Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Pioneer Woman, a Bad Pun and the Return to Adolescence


When I found out that the Pioneer Woman's Book Tour was coming to the DC area, I immediately RSVP'd (in my head.)  The signing was scheduled to begin at the same time I got off of work but that didn't matter.  I was going to make it, even if it meant being the last adoring fan in line.

The morning of the event, I spent a few extra minutes on my hair (which would eventually end up a poufy, disheveled mess as the night wore on) and packed my favorite jeans and mineral face powder, in case things got shiny.  Those bookstore lights can be unforgiving and I didn't want PW to meet her reflection in my forehead when it was my turn to go up.

 Like any good visitor, I couldn't show up empty handed.  So I made her a portable Steve Perry during my lunch break.


Someday love will find you.  Break those chains that bind you.

Sing it, miniature cardboard Steve.

Mike knew that I would be scrambling trying to get to the store in time so he left work a little early to check out the scene and, if necessary, hold my place in line.  Such a sweet guy, huh?

I made it to the shopping center without incurring any tickets or points on my record.  I was only 15 minutes late.  And every single parking space from Fairfax to Toledo was taken.  Every. single. one.

Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor lack of parking spaces was going to keep me away.  I (gently) peeled out of the parking lot and onto Route 29, turned into the first business park I saw and found a space in front of a law office.  I could see the loading dock of the bookstore from where I was parked and figured I could just hop the railing and cut through the line of trees.


If I was Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. 

Since I left my machete at home, I had to settle for the long way.

I finally made it into the store and could feel and hear the buzz of excited women (and a few men) in the air.  I caught a few familiar snippets of conversation in passing about Marlboro Man (as PW affectionately calls her husband), cinnamon rolls and Good Morning America.

I found Mike in the cooking section, clutching a copy of PW's Cookbook and looking extremely relieved to see me.


What a trooper.  He deserves an ice cream cone.  Or a new hockey stick.

Each person was given a colored piece of paper and when your color was called, it was your turn to get in line.  Eventually, we heard "Green!" and took our places at the end of the queue.

Mike picked up some literature to help pass the time.


I could see that the line snaked in and out of the aisles and that we had some time to kill.  No better place to do that than in a bookstore.

Me:  "My mom gave me one these when I was kid."
Mike:  "They had those back then?"

Thanks guy.

Sadly I didn't see any bacon.

Mike had to punch-out at 8:30 to pick up his gear at home and head to his game.  The fact that he had arrived early, gotten me a ticket and waited ever so patiently in line was more than I could've (or would've) ever asked for.  So I didn't beg for him to stay.

Be free, young goalie.  Be free.

The moment he left, something very strange happened.  I turned into a 12 year old girl arriving late to homeroom on the first day of junior high. 

Everyone around me had established their circles of conversation and too much time had passed from when we first lined up until that moment.  If I were to chime in with an occasional, "Yeah, I love that book/movie/blog...", it seemed like it would be an unwelcome interruption.

Was I overthinking this?  Maybe.  Okay, 172,000% yes.

The socially awkward pre-teen in me wasn't going anywhere (how could she without a learner's permit) so what did I do?

I read.

I read book bindings.
I read old text messages.

I read the first few pages of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Hilarious book, by the way.  Super witty.

And a little bit of this.

I didn't know what it was but the cover and the illustrations looked interesting to me.  After a quick Google search, I discovered that it was the English translation of a classic French children's book from 1959.  I think I'll go back and buy it.

3 1/2 hours later, I hit the home stretch.

I didn't want to look like a geeked out fangirl so I casually pulled miniature Steve Perry out of my bag, reapplied my lip gloss and tried to keep my shit together as I inched closer to PW.

Holy crap, there she is!  Sporting some rather cute boots, I might add.

Finally, it was my turn.  I stepped up and the conversation went like this.

