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Monday, November 15, 2010

bloggy boot camp

Last Friday I rode along with my friend Mrs. Organic as she drove South to St. George. The occasion? Bloggy Boot Camp, to be held on Saturday.

After checking in at the hotel, we drove to a pre-conference dinner to find that we'd arrived too late for dinner, but not too late for the next stop: karaoke.

That's right. Karaoke. In St. George, Utah. At a Hawaiian fast-food/drive-thru restaurant. The karaoke options were slim...unless you wanted to sing some obscure song about Guava Jelly. Honestly, it was a fun time. I did sing a song, but it was really, really hard to hear myself, so I'm certain I didn't sound good. And I got tired VERY fast. So we went back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

On Saturday morning we made our way to the Dixie Center and began a day of Bloggy Boot Camp. This was different from the other conferences I've attended, the most obvious difference being that it was only hours in length rather than days. A smaller number in attendance, we all participated in the entire conference as a whole, and that had a cool vibe to it. We sat at assigned tables, which assignments changed for each presentation (so you could meet new people). It seemed to me that many of the attendees were new to blogging and/or had never been to a conference, and I think this was a good introduction to both of those things. BONUS: I won some prizes, yes I did.

Dinner time rolled around at conference's end, and we found ourselves at one of those Anything Restaurants -- you know the type: you open the menu to find anything. Want a burrito? Sure. How about grilled fish? You got it. What about Chinese(ish) fare? Comin' right up. You know what, Anything Restaurants? PICK A THEME. Food-wise, I don't like these places, but I wasn't there for the food, I was there for the company, and being there was so refreshing, seeing and spending time with and conversing with friends, many of whom I don't get to actually talk with at conferences. After a quick stop for cupcakes to bring home to my family the next day, we went back to our hotel room where Mrs. O. worked out and I took a bath. I don't remember the last time I took a bath, and I realized why: baths are boring. Nice and relaxing, sure, but after about 2 minutes, I start to think, "What am I even doing in here?" That night I laughed myself to sleep watching SNL.

Sunday morning I slept in...until 7:15, when I had to field a phone call from home: something about chicken dinosaurs in the microwave. After falling back to sleep, it was time to get up, pack, and check out. A quick stop at Smashburger (for brunch, of course) turned into an extended stay when 2 lovelies had the same idea, and as we ate together, we laughed and cried together. Really. Great Sunday morning stuff.

Mrs. O. used to live in Utah's Dixie (do we call it that?) and so she took me for a quick tour of some hidden gems. There aren't really adequate words to describe the landscape of Southern Utah, but to get an idea you could watch the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars. We took a few snapshots and then headed North.

Our drive included great conversation, inspiring music (thanks, The Lower Lights!), and even a quick trick where I fall asleep and then snore so loudly that I wake myself up.

Today I saw a palette of Southern Utah Reds blend into Grey Rocky Mountains surrounded by Golden fields; White snow patches flecked the Green-needled trees and the Scorched Black tree-skeletons on the side of the freeway; a full spectrum of Blues as the sky matched the mountains in the Central part of My Fair State. It took my breath away.

And when I opened my front door, my family yelled, "SURPRISE!" My kids called out, "Mommy! Hold me!" as they led me by the hand to the kitchen where they had made me a special treat.

I like going to these conferences. And I love being home with my family.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to Bloggy Boot Camp, it was a great time.
It was fantastic to connect and reconnect with so many.
Thanks for being kind. Stay cool. Have a great summer.


Unknown said...

Great summary. It's good to be there and back, right? Glad you had good weather to go home to.
I love the Lower Lights too!

~j. said...

Dixie Mom - absolutely. At times that drive can be frustrating, but yesterday is was enjoyable. Glad you like The Lower Lights! Do you have their CD?

Jen said...

That sounds like an awesome weekend! Thanks for sharing.

~j. said...

Jen - It was fun! Have you been to a blog conference?

Kristina P. said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention how bitter you were (I'm assuming, of course), that you didn't win the luxurious Cadillac of Snuggies.

I am so glad you came over to sit on our end of the table. Thanks for making me laugh.

Nicole said...

So glad you were there, and that we got to finally karaoke together. I've got a (really bad)phone video of the video from the "What's Up" lyrics. That Honolulu place is rockin!

And thanks for your support when I fell apart at lunch. I felt safe and supported. And glad that I found out that we're going through a lot of the same "blog-life crisis" feelings.

I heart you ~j

@TiffanyRom said...

I loved meeting you and am honored that such an established blogger found the event worthwhile!

Um, you ROCKED karaoke and sounded like a professional singer- everyone was cheering WHILE you were singing.

Thanks for your help at the end- I would love to see you again and will now be sure to stalk you on twitter.


stacey said...

It was a great weekend and so fun to meet so many bloggers!

Steph said...

You sounded like a rock star... It's true. You didn't even let the pornographic karaoke video ruin your mojo.

I always love hanging out with you my lovely... and that thing in the mountains. We will do it again. But maybe not in the mountains since it is winter.

Mrs. O said...

~j you are the perfect roomie. And your voice is awesome!

Emily said...

Wish I'd been there--I'd love to see you do karaoke! Sounds like it was a wonderful time. I'm so glad you got a little break...and then had such a warm homecoming. :)

TisforTonya said...

glad you caught up with the party at the Karaoke/Icee Hut :) (okay, their food is good... but didn't most of us just buy shave ice?)

You rocked your song :)

and I'm still having a hard time with bananas and whipped cream... they'll never seem innocent again!

Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

Hello Beautiful!

It was rad to hang with you and to hear your beautiful singing like an angel above 1980's soft core porn videos going on around you.


Mrs. O said...

Oh! I have our Big Chair pic up now.

~j. said...

KP - I was able to go to my local costco today and feel the luxuriousness of it all. *sigh* And dream. You and @sahans were great! First presentation is not easy, and you two nailed it.

Nicole - You are sweet. I'm glad you felt safe, you were among friends, to be sure. It was great to see you sing Lisa Loeb!

T - Thanks, girlfraaaan! It was awesome to get to meet you, finally. You know how to rock a Copa Cabana. When will I get to see you again?

~j. said...

stacey - What a pleasure to meet you. You have a great smile. And any mother of a Bunch is a friend o' mine.

Steph - Yes. In the mountains. And YOU are lovely. You and KP did such a fantastic job with your presentation.

Mrs. O - Back at you! You are an inspiration. Thanks for the chats and for putting up with my snoring.

Emily - You surely were missed! Next time?

T - If I would have had a shave ice I think I'd have no problems. But, yes, bananas & cream? NO THANK YOU. (gross)

veronica said...

So happy we could visit again on our way out of town. You and Ms. O are delightful conversationalists.
Also, I have visited (& laughed myself silly at) the Regis blog. Thank you for the recommendation.