Off to BlogHer 12

Come talk to me at BlogHer '12

My mother asks last night “Are you excited yet about going to BlogHer?” I reply with a shrug, a “not really,” a “it’s work.”

I never know how to answer that question. There’s so much to do before I leave–getting her squared away, getting the prairie dogs, the bird, the dog squared away. There’s a ton of mommy guilt as there has been for the past few years–I will miss my youngest child’s final circus camp performance. This year is especially tough because it is her last year as a “camper.” She’ll be Miranda in The Tempest. This hurts. A lot. (and she knows it.)

I’ll be in a tempest of my own. NYC. Crazy long for me days. Lots of socializing. Connections to be made, renewed. Lots to learn. Lots to do.

There’s fun in store…but even that has the ability to make my nerves dance. (Rockettes Workout? What am I thinking? Party? ok, but I finally settled on wearing my usual jeans. I did get something called a dress t-shirt to go with them. Does that make me fancy?)

Meet Dr. P? Eek. I was her mod at WebMD at one time…for diet. I definitely don’t look like a diet all star right now.

Nerves. I have them.

Know why it is ridiculous? Because in just a few days, I will be deep in the wonder. I will remember no one will care what I looked like and if they do? Not my problem. I will laugh, be hugged, learn, smile, miss people I want to see, get to know new people that I don’t even know about right now. There will be some amazing keynotes. I will sniffle through the community voices. I will no doubt console someone weeping. I’ll hand my drink tickets over. I’ll get so tired I won’t want to be upright for a week.

I will grin like crazy because the President is speaking to us…and while he’s not my favorite president ever at all: I love that a conference that answered “where are the women online?” became a conference worth presidents and candidates. I will love the expo hall.

I’ve attended all the annual conferences since 06. I only missed the first one. (and I watched that one avidly online.) I always at this point think “Maybe I won’t go this year.” I always come home and tell everyone I know to attend.

So, come talk to me at BlogHer. I love meeting new people. Really. I love seeing the familiar faces too. Be part of why this is the one conference I don’t miss.

I am wrong of course when I told her I wasn’t excited. I am. Very.

Pursuit of Happiness

This week BlogHer asked me “What are your favorite resources for increasing and sustaining happiness?” I want to say right away that the main post on BlogHer is SO worth the read this week– Five Steps to Lasting Joy. Read it. I may just have to add it to my favorite ways to sustaining happiness. It’s that good. I’ll be heading over there to comment. I hope you will too.

Increasing and sustaining happiness. Wow. Here are my go-to ways:

  1. The Bible. There’s a bible verse for every woe and an overarching message that brings happiness and peace.
  2. Spend time with the kids just talking to them or hanging out with them–not “parenting” them which can be a huge decrease in happiness when you are busy wrangling the daily stuff: homework, friends, school, behavior, dinner, chores, etc. Just spending that one on one time with them chatting about non mommy/child thing is a big fun thing to do. I like to do this as much as possible. (Yay for the Google Talk!)
  3. Pets! A minute or two with the prairie dogs and their ever constant antics is fun. They love me no matter what and are more than happy to let me pet them.
  4. Louise Hay. Her Daily Affirmations link is in my bookmarks toolbar so I remember to look at it daily. I also have her calendar in our bathroom. I like to put the affirmations in my status update for gtalk/aim just to remind me all day. (and hopefully make someone else smile.)
  5. Flirt with my partner. It doesn’t always get the reaction I’d like,  but it is fun.
  6. When all else fails, time for a hair cut.
  7. I try to avoid ruminating on something over and over again. If I get really grouchy, confused, or hurt by an email, I sit on it at least overnight to keep from digging into anger and unhappiness. Usually that time gives me perspective and I don’t dig into a flinging match of hurt. It took me a long time to figure this out. As a professional online community moderator, I must have doled out “Don’t read tone into the message” on message boards advice a million times. Then I would get an email and I would “hear” a tone that made the words rearrange into things that really may not have been the intent. Stop reading tone. Read the words. It works. Really.
  8. A bit of music. I am not really a music listener outside the car–except on bad days. (or if reminded of a song by something I read) I pretty much have a bad day perk you up playlist.
  9. Bath. Shower. Bath. Shower. This actually is my first line of stress relief. My dry skin issues may attest to stress levels. ;-)
  10. Do something for someone else. Complimenting a woman on her shoes in the line at Starbucks, listening to a friend having a rough time, finding the perfect answer for a request at work–those ratchet up the happiness.

