Saturday, November 28, 2009

*insert clever Thanksgiving quip here*

Oh man you guys, Thanksgiving this year was nerve-wracking and fun all at once! What with a few awkward family dynamics, stoic in-laws most of us have never conversed with, and a small house to keep it all contained, plus I apparently had a stroke of Icandothis and offered to cook a dish....yikes.

Despite the anxiety moving into the holiday, everything was actually great, no one seemed to offend anyone else, the food all turned out at least good, if not great, and there was no drama! Boy, I love a holiday with no drama. Not that my family is drama-filled, but some get-togethers are just ripe for it.

There was a lovely set out of glassware for anyone who wanted a little wine:

I personally indulged a little, as for once, I was not to be driving! Our hostess had provided a lovely red Pinot Noir, and I made that half glass was so nice!

Little M was a bit overwhelmed with the number of people, so she holed up in an empty room with her Nintendo DS, and was content. Fancy dress notwithstanding, she's still a 6 year old :)

Our hostess was my Sis in Law, who's just 11 weeks away from the birth of their first baby! It's a boy, and his name will be Logan. She's just a stick anyway, and so her baby bump is just extra cute on her tiny frame:
Can you believe she's nearly done? So tiny...sheesh!

Anyway, the various family members lounged around, chatting, arguing about football plays, or reading ads as they waited for the turkey and sundry to be done
Aunt Becky - mid-conversation
Aunt Becky - mid-conversation
Matt - laughing it up in the kitchen (John in background - FIL)
Matt - laughing it up in the kitchen (John in background - FIL)
BIL's brother Adam and his dad, intent on football
BIL's brother Adam and his dad, intent on football

And then, oh then...time to EAT. With 16 people attending, and nearly everyone brought something...well...

All in all, a wonderful gathering, lots to be thankful for, and I came home feeling incredibly blessed. I hope you had a good Turkey Day as well!

I will leave you with some pictures of the fun decor that was to be found about the home...


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Think About It

Today I stumbled across Punctuality Rules! and her post is both sad, and thought-provoking. Inspired by the sudden death of a co-worker, she puts these questions to her readers.
  • What have you put off that you truly would love to do? Many things - staying home with Little M, travelling the world, learning a new language, doing what I can to relieve the suffering of others

  • Are you spending your days doing something you love? Or at least, not spending them doing something you hate? I don't hate my day job (desk jockey doing accounting and various other functions), but I do hate that it takes me away from my family. Nights though, I do what I love: sew, knit, play, etc

  • What goals do you have for “someday” that you could be doing nowNot much, that I can see. Most goals involve me not working for someone else, and for the next year or two, that's not possible. I'm doing what I can in the place we're in right now though, and it makes me happy.

  • Are you spending enough time with the people that you love? Definitely not.
And then, the next, most important question?

What can you do about it?

I'm still working on finding balance between day job, side job, and family. Add in housework and trying to cook too so MIL isn't doing it all....I have poor balance as it is! This girl falls down a lot, and so this is a constant work in progress :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Random Tip

Random Sewing Tip for you, Dear Readers:

When you are prepping fabric for crafting, iron on the wrong side of the fabric. Heat often changes the color of the printing on fabrics, and sometimes, if there's glitter or such embedded in the fabric, it can stick to the iron and make it more difficult to smooth the fabric down.

This has been your Random Sewing Tip for today!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Inspiration surprises me. It pops its head 'round the corner in the most unexpected spots. Sitting here, at my day job, I'm surrounded by half cubicle walls, staring at a computer screen, listening to banal radio chatter and squinting in flourescent lighting. Yet, I am so inspired to just CREATE right now, my hand are itching to play with fabric, my eyes desiring to feast on color, my brain to be challenged.

So, I collect ideas to take home with me. Ideas from things like Etsy's Quit Your Day Job features. From various websites who have great ideas that springboard me to new ideas for my own. Sometimes my own random brain decides to spout some genius into the mix too.

I have been asked before where I get inspiration, yet I really can't pinpoint one particular thing or place. My family inspires me, nature around me, colors in everything, the crafty greatness of others....I find inspiration is everywhere, except when I look for it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The next Oprah?

