the smell of my desperation has become a stench

SXSW Detox

Jon and I got back late yesterday from our quick trip to SXSW in Austin. The whole trip seems like a blur now, every second of our stay scheduled out into meetings and panels and interviews. I’ll be writing up my impressions of the conference later today after I have fully recovered from the worst hangover I have ever experienced. The one goal I had going into our last night in Austin was simple: Make it so that I don’t throw up the next day. I am proud to report that I have as much ambition for failure as I do for success because NO ONE IN THE WORLD has ever missed the mark as spectacularly as I did two nights ago. Notice the evidence circulating on the Internet:

Where everyone is standing a safe distance from my propellor arms.


Oddly, I don’t even remember this.

Or this.

I wish I could forget this.

The Avon World Sales Leader would be so proud.

The beginning of the loss of my memory.

Jon did comfort me last night in bed as I lay motionless, my body battered and bruised from gagging every two minutes for the previous 12 hours. He said, “I want you to know that I was not embarrassed last night. Not at all. I was just worried that you might actually hurt someone.”

Leta stayed with my father during this trip and was returned to us yesterday looking about 15 pounds heavier. Turns out she eats for other people and in turn poops for them, too. Nothing could have made this trip more complete than knowing that my Republican Father, Man Who Vehemently Denies The Existence of Any Bodily Function, had to change over seven poopy diapers. That was more satisfying than forcing him to sit still and listen to Al Franken. Almost.

This morning as all three of us were lying half-awake in bed eating dry Fruity Pebbles Leta stuck her foot in the air, grabbed her large toe and chirped, “Piggy went to market,” which was thrilling for several reasons, the first of which is OH MY GOD SHE’S STRINGING TOGETHER SUBJECTS AND VERBS, the logical next step is award winning poetry. This is also evidence that my father showered her with love: he has this thing with toes, loves to pull and twist them and cause injury, and he taught her that piggy game where each toe is a piggy, one going to market, the other staying home, etc. Throughout my childhood he showed us love by pulling our toes, and it warms my heart to know that while we were gone he showed that same love to my child, that special love of yanking her toes out of their sockets. I’d say we’re one step closer to inheriting those leather couches.

  • Grace D

    2006/03/15 at 5:23 pm

    I came close to crying when I saw all those moms with their babies in frontpacks, waiting to meet you at Halcyon. There was so much affection for you, and you gave it right back to everyone. In a word – rad.

    Now that all of this is over, I can tell you that I was packing some heat in case some stalker dared to fuck with you. You’re welcome.

  • espressobean04

    2006/03/15 at 3:50 pm

    So glad you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing the photos. :o)

  • Laura

    2006/03/15 at 4:59 pm

    I’m still recovering myself. On the plane, I had a ginger ale, some peanuts and tylenol all lined up on the tray.

    It was great hearing you speak.

  • eddeaux

    2006/03/15 at 3:28 pm

    so glad you were able to experience Texas in such a great way. Austin is awesome, next time come to Dallas and we’ll show you a good time.

  • CartwheelsAtMidnight

    2006/03/15 at 2:54 pm

    How much fun was THAT!

    Damn with the living vicariously. It sucks.

  • gabip

    2006/03/15 at 1:36 pm

    OK Heather, you have sooooo many talents, the writing, the photography, the ability to make us laugh….but alas, girlfriend cannot dance. Elaine, I mean Heather, two out of three isn’t bad.

  • Wendy Mac

    2006/03/15 at 2:04 pm

    Ha ha ha ha! Heather, you totally crack me up!

    I love the way you dance, you are just so darn cute.

    No wonder Jon loves you so much.

  • whisper_lover

    2006/03/15 at 12:47 pm

    My heart did a little flutter-thing when I saw that Leta was stringing together subjects and verbs…just wanted to let you know! She’s so adorable.

    Hahahaaa…the thought of your bodily-functions-phobia dad changing Leta’s diaper multiple times made me laugh so hard! Just desserts!

    Oh, and, of course…beautiful dance moves…you’re gorgeous!

  • laurie

    2006/03/15 at 12:49 pm

    looks like ya’ll had an awesome time!

  • Denice

    2006/03/15 at 12:54 pm

    Are you sure you want to own a couch passed down from a parent? For sure, for sure?

  • greenthumb

    2006/03/15 at 1:02 pm

    Amanda B.: Silly girl, don’t you know? A sharpie won’t get you anywhere, but ShopVac, that will do the trick.

  • jackie

    2006/03/15 at 1:02 pm

    It was totally righteous meeting you on Monday, even if you aren’t “righteous” enough for BYU.

    The pictures are fantastic, but what they don’t show is that outside the frame, there are about five people per square foot. Were they giving you a wide berth because you’re famous? Because they fear the propellor arms? It’s hard to say.

