Friday, July 8, 2016

The con-fer-rence

This post is going to be a bit different because it is focused entirely on the 2016 BlogPaws Conference that Momma attended at the end of June. She had no intention of going before being named a finalist in the Best Pet Humor Blog category - so it was a whirlwind of a month and a half to catch up and be ready to go. After the conversation with Bear, you'll find the list of people (and one cat) I loved meeting, pictures of the "swag" Momma brought home, and several pictures from the conference itself (all including Momma - you've been warned - if you don't know what Momma looks like, you will now. Sorry.).

BC: Bear Cat
MK: Momma Kat

Daily conversation - The con-fer-rence:
BC: So how was your gonorrhea?
MK: Excuse me?
BC: Your gonorrhea?
{Pause}
BC: Err ... Posterior? Conscience? Confluence?
MK: Conference?
BC: Yeah! THAT!
MK: Maybe I'm just crazy ...
BC: Yes.
MK: ... But how is "gonorrhea" ANYTHING LIKE ... wait ... YES what?
BC: You're crazy.
MK: Says the cat that confused the word "gonorrhea" with "conference."
BC: They're not the same thing?
MK: Not really. Though for a time, I did avoid both equally.
BC: So you don't avoid gonorrhea anymore?
MK: I quit.
BC: I meant the "con-fer-rence." All these words ... so confusing.
MK: Not really THAT confusing.
BC: Okay. You're right. I just don't care.
MK: Fantastic.
BC: So what do you do at a con-fer-rence? 
MK: Well ...
BC: ... Sniff each others' butts? Group groom? Competitive fetching?
MK: What?
BC: Was there any hissing? Patty cakes? Tasty whole chickens?
MK: No.
BC: So it was boring?
MK: NO! Will you just wait for me to tell you?
BC: {sigh} Fine.
MK: There were sessions about things like "Monetizing your blog," "Content creation," "Impactful photography,""Growing your blog," "Time management," and the assumption that "Cat Lovers Don't Read Books."
BC: You read books. You love cats.
MK: Yes, I'm aware. At the photography session I got distracted by the kittens they brought in to demonstrate photography.
BC: Wait, wait, wait! WHAT?!?!
MK: They came in at the end and since I was sitting in the front row, I got to hold two of them. I also totally stopped paying attention when they showed up.
BC: You ignore ME! But you let yourself get distracted by total strangers?!?! Oh, I see how it is! The KITTENS are new and shiny! I'm just the same old Bear Cat! {GASP} You didn't bring any of them home with you, did you?
MK: Don't you think you'd know by now?
BC: I DID detect strange scents ...
MK: Yep. That would've been those two kittens, plus another cat that was there with his human. Though I did pet Summer from Sparkle Cat and a few other cats and dogs that were there.
BC: HMPH.
MK: And I got a bunch of free stuff and talked to a whole bunch of companies. Some of them make really cool new products like these halos for blind dogs to tell them when they're about to walk into something. And these special supports for dogs with hip dysplasia. Oh! And a company that offers planning services and a way to store all your information for if something happens to me and someone needs to take over your care. You know how big I am on making plans so that if something happens to me, you'll be taken care of. There was also a service for 24/7 support from veterinary professionals. And information about cat only vet practices.
BC: {YAWN}.
MK: Did I mention free stuff?
BC: Like? 
MK: The catnip you've gone fruity over. The new wand toys we've been playing with. The sparkle balls. That one toy with the feathers that you destroyed within a few seconds of sniffing it. 
BC: It was like a feather explosion!
MK: You're telling me! I was the one that had to clean it up!
BC: You could've left it for me to roll around in! You know I like to celebrate my conquests by showing my superiority over the vanquished foes.
MK: Cat food, cat treats ...
BC: WHERE?
MK: I thought that'd get your attention. Now that I'm done cataloging it, I'll start letting you try most of the stuff.
BC: What? And keep the best things for yourself?
MK: NO. I'm just very picky about what I feed you. If it's going to make you sick or affect your health, it's not worth it.
BC: Did you get any tasty whole chickens?
MK: No.
BC: What kind of ... kind of ...
MK: Conference?
BC: Yes!
MK: The best part was all the new friends I made. Going to the conference was like walking into a world where all the people get you without you even having to say a word.
BC: I don't get you, and I've lived with you for ten years!
MK: {sigh}. And no one thinks you're crazy for loving your furry companion.
BC: Let me tell you, people'd be crazy to NOT love their furry companions ...
MK: True.
BC: ... Assuming those furry companions are cats.
MK: {sigh}.
BC: You know what I would love?
MK: Snuggles with your Momma who missed you while she was gone?
BC: TASTY WHOLE CHICKENS!!!
MK: {sigh} Of course. I'll include that in the survey for suggestions for next year.
BC: GOOD!
{Pause}
BC: Did you say snuggles?
MK: I love you, Bear.
BC: I love TASTY WHOLE CHICKENS!!!
MK: Right.

