Friday, April 30, 2010

To dream the impossible dream

Photo credit: Mademoiselle Julia

I have always had vivid, pseudo-realistic dreams. They are nearly real enough to be believed, with just a few elements that lend imagination to them. The last few nights, I've had VERY realistic dreams, set in places I've never been, with close friends or family members.

Last night, I was making an absolute pest of myself to a younger cousin, completely unintentionally, and my conscious mind was aware of it, but the me in the dream was not. She finally got fed up with me and left the room, and I was disappointed that she'd gone.

The night before, I'd dreamt something to do with my BFF, and we were travelling around together on some random campus I think. The details have escaped me today, I just remember that she was there with me during nearly the entire dream.

I've never been one to read a terrible lot into dreams, but I do think sometimes they are messages of a sort. Especially last night's dream, it worries me. Do I come across as a blissfully unaware annoyance?

How much weight do you give your dreams in your waking life?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie

Things have probably seemed a little quiet on the Meanbean Bags front, but there's crazy chaos behind the seams!! (See what I did there??)

Recently I was privaledged to meet a local business owner who placed a lovely wholesale order with me for some custom bags. Due to the nature of this particular order, and what the bags will be for, I can't say much, and sorry, I can't let you enlarge the pictures to see too much detail.

After sealing the deal with this friendly gal, I headed over to Fabric Depot, and proceeded to spend about an hour at their Wholesale counter, as the employees ran around trying to find the huge amounts of everything that I needed. My workspace at home now looks like this:

All those little boxes next to the bolts? Those are zippers and thread, and each box has at least 3 items in it (the thread boxes have 5 and 6 respectively), and THAT'S NOT ALL. I completely wiped Fabric Depot out of the particular zipper that I needed, and so they're special ordering the rest for me. The man who helped me literally went out on the floor and took the rest that were on the shelf!! CRAZY.
so...If you head to Fabric Depot and they're completely out of 12" light blue zippers...sorry. It's my fault, but I tell you, dear reader...I HAVE NO REGRETS.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Logic, like whiskey, loses its beneficial effect when taken in too large quantities - Lord Dunsany

This weekend, Matt and I found ourselves in downtown Portland, meeting a cousin from Las Vegas for dinner. He was only in town until Monday morning, so this was our only chance to spend time with him. We met at the amazing Kell's Pub, where a group of musicians had randomly gathered and were playing amazing Irish music.

We had a lovely dinner, and capped it off with some fun desserts. Our cousin chose a Guinness chocolate cake, which he said was alright, but wasn't AMAZING like he'd expected. Matt and I ordered the Chimney Sweep, which is vanilla ice cream, a shot of whiskey scotch poured over it, and espresso sprinkled on top.

Let me just say, I'd already been drinking, but it's been a LONG time since this girl and whiskey met up. I couldn't take more than a few bites, the BITE that whiskey hits me with was just too strong. I
could pound a shot, but sipping it with my ice cream just wasn't happening.

Fast forward to today. I often randomly take off my rings, and have to take them off when I wash my hands because I have crazy sensitive skin. They virtually live in my pocket. I pulled out my wedding ring to put it on again and realized it was sticky. What on earth!?

Then I remembered. I had trouble getting the spoon filled with ice cream and whiskey to my mouth without making a complete mess. I ended up having to take off my rings because it was dripping all over my hand.

Wine, whiskey and this girl = one big mess.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forgive those who have hurt you - Les Brown

I know I should. It's not even something that was done to me personally, but it hurts nonetheless.

This is so hard to write about, and I'm not going to go into specifics. The people who are involved know the story, there's no need to share it with the world. Suffice it to say, when you make a decision, you affect more people than you realize. Sometimes, those decisions are ones that end up being something you can never undo, and end up regretting. This weekend was one of those, a decision made by someone else, that had an enormous ripple effect. I personally am not touched by this decision, in that I am not directly affected. Yet, my heart broke when I heard. It broke again this weekend as I saw the hurt and pain around me that resulted from this decision.

When you have someone in your life that you keep meaning to see, to call, to email, yet you never seem to find the time...MAKE the time. You never know when you lose that chance, that last connection to a loved one, distant or not. Living with the regret of missed opportunity is more painful than words can describe. I do believe I will meet this person again one day, and I pray that before that day, I will have forgiven the hurts I have felt, and that he will have forgiven me for my neglect.

My heart hurts, my eyes are wet again, but I feel a little better having put this out there. I hope you will heed my words, and I pray that I will take my own advice. Even having grown apart from someone, you can still stay connected, even with a short "happy birthday" call, a quick email, or a happy card in the mail. Reach out, let the people in your life know that you care about them, regardless of the distance (physical or emotional) between you.

I pray that I can forgive those who have hurt me, and more so, who have hurt those I love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get me on a plane! Part 2

Read Part 1 Here

This here is the story of how one shy, gawky teenage girl ended up in a foreign country. She didn't speak the language, didn't have any international travel experience, and was only 14.

After finally realizing that arguing would do no good, I began to really think about this trip, and what it would mean. 3 weeks away from everything I know, to a country I knew nothing about. 3 weeks of living with another family. 3 weeks of hearing very little of my native tongue. 3 weeks of standing out like a sore thumb with pale skin, freckles and bright red hair.

