what twitter is for

I was hanging out with some friends the other night . . . friends who (gasp) are not on twitter.  They were asking me what the point was – and their questions were valid.  Is it just where people tell what their having for dinner?  Yes.  Is it an ADD platform for narcissism?  Yes.  Is it a pointless way to waste time bantering with people you don’t really know? Yes.  It’s all of those things. But there is a little more to it, and this morning’s reaction to the Psychology Today article I wrote about this morning is an example of another use of twitter: change-agent.  Twitter is, in a way, a public relations forum, because it allows ANYONE a platform to speak directly to a company, person, or publication in a public space.  Sometimes this backfires, of course . . . people can cause rumors, or individuals can bully companies.  But in the case of Psychology Today, a chorus of outrage can make a company take notice.  Within a couple hours of posting, Psychology Today had removed the offensive post and issued an apology. A follow-up post suggested that the outrage on twitter was the catalyst for it’s removal. Psychology Today posts a great response from another author about this morning’s offensive post, and he said what I had wanted to say, if perhaps I had more sleep, more education, and less children running around my feet. 

The point is that there are also group differences, not in attractiveness (as Kanazawa claims), but in cultural messages about what is and is not attractive.  Standards of beauty, like most other beliefs, are socialized and change not only from place to place but also over time.  In both the United States and England, (where Kanazawa lives and works), standards of beauty are essentially "White" standards, because whites comprise the majority of the population and have disproportional control over both media and fashion. And while it is not just White respondents who are socialized this way (internalized racism has been well documented), it is certainly the case that White Americans and Europeans (who are less likely to have received more positive messages about Black beauty) would show the strongest anti-Black bias. As long as this is understood and framed accordingly, there is no problem with the data Kanazawa reports.  What they show is that because Black faces and bodies don’t fit mainstream White standards of physical attractiveness, both respondents and interviewers show an anti-Black bias.  Unfortunately, Kanazawa fails to consider either sample bias or socializing effects. Even if he believes, as he apparently does, that human behavior is entirely "evolutionary", good science requires a careful analysis of sample bias and an explicit discussion regarding the study’s generalizability.  Without this kind of methodological analysis, Kanazawa’s entire premise — that there is such a thing as a single objective standard of attractiveness — is fatally (and tragically) flawed.

You can read the rest (including the attribution to twitter) here. And granted, I spent much of my time on twitter today in a mock feud with two friends in regards to James Franco’s hotness, or lack thereof.  (A feud we later took to Pinterest to settle. OBVIOUSLY). image So yes, twitter can be a complete waste of time.  But sometimes, it can allow a bunch of random people to put a major publication in check.

that’s what she said (Blogher edition)

Alright, one last Blogher recap.  I know, I know.  Last year I remember people talking and talking about the Blogher conference and wishing they would move on already, and here I am blathering on about it for three posts .  But I suppose that for many of us, who spend our days in a groundhog’s day existence of diapers, swiffering and playdates, that a few days in New York City is a whole lot of excitement and grist for the blogging mill. 

On Friday, the conference officially started.  Unfortunately, I was up until 4am the night before.  Not by choice . . . in fact it was really frustrating.  I think it was a combination of my body still being three hours behind, and the way my brain was racing with thoughts of ALL. THAT. SOCIALIZING.  I have a hard time settling down to sleep after any big social event, be it girl’s night, a party, dinner with friends, etc.  But at Blogher, it all seems so magnified because instead of one party, you are hopping to several, and meeting SO many people, most of them people you have never met before but feel like you know because of their blog.  So at night my brain was buzzing, as I rehashed every interaction and worried whether or not I had adequately expressed admiration without seeming stalkerish, or fretting over the fact that I had not had more time to chat with certain people, or whether or not I was succeeding at seeming fun and friendly because my default mode of morose and sarcastic?  Not so approachable.

Anyways, I hate this about myself – this racing brain anxiety thing, and when I saw that the clock said 4am I realized that the 7am Tutus for Tanner 5k was probably not going to happen for me.  Which really sucked, because most of my friends were going, and I had been given a darling Team Sparkle tutu for the event, and taken up precious suitcase space with stinky running shoes.   But more than all that, I was bummed because it was a great cause, for a blogger I adore.  At 4am I turned off the 6:30 alarm and fell asleep.  I accidentally woke up at 10:30, and I was supposed to be hosting the Serenity Suite at 11am.  And thus began my first full day of Blogher.

