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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Pioneer Woman

Yesterday was one of the most anticipated days of my life.  Aside from my wedding day and the birth of my four children, that is.

Ree Drummond, most known as "The Pioneer Woman" came to Pittsburgh for a book signing and I stalked got to meet her!  

I got up bright and early at the crack of 7:30 am (for me that is early) to get house stuff done so I would be ready to meet my hero!  I got the laundry put away, the dishwasher unloaded and got all dolled up to go meet her.  I had several text message consultations with my mom and sisters regarding my wardrobe and shoe choices.  I got out the new top I bought Saturday, my old trusty jeans, shoes, purse, etc and laid out on the bed waiting for the exact right time to get dressed (ie:  about 20 seconds before I left the house or else I'd also be wearing a bunch of someone else's snot, spit, food and dirt).

I met my best friend, Katie, along the way and after a few extra excursions, we were off!

We got to Sewickley at around 3:00 and managed to find parking pretty easily.  I parked at a meter, forgot to put a quarter in the meter, stood in line for a while, realized I didn't put money in the meter, only managed to find one quarter, which Katie graciously walked back to the car and put the quarter in the meter buying me only half an hour, and hence got a $5 parking ticket!

As we drove Beaver Street in our attempt to find the bookstore, I admit, based on blogs I'd read from PW's previous book tours, I totally expected there to be traffic lining the streets, women everywhere and a line about a mile long waiting to meet PW.  But it wasn't bad at all.  We parked and got into line with about 50 or so people in front of us.  As we waited, the book store owner came out with small bottles of water and suggested that if we didn't already have a copy of the book to go inside and purchase one now.  Since I didn't have a copy of the new cook book, I went in and bought mine and ended up running into my Aunt Bonnie and cousin, Amy!  They had said they were going to come out to the signing, but I didn't expect them to be the first in line!  I chatted with them a minute and then got my book and headed back to the line.  

This is a look at the line from where Katie and I were standing.  The book store is the shop on the right with the black awning.  Not too bad of a wait.  We arrived at 3:00 and at 3:30, true to their word, the book store began coming out and distributing numbers for admission.  Katie and I were 66 and 67 or 67 and 68.  

I accidentally got this picture, but I'm posting it because the young girl in the front of the picture won the last PW giveaway of the Frye boots!  JEALOUS!  Although I'd like to win one of the cooking give aways - or one of those trips to the Lodge!

When I bought my copy of the cookbook, they put a post it note on it with the spelling of your name (or whomever you were having the book inscribed for).  My amazing little sister got me my first PW cookbook and she sent the book all the way to Pawhuska to have Ree sign it and ship it back to me.   The inscription was so perfect b/c my sister had written a letter to her describing me.  The inscriptions says:
Love to Jen from the ranch!  Kiss those farm kids for me. : ) Ree/PW

Sigh.  How perfect, right?

So this time around in my head I was thinking I could get another amazing inscription - something like,

Love to Jen - The Pennsylvania Pioneer Woman and my new best friend forever.  

Then she would invite me to join her, Marlboro Man and her kids for dinner in the city and we'd become fast friends and start taking monthly trips to Oklahoma to visit the Lodge.  Erik would fulfill his dream of wrestling steers and I would fulfill my dream of, well - I'm not sure what dream I would fulfill  - but my kids would fulfill their dreams of riding horses everywhere.  

But here's the thing about being a stalker without any psychopathic tendencies.  I was too scared to even think about having her inscribe more than my name!  So I chickened out and just made the inscription "Jennifer." 

 L - A - M - E! 

We're at the doorway to the bookstore!  At this point I'm getting nervous.  It's intimidating to get to meet a celebrity.  I started panicking because I knew I only had a few seconds to speak to her and I had to get everything I wanted to say out without taking too much time.  Most importantly, I had to tell her that my Willie J and I watch the Food Network show and Willie, taking after his Momma, imagines himself to be good friends with her sons, Bryce and Todd.  In fact, he thought I was actually going to her house on Monday to meet her and was quite upset that I was not taking him with me.  I was given strict instructions to invite Bryce and Todd to our house.

