BlogHer, a Neti Pot, and Me

Photo on 2-11-13 at 4.48 PM #2A cold caught me.  It’s had me for over two weeks.  Not a down-in-bed kind of illness; just the persistent, oh-you-wanted-to-sleep-sorry-I’m-gonna-make-you-cough sort of sickness.  Three days ago I got the Netti Pot out.

Now the Neti Pot is loved and recommended by many, including Mom, Number One Grandson, and Love-One.  That said, Neti Pot seems like some sort of twisted torture to me.  You want me to pour a teapot full of water up my nose?  I don’t think so.  It hardly matters that I actually feel better after my sinuses are purged with saline.  Who the heck thought this thing up?  It must have been the same bad mother who came up with nose-drops and mustard-plasters.  Maybe the same bad mother that told me to get out there, be myself, and meet people.

I got a SinusSense Waterpik battery operated Neti Pot in August 2011.  Free.  Maybe a little automation will help me get over the idea of pouring water into my nose.   Yesterday, I broke the package seal.  Inside, I found a little pink slip of paper that reminded me to blog about my SinusSense experience.  You see, the Waterpik Neti Pot was part of my BlogHer conference swag experience.

Oh the swag, the wonderful swag.  The corporate representation at BlogHer told me more than anything, somewhere, somehow, people are making a profit.  The level of representation rivaled any chemistry, microbiology, or pharmaceutical industry conference in my entire career.  And the companies at the BlogHer conferences really want to know what I think.

I went to the BlogHer Conference three years in a row, BlogHer ’09, BlogHer ’10, and BlogHer ’11.  I recommend the conference to everyone who is new, or not so new to blogging.  The BlogHer conferences opened up a whole new world of knowledge to me and I gained new friendships.

Chicago BlogHer ’09:

This is a crazy sign I saw in the Metra Station. That’s my purse, so I’m not scared.

My first year among 1500 other bloggers. I went on the student ticket, commuted from home, via Metra.  I was still working on my MS in Written Communications at National Louis University.  That’s the year I learned people make money blogging, and get sponsorships, and scholarships.  Holy Crap!  Blogging is big.  I had a tiny, embryonic blog:  “The Black Tortoise,” hosted through Apple’s iWeb.  Google’s AdSense is one of iWeb’s widgets, so I got an account and installed some ads.   I still had to learn about tags and categories.  I never heard of WordPress or BlogSpot.

Chicago is where I met Linda Lowen, from  We sat down beside each other and listened to the scholarship recipients talk.  Oh my!   Ordinary, extraordinary people really change the world blogging.  How inspiring.  Linda and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows and began talking.

“More people should be here, instead of at ‘Feminism in the Post-Palin World,” Linda said.

“Were you there?”

“I could hardly believe the number of fervent Palin supporter.”

“Come on, a President must have a minimal command of the English language.”

We are Birds of a Feather.  Linda and I exchange business cards.  It sure is a good thing Schmutzie told me we needed them. Otherwise, I would have been clueless and cardless.  I designed and made a few on my own:  “The Black Tortoise (wisdom born with age)”, with my url and e-mail address.

“What’s your blog about?” I’m asked at the meet up.

“Umm… It’s in the embryonic stage,” I say.   “I have a page about medicines, another about fun, laid-back places for baby boomers to take their grandchildren or their loved-one, and a page of interviews of interesting people I’ve met.”

“Would you be interested in interviewing authors?”

That’s how I met Gloria Feldt and Amy Ferris.  Plus, I got advance copies of their books to review.  I will never, ever forget Amy’s stories of her short-lived hippie life in a commune and how she got kicked for shaving her legs.  How funny.

I left that first BlogHer conference with a load of cards, a few new friends, and a boat-load of gifts from the sponsor booths.  I’m still using the nylon tote that squishes up tight enough to put in my jean’s pocket, or fasten to a belt-loop.

Linda and I keep in touch.  She encourages my writing and published my story “Grown,” on just in time for Fathers’ Day.  “Grown” tells the emotional roller coaster I rode through my father’s terminal illness and eventual death.  It’s evergreen on  A whole year later, a man e-mails me to thank me for “Grown,” telling me it helped him understand what his wife was going through with the loss of her father.  Okay, I’m far from an award winning activist; still my words do make a difference.