It sounded FABULOUS.

We began having meetings every so often (weekly? I can't remember) going over various things we would need to know. Vaccines had to be scheduled, things like an MMR have to be given over a series of months, etc. We learned to say hello (prevyet), goodbye (dasvidanya), please (pjelsta) and thank you (speseeba), along with a few other words that didn't stay with me. Tips were given to us about what gifts to bring to the family, to never refuse food, even if you don't like it, eat enough so you don't dishonor your host, etc. One thing was to carry cash, as the exchange was TERRIBLE in Belarus at the time, and flashing a little USD gave you serious bargaining power with street vendors.

After arranging things with teachers, etc at school, we packed two huge suitcases and a stuffed carry on, and I was on a plane without my parents for the first time in my life. We'd traveled a great deal prior to this, but I'd always been with at least one parent.

The kicker for me, eventually, was as I was sitting there, I noticed that there was an in-flight progress map up on the screens. It was a 14 hour flight, so there would be movies, but they hadn't begun yet, and so I was glued to seeing how far we'd gone. Being 14, and having my first boyfriend, I began SOBBING. When you're coming from Oregon, and you see something like this...

It suddenly becomes abundantly clear how FREAKING far away you're going. I eventually cried myself to sleep for a few hours at the beginning of the flight. Pitiful, but I WAS 14.

When I woke up, I finally started feeling excited. We flew over Greenland, which is huge sheet of ice and incredibly beautiful. We saw a polar bear (I think) making its way across the vast whiteness, and the pilot had lowered our altitude so everyone could check it out and take pictures.

The flight ended in Germany, which was a total bonus to me, because I'd never been outside the US at all. Coming into the Frankfurt airport, all I could think was "wow, the Germans really do things better here"

Going through the security that had armed (with machine guns) guards was interesting, and not as scary as it sounds. The streets were impossibly clean, the hotel clerks were VERY friendly, and everywhere was beauty. We ate at a fun little hole in the wall place, eating outside on some wooden benches, wandered around a little, then crashed for the next day's flight.

That little 2 hour flight was the most exciting flight of my life, on my way to meet the family I would be living with for the new few weeks.

That flight changed my life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Self-torture (of the exercise sort)

Have you ever been to a gym? Have you ever seen the free weights area? You know the area with the mirrors, lots of dumbbells and various things that look like sculptures gone awry?

I have an area like that at my gym. There's one particular "sculpture" that has puzzled me for a long time. With no one to show me how to use it, though, I wasn't about to try anything, since I couldn't even figure out if I was to sit, kneel, stand...spit on it? The item in question:

Well, on Wednesday I finally saw someone else use this thing. I would NEVER have guessed how it's actually supposed to be used. Here is my attempt at a diagram for you to understand what you're to do to use this...this thing.

Got it? It's weird, but basically your feet are on the black diamond plate there, the backs of your ankles braced against the round pads, and your knees and thighs are against the two pads that are marked. You're facing the Y of the legs there, and you bend toward the floor, and raise yourself back up. Because of where the pads end, you're able to bend basically as far as you want to go. Reverse crunches! Are HARD!

I did 5. I then tried the side crunches I'd seen people do on there, where you literally stand sideways on it and do basically the same thing. My stomach muscles just didn't seem to want to cooperate, but I'd done a lot of stomach exercises by that point.

On my way into the gym, and on the way out, I got a few looks. Not really the "wow, you're hot" looks that every girl loves to get, but more of the "wow...what is she thinking?" looks that I get lots of enjoyment out of. It might have something to do with wearing my Friday Pants today.

That's a black top, black skirt, and HOT PINK AND TEAL LEOPARD LEGGINGS. Because my hubby rocks, and he picked them out for me last night at Claire's for $2.00! I might just make them part of my Friday outfit every week.

Speaking of hubby, he's amazing with ideas for the Meanbean business, often giving me really amazing concept drawings (of which I have no idea how to execute, but I plan to experiment one day), ideas for themes, etc. Last night, he came up with something really awesome.

Two toned zippers!

You all know I love color, and really like to put it together in unexpected ways. Such as the last Meanbean I listed...

So, inspired by this particular color combo, he presented me with this awesome creation:
Sorry, not so great cell phone picture. But...this opens a whole new world of color opportunity for me, and will look amazing with certain ideas floating around here in the Meanbean studio!
As I sit here, in my little office corner, surround by my yarn, fabric, zippers and sundry crafting supplies, I feel so inspired. I feel spurred on to create something, to find a way to have my crafting make a difference in the world, and to provide beauty to someones life. With everything I make, whether it's a bag to sell, a pair of socks for someones feet, or a random pillow for a friend, I truly hope to spread a little joy into a corner that needed it.

Thank you all for giving me this opportunity to share my love of crafting and color with you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Get me on a plane! Part 1

This here is the story of how one shy, gawky teenage girl ended up in a foreign country. She didn't speak the language, didn't have any international travel experience, and was only 14.

It's the summer of 1994, and I am about to start high school. As many of you recall, the feelings at that point are a mixture of excitement, horror, fear, and being just a tad more grown up. This packet was mailed to us from the school, with information on various things like locker location, my class schedule, etc. Being 14, I was