My Dog, My Virginity, and My Job Walk Into a Blog Post

Yesterday was my puppy Jack/Jack-Jack/Jack-Jack-Attack/Jacques Cousteau's third birthday.

*Pesky facts aside: Yesterday was (most likely not) my puppy Jack's 3rd birthday. We found him behind a trash can. However, yesterday was day (20 years ago) that I lost my (first*) you-know-what, and I thought it would be kind of nice to have a reason to eat cake and have a party on that day every single year for the next 12-15, the dog-gods willing. Because I'm glad I lost my you-know-what, and I'm glad I found a puppy behind a trash can. So.

Funny thing, giving your dog a piece of birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza. It's not that they don't totally get the concept of fire, it's just that they don't totally get the concept of fire. Or waiting to eat their birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza until you've all sung off key and blown their candles out for them. They also don't get the concept of birthdays. Bygones. 

And if you give a dog a piece of birthday cake that's shaped a lot like a slice of pizza and it also happens to smell a lot like pizza, your dog will give you the above look. Which totally makes is all worth it. 

Today is my one-year anniversary at BlogHer. I celebrated by having a baby with my boss.  This is what it looks like

*In case you're in the market aside: Jenna Hatfield make an excellent midwife/80's rap earworm-implanter.

I kind of can't believe it's been a year since I started working for the same company who has done so much for me over these past eight years I've been blogging. I always used to tell anyone who asked that I could only credit any measure of success I've ever been blessed with to Lisa Stone, who believed in me and my writing before I even knew what I was doing was worth being called writing, and WAY before I had any idea that *I* was worth much of anything at all.  And now I get to get up every morning and try very hard to do that which was done for me? And I get to do it with a team of some of the most amazingly smart, talented, sharp, and well-shod women I've ever had the honor of working with?

That's a cyclic relationship that I am totally happy to perpetuate. 

*You never get a second chance at a first impression, but for $65,000, you can get a second chance at losing your you-know-what. I don't really suggest it. 

Saving Private Benjamin

Sometimes I try to wrap my head around the fact that there is a day this year that won't exist next year and then I trip and fall into a wormhole of high school quantum physics and the left side of my brain goes on strike until I end up self-medicating with the Spice Girls - who, for good or evil, know whatIreallyreallywant.

BlogHer '12The 29th is the last day you can register for early bird pricing and save $100 off a BlogHer '12 conference pass. You should come because it's fun, it's informative, it's New York, and because Lesbian Dad and I are working our booties off to make it awesome for you (proof). <--we did that *squee*

I thought I'd commemorate the last day to save a Benjamin with my top five four favorite things related to saving. You spend 16 years in a Judeo-Christian cult and walk away without some salvation-based issues.

On saving days:

On saving math:
Actual billboards in New York in 2007. Best billboard of all time ever. Photo creditBackstory at XKCD.

On saving me:

The song is actually called Manhattan but it's just about the best little chick-punk-pop tunes about saving you ever did hear on the radios.

And my all-time favorite thing ever, saving related or not - On saving THEM:

I caught you a delicious bass; wanna play me?

My kid does this thing with his hands whenever there is an uncomfortable moment in our day. He calls it Awkward Turtle and I'm pretty sure it's something he's picked up off of thems there internets, but I don't care because it's AWESOME and I'm going to use it right now.

*puts one hand on top of other*
*sticks thumbs out and spins them around in circles*
*inches turtle forward*

Oh, nevermind; ask me to show it to you next time you see me.

So there's no real seque from that post into this one, except that

A) everything is fine for now, and
2) I can't believe I didn't do that years ago, I feel *that* much better and
lastly) I have bigger fish to fry.

Fish like blogging conferences. Blogging conferences like BlogHer, which is where I work now.

Um. Yeah. I cannot believe it, either.

After, like, 87 Internet Years, Jes Ferris moved on from BlogHer and I somehow duped them into letting me take her place as Conference Programming Manager, which is so very awesome and so very time consuming that I think I will henceforth just be a Saturday night blogger, if I'm lucky. I made it all of nine days into my Highly Lofty Plan to Post a Picture Every Day and posted two whole times at my Babble blog this year so they're probably going to fire me, but that's okaysih because I really, really, really truly, madly, deeply love my new job.

Really. I'd stand with it on a mountain. I'd bathe with it in the sea.

I'm Going, Y'all! - BlissdomWhile we're on blogging conferences, I'm going to Blissdom for the first time ever, so if you're going too, I'll be the person continuously standing under something taller than she herself is, wearing rubber shoes and eating all the imitation Jesus-meat crackers I can get my hands on, just in case. Say hi, if you dare.

2012 Dad 2.0 Summit - March 8-10I'm also going to the Houston Meet-Up for Dad 2.0 summit this Thursday night at The Stag's Head Pub downtown because, ironically enough, I really need a fucking drink. That, and I think that Doug French and John Pacini are stand-up guys and fantastic leaders in the dad blogging community who are going to throw one hell of a boy's weekend out conference, and I fully support their efforts that I won't be able to attend, see: new job.