In addition to missing the 5k, I also missed the opening breakfast and the blogger speed-dating session, both things I was excited about.  I tried not to have a full-on freakout that I had managed to miss the entire morning of a two-day conference.  I also tried not to freak out that I would not have time to blow-dry my hair on the first full day of the conference.  Both thoughts were equally horrifying.

With wet hair and a wrinkled shirt, I made my way to the Serenity Suite, the brain child of my brain twin Heather and her friend (and soon to be co-author) Maggie.  It was a space they created for people to come and decompress from the madness of the conference, and it was the perfect way to start the day.  It ended up being an amazing solace spot for a lot of people (and also a space for an impromptu 12-step group . . . love that).

I had lunch with my roomie Christine and new friend Meagan (whose writing about her attachment journey with her new son is something I wish I’d discovered sooner, because we are living parallel lives right now).  After lunch, there were four session options but none of them really appealed to me, so when I hooked up with Alison Alyson Allison and she said she was gonna wander Times Square with Kacia, I was in.  Little did I know this would be the only session I would have time for . . . but we’ll get to that detail in a minute.  When we got back from sightseeing it was time for the Community Keynote, where thirteen bloggers read what were determined to be the best posts of the year.  This was amazing.  The writing was so good, and yet so varied . . . from lesbian divorce to breast cancer to a rap about Twilight.  We laughed, we cried.  It sort of all clicked as to why we were all gathered there for such an insane weekend.  For the love of the writing.

After the keynote, there was about 15 minutes to change for the big Blogher Gala – so I ran upstairs and experienced a zipper malfunction with the dress I was planning to wear (you know, that thing?  Where it comes off the track and you can’t get it to go up or down?).  So I spent a frantic fifteen minutes trying to figure out what else to wear and then another fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to get the hotel iron to work, and then another 15 minutes trying to straighten the hair I failed to blowdry, that was now 37% it’s normal size from walking around in the New York humidity.  I was really, really late to the gala, and by the time I got there a lot of people had left.  And again, I had this sinking feeling that I was really sucking at Blogher.

At the gala I hooked up with some of my fellow theater geeks – we had planned a little flashmob event and sang Tomorrow from Annie.   It was fun, it was a surprise, and everyone joined in.  Love those moments.  A lot of people had left the gala by the time we did this, and I think this sort of exemplified one of my biggest disappointments with Blogher.  The whole thing was so decentralized and so dominated by private parties and invite-only events that there was very little sense of community in terms of the group-at-large.  Even the Blogher-sponsored parties required a vigilant watch on Twitter to get on the RSVP list. It felt like even though there were upwards of two thousand women, none of us were ever in the same place at once.  And with the phenomena that is the Twitter hashtag, you knew at any given moment that there was something going on that you were missing.  To be honest, it seemed like some people took a little glee in this, announcing at regular intervals about HOW FUN this ULTIMATELY PRIVATE PARTY was that they were attending, along with the appropriate hashtags.  i.e. #blogher10 #yousowishyouwereatthisparty   For me, it all felt really awkward.  I was invited to some of them.  I wasn’t invited to others.  It was weird either way, since I couldn’t just invite whatever friend I wanted along to wherever I was going.  I thought it made for a lot of unnecessary drama – and while I get that people are sick of the Blogher/high school comparisons, it is prevalent for a reason.  Because when else in your adult life do people operate under some sort of secret party popularity code?  If people are ascribing adolescent comparisons it is because it all felt very adolescent, and I wasn’t fond of being catapulted back into those old feelings on either end. It felt out of hand and I don’t know what the organizers can do to quell the number of outside events, but there were even a lot of things planned during the Blogher conference schedule.  And I get it . . . these brands want to reach out to bloggers while they are all in the same city at once.  But it all pulled the focus away from the thing.  You know, the writing thing.  That being said, I did get to attend some very swanky parties, so I’m not oblivious to the appeal.  I also tried to pretend like I wasn’t impressed with things like penthouses or views or free pomegranate martinis.*

*No, I didn’t.  I acted like one of the Beverly Hillbillies, taking photos and exclaiming loudly, “This is the nicest place I will ever be!  Let’s take a lot of pictures, ya’ll!”

