Posted By Kristabella on July 19, 2009
This coming week is the annual BlogHer conference. I went last year for the first time (despite BlogHer ’07 being IN CHICAGO) and had an awesome time. Going into the event, I think I had met just two other bloggers who were going to be in attendance at BlogHer last year in San Francisco – Heather B. and Sarah. And both of those bloggers I met in the week before the conference.
So I went into the whole thing knowing, in person, two people out of over a thousand. It was a tad intimidating. Now granted I “knew” other people through reading their blogs and emailing with them, but sometimes (as I learned at BlogHer last year) there are people that are different online than they are in real life.
Thankfully my roommates were not like those people. They were exactly like they were online, exactly how they were on their blogs and over email. One of my roommates was Ali, who I’ve mentioned here before plenty of times. She’s one of those people that you meet and become friends with and when people say “why do you blog?” I say “to meet people like Ali Martell.”
This weekend I drove up to Wisconsin to go visit her. She rented out her house in Toronto a few weeks too early before her upcoming move to Atlanta, so she’s crashing with her mom for a few weeks. And since she’s just a short drive from me, I could not not go up to see her. Plus, Slynnro and I were convinced her kids were fake, so I needed to go make sure for myself.
Leading up to my visit, which I was far too excited about because I talked about it way too much on Twitter, I IMed her about 100 questions because I didn’t want to impose.
Me: So when you get settled, let me know what the plan is for the weekend!
Ali: No, you tell me! Also, my mom is religious (Jewish) so you have to be aware of that.
Me: I don’t even know what that means. Like I shouldn’t show up with a pound of Bacon?
Ali: Like between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday we can’t use electricity, can’t drive, a can’t leave type of thing.
Me: Oh! Like Metalia!
Ali: Yes! Exactly like that!
And then I thought “thank God for Metalia’s Ask A Jew series.” Because otherwise I would have had NO idea what she was talking about and would have been in for QUITE A SHOCK.
Well, I kind of was anyway.
So I got up there on Saturday afternoon and wasn’t expecting a house full of people. Who were all dressed nice because they went to Synagogue. And I was in jeans and flip flops. And also Catholic.
Emily, her eldest daughter, met me at the door. And then Ali whisked me into a side room to debrief me. Because Ali also didn’t realize people were going to be over either. Also, she was trying not to overwhelm me, so we chatted while everyone in the dining room prayed and did something with water and bread and didn’t talk. She told me it was just best to walk in after all of that and I wasn’t going to disagree.
The food was great! I tried all sorts of traditional Jewish food. I am not even going to attempt to tell you what they were or try to spell them, but I will just tel you they were yummy. One was a kind of meat stew. The other one was a noodle casserole thingy. And I’m pretty sure Ali and Metalia are dying laughing at me right now.
Now, the most difficult thing about Shabbat is that you can’t really leave the house. And you can’t use electricity. And you’re supposed to rest. Now, I’m all for resting. But I was also there to visit with Ali. And Ali was trying to make sure her kids’ heads didn’t explode because no TV for 25 hours is a long fucking time, especially for little kids because they don’t understand.
So we played in the sand and we built sand castles. Bella talked about her baby in her belly. We played cards. We did melty beads. We played games. We laughed. A LOT. I plied them with candy so that they would fall in love with me. (I think they liked me. I got hugs! And also Miss Emily did not make fun of my clothes and also wanted me to stay ALL WEEK! SQUEE!) (For those of you that don’t read Ali’s site (WHICH YOU SHOULD!) Emily is 8 going on 18. And quite the fashionista.)
The whole weekend was like watching Ali’s blog come to life. If anyone ever thought she exaggerates about anything, she does not. Emily really is a performer. She’s a really great singer and she loves to dance and show off for you. She even wanted to teach me the Hannah Montana Hoedown Throwdown, which has Grammy winning lyrics like “side to side, diagonal.”
I told Emily that when she’s famous (because she will be because she’s so talented and just destined to be a performer, that’s how good she is at EIGHT) that she has to remember me. She told me she would “go on my mom’s blog and thank all my friends, including Kristin, blah, blah, blah.”
Hit ‘em up early, I say. So she can invite me to the Oscar’s or the Tony’s one day.
I had a great time with everyone, including Ali’s brother, mom and stepdad, who happens to be the Mayor. I told Ali’s mom that I would tell everyone how I stayed in the Mayor’s mansion (not really, just a house) and witnessed all sorts of Mayoraly stuff. Also, if I was the Mayor, I would mention that in every conversation. Like if someone asked me why, I would say “because I’m the Mayor.” Even if it had nothing to do with the conversation. Because I’m the Mayor so I can interject whatever I like.
We went to brunch today with the whole family, did a little shopping with Emily and then spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Jonas Brothers TV show on Disney. I dare you to watch two minutes of that show and try to turn away. Both girls were playing outside and yet Ali and I never reached to change the channel. I think I figured out the reason all these Disney stars are so popular with kids – clearly they are pumping subliminal messages through their programs. How else do you explain me being kind of sad I was missing the Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place and Suite Life On Deck crossover?? BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOOD TV.
It was really a great, great visit. I’m really happy that I get to see Ali again in four days. Because we don’t live close enough to each other and I don’t get to see her enough. So I’m excited about being able to hang out with her again in a few short days.
Blogging is really one of the best things I’ve ever done. I started it just to write and waste time at work. I never thought it would turn into this community, this family, these close friends. Meeting people like Ali and being lucky to have her as a friend is why I do this, why I go to these conferences to mingle with 1,300 other strangers, why I share my life on the interwebs. Because I would have never had met so many awesome people in my real life.