Indebted to BlogHer for More Than The Upcoming Autism Panel

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.


  1. Anonymous4:09 AM

    I am a relatively new blogger and have never been to ao confrence. But I am very excited about BlogHer's autism panel. I have made such wonderful friends over the internet in the last year, i look forward to actually meetin everyone face to face.:)

  2. Wow, I would not ever have guessed you had lost your blogging mojo. That could describe me right now. *sigh* I can't wait til August to "corporealize" with you and some of the other amazing people I've gotten to know online.

  3. I am SO excited to listen to this panel. Can't wait!

  4. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop about the autism panel! I'm signed up for BlogHer and am so excited to meeting bloggers I've befriended online.

  5. @Elise @Carmen @Aspieteach, I can't wait to meet you. Srsly.

    @Niksmom, I amended the post to put IRL in front of the list of friends, because of course without Susan I'd likely not know you either. The list is the group Susan arranged to meet for dinner on the last day of the 08 conference. There was *ahem* a bit of drinking afterwards. Grateful to Jennyalice for her designated driving.

    As for lost blogmojo, it's hard. Early 08 was a really tough time -- I was also supporting friends through health crises, Mali was so little & neither she nor Leo were sleeping, there wasn't a whole lot of happy going on, especially after the annual horror that is "winter break." It took BlogHer's deus ex machina to knock me back into play, because I internalize so much that I usually can't break out of a fun on my own. The irony is that the blogosphere can play that external & eliciting role if we let it. (Which I know you already do.) Hmm. What can we do to get you thinking past your present? I know ... have you written a Can I Sit With You? story yet? Hmmm? We're publishing our third collection in the Fall...

  6. Woe is not-able-to-go-to-NYC-in-August-this-year MEEEEEEE!


  7. Rumor has it you put forth this particular idea? If so, thank you so much, not just because I get to speak on the panel (hooray! hooray! hooray!) but because I am so grateful that I get to see this community in the flesh. I predict many happy tears.

  8. @Stimey, I'm so glad you're going to be on the panel; can't wait for the other two speakers to announce their speakerhood! IT IS GOING TO BE SUCH A GREAT PANEL!!!

  9. This is great news. I blog about my son on the spectrum and am now considering going to BlogHer because of the panel. Can't wait to connect to other moms.

  10. Fantastic news! You can also get a one-day pass just for Friday, FYI. :)

  11. This will be my first year going to BlogHer and I am so happy that there will be an autism panel.

  12. This will be fantastic! I am very eager, to say the least.


  13. @Tammy I'm so glad you're going. Did you find a sponsor yet?

    @Kari one of the best parts of BlogHer is finding out what this year's cool Kari crafts will be!


Respectful disagreement encouraged.