One of my favorite blogs is thepioneerwoman.com. My friend and co-worker, Susan, turned me onto this blog with it's beautiful photography and yummy recipes. The recipes are to-die for...step by step instructions with pictures to boot. Plus, PW has 4 kids...but that's where all similarities end. She has the Marlboro Man, a huge ranch and a DSLR camera. I have the Corporate Man, a tract home and the simple point and shoot. So when Susan told me back in September that PW was going to be in town for her new cookbook, I just knew we had to go. I had to put a voice and face to this mysterious red-haired person.
We pre-ordered The Pioneer Woman Cooks and penciled the book signing into our calendars. When the book came in, I read it from cover to cover and stared at all the pictures. I was in heaven - real cookbook heaven. I just had to wait until tonight to get it signed. I thought about what PW might write in my book. Maybe just "To Erin My best, PW" or "Pioneer cooking rocks!". Whatever she decided, I knew I would be happy. Susan and I decided to go get a bite to eat, since we were leaving right from work and needed to head towards downtown to The Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax. We ate and headed downtown around 6:30. Susan didn't think there would be too many people, but I had some reservations. This was the PIONEER WOMAN for goodness sake! The one who holds a contest on her site and a bagillion people sign up to win (seriously - it's like 25,000+!)! There weren't any parking spaces in the front but we decided to try the parking structure. No cars were around so we thought we had made a good choice. Not so fast, missy!
After spending more than twenty minutes trying to maneuver around the cars going up and down without a space in site, I decided to park up the street from the TC. We were walking up, following 2 other PW admirerers, when we decided to break the pack and go in through the back door of the bookstore. We saw 3 people ahead of us and right at the same time it occurred to us: it's the Pioneer Woman!! She was walking up with her sister-in-law Missy and her mother-in-law Nan! Missy stopped to open the door for us all and I think Susan and I went into a state of shock. There was no one else around...where were all the people? PW went up to the desk to find out where to go and as we made small talk with her and her posse and made formal introductions, we decided to follow them to wherever we needed to go. They also invited us, so it wasn't as if we were these stalkers trying to get a good place in line. We honestly thought we would be taken to the room/hallway/whatever and find a place in line. All of a sudden we were taken into an elevator, down back hallways and through stock rooms, past the employee "lounge", to a small hallway with a door leading out into a huge room that was FILLED to the brim with fans. But we were WITH the Pioneer Woman!! We were asking her about her time in Colorado, stuffed into an elevator with her, making small talk - OMG!! We laughed about following her into the room, and as she went to the restroom before making her grand entrance, we decided to find a place to sit/stand/squat. There were tons of women, children and reluctant husbands sitting in chairs, and even more standing along the walls, sitting on the floor, and those who weren't even in the same room but lining up in other areas of the TC. There were A LOT of people. I mean A LOT. We knew she was popular, but I think half of the Denver metro area was at the Tattered Cover tonight. When we walked out of the hallway and into the room, we felt the stares and questioning from about 500 sets of eyes. I'm sure these people were wondering who we were - we had to be someone, right? I mean, we walked into the hallway with the 3 most importand people of the night and walked out into the signing room with our faces aglow!
Pioneer Woman made her entrance, to a throng of applause and happy faces. She had a Q & A session, for about 20 minutes. In that 20 minutes, Susan and I just reveled in the fact that we couldn't believe we had just walked in with PW. It was like a dream! Who needed the book signed now...we had just rubbed elbows with a celebrity. Unbelievable. Shock (still). Admiration. Normal. She's one of us. There was an announcement to how the line would go, and the people in the chairs would be able to line up first, according to the row. We let the first row go first, and when the second row lined up, we slipped into the back of the line. Our strategic place to begin with was up in the front, sitting on a small ladder in the corner, able to witness everything. This strategy proved to be a good choice because we were able to line up with no ugly stares, pushing, shoving or name calling. We waited in line and just kept looking at each other in disbelief. Susan couldn't believe we were in line already, but I told her just to stick with me and we would be fine. One thing I do need to say is that if we had tried to make it to the back of the room from the front when we first entered, we would never had made it. This room was a fire marshals worst nightmare. It crossed my mind more than once how many people were packed into this one room. Anyway, back to standing in line, we were making small talk with the people in front of us and the people behind. Everyone was in a good mood. I think the one thing that might have given us away was that we didn't not have the requisite yellow 3x3 sticky note with our names on it for the signing. I guess the TC employees had given one to each person sitting in a chair - a kind of "ticket". But then there was one employee with sticky notes in hand making sure those of us in line had one. We told her no and she gave us our stickies with "Erin" and "Susan" written on them. We waited a total of about 20 minutes before we were first in line. I went up to PW and said I was her elevator friend. She asked me how did I get into the front of the line so fast? We must have had reserved seats, she figured. I didn't say anything, but just made more small talk about nothing in particular. I think she knew we jumped the line, but she didn't seem to mind. Or if she did, she didn't make us feel bad about it. We quickly had her sign our books, took some fuzzy pictures, waved goodbye and made our way to the exit that we had no idea existed when we first walked in with you-know-who. We passed her sister-in-law Missy, who recognized us from the walk, and said that we must have connections to be able to get in line so fast. She gave us a wink, and we knew our "secret" was safe with her.
My Elevator Sister! :)
P.S. If we had gone to the back of the line as we should have, we would still be waiting...sigh!