13 August 2007

Mad Hattery

So I know you all are all stalking my blog like a bunch of vultures in breathless anticipation of details from my trip to Hatland.


[chirp, chirp]

Guys? Anybody out there?

Fine. It's not like I was blog-stalking either, when Lorraine went to Chi-town, or when the Hat came to Seattle. Please. I have a life, you know. Hmph.

So, what to say? How do I put it to words? The Hat has become Real. Like the Velveteen Rabbit.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you."

Well, The Hat certainly didn't have a stick-out handle, but after a certain number of tasty drinks, she may have had things buzzing inside her. Regardless, she is now Real, with a face and a voice and a fetchingly contagious smile.

I have to tell you all, I was amazed that she'd only been in her charming abode for little more than a month. From the gorgeously curvy (and oh so fitting) chaise lounge with funky pillows, to her Princess bed, to the flowers on her hat box end table, to the pictures on the walls - it was neat as a pin and looked like she'd been there for years. Lorraine would be proud.

I've been in my house for nearly a year. Ain't shit on my walls.
And yes, she actually does have an end table made of hat boxes. See for yourselves. Perfect? I think so.

Also, she had this hostess business down, y'all. I arrived to find a fancy spread of shrimp cocktail, mussels on ice, veggies, spinach dip (in bread bowl, of course), dill dip, 3 different cheeses, kalamata olives, and petite quiche.
Oh hell yes. The Hat rocked the kitchen.

She prepared some refreshing Iced Tea, perfect after my long and arduous journey. This tea was zippy and left me strangely giddy, yet able to grasp all the mysteries of the universe. It's some sort of Italian tea blend a la Lorraine. I liked it so much I snagged the recipe.
(Disclaimer: Italian Ice Tea not intended for those under the age of 21.)

The Hat's hostessing skillz really came to light with her change of attire for every course. The evening began with a flowy skirt and blouse ensemble, went to a frilly summer frock, then to basic black. She rounded up the evening with silky PJs in the color scheme of her chaise lounge, bedecked with flowers and a snappy trim. Impressive. I suspect she may have Superman phone booth skillz to boot, as I never actually saw this happen.

I brought a fine Chilean wine, based on my intimate knowledge of funky wine labels. You wine aficionados out there may recognize this particular blend as Voluptuous Beauty. Exactly. I really had no choice but to bring it, did I? Perfect for an evening at the Voluptuary. It didn't suck. I was proud. You can't tell so much in the cropped shot, but the backdrop for this shot was, in fact, beauteously voluptuous.
Sadly, there isn't as much photographic evidence as we'd planned. But really, who has time to snap pics when you're busy quaffing tea and untangling the mysteries of the universe? Anyway, here are a few of the pics. See, not too incriminating.

Below you'll see her Hatness chatting up one of her Real friends. We both had Real friends checking up via telephone, in case either of us turned out to be an axe murderer. We had to use code words and everything. Doesn't actually do much good though, when you tell the potential axe murderer about your code word.

(It does pay to be careful though, as this Australian farmer recently found out. He was kidnapped during an Internet meeting gone wrong. Of course, his visit did involve marriage and a dowry of gold bars, but whatever. It happens. Be careful out there.)

"So, things are going WELL ... yes, I said WELL."
(hello, adorable! Can we get a cyber wolf whistle here?)

"Wait! You should wear a hat!"
"Right! And pull it down over one eye like in the movies!
Do I look like a princess detective?"

"My! He really is a Dirty Rotten Kitty!"*

Frivolity abounded in direct proportion to the amount of "Iced Tea" consumed. And it really was just her chaise lounge that squeaked when she reached for her wine glass that time. I ended up crashing on the Hat's lovely chaise lounge, as we realized at one point it was 3:30 am. Oops.

Frivolity aside, I'm so glad to have met her. I never would've thought that this blogging business would lead to connections like this. I know there are people who don't see any difference between a blogging addiction and an online gaming or TV addiction.

The difference is the connection.

Meeting the Hat validated my feeling that these are, in fact, real connections. That these keyboard people with unknown faces, cyberly tied by the wisp of a broadband connection, are friends. As I got into this whole blogging thing more and more, I'd sometimes question myself. Okay, Cowbell, what's up -- is this online stuff isolating me from connections in the real world? Am I deluding myself that these are connections at all?

No. This online stuff is about building connections, and these folks are very much in the real world.

What I think about blogging is that it strips away all the things people normally connect over. Looks, age, gender, employment, location, orientation, education, income level, hot-factor, whether you're married or single, whether you have kids or not -- all of that is gone. Out of the equation. What's left is our insides, the core. Our beliefs, feelings, fears, humor, interests. The things that matter.

What is more real, connections based on those surface things, or a connection based on our insides? I'm thinking that a friendship based on shared beliefs is a lot more real than a friendship based on someone's hotness factor or income level.

If you take the step to meet a cyberbuddy in real life, you have already discovered shared beliefs, interests and humor. You have weeded through dozens of other blog sites before finding one that you connect with, and when you do connect, it's because there's something there beyond surface cosmetics. Well, unless someone has a really kickass template, that is.

I'm thinking this blogging thing is a pretty damn efficient way to meet Real Friends.

