BlogHer, the world’s largest blogging conference for women was a remarkable event to be a part of. 5000 bloggers there equaled 93 million followers and Midlife Bloggers was among the most mentioned topics. I kept trying to be profound while attempting to write this and then I’d just start laughing thinking about all the adventures I had. I started writing and then kept writing. This post got real long, it’s turned into a novella, so I’ve decided to break it down into three chapters. I learned blogs shouldn’t be as long as a novella.
- Saturday Adventures
Saturday’s keynote of Facebook COO and author of “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg was the talk I was most looking forward to. She asked for a show of hands of how many women were called bossy when they were little girls. A majority of hands went up. She then said instead of telling our daughters’ they’re bossy, take a breath and tell them that she has executive leadership skills. She has a created a group called leanin.org, which is a live real time way to experience the power of a small group. Like every blogger in attendance, she wants women to be heard. Powerful stuff.
Saturday was a day of many powerful voices. Midlife women had a strong presence this year. I’ve been told that made this year different. I had been eagerly awaiting the three founders of GenFab‘s session on midlife blogging. Sharon, Chloe and Anne (now friends in real life) knocked it out of the ballpark and next year they are going to have to put us midlife women in a bigger room. We are indeed changing how the world views midlife.
Veteran Hollywood producer (and another midlife woman), Gale Anne Hurd was the closing keynote. She’s known for portraying powerful women in The Walking Dead, the Terminator and Alien. I must confess to not being a zombie fan as were the rest of the audience in the vast ballroom, but after hearing her talk, I may have to start watching. We got a heads up that this season is going to be about parenting.
Time for one quick visit to the exhibit hall. The vendors were tired and trying to get rid of all their swag so they didn’t have to haul it back home. My roomie, Virginia and I saw an especially long line and got in it, thinking it must be something good. It WAS a good line! We realized they were giving away really great swag. Trojan gave us all the swag we could carry. And to the young woman who looked at this midlifer in disbelief and asked if I was going to use it, I wish I would have responded in my deepest southern drawl, “Bless your heart.” Congrats to my friend who won a chain saw from another vendor, but I could fit my swag in my luggage.
Virginia and I hit one last party; the wonderful BOOMbox B(L)oomers shindig in a very cool, colorful, arty and refurbished space. We visited our online friends that we now know in real life and hugged and said our goodbyes. So ended the BlogHer experience.
Time for one last adventure.
We got a great recommendation for a real deal little Italian restaurant, La Scarola in the heart of the city. You know the kind of Italian place that looked like it could have been a set for the Godfather movie. Pictures of famous people on the wall. All the staff were Italian men, many with heavy Italian accents. It was packed with locals. There was a bit of a wait, we were told we could go to the bar next door. So off we headed to Richard’s Bar.
There were two empty bar stools left as we bellied up to this smoke-filled crowded and kinda dingy bar. Virginia said this is what is called a dive bar in San Francisco; I said this is what we call a real bar back home. The bartenders were friendly and…how to put this…to the friendly bartenders; Virginia and I were sweet young things. When we showed one bartender how to attach a photo to a message on his iphone, our drinks stayed full till our table was ready. They insisted we take our drinks with us. Virginia was new to the concept of go cups, a common practice where I live.
We ordered the appetizer that bartender Anthony (he looked like a slightly older Anthony Bourdaine) recommended and took our cute waiter’s suggestion for a pasta dish. It was Delizioso! A real deal Italian meal, even the bread was good. Before we caught a cab back we returned to Richard’s Bar and gave the bartenders a hug goodbye.
It was a perfect end to an extraordinary few days. Perfetto, Hugs and Kisses, and Bless our Hearts to all my new BFFs IRL. I’ll see you online.
And Virginia, you are indeed a first class woman. I know we’ll see each other again. And ‘till then, this is for you.