We Rocked the Rockies

    The Pump House may never be the same...

    Every once in a while, life provides us with a moment so special that we know it's special even when it's happening. You know you want to savor it because it means so much to you. You don't want it to end, and yet it does, as all things in life must.

    These past two weeks were one of those special times. And damn was it ever fun!

    It started when Libby and I hopped in her Tony Soprano Wagon and drove through the strangest storm either of us had ever seen — snow with thunder and lightning — to the airport to pick up Joanie. Joanie had been on a plane for something like 24 hours straight and somehow managed to smile and be cheerful and fun. I swear it's an Aussie trait.

    Joanie and Ben became "mates," with Ben mimicking Joanie's accent quite well.

    Libby dropped us off at my place, and we spent a fairly quiet weekend, heading to Libby's once for dinner, where Joanie made a scrumptious feast and almost got knocked on her butt by Libby's lemoncello, and visiting one of my all-time favorite restaurants, The Med, where Joanie and I sat for 5.5 hours talking over tapas, wine, dinner and champagne. In fact, I don't think she and I ever ran out of things to talk about — ever.

    Feasting and talking at The Med

    On Monday, Ben and I got home from a hard day at work and school to find that Joanie had made some delicious chicken soup. I walked through the door and said, "Honey, I'm home!" which made Joanie smile because she'd figured I was going to do that. Part of the reason she was smiling was that she'd read an ARC of Unlawful Contact while I'd been at work and liked the story. YAY!

    Aimee flew in on Tuesday, and this time Libby couldn't make it. So Joanie and I drove back to the airport to pick up Aimee, which resulted in a big group hug in the middle of baggage claim. Aimee and I have known each other online and via phone conversations for a few years now, and finally we met in person. Woohoo!

    Then we drove to Libby's for another scrumptious feast, this one prepared by Liberty herself. The mango salsa was so good it defies description. Let's just say we snarfed that shit.

    I had to work the next day, so Aimee and Joanie hung out at my place. That night we drove to the Pump House, the best restaurant in my town. It's a brewpub that makes awesome food and serves fantastic mixed drinks — like the Grey Goose Cosmos we drank several of. Ben came with us. There were some shenanigans and much laughing, but I've always believed in discretion, so I'll leave it at that... (That guy SO totally heard what was said... LOL!)

    My favorite photo from their visit... I miss you all so much!

    Or maybe that was Thursday night. Yes, I think it was. What did we do Wednesday night?!?

    Thursday was supposed to be a shopping day, but ended up being largely a sleeping day. Which was great. I was tired. And then we went to the Pump House.

    On Friday, we packed more crap than you can possibly imagine — four women do not need that much stuff unless they're heading off for a permanent trip to the Moon — and drove over the mountains through snow to a sweet condo that Libby had secured for us. It came with a sauna, a wine cellar (full of booze), three bedrooms, lots of bathrooms, surround sound (even in the bathrooms), and fireplaces in every bedroom. Total luxury!

    Thanks to Libby, we all enjoyed a weekend of luxury in Breck — that's Colorado slang for "Breckenridge," yo.

    I had what I called the Antler Suite up on the third floor, where I was in my own little world, if you don't count the bear plastered to the wall or the stuffed fox and all. And those moose antlers gave new meaning to the phrase, "What a rack!" I had my own bathroom with heated tiles, a fire place, a view of the beautiful, untrammeled forest and big, fat bed. I managed to get a bit of writing done. A bit.

    The Antler Suite. Notice the bear on the wall and the fox and such. A great place to write about Colonial Rangers, no?

    But only a bit because it's too damned hard to write when you really want to hang. We feasted on cheeses and wine and shit and watched movies and talked and talked and talked. Some of us had a bit too much, but I'm not naming names because we all agreed: "What happens in Breck stays in Breck."

    Poor Joanie never made it to the ski slopes, While carrying luggage up the stairs, she nearly fainted from the altitude, which was almost 10,000 feet. So it was a total indoor weekend, which is cool.

    Libby models the proper use of flannel.

    Aimee and Libby made supper our last night there — steaks, asparagus and portabello thingy, and more mango salsa! Joanie and I sat on our butts while they cooked, watching the Transformers movie, which gave me nightmares. (Clearly, I am not old enough to watch scary movies like that.) No one really wanted to go to bed because we knew we'd be leaving the next day.

    I love home cooking, as long as I'm not the one home cooking. This time, Libby and Aimee blew our taste buds away.

    On the drive back, I got busted for speeding. While I cursed the cop, Aimee, who was stuck in the car with me at the time, reminded me that he was doing his job. Wish I could pay the $77 fine in pennies. Grrrr! I think Aimee took a picture of the State Patrol vehicle. LOL!

    I had to work on Monday and Tuesday, but I did manage to get Aimee and Joanie to some outlet stores for a shopping extravaganza and dinner at another scrumptious brew pub.

    And then Aimee tried to set my house on fire. Well, not really. She lit a big fire in my wood stove and it really made the house warm. I was just afraid it was going to burn the house down. But it didn't. She and Joanie teased me for freaking out about it, but remember last February my fire place did catch my chimney on fire... OK, so I hadn't cleaned the chimney in eight years. I'm really not at my best in the real world. I do much better in fiction or in a newsroom when the shit is goin' down.

    I sneak in a hug. Gotta love this kid while I can. He'll be off to college soon. He loved our guests and did his best to make their stay comfortable.

    As the hours ticked away, I was trying really hard not to think of the fact that Joanie and Aimee would be leaving on Tuesday. When it came time to say good-bye, I did my best to act like an Aussie and smile. I teared up a little bit, but I was trying hard for their sake not to act like myself (Sue and KrisTAY know what I'm saying here...). So instead of blubbering when Libby packed them up and drove them off to the airport, I bawled after they'd gone. *sniff*

    What fun times!

    I so enjoyed getting to meet both Joanie and Aimee, and of course hanging with my gangsta bitch LibBAY is always a treat. I love the heck out of her.

    Now the house is cold and quiet and I have a book deadline that's about to bite my ass. So it's back to work. I've got two weeks off from the paper to write, so I probably won't be blogging or answering much email. Pray that the Muse stays with me! I need to write like the wind!

    BUT, the solution to missing everyone is to... do it again! Next stop Hong-freaking-Kong, baby!

    Coming soon... An excerpt from Untamed and contests galore for Unlawful Contact

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