my plus 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5

Do you remember your first?

Seriously, get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about politics. Do you remember your first political experience? How about the first time you voted? And the best personal political experience in your lifetime ever? This weekend I had the opportunity to hear some pretty amazing, smart women, women who when they speak politicians listen, share some of their first and best experiences as we gathered together to talk politics…naturally…and women…and women in politics…and healthcare and politics…and elections…and the upcoming midterm elections…and why a dear friend sitting next to me needs to someday soon put herself out there to run.

I remember my first political experience. I was 13 years old. Mommy Dearest dragged me to a political protest against then Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter because of his non-stance on abortion at that point in his campaign; which was kind of awkward and strange all around since Mom was a life-long Democrat and a self-proclaimed feminist because it was the 70s and because she scarcely could talk to me about periods at that time much less the mechanics of where babies came from. Yet there I was, standing next to her holding a sign declaring that God was at war against abortion. I was thirteen years old. My picture appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press holding that damn sign as Mr. Carter walked by smiling and waving. Mom was standing next to me smiling and waving too. Oh gawd, I was mortified!!! I was thirteen.

My best political experience was the 1988 General Elections. I was in college working towards my nursing degree and taking care of prereqs like Political Science. Since we were just four months away from the General Election, our professor deigned to focus on taking us through the California ballot for that year studying each and every candidate and initiative on the ballot that year so that each of us would be able to go to the polls truly informed and voting as such. I aced the course and yes, I entered the voting booth for the very first time as a truly informed, confident voter. I brought my +1 too before it was even cool to bring a +1. Of course we wore our matchy-matchy acid wash jeans and big 80′s hair because 80′s.

I am so sorry Hollie! Truly.

But I will never apologize for taking you and Zoë and Abby and Jodie and Daniel to the polls.

Then again, perhaps my best political experience were the days Hollie, Zoë, Abby and Jodie all voted for the first time. When our government mucks up things that affect these ladies I love to remind them that my kids care and my kids vote. Yeah, my greatest political accomplishment is my kids vote…my kids think and my kids vote. Okay, fine. Four out of five of my kids vote…for now. Then again, 2020 will come soon enough.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to, laugh with and share with some extraordinary women who are committed to encouraging and training women to be leaders in their communities. Breaking bread with some of them we discussed healthcare and politics and what I believe to be a poorly written, tugging at your aching-breaking heart proposition that will appear on the California November ballot.

The biggest takeaways from political suite talks I engaged in this weekend? Politics is indeed personal because politics affects us all… we women…our access to healthcare…our children…our community. We can indeed be part of the change and we can make a difference with our words and our actions. We must. Anything we say or do, no matter how big or how small.we might imagine it to be can and will and does make a difference. Discussing what I learned this weekend with my +1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 I know I am because 4 of them vote.

In 100 days is our U.S. General Election. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself arguing, it’s imperative you are part of the process — along with your +1. In fact, your +1 may vote entirely opposite from you but what matters is you are both at the polls on election day.

 

subdued, simpler, smarter, selfiebration-ish

Back from BlogHer14, missing pretty much all the parties and the sessions yet my head and my heart are full.

For me, there was scarcely any time for pictures but plenty of time for meeting up with old friends; not all as life and commitments always are calling, but some…enough to fill me up with the love, inspiration and encouragement I have been missing…needing. And all together we were enjoying our time. Time to hug a lot. Time to network. Time to talk about our writing, our photography and what drives us to post and create on our spaces. Reflecting on the fact that, yes, we are the “veteran bloggers”. Time taken to realize that, OMG, our kids are growing (grown) up much too fast while we seem to be getting older, perhaps grayer, achier and a little creakier. No one really wants to talk about those hormonal hot flashes but thank goodness for the Yoplait Greek Yogurt fans one could pick up in the Expo hall along with some other swag.

side note: Today I learned that swag is actually an acronym for “stuff we always get”. So says my darling daughter, Abby….The more you know.

I do regret not planning to attend the full conference as it did seem to be getting back to the basics…the blogging, the writing, the putting ourselves out there because we are enough in everything that we do everyday.

Thank goodness for Twitter and BlogHer live blogging everything. I know it’s not the same but it’s almost enough.

Meanwhile there were still many opportunities to be engaged here networking, walking through the expo, screening a movie coming soon to a theater near you, enjoying delicious food while talking with incredibly smart people about that which they are passionate about, sitting together in a suite with an incredible view discussing women, health issues, politics, mid-term elections, changing the world, telling our stories, empowering and encouraging one another.

Meanwhile, Khloe Kardashian showed up in the Expo Hall.

Whatever.

This was a much more subdued, simpler BlogHer and I definitely liked it. I’ll write more about it later. For now it’s family circus time.

