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Going to BlogHer

The one thing the Fords do very well — I would even say, exceptionally well — is travel.  We are a traveling machine, able to visit places we’ve never been to efficiently, diverging easily from our daily schedule, and generally sucking the marrow out of every experience. Our specialty is beaches — we have all beaches down to a science — but we are equally impressive with amusement parks.

Whereas other families get bogged down in the noise and crowds of the amusement park, get stuck with that deer-in-headlights sensation surveying the enormity of choices, have kids fall apart because they are being fueled by cotton candy and ice cream, the Fords sail through the park with a strategy for attacking rides and meals.  We get there when the park opens and we stay until the last ride shuts down and along the way, we take that park for everything its worth while spending very little money or parts of ourselves in the process.  We call this process “Jiffy Lubing” and refer to ourselves as the well-oiled machine.  We can withstand high temperatures and lack of sleep and poor food choices all in the name of chasing fun.  And by G-d, my family catches Fun and throttles her in a big bear hug.

But somehow, our figurative roller coaster went off the tracks this summer.

Disney was perfect — Disney, with its high humidity and above 100 degree temperatures was fine.  The kids rolled with midnight bedtimes in order to see the parades and stood in long lines for short rides with patience usually unseen in five-year-olds.  When we came home from Disney, life somewhat imploded and the kids rolled with that too, helping me keep this insane pace of work and swim lessons and packing.  Our reward was going to be a small amusement park in Pennsylvania; an old-school, Amish-themed, please-dress-modestly, amusement park.

We’ve been before and the kids love it, so this should have been a cake-walk.  Our first day went well, and I even conquered my fear of the Sky Ride with the help of the Wolvog, who stroked my arm and whispered how proud he was of me while I pretended I was anywhere but over the park (he also told me he would buy me an iPad as a bravery prize, which I am totally holding him to).  But the second day can only be described as a goat rodeo, the sort of day that required several family meetings and had me calling Lori outside the park in tears.  Instead of sucking the marrow out of the park, the park sucked the marrow out of us.

That night, I had a dream that Kymberli and I rented a house on the beach, a single-room glass-walled house a few meters from the ocean.  In my dream, I was pointing out why I wanted to keep visiting this house for the rest of my life.  It was beautiful, the location was perfect, it came with blogging friends.

I think this summer has kicked the collective Ford ass, and the tantrums at the amusement park were simply the embodiment of all the stress we’ve been under as well as looking forward to stress-to-come.  I think we have all lost our Mojo — that necessary energy that turns us into travel machines or leaping blogging buildings in a single bound.  I know I have felt wilted as I crawl towards BlogHer, this event I look forward to all year.  And the kids certainly showed how wilted they are at the amusement park.

I may not have shown it by slowing down on posts, but I have certainly not felt my usual energy.  I have felt quiet, discombobulated, isolated all summer.  I have not felt a part of things.  I’ve felt like I’m here and not here at the same time.  I think the dream was about BlogHer, about finding my friends within perfect surroundings and recharging.  I always associate the beach with letting go and plugging back into necessary energy — perhaps I was a mermaid in a past life.  And while it’s a lot to put on a little conference, I am looking to use this time in New York to find new people to read, and find my mojo and new projects in the process, but more, to plug back into community and reconnect with friends.

If you’ll have me.

I will be blogging about the conference (as well as posting pictures and video) under the BlogHer Diaries tag.  If you want to follow along from home, please use that category heading from the dropdown menu on the left sidebar since other, non-BlogHer posts will probably be scattered in between.

And don’t forget: Friday is the 200th/300th Friday Blog Roundup cake extravaganza.  On Friday, upload a picture of a piece of cake (and don’t get hung up on the words “a piece of cake” — if you want to bake a whole cake or celebrate with an oreo or simply walk by the bakery and take a picture and not put anything in your piehole, it’s all good) and then link to your blog post using the linky function that will be in the Friday Blog Roundup.  It would be lovely if you wrote something about what community means to you.  Why you love being part of the ALI community, and how you feel when you read a particularly satisfying blog post.


1 Kristin { 08.03.10 at 8:24 am }

I’ve been having dreams that I’m convinced are about BlogHer too. In my case, I keep dreaming of a younger me. I think this ties in to the fact that I will be without kids (and that means less responsibility).

Is it sad that I’m looking forward to sleeping the entire 9 hours of the bus ride to NYC?

2 a { 08.03.10 at 9:55 am }

Theoretically, summer is halfway over, so there’s time for a turnaround. Also, when rewarding yourself for a stressful, busy time, I would suggest that it’s probably better to go with something less activity-oriented…like a weekend at the beach. I hope you can all regain your energy and peace.

Thanks for reminding me to take a picture of our cupcakes before I eat them all…

3 Heather { 08.03.10 at 11:42 am }

I have conflicting emotions regarding BlogHer. I want to be there, but it’s just not possible when you have a SN kid who is very needy.
I also think that if I was there, I would be lost in the shuffle. I’d be happier going to that small theme park in PA with you (where I grew up!!!) .

4 HereWeGoAJen { 08.03.10 at 1:57 pm }

The whole internet seems to be a bit slowed down this summer. I think everyone’s feeling the stress.

5 Kir { 08.03.10 at 2:59 pm }

yep, I agree, even my posts are all over the place and always about dealing with something lately. I can’t get a good rhythm…but I do hope a HUG on Friday makes it better.

CAKE!!!!! FRIDAY!!!!!! yippee!!!

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.03.10 at 4:16 pm }

Would it sound odd if I said I want to suck the marrow out of you?

I like your Kymberli dream.


7 Stephanie Himel-Nelson { 08.03.10 at 10:21 pm }

Good to know that 5 year olds can, indeed, handle The Disney. We’ve been debating when we can actually give in and take the 5 and 4 year old.
I’ll be at BlogHer too!

Community Manager/Outside Consultant, Attain Fertility

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.03.10 at 11:28 pm }

Figuratively speaking, of course.

9 m. { 08.04.10 at 9:08 am }

Someday I will go to BlogHer…maybe. I am equal parts insanely envious and then somewhat relieved that I’m not this year. I am easily overwhelmed. But I do like new blog friends. But I worry about fitting in. But adventures are fun. As you can see, I think I need another year or two to figure this one out.

And as for the park that you mention – um, why there?? It still gets a middle finger whenever we drive past it. I think it is tantrum inducing, simply because it is not that Other Park that’s down the road, and doesn’t live up to the wonder of its gift store and castle facade.

This summer = blur. And somehow I’m always shocked that all of the blog posts and comments that I’ve written in my head don’t actually show up on the screen.

10 Bea { 08.06.10 at 2:08 am }

Well, a post on travelling with 5yo’s might be in order at some stage, then.

But I really just wanted to say Happy Travels, to blogher and ever after.


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