Whidbey Island Overnight

Our friend Cheryl King invited Patty and I and several of our artist friends to spend the night at her vacation condo on the beach on Whidbey Island to celebrate birthdays for three of them. Patty and I were to drive up very early and bring some of the ingredients for the luncheon we planned.

Patty arrived at my house at 9:30, we loaded her car with my stuff and took off. Happily and blissfully chatting on our way to the ferry. We paid our $22.50 one-way and got on. It’s about a half hour ride and we keep on chit-chatting ……….well ok, blabbing……… sometimes both of us at the same time. We drive off the ferry and go quite a distance while blabbing. Somewhere that little guy on the left side of my brain is saying “where’s Langley? You should have passed it by now.” But I don’t listen to him and we keep right on blabbing obliviously. She’s driving and I’m looking for Cheryl’s turn off but what I see instead takes my breath away and I scream “POULSBO!!??!!??” I’m no dummy and I know immediately Poulsbo is NOT on Whidbey Island. Are we in the Twilight Zone? Because if somehow we’ve been transported to the Kitsap Peninsula it’s going to take us hours to get to Whidbey for our luncheon and we definitely can’t make it by noon.

Patty and I are both Italian so you would think that we would handle this information in much the same way. Wrong. I’ve been brought up to handle unexpected crises by screaming, tearing out my hair, running around waving my arms (difficult while being trapped inside a moving car but I was giving it a try), and generally coming unglued. Not Patty. She stays calm and slowly turns the car around to head back the way we came. I am so stressed out I’m totally dysfunctional at this point and ask her how she could handle it so well. She tells me that “This sort of thing happens to me all the time, and if I behaved like you it wouldn’t be good for me.”

So for the next two hours that it takes me to calm down, I try to behave in a civilized manner but inside I am churning. I am still churning right now as I write about it.

But anyway………let me continue. We finally arrive back at the ferry, wait in line, pay another $22.50, go back across Puget Sound to Edmonds, head for the Mukilteo ferry to Whidbey which is quite a distance. While she drives I look at the ferry schedule and see the next ferry leaves at 2:30. It is now a little before 2:00. I’m sure we won’t make it, so I say “We have to pass Trader Joe’s on the way so why don’t you stop there and we’ll buy salads for lunch and eat them on the ferry……….I’m starving to death!” She says “No, I’m going for it!” Well OK. At that point I can choose to eat partially frozen chicken (for the salad that we’ll never get) or drink salad dressing, or eat the bread Patty brought. I reach into the back of the car and start ripping the bread apart and shoveling pieces into my mouth. 

Just as we round the corner to the ferry, we watch it pulling out of the dock. We had missed it by 3 minutes! When I actually put the situation into words and tell Patty what time it is and how long we have to sit in line and how long for the crossing and how long the drive to Cheryl’s, she starts to laugh. I don’t mean giggle. She laughs harder and harder while I stared and took photos of the tears rolling down her cheeks. Totally hysterical!   

I discovered there are many ways to come unglued! My way is not necessarily the proper Italian way. There is no right or wrong here. Different strokes for different folks so they say.

How much is this going to cost us? The price of gas is astronomical and now we have to pay for three ferries. We threw ourselves at the mercy of the ticket taker. He looked like a nice old guy. “We got on the wrong ferry and had to turn around and come all the way back and now we’d like a refund.” I guess he’s heard everything in the years he’s been crammed into that tiny little space all day and has lost all sense of pity so without missing a beat he said “no refunds”. We’re women, after all. We’re women who are artists. We’re Italian women who are artists. Cut us some slack! But it doesn’t work. No free rides.


When we arrived at Cheryl’s condo, both the luncheon and some friends were gone. But Cheryl and Liana were there and it was nearly 4:00! Happy Hour! YIPPEEEE!! Let the wine flow! Crack the bottle! It took Patty about 30 seconds to fall off the wagon she’d been on for a couple of weeks in an effort to lose the 5 ounces of fat she always complains about.

So the four of us were left to spend the night at Cheryl’s condo and relax with our friends until the next morning when our little road trip would continue.  Cheryl is a good friend.  She posed for photos for me to paint:

 We still had to drive the length of Whidbey Island, cross the Deception Pass bridge and drive to Anacortes to deliver paintings for our show at Scott Milo! Oh that’s right! The show!! We will be there for Art Walk on Friday, June 3rd from 6 to 9. Don’t worry, there are no ferries and getting home from Anacortes is a 2 hour drive but it’s a straight shot on the freeway. Sometimes I feel like my life is one big joy ride!  Patty and I have promised to double check each other on everything from now on.  I hope it makes a difference.

Liana, Cheryl, Patty and I at coffee the next morning.  Still good friends.

Me and my piggies

Almost always I wear my hair up in two piggies on top of my head. I do it because 1: I like it. 2: It’s easy. 3: People expect me to.

I'm the one on the left.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear comments about my hair from strangers. Most of the time it’s positive and they tell me how much they like it or love it or it’s just darling. Sometimes I can read between the lines: “I like it on you, but I could never wear it.” I’ve seen women elbowing each other and whispering and trying hard to point me out without me seeing it. This just happened this morning at Costco. Also at Costco today I heard “Is that your hair?” Sometimes women come running after me to comment on it. Women try to be more discreet than men. Men will make comments from wherever they happen to be. Sometimes I hear comments being yelled out of car windows. A couple of days ago I had three old (way older than me) women looking at my hair and talking about it as I walked toward them. One of them just couldn’t contain herself and had to ask “Are they real?” I was about to tell her ‘that’s my business’ when I realized she wasn’t talking about my boobs………..so I said yes and fluffed them up and told her she could touch them if she wanted. “How do you make them do that?” Oh I don’t make them do anything; they just do it by themselves.

I’ve heard comments from every age, race, gender. Many times, it’s the children who are impressed with my piggies. I see them tugging at their mom’s arm and saying “Mommy look at that ladies hair.” while the mom is trying to be discreet and turn them around quietly. Once at Disneyland, the little 4 year old girl in line in front of me was obsessed with me and the 4 inch Minnie Mouse scrunchies I wore on each piggie. She wouldn’t face forward no matter how her mom tried to make her. Finally, I said to her “I’m Minnie’s Mommy.” She threw her arms around my knees and hugged me as tight as she could. That was one of my favorite times. That experience made my trip to Disneyland (the happiest place on earth) more memorable than all the rest.

These piggies are the best for getting people to remember me. They know me, but I can’t remember them. I just hug and kiss and pretend until finally it comes to me…….or not.

Once, when walking through Nordstrom, a woman saw me and started walking toward me with her arms out and smiling. I figured ‘here we go again…….who is she?....where do I know her from?.......oh well, I’ll just give her a hug.” She got closer and closer and still I had no clue. Finally, just as my arms went out to hug her, she walked right past me to her friend who was behind me.

So my piggies are uniquely my own and I’m going to keep wearing them. Much in the same way an old woman wears purple. Who cares if they cause my daughters to cringe? ‘I am who I am’ to quote Popeye. I’ve got a great life and I’m happy. That’s what matters.

I'm the one on the right.