Sunday, December 9, 2007


by Kirsten Scott

So the blog's late and my house is messy and I'm all in a tizzy, and it's not because of the holidays or my overactive to do list. It's because I got an incredible present this weekend.

It's Susan. Susan Seyfarth. My surprise, I mean.

Okay, back up. So you know about a month ago I got The Call, and right after I told my husband, I called Susan, my CP. And she cried for me and it meant so much, and I would have loved to have been able to give her a hug and tell her in person. But she's in Minnesota, and I'm in Oregon, so that's a bit difficult. Not to mention my day job and her day job--two little children.

So we email and we talk on the phone. But it's not the same.

Fast forward to Friday, when my husband comes up with an excuse to get me to take the afternoon off. I come home early from work, thinking he and I are going out for lunch, and instead, guess who's waiting at my house?


It's been a weekend of many happy tears. My incredible husband planned a weekend for us to be together, and I had no idea it was coming. We hung out and talked books and did some plotting on Friday, and then last night, we got babysitters for all kids and had a bunch of friends over and laughed and drank a lot of wine. We had a few tense moments, of course, as any friends do...but we got over it. And celebrated by reading some Bandita literature...

It was the best surprise ever.

So now, I want to know--what's the best surprise you've ever had? For one lucky commentor, a surprise will be coming in the mail...

Oh, and a holiday recipe...well, since I'm not much of a cook, I'll send you this holiday craft instead to do with your kids, or grandkids, or your husband, if you're lucky enough to have that kind of guy:

Get a bunch of shredded wheat and stomp, smash, or otherwise pulverize it.
Add some food coloring to make it green. These are your pine needles.
Mix with white frosting. This is the snow.
Take an ice cream cone (a pointy sugar cone) and set with the pointy end in the air. Now you've got a tree.
Cover with the snowy pine needles.
Add red jelly beans for lights.
Voila! A yummy Christmas tree the whole family can enjoy! :-)


CM said...

A month ago, we had a CP get-together to celebrate Tessa Dare's sale, and I can only hope you had as much fun as we did! There is nothing like getting together in person and having wine and staying up until 3 in the morning as if you were still teenagers.

Except this time, the boys you are talking about only exist in your head.

Hope you have fun!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

So cool! Can't wait for the pics.

Maureen said...

What a wonderful present. My biggest surprise was the baby shower for my daughter which I thought was just a family get together to celebrate my birthday. It took me a while to figure out what it was all about.

jo robertson said...

Darling recipe, Kirsten, and you can certainly be forgiven for the late post! What a ginormous surprise from your husband!

Hi, Susan! Waving hello from the California corner of the Bandit Lair!

Hmmmm, surprises, ironically the best surprise came from strangers. I had just moved from my home of seven years, dear, dear friends into a new community where I knew NO ONE. It was my 40th birthday which was a leap year that year, so my REAL birthday and I was feeling very lonely -- the big 4 -- 0 leap year and no friends to celebrate with.

I got off work early to have dinner with my husband. He and the kids surprised me with a slide show about our lives together which they showed on the bare family room wall (no pix yet).

Suddenly the doorbell rang and there were four of the new friends I'd met at church the previous week. They were dressed as old women and sang (most beautifully) to celebrate my birthday and mvoing into their community. So sweet, I'll never forget their kindness.

Later, they asked me to join their singing group!

Kirsten said...

cm, thanks for sharing and stopping by the Lair! It sounds like you've had exactly the same kind of celebration we had last night. :-) It's wonderful, isn't it? And those imaginary boys can be way better than those real ones!

Dianna, I am going to get my husband on the picture job ASAP.

Kirsten said...

Maureen, what a sweet surprise--a birthday and shower celebration all in one. I hope the gifts weren't all for the baby, though!!

Jo, it sounds like your husband is a fabulous surpriser. I would have been bawling like a baby at the slideshow, not to mention the new friends and beautiful singing. What a great way to start fresh at 40-years-young.

Kirsten said...

I tried to put up a new avatar but it looks funky. I'll have to go back to the black and white glam shot.

Cassondra said...

Hey Kirsten!

What a great surprise. And how cool that you shared it with us!

We'll wait around for pics, but don't spend your whole day on the blog. Enjoy your time with Susan!

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, how wonderful! And isn't Susan a doll to cook this up with your wonderful husband? You have a wonderful time. My CP lives a long way away too (we tried to cook up something similar for the release of her first book last year but plane schedules ended up meaning I was about six hours late and she had to come and pick me up so the surprise went a little flat, sadly).

