I’m doing two things right now that feel a little… strange.  One is that I’m spending days on end by the bedside of my dying grandmother, holding her hand and carefully watching her body shut down.  The other is that I’m writing about it in real-time.  On the Internet.

My grandmother, Sarah “Sally” Dopp (they gave me her name but not her nickname) is going to die soon. The fact that she hasn’t yet is shocking. She’s come really close. Twice.

The first was Friday afternoon, when my mother called me to say they had stopped her chemo and dialysis treatments, and that she was dying. The doctors didn’t think she’d last a few hours, let alone the whole night.  They were in New Hampshire, I was in San Francisco, and the only bookable flights I could find were red-eyes that would get me there at 6am.  I panicked, packed anyway, and shot a message out to twitter:

Sarahdopp_normalsarahdopp: Grandma’s dying. I need a flight from SFO or OAK to BOS or MHT *right now*. Cant find anything that lands before 6am tomorrow. Can you? Help

I was flooded with messages. More sites to check, tips on how to approach and talk to airlines at the last minute, offers of frequent flier miles, specific research on possible flights, offers to help raise funds to pay for the expensive last minute ticket, ideas for other airports I could fly into, echoes to broader networks of people, and messages of love and support. A few people even started calling airlines on my behalf, asking which flights were already booked and what my other options were.

A dear friend got to my apartment as soon as she could and drove me to the airport. I spent the ride checking messages and calling people, trying to narrow down what airline would be the most likely solution. For each possible flight someone had found for me, I only had a window of 15-30 minutes to buy the ticket and board the plane.  I ran. I got a direct flight. It landed me in Boston at 10:25pm.

I would not have gotten there on Friday without your help.

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i heart blogherI spent four long days at my grandmother’s hospital bedside in New Hampshire and got back here just in time for BlogHer.  That is to say, I’ve been on emotional input overload for the last week, and my brains are a little muddled.  That is to say, the post that I’d like to write about where BlogHer is in the context of its own history and the broader evolution of social media will have to wait.  And so will the post about all the neat stuff I learned at panels this weekend.  In the meantime, I want to give you the post where I shower lots of people with the love that’s still ricocheting around in my brain from the last few days, because that’s what matters right now. That is to say, if you don’t like love, you should probably just stop reading.

Still here? Great! I’m in love with…

  • Mle-Mle for being extraordinarily gracious about the fact that I accidentally locked her out of my apartment and made her roam the streets of San Francisco without sleep for an entire night.
  • Susan Mernit for inviting me to speak on such an inspiring and affirming panel, and for moderating it with such skill and compassion.
  • Fivestar for showing up, for pointing me in the direction of the queers, for helping me flirt with the mommybloggers, and for sporting the hottest blog redesign I’ve seen in awhile.
  • JenB for being so beautifully warm, welcoming, and open when she sat next to me on the panel that I felt like I was chilling out with family instead of speaking in front of 100 people.
  • by Shannon RosaShuna for letting me turn into a cuddly fuzzy pet cat on more than one occasion, and for raising her hand to say (something like) When we own something about ourselves and put out it into the world, the people who want to criticize us can no longer use it against us.  
  • Elkit for hugging me for a full five minutes to help me get my bearings after a painful-to-face serious of panels when my mind and heart and body were already completely exhausted.
  • Amy for making so much space for me.
  • Koan for showing up and telling a hard story to tell, and an important story for people to hear.
  • Nicole Simon for laughing with me as we ate messy Chinese food over a display of $900 shoes at Macy’s.
  • Lisa Williams for wearing dead sexy cowboy boots and for calling me the “Queer Oprah.”
  • Angryrock for crashing the conference (crash! smash! bash!) and for griping up a storm of entertainment.
  • Debbie and Laurie for being consistent voices of strength, reason, guidance, and encouragement. Always.
  • Me in the underwear dept at Macy's, by Liz HenryLiz Henry for licking chocolate off my face and letting me bounce my breasts gratuitously on her head.
  • The Queen of Spain for attempting to introduce me to one of the heads of the Obama campaign while I bounced my breasts gratuitously on Liz Henry’s head, and for gracefully changing the subject by asking me to go hug her husband innappriately on her behalf.
  • Deb Roby for becoming stronger and more gorgeous every day.
  • Maria Niles for slipping me a new vibrator (shhh!).
  • Stephanie for telling her story with an honest smile.
  • Jess for telling her story with honest eye contact.
  • Schmutzie for being a totally charming real person and getting into a mutual-fangirl-oglefest session with me.
  • Denise for hugging me just slightly more often than she teased me.
  • Carfi for getting the word out about the fact that we’ve built the best damned conference widget EVAR, for making me continually proud of my work, and for always wearing a conspicuous hat.
  • Jenijen for kissing me on the cheek whenever she walked by me.
  • Kirrily for pre-stalking me, finding me, and getting me super excited about the direction women’s spaces are moving with O’Reilly conferences.
  • Beth Kanter for sidling up to share tech tips, happy life news, and stories about how her kids are becoming dangerously similar to me.
  • Sean for being the most attractively dressed human being at the conference (sorry, ladies).
  • Genie for standing up tall in all the ways I like to think I would, too, if I were paying as much attention to the world as she does.
  • Lisa, Jory, and Elisa — BlogHer’s founders and fearless leaders — for winning my heart, devotion, and adoration forever and ever and ever.