Last week, Oprah announced that she was leaving her daytime TV talk-show after 25 years. Who should take her place?

- Courtesy of Seven Days Seven Answers


Wow, the matriarch of daytime TV is leaving? Having rarely watched her show, this still surprises me. Oprah, though I'm not one of her fans, has a signature way of interviewing her guests, involving her audience (both live and through the television), and influencing those who dance around her flame.
I'm not sure there's many others like her out there. In general I would say someone like Barbara Walters, who has the name recognition and interview skills...and yet, I doubt millions of women (and some men, I'm sure) would follow her interests to the point of book clubs, magazine, and holiday giveaways like they currently do with Oprah.

For the influential end of things, perhaps someone with great style and what appears to be a winning personality, like Michelle Obama? This woman nearly always dresses well, and at least publicly, has a personality that seems to win people over. She might do well as a TV host for such a program, though it probably wouldn't be seen as fitting for a president's wife.

Long story short: Oprah will be leaving some very big shoes to fill, and offhand I can't think of anyone with feet that would fit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Getting Ready

Yesterday was my birthday, and we were heading over to Bullwinkle's Family Fun Center to party it up with some friends and family. I'm not a dressy girl, I knew it was an arcade, so I wasn't about to "dress up" for it, but's a special day, so I figured I'd doll up my hair.

I tend to change my hair often, but one thing that has remained a constant for me is that my hair will take a curl like a sponge takes water. In the 80's this was "cool" with perms, etc. Now, it's great with hot rollers, and until I find that someone can give me a perm that gives me the same result as hot rollers, I'm sticking with them :)

So, I rolled my hair, pinned and clipped a little, and hairsprayed the heck out of it.

And then the camera came out.


This style remained during Go-Karts, bumper boats, mini-golf, and rain. We also played lots of arcade games, and Laser which we got hot and sweaty. My hair remained killer.

In the party preparations, Little M also curled her hair, but her hair takes curl like cats take to water....poor thing.

So we mollified her with painted nails, and she didn't care once we were livin' it up at the arcade.


Another post to come, with party pictures, my dad trying to smother me, and one of my BFFs skiing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

KISS My Cherry

The clock shows 6:15pm, dinner is finished, and hair is being brushed. A little chap stick, shoes, and a knitting project, and we're out the door. After trying twice in the flickering darkness of early night, and streetlights flashing by, I gave up casting on the socks I'd hoped to work on. We drove to the Rose Garden in comfortable silence, pulled into the special parking garage we were privileged to use, and got on the elevator.

Pressing 5 for Suites Level gave me a little thrill, as did the fact that the people on the elevator with us got off on level 3, with the unwashed masses. Or washed, I really don't know, but there were a lot of people, and I bet some of them weren't recently bathed.

The doors glide closed, and we ascend to the Suites Level. Walking down a quiet, warm hall, our tickets are checked, my bag is inspected, and we are waved through. The Suites Level walkway, where you walk around the outside of all the suites themselves, is carpeted, lit with recessed lighting, decorated with photo plaques of stars who have performed there,  and incredibly quiet. The doors to each suite appear to be about 8 or 9 feet tall, all made of light, modern wood, and a small sign next to each shows which company owns them.

After a short walk around, we arrive at suite 15, owned by Metro Metals NW, a friend of my dad's, and the reason we were given these tickets.


There's a coat room (not closet, though there's a closet within the coat room), a small kitchenette with a 
bar, two arm chairs, soda and popcorn, another bar that faces the arena, and 12 comfy leather-like chairs to watch the show from.


After settling in, we enjoyed watching people fill in the arena, and appreciated that our seats were nearly facing the stage head on. The stage was set, the lights went down, the stage came to life, and Buckcherry began the night. Like a black hole, they sucked us down into a night filled with music, screaming, and all out fun.


I had never heard Buckcherry before, and I loved it. They're def. my kind of music, and will be added to my playlist! Heavy drums and insane guitar riffs....this girl is happy.

After a short 45 minute set, they left the stage. There was a little movement on stage, then the KISS curtain came down:


After waiting for a while, the stage was finally set up. We had been made to listen to random music the Rose Garden was piping in during the intermission, and between Spin Doctors and some easy listening, I was ready to friggin' ROCK OUT.

