Monday, February 19, 2007

Sweet Cowgirl Weekend

It all began innocently enough...a trip to Maine to shop and visit the ocean. A night away from home with Mr. Wonderful, walking sandy but cold beaches, trawling outlets for good post-inventory President's Day Weekend deals. And we did get some deals. It ended like this - tequila and toilet paper. And if someone can find the significance of these items resting together I'd like to know it. And in between? Oh My! There was driving, SPA Spin and Knit visiting, shopping, dining, beach-walking, rock-hopping, more shopping, driving, nerves, a pile of people, pictionary, presents (one made me cry), posters and outhouse signs, cake and ice cream, hats, boots, guns, good friends, loving family and one concerned dog.
It went something like this...dream sequence music, wavy image.... Mr. Wonderful and I headed out early Saturday morning for Portland, Maine to visit the SPA Spin and Knit gathering. Although not originally a part of our weekend plan, when Persnickety told me about it I figured I'd check it out. I hope to spend my whole birthday weekend there next year. Have wheel, will travel. People come to sit and spin, or knit, or weave, or bounce babies, or talk, or crochet, or laugh, or all of the above. There was a vendor hall with some great stuff; Grafton Fibers where I once again resisted a batt - but it's getting close, and The Merlin Tree where I once again resisted a Hitch Hiker, but that too seems close. Or a Joy. I am torn. It's a $$/DT/ST/$$ quandry. I love a DT. But the ST Hitch Hiker is inexpensive. But the Joy folds flat. But it costs more. But it's a DT. And I adore Ashford wheels. But the Hitch Hiker is so cute. See the problem?
We did not stay long, just long enough for me to know I want to move in next year, dragging Mr. Wonderful and a loom, and Persnickety, and anyone else we can manage to convince. It's just a nice recharge, grass roots, simple, open-ended fun event. Next we went shopping. Well, actually we detoured to the water first. I can't be that close and not see it. We stopped in Wells to take a quick look at the ocean, and take nutty close ups of sand and sea plants and rocks and bird tracks and such. I tasted the water, took some more pictures, wandered, and then eventually got cold enough to prefer shopping.
My first stop was at the Coach outlet for one sole purpose. At the Superbowl Alter-knit-ive Party, Stephanie L had this little Coach handbag. It was all patchwork and adorable, and I wanted one. But maybe a bit smaller. I figured that unless I hit the lottery, lost my marbles, or Santa came early I was not likely to get this little baby. But there it was...reduced from it's original outlet price by an additional 40% making it $80-ish with tax, and I knew I had to have it. One only turns 40 once. Cowboy boots and Coach bags seem right. I doubt this will be a lifelong trend, but for now I am digging it. I love this bag. It's funny, because nothing else in the store spoke, called or whispered to me. AND if I had never seen this bag on Stephanie at the party, I never would have entered a Coach outlet. I love it. Hold wallet, cell and keys perfectly. And it's so pretty!