There’s more.  I’m just too wrapped up in love pillows to keep typing.  You’ll have to take my word for it — the rest of them are amazing, too.

And on that note, thank you everyone for fantastic weekend!  See you again in the fall for the BlogHer Reach-Out Tour (which — yay! — I’ll be tagging along for)!

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I have really exciting news for you (if you haven’t already heard me bragging like crazy about it): I’m the new co-host of San Francisco’s Queer Open Mic!  This is an incredible opportunity for me to give back to something that’s been deeply special in my life for a long time.

The Queer Open Mic has been my creative home for the last year and a half — I go religiously, I love the atmosphere, and I love the people.  Cindy Emch — the open mic’s founder (and the host who’s handing the reigns over to me) — worked her butt off to create a space that felt safe for poets, prose writers, comedians, singer-songwriters, and other artists who fell anywhere along the gender and sexuality spectrums to share their work with one another — even when it wasn’t perfect.  The result was always rich show of ecclectic work that felt deeply personal, creative, inspiring, and generous.

Can you tell I’m in love with this venue?

Oh, and let me tell you about the features!  At every show, there’s a feature performer who takes up about 20 minutes in the middle of the show, and they always knock my socks off. Sometimes it’s a local hero, sometimes it’s a kick-ass artist on tour from another state, and sometimes it’s a bright and shiny Queer Open Mic regular who’s doing their first-ever feature performance.  No matter how you slice it, the show is always intense and beautiful.

by Terrence Taylor, http://flickr.com/photos/fivestar/2035033862/But enough of my gushing, let’s jump to the details.  My first show as co-host is next week and I want you to be there.  To make sure you have plenty of reason to clear your calendars, I’ve booked one of my favorite people on earth — a soulful, funny, kinky, creative, and drop-dead adorable singer-songwriter named Fivestar.

Allow me to introduce you.  Fivestar writes…

I’m originally from South Texas and have been making trouble in the Bay Area for 6 years.  When I’m not working with video and the web, you can find me riding my bike, exploring the fabulousness of this city and making music.  Music has been an emotional outlet for me as far back as i can remember.  I’ve been writing music for ten years for the sole purpose of dealing with heartaches and joys.  Aside from a few past public performances, I mostly sing for my friends.  I started performing Queer Open Mic a few months ago and am excited to find more people to share my passion with.   Thank you!

Visit http://www.iamfivestar.com or http://twitter.com/iamfivestar for more.

The show will be followed by a table full ‘o beer at Zeitgeist (an outdoor bar filled with picnic tables and attractive hipsters) to celebrate Fivestar’s performance, my new role as co-host, and the fact that my best friend from high school just moved to San Francisco (it’s about time, girl!). So even if you can’t make it to the show, you should come out and share a pitcher with us there.

Are you in yet?  Here are the details…

What: Queer Open Mic, featuring Fivestar (and Sarah Dopp’s first night as co-host!!)
When: July 11, 8-10pm (sign-ups start at 7:30), followed by beer at Zeitgeist
Where: The Three Dollar Bill Cafe, San Francisco’s LGBT Center (1800 Market St.)

About the Queer Open Mic
Queer Open Mic is a twice monthly gathering of poets, performers, writers and artists of all types to come together and share art. Proto-feminist and genderqueer in scope, QOM aims to combine raunchy enthusiasm, warmth and community, unapologetic queer, radical politics and sweet rhythms to create a space for spoken word, poetry and performance that is multi cultural, multi gendered, completely inclusive and dynamic. QOM is hosted by Sarah Dopp and Mollena Williams. Please show up around 7:30pm to sign up on the open mic list. You’re encouraged to read one piece of work that is five minutes or less. And by encouraged we mean threatened with spankings, shoe throwings and general hilarious tantrums if you don’t follow the rules.