    I think you did Austin right, after all.

  • Jenie

    2006/03/15 at 12:37 pm

    Wow…that’s some ummmm…..good dancing. *snort* lol

    Glad to see you had a good time.

  • Alissa Szarek

    2006/03/15 at 12:38 pm

    I so wish I was in Austin to see this. Thank goodness for digital cameras!

  • katielauren

    2006/03/15 at 1:17 pm

    And this whole time I’ve been thinking my father was the only sicko that showed love by pulling on my toes until I cried. I swear my little toe is all crooked because of this!

  • Katie

    2006/03/15 at 12:24 pm

    Those photos are brilliant. Pulitzer prize winning.

  • tksinclair

    2006/03/15 at 12:28 pm

    Hey, look at it this way, at least you didn’t sing Karaoke! Wish I could say the same about my last binge when with little encouragement I “performed” (and I use the word performed generously) “Oh Mickey you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Mickey!” That was New Years Eve 1999 and I haven’t left the house since!

  • Naomi

    2006/03/15 at 12:10 pm

    You’re so cool. Also you remind me of my good friend, Priscilla, who also does wonderfully hysterical things when she’s tanked…and is giantly tall and enviously thin.

  • Tarin

    2006/03/15 at 12:20 pm

    Oh, thank God.

    Podcast of your keynote revealed that, “GOT INNERNET ON THA THANG?” is NOT how you really sound. Not that there’s anything wrong with sounding like that, it’s just not what I thought you’d sound like…so when you did sound like that, well…it threw me for a loop.

    So what you said about not wanting personal appearances to get in the way of the relationship or perception formed with dooce, you’ll be happy to discover that, in this case anyway, it is your personal appearance (albeit audio-via-podcast personal) that realligned said perception.

    The twang I’d been affording your recent posts wasn’t sitting right and now I know why. And I am relieved.

  • marian

    2006/03/15 at 11:45 am

    Oh man. Honey you have done yourself proud. This is priceless.

  • Monika

    2006/03/15 at 11:57 am


    Thanks for sharing the pics, I’m laughing with you not at you, I swear! Hey, props to you for knowing how to have fun!

  • shauna

    2006/03/15 at 11:33 am

    ooh er mate, your voice is just so foxy!

    really enjoyed the keynote, especially hearing about the way you approach writing… great stuff 🙂

  • happykat

    2006/03/15 at 11:44 am

    I was going to say thanks fo re-opening the comments section, but now I think I will curse you for it! CURSES! Do you know how long it takes to get through these. It’s like reading a bill going through Congress!

  • kefuller77

    2006/03/15 at 11:15 am

    I know this is totally random and perhaps a bit irritating, but, may I ask what brand of jeans you wear? You always seem to have the most fabulous jeans. I need to get me some of them!

  • laura

    2006/03/15 at 11:18 am

    No, I was not under the influence of any intoxicating elements when I posted my original comment…but it sure as hell read like I did. So here goes, attempt #2…

    absolutely hysterical. looks like you had a great time =)

    those red shoes are THE SEX. they would make my feet look like huge, ugly tomatoes, but you definitely rock them.

  • Beverlee

    2006/03/15 at 11:10 am

    I remember (sort of!) times in my past where having a night like this was what I totally needed. It was cleansing in a sort of mentally and physically painful way. I just get tired now. I envy and admire your ability and of taking the opportunity to totally let go!

  • mindylou00

    2006/03/15 at 11:12 am

    Hey, I just wanted to say it was so great getting to meet and hang out with you and Jon on Monday. It was refreshing to see that you are even cooler in person (not that I doubted for a minute! haha) I’m glad you had a good time in Austin. Those pictures are priceless!!

  • Fuzzy

    2006/03/15 at 10:55 am

    Hi Heather

    Nice to see from these photos that you are as shy and retiring as your writing would leads us to believe.

  • literatigirl

    2006/03/15 at 11:10 am

    May I suggest Heather, that you eschew your case of “intoxihumilation” and simply chalk it all up to an aspect of your personality without which you would be incomplete. After nights out in which I have gotten thoroughly sloshed (though thankfully I seem to have put vomiting by the wayside in my later years) and am begging my husband to console me that I wasn’t really the giant fool I thought I was, I take comfort in remembering that I am really the only one who has an entire sense of just how silly I actually am. Plus, you are clearly, like me, a drunk who becomes a great lover of the world and everything in it. This is always better and more forgiveable than the drunk who berates her fellow men and women for being half the person she is.

    I’d also suggest beer- though I understand the unappealing calorie content manifest therein.

  • KimH

    2006/03/15 at 10:55 am

    Thank GOD I wasn’t drinking anything, it would surely have come out of my nose as I was laughing.

