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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

But sometimes I play one in real life

This weekend, I had another of those special opportunities to break the fourth wall and meet some of those folks I've gotten to know via blogging Live and In Person. The Los Angeles Moms Blog, where I've been a contributor for several months now, had its official launch party, and an excellent time was had by all!

This collaborative is actually my first experience with a "moms group" of any kind, after over 24 years of motherhood. I've long been one of those people who did not see herself as a "joiner," but my online life has changed that, as I've formally entered the realm of the "mom bloggers," and am happy to be counted as part of the wonderful community of "book bloggers" as well. I've posted before about my fairly high comfort level in getting to know people through reading/writing exchanges, and I'm finding that this comfort level may be giving people an impression of me that doesn't match my own self-image; among other things, they seem to think I'm "organized" and "outgoing."

As I mentioned in those previous posts, "outgoing" is a lot easier for me when I feel like I know you already. (I've rarely considered myself unfriendly, but socially awkward and timid with strangers. If I don't consider you a stranger, I am far less timid.) As for "organized," I have long considered organizational skills a necessary coping mechanism for the daily chaos of family, work, pets, keeping household clutter under control, and all the rest, since chaos is NOT my friend, so I do cop to that. But specific to this blogging thing, it's also a matter of wanting to maintain and cultivate the relationships I've formed. To do that, I consider it a priority to keep up with people's blog posts and be a frequent commenter (although our recent move has caused a slump in that which I hope to rebound from soon!), and I sort my Google Reader feeds into folders to make that easier. I also compose and schedule my posts in advance as much as possible, so I can maintain my daily presence here without pulling regular all-nighters. It works for me, mostly, and that's the main thing.

To get to the point: keeping up with my fellow LA Moms Bloggers online made our in-person meeting a lot more comfortable and fun for me.

The launch party was sponsored by GM, who offered three of their new Chevy Traverse crossover vehicles, with drivers, to convey the mom-bloggers to the event from various parts of the LA area. I always find it more relaxing to arrive at events like these accompanied, and I had a travel companion all the way; one of the newest contributors to the Moms Blog lives ten minutes from me, so we drove together. (You've met her here as a guest blogger: it's my sister Teresa.) We met up with Kim and Dariela, and our Traverse and its driver Russ, in the San Fernando Valley, and headed to Hollywood for the party!

 
West End LA girls

We were among the earliest arrivals at M Bar, preceded by the West LA contingent of Karen, Sarah, and Elise. Beth Blecherman directed us to step onto the red carpet so we could all have our movie-star moment. As more bloggers arrived, I tried to keep my eye out for those that I'd met before, and was very pleased to see April again (we met about six weeks ago to see 9 to 5: The Musical), but before too long the crowd grew, and it got difficult to keep up with everyone. The darkness of the club made it hard to see people, so I missed some people I would have liked to speak with, like Liz, and only said brief hellos to others, like Marsha. I was pleased to meet Fran and Cynematic (whose MOMocrats posts I have followed for months), but was sorry that two of the women I'd most looked forward to seeing, Donna and Lucia, weren't able to make it after all (for similar, but different, reasons).

After we entered the club, Teresa, April, and I were joined at our table by Nina Moon. While the four of us are all at different places in our trip through parenthood, we found no shortage of things to talk about over appetizers and chicken marsala. After dinner, we were entertained by some mom-centric stand-up comedy in a showcase organized by, and featuring, Moms Blogger Amy Anderson. After the show, we reluctantly broke up the party and tossed out ideas for our next get-together as we collected our overflowing swag bags, coordinated by Elizabeth with some help from Jessica Gottlieb.

Speaking of those bags, some of their contents may show up here as giveaways soon, once I have another chance to sort through it all. I'm keeping most of the more personal stuff (the pearl earrings were my favorites - glad I got my ears pierced last month!), but there were a few items I can't use - such as nursing-mother supplies (not gonna happen), and a PC-tuneup disc (not necessary in my multi-Mac household) - so they will need to find new homes. Marketing to the mom-bloggers is definitely "in" right now, but our kids' ages are all over the place, so it's a lot harder to target that when striving for a mass-appeal gift bag. I did eat the cupcake at breakfast on Monday morning; I'm still not sure what flavor it was (maple-pecan, maybe?), but it was very tasty!

