Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer


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Crossing the State Line: The Colorado/New Mexico Trip, May, 2015

Prologue

We are now back from a week long trip out west. Yes they did allow this Jersey Girl into the Rocky Mountains. As far as traveling goes, this trip was smooth sailing in both directions. Usually when I go through airport security check points I get so flustered I lose a shoe, get disheveled and my suitcase explodes, but not this time in either direction, AND our flights were on time and both arrived early. A first!

Traveling on a trip arranged by my husband always has an element of risk, mainly to me. We jokingly call them “Wife Survival Tests” but sometimes they really do feel that way. I will be posting recollections of past tests- er, I mean trips and you will see what I mean. I only cried once on this trip. A record!

Our trip began at the lovely home of our dear friends Larry and Angie Gomes in Castle Rock, not too far from Denver. Larry and Bill were roommates in Aspen in the 1970’s and have kept in touch ever since. Someday I will regale you with stories from those days when they were foot loose and fancy free ski bums in the pre Disneyland incarnation of Aspen today. A part of me feels like I really missed out on those wild times of theirs while the other more rational part of me realizes that I probably would have run screaming from the likes of them and their feral ways.

What’s wonderful about being with Larry and Angie is that for every cockamamie adventure the boys have planned, Angie is there to alternately put her foot down or to concoct some parallel female adventure so I can skate around joining the fellas. And for this Jersey Girl, who thinks she’s seen it all in the over-the-top department, I have met my match in Angie.

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Colorado/New Mexico Trip, May 2015

Chapter 1

The Bridal Shower

Usually the trip is to attend the Santa Fe Century, held this year on May 17th. It involves a 6 hour car ride from Castle Rock to Santa Fe.   Coincidentally, May 17th was also the date of the bridal shower of Larry and Angie’s daughter Andrea. I don’t know about you, but when I think bridal shower I think BORING. This was not the case by far. The invitation was so graphically busy it almost gave me a headache. With it were instructions to buy panties to bring to the party. Huh? I wasn’t very clear on that part, but made a note to myself to remind me to get some and bring a silly hat.

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Angie, being Angie, made all the decorations, whipping them up seemingly out of thin air. Huge tissue paper flowers, tiny fabric hearts, balloons, a tasteful clothesline for the panties with clothespins sporting cute fabric bows. Angie is a whiz with a glue gun. She found a tiny hat made of silver glitter for me and set about decorating it with the plush headband I brought and playing cards to match the mad hatter theme.

I didn’t know what to do about the panties. The instructions merely said, “Please bring an unwrapped pair of panties that reflect YOUR personality.” Were they for her? For me? So off I went to our local Macy’s that has the best lingerie department in the universe, all items attractively priced. I looked at lace panties in all different colors. I looked at thongs as tiny as q-tips.   I looked at Spanx as comfortable as sausage casings. I finally chose panties representative of my personality and that of the ladies in the land of my dear State: leopard print size XXXL. The endearing label indicating symbols for “good muffin/bad muffin” caught my eye and further swayed my vote. On the way home I swung by the Party Store and snagged a cute headband sporting plush multi colored candles with a cardboard sign that read “Happy Birthday” that I figured Angie and I could doctor for the occasion.

Ok, hat done, panties done, next gift, then outfit. When it comes to bridal showers, in particular ones where I only know the bride to be and maybe her mother, I believe in 2 things: 1) make a grand entrance 2) bring a big gift. Another life tenet I hold dear is that every girl, at least once in her life, needs to receive a present in the form of an enormous box from Tiffany’s. I decided to do all 3.

My go to gift at Tiffany’s for really good friends and very close family is The Refresher Set. Years ago it was attractively priced (ho ho have they caught on!) and the customer service is impeccable. Having completely forgotten to purchase it to ensure delivery in time for the shower I called them up and spoke to a representative who treated me like a long lost friend. She waived the shipping as if it was a pesky nuisance and it arrived, with printed gift card and enormous blue bag to put it in at Angie’s house within 3 days! Considering how much the shipping would have cost for the huge box, no less within 3 days, it made the gift attractively priced (at least in my math, Bill is still having problems with my logic.)

What better way to show off that big robin’s egg blue box with the tasteful black text than a matching cocktail dress? My robin’s egg blue cocktail dress from Brooks Brothers doesn’t get out much, in fact it’s probably vintage by now. Mainly because it’s a size 8 and I tend to fit in it for about an hour every 10 years. Luckily this was my hour and year! To accent same I wore Via Spiga sandals (a favorite of character Lula in Janet Evanovich– another Jersey girl!! novels) in lime green sporting heels so high my little toes stuck out and clung to the sides for dear life as if to scream, “we’re going down!!!” Add to this a cute little rubber woven bag accented with fake crab apples, and blue crystal with silver bamboo earrings purchased in the early 1980’s at Love Saves The Day (it’s location recently blown to smithereens in a gas explosion.)

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Thus armed and garbed we set off for the shower. It was held in a lovely stately home in an established community with HORSES in the YARDS. My kind of place. The hostesses were Allie and Kate, a mother daughter duo, Kate being married to Angie’s son/Andrea’s brother Tyler. We helped arrange heart shaped sandwiches as Kate banged them out and arrange and decorate the table. I, the only one not used to altitude, was given the task of blowing up balloons, like a drunk trying to pass a breathalyzer test.

Suddenly the door burst open and in charged a herd of extremely tall, thin, gorgeous, loud, filly-legged girls in very short dresses, very high heels and big tall hats (as if they needed them, the rats.) I turned to Allie and said, “I am old, short, and fat.” She replied, “I feel like a midget.” Enter Andrea’s friends. They whirled around hugging, kissing, whipping up punches and piling food high before Andrea’s arrival.

It was a wild time of eating, laughing, drinking and clowning. It turns out the panties were supposed to be for Andrea (I think for her honeymoon) and she had to guess who gave them to her. Now I’m a Jersey Girl and I’m used to seeing certain types of undergarments, but some of those panties, I do not lie, made me blush. In some cases I wasn’t even sure how they were supposed to be worn except to be thrown on the floor at the foot of a bed. It did my heart good that my panties were the first ones she chose and she didn’t guess they were from me. 😀

She received mostly very racy lingerie as gifts and I felt like the dusty old aunt giving her the practical gift (but in the big blue box!)  She opened it last and was a bit at a loss for words. I cheered up mightily when she texted Angie a picture the next day of all the girls and hubby to be toasting the impending nuptials using the set!

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