Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meeting Susan....

On Saturday, we drove to Remnants of the Past immediately.  It is $10.00 per person to get in and they give you an arm band to wear.  That covers the cost of coming back on Sunday as well if you'd like and they were donating a lot of that money to a local women's shelter....I thought that that was a great gesture.  

 The Alex Madonna Convention Center is where the event was held this year....the first time had always been held in a barn owned by the grandparents of Judy Watkins, the founder of the show....however, it had gotten so big that they had to move to a new location.  If you don't know anything about the Madonna Inn, it's worth a look at the's a pretty unique place with themed rooms and unique characteristics.  It's NOT my kind of place, I'll have to admit, but I do think you'll get a kick out of looking through the's just a little on the weird side for me, but that's just me.  On the other hand, the external structure and the grounds are magnificent....
These large angels guard the entrance to the inn's grounds
 After the very early plane ride and then the 4 hour drive up the coast, THIS was a welcome sign.....
Poetic Pumpkins graced the entrance with this gorgeous scarred pumpkin
If you live in the area, Rutiz Family Farms allows people like you and I to come into the field and 'engrave' or 'scar' a pumpkin and then pick it up when it's ready.....they are an amazing organic farm, which, like our local Grant Family Farms, has a harvest box 'club' where you can 'subscribe' to receive a monthly harvest box of whatever is fresh at the time.  Everything is organic and fabulous.

When we got into the event, we were amazed by the grandeur of it all.....many booths, and each so beautifully decorated.  Each was like a little Anthropologie shop!  Susan showcased a lot of vendors and you can go on the Remnants of the Past site to see even more....she's also on Facebook.

I'm actually working on one of these myself!

A beautiful Mess 
These 'upcycled' wool handbag totes really caught my eye....they are MUCH cuter in person and I was just amazed at how well constructed and sturdy they were...

 And of course, I finally met Pammy....I've been following Pammy for awhile through her blog and have gotten to know her and her family through her stories.  At one point, Rod and I thought of the idea of Idaho as a place for a bed and breakfast and I wrote to her asking her about how she liked living there.  Of course, we quickly came to the conclusion that we can't live far away from the least not by OUR choice, so we've kept our search aligned with places in Colorado that are on the east side of the Rockies....

I've loved her blog and her stories and I think her jewelry is AMAZING....she also makes the annual Christmas ornament for Susan, do you see all the connections here?
Here's Pam Johnson and I inside her darling booth, Pammy's Attic
 Pam is beautiful, charming, warm, and genuine and now works at a local church (in Idaho) as a set designer.  She says that she LOVES IT, but of course, is juggling this new career with her art and family.  Her daughter was there on Saturday, so I got to meet her, too.  Her daughter, an amazing writer, pens Higher Highs, Lower Lows, a blog about early parenthood and marriage.  It's funny and so down-to-earth.  You'll love it!  Making the connection with Pam and seeing her in person was just heartwarming....another sister of the heart!

NOW, before we move on to meeting SUSAN, I have to tell you that Saturday afternoon and into evening was AWESOME.....we drove up the coast past Hearst Castle and went to a location where I remember there being elephant seals on the beach.  Lo and behold, there they were!  We took lots of pictures which I'll include in the next post, but I know you're waiting to see here we go!

On Sunday morning, we ate our yummy breakfast at Petit Soleil and then tidied up our room and headed back to the Remnants show.  I browsed for a bit, but had done my shopping the day before so I'd have my time on Sunday for Susan, so I got in the increasingly elongating line to meet 'our girl'!   Then, they made an announcement over the loud speaker that she was heart started to beat faster....THEN....there she came, into the convention center and walked right in front of me.....I stepped out of line for a moment and said, "I'm Joann from Colorado!" and she said, "Who?"  No, she didn't.....she gave me a BIG HUG and then she said she was happy I came but that she had to get to her spot to sign autographs.  When I stepped back in line, the gal in front of me said, "You two are friends....that's so nice!"  YES, I'm a tweetlette (I didn't tell her that)....

look at that beautiful face and that pretty suit she was wearing...and there's Joe toting a box of books or something....what a wonderfully supportive man he is....and she deserves it!
 It seemed to take forever until it was my turn, but the girls in line were awesome and we chatted up a storm...
and then, finally, it was MY TURN!
there's Bonnie in the apron next to Joe....I would ADOPT HER she's so precious!

I just wanted to reach across the table and squeeze seeing an old friend; the connection was immediate
                                        Can you see the line behind me?  YES, this gal is popular!
I can't say all that she was signing here, because it's a surprise for someone

do you see how she's tilting her head?  That's how a girlfriend listens to another girlfriend, right?  We were both wearing little lapel flowers, too, only mine had flopped in a weird fashion.....I didn't care. Her hair was precious, with little highlights; her eyes bright and twinkling....she's like an ornament, actually!  :)

Joe is as warm as can be....he and Rod chatted it up a bit and then we got a picture together....what a nice man, but would you expect anything less from our girl Susan....she deserves the very best!