There was more shopping that first day, but not a huge amount of actual buying. We had a lovely lunch at a place called the Lobster Barn on Rte 1. Very quaint and charming interior, very much a barn, I loved it. For those more local to me, it was sort of like Gould's Sugar House, only closer to falling in on itself. The food was very good. I can't remember if we shopped before the lunch or after...Anyway, we had a dinner reservation, so left Kittery and went to check in at the Hampton Inn in Wells. I love Hampton Inn. I love that they are all the same. I know that's not the point of leaving home and all, and in terms of scenery and food and activities I like things to be different and unusual and new. But when the time comes to rest my head upon a pillow for the night, I enjoy the predictability of a nice chain hotel and lately that chain as been Hampton Inn. After changing and sprucing up a bit we headed out for dinner at a place called Jonathans in Ogunquit. Oh, my yum. Little slow service, but not painfully. It was a little crowded for a February weekend and I think that may have caught them off guard. The food was very good. For my entree I chose Kathadin Lamb - made with lamb raised at their farm in S. Berwick, ME, which was excellent, served with green beans and gratin potatoes. Mr. Wonderful had . . .some kind of cow. I don't remember. I was too in love with the lamb to care. We went back to the hotel, and slept. In the morning we packed up and headed for Nubble Light and York Beach(es) to wander till the outlets opened. I love the way the sun lights the water first thing in the morning on the Atlantic coast. I want to dive in, or sit and get lost in it. I did sit for a while, but the rocks in Maine are cold in February and eventually your butt freezes solid and you know it's time to move on. We crawled over the rocks, another favorite activity but one not intended for cowboy boots - I was determined to wear them all day. It's a childhood problem I have. Girl even made a sign about it. But that's for later. After wandering for a while amid sea gulls and waves and rocks we headed inland for more shopping. OK, now remember this is my birthday, did I mention that? I turned 40 at 8am on Sunday February 18th. 40 is one of those milestone events, the kind where people have a party for you, which they did. And what a party! I did not
know that many people could fit into my house. This is just a small representative sample. There were more, in the kitchen and the dining room and the outhouse. But I only got one good picture because I was the birthday girl, and that carries certain responsibilities, you know! The Sweet Cowgirl Party was sweet indeed. Between my best friend Kristie and my most beloved daughter Meg…well, I really don't know where to begin! We walked into a house decorated with people in cowboy hats, strings of cowboy lights, crepe paper, and general pleasurable chaos. I saw some people I have not seen in a long while, met some new people (Girl. invited boys. from school. She's old enough. to invite. BOYS. from school. Three of them.) Possibly if she'd gone to normal high school this is something I would have confronted earlier. But she didn't and I haven't. They brought me a most excellent gift, "The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses" by Paul Goble, and even wore cowboy garb. They seem like nice boys...even if they ARE boys. Let's see, what else...
Oh, we played Pictionary. There was a huge stack of cards encompassing various
parts of speech – “Things Melissa Likes to Do” (verbs), “Something about Melissa” (generous adjectives), and “Stuff Melissa Loves” (my favorite nouns) I think. And a bit tough too, like "kayaking" was made into "flat-water kayaking" to make it a bit more challenging. This is the tie-breaker - team 1 and team 2 battling it out for the basket of glorious prizes (like beans, toilet paper, and tomato paste). Tracy is trying desperately to convey "Rare Beef" to the onlookers. I think she did an excellent job. Kristie had to tell me twice to stop giving away the answers. Hey, she made the margarita! It would have been safer if I had not read the cards first, but just handed them out. Eric, stepson #2 got stuck with “Gone With the Wind”, one of my favorite movies. He’s not exactly artistic. Kathy got “hike”, which was entirely too easy for her, and I hope to have a future party at which she sucks down a glass of cactus juice followed by a tougher clue.
We had a booze-stuffed piƱata, the indoor pull-string type, and a list of piƱata words – if anyone said one of the words on the list, I had to pull a string. Persnickety’s girls, Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 really seemed to have a handle on which string I should pull to make it fall apart. I had a suspicion, but pulled whatever color caught my eye for a while. Eventually I gave in and pulled the right one, but not until after they’d suffered some torment. After the kids were done sorting out the candy and key chains, a select group of adults (I am not going to name names here...no I am not… {cough}Persnickety and Cindy!) converged on the remaining bottles of booze and had at it.

Persnickety's DD#1 apparently enjoyed the wasabi peas a great deal. She's shown here releasing all sorts of endorphins. It is my personal hope that we have a new convert to The Way of The Hot Things. Next thing you know I'll have the kid here lapping "Sudden Death" off toothpicks. Then I will corrupt her sibling...heh, heh, heh...WORLD SCOVILLE DOMINATION!!!!
Here, Uncle Zoom and Grampa Dan share a quiet moment in a discussion about infant walkers, while UnCool Guy - husband of Persnickety and father of her DD's #1&2 attentively watches the barkeep in the next room. He's clutching that bottle of Opa Opa pretty tighly there. Hey. Huccome UnCool Guy is not wearing a Cool Cowboy Hat?? Oh, Wait, that'd be kind of oxymoronic if we let UnCool Guy wear a COOL hat.
