This week wound up being more than I could handle, apparently. We all know what good intentions are used for so I'll leave it at that.
The MilBlog conference has come and gone and I am glad I went. Even though my 44 hours on the ground was rivaled by my 36 hours in the air, it was worth every cramped minute in coach. It was truly good for my soul. I won't give you a play by play because, honestly, I've slept since then and I'm sure I've already forgotten 1/2 of it all. But there were many highlights:
(in no particular order)
* meeting Boq. A regular commenter on several of the blogs I frequent, it was wonderful to finally meet him in person! Sadly it was all too brief but I'll take what I can get. The same can be said for my time with Cass but she had a migraine so I'll cut her some slack. And I might have a chance to actually buy her a Blue Hawaiian in the near future so that should make up for not being able to spend ample time with her in DC.
* meeting some of the people from Team Rubicon. I admire their work greatly and would like nothing more than to be able to participate the next time they are needed (which is a major reason why I want to get my EMT certification, among other reasons) so to meet some of them was awesome. Gary Cagle is a sweetheart as is Will McNulty.
* seeing old friends. We really should do this whole "conference" thing more than once a year. Preferably here in Hawaii. I'm already counting days until the 2011 conference.
* meeting Lt.G who, come to find out, was stationed here with 25ID while blogging. Small world. I'm placing my order for his book right now!
* meeting new friends. Most people find it odd that I would fly 1/2 way around the world to meet people in person that I know so much about through the internet. Kind of like a mail-order bride but without the intimacy (well...for the most part). I find it completely normal. And I love the "Oh my gosh!!!" feeling that comes when you meet someone, face to face, that you've "known" online for months and years. It's a great feeling and something I had the pleasure of experiencing several times this past weekend.
* listening to Michael Yon call in from Afghanistan to talk to our roomful of bloggers. I've admired him for years and this is probably about as close as I'll ever get to meeting him in person (other than his Facebook page) so it was wonderful to listen to him talk about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. Disappointing to hear that he's been disembedded but happy to hear he's planning another book.
* watching GEN Petraeus' taped introduction Saturday morning. Almost as awesome as watching President Bush's taped introduction to the same conference three years ago. Very cool. In addition to that, there were several high-ranking military officials either on the panels or in the audience. It's good to see the different branches of service really start to realize what an asset social media can be.
* seeing MaryAnn from Soldiers' Angels. She was my lifeline to our good friend E when he was injured in Iraq and I am forever grateful for her and for Soldiers' Angels who took care of E in Germany and at Walter Reed. Not to mention the fact that she's just...cool.