Who did Momma meet? 
(In no particular order; I also have to say that most of these ladies don't read our blog - but I don't care and I'm naming them anyway because I like them and their work. I only say they might not read our blog because I don't want to imply any kind of endorsement of this blog by them by their appearance here. The endorsement is solely mine. And yes, those are links to their blogs should you choose to partake of them ... hint, hint.)

* Summer AND her Mom (Janiss Garza); SparkleCat Featuring Summer.
Of everyone I wanted to meet at the conference, Summer was #1. She's a Somali cat and absolutely, stunningly, beautiful. Besides her huge heart, her expressions can't be beat and I guarantee you will fall in love with her too. Poor Janiss had to deal with me fawning over Summer every time I saw her. I acted like I should've with the boy bands (NKOTB ... ugh) of my day, but never really idolizing anyone, no matter how hot or famous, I waited for somecat extra special, and that's Summer. And everyone else at the conference heard me recounting Summer's posts when she wasn't around. I might be obsessed, but I'm not sorry.

* Allie, Faraday and Maxwell's Mom (Lisa Richman); A Tonk's Tale.
You'll fall in love with these cats if you read their "About" page!! Poor Lisa had to listen to me go on and on about her cats every time we were alone. Just in case she forgot any of her posts, I retold them to her near verbatim.

* Katie and Waffles' Mom (Debbie Glovatsky); Glogirly.
Winner of the Nose-To-Nose Award in the Best Pet Humor category. Debbie had no reason to be nice to me - but she is the kindest and funniest person you will ever meet. I'm not sure WHY she'd want to be my friend and have her picture taken with me ... but fake it until you make it, right? And Waffles' 15 inch tail came up in more than a few of our conversations (you KNOW you're curious and want to go to her blog to check out this tail - it's quite impressive).

* Truffle and Brulee's Mom (Paula Gregg); Sweet Purrfections.
Paula is an amazing, AMAZING woman. To talk to her for only a few minutes will blow you away. And her silver Persians are BEAU-TI-FUL!

* Wally, Zoey, and Ernie's Mom (Sue Doute); The Island Cats.
One of the nicest and most welcoming women you will ever meet. Poor Zoey has to put up with her younger brothers ... and she's learned (very smartly) that fooling them is easier than fighting them.

* Dexter, Sophie, and Olive's Mom (Rachel Loehner); Three Chatty Cats.
Momma's conference buddy and partner in all 2 1/2 trips down the red carpet (not bad considering we didn't even want to do it once). A DOUBLE Nose-to-Nose finalist in the Best Cause Blog AND Best New Blog categories.

* Coco Chanel, Valentina Rossa, Manhattan Bay, Bessie, and Lulu's Mom (Laura Zaccardi); Squeedunk Cats.
Laura did one of the most amazing things for me: she saved me a seat at the "big girl's table," at the Awards Banquet. "Big Girl's" meaning accomplished, established, and all around amazing. I didn't belong there - but she saved me a seat anyway. And she's one of the few people I felt I already knew before meeting her.

