This year's BlogHer conference includes an autism panel! Yes! Get your tickets now, they sell out fast!
Update: I'm especially excited because the panel is partially based on my submission ... and also because BlogHer accepted my proposal to be the moderator! Which I already knew when I took a potshot at the panel's theoretical moderator below...
Update #2: Two of the speakers are Sharon da Vanport of Autism Women's Network, and Jean from Stimeyland! The third speaker is also a huge coup for BlogHer, but has not yet gone public. Will add her as soon as she's out.
Update #3: The third speaker is ... and OMG this is huge as I have been a big fan of hers for years ... Pamela Merritt (aka SharkFu) of Angry Black Bitch!
An autism panel is tremendously excellent news for lucky conferencegoers. Many of our most beloved and respected bloggers will corporealize, and we'll get to spend precious time with far-flung friends from the farthest recesses of our computers. I'm especially looking forward to hanging out with my roommate, Jennyalice -- our new work-from-home lives have overwhelmed us to the point where our friendship is largely conducted through email and texts, even though we live five minutes from each other.
Friendship is what draws me to August's BlogHer conference. Two years ago, I had lost my blogging oomph. Leo was having a hard time tolerating being Leo, and we weren't having much luck making his life easier, plus my father had recently passed away. The result was a dwindling interest in things I'd previously enjoyed, including blogging.
So the BlogHer fairies intervened. Somehow, I was invited to speak at BlogHer08, on parenting our children with special needs. Which was great fun, and could have gone on for another hour, easily. I then had the privilege of getting to know the panel's social sorceress, moderator, and organizer, Susan Etlinger. Through her Jennyalice and I became IRL friends with a whole new group of women, including Christa, Kristen, Kristina, Lori, Jennifer, Vicki, and Jordan. Women who get the whys and the hows, and even the whats too painful to mention. And, even better, our kids seem to like each other, too!
Those friendships are the most precious gifts BlogHer has given me, and I am beyond grateful.
So, yes, I'm excited about the conference. I'm thrilled about the panel, I hope the audience respects BlogHer's philosophy of civil disagreement (though I suppose that will be the moderator's problem; I hope she or he has crowdthinkherding skillz.) But really, I'm just so excited to see my friends!
(Excited even though I just got to see some of them -- and their wonderful partners and/or kids -- during winter "break"):
The trampoline is where Leelo socializes best. Note Mali's gold lamé leggings. Remaining cute boys by Jordan and Susan.
She's brave, she's brave, oh yeah yeah yeah! Points to anyone who knows the namer who's tossing her. (Video by Jordan.)
Smoldering, in triplicate.
Leo and his friend Ben during SEPTAR's "Break from Winter Break" bounce party.
Mr. Bossypants and his biggest fan, Ms. Bossypants.