CM, welcome to the lair! Watch out! We'll lock you up with the golden rooster and you'll never get away from us. Bwahahahahahahaha! Did you know I've asked Tessa over as a guest next year? She's such an amazing example of talent and persistence winning out!

And by the way, believe me, the boys in my head were always much more exciting than the boys I met when I was a teenage girl! I like my boys like my shiraz - with a big of maturity on them! ;-)

Kirsten said...

Thanks Cassondra! I'm about to take Susan to the airport (WAH!!) but we've had such an incredible time.

Anna, I was amazed the surprise went off, because my husband is horrible at subterfuge (which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned!). Isn't it hard having a long distance CP? But they're worth it, right?

p226 said...

I'm not easy to surprise. And even if I am surprised, I'm such a "roll with it" kind of guy, that I just take everything in stride. Good, bad, indifferent, things really just don't throw me off my pace. I've really been racking my brain thinking about surprises, and which ones have been good, bad, or truly surprising. I'd have to say the best one went like this....

Wife: "We need to talk."
Me: "Uh oh... ok, let's talk."
Wife: "Not here, let's walk to the little park."
Me: "Holy crap, um, ok...."
*walk to park*
Wife: "We're going to have a baby."

Yeah, it doesn't get much better (or more surprising) than that.

Donna MacMeans said...

Kirsten - what a wonderful husband you have, and to manage to keep the whole thing a secret? Wonderful. Can't wait to hear stories of your weekend.

My big surprise - a pink corset. My husband had plans to buy a corset and have it framed with a cover of my book, but the corset arrived too late for framing so he just gave it to me solo. I've had so much fun with it. Mind you, it doesn't exactly fit the way it's supposed to. There's so much flesh visible through the back lacings, I've had to invest in more black ribbon as the amount sent with the corset just wasn't long enough +g+ - but it was so thoughtful that he wanted to give me something connected to my book. I love it. (But don't expect to see any photos *g*)

Donna MacMeans said...

P226 - Had to laugh. My first thought when Kirsten said her surprise was asleep ran to little ones.

I remember when I told my husband that I was pregnant - it wasn't exactly a surprise. We'd been trying so that subject was top on our minds. But when I told him the stick turned pink (or blue or whatever color meant baby), he just quietly walked to the spare bedroom and started clearing out the junk so we could turn it into a nursery. I think that job alone took every bit of the nine months *g*.

Kirsten - I liked the new colorful avatar!

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten, when you find gold, you don't mind if you have to do a bit of work to dig for it. Um, wonder if that metaphor quite worked out, but I hope you know what I mean. I wouldn't swap Annie for the world, even if she lived in Outer Mongolia and I know you feel the same about Susan. I'm off to see Annie this week and I'm so looking forward to it! We've got a couple of things to celebrate.

P226, I know you'll think I'm just a sappy big old girl, but your surprise was so lovely, I got all misty eyed! Thank you for sharing that with us.

Donna, I still think your corset story is LOVELY!

Joan said...

Wow, Kirsten! What a wonderful surprise AND gift!

I can't think of anything right now that was a huge surprise. Maybe getting the call I'd finaled in the '06 GH. That was pretty cool!

I also count my blessings that all three of my CP's live within a 30 mile radius.

doglady said...

Frankly, my most recent fabulous surprise was when they called me at work to tell me Lost in Love was in the finals of the Royal Ascot! I just stood there saying nothing for about five minutes. I know poor Deb Marlowe thought I was a lunatic. I finally said "Could you say that again, please?" Now my sweet hubby was the very best at surprises. He got the mail the day the Fulbright Music Audition results arrived and didn't tell me. I thought we were going out to dinner alone, but when we arrived in the restaurant it was filled with my voice teacher, my opera coach, my German/Russian professor, all of my singer friends and he handed me a plane ticket to Austria saying "Congratulations, baby. You won."

Donna MacMeans said...

Anna says: Donna, I still think your corset story is LOVELY!

(Snork!) You obviously haven't seen me in it!

Doglady - I loved your story. It must have been quite a feat to round up so many people and still keep it a surprise. What a wonderful memory.

Keira Soleore said...

Inara, so very cool!! Your husband and your CP are two of the coolest people on the planet. And the surprise couldn't have been planned for a cooler person than you. I would've loved to have a picture of YOUR face when you first saw Susan.

Christie Kelley said...

Kirsten, what a great surprise! I'm so glad you had some time with your friend.

My biggest surprise was a trip my husband had planned. He kept hinting we were going to the Pocono Mts. (not my idea of good time). As we're driving up I-95 and just about to the Philly airport, he verves off to the ramp and says surprise. He'd booked a trip to the Bahamas (my kind of trip). It was a huge surprise and a fun trip.