* Manna and Dexter's Mom (Robin Mudge - Playful Kitty) and Rascal and Rocco's Mom (LE Mastilock - Rascal And Rocco). 
Momma wanted to meet these women so much and was starting to get disappointed late on Saturday night that she wouldn't meet them. And then THERE THEY WERE. Not only that, but we all talked late into the night and I have to admit it was one of the best and most rewarding conversations of my entire life. These two women are incredible, strong women and I count myself fortunate to call them my friends and to have heard their stories.

* Elizabeth Keene of Chronicles of Cardigan

She was an ambassador this year and after reading her blog and laughing so hard I couldn't breathe (more than once), I really, really wanted to meet her. Everything she touches is excellent and she was very helpful to me. When I was feeling unsure and like I wanted to hide, she spread her proverbial wings and dragged coaxed me back out of the nest. She also took over an hour to help me learn a bit about photo editing. If you've noticed our photos looking lighter and some of the older ones being replaced with better edited photos, she's to thank (if you haven't noticed ... it's not her fault, I'm still working on it).

* Deb Barnes from Zee and Zoey's Cat Chronicles.

The most spirited lover of felines anywhere. She lives, breathes (and probably sleeps) feline - and what's better than that? If you stop by her blog, you will find the most beautiful clowder of cats ANYWHERE.

* Janet Blue of The Cat on My Head.

She hosts the Sunday Selfies blog hop. While Momma was hoping to spend more time with her, it didn't happen which was probably the biggest disappointment of the conference for me.

* Christine Michaels from Riverfront Cats and Pawsitively Humane

Christine is the most beautiful (inside and outside) and passionate woman you will ever meet. Talk to her for only a few minutes and you'll be ready to foster 100 cats and save the world. We talked about TNR and rescuing cats as well as an issue I'll cover in a separate post because I want to research it adequately first. Check out her organizations - she's worked hard to be an advocate for cats and she's an inspiration for rescuers, for those that want to make a difference, for women, AND for everyone else.

* Marjorie Dawson of DASH Kitten.
This year's international ambassador and one of the most spirited proponents that every single life matters - no matter where it was born, its current health condition, or the requirements of that condition to be nursed back to health. She FEELS and RECOGNIZES the souls and spirits of all cats - which I can relate to and deeply respect. 

The "swag."




Conference pictures (copyright of individual named):
(c) Elizabeth Keene (Chronicles of Cardigan); slightly edited by Momma.
One of the "Newbie" tables at breakfast.


(c) Annabelle Denmark Photography; slightly edited by Momma.
(LEFT): Momma getting advice from Yvonne DiVita, co-founder of BlogPaws, over breakfast; (RIGHT): Momma in the exhibition hall.


(c) Annabelle Denmark Photography; slightly edited by Momma.
(LEFT): Opening night remarks and announcement of next year's conference location; (RIGHT): Momma (err ... her back) at the Cat Writer's Association Banquet. 


(c) Annabelle Denmark Photography; slightly edited by Momma.
Momma Kat on the Red Carpet before the Awards Banquet.


(c) Monique Rodriquez (Silver Paw Studio); slightly edited by Momma.
(LEFT): 2016 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Award Finalists; (RIGHT): Momma on the Red Carpet.


28 comments:

  1. My word, so much swag in so little time, but where's the cream? I'd be sending peeps back to demand cream, oh and Pizza, maybe a few mice too. purrs ERin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not a fan of cream myself. But a cream and mouse pizza sounds tasty ... along with a few Niptinis and a beautiful Princess ... hint, hint. ~Bear Cat

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  2. All that swag but not a single tasty whole chicken, huh? Awww... MOUSES!

    Purrs,
    Seville

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    Replies
    1. I know! I made my Momma put that as feedback on the conference survey. Next year should include tasty whole chickens!!! ~Bear Cat

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  3. All that swag but not a single tasty whole chicken, huh? Awww... MOUSES!

