Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six degrees of separation. Or more like four. Possibly, three.

There is, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, a lady who blogs under the name The Pioneer Woman. About eleventy-bazillion people visit her website every day. She is cute, charming and funny. Besides running a website with a whole lot of pages that she updates like, gah, every day, she home schools her four kids, helps out on a huge cattle/horse ranch, experiments with photography and remodels a guest lodge. Without cursing in public. And because she was apparently bored last year, she wrote and photographed a cookbook.

That went to the top of the best seller lists.

Obviously then, we have a lot in common.

If you follow PW, you know that she went on a book tour recently. She traveled all over the country, letting us see her hotel rooms and the throngs of readers that showed up to meet her and get their cookbooks signed. Her second or third stop was in Denver - and while I'm not usually a stand-in-line for anything type of gal, I thought, "Hey, I should support a fellow blogger with whom I have so very much in common!"  Then I thought, "Eh, it's on a school night, and it's sort of cold out. Maybe next time."

Then I got an email from my friend Claudia asking if I wanted to go with her to the booksigning.

All the sudden, I was interested again. Not only because Claudia is a sh'load of fun, but also because Claudia is from Pawhuska, Oklahoma. You heard me. Pawhuska. Home of P-Dub. Try to follow along.

Several months prior, Claudia had sent me an email saying,  "Hey check out this blog - it's by a lady from my hometown and today she wrote about my brother's feed store."  To which I answered something to the affect of, "Wha?"

I determined that in all the eleventy-bazillion PW readers in the world, it was likely that only Claudia and I would know about the Denver book signing, and even if a couple other people showed up, we'd totally be in the front of the line and PW's new best friends, because, A) Claudia's from Pawhuska, and B) I was wearing my favorite shoes, which The Pioneer Woman would surely be so enamored with that we'd instantly be new best friends and she'd feature me on her website under the tab "up and coming bloggers:

Patent leather aqua Ferragamo driving moccasins.
I know, right?

Well, I could go on and on about how we waited patiently in line with a bunch of other people, and then we heard her speak and she was funny and sweet and then we had her sign our books and then took our pictures with her and went home.

But that would be a big fat lie.

Because what we did was each buy several cookbooks, head down to the basement where she was signing and go, "Dude, it's hot in here. We should go get a beer."

Now, lucky for us, the swell independent bookstore in Denver just happens to have a swell independent bar in it. Besides 362 days of sunshine a year, that's one of the main things they put in the Chamber of Commerce brochures. Claudia and I decided we'd just run up real quick for one cool frosty beverage and then head back to the basement for the signing.

I may not have mentioned before, but Claudia and I used to be in advertising together. And not like Mad Men advertising where we wore pencil skirts and thought up clever slogans. Advertising Sales. Which means, among other things, that we are capable of drinking and cursing like sailors. While selling you a thirteen week ad run on The Weather Channel.

Being a classy dame, I ordered me up a Lone Star. They were outta PBR cans, apparently.

Did you know Lone Star beer has little puzzles on the insides of the caps?

That first one says "Who-Ray!"  The second one says, "Owl Be Clammin this O!" Or something. I'm not sure. I never actually figured that one out.

Being the excellent parent that I am, I recognized right away that these beer caps could be educational but that I couldn't take home just two puzzles to my children. That wouldn't be fair. In order to properly intellectually stimulate them, they'd need several. I sacrificed and ordered another Lone Star. For the lid.

Right about now is when bartender asked us for the third or fourth time, "So you're really here to have a cookbook signed?" And we assured him that maybe we were, maybe we weren't, maybe we needed an appetizer first.

Claudia, looking innocent. 
Me, posing perfectly for an ENT specialist.

This is when two things happened: 1) People began filling up the bar because there was no more room in the basement, and 2) I realized I had an odd number of caps and an even number of children so I'd need to order another Lone Star. For the children.

Other folks who like Pioneer Woman but don't like lines.
Also, Claudia.

Those people are totally nice, and one of them might be named Jill, and she might've had to borrow a car to get there from her home 80 miles away. That guy at the end just came to keep his girlfriend or possibly his wife company in line. Aren't those lovely chandeliers?

Since Claudia and I had no ads to sell, we drank more beer. I let everyone in the bar know that she was from Pawhuska, which made me sorta famous. Then Claudia admitted that not only has her brother been featured on the blog, you can very often see her other relatives' heads when PW posts shots of church, and...back in high school...Claudia babysat Marlboro Man.

This means absolutely NOTHING to you if you've never read The Pioneer Woman.

But if you have, well, you're kind of impressed right now. The nice people at the bar certainly were. Eventually, one of us, probably Claudia, realized that instead of us making our way through the crowds in the basement, we could send the books to Pawhuska...I mean, we're talking about Marlboro Man's babysitter, here. Because we had that kind of clout.

Claudia calls in a favor from Pawhuska.

The next day, PW posted about the lovely quiet dinner she had at a restaurant 4 blocks from my house. A half-empty, nobody in it, I coulda walked, restaurant FOUR blocks from my house. Meaning I could've put on my bitchin' shoes and swung by on my way to the liquor store to purchase beer that did not have puzzles in the lids and would not have left me with a ginormous head ache the next morning.

But alas. I would not have gotten to hang out with Marlboro Man's babysitter and drink beer on a school night. And I would not have this.


  1. Oh. My. Gah. So since I practically know you, except for the part where we've ever met or anything, then I'm like practically best friends with Ree, right? I like that site but I am slightly distrustful of the obvious perfection and clean living.

  2. That's only two degrees of separation, right? Very cool. I actually stopped reading her at some point in the distant past when one page became six and it was just too much for me to read in one place. Didn't even know she had a cookbook!

  3. My question is where did you get those shoes? Super snazzy!

  4. A few things, in list form, because I'm having trouble with cohesion today.
    1) LUCKY!
    2) you & your friend are adorable.
    3) shoes - love.
    4) LUCKY!
    5) I love PDub. The closest she came to me was Tennessee & that's like 8 hours away. Too far. Sad.

  5. Guess we don't have to tell that we were googling and going to the lonestar web site to figure out the bottle caps...but only the ones purchased later in the evening to even out the supply of educational materials.

  6. Okay, Penne, I'm fessing up now. I'm Claudia's sister. Great Pics and she told me you all had a much better time collecting beer caps anyway. Enjoyed the post. Lindy

  7. And I think Claudia was calling me that night. Seem to remember a noisy background.



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