Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Pioneer Woman And Other Stories

Some time last year I began following a website/blog called The Pioneer Woman. I started reading the story of how she met and married her husband, I made some of her recipes (she has pictures of every single step!), and I fell in love with her photos of life on a ranch. Last night I tricked my friend Angie into going to The King's English Book Shop in Salt Lake City to attend a book signing for The Pioneer Woman's (Ree Drummond) new cookbook. I figured she had other fans, but I had no idea that hundreds (HUNDREDS) of women would be there jockeying for position to see Ree and get her signature. (She is skinny in real life. Especially for someone who uses a lot of butter. My hero.) Like an idiot I brought my child. (In the end it was a good move because Bridget got us moved up in the line for looking so pathetic.)

It was more of a pleasure to spend some quality line time with Angie and read childrens' books with Bridget at a small table in the back of the store than it was to spend five seconds with Ree. I got wondering why The Pioneer Woman would inspire so much hubbub. I've decided it's because she is so open about her life. With all her distinct style and talent, she still has laundry and dishes piling up. Sometimes her dogs poop in the house. It's refreshing that she doesn't hold back. It's even more refreshing that she seems to have herself figured out. I'd like to have myself figured out. I'd also like to be more open, but something is still holding me back from that. Hmmmm.

I like that I'm friends with Angie. We worked together in the Missionary Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (That's right, I wrote the whole name. I checked my site meter the other day and noticed that I don't know anyone who lives in Sunnyvale, California, or Costa Rica, and yet they're reading my blog. My name is Nicole and I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's nice to meet you.) Angie and I were secretaries for the In-field Representatives in the Missionary Department - they're the guys the mission presidents call when they have a problem.
Before Angie came to work, I was friends with mostly senior citizens at my job. Lucille (or "Lusill" as it's said here in Utah) used to get a muffin with me every morning until her knees got too bad to walk. Lynn was on a mission in the Missionary Department (talk about a disappointing call, eh?) and she road the bus with me every day. The summer before we got new buses, Lynn and I used to sweat it out in the "accordion" bus. For real - it was 115 degrees in there one day. That bus used to break down regularly and once it broke down at the point of the mountain right next to an exit. Everyone sat there in silence (all commuters on these buses - rarely crazy people). I called Brian to come get me at that exit and then I wasn't sure if it was okay for me to get off the bus - it was so quiet and no one else seemed to be contemplating exiting. I leaned over to Lynn and asked if it was okay for me to get off the bus. "They don't own you!" she replied. Indeed.
Angie and I are much closer in age and we share the same sense of humor. Very often we'd email each other like we were passing notes between desks. Sometimes I'd laugh so hard I couldn't speak. Even after I moved to a different section of the Missionary Department, Angie and I still ate lunch together regularly. As you can imagine, we probably know way too much about each other.

Bridget was born on a Sunday. The next morning I came to work and said I was quitting as of that day. (My wonderful bosses knew our situation and still gave me a promotion. Those same men wished me well when I left to be a full-time mom with one days notice.) I was very happy at my job. I loved the predictability of some of the people there - one of the guys used to sing the same two lines of the song "Come Let Us Anew" every single time he came out to get a fax. That same guy used to ask me which bus I took to get there. Every day. One of the other secretaries used to pretend to come over to say hello when she was secretly looking for food. There were others whose unpredictability was just as comforting. When I found a mouse in an overhead cabinet (we were eye to eye for a brief moment - I think we both screamed) one day, I alerted our supply lady. Her advice to me was to "find it and kill it." Words to live by. That woman once said a prayer at the Monday devotional that lasted 17 minutes.

I saw and worked with General Authorities every day. For our social get-togethers I was often involved in a musical number or a prayer. Because of that, I got praise and once a grandpa bear hug from members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. For someone who was waiting, sometimes impatiently, indulging in self-doubt about my worthiness to be a mother, working in that environment was a sweet deal.

This post is too many words, so I'll conclude by thanking Angie again for being a good friend. :)

15 comments:

allyn said...

thank you for your openness. and for some sweet flashbacks to emails from years gone bye. glad you got to meet a hero and use your daughter to gain advantage in line. those are good days.

Angie said...

You're welcome :).

I'm glad we're friends too, and that we've kept in touch. I'm the worst at keeping in touch, and usually just write off the people I don't work with anymore, but not you. It was fun to see you both. And I should have smiled for my picture. Sorry.

Chillygator said...

Hey! I used to work for the missionary department doing fun things like typing in five million referrals and sending reports to different missions. Those were the days (o:

Jen said...

You look like a hippie Vermonter in that first desk picture. I like you with bangs :) I need a hair cut so bad...

Jill said...

I enjoyed this post. I've read Pioneer Women since I found her on your blog awhile back. She does have a interesting life. Is the cookbook any good? I'm thinking about ordering it.
I too feel like I hold back too much for my blog to be truly interesting, but the people I care about most read it for some reason.
I really enjoy reading your blog, you're a very good writer and your great sense of humor (what I remember most about you), shines through. I really should come and say hi sometime when I'm over your way.

amylouwho said...

great post! What an awesome job you had! I want praise and bear hugs from the general authorities. Luck-eeee (napolean style.)

Cool you met Ree too - and I think you should start reviewing her recipes on here!

And I'm going to be out there in January (fingers crossed) we should totally get our little princesses together to play - oh yeah, and so we can hang out. We should talk Allyn in to coming.

K.Q. said...

I am so jealous you met Pioneer Woman. Thank you for introducing me to her blog a couple years ago. And thank you for your story. I'm sorry that you questioned your worthiness to be a mother. I did/do that too. Waiting stinks! But, princesses are the best!

Katy said...

I'm still laughing at the image of you and a mouse screaming at the sight of each other!

Andrea Lei said...

I am lauging at a 17 minute long prayer!
Post well done, anytime I get a glimpse of the deep Nicole, I feel successful. Me? I am an open book for anyone to read...drives my secretive husband crazy!!

RCH said...

Hey, my dad works in the Missionary Department! Good place. Good times. (I used to work in the Audio Visual Department, myself -- it's way more glamorous, but don't feel bad. ;-)

I don't know from Pioneer Woman, but I always love reading your blog.

Mom said...

Delightful post. Thanks for sharing.:) One of the best parts of our mission was having you work there. I know they miss you!

Kristi said...

Anyone who is your friend is lucky. Bridget is the luckiest to have you as her mom. Really. She is.

I miss working, too, even if my job consisted of 230 junior high students coming in and out of my classroom every day (some reeking straight from gym class). I still got praise (believe it or not) and I miss that. Today? I got coughed on and noses wiped on my shirt. Nice. And I left being paid to do this? Sweet.

Mr and Mrs C said...

Ooh, ooh, I wanna be like you-ooh! Love reading your posts and totally echo all other adjectives that describe you. I think any good mother questions herself on a regular basis. That's what makes them good mothers...I hope?! ;)

koryn said...

I was about to leave a note saying how much I love delving a bit deeper into what it is that makes you so, you. Then I read the other comments saying something very simialar and I felt hopelessly unoriginal. So, instead I will say that I love that you had the courage to write "poop" on your blog. That is courage.

Dana Martineau said...

How fun to meet the Pioneer Woman! And have you noticed that Bridget is totally famous now? She's on Pw's blog! (5th picture from the bottom in the Salt Lake City section of pictures). So cool! :) Hope all is going well with you and your family!