This was a little display that the book store had put up about Ree's visit.

At this point, Ree is just a short flight of steps away from us!  Luckily, the bathroom was even closer and I sneaked in to primp.  Imagine if you will, Katie standing to my right, laughing a little bit at me b/c I'm so nervous and even though I asked her if I looked OK and she responded, "Yes," I still had to go into the bathroom to check my hair and reapply lip gloss.  

I kept looking at the sign and checking and re-checking my books and ticket.  And I was still debating whether what I had written for the inscription for the "Charlie the Ranch Dog" book was what I wanted.  Willie is really the only kid who has been interested in the PW cooking show, but if I had the book inscribed only to him, the other kids might be jealous.  But, Willie is the only one who would really appreciate it.  

I was also hoping at this point that Marlboro Man and the kids would show up.  Due to Willie's love of the show, I was hoping that they would magically appear (this wasn't just my imagination - there was rumor that they were going to be at the book signing at some point) and I would get Bryce and Todd to sign the book too!  AND I would take a picture of them for Willie.  I would be an amazing hero mom and Willie would have physical evidence that I did something special for him.  But, MM and the kids didn't show up while we were there and all my hopes were dashed!

Finally!  We're upstairs and I am in sight of Ree!  At this point Katie turns to me and says that she doesn't really need to meet PW, that I should have her sign all my books (I had given Katie one of the books to get signed so she would have a chance to meet her too) and she wanted me to have all the time to talk to PW myself.  She would just take pictures!  I did protest and try to get her to keep the book, but she said no - this was my thing and she would let me have my "moment."  I was so touched at her generosity and since it was offered, I took the gift!

It's finally my turn and Katie starts snapping away!  I was so nervous because I kept running through my head all the things I wanted to say, but knowing that PW doesn't really care that I want to tell her that our lives are eerily parallel (well, except for me marrying into a wealthy cattle baron's family and then writing best selling books and having a blog that generates 1 million dollars a year just from ad revenue) and that 15 years ago, I thought by now I'd be married to some sort of suit wearing man, living in a plush McMansion in the suburbs with a part time career as a therapist out of the office in the apartment over the garage but instead, I married a guy who went to school to be a youth pastor but instead became a landscaper who really wanted to be a farmer and we moved out to the funny farm where we had a four children who don't understand the English phrase of TAKE OFF YOUR MUDDY BOOTS BEFORE YOU WALK THROUGH THE HOUSE, baby goats sleeping in my laundry room, dogs out the wahzoo, ducks swimming in my pool and various Burmese customers who stick live chickens in sacks and drive them home in their Honda Accords.

I did not tell her all of that.  I let her think I was a nice normal girl.

I did manage to tell her that she probably hears this all of the time, but I am the PA version of her.  That I imagined I'd be living a pretty cushy life and instead we bought a farm and are making it work.  We discussed what we raised here on the farm and she said she thought it was pretty cool the way Western Pennsylvania has this major city but all of these pockets of rural area so close.

And then I told her that my boy Willie J and I watch her TV show all the time and that he wants to invite her boys over to play.  She was very sweet and said she was sure if they were there they would want to play with him and "next time we're in town. . ."

And then it was over in an instant.  I don't think I drooled over her too much, but I probably made a fool of myself.  I will remember it forever!  Ree was sweet and funny and kind and didn't seem to be irritated at all with my stack of three books or that I was talking her ear off!  It was one of the most fun days of my life and I have to thank my wonderful husband for being home to manage the kids and my BFF for letting me have my moment with my hero.    

Then we left and went shopping for dress for my sisters wedding in June and we ate dinner at the Cheesecake factory.  OH!  And I found a honey dipper at Williams Sonoma.  It's probably the cheapest thing there and it works perfectly!  The day was complete!
The next day, Willie J was a little upset with me because I didn't bring Bryce and Todd home to play with him.  I showed him his signed copy of Charlie the Ranch Dog and instead of being so excited to see the book, he opened up the new cook book and started pointing out all of the pictures of Bryce and Todd.

"Look, Momma!  There's Bryce on a horse."

Thus another crazy stalker fan is born.