    Looks like you had a blast!

    Waiting to see some pics like that of Jon. Surely he can do the SAFETY DANCE! Or did he just laugh at you and take pictures?

  • Karen Rani

    2006/03/15 at 10:48 am

    LOVED the photos – and I love that comments are open too. I hope no one forces you to close them again. That whole sense of community is really nice.

  • kristyk

    2006/03/15 at 10:43 am

    I’m so glad Jon posted the link to the podcasts. I’ve listened to the keynote, but haven’t made it through the Q & A yet [kids!]. It was interesting to hear the thought process behind choosing advertising vs. subscription and the results experienced by both of you. It was like a science project.

  • Charles R. Kaiser

    2006/03/15 at 10:29 am

    I stand corrected. . .

    It’s an American English thing 😉

  • the kim half of glamorouse

    2006/03/15 at 10:41 am

    There is something so comforting in knowing you get drunk. Because you know, the no pooing thing just heightens your God-like status (although I’m sure it has quite an aroma on its overdue arrival).

  • Wicked H

    2006/03/15 at 10:25 am

    Dance like nobody’s watching. Words to live by.

    Welcome back!

  • Nifle

    2006/03/15 at 10:19 am

    I am sooooo glad that I wasn’t in Austin yesterday, no offense, because if I was I would still be laughing at work from having sooooo much fun! Next time you’re in Memphis, I am taking ya’ll to Beale Street!

  • Irina

    2006/03/15 at 10:11 am

    Has anyone said Holy Shit yet? Because I see these and think: Holy Shit. In a good, speechless way, of course.

  • Kate

    2006/03/15 at 10:15 am

    Oh. My. God. I want to go out with you guys SO much. If you ever come to New York City please please please let me buy you a drink.

  • Melissa

    2006/03/15 at 10:01 am

    That’s sweet about your dad. I hope you feel better soon.

  • MamaKBear

    2006/03/15 at 10:01 am

    Looks like a good time was had by all, especially a certain little monkey! Hehehe!

    My 3 yr old goes to Grandma’s and eats like we’ve been starving her, but at home it’s such a battle. Good grief…

  • Amanda B.

    2006/03/15 at 10:08 am

    It’s fabulous to see you laughing and having fun. Super-staaaaah.

    But the dancing. Oh, Heather, the dancing…

    *tries to remove part of frontal lobe with sharpie*

  • Annejelynn

    2006/03/15 at 9:58 am

    what I like most is in the daily pic, there’s a fellow off to the right, behind Trott and Coates and he has the lipstick remains of a kiss on his cheek!

  • 39andwaiting

    2006/03/15 at 9:38 am

    This is my first post. I have had the pleasure of enjoying your site for the past three months. I have no idea how I ended up here, but so glad I did. I enjoy viewing your website and photos daily and I love your humor. I am a 39, divorced, no children female finally figuring out life. I listened to the SXSW podcast and now love you even more! I am glad that you and John had a wonderful trip and I can only imagine the hangovers you endured. I look foward to posting more in the future and note you have a new fan from Florida!

  • April-Lyn Caouette

    2006/03/15 at 9:55 am

    Those pictures rock! 🙂 I have a feeling that my visit to Austin on Saturday will be a lot less eventful, and will not result in complete strangers posting drunken pictures of me on flickr. I’m not sure whether I should be relieved or disappointed.

  • MollySummer

    2006/03/15 at 9:25 am

    wow. those pictures look oddly familiar.

    where can I hear the keynote?

  • Amy

    2006/03/15 at 9:25 am

    Actually, both ways of spelling “propeller” are correct. Maybe most people just spell it that way 🙂

  • BeachMama

    2006/03/15 at 9:16 am

    Sounds like you had a blast in Austin. I only wish I was closer so I could have come out to meet you guys. Another time, if you ever head North of the border!

    Good for Grandpa! There are no diapers changed by Grandpa here 😉

  • Charles R. Kaiser

    2006/03/15 at 9:19 am


    Glad to see that you and Jon had a great time in Austin.

    But what’s weird is that you would spell “propeller” the way you did and then everyone else just follows along in the comments without saying anything. . .

    Or am I just missing something?

  • Holy Schmidt! - Melanie

    2006/03/15 at 9:10 am

    I’m glad you had fun. I would’ve paid good money to see that!

    BTW, with the Miralax thing, you can add it to any juice that Leta will drink. She won’t notice that it’s in it. It’s really a great little miracle worker!


  • blondeinthemidwest

    2006/03/15 at 9:12 am

    Welcome back!! I have missed your posts since you were gone. Loved the SXSW talk you did though…It was good listening for my a.m. commute!!

    (Oh and I love the “propellor arms”!!)

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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