Because October suddenly got real with the rain and the darkness and the cooped-up-inside-ness, herewith is a list of Things I Am Looking Forward To: Blathering Edition.
1. TIME TO BE ME. I'm a mom, I love being a mom, I don't do anything else except be a mom, I would choose exactly what I do over and over again, it's definitely the place and thing for me. However! It will be so nice, so invigorating, so reenergizing to spend a few days being me without the momness. Conversations uninterrupted by demands for snacks. Dinners out minus the package of wipes and kid menu crayons. An extra glass of wine because I won't have to make a bottle in the middle of the night. Getting invested in someone's story, and that someone is not in preschool and uses big words. And for longer than just a night out at a bar or an afternoon in a coffee shop - this will be several DAYS' worth of being all of me minus the sandwich making and the butt wiping and OH GOSH it sounds magical.
2. SIGHTSEEING. I know zilch about New Orleans. I know the words 'Cajun' and 'Creole', I'm vaguely aware of Bourbon Street, I know what Mardi Gras is, and I like jazz. I have heard of this small piece of heaven on earth called a beignet and I intend to consume as many as possible. But I haven't spent any time at all researching New Orleans or figuring out what I want to see and do. Mainly because I'm jealously guarding my Internet Friends Time and I will pretty much do whatever my internet friends want to do because I am all about them, right? It's a little unlike me, this total lack of research and spreadsheets, but I also know that I WILL get to see and do a lot, even if I don't have it all planned out ahead of time. I'm from the Pacific Northwest by way of overseas military bases, and there's so much about my own country - ESPECIALLY THE SOUTH - that's not even on my radar. Speaking of, is New Orleans considered The South? See, I don't even know that. I'm one of those accent-less, lives-in-a-bubble, West Coasters who really has no idea about anything. This is exciting.
3. THE FRIDAY NIGHT PARTY. It might be my favorite part of the Blathering, when everyone's in the same room for the first time and it's all DUDE, THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE. I think it's much easier for me to be excited about this part than other attendees, mainly because I'm one of the people organizing the whole thing and therefore I'm not that nervous about meeting people. It's kind of like how I infinitely prefer hosting my own giant parties to attending someone else's: if I get overwhelmed, if I get nervous, if I start saying the wrong things, if it seems like no one wants to come stand with my in my little corner, if it looks like everyone wants to talk to Emily Cassee instead (which they will, she's much cuter and infinitely funnier than I am) it's not a big deal! I can always head into the kitchen and find a job to do. I can always go around pouring wine. I can force myself to go meet someone on my own, not because I'm brave and confident, but because I'm hosting and that's my JOB. But honestly... maybe it's the wine, I don't know, but I'm sort of dying to throw myself at my favorite internetters, to go all fangirly, and give all the hugs to all the people. Fair warning: I can be inappropriately overemotional, but it's only because I LOVE YOU!
4. NEW FRIENDS. I'm introverted, I'm quiet, I'm terrible at chatting, I get embarrassed easily, I can't figure out how to participate in group conversations, I am (see above) inappropriately overemotional, BUT! I am always on the lookout for new best friends. Really. I almost always assume I will get along great with everyone and I have spent considerable amounts of time trying to figure out how to have deeper relationships with people who maybe shouldn't even BE my friends: the girl who cuts my hair, my OB, Jack's kindergarten teacher. Maybe I don't NEED to be best friends with everyone, but if I WAS it would be AWESOME.
5. SEEING OLD FRIENDS. You know who you are. I am so excited to see you. You seriously have no idea. I might spend the entire weekend crying because I'm so happy to see you. I mean, I'll try not to, because I understand how that would get annoying, but I will WANT to be happy-crying the whole time.
6. DRESSING UP. I know everyone gets anxious about what to wear what to wear what to wear and honestly, I don't know what to wear EITHER. But I know what I LIKE to wear and those things are usually sparkly and/or shiny and/or have very high heels. (OR ALL THREE. OOOOH!) And because it's the Blathering and I'm gonna have fun, you bet I'm wearing my sequinned dress to dinner Saturday night. SEQUINS ALL OVER. If you're the sparkly type yourself I encourage you to bring your own glitter because honestly, if you can't wear it with Internet ladies in New Orleans, where CAN you wear that dress?
7. GOOD STORIES. At the first Blathering I roomed with Liz, Emily, and Manda and I can't repeat half of what we talked about. (See above: embarrassed easily.) I can't repeat the other half either- I missed it because I was laughing so hard.
8. HAVING FOUND MY PEOPLE. So the tagline on the Blathering website is 'Find Your People'... I think those of us who started this thing felt like maybe we sort of knew who our people were? And the first Blathering just cemented it and that was amazing. It's like... ok, here's a tiny example. My real life friends know I like to write, but they don't read my writing. That's not how we're friends. But that's how WE are friends, right? Because you read my writing and I read yours and it's this other part of me that doesn't come out so much in my "real" life, but is such a real and huge part of me. And the things I write ABOUT - you know those things too! You know me! Oh God this is starting to sound WAY dorky, now NO ONE will want to talk to me in NOLA... WHATEVER! Seriously, I relate to people who express themselves in writing. And people who write tend to get ME. And going to a gathering where pretty much everyone is a writer, where everyone understands how Twitter is a lifesource, where everyone's already put their story out there just like you have - it's different than "real" life! Here is where I get inappropriately overemotional, also embarrassingly introspective and sentimental and loopy. But I just think it's a really spectacular opportunity. I thought I found my people the first year, but I found my people the second year too. I missed out in Austin, but I bet I'll find more of you in New Orleans.
Although, honestly? Even the plane ride is starting to sound like a day at the beach right now. No kids? A bag of books? Snacks galore? Hours to myself? SIGN ME UP.