By Friday night, I had given up any illusions that my Pacific Time body was going to fall asleep before 3am.  So when I walked back into the hotel lobby in the wee hours just at the time a crew was headed out to karaoke, I didn’t need a lot of arm-twisting.  Especially because it was such a fun group of girls, most of whom I had the pleasure of meeting when I spoke at the Casual Bloggers Conference.  Marie, Allison, Carina, Susan, Kami, Jenny, and Ashley . . . seriously, these girls could be going to a John Deere convention and I would sign up just because they are so much fun.  Not to mention, all of the totally get my own personal vision and groundrules of karaoke, which is that karaoke should NOT be a place for ballads or actual singing.  It should be a place for bad 80’s tunes, loud singing, and air guitar.

I don’t know how to explain what happened that night in that underground karaoke bar in midtown.  All I know is that by the end of the night, all of us were best friends. And not just the girls I came with.  The weird couple in the back, the nerdy boy who came alone, the Asian couple, that guy named Mike and his two really drunk girlfriends – there was a lot of love in that place.  And a lot of white people singing hip-hop.

The next day I had a busy schedule.  I hosted the Serenity Suite in the morning, and then a lunch table for adoption bloggers. After lunch I had my interview with Project Mom Casting, which went really long.  The good news is that while I was waiting for my interview, I got to meet a lot of amazing bloggers – many of whom I’ve admired for years.  The bad news is that by the time my interview was over, I had missed the two afternoon sessions.

So – let’s review.  During the entire conference weekend, I missed every single session and only made it to the community keynote.  And a lot of parties.

It’s like a bad freshman year, where you realize that you just partied, got too little sleep, spent a lot of money you didn’t have, and learned absolutely nothing.

I think I might have also gained 15 pounds.

I still don’t know how to efficiently upload photos to my blog (hence the 7-day delay in this post), or how to properly edit my photos (still rocking Microsoft Paint over here), or how to update my facebook page remotely or how to do SEO or whether or not I really need to move to wordpress or any of the other things I was hoping I might learn at this conference. 

But you know what I do know?  Ashley does a mean Eminem impersonation, Georgia is very nice (and not at all bossy) in person, Christine is a pastor’s wife who happily wears condom earrings, Jill is not scary, Esther is even more adorable in person, and Jenny knows all the moves to the Beyonce Single Ladies video.  So . . . there’s that.

Saturday afternoon, I also missed the dinner with my fellow Grown in My Heart writers, which was another letdown, but I was shaky and exhausted and knew I needed a nap if I wanted to avoid a meltdown before the night o’parties.  And a night o’parties it was – starting with Blogalicious, and then Sparklecorn (thrown  by MamaPop) and finally, Cheeseburgher.  These parties were the most fun of the conference, due in no small part to the fact that they were a) open invite b) devoid of product pitches and c) focused on dancing to fun 80’s and 90’s music.  I had a blast, and managed to get through the evening without my feet bleeding. 

The next day, I skipped the brand breakfast I had been invited to (since I spent the weekend skipping things, why stop now?).  As I do on every trip to New York City, I was getting that insatiable urge to try to see every broadway show possible.  Linda and I schemed all morning trying to figure out how to see two shows in one day. We saw the matinee of Memphis (loved it), ate dinner at the legendary Sardi’s (loved it) and then were joined by Theresa to see Next To Normal (psychotically loved it).  After the show, we took a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park – something I never would have done myself, but ended up being an idyllic end to our quintessential New York day.  I had so much fun with these gals, and since we were all on west-coast time, we hooked up with another SoCal friend (Sugar) and headed down to the Standard Bar in the meatpacking district.  We laughed at how we had managed to choose the most LA spot in all of New York City, but redeemed ourselves by ending the evening at Hogs and Heifers, were the four of us were mercilessly mocked by a bartender with a bullhorn.  So much fun.

In retrospect, the weekend was a lot of fun, even though I walked away without learning much, and with the realization that if I go again, I need to adjust my expectations. It is a crazy, manic experience, and I didn’t feel like I got enough time with any one person, but that is probably just not possible with that many people in one place.

