Friday, October 24, 2008

So Many Women, So Little Time

women-s-conference-maria-shriver-arnold-schwarzeneggerI have to admit that when I first heard about The Women's Conference taking place in Long Beach I was a little skeptical. I didn't know anything about the event, and for some odd reason was picturing something like a large quilting bee - a huge room filled with women crafting and speaking in hushed tones. Every once in a while one of them would take the stage to make an announcement like, "I've just finished my 67th square!" and everyone would put down their needles and politely clap. At the end, the men folk would show up and begrudgingly serve the women punch and sandwiches, because, well - it was the women's day after all.

So when CVS/pharmacy offered me a ticket to this year's sold-out event, I hesitated a little. But after checking out the website and seeing the roster of speakers, I quickly accepted. Maria Shriver, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour, Warren Buffet and Bono - these were just a few of the names on the roster. I was starting to realize I was probably way off about the whole quilting bee thing. But I was secretly hoping the men folk would still be serving me a sandwich at the end.

Here's a rundown of my Women's Conference experience. The part where I'm laying on the restroom floor was really the only low point:

The Good: I decided to go to the pre-event festivities the night before the conference, something called Night at the Village. Tickets were only $25. So what if it cost me $50 in gas to get there and back?

The Bad: Right before leaving on Tuesday night, our cat took a big crap on the bed. I figured he was pissed that I was going to a Women's Conference, as opposed to spending the evening scratching his chin and watching him fart on the couch.

The Bad: When I got to the Convention Center, there were a million people in line waiting to get in. Curse all you women and your conferences!

The Good: I cooled my heels in the bar at the Hyatt next door, where I sipped a pomegranate mojito and noshed on tempura calamari until the line dwindled down. I was starting to think this Women's Conference was a really, really good idea.

The Good: The 'village' was a huge indoor marketplace filled with sponsor booths and shopping stalls and tons of free samples. I loaded up my free tote bag with soaps, brownies, buttons and more tote bags. I tried not to be too piggish, but when a guard offered to forklift my bag to my car I knew it was time to stop.

The Good: Donna, Liz and Jill, my fellow bloggers at the L.A. Moms Blog were there, too. Jill used her connections to score us a front-row table for the opening presentation, which featured a short speech by Maria Shriver. She was wearing nice shoes.

The Not Bad, But Not Good Either: Rachael Ray, being interviewed by Valerie Bertinelli. I think I've heard it all before on Oprah. Or on those Jenny Craig commercials. I kept wishing Rachael would stop talking and whip up a 30-minute meal.

The Good: The poem read by 18-year old Roshawnda Bettencourt, winner of the California Poetry Out Loud competition. She blew me away.

The Good: My friend Tracey was there, and we discovered the margarita booth...

The Surreal: ...and went straight from there to watch some L.A. Moms Bloggers get their free flu shots at the CVS booth. Probably the only time I'll ever witness a medical procedure while sipping an alcoholic beverage.

The Very, Very Bad, Possibly The Worst: I got locked in a bathroom stall. After futilely jiggling the lock, banging on the door and praying to the restroom Gods, I knew there was only one way out. I put my bags down, and crawled out underneath the door. In a dress. And then practically had to crawl back in, because I couldn't reach one of my bags. I'm waiting for the whole thing to show up on YouTube.

The Awesome: The next morning, at the actual conference, I got to hear Christiane Amanpour speak. What an inspiration. Made me want to get off my ass, step away from the computer and travel the world. Sort of.

The Sad: I left early, to attend the memorial for our school principal. I missed the second half of the conference, which meant I didn't get to see Bonnie Raitt perform, or Bono give what I heard was an incredibly moving speech.

The Good: I no longer think the Women's Conference is a scene out of a bad Amish movie. I'm definitely going next year, and no amount of cat poop will stop me. But I'm definitely not wearing a dress.

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tags: | maria shriver | |

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  1. Damn, I guessed wine, but was thinking tequila. Go with the gut.

  2. pomegranate anything sounds good! So obviously I'm still stuck on the drink...

    .... and thinking "wish Rachel Ray would just stop talking...."

    Oh, was there more? I wish she would just stop talking. LOL.

  3. I have never read your blog before... Until now! You are so dang funny, I am finding myself really laughing out loud. Not just the cute LOL that everyone writes about in emails but actually quite literally!!! Ha!
    Hi... BTW... I am Tracey Clark's sister, Jessica... Nice 2 meet ya... ; )

    Wish I could've gone 2 the conference, sounds AWESOME!!

  4. Very inspirational! (The crawling under the bathroom stall door part.)

  5. Too funny! Great review post....glad I found your blog.

  6. Very funny! Glad I found you!

  7. Maybe the event organizers were running low on booze and so they slipped into the bathroom and locked the stall door to slow you down?

  8. Oink oink!! I was dying laughing at your "forklift" description and remembered the time you and your family were in a hotel with all those "goodies", our family would do the same.

  9. BTW, I'd love to be your date next year. Sounds so inspirational, except the Rachael Ray part.


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