Then, oh then. The lights went out. The stage lit up. The curtain dropped. KISS took the night.


Now, I must admit that I am a lazy KISS fan. I love 70's rock especially, but most guitar/drum heavy rock gets my heart going. However, aside from the song everyone knows (I Wanna Rock n Roll All Night), I didn't know the songs being performed. But you really can't be at a KISS show, with fireworks, fire, strobe lights, disco balls and a zip line, and not have fun. It just isn't possible.

I'm surprised I can speak today, I screamed, shouted and cheered every chance I got. My hands tingled from clapping so much, and I'm exhausted from staying out until midnight on a Tuesday, of all days.
I wouldn't change a single thing.

Thank you Daddy-O. You know how to make this girl one happy camper. ♥

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kiss Me You Fool

Two days ago, the phone rang.

  1. this is always how bad things start

  2. this is not a bad thing

My dad was on the phone, and was in great spirits. We chatted a little about various nonsense, then he springs something on me.

" you want an early birthday present?"

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....yes? Please? (Really, who would say no?)

Turns out, Daddy-o has tickets to a concert that's happening this evening:

kiss read that right. Matt and I are going to see KISS live! Should be a pretty awesome show, I'm guessing there'll be some pyrotechnics, confetti...who knows.

Also, see the seating? A SUITE! We've never had a suite, I'm totally excited to not be wedged in with 258924795629034823094723 other people!!!

I have been asked if I will be rockin' KISS makeup for the concert, but I must admit, I'm not that adept with a brush. So....I'll wear some fun makeup, but nothing outrageous, because I'm not good enough to do it and pull it off! 

I'm a girl who believes in Go Big or Go Home! (however I'm not going home this time....)


Rock on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Goooooood Morning Portland!

Driving in work today, I had The Greatest Idea for a blog post. It was going to be personal, meaningful, thoughtful. It was going to be Amazing.

I cannot remember the idea for the life of me.

Yet, somehow typing this out brought back the idea for me. Amazing how that works sometimes.

I know you like my stupid stories, so here's another!

One lovely summer day, back in high school, I was driving along merrily. I don't recall my destination, my mood, whether I was in a hurry, etc. I do recall that I was driving my 1986 Fiero, the most fun deathtrap I have ever had the pleasure of piloting. I'm cruising along, listening to the radio, probably singing along loudly and off key. Traffic slows to a complete halt!!

Now, we're in the suburbs, so this is rather unusual. I'm on a 2 lane road, and finally I realize there's bus ahead of us that has pulled over for a stop.

I would like to take this time to mention that, even as a high schooler, I was a careful driver. I look both ways multiple times, I check my blind spot...all that jazz.

So, I check my blind spot, fully turn around and see NO ONE coming in the other lane, so I pull out.



I look around, stunned and confused. There apparently WAS a car coming, and she squealed around me, honking and shaking her fist at me.

OMG - I thought my heart had stopped. I sat there (traffic was stopped in that lane too, I just hadn't realized that) still confused, trying to figure out how on earth that happened, when I CHECKED. I FRIGGING LOOKED.

I still don't know. What I do know is that there were people who pulled up behind me, two girls. They leaned out their windows, shouting at me and gesturing. No obscene gestures, but I had my windows up, so I have no idea what they said to me, and I wasn't about to open my windows to find out.

I'm pretty sure I sank a good two feet down into my seat, as I sat there feeling stupid, embarrassed, and so incredibly sorry that I'd pulled in front of that girl.

I never did see her car after that, though I was hoping I would so I could try to apologize.

I'm nearly 30 now, but I can recall that scene plain as day. It still makes me all panicky and stressed thinking about it.

Girl Whom I Nearly Hit, I am so sorry that happened. I dearly hope you made it through the rest of your day unscathed, and that you had a hearty drink that night while you tried to forget that I nearly killed you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hope is real

Today, I speak out for love, for hope, for those who despair that these are not available to them.

For those who have been sucked into the swirling, bleak void that is depression; sucked in so far they cannot see the light that is there for them, waiting to warm them with its glow of love, its neverending hope, its message that they matter.