Okay, I promise, I’m done talking about Blogher.  Humiliating stories about my daily life to resume shortly.  Well, except that I might rant about the anti-formula drama, and I might finish that post where I query whether or not it’s appropriate for a bunch of white people to use the N word gratuitously in background music on their Blogher recap, when most of us would agree it’s not okay to say or write.  Or I might just become distracted and these half-finished screeds may become yet another memory in the graveyard of drafts in my blogger dashboard.  Only time will tell.

If you’ve written your own Blogher recap?  Well, scroll down and link it up. 

And here is a whole bunch of pictures in random order because how to easily reposition photos on my blog?  That’s another thing I didn’t learn at Blogher. 

(an artist’s rendering of my Voice of the Year post)

 

Posted by Picasa
penthouse
karaoke

Here are some of my favorite recaps of the weekend.  Did you write one?  Or maybe a post about how sick you are of reading other people’s posts about Blogher?  Link it below. 

Welcome to My Brain

Our Little Tongginator

Three Girl World

Amalah

Uppercase Woman

O My Family

Extraordinary Ordinary

Ann’s Rants

One Crafty Mother

Is There Any Mommy Out There?

Okay, Fine, Dammit

Your turn:

party planes, puke fests, and fondue feuds (blogher days 1 & 2)

In my life, I’ve had a couple variations of recurring stress dreams. One involves me being unable to find something right before a big event (it’s my wedding day and I can’t find a hairdryer, it’s time for prom and I can’t find my dress, etc). Another recurring dream involves me finding out that I am failing a class (in college I took an anthropology class where you could skip the final if you got 100% on the midterm. I did, and then I skipped that the class for the rest of the semester. My subconscious has never let me live that down). The other recurring dream involves me humiliating myself in front of others.

My weekend at Blogher 2010 was an amazing experience, and I am so glad I went. But a good portion of the conference felt like some surreal stress dream where I planned and planned and yet everything that could go wrong, did.

It started with the plane ride on Wednesday, which got a little bumpy over the middle of the country. I should mention, I decided to make the flight from LA to New York on the “party plane” – dubbed as such because there were about ten other bloggers on the flight. Everyone else was talking and laughing and drinking. But being the queen of motion sickness, my stomach starting letting me know that it wasn’t so happy. About an hour before we landed, I was struggling to keep my breakfast down. And then suddenly, I lost the struggle. Numerous times. In front of ten other bloggers I had just met.

Let’s just say I don’t think I won the First Impression Rose that day. And thank God for Virgin America’s generous supply of seat-front vomit bags.

After the flight, I hopped in a car with Linda and Donna and tried my best not to have any more public displays of puking. I had one overwhelming thought on that hour car ride into Manhattan – I WOULD LIKE TO STOP MOVING. When we arrived at the hotel I had about an hour before I needed to meet up with some other bloggers that I had arranged to see Broadway shows that evening. All I wanted to do was lay down – but I knew I needed to get some food in my stomach, get an Alka-Seltzer, wash up a bit and get going. So I threw my suitcase in the room, brushed my teeth, and then set out to find a pharmacy and a deli.

What happened next is where the stress dream feeling really kicked in, because it was a comedy of errors trying to get all of those tickets to their rightful owners. I needed to be a four box offices at once, and it felt like an Amazing Race episode in Times Square. When I finally got everyone their tickets and sat down in the theater to see Fela, I was really ready to fall asleep.

Jessica, Lori, Cecily, Deb, Heather, Ellie, me

Fela, though. What an amazing show. It was exactly what I needed. An avant-guard play about a Nigerian musician, full of amazing African music and dancing, and with a social-activist message. I was loving it.
After the show, several of us met up for fondue. Because really, what better way for women to bond than over melted cheese and chocolate? I began to witness some of the rumored Blogher drama as the group of us struggled over which cheese to choose. There was a lot of ego involved in deciding between the Swiss or Cheddar. Specifically, one blogger tried to pull rank because she had the most twitter followers, but then another gal insisted that she have her way because she had a better Technorati score. Ultimately we went with a face-off between everyone’s Alexa rating, and that moment in time will forever be known as the great Blogher ’10 Fondue Feud. Or #fonduefeud, if you would like to join the debate.
(Actually all of these ladies were perfectly lovely and we had a fabulous time. And ordered both types of cheeses with very little fanfare beyond stopping our chatter long enough to acknowledge the waiter.)