At some point during the evening, I heard someone say "Sometimes I feel like I'm pretending to be a mom, because I have no idea what I'm doing." Sometimes I feel like I'm pretending to be a mom blogger, especially since "mom" isn't a full-time job for me these days, given my one grown-and-gone child and my two part-time-custody stepchildren. But for the most part, I think I'm being pretty convincing - including to myself - and I'm glad to have found a "moms group" for myself, even this late in the game.

If you've met anyone in person whom you knew online first, were they "the same in real life," or different from what you'd expected based on prior knowledge? And...do you know if they thought the same about you?

16 comments:

  1. Aw, Florinda - reading is making me feel even sorrier about missing the party. It sounds like everyone had a wonderful time!

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  2. It sounds like the party was so much fun, and I'm so very bummed that I missed it. Hopefully we can all meet up again soon when I'm not consumed by LA fires.

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  3. Great post. So good to see you. Socially awkward??? I don't think so!

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  4. Gautami - Thank you! I'll post it tomorrow :-).

    Donna - I didn't mean to make you feel bad! It's understandable why you opted out, but it would have been even more fun if you'd been there. But I'm sure this won't be our last party.

    Heather - We're trying to plan something for after the holidays, but it will probably be more laid-back (as in, not have corporate sponsors). Hope to meet you then!

    Elizabeth - See, the act works :-D! Thanks for all your work on the gift bags, and hope we get to talk more next time.

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  5. Great story of the event Florinda! It was very nice to meet you in person too!

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  6. Dariela - Thanks for stopping by over here, and hope to see you again soon!

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  7. I was a Deep South mom who got to hang with the hipster moms in LA on Sunday and I was thrilled. So much fun! Hope I can crash another party soon!

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  8. What a fun event! I've never met anyone in real life that I knew on line first, but I hope to one day.

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  9. Micelle - I was a Deep South mom for awhile myself (not in the bloggy sense, but in the living-in-Tennessee sense) - it was great to have you join us!

    Kathy (Bermudaonion) - It will probably happen one of these days. I've seen a few book bloggers talking about getting away from our TBR stacks and computers and meeting up in person, so stay tuned!

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  10. What a great event to be able to meet up with other Mom Bloggers!! I'll have to search and see if there is a blogger group in my area.

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  11. Bonnie - I got into this one in its early stages, which is nice. The "mom bloggers" link in this post goes to the full list of Silicon Valley Moms Blog sites - we keep growing, and if there's not one in your region now, there might be soon!

    But I'm finding that I really enjoy meeting people I already know online in person.

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  12. What a wonderful opportunity, Florinda! I am glad you were able to go and that you had a good time.

    I've only met one person that I first knew online. She belongs to one of my online reading groups. I knew from her e-mails that she was a nice person and she was even more so in person. She was younger than I expected--and I don't know why since I knew her age going into it. LOL I feel even more connected to her now, having met her.

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  13. Wendy (Literary Feline) - Amy from My Friend Amy got into a conversation on Twitter recently about whether there has been any sort of meet-up among Southern California book bloggers. To my knowledge, there hasn't, but I'm thinking it might be time to start discussing one. We could plan it around the Festival of Books next spring, maybe (assuming there is one - the Times is going through a lot of shake-ups lately, and I hope the Festival won't be a casualty). What do you think?

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  14. I still wished I'd studied the other bloggers better before the party (live and learn), but it was great hanging out with you, Nina and Teresa! And Amy and the other comediennes were SO funny.

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  15. April - I wish we'd gotten their show recorded. It WAS hilarious! As for studying up on people before meeting them in person, that's just one of the ways I try to make myself more comfortable socially, but it's probably not a bad habit. And it was great hanging out with you too!

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