For those who have pain so impossibly deep, the only release is more pain, and the scars that tell their stories.

For those who never heard this message, who believed nothing could help them, no one cared, they were worthless, and are no longer walking with us.

Today is To Write Love On Her Arms Day. Today is the Love Movement. Today is the day.

The full story behind TWLOHA is below, or you can find it at the link. Be inspired. Be hope to someone.

Rescue is possible


The story behind the movement that is TWLOHA:

To Write Love On Her Arms

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando's finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show. 

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott's) Travelling Mercies. 

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I'm not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope. 

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We're talking to God but I think as much, we're talking to her, telling her she's loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she's inspired. 

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff. 

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She's had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn't have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life. 

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: "The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope." 

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly. 

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true. 

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home. 

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.
 **borrowed from the TWOLHA site**

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meanbean gets a face-lift!

No, I didn't go get much as I'm dying to look like the offspring of a tigress and a Ken doll, that's just not happening.

The blog has had a much needed facelift, with new layout, new colors, all that jazz that you can see for yourself. What you -can't- see, is all the fun new features behind the scenes that I get the priveledge to play with. For instance, I have this nifty little tool that tells me which of my posts is the most popular, in about 3,642,143.45 ways. This will help me to know what YOU, the reader, finds so fascinating about my little corner of the 'net.

So, what do you think? A good look? Did you prefer the darker purple/black look? Are you children running, screaming from your computer? Is it because of me?

I feel like this whole blogging thing is sometimes a popularity contest: Constantly checking rankings, stats, google pagerank to see just how I stack up against the Cool Kids/The In Crew/etc. I know that I'm nowhere near the readership of some of those whose writing I read, such as the Yarn Harlot, or Dooce, but I also know that I"m just as interesting, just as worthy of someone's few minutes each day. I think everyone who takes the time to set up a blog and maintain it deserves that. Whether we get it or not is an entirely different matter, and one that I'm having to learn not to take personally. The Vast Wide World doesn't know who I am, and I have to put myself out there to see if anyone even -wants- to know me.

Image from .ME

I'm realizing this is sounding like a plea for hits and comments, and while it sort of is, it's more self-reflection. The idea of a blog is a journal, or log, kept on the computer. You don't have to put it up for people to read, but it's SO interesting to peek into other people's lives. Some just seem to have a knack for opening that window a little wider than others, and it makes me ponder about the skills I have, those I lack, and those I admire in others.

I have noticed though, regardless of number of hits, readership, comments, etc, I still do this. I blog nearly daily now, and while it's always fun to have feedback and a new friend/reader, it's very cathartic to write each day.

I love the mental exercise, the action of typing, the release of thoughts and emotions, and the creativity that writing allows. Even if no one ever reads this again, I have here a little journal of thoughts, feelings, happenings, etc that I would probably otherwise lose in the black void that is my memory bank!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Driving In Circles

I was sitting in my car, knitting on this:

I was passing the time, waiting for Little M to come out of school for the daily pick-up routine/circus.  

Shortly after the line of cars moves forward 4.32 inches, I hear a loud rumbling. I glance in my rear-view mirror, and am shocked (and confused) to see a large paving truck pull into the bus lane, and park. I finally decided "Ok, the school must be repaving somewhere" - a logical conclusion, yes?

Little M comes out, then requests that we park and go in to the library, where a Book Fair is being held, so she can see her friend. We circle around and finally find a parking space, and go in. The paving truck is -still- hanging out, but the buses haven't left yet, so I'm assuming he's waiting for them to move to get to where he needs to pave.

We step out of the car, and go back into the school, to the melee that is the Book Fair. Little M finds her friend, they scamper around the library and have a grand old time. I found some fun books, various activity books etc, but honestly, I'm so used to bargain hunting and thrifting, that $12.99 seems an absurd amount of money to spend on an activity book. It's not, I know this, but I'm accustomed to thinking in terms of $10 or less for nearly everything, that I just couldn't bring myself to buy it, though I know she would use it and LOVE it (fairies and mermaids, anyone?)

