Why I’m the “Cool” Mrs. Potatohead

Today is another story because I don’t have any new sketches the past couple days. But I do have a number of sketchbook diaries from the last few years with lots that hasn’t been posted.

And if you’ve gone back to earlier sections of this blog – especially back to when I was in Italy – you will see that I often refer to myself as Mrs. Potatohead… or Mrs. P for short.

farside2The background is this… there is a very funny Far Side cartoon from long ago called “The Potatoheads in Paris.” It shows Mr. and Mrs. PH driving down a French street looking out at the Parisians… who are all tall skinny French Fries in their stylish clothes! That has always been one of my favorite cartoons since I can relate…

Anyway, I made the transition to Mrs. P a couple years ago while visiting Costa Rica. (And no, I’m not a jet-setter, I was there on business.)

I got to spend a few days at a beautiful beach resort that was so breath-taking I got a little carried away.

There was a travel/adventure kiosk in the lobby so I walked in and looked around. You could book fishing charters, surfing lessons, dinner cruises or scuba and snorkeling trips.

Wait a minute! Snorkeling? Man, I’ve always wanted to do that. I love the water and was always a good swimmer. I don’t quite like the idea of scuba… but snorkeling sounded harmless enough.

I inquired at the counter and the guy was thrilled to see me. Turns out there was a party of 3 booked for the next morning but the boat won’t go out with less than 4 people. I could be the 4th and everyone would be happy. I was excited. Well, nervous, actually… but excited, too.

I went to the lobby the next morning at 6:30 AM wearing comfy capris, socks and tennis shoes, and my swimsuit and sketchbook in a tote bag. I couldn’t believe I was doing this!

Then the “other 3” arrived.

OK, let me pause here.

You know how in the movies they sometimes show someone heroic or beautiful walking toward you in slow motion?

Well, that’s how it was for me.

Here I am, curvy, fluff-ball of a girl, waiting for the rest of our group and suddenly I spy them.

Three of the most gorgeous girls I’ve ever seen. Platinum blondes. From Sweden. Wearing bikini tops, shorts, naval jewelry and designer sandals. Tossing their heads as they smile and laugh with each other. Amazingly white teeth glinting in the morning sun…

I look down at my clunky white sneakers and one thought enters my mind: I’m Mrs. Potatohead.


Now mind you, I am not overly sad about this. I had to be 40 years older than those cutie-patooties and I had my day. But I wondered how the excursion would go being paired up with them.

Well, it was more of the same.

While they were lithe and graceful, I was clumsy and awkward. We were driven for about 20 miles and dropped off on the side of the road. After scrambling down a dirt bank we had to walk into the surf and go up a small ladder onto a water taxi. They all appeared to float onboard. It took 3 Costa Rican lads (Ticos) to haul me in.

We then drove out to the bigger boat and boarded it. I was so unsteady I was scared. Fortunately, the guide, Hannah, didn’t make fun of me. She steered me to a seat and knew she would have to coddle me through this.

I felt very out of place but was determined to enjoy this adventure. And several other people had joined us so there were now 7 or 8 on board. Two of us were going to snorkel and the rest were scuba diving.

The glamorous scuba group shimmied effortlessly into their spandex and fins. I was given fins and a huge orange life-jacket in addition to my goggles and snorkel. Hannah patted my arm and said, “this will be fun.”

Soon the scuba group were jumping off the tailgate of the boat in that funny bent leg way. They disappeared from view. Then Hannah told me to sit down on the tailgate with my legs in the water. I did. And the Ticos shoved me in.

Fortunately Hannah was right behind me and didn’t leave my side until I was comfortable in the water. She showed me how to maneuver and was very reassuring.


When I finally relaxed I was overjoyed with the beauty of the underwater landscape. The colorful fish were amazing. Hannah dove to the bottom and brought up a starfish. She said I could hold it if I kept it underwater. When I let it go she took it back down.

It was a wondrous experience. For over an hour we swam around a large rock outcropping and just watched the fish below. On the surface the water was crystal blue and the sun was bright overhead. It was truly a little slice of heaven to be there.

Soon we had to go back to the boat. The scuba group had a time limit for how long they could stay down so they had to come up for a break. Again everyone seemed to just hop up on the boat but it took several Ticos to help me in. I was just glad I made it!

Out came some snacks and drinks and before long it was round 2. Everyone but me was raring to get back in the water. I was done. Besides, I was in a perfect place to get out my sketchbook and paints.

Off they all went and I stayed on the boat. I sketched the rock outcroppings in the distance. They are called Los Sombreros because they look like two hats sticking up out of the sea. And I have to say, this is one my most favorite on-site drawings I’ve ever done.

Los Sombreros b

The boat crew kept coming and looking over my shoulder in amazement. And when the divers came back on board they wanted to see, too. And here’s the funny thing…

Even though I was Mrs. Potatohead for sure, everyone was so impressed with my little painting that now suddenly I was “the artist.” And they got very protective of me.

All the way back I was made-over. When we transferred to the water taxi, everyone jumped to help me. When we had to walk back through the surf to shore, someone grabbed my bag and carried it for me. I was assisted back up the dirt hill and was first to get back in the van to return to the hotel. When we all said goodbye you would have thought we’d all been friends for a long time!

It was a wonderful experience. And I can’t tell you how many great conversations I’ve had with strangers who approach me when I’m sketching. My sketchbook is almost like a passport of sorts. It makes me new friends anywhere. And even though I was Mrs. P at snorkeling, at least I did it. And my sketchbook made 3 beautiful Swedish babes think I was pretty cool!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jenpedwards
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 08:02:15

    Oh I justhad to giggle as I read this post! You wrote it so engagingly and your sketchbook pages are marvelous to drawcument such a day! I thought about how you could now be Mrs. A (for artist) instead of Mrs. P! But then that might be misunderstood! What a delightful blog and art you are sharing with us!


  2. jenpedwards
    Apr 08, 2015 @ 08:02:36

    …blog and ART you are sharing…


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