Kathy, most beloved friend, you will never ever ever know what it meant to me to get this gift. This is the coolest gift ever. This is Marvel the Mustang, who was my best friend when I was little. Nothing can stop a girl in cowboy boots as long as her faithful steed is by her side. I plan on taking Marvel on the road with me for the "promotional tour". I still giggle when I think those words, you know, "promotional tour"! My dad put him together for me, and Aidan took over from there. He took my sheriff's badge, my gun, a hat and my horse. All he needs are the boots!
In all this was an excellent birthday, a phenomenal party, and I need to think up an excuse for another one, maybe in the fall when we can be outside or on the deck, and grill some stuff, and hang out...Now for some thanks -
First to Kristie, shown here in the only picture of me that we managed to get - that's my red hat from Happy Hooker sticking out over the back of her serape covered person. Best friend, amazing party planner. It would not have happened like this without her.
Megan, my much-beloved daughter, who broke her big toe on the Monday before the party necessitating my knowing a bit more than I should have so that the house would be cleaned and the fridge empty. It was a nasty looking injury but in true cowgirl style she sucked it up and forged ahead, buying party platters and writing the most flattering things about me on this timeline. AND I did not have to pay her! It was all out of the kindness of her little heart. A teenager said nice things about her mother JUST BECAUSE! I am so lucky!
Mr Wonderful, aka Toby Keith. Dig the hat. I love the hat. In fact I think he and I should invest in a whole matching wardrobe of cowboy hats. He socialized all evening long, and stayed awake to clean up while I sat in a chair and drank a glass of wine and watched. AND he emptied the car, AND, a half a year ago, when I said "Honey I think I want to write a book about socks..." he said "OK", just like that, like it would work, and it was ok, and it'd be great. AND he loves me.
Brendon SWEPT! Thrill a minute at this party, I saw Brendon using a broom for the first time ever in my presence. The oldest of our four kids, Brendon and his girlfriend Leighann (artist extraordinaire) came out just for my lil' ole' cowgirl shindig and once again, like at Girl's grad party, helped clean up until their eyes were falling shut.
What I've learned this year -
-Once a cowgirl, always a cowgirl.
-Age is relative. I am forty. FORTY! And I am finishing up my first book, watching my daughter work her way through college, and getting ready to begin a really cool adventure in promoting this book. I feel so lucky and so blessed by the people in my life, by the support I've received in the form of parties, hugs, listening ears, and one awesome mustang.
-Blessings fall like rain on parched ground, and some days they seem too much for one person to deserve or own. Take them anyway. They are intended for you. If you walk away from them, you're giving up, missing out on the best of the best of what and who you can be. I never thought a year ago my life would look like this, or be what it's becoming. As it's come I've taken it all in, one step at a time, and I am so thankful to God for letting me have it all.
-You can live your dreams. You just have to make it happen. It may not be as fast as you'd like or even take the form you first imagined, but it will all unfold if you just take one step in that direction and see where it leads. Then another step, and another and so on.
I am going to go pat my pony and tell him all about my party and the horrors of final proofing, which really is about as fun as labor, only no one's gonna hand me some squash faced infant to love and nurture for the next 22 years. Hey, maybe that's a good thing... I promise there will be more knitting VERY soon - the book goes to bed on Feb 23rd, and after that I plan to do nothing but PLAY for DAYS and DAYS. (with Marvel, and my sOx-shooter)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was reading Tammy's blog and it referred me to your Sweet Cowgirl Weekend.....sure sounds like a blast! Almost makes it worthwhile to arrive at 40! But, I'm with you: let's celebrate (something) every weekend or so....let's see, there's: Making It Through the Week; Cooking Most Meals From Scratch; Not Lingering In Bed 'Till 9; Feeding the Cats Every Day; Not Losing Your Temper Even Though Justified...lots of reasons to celebrate! Right?
By the way, congratulations on your book!! I saw it at daughter #1's; I don't knit (dare I admit?)but it sure looks like a great time-saving idea! Nice layout and pixs, too. Hey, I know a genuine author! Wow! I appreciate the comments you made at the end of your posting: GO FOR IT; whatever IT is! Someday I will write a book, too... probably a devotional, with little vignettes based on real-life answers to prayer and mini-miracles.However, I probably won't get to it 'till I'm forced to sit most of the time.....Keep up the great work and God bless! Penny