After a while, I declare it is now time to head home, and we make our way out. As we exit the school, the buses are just leaving. We pull out of the parking space, and into the line of cars waiting to get out with the buses. Being at the tail end of the line, we end up a few cars guessed it, the paving truck. Mister Truck Driver proceeds to follow the buses back out of the bus lane, and continues down the highway he had come from.

(location identifiers have been obscured)

The paving truck happened to turn the same way I was turning, and at this point, I'm incredibly curious, as it seems he pulled into the school for a break or something. My curiosity was never sated, unfortunately, as a little farther down the road, he pulled off and parked in a gravel patch, near a whole lotta nothing.

I still have no idea what that dude was doing, and I'm convinced he didn't either.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Product Review: Olay Cleanser and Eye Cream

Having been on the search for a while for a good eye cream, I have decided to take the plunge, and just try one already. I will be turning 30 next year, and while I have no issues with that, I know that I need to take better care of my skin than I have in the past. So, SPF creams, eye cream, etc to the rescue!

Last night and this morning kicked off my new regimen of washing twice daily (I normally only wash once, what can I say, I'm lazy!), and using this eye cream. I scored these two for $14.99 altogether, as Walgreen's is currently having a special where you receive the cleanser for free if you buy one other product in the line.



Eye Cream:

Typically speaking, my under eye circles look like raccoon circles, and only the thickest of makeup will cover them, which is never flattering. So, this is my quest to lighten them without makeup.

Day One*:


As you can see, I have lovely purple-y, bruise-like circles under my eyes. Being only day one, I haven't noticed a change. However, the cleanser smells lovely, a light, clean fragrance, and feels fantastic. It has very fine particles in it to exfoliate, but doesn't feel harsh or rough to my sensitive skin.

The eye cream doesn't seem to have a scent, is light and soaks in quickly. Just a teeny, tiny bit is enough for both eyes, lids and underneath. My tiny jar of this stuff will probably last a while, based on the small amount needed for each application.

Day Two:


This lighting doesn't show it, but this morning it appears that my under eye circles do, in fact, appear lighter. I'm still really liking the cleanser, but we'll have to wait and see. The spotlight effect on my forehead? I'm worried that this might end up making my skin oily. Still only Day Two, too early to tell.

Day Three:


So yes, I still see puffiness under my eyes, but they're not purple anymore! I'm impressed. Also, my skin is clearing up very quickly, and feels nice. The cleanser still feels good, and the eye cream still only takes a tiny dab. So far,  I am not regretting my purchases!

Day Four:


The lighting in my bathroom is horrid, I won't take update pictures in there any more. It's hard to tell in this picture, but my skin is looking better, smoother and less blotchy, and the circles are gradually becoming less noticeable  I'm wondering if it's something in the creme itself that masks them, or if they really are fading.

Day Five:


Today I waited until I got to work, the lighting is more true. I honestly believe this eye cream works! My eye circles are much lighter. My skin feels fantastic, so I love the cleanser too. I DID cut down to washing only once per day, since it's an exfoliant too. My skin is very picky, and doing that twice a day is just asking for it.

Day Six:

I swear to you I am not wearing a drop of makeup in this picture. The slight color around my eyes is left over from yesterday, but check out my skin!! MY SKIN PEOPLE. It's clear, under eye area matches the rest of my face.

One more day for this week long evaluation, but rest assured, I am SOLD.

Day Seven - End of Review:


All in all, I'm extremely happy with these products. The facial wash feels great, smells good, and my skin seems to have a more even tone, feels smooth, and is clearing up. The eye cream has little to no smell, feels great, soaks in quickly, and appears to have, in fact, reduced my raccoon eyes to mere hints of color under my peepers.

I would recommend buying these two, and using daily. I used the eye cream morning and night, the face wash only when I showered.

I am in no way affiliated with Olay or any other company, and am reviewing this of my own accord, with no compensation (for those who were concerned).

This post will be updated with daily pictures for the next week to see improvement, if any :)

*All review pictures will be unedited, and taken with me wearing no makeup. Please leave now if this is too frightening for you. Also note this may be too intense for young children, cover their eyes accordingly.

If you have a product you'd like to have reviewed, please contact me at, or click the link in the sidebar to "Contact Me".