BlogHer was a ton of fun for so many reasons. And the fact that it was in Chicago tickled me to no end because I really miss that city. Anytime we fly to Chicago I lean as far as I can to see out the windows as we approach the city so that I can catch a glimpse of the skyline I grew up admiring.
I grew up on the south side of the city about 15 or 20 miles south of downtown. If it was sunny while driving on a certain road that went up and over one of the numerous train yards you could see the Sears Tower, the John Hancock, and the Standard Oil building, or whatever they’re called now. It became a contest between my brother and I who would spot the buildings first, and we never let up until we moved further into suburbia when I was eleven.
So two weeks ago I was nearly climbing over my fellow passengers to see the skyline out those little plane windows, and looking forward to a little shopping, lunch, and one-on-one time with my mom. She was waiting for me near the baggage carousels at Midway, helped corral all my bags, and off we were to Navy Pier.
As a Chicago native, I had never actually gone to Navy Pier in the twenty-three odd years that I was a resident of Illinois. But what a treat it was! There was all sorts of Fair Food, like roasted nuts, popcorn, and Italian ice. There were boat rides to see the architectural sites of the city, to see the skyline at sunset, or X-treme speed boats to get the adrenaline pumping. There were all sorts of shops, and restaurants ranging from a big McDonald’s (who are official sponsors of the Ferris wheel) to high-brow fine-dining. Mom and I took our lunch break at Bubba Gump’s and had a great time with our waiter, Scott (seriously, if you go there, ask for Scott). After gorging ourselves on all things shrimpy, we went through the Bubba Gump gift shop, and onto the Children’s Museum gift shop so that I could pick up some trinkets for the kids (BTW, Gavin still can’t wait until I turn out his bedroom light each night to see the new glow-in-the-dark planets & stars on his ceiling).
After wandering the pier for a while, we checked out the water fountain across the street and the kids playing in it:
Mom finally dropped me off at the Sheraton about 3pm where you found me here. Which eventually led to excitement and revelry documented here. But while the parties and getting free stuff was a lot of fun, and I was enthralled to meet so many bloggers who I admire and ones I can’t wait to read, I actually learned a lot from the sessions I sat in! I won’t go into details because frankly, I bore myself when I start babbling on about summaries of what I learned today even though I am really stinkin’ good at them. I will mention, however, that the Women of Comedy (or whatever that session was titled) was worth the registration fee in of itself! Besides the 75 solid minutes of laughter, I learned a lot about how to (try to) improve my writing. Of course whether or not I can aptly apply those new skills remains to be seen.
After an awesome time with all those women and the few men who dared to brave the conference, it all ended and everyone disappeared. Fortunately for me, I convinced my brother Jeremy (the one that used to compete with me for seeing the skyline) to actually get out of bed before 4pm and pick me up. He, his girlfriend, Sheina, a friend of theirs, and I went to a Tapas restaurant for some sangria and small, multi-plated bits of food. Again, I was only able to spend a few short hours with them, but I was glad for that short time together because even though I was a bit hungover, I felt refreshed afterwards. After a long, drawn-out year of struggling with balancing my job with playing single parent, including a ridiculous 2-3 hour round-trip daily commute and non-stop calls to reschedule and re-reschedule all my various appointments due to Justin’s ever-changing travel schedule, I was ready for time away from all of that. I easily could’ve stayed several more days, but had to get back to work and back to the kids and back to the daily scramble that my life has become.