For everyone in Pioneer Woman land, this weekend was a pretty big to-do: Ree Drummond (aka "The Pioneer Woman") started her new cooking show on The Food Network a day after appearing on Good Morning America to hurriedly cook some Peach-Whiskey BBQ Chicken before Hurricane Irene could blow into town and leave her stranded. If you're not familiar with the Pioneer Woman, I strongly suggest you go to her blog. Ree has a memoir out about how she became an "accidental country girl," as well as a wonderful cookbook and a children's book about a ranch dog named Charlie. (I'll let you hunt those up on your own, too many links spoil the blog. Or maybe that's cooks and broth, but you know what I mean).
After reading Ree's blog for a while, particularly for the photography, and after breaking down and buying the cookbook (again for the photography as much as the recipes), I was pretty excited to read her book about how she and her husband met and fell in love. Even a cursory glance through her "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman" part of her blog will tell you that she adores her husband, which is pretty impressive after four children, a ranch, ranch-hands, in-laws, and over a decade of marriage. I wanted to know how that had happened, and I knew Ree would spin a good yarn of a love story. When I saw that The Real Farmwives of America and Megan at Gal in the Middle were hosting a giveaway of the book, I excitedly entered...and watched "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" on the shelf every time I went to the store.
It sat there, all bright and cheerful, the orange calling out to me, the vintage cowboy and his girl saying, "We're so in love, and you know you can't wait to find out all the ooshy-gooshy details! Buy us!" I fingered the cover, then pushed my buggy away and thought, "As soon as I find out I didn't win, I'm so coming back here and buying this sucker."
I waited patiently, and I stared down those two on that cover.
Then the post I'd been (not so) patiently waiting for came across my feed. I was sure that it was someone else, and I'd finally be able to go buy that book. Yes, victory and an afternoon of reading were at hand!
And then I saw my response had been the one chosen by the random generator. I had won the book.
I scrolled back up, then back down. Yes, that was my screen name, my comment to enter the giveaway. I had won the book.
I HAD WON THE BOOK!
I jumped up from the computer and started doing the happy dance around the kitchen: iwoniwoniwoniwoniwoniwoniwoniwon... I think I scared the dogs a bit.
I've finally gotten around to reading "High Heels to Tractor Wheels" while Irene blew some rain our way, and I was right: I spent the afternoon laughing, reading parts out loud to my husband, and laughing some more. Ree has no problem sharing her gaffes with the world, as only a middle child would do (see PW for more on that). She brightened my dark afternoon just as her blog does whenever I start reading.
So THANK YOU, Megan and The Real Farmwives, for hosting the giveaway, for sending me the book, and for loving PDub as much as I do. Even though my closest tie to being a farm wife is a garden and cows pastured over the fence, I enjoy your posts so much. Thanks again!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
...is that autumn is so close, but summer is still with us. It's also a big birthday month in this household, which means lots of cake and ice cream and good things. The heat changes toward the end of the month, not feeling quite so oppressive despite the humidity. Some trees decide they just can't wait another second and begin to change their leaves, hinting at the glorious fall to come. School is back in session, and the excitement of new notebooks and pencils, textbooks and crayons seems to electrify these first few mornings of the new year. I welcome this wonderful influx of vitality before the seasons begin to withdraw into another winter. For now, birds are bobbing on branches and vines, crickets are chirping a chorus from the grass, and I'm basking in the sun of the last days of August.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Some things are so difficult to put into words that you aren't sure if you'll ever be ready to share them. Other things roll off the tongue like raindrops off a freshly waxed car.
These words are more apt to roll like teardrops down a cheek, but they're spoken in the sunshine after the rain.
My beautiful mother loved rainbows. As I looked through her jewelry box when I was little and though all things sparkly were beautiful, I would stop and gaze at her rainbow pins. One was a heart with her nickname and a rainbow on it. I can't remember her wearing it now, but then she had never liked anyone but close friends and family to call her by her nickname.
Another was an enameled rainbow with clouds at either end, reminding me of a bridge for my favorite cartoon character at the time, Rainbow Brite. My handy-with-a-needle mother had made me a beautiful doll to match my Rainbow Brite books and dish set from "Monkey Wards." My daughter has enjoyed reading those same books, and although the dish set has long been lost to yard sales or the childhood sandbox, the doll is still reverently held, testament to the careful stitches of Mama's hands.
The final one was my favorite. I loved when she would pin the "Noah's Ark" rainbow on her navy blue sweater with the rainbow neckline. The blue brought out her eyes, and the rainbows brought a smile to both our faces. Even without pictures, I think I'll always remember how she sparkled when I told her how beautiful she was, as only an adoring child can see their mother.
That loving memory came back to me on the day we laid her to her final rest. The sun tried fitfully to force its way through the clouds scudding heavily over the sky, and the wind whipped us from time to time as we spoke of a life cut short by illness, so full of love and hope and the promise of fulfillment through her children and grandchildren after her. Raindrops fell, and tears fell. Hugs and kind thoughts passed around the mourners. After all had slowly meandered away from the graveside, we silently said our parting thoughts and left ourselves for more family gatherings, a way of gathering strength and hope in the face of loss. Then we finally prepared to head home and bring the day to a close.
Before getting into the car with the kids, I happened to look up at the sky, which was still loosing scattered drops every now and again. Blue sky was peeking from behind the clouds as they passed, and my heart swelled as I saw a perfect rainbow seated above the pillow of clouds. My husband and I exchanged a look of understanding and peace. It was as though somehow my mother had found a way to paint a message across the sky for us...a message of hope, love, and fond memories.