I was so tired by the end of this long day, but somehow found myself wide awake when I arrived back at my hotel room at 1am. Hello, pacific time. After a couple breathing exercises Ambien I finally fell asleep, and that wakeup call felt early. On Thursday morning I had an appointment with David’s Bridal to choose some cocktail dresses for the Blogher parties. It was a lovely experience all around – their reps were great, the dresses were adorable.

PS I love that little silver number and think it looks very Mad Men/vintage, and had to laugh when they told me it was a mother-of-the-bride dress.  I only hope I can wear something that cute when my kids are old enough to be married. 

Thursday afternoon my roommate Christine arrived, and we got to chat a bit before heading out for the SocialLuxe party. Even though it was 24 hours after I my flight, I was still feeling nauseous, and put very little effort into my appearance for the second night in a row. Those perfectly planned dresses with matching accessories and shoes for both Wednesday and Thursday night?  Yeah, those never happened. Both nights I found myself stumbling into a social situation hoping I’d remembered to brush the knots out of the back of my hair.

SocialLuxe was a blast.  It was fun to be nominated for an award and hear my name called out at the party.  As I foretold, Jenny (The Blogess) won.  I had hoped to meet her, and use my defeat as an “in”.  I imagined myself pretending to be outraged, but then giving her a little nod and a wink to let her know I’m just joshing, after which she would throw her hands up and shrug her shoulders and hug me and become my best friend forever.  Weirdly, none of that actually happened.  But I did see her from across the room and she seemed darling.

After the SocialLuxe party, we went to the Nikon party, a tasteful little rooftop affair where a bevy of buff calendar models were hired to chat up a room full of female bloggers who spend most of their time wearing pajamas with a computer on their lap.  The firemen worked the room – chatting us up about our lives and our work, pretending to be earnest about wanting to understand what this blog thing was about. “You ladies look great tonight. Where are you from? So, a blog. Is that like a chat room?” It was a scenario that I found hilariously awkward.

After the Nikon party, we went back to the hotel for some of the official Blogher parties. I was getting tired but then I got a call from one of the gals from our Grown In My Heart writing team. They were all gathered in one of the rooms, drinking wine. We had never met in person before, but I could hear their laughing all the way down the hallway. We ordered pizza and chatted into the night.

Christine from welcome to my brain, Marcie from Grown In My Heart, Carrissa (above) from My Everyday Miracles, Claudia from Musings of the Lame, Judy from The International Mom Blog, me, Michelle from Gotcha Baby (and shot by the camera-shy,Tonggu Momma )

Well, this story has gotten awfully long and I’m only up to day 2 in New York. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to describe the ways I felt like I would have gotten an F in Blogher, if we were being graded – and some other assorted mortification. For now, time to go hop in a hotel pool with four eager children who cannot swim. Fun.

*Let me leave you with a little video some of my OC Family peeps made.  There was a hilarious twitter hashtag brewing while we were in New York: #homeher10.  Sick of seeing all the #blogher10 tweets, a couple funny folks started tweeting about being homebound for the weekend.  And then Suzanne, Foolery, and Marcy made this mockumentary gem.

homeward bound (re-entry from the blogher alternate universe)

I’ve been on several mission trips in my life, and typically the last day is devotd to a process called “re-entry” – where participants some time debriefing in preparation for acclimation back into real life.  On a mission trip, time is usually spent discussing how one might react to the newfound awarenss of the excesses and privilege in their first-world life.  One might be warned of the culture shock they may experience, the discomfort they may feel returning their current lifestyle, and the importance of assimilating new learnings into effective life change that lasts beyond the trip.

I’m feeling like I need a re-entry debriefing.  Only, in many ways it is exactly opposite of debriefings I’ve needed in the past.  This weekend was full of excess – it was an alternate universe where my time was my own.  Remember my post about trying to add a little hedonism to my life?  Yeah, I got that this weekend. 

I have so much to say about the madness that was Blogher.  It was stressful, it was a blast, it was exhausting, it was humiliating, it was affirming, it was inspiring.  There were moments when I felt like I was validated as a writer and propped up by a community of my peers.  There were moments when I felt like I was surrounded by a collective body of some of the smartest women in our country.  And then there were moments where I felt like I was a thirteen-year-old who was too insecure to walk from the lunchtable to the bathroom without a friend on my arm.

