Once again, I am at the annual BlogHer conference. I got here the old-fashioned way: I drove the 318 miles from my home to the San Jose Convention Center in a little over 5 hours (which isn’t bad, considering how many pee breaks I need to take these days).

I was lucky that I did not have to make the drive alone: I had a friend along for company, and for entertainment — the mix CD my daughter made me for my birthday (a fascinating melange that includes tracks from Alabama Shakes, Vampire Weekend, MIA, Rizzle Kicks and Sam Smith. Yes, it is soooo good…)

The drive was actually rather pleasant after a frantic week of trying to get ready. For one thing, I needed to get as much paid work done as I could before taking three days off.

And part of that prep was making sure my aging Volvo is ready for the drive. I remember I bought that car just a few days before making the same trip up to the second BlogHer conference in 2006. Has it really been eight years?

We had a major service done a few weeks ago, so all that was left this week was a tire check and rotation – which turned into a tire purchase. (Oops! I guess it’s been three years since I’ve done that.)

Somewhere my late grandfather is smiling, because he was always lecturing me on the importance of “good rubber.”

But even more important than getting the car ready was taking care of me: What I really needed to do this week was get a haircut (I mean color) and wax my brows and lip.

“Otherwise, everyone is going to know I’ve just given up,” I told my friend.

I confessed to her that I might be suffering a teeny bout of clinical depression, triggered by all the capital-C Changes I’m experiencing right now: Menopause… Empty Nest… and a Big, Scary Surgery in September.

Note: other than being overweight – AGAIN – I’m in fairly good health. The surgery is the final chapter in my battle with benign uterine fibroids and the fibroids have won; we’re just going to take out the works. It’s probably routine for the doctors – but a big, effing deal to me, mostly because the recovery time is about six weeks.

It was originally scheduled for July 30, which would have seriously interfered with my ability to help my daughter move into her dorm in August. So the new date is September 10, which seriously interferes with my ability to do anything else. (I have events I am planning for work on the 16th and on October 2nd, and I won’t be able to work them — nor reap the hourly wage for it.)

I guess there’s no such thing as a convenient time to let a doctor cut you open, and it would be really awful if a delay causes me some actual health problems (this was kindly pointed out to me by the oncologist I had to visit to rule out those actual health problems).

So I’m dealing with all this stuff and I confess I’ve had trouble doing any blogging at all lately (which makes it a little awkward to be a BlogHer attendee this year). My last post here was on my birthday – in May. I have been using my writing energy coming up with emails for work, and even began work on a brand new blog with my sister – but you haven’t heard anything about that here. (Until now – it’s called Two Drinks Awayfollow. Check it out. I’ll wait.)

To be honest, the only reason I registered for this year’s BlogHer is that I got a special rate because I attended the very first one. They’re calling this their 10th anniversary event, but that strikes me as a little off. It is the 10th BlogHer conference but the first one was held in 2005, so I always thought the anniversary would be celebrated NEXT year?

Maybe they’ll treat it like one of those actors who never ages and fete their 10th all over again in 2015.

Even though I’ve been somewhat under-enthusiastic about attending this year, it has nothing to do with the conference itself. At lunch today, my friend was stressing a little bit about the presentation she will be making here on Saturday. I had to remind her that she will be speaking to a room full of friends. OK, so it will be a huge ballroom with a couple of thousand people — but BlogHer attendees make up the most supportive, welcoming audiences I’ve ever seen.

She’s going to be fine. In fact, she’s going to walk off that stage feeling like a million dollars because of all the love in the room. While a lot of newer conferences focus on things like branding and marketing and monetization, this one still prizes the singular, emotional, one-of-a-kind point of view that each of us brings to our own personal blogs. Yeah, the marketing advice is still there — but the people who get the standing ovations here are the ones who have moved us by baring their souls.

“This conference has a lot of heart,” I told her.

She agreed.

Now, if only it can help me find my voice and passion for writing again – that would be sweet.