Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

Peace…and Giddyup! July 9, 2010

I remember back when I was in my early teens, my sisters and I had a plan…a dream. One day we would open a little shop, full of craft items and assorted treasures that had meaning to us at the time. Our little store would be in a great little house, converted to retail space, like you would occasionally see in our little town.  Maybe it would be downtown, maybe close to Lycoming College, or maybe even in the Historic Millionaire’s Row District.  We dreamed that we would send our future husbands off to work, gather up our children, and meet every day in our cozy little home away from home, where our babies would play together while we collectively peddled our wares. We had a great name too….We would name our store E.S.P. (not only for our initials–Elise, Sharon, Pam–but also for the paranormal phenomenon that we were always a little fascinated with!). By the way, E.S.P. was also going to be the name of our musical sister-act, which was going to bring us fame and wealth beyond our imaginations! Ah, youth!

We never opened our store…or went on a concert tour…instead, we grew up, got married, moved away, and settled into the responsibilities of jobs and families.  But the dream of a little store was always in the back of my mind. A little something that I could grow and nurture and make my own…something that I could put my heart and soul into, something that could reflect my style, and something for when my children leave our home and move on to lives of their own.

And now, after a year of planning and months of hard work…really hard work…I have a little announcement to make. I have a store!  I am a business owner… a fully licensed, tax-paying, hard-working business owner! And tomorrow, at Maplewoodstock, I will be launching Cowgirl in the Sanda unique little shop featuring a variety of fun and funky items for the whole family, offering an entertaining mix of apparel, jewelry, bath and beauty products, music/concert-related merchandise, and gifts and accessories … all brimming with western flavor and hippie flair. 

Right now, the focus is on street fairs, music and arts festivals, and an online store. I still dream of an actual brick and mortar store someday…in Maplewood Village…but I’m not there yet. I still have a family to raise and a day job that deserves my full attention…and I am completely committed to both. But I’m also thrilled to be stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching for (actually more like jumping into…to the deep end…without a life-preserver…) a dream that’s been with me for so long.

And to my dream team…my sisters, who shared my spark all those years ago, and who support me still; my brother, who had the courage to start his own business and has been guiding my steps through the whole process; my Mom and Dad, who support all my dreams, all the time; and my sons, who think I’m crazy woman, but are already planning to be the first customers in line tomorrow,  and who have brought humor and help to the whole process….thank you, thank you, thank you…I love you all.

Most importantly, thank you to my husband. Rick, this would have never happened without you. You say “yes, you can” when I say “no, I can’t.” You remind me to pace myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. You encourage me, push me, temper me, and love me. You give me courage and wings, and when you tell me that you are proud of me, I feel strong and confident and free. I’ve said before that you came on a white horse for me, what I didn’t say was that you never asked me to sit behind you on your white horse…instead you brought one for me too, so that we could experience life’s ride side by side. And what a beautiful ride it is!

Want to know more about Cowgirl in the Sand? Go to to get all the answers…why Cowgirl…why launch at Maplewoodstock…why western spirit and hippie funk. The merchandise/shopping page is still in the works, but we are launching anyway…in time for tomorrow’s festival.  Hope you’ll stop by and say “Hello Cowgirl in the Sand.”

Peace…and Giddyup!


Hello Cowgirl In The Sand May 19, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Cowgirl,Family,Home,Music — beautifulride @ 11:26 am
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Music is huge in our family. At any given moment on any given day we may be playing opera, classical, country rock, rockabilly, blues, jazz, world beat, alternative, bluegrass, rock and roll, crooners…the list goes on. Often on a Friday night you will find various members of the family wandering between the rooms of the house or on the front porch looking for someone to listen to “this awesome tune that you have to hear.”  The boys play guitar, banjo, trombone, baritone, drums, and an endless supply of small percussion and “jug band” instruments—even a didgeridoo (affectionately referred to as “The Didge”)! One style of music that makes its way into almost every jam session is that of the “Woodstock” era…Dylan, Grateful Dead, Neil Young…you will find artists like that on every iPod in the house. It’s the music the boys heard playing in the background while they were toddlers, and it’s the music they play with their own bands now.

A favorite for us all…and one that Zach’s band “Quantum Codpeace” has played live…is Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” There has been much speculation about what the song “means” and who that “Cowgirl” is. Did you know that he wrote the song, along with “Down by the River” and “Cinnamon Girl” one night while he was suffering with a fever of 103? Under those conditions, maybe HE doesn’t even know what the song represents! And maybe, like so much of the music that weaves in and out of our lives, the meaning is fluid, subtly changing with time and circumstance…much like standing in the sand…much like life itself.

During the short time that I lived out west, I really connected with the cowgirl spirit. Cowgirls are strong, solid women with an enormous respect for the wide, open spaces of the western landscape. They work hard and play hard, keeping up with the boys, yet they somehow still remain feminine. They have a spirit of independence and strength, yet know the value of teamwork. They face a challenge head-on, eye-to-eye, and win or lose, they get up, dust off, and go at it again. And that  strength and determination stays with them always, even when they are unexpectedly plunked down in the ever-shifting grains of sand under their feet or riding straight into the whirling sand storms of life.

I strive to be that “Cowgirl in the Sand.” A woman who keeps her footing when the ground shifts below her. A woman who courageously rides into that sand storm with drive and purpose. A woman who works tirelessly to keep her herd together and safe. A woman who can take her dusty boots off at the end of the day, wipe the grit off her face, smile and say, “Well, wasn’t that something…let’s do it again tomorrow.”