And I think that's pretty much the total summation of every minute of spare time I have from now until August 6th, which means Daphne Brogdon is going to have to keep flaring her nostrils at me for pretty much abandoning everything I was up to at my kids' schools, but that's okay because, well, frankly? She's stinking adorable when she roars her terrible roars, she says from several thousand miles away.

Volunteering At School: Do You Buck Up Or Bow Out? w/ Daphne, Janice and yours truly on Momversation.

Of Life and Lists

So, I made one of those damn life list thingies.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the BlogHer conference this year (and luckier enough to be able to contribute to it in a small way) and though the conference was magnificent (really, best one yet, girls) and seeing my old friends again, and making new ones, was exactly what I needed right now, the very best part of the conference, for me, was the Pathfinder tracks on Thursday.

They cost a bit extra, and hogged up an additional day, but for that we got two amazing keynote speakers and four hours dedicated to our two panelists. Mine were the unsinkable Chookooloonks and Gwen Bell.

I walked out of my Pathfinder with insight, with inspiration, with questions that need answering and with a fucking life list. And I liked it.

It wasn’t so much that they sat us down and said, “You’re going to make life lists today!” as it was that they handed us journals and said, “You’re going to write something that might change your life today. We’re going to help you get started.”

Over the course of two hours, our three writing (actual writing) (with, like, pens and shit) (in mini-Moleskines) (really) prompts were a) to write a letter to our younger self 2) to write a list of the things we love and lastly, to write a life list.

Here’s the thing with the life lists that I knew already:

Writing a life list is not writing a list of stuff you want to do before you die. Writing a life list is saying aloud things you need to do so that you will have lived.

Here’s the thing about writing a life list that I didn’t at all realize:

It’s not really writing a list, at all. It’s playing free-word-association with the words “I” and “want”. I and want are really difficult words for, I’d argue, a whole lotta us. For me, personally, it’s always “you” and “need” and so, though my first 10-15 life list items were easy (See: Pshaw, I want X, X and X!), after that I hit a wall (See: Wait, what the fuck do I want with my life?).

Where am I going with the time I have left? What matters to me, really? What will complete me as a person? Where-in do my values lie? How many different ways can I incorporate coconut into this list? Can I even answer those questions?

Maybe I can’t. I didn’t get anywhere near 100, yet. It’s been over two weeks and I’m holding steady at 35, but that’s one for every year of life I’ve completed thus far, so I’m feeling pretty good with that number. And it will grow, as I do, I am certain.

And now I’m going to publish it, and give it a permanent page on this blog, partly because these things, this living, simply cannot be done alone, and maybe one of you will find something on my list that you can help me do, and maybe you’ll see something you want to do with me, and maybe we’ll all start living, together. Mostly, though, I feel it’s easy for me to hide myself in the shadow of book bindings, where I never have to look at them and let myself feel want. I’m kind of getting tired of hiding me from myself. So here is the beginning of me, 35 times over, sans snark.

Almost.

(It's after the jump, yo.)

Am

Some 35,000 feet above Calipatria, I sat watching two children fold down their trays and deal each other a hand of some card game. I imagine it was War or Gin Rummy, because that's what my brother and I played for hours that felt like days, locked inside his bedroom on sunny afternoons. We didn't have much, but we always had a deck of cards - and each other.

This is where a normal blogger would insert a picture of happy childhood whimsy, but I don't have any of those. Oddly enough, I seem to have the happy and the whimsy.

It wasn't until we hit a patch of turbulence that the memory of learning how to fight (and sometimes win, when he let me) with a deck of cards was jolted back to the memories of that bedroom, that house, those parents, that life. It was long time, longer than ever before, that I was able to be perfectly happy inside the memory of my past. 

Time. Time and perspective. What wonderful healers are thy. 

I remember, when I was a little girl in our little home with little of anything, laying in bed every night saying my prayers. We didn't pray like people usually pray; we believed that a prayer was a conversaiton and that you really ought not squander the chance. We talked, to God or someone or no one, and today I know that I was really just meditating my way through a really hard life, but then all I knew was gratitude for having someone to hand everything over to every night, someone to share my story with. 

I prayed, not for what we didn't have, but for all that we did. I was so thankful for a roof, for walls, for heat coming out of the vents and what very little food was in the cupboards, on the days there was any. It's funny how, when you have nothing, everylittlething seems so wondrous, such a gift. 

And it was. It still is. 

All of this, even the hard parts, are full of wonder. And I, for one, living all of them happy.

I had to remember that happiness isn't something I am ever going to have, it's something I have to do as often as I can. I'm trying to do more of it. Happy feels good

I'm Speaking at BlogHer '11!Tomorrow, I'll be speaking at BlogHer11 with Gretchen Rubin, with Brené Brown, and with Shauna James Ahern about acceptance - of our whole selves. 

Of being happy because of, not in spite of, who we are. 

I am card games on cold, wood floors under windows without curtains, in the quiet space between what had happened and what was coming next. I am Eddie's little sister, and I am still learning.