I've been a lurker, a peeker, even a stalker of many many blogs in the past 6 years... But with The Pioneer Woman, I've been a fan, a true fan. I mean, there is so much about this woman to adore. Back in 07' when I first found her, I probably spent about 6 days straight (yes, even while I was working) going back and reading each and every post she'd ever posted. I was instantly attracted to the photography, ohhh the photography. It just drips and oozes off the page and is like candy pecan pie super oohey goohey chocolate cake for your eyes. But as I read about her "punks," her "marlboro man," and the so deeply loved ranch that this adorable family lives on year round in none other than my home state of Oklahoma, a friendship started to form. If not only in my head. This unique story of hers, and her delightful way of telling this story drew me in word by word, photo by photo, recipe by recipe. One minute it's "slap-your-knee-funny," the next minute you're off in "dreamland", wondering what it might be like; this life on a ranch out in the middle of nowhere, so far from the closest town that you have to homeschool your kids, stock up on all kinds of food and supplies (because you can't just "run back" to Target because you forgot toilet paper...), and only have such things as photography, cooking and loads and loads laundry to entertain you. But, trust me they've got so much more than just that to entertain them.
Reading her these last few years feels just like Ree herself has invited me over for breakfast, served me up some yummy waffles, a great cup of coffee with foam and then begged me never to leave. (well, the begging never really happend, but in my head it sort of went that way) There is this "to die for view" as she and I sit on the couch, and the laughs and stories just keep going and going, and every so often we look up from our tears to admire a cowboy or two. Ya gotta love those "Gratuitious Wrangler Butt Shots." (I tell you that photography like bhhuttah!)
When she announced that her Cookbook was coming out last month and that she would be doing a book tour, I was hot on the trail and kept my eye out for an LA visit. It couldn't have worked out any better than it did. Well, other than if she'd packed me up in her suitcase and flew me back home to Okie with her, I mean. I bribed TL to go with me as the signing was at 5:00 pm and these 45 year old eyes are having a harder and harder time with driving at night. Wasn't that sweet of him to say "Sure honey..." Even more sweet that he agreed to go with me 3 (THREE) hours early. Hey, I didn't want to miss out on any part of this chance meeting. Once I got to Borders, I hit the motherload. I found a seat right away, and nestled right in-between the nicest ladies. I met a girl from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and a mother and daughter from right here in California. We all just clicked right away and had many "P-Dub" stories to share, and the time seemed to just fly. Once the event started to get itself organized, we were moved to the official audience seats and what do you know we ended up right in the second row, smack dab in the middle. This is about when my heart started pumping and the sweat started to roll down my turtle-neck wearing back. "Is it warm in here..?" I asked my new BFF"s. But, since they all agreed, I knew I either wasn't the only dork in town and or it was just really warm in there. Whew.
5:00pm and here she came... The energy in the room just heated up, (or was that just me again?) it was truly like seeing a celebrity walk in. Sort of strange to think so, but probably even more strange for her. I mean, she's just Ree. Ree Drummond of the PIONEER WOMAN FAME. I had to just chuck my dorkness right out the window, as this woman walked in and I was instantly put at ease. I'm not kidding you when I say she was the only person in the room who seemed to NOT be nervous. She was so poised and calm and genuine. We had about a 30 minute Q & A session and the whole time I just watched her with amazement at how "in the moment" she was. She took time to truly listen to each question asked of her, didn't just blurt out the first thing that came to mind, her answers were thoughtful and appropriate. You could tell she was very sincere when she said she appreciated us being there, and the chance she's had with this book tour to meet her readers has enriched her life, and her blogging experience. I was just enthralled listening to her take the time to answer each and every question that I hardly noticed that out of nowhere my own hand was raised. At that moment it was as if I was two different people; the "sane one" and the "crazy one." I think the "sane one's" heart was racing so fast, and had gone pretty much numb all over with fear for what the "crazy one" was actually considering doing. "Asking a question, are you nuts..?" But the crazy one, was all "Shut it, I'm going for it..!" And the next thing you know, I got called on and out of my mouth
Blink. Blink Blink Blink. <---- That right there, that was her inital response. The room fell silent, it started to spin a little, but hot damn, did I see nothing but those Blinks. My face went red, my mouth went dry(er), my heart pretty much stopped beating... But then, then she came up with her answer. She said, "OSU." And when she realized I'm an OU fan, she politely said to me (and I will remember these words for the rest of my life) "That's okay, I still love ya!" That was all it took to bring me back. I'm not sure if she heard me but I said to her, "Yeah, I still love you too!!" (and can I still come over for breakfast tomorrow?)
I was able to get some snapshots of the night. The lighting in that place stunk, and I was so nervous and pre-occupied, I didn't even notice that I wasn't using my flash. (dork) Oh well, it was still a perfect evening. It ended with me getting to sit by her, ask her to autograph my book and let her know that back in the day my grandparents were cattle ranchers from Oklahoma also. She is just the nicest lady and if you are looking for a GREAT gift to give at Christmas, I'm telling you to run don't walk to get this book. It's a lot more than just a cookbook, it also has great pictures of her life on the ranch, as well as the delicious food, and snippets of her story scattered about the entire book. But don't look for a photo of me in there with her, that one is only in my head!!
"Meet Ree, she talks real nice, smells so good, and wears Spanx..."
"I'm pretty much just wondering where I am right about now and don't remember a thing I said to her..."
(hopefully, I only drooled a tiny bit)
See, I told you she wore Spanx...
Can you tell I love her more than Butter...?