Jane said...

My friend invited me to go to Florida and even paid for my plane ticket because I had recently quit my job. She was so thoughtful and knew that I probably needed to get away from it all.

Keira Soleore said...

Foanna, hope you and Annie will come here and tell us about your get-together.

P226, I had to laugh at your panic at the "we have to talk." My hubby has a lot of those stories. :) I envy you your sang froid.

Christine Wells said...

Your post gave me such a warm feeling, Kirsten! It must be hard living so far away from Susan.

Isn't your husband a darling? I think he's definitely the stuff of which romance heroes are made. So glad you had a great time!

Helen said...

Kirsten how wonderful what a great surprise I am realy looking forward to the pics.
It is so lovely when someone organises a surprise for you always makes me feel special I have had a few over the years but nothing lately but I am sure there are lots to come.
Have Fun

Christine Wells said...

My best surprise lately was a BFF one, too. I was speaking on a panel at our local writers' festival with Foanna. The theme was Romance and Feminism in the 21st century, which was kind of dauntingly controversial and I hadn't spoken to such a large audience for years.

I hadn't told my friends, Vikki and Yasmin I was doing it, yet when I walked into that room, shaking in my glittery sandals, who do I see but Yasmin and Vikki?

It gave me such a rush and it really was what carried me over the nervousness threshold. They also hung out with me at the signing table, saving me from looking like Nigella No Friends. They're the best!

Jennifer Y. said...

What a great surprise!

One of the best surprises I had was when I was in college. I was very homesick and missing the fam. I asked them to come visit me, but they couldn't. I called them one Saturday and they weren't home. So I tried the cell and they said they couldn't talk long, they were busy (which kind of bugged me...they were off doing stuff without me). While I was on the phone with them there was a knock at the door and I said, "Hang on." I answered the door and it was them. My family had come to see me. It was a nice surprise.

sharon said...

What an enjyable gift! My biggest and most wonderful surprise and gift ever was giving birth to my first child, a son on my birthday. Memorable and precious.

CM said...

Kirsten, to be fair, some of the boys we talked about as teenagers were basically imaginary. In that we were too shy to talk to the Real Things (or lusting after super stars), and so everything we "knew" about them was made up on the basis of one or two incidents. Ah, those were the days.

Anna, Great job on grabbing Tessa! She's really the greatest. I'm usually around here--I lurk a lot, but rarely post.

flchen1 said...

That is truly a great surprise!

I typically hate surprises (my husband generally avoids involvement in any type of surprise party because he knows my feelings on them and wants to live), but one of our first Christmas after getting married, I came home from a long day in retail to a fresh Christmas tree (our first ever!) and a homemade turkey pot pie. That was a sweet (and delicious) surprise I wouldn't mind repeating ;)

Kirsten said...

p226, that was a completely adorable story (which I'm sure is your highest goal in be adorable...) Thanks for sharing!

Donna, I love that pink corset story. And the surprise part was pretty neat. My birthday was on Nov 25th, and the husband threw me a surprise party then for my birthday and a celebration of the book deal. That surprise wasn' surprising. Lots of clues left around for me to find. But this--now THIS was a surprise! :-)

Kirsten said...

Joan, I was also pleasantly surprised by the GH call! That's a great memory, isn't it?

doglady, your husband sounds like he was pretty amazing. I'm sure that was an incredible night for you. And congratulations again for that Royal Ascot final. That's such a tough contest and I'm so impressed that you finaled in it!

Kirsten said...

Keira, we didn't get a snapshot of the moment of surprise, but I'm not sure I would have been excited to post it, anyway. I immediately burst into tears, and I don't do those beautiful, dewy-eyed tears. I do red nose and squinty-eyes teary. ;-) But I agree. Susan and Dh are two of the most amazing people on earth.

Kirsten said...

Christie, now THAT is the kind of surprise I could definitely go for! WOW! A trip to the Bahamas? That's amazing, and I think a little beyond my husband's capabilities...

Jane, your friend sounds absolutely lovely. I hope you got some time on the beach and a little relaxation on your trip away. Thanks for visiting and saying hello!

christine, it IS hard to have Susan so far away. This was definitely a big "recharge the batteries" weekend for me. And we are SOOOOO looking forward to getting both our families together in July. Our husbands are best friends, so they were pretty jealous Susan and I got to be together this weekend. We're all counting the days now till the summer.

Kirsten said...

What do you think, everyone? The black and white avatar, or color one? My computer graphics aren't the best, so they both look kind
of fuzzy to me.

Kirsten said...