"Hi Ree."  (in an uncharacteristically high-pitched voice)
"I made you a little Steve Perry..." I said, plopping him down beside her.  "...for you to take with you on your Journeys."

Yep.  I went there. 

Pun usage online?  Fine.  Pun usage to one of your most inspiring idols when you have a tiny, seconds-long window of opportunity?  Not so fine.

I mumbled something like "Yeah, I worked on that one all day..." (which would haunt me the entire ride home out of fear that it came out terribly bitchy) and she laughed (thank goodness.)  We posed for a picture, I thanked her and then I skipped out of the bookstore.

When I got home, there was a note hanging on the key hook:

Hope you got to meet her, Pioneer Babe.  And remember, whenever she goes on her Journeys into the new Frontiers, she'll think of Three Baking Sheets.  Love you, Mike/Newport Man

And for that, I'm letting him pick any recipe in the book and I'll make it for him this weekend.

So there you have it.  I met the Pioneer Woman.  And it was worth every last minute of waiting, dehydration and social anxiety.  Now I just need to meet J.K. Rowling and Alan Rickman and I can die a happy girl.

P.S.  I'm sorry I didn't include the pic of me and PW. She looked fabulous, as always.  And I learned something about myself that night, too.  Apparently, when I get excited to meet someone, I look like a scared, crouching child with big hair in pictures.


  1. Congrats on meeting The Pioneer Woman! I love all her recipes!

  2. Yeah You did get to meet her!!!!!!

  3. Aw, how awesome. I missed her when she came to Houston well after the fact. I was sad. I even missed Thomas Keller and I am still sad.

    The Steve Perry thing is pure awesomeness and I completely sang the line outloud for all my co-workers to hear.

    I, needless, to say, heart you for all of the above (and much more).

    ps....Mike rocks!

  4. Aww! What a guy you've got! I'm glad you got to meet Ree, that's cool! I'm the same as you, I'm 100% awkward pre-teen when it comes to socializing with strangers. That's why I avoid it at all costs.

  5. haha I think we all have our rather unique Pioneer Woman meetings. I met her as well in Stillwater Oklahoma a few weeks ago... yeah I couldn't even hardly talk. I however looked horrible in our photo together but I posted mine... LOL. You should post it no matter what and be proud of it! You got to meet her!

  6. Awesome story. I could almost feel the anxiety just from reading it.

  7. That was hilarious! Wimpy kid is a great book. But I must brag, I met Alan Rickman. Not Rowling though. She is on my list too.

  8. You've got one hell of a man on your hands!
    Glad you got to meet PW.

    I have officially had Journey stuck in my head all afternoon :)

  9. Awesome sauce. I so want a small Steve Perry to take on my Journeys. Also, I know nothing of Pioneer Woman and now feel horribly ignorant. Please educate me. Okay...go. (Or I could let google educate me and save you the trouble)

  10. I have tears. Tears of laughter, Ali. OMG. Great story - you're crazy. My palms were sweating with you.

    Love you, Mikey. Thank you for taking such great care of my baby sis! You da best.


  11. If the whole baking thing doesn't take off, I'm going to start a miniature cardboard celebrities business.

  12. Lol! I love that Ali. Zak and I always joke that we are going to start buying giant cardboard cutouts of our friends and give them to them for presents. You should definitely branch out into making mini cardboard everyday civilians as well as celebrities, you have two garunteed costumers in CO ;)

  13. What an exhilerating post!
    Can I just say that the portable Steve Perry is the best thing I've seen in weeks. I mean that with every fibre of my being.

  14. What a great story!!! Loved it and your guy...sigh! I also am a huge fan of JK and Alan!!!

  15. 3 things
    1) I literally snarfed outloud when I got to the journey's pun. My cube-neighbor is looking at me curiously.
    2) I now have "Seperate Ways" playing in my head.
    3) I went through a very similar akward-adolescent-ish experience at Alton Brown's book signing last spring when Rob had to leave me early.