If you're wondering, yes, I did actually call her The Hat. No, there were no awkward silences. No "holy shit, what the hell am I doing here?"  We were not strangers. It was effortless. Okay, commenting over at The Club wasn't exactly effortless, but that was because of all the "Iced Tea" we'd consumed at that point. The rest of it though, was effortless. We talked about stuff way below the surface. Which didn't seem odd at all.
The Hat is every bit as lovely as I'd imagined. As I've already fawned over her pics at Lorraines, you know I think she is more delicious than a Daiquiri Shake (don't ask). And hello, the neighbor guy's comment? Well, let's just say, don't be too hard on him. Poor guy. The pressure was just too much. So yeah, the sparkly captivating hotness that comes through on her blog? Her. And yes, her smile really is that sunny.

*That last one is a long story. I stole Dirty Rotten Kitty from a friend on the East Coast a few years back, before her dog could destroy him. (He's actually a dog toy, but like the Velveteen Rabbit, is quite Real, and had to be rescued.) Since then he's kind of become like the world renowned Traveling Garden Gnome. He's been spotted in many places, and has much photographic evidence in his travel logs. He now has a new friend.


  1. lol, oh yeah, and the wardrobe changes slay me! I seriously could not get comfortable in anything I put on. I swear I don't usually do that. laughity laugh laugh snort (that was the couch)

  2. Of course it was! Stupid couch. I nearly posted the one of you on the chaise during our feast, in the frilly summer frock, but I was conservative with the photos. Evidence and all that. After that DeBarge one, though ... hmm.

    I didn't want to fawn too much, lest anyone think I'd been captivated by your Siren's spell. Not that I have or anything. *ahem* [fiddles with hemline] When I pronounced you adorable from Lorraine's pics, I really had no idea. (Am I fawning? Crap.)

  3. what an excellent recap! I share your beliefs about the people we meet online as being not just cyber friends, but people you get to know slowly over time, stripped bare of all the stereotyped bullshit we use in real time. I am so happy the two of you made such a nice connection, and the pictures are almost like being there. Thanks cowbell!

  4. Okay, I'm more jealous than ever now. So. Not. Fair. Glad you had fun, though.

  5. I'm glad you guys had fun and aren't axe murderers.
    Man, The Velveteen Rabbit made me WEEP when I was a kid. I saw the ABC Weekend Special of it and was just a MESS. I bet I would still weep if I saw it today.

  6. lol, tell you what - I'll scratch the DeBarge shot if you scratch the dirty kitty pic. Oy! Not my most flattering pose for sure. (and you can't even see the big ol tail/penis! What's up with that?)

  7. I am so turned on right now, and I'm gay. I can just imagine what the straight guy bloggers are doing with all these pictures.

    Love, love, love that Hat has a hatbox endtable. And spare hats that you could wear in photos. And don't think I haven't gotten some new appetizer tips for my next get-together.

    OH! And Lorraine now has proof that I've booked my plane tickets to Seattle next month. I don't even have to be jealous about all of this!!!

  8. Golly, Cowbell. You got a much better appetizer spread than she did when she came here. Impressive, indeed.

    Glad y'all had so much fun!

  9. Hear that MC? JP is turned on.
    Oh pooh...now I wish I really did have a stick-out handle.

  10. I'll have you know I check everyone's blog 132 times a day,so I'm not just stalking you.
    Great pix!..Great recap!..
    Although,I was hoping for some pix of you guys in yer nighties having a pillow fight...Oh,..Like I was only one..

  11. Hotness abounds, yes verily it does.

    How cool.

  12. ok JP has booked his ticket and i havent sold a home so this kind of sucks for me... but I soooo know how it is... there are connections here! So lets all stop yelling at our teenagers for spending so much time chatting online!

  13. I'm so glad you girls had fun! And didn't end up behind bars or anything..

    No doubt there are some scary folk out there.. but there are some awfully cool people too! Sharing ideas and "meeting" one another in cyber land does give one a pretty amazing circle of new buddies that never in a million years would you have had the chance to find otherwise.

  14. I love hearing about blogging pals meeting in "real life". I don't think that non-bloggers will ever get the joy that can be found in blogging. I'm glad you had fun.

  15. You made this sound like the party we all should have attended last weekend and the pics are proof that it was far better than any we might have.

    Damn, I want to hang out with you two and I've only recently started reading you.

  16. my stuffed animals are real too. matter of fact, in college i started work on a "moment of change" documentary on when children start realizing (or mistakenly believeing) that their stuffed animals are no longer real. it branched out into a HUGE project and one day i will finish it.

  17. I know just what you mean...I meet Real Friends online all the time. One of them's a golden dragon, and another one's an intersexual pirate. We never can manage to get together in real life, though. For some reason they always have other things to do.

    When will DRK's travel logs be updated?

  18. Oh yeah, and about Citymouse's comment - it's pretty sad and strange that Mommy Dearest (Cowbell) spends more time on the machine than her three teenagers.

  19. what fun!!! i loved this write-up; made me feel like i was there. sounds like a grand time and for two fabulous women, couldn't be anything better. yay!!

  20. If they ever call for entries to (for?)an anthology that explains the joys of blogging to its detractors, this post should be Chapter One.

    It's no surprise that your meeting was so warm and easy and interesting. As an objective observer (I bet I've never been one of those in my LIFE) - you are both remarkable beauties and minds on the page. How could you not be hot in real life? Besides that, I can NOT read anything Hat writes without thinking how special she is (and then, of course, giving mYSELF credit because I'm reading her. It's a good trick.)

  21. This post went up on MONDAY. It's FRIDAY.

    A week without Cowbell is like an ice cream sundae with no marshmallow goop, like a make-out session sans ear-nibbling, like a lesbian without a caulking gun, like a gay man without a garlic press ...

    Must I continue??

  22. Like a Republican who actually served in Vietnam?


I've got a fever ...