New York BlogHer ’10:  Back Camera

Linda e-mailed  and offered to sell me her ticket.  Something’s come up and she can’t go.  It’s a lot of money, but Loved One and I have a place to stay with Hilton Honor points and we can make it a vacation, too.  This time I have two blogs and some double-sided-designed-by-me business cards printed by Office Depot: “Once A Little Girl,” (Be like a child) and “The Black Tortoise,” (Wisdom born with age.)  Oh yeah,  the two sides of Adela represented on the two sides of my card.  I get it when another blogger points it out to me.  Loved One reminds me that I am an “unconscious competent.”

I get a great ego-booster when I stop by the tech support booth and meet Denise.  I’m trying to install the BlogHer badge on my “Once a Little Girl” WordPress site.

“You’re “Once a Little Girl”?” Denise gives me a big smile and turns to the woman on the other side of me.

“This is Once a Little Girl,” she says to Karen.

“I’m SassyMonkey,” Karen says.

“I read everything you write,” gushes Denise.  “I suggested BlogHer feature your Mother’s Day piece.”

I will never, ever, ever forget that day.  My voice is not only heard, I have real fans.  And we’re not even related.  I started “Once a Little Girl” as a warm exercise for the novel I’m writing.  I really thought maybe family would be interested.  At this point, I haven’t been syndicated on BlogHer yet, but I will be.  By 2011, I will be featured on “Own Your Own Beauty,” and have a couple of posts syndicated.

I had to go to San Diego BlogHer ’11:

Zoots Alore, I’m a BlogHer 2011 Voice of the Year Honoree.  Indeed, I had no special rate, I “retired” from my regular job, and I was working full-time as a free-lance writer/consultant.  Mostly working hard and getting paid little.  I no longer qualified for a student rate.  I hem and haw about the expense of attending until Loved One said, “You must.  You’re an honoree.”

San Diego is where I learned about “Listen to Your Mother,” met many more elder-bloggers—none of us embraced that tag; we threw around our preferences:  senior bloggers, mature bloggers, granny bloggers, even crone bloggers.  Everyone loved my tag-line, Wisdom Born with Age.  Yes, “The Black Tortoise” is still alive, as is “Once a Little Girl.”  I profited one whole penny from my iWeb AdSense ads, and then I migrated over to BlueHost, where “The Black Tortoise” is a now-familiar WordPress blog.

San Diego is where I got up and danced on stage and got my free Just Dance T-shirt.  San Diego is where I met the Google girls who told me in their twenty-something swagger that I didn’t have a very clear sense of my brand and if I wanted to monetize my blog, I better figure it out. I’m still working on that one.

San Diego is where I met surfer-shaman, Jesica Davis, of SurfPrayLove in “A Room of My Own” for faith bloggers.  Maybe I never intended to be a faith-blogger, but a lot of people of faith do like my blogs.  Those Google girls might be right; I’m wandering around, writing what I’m interested in, meeting people, getting inspired and making friends along the way, and being, well, being like a child.

San Diego is where I got my SinuSense.  And now I’ve tried it. Photo on 2-11-13 at 4.42 PM I warmed the saline up in the microwave, plugged the rubber tip into my nostril, and… Wow!  I feel great.  Well, for a day.  I’m still struggling to shake the cold.  I love this thing.

I’m still working on my novel; I’m still blogging at both “Once a Little Girl;” and “The Black Tortoise.”   I’m getting published in print and on-line; and I got featured twice this year on I’m reading books on how to monetize my blog, and I have the right plug-ins installed.  Still, I need some help.

Okay, I’m still not making a lot of money with my writing. But…. here’s my goal for 2013:  Make enough money to pay my taxes and get a ream of rejection letters in my cabinet.  I am certain if I get one, I’ll get the other.  I know I, I know, that sounds awful.  But it’s probably like the Neti Pot, I just need to do it, then I’ll feel better.

I better get cracking and sign up for BlogHer ’13, back in Chicago.

I see they’ve got a pre-conference session, “My Blog as a Book Proposal.”  I might have found my niche.   Or maybe I will continue to be multi-faceted.  One thing’s for certain, I still have a whole lot more to learn.

Photo on 2-11-13 at 4.52 PM





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