 

 

because when you blog it’s never too late to join the Selfiebration

Up until a few days ago, I was quite certain that once again I would not be attending BlogHer even if it is thisclose to me. Disappointed? Yes. But it’s reality I told myself. Then opportunity came along and, well, I’m going!

Ten years of BlogHer. Ten years of bloggers and writers everywhere putting ourselves out there laid bare, exposed for the interwebs to look at, examine, identify with, judge. It’s been ten years of me putting my self out there on this here blog. How appropriate that I will join in on the #Selfiebration as we celebrate and reflect a little on what it is that we do…why we do it…why we hit publish every time that we do. We all have our reasons. So many of the reasons here I identify with so much.

Before Adventures in Juggling, I never really had a voice…a voice that wasn’t shouted down or talked over or told to just be quiet. Ten years of expressing myself and saying the things out loud here that I could never say anywhere has been a good thing…a very good thing. I’ve weathered the storms of raising an angry teen…and a few more teens, perhaps just as angry or perhaps not. I’ve appreciated the good in my life as a juggling mom. I’ve worked through the tears and fears and frustrations and the incredible loneliness of caring for and raising a beautiful child whose daily special needs required even more intensive parental care if not more hours in the 24 hour day. I’ve even have survived peri-menopause and now menopause without going completely hormonal on the entire world…especially my circus and family. You who tried to shout me down, talked over me or flat out told me to be quiet should be thankful…really.

And with that voice that I found I also found community, a community with whom I look forward to re-connecting with, hugging on, encouraging and inspiring this weekend.

I can’t wait!

perhaps too much

A lot going on here under the Big Top this last week. Perhaps too much. Perhaps too much to say. Perhaps too much to sit down and write about. Perhaps too much to even stop to take the time to write about. Perhaps too much even that anyone would care about.

There was portraits to be taken of beautiful blonde people related to me and not related to me which only make me wish that I looked good in pictures because I don’t.

Oh, and someone is turning fifty and this of course must be celebrated.

A concert in a winery grove with your hipster children rocking out to a Styx tribute band is a great way to start celebrating don’t you think? Maybe we can catch a Ports baseball game too because, hey, I won tickets at a fundraiser supporting my dancer and her team as they get ready to head to Nationals.

Still there is much laundry to do and packing as some members of this Big Top prepare to take off soon to the shores of the Atlantic and the Pacific. Perhaps we should try to capture sunsets at the beach pictures from both coasts because that would make a cool Instagram shot. If I can only get this packing done.

No, I’m not going to BlogHer13. Yes, I won a conference pass and yet I’m not packing a dozen pairs of shoes and stressing about how I’m going to fit everything that the conference has to offer in one three day weekend…much less how I’m going to fit a dozen or more pairs of shoes into my suitcase.

No, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am only wearing one shoe right now and a very sexy boot cast. At least my dilemma of what shoes to pack for the next week not going to BlogHer is solved. Navigating through airports with a daughter and grand daughter in tow heading to Dance Nationals week is going to be fun…said no woman wearing a boot cast because of a calcaneal stress fracture ever. But you do what you must do for your children…and grandchildren…including giving up what would be a great time reconnecting with some very dear friends, becoming inspired and learning more whilst sweating in the heat and humidity of Chicago in July…as well as giving up being in town to celebrate your darling husband’s 50th birthday on his actual birthday.

But I do get to wear this sexy-assed boot.

Bitches seriously be jealous of me with my fly, sexy boot.

packing up and sending off one of my babies

Well I did it!

With a big gulp and a little tear, I bravely packed up and sent off one of my babies. It was hard, so very hard. Letting go a part of you from a special place in your heart is so very hard! Other people will see her, hear her, perhaps judge her…not too harshly please.

This morning I submitted one of my blog posts to audition for Listen To Your Mother Sacramento.

Oh the stress and agony of it all! To choose just one and then sharing it. I know I lay it all out bare naked here but this was hard to do. Still I knew I must be brave and just do it. After seeing and falling in love with the LTYM Open Mic Salon at BlogHer11 in San Diego, I knew that some day I wanted to audition for this production.  Directed and produced by stay-at-home humorist Ann Imig, LTYM is a “national series of live readings by local writers giving Mother’s Day a microphone.” With this circus act of mine I have so many stories to share…too many stories to share…like any other mother or grandmother or daughter or son out there. And so, with a little…okay, a lot of encouragement I chose a story to share.

Do you have a story to share? I bet you do. “Remember, regular everyday people with a story to tell make up the heart of LTYM. You don’t need to call yourself a writer. You don’t need any performing experience. You just need to share the story in your heart or on your mind.” Submissions for LTYM Sacramento are being accepted now until February 13. If you are a Sacramento or Central Valley area blogger, writer, mother, grandmother, daughter or son with a story to tell please consider sharing it and submitting it to LTYM Sacramento.