Christine, your mates sound like fabulous folks. And someone obviously set them up to help, no? Oh, and yes, my husband is definitely a romance hero. Alpha male with a teddy-bear heart and darn good at planning ways to make me feel adored. :-)

Keira Soleore said...

The black-n-white. I like the color shot because it's a very outdoorsy one -- fits your love of backpacking. But that lovely grin in the original picture says Kirsten to me.

Kirsten said...

jennifer, what an adorable trick for your parents to pull. Good thing that you didn't get too irritated with them. Now I want to know what your stuffed animals were reading when they came to visit!

helen, it definitely sounds like you are in line for a big surprise! Never get too complacent, right? ;-)

Sharon, I hope the birth wasn't too much of a surprise! (giggle) Can you believe those stories about women who are 9 months pregnant and don't even know it? Anyway, we didn't find out what sex our babies were until they came out--and they were both wonderful surprises.

cm, I definitely did a lot more talking ABOUT boys than talking TO them back then. Except for the "friend" boys, right? You can talk to them. It's the other boys that are scary...

Kirsten said...

Awww, Keira, that's a sweet thing to say! But in the interest of full disclosure, the wavy hair in that picture was thanks to a perm that I haven't had for a while...the hair is shorter and straighter now. ;-)

Kirsten said...

flchen, I almost missed seeing your comment! Now isn't that just the nicest story? Sometimes it's the little things that are the most important. The big gestures are lovely, but those day to day "take care of each other" things are really what it's all about.

Caren Crane said...

Kirsten, what a great surprise! You know, I wondered what was up with Susan, because we hadn't heard from her in a couple of days. Now we know! *g*

As to surprises, my dh surprised me a few years ago at Christmas. He usually doesn't know quite what to get me for Christmas, so it's kind of hit and miss. That year, he had been to a rock and gem show. He got me this enormous blue topaz ring that is gorgeous--very nicely faceted stone, shiny and, you know, big. I love it!

That was the best surprise ever. He really got snaps that year!

Caren Crane said...

OMG, what great pictures! Susan, I hope you totally stole that rapping Santa and smuggled him home in your suitcase!

Extra nice shot of you guys with the Christmas tree and a fistful of Bandita books. Woo hoo!

I'm so glad you guys got to see each other this weekend. My cps are all long distance and I miss them terribly!

Nancy said...

What a cool surprise! I love the pictures.

I've been racking my brain to come up with surprises. In terms of something someone did for me, I guess it'd be when the dh and I were dating. I couldn't find my hand lotion--a small thing and easily replaced, but it's the principle of the thing! I guess this was his first taste of my ability to obsess over such matters. Anyway, he surprised me with a new bottle of lotion and three yellow (same color as the bottle) roses in a vase. I think that's when I realized he might be something special.

Laura J. said...

My daughter 7 years ago. We had been trying for about 3 1/2 years and every month I would hope that was the month I would be pregnant. Well the one month I didn't want to to get pregnant, that's when I got pregnant (it would put my middle son's b'day and hers about the same time). I worked at the hospital at the time and I received a note that I needed a blood test to check to see if a shot had built up my immunity (can't remember which one). Well I knew the girls in the lab and asked if they would run a blood test for pregnancy since I had taken a home test (again) and got a really weird result. Well time went by and I didn't hear anything, I just figured they were busy. Well a little after 10 pm they asked me to come over to the lab, when I walked around the corner they all had silly grins on their faces and then in unison they said Happy New Year! I couldn't believe it. I was really pregnant. When I got back to my department I had to figure out a way to tell my husband so we found a baby bottle and rolled up the results and put it in the bottle. When I got home a few minutes before midnight I gave him the bottle and told him Happy New Year.

My two other kids were also amazing surprises and the best kind!

What a neat surprise from your hubby Kirsten!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

CM, you'll have to come back and out yourself now. You nabbed that flippin' rooster! There has to be an exchange of prisoners made for the next blog!

Donna, I said the STORY was lovely... Snork!

Flchen, what a lovely story.

Goodness, I went to the dentist and came back feeling very sorry for myself and you gals have been having a party.

Still think that's lovely, Kirsten and Susan, that this worked out so well for you! It's the BEST sort of Christmas gift, isn't it?

Jennifer, lovely story too!

Christine, nobody would have guessed you were nervous. You were, as always, an example of Regency poise and decorum! ;-)

Pam, you have the BEST stories. I don't think I'm going to visit. I think I'm going to MOVE IN!!

Anna Campbell said...

Kirsten and Susan, great pics! And I'm with Keira. That big grin on the original just says you to me!

Shari C said...