What are your ways of increasing and sustaining happiness? I always need more ideas. I get into a funk sometimes.

 

Be sure to enter this week’s Life Well Lived Sweepstakes! You can win an iPod Touch.

 

Cider in Paradise

Imagine sitting outside a house in a tropical paradise; Kailua, Hawaii to be exact. You’ve got a cold, refreshing drink in your hand.

You open it and immediately the smell of apples surrounds you. Perfect! A new baby that caused his mother apple cravings rocks gently in her arms in the house. But, apples in paradise?

Yes. As part of the BlogHer review program, we were sipping the new Michelob ULTRA Light Apple Cider. (Visit the sponsor’s site!) Cider in summer at all seems odd. Cider in Hawaii seems even more far-fetched. Shouldn’t you have a fruity tropical drink? Not a heavy, wintery hard cider?

Well, those fruity tropical drinks pack in the calories. Michelob ULTRA Light Apple Cider not only has fewer calories than your favorite mixed drink, it has 1/3 fewer calories than traditional hard ciders. The calories are cut with all natural sweeteners that don’t cause my chemical sensitive body to cringe and don’t leave an aftertaste either. The Michelob ULTRA Light Apple Cider doesn’t come across as too sweet either.

Not only light in calories, the cider is light in taste and doesn’t feel heavy like a traditional hard cider. Perfect for warm, sunny days! It is more like an apple wine spritzer for lack of a better description. It does have quite a bit of fizz and sparkles nicely. The apple flavor is clear, crisp, and not overwhelming.

I can easily see it as a substitute for wine or champagne. It definitely had the chops to toast a new baby–even though his mom couldn’t partake and neither could he, of course. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider seems perfect for a refreshing, light beverage in paradise or when just daydreaming you were in paradise.

Be sure to visit the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on Blogher.com too.

The Magic Room

I recently read The Magic Room as part of the BlogHer Book club. I cringed when I saw the subtitle “A Story about the Love We Wish for Our Daughters.” just because I want a bigger love for my children than the stories told in this book. I want them to find love with someone else special which may or may not lead to marriage. That’s a given. My life would be incredibly lacking in many ways without the enriching and consuming love in my life.

More than that, I want them to fall in love and love themselves-take care of themselves, honor their being, and be happy with who they are and who they are becoming each day.

Then there is the book. We have been on one wedding dress shopping trip so far. It may be our only one. I’ve no idea whether the other children will get married. The whirlwind shopping experience involved one store and several dresses, but one had already been identified as “the dress” in our minds before she even tried it on. Indeed, it was the dress. No magic room. Not an amazing small business passed down through the family, just a chain store and a mass produced dress–but it was the right dress for her.

Back to the book, first, I found the male father voice a bit vexing as the narrator. He made a lot of pronouncements as if they were true for all fathers and of all mothers. They weren’t. In fact, at points those things irritated me so much I wanted to toss the book aside.

Then there were points where indeed I wanted to go and have a magical mother/daughter bonding trip to buy a dress to send my daughter into her future. There is a story there in my life of mothers and daughters and raising my daughters that might benefit from the ritual at least in my mind.

I sorted that out, as I have done before, by reminding myself and one of my daughters that we can go buy a special dress and have a special party without it having to be a wedding. When the time is right and she feels ready–we don’t need a groom to have a ritual saying “this is my child, of whom I am most proud and blessed to have in my family. She’s now mature, ready to make adult choices and live an adult life. While bittersweet, this is a joyous time and celebration. Please surround her now with your joy, love, and blessings as she follows her life path.”

Ritual and tradition is important in marking our life journeys. I truly believe in it.

I believe there’s a story in everyone and it often comes to expression in these moments where a dress is bought, a love shone brightly, at least a love story of some sort. In the book, stories are told, of great mother/daughter relationships, of horrible ones, of tragic ones, of relationships with lovers, children, fathers, grandmothers and more. Those stories could have been more magic than the magic room itself. Unfortunately, the narrator left me wishing for more of the stories and less of his opinion, of the lens he put on the stories, which indeed was the only thing he could do, because love stories always are seen through your own lens.

It did make me want to take a road trip to The Magic Room though. I will be looking for such a business if the time comes to buy a special dress.

I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.