    Purrs,
    Seville

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    Replies
    1. I know! I made my Momma put that as feedback on the conference survey. Next year should include tasty whole chickens!!! ~Bear Cat

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  4. That's a lot of cool stuff ! Thank you for sharing with us ! Purrs

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    1. Momma didn't do too bad, did she? THAT'S a surprise! ~Bear Cat

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  5. What great swag! And you got a Kitty Kasa cube, too! We're imagining how your human got that home, Bear. Those are super-cool!

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    1. How she got it home? VERY CAREFULLY :) No. Just kidding. She took an extra huge duffel bag with her (empty on the way there) and was able to throw all the extra free stuff in the box that came with the cube so she had two checked bags of swag (I scolded her because the swag was more valuable than her stuff. Boo. She should've checked HER stuff). ~Bear Cat

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  6. What a great recap! Maybe next year I'll be invited to the "big girls" table, too! :-)

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    1. You WERE invited ...
      If you wondered, I edited you out of the red carpet pics because I thought you'd prefer that. In retrospect, I should've asked first - I don't want you to think I don't like you or anything - I was just trying to be respectful of your privacy. I figured I might as well challenge myself to include pictures of myself, no matter how much I didn't like them ...

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  7. I am glad your Momma had a great time and brought you home lots of swag.

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    1. She didn't do bad ... this time. I might keep her for another year :) ~Bear Cat

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  8. Hey Bear! We're SO glad to hear Momma Kat had such a good experience at BlogPaws. The mom says it really is a fun time...mainly because she gets to hang with people who don't get sick of her talk about us all the time! And the swag! We don't mind a bit that she goes because she brings us home the most pawsome stuff. The mom says she was glad to meet Momma Kat...and she hopes she gets to hang with her again.

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    1. My Momma would love that! She regrets that she didn't get to know you, Ernie, Zoey, and Wally better (because the cats are first and foremost, right?). She loves hearing stories about cats' shenanigans and I'm sure yours have plenty beyond what you choose to post on your blog. ~Bear Cat

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  9. The BP conferences are the best! I have been to 3, couldn't make the last two..............lots of great times!catchatwithcarenandcody

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  10. What great photos from BlogPaws. Our loot finally arrived yesterday...two whole weeks to get here. And the boxes haven't even been opened yet. What's that about? XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

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    1. Hopefully Calista Jo gets to pick out her present soon :)

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  11. Our girl was SO happy to meet you, MK! She thinks you're a sweetie and is excited to have a new friend. She's also blushing over all the nice things you've said about her. BIG purrs to you both!
    ~Katie & Waffles

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  12. So glad we got to meet and that we could share our stories. So wished we all had more time together there. Glad you were there and thank you for being so open! Definitely want to keep in touch and get to know you better

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    1. That would make me so happy! I've been such a mess since the conference, I need a plan to ensure I get to the pages/blogs I WANT to know better and really care about (like yours). I feel bad that I haven't been following up better.

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  13. Gonorrhea ...bawahahahhahahahahahahahaha. That would have been a whole different kind of conference. Sorry, we didn't have time to chat. I know we met briefly after the awards, but by that time I was about ready to run for the hills after having to speak in front of people and dogs and cats.

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    1. Don't apologize ... I get it. Actually, speaking in front of dogs and cats wouldn't stress me out ... but the people? Yeah, it's probably good I didn't win. I hope we get to know each other better though - one way or another!

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  14. YOU did brilliantly I wish I had talked much more. We need to meet up in 2018 when I next visit! You and Bear were so worthy to be finlaists and I suggest keeping up your Finalist badge for a LOOOOOOOONG TIME. I have ours up for when Dash Kitten was joint collaborative post winner with Savannahs Paw Tracks and Nerissa's Life blogs

    Marjorie and the Dash Kitten Crew

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    1. Thank you. I try, but I'm still learning. 2018 it is! I asked about you twenty times a day and no one ever saw you when I asked! :(

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