planned in late May to attend a conference at which I’ll be presenting on my Master’s Paper.  Yesterday, one of our sister organizations contacted me about participating on a social media panel they have scheduled at another national conference in early May.  My bosses agreed it was a good opportunity, so that means another trip to Orlando.  My two trips will be two weeks apart and at different hotels, providing me the opportunity to experience all the hospitality Orlando has to offer #sarcasm.
  • The Hunger Games: A few weeks ago, I hadn’t read the trilogy and didn’t plan to.  Then one day, Jimmy asked me if I read them and admitted they sound interesting.  I admitted I thought they did too.  Next thing I know, he’s tearing through the first book and then I tear through it.  Then we go see the movie and now have his- and her- copies of the rest of the trilogy (so we can read them at the same time of course).  Our nightly ritual now revolves around the question of how quickly we can finish our chores and start reading.  I think I’m shocked by the suddenness of it all.  I’m not a book snob (or at least I try not to be; I still won’t read the Twilight series.  Ever) and I loved Harry Potter, but I didn’t feel the compulsion to read The Hunger Games trilogy until recently. Suzanne Collins is no J.K. Rowling, but we can’t put down the books.
  • Touche:  We take Daniel to the bounce house down the road every Saturday because he loves the 4-level play structure it has.  A few weeks ago I noticed a 4-year-old boy wearing an Angry Birds t-shirt and rolled my eyes at the pop culture silliness of his parents.  Does he even know what Angry Birds is? I know that Angry Birds is popular with kids but kids that young?  Well. Ahem.  This week, a t-shirt we ordered for Daniel arrived in the mail:

My-my-my Poker Face

   Who are the silly pop culture parents now?

How was your week?  What’s on your mind?