I had asked Susan weeks before the event if we could have a cup of tea together and she said that she'd have to see if time allowed for it.  So, when it was my turn in line, I asked again and she said that I should stick around until after the signing and she'd see.  We had already done our shopping, so there was a place called 'the man cave' where there was some furniture so sit down on and a snack shop.  Rod and I got some water and fruit and waited...I kept checking on the line to see how it was going, but she had a popular day....and it took a couple of hours.  Of course, she's wonderful to everyone who comes through the line....we ALL love her! As I saw the line dwindling, I got up and moved closer....when the last person had her book signed, I went up and Susan and I talked for a bit.  She introduced me to a couple of her girlfriends who were local.  Donna, who is a nurse, will be retiring in October, and she and I talked about retirement and health benefits and what it's like living in Colorado.  This we did while Susan went to the little girl's room....I mean, she had been sitting there for a couple of hours signing books and sipping iced tea for Heaven's sake!

Susan told me that she wished we could but that she had not seen these friends in years and needed to go.  We had a few last hugs, and off she went and Rod and I turned and walked back to our car.  I was a mix of elated and sad, so I said that we needed to go have tea anyway.  We drove to Solvang...a Danish settlement that originated in 1911 and has grown into a very popular tourist site.  Unfortunately, it was mostly closed and so I was just able to peek into the windows; however, a bakery was open until 7 pm....hmmmmmm....

me just outside the event center (taken on Saturday)

Rod loved this old truck!
Driving into Solvang.....
Solvang, California
I've created a link for you to check out this wonderful little community--it's definitely worth a visit if you've never seen it before!  The last time I was there was when the girls were really little....

and yes, there are a few windmills here and there...

yes, a bakery!!

ahhh....what to choose; anything gluten free??

yes, an almond paste nut horn....and Rod got a raspberry cream cheese pastry.  And, of course, tea for two!

up close....can't you just taste it?

Closed, but I snapped a picture of this adorable quilt shop through the window

thatched roofs on several of the buildings still are sturdy

                    We walked around holding hands and talking about life and the day's events.....and of course, the events of was getting dark and time to head north back to San Luis Obispo and to our bed and breakfast....time to start packing up so we could quickly grab breakfast and make our drive back to Los Angeles......

                              Feeling thankful and blessed for all that I have.....
             And to all my wonderful girlfriend tweetlettes, soul sisters, wonderfully supportive women, you were all with me in my's a little video to hopefully capture a bit of the day:

                                              see video HERE


  1. What an adventure! I'm so glad you and Sue got to meet and that you shared it with us. Loved the pictures and the video. You sound like such a sweetie, I just know it would be fun to talk with you in person! xoxo

  2. Darling Joann,

    What a wonderful post! I just loved the way you described Susan, the twinkling in her eyes, and the part of her resembling an ornament. She is truly precious, as she is a constant source of inspiration for hundreds, if not thousands of people around the world! You were so lucky to have met her. I remember Susan saying she met Julia Child once, one of the inspirational people in her life. They never did get to have tea together, but I'm sure Susan feels blessed just to have met her! One day, I hope to look into her eyes and tell her face-to-face just how much she's influenced my life. Don't be sad about the tea. What's important is that you got to meet her. And Joe, too! And you found a wonderful bakery and had tea for two - you and Rod. Thank you for sharing this very special day with us. I am so happy to have "come along" with you. Thanks for taking us and for sharing photos, story, and video. Love you!! xoxo

  3. oooh, what a wonderful story. so happy for you.

  4. You do such a great job on your posts, Joann! You tell your story so well and the pictures are always lovely...I just enjoy them so! We were all there with you in spirit!!! I am so very happy for you... you got your wish to meet Susan face to face! So exciting!! And Joann, you know, your hubby is a keeper...what a doll he is for coming so far, being patient, and taking those wonderful pictures! Oh, I recognize so much of your adventure! Solvang is adorable, especially nice in cooler months and they are darling at holiday time. Also, you might enjoy a place called Andersen's on State in Santa Barbara...sidewalk cafe with Danish goodies & their marzipan cake is to die for : ) Thank you for posting your special day with us all!! Hugs, Sherry xoxo

  5. YOu did it!! I'm soooo happy for you and Susan!! One day I hope to meet Susan and You too ! OH it sounds like a dream visit :) I felt your excitement too!
    I love your post and do understand the twinkle and the tilt of the head :) pure girlfriends at heart :)
    You sound like such a sweety, Joann! and Solvang looks like a cozy place indeed :)
    thank you so much for sharing your visit with us :)
    Denise of Ingleside


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