My husband planned a surprise birthday party for me one year and it was really a huge surprise! I say this because my husband is not the type to do that sort of thing and so I never suspected this was going to happen. It was a great time and even greater was the thought that he cared enough to do something so unexpected from him.

Joan said...

I agree. Pictures say a thousand words.

Ya'll look so happy. (Sniff)

It brightened an otherwise work intensive, dreary, rainy blah day here in Kentucky.

BTW, did ya'll CRITIQUE any? :-)

Kirsten said...

Caren, that ring sounds lovely! Did dh go to the rock and gem show just to find it, or is this a hobby of his? And if it's the latter, do you think he can find some o' them-thar gemstones for the rest of us Banditas? ;-)

nancy, what a beautiful gesture by your husband? Funny how these things tell us so much about the men in our lives. It isn't so much what they do that matters, it's that they understand US well enough to do something meaningful. Good on you for nabbing that guy!

laura j, I found out I was pregnant on New Years too, and it was a lovely surprise. Isn't it always the way that when we try and try, nothing, but when we finally relax and stop trying so hard, that's when the magic happens. I'm so glad you got to surprise your husband that way.

Kirsten said...

Thanks Anna! My sister took this b&w pic about five years ago when I was at her house for christmas. I haven't been nearly as glamorous since (okay, she's always really good with the camera--I wasn't this glam then either!). My sister also lives across the country from me and I miss her, too. Maybe dh will send her out next?

Kirsten said...

Thanks Anna! My sister took this b&w pic about five years ago when I was at her house for christmas. I haven't been nearly as glamorous since (okay, she's always really good with the camera--I wasn't this glam then either!). My sister also lives across the country from me and I miss her, too. Maybe dh will send her out next?

Kirsten said...

shari c, isn't it just wonderful when they can do a little "show not tell" of their own? Don't have to second guess anything when someone's showing you how much they care. I'm glad you had such a lovely surprise.

joan, we did talk books a little...couldn't resist! I've got my next three books already in my head, and she's just working on something new as well. It's the most fun time for a writer, I think, when all the ideas are just swimming around and you don't have to commit to any of them! You just get to think about them all!!

anne said...

On our anniversary my husband surprised me with the surprise of a lifetime, a trip to Europe. Something that I had been dreaming of for a very long time. This was a dream come true.

p226 said...

CM, you'll have to come back and out yourself now. You nabbed that flippin' rooster! There has to be an exchange of prisoners made for the next blog!

I suspect Anna means it. Word's gotten 'round that the Bandidtas had made contact with a group of ... "retired" ... French Foreign Legionnaires with the hopes of executing a raid on my place. I hear those guys aren't cheap. The Banditas apparently care quite deeply for their metal poultry.

Fortunately, you retrieved it before the flashbangs sailed through my windows, robbing me of a most excellent chicken salad sandwich.

Kirsten said...

anne, what a lovely story. On a scale from one to wonderful, I think Europe definitely ranks up there at "WONDERFUL"!

p226, I had no idea...really...I'm the PeaceNik Bandita. I claim no knowledge of Bandita legionnaires...

jo robertson said...

Ah, Kirsten, I came back just to see the pix -- so sweet to have your good friend visit you. Your husband deserves a very big THANK YOU!!! Not sayin' any more.

Kirsten said...

Thanks Jo-Mama! And yes, he definitely gets a BIG thank you. And that's all there is to say about that... ;-)

Helen said...

Kirsten and Susan I love the pictures your smiles tell it all
Have Fun

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah, Kristen! Yeah, Susan! Yeah Kristen's Hubby! What a great surprise! I love it. :> And the ginormous grins on both your faces is kind of a total dead giveaway that you're having a blast. :>

Best dh is a great straight man. He seldom does the surprise thing but when he does, he does it exceptionally well. When we got engaged, we were just supposed to be going out to dinner. Due to other hints he'd dropped, I thought the "pop the question" event was at a specific event. Off to dinner we go, to an amazing boutique hotel in downtown DC. Okay, great dinner. Elevator ride. Hotel room. Roses, champagne, down on one knee. Yep. BIG surprise. Grins.

The other one was in collusion with my Sister over one of those "big 0" birthdays. We were at her house for Thanksgiving. Not enough leftovers, my sister announces, we're going out to dinner. She says, hey, ride with me, we'll make a quick stop I need to make. At the restaurant, not only the family, but about ten of my friends from all over NC had driven to Asheville for dinner to celebrate with me.

Gotta love a man who can pull that sort of thing off. My hat's off to YOUR DH, Kirsten. Isn't it great to have one like him? Grins.