But now, I find myself wondering how one returns from a weekend like that to the daily grind of laundry, diapers, and bedtime routines.  Who is going to leave swag on my bed?  Who is going to invite me to a penthouse party?  Where did the free food and drinks go?  Where are the NY Fire Department calendar models who are being paid to talk me up at a party?

(Clearly I was very bothered by this).

This weekend brought up a whole mess of feelings, and entitlement is one that I am trying to squash.  Because I met a lot of amazing, smart, and talented women.  But I also met a lot of entitled women.  Women who seem to have forgotten that this little blogging world is not real life, and that nobody owes us anything, and that all of this free stuff or noteriety or wooing by corporations is not going to make us better wives, mothers, or writers.  Even if we do have an “engaged and growing audience”. 

More on the “blogger as celebrity” bit later.  But I will say, I noticed a converse relationship between Women Who Acted Like Divas (a small minority, really) and Women With Legitimate Writing Chops. I also noticed that Ree Drummond spent some serious time just standing approachably in the lobby, chatting with whoever wanted to talk to her.  But I’m giving too much away.  That is a post for another time.

As I sort through my reaction to this conference, there are a lot of aspects I want to diminish, but a couple I want to take home with me.  The first is community. There was a really strong sense of community.  Diversity was hugely valued here, from physical disability to religion to race to sexual orientation.  On a broad scale, it felt supportive and accepting.  It really made me long to spend more time with my own friends.  Having time away from daily responsibility is such an amazing way to connect with other people, and I probably had some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve had in a long time.

I also had FUN.  It was so great to really let loose and be spontaneous.  Dancing on the stage at Sparklecorn?  Sure.  Heading out to Karoake at midnight?  Okay.  Walking around times square with no intentions?  I’m in.  Sing on stage in an impromptu Annie flashmob?  OF COURSE.   I felt like I found a side of myself that has been dormant for a very long time.  I felt the trauma of the last year loosen it’s grip a bit.  I laughed.  A lot.  That felt good.

I also feel like I am walking away from this weekend inspired to be more creative.  The community keynote at Blogher featured thirteen women whose posts were chosen as the best of the year.  We laughed, we cried . . . but mostly we marvelled at the way these writers crafted a story.  I also got the chance to see three plays while I was in New York – all of them amazing and creative in their own way.  All of it left me pondering the beauty in creating something that touches others.  And behind all of thefun and silliness and drama of this conference, this is what I want to take away. . .  a desire to create.  I’ve been in a fog and I’ve been ignoring that aspect of myself, because it has seemed superflous.  Optional.  Self-indulgent.  This weekend was a reminder that creativity is vital.

So, I fly home today, ready to kiss my kids, to be more engaged, and to pay more attention to nurturing my creative side.  And yes, the hotel we are living in will never be as glamorous as the Hilton, and I won’t have four parties to choose from tonight.  But that’s gonna be okay.

adventures in daytime tv

We got back from New York last night. It was a whirlwind, and I think it will forever be dubbed our Ultimate Date Night Weekend.  We got in around 10pm on Tuesday night, and The View had a driver to pick us up.  Having our own driver made us feel very self-important.  We tried to work the phrase “our driver” into as many sentences as possible over the weekend.  i.e. “Should we have our driver drop us at the restaurant?”   “Do you give the driver a call to tell him we’re heading down?”  . . . and so on.  I think it really gave people the impression that we were a big deal .  That, and the map and the camera hanging from my neck.

Even though we got in late, we hit the town.  We headed down to the Meatpacking District which, despite it’s nausea-inducing name, is quite the hipster neighborhood.  We sat on the patio at The Standard, had dinner at Olive + Fig, and then went to desert at Spice Market.  The whole time, I had two overwhelming thoughts: 1) I am having the time of my life, and 2) I should really go to bed so I don’t have bags under my eyes on tv.  But alas, it was a beautiful night and we were in the city that never sleeps, so we didn’t. We walked to Union Square, and then grabbed a cab to Times Square.  We finally got back to the hotel in the wee hours, and that wake-up call came early.

The next morning, we were picked up by our driver (see how that works?  impressive, right?) and went to the studio.  We had a quick briefing, where we found out that *surprise!* Mark would be on camera, too.  We talked very quickly with the producer and then went into hair and makeup, where an enthusiastic makeup artist applied the most heavy makeup I’ve seen on my face since Prom ’93.

I kept asking if it was maybe a bit much, but he explained that it was on account of the high-definition.  Which didn’t make sense to me, because it seems like more definition would require a more natural look.  But he assured me I would look natural on-camera.  Here’s a picture taken with a camera.  What do you think?

I know.  Totally natural.  Um, let’s hope it reads different on screen.  (By the way, the necklace?  Made of recycled paper by women in Uganda.  Check out 31 bits and the ways the are bringing financial independence to women in Africa.)

After makeup, things moved very fast.  We were taken to the greenroom, where I met Kyra Sedgewick, who is a tiny, tiny, miniature person.  They brought us out for our segment, and we were seated at a table with Bryant Gumble, Sheri Shephard, and Valerie Bertinelli.  Suddenly, we were rolling. A representative from the Evan B. Donaldson Institute was there, and he started with giving some great information on international adoption.  I liked what he had to say.  Then they asked us about our story, and I shared about adopting Jafta, and what lead us to adoption from Haiti.  I was feeling pretty comfortable.  I think I rambled a bit, but I at least wasn’t white-knuckling the sofa or feeling the need to pee myself.  Sheri Shepard asked what it was like to be white parents adopting black sons (which I knew would be a question, and one I really wanted to address).  I answered by saying that it has forced us to be more intentional in moving out of what feels “safe” by trying to be involved in the African-American community.  But as soon as it came out of my mouth, I realized it was a bad choice of words to describe our efforts to get beyond our insular white community.  I think I managed to backpedal a bit and say something like, “and by safe, I mean getting out of our comfort zone”, but all I could think about for the rest of the segment was OH MY GOSH I JUST CAME ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND IMPLIED THAT INTERACTING WITH MINORITY COMMUNITIES FEELS UNSAFE.  Seriously, that is all I could think of until commercial break.  Words were still coming out of my mouth, but the only thing going on in my mind is that I just said something potentially racist.  Nice.

And then, suddenly, they were cutting to commercial, and I realized I had nervously chattered so much that Mark had no chance to talk (although, to be fair, he hadn’t been planning on it), and that I hadn’t gotten in so much of what I wanted to say.  I’m sure we totally look like that couple where the wife does all the talking for her wallflower husband, which is funny since Mark is the extrovert and he is the one usually chatting it up with the people in line at Target while I hide behind an Us Weekly.

After our segment, we sat in the audience for the next adoption segment.  Valerie Bertinelli and I had a little moment, where she was giving me a thumbs up and mouthing to me that I had done an amazing job.  She was really sweet.  After the commercial break they had another couple and a single woman who had adopted from Guatemala take the table, and they talked a bit more with the guy from the adoption institute.  That also flew by, and the single gal was only able to say a few words, too.  I’m glad they did a segment on adoption, but it was definitely too short to really get into all of the issues. 

After those two segments, we were escorted out and picked up by our driver (again, we’re a VERY BIG DEAL).  We had a couple hours to kill before our flight, and we were determined to pack in as much New York as possible, even though by this point I was so tired that I could have laid down on the street and taken a nap. 

We took a relaxing pedicab ride through Central Park. Then we went and had a late lunch at the Museum of Modern Art, with a beautiful view of the sculpture garden. 
We hustled through the museum, taking photos of ourselves with the artwork that is in one of our kid’s books.  It’s called Seen Art?, and it’s about looking for a friend named Art in the MoMA.  I think they will be more impressed with these photos than the fact that we were on TV.
After the museum, our driver (okay, I’ll stop now) picked us up and we headed for the airport.  Both Mark and I dozed for the whole ride.  We were exhausted, but we made the most of our weekend, and had an amazing time.  It was so great to get away just the two of us, and even better that it was in a city that holds so many fond memories for us. 
(1999)
We will be on The View tomorrow.  I’m as curious as anyone to see what I actually said.  And a bit nervous.  Also, really hoping that makeup artist knew what he was talking about, and that I don’t come off as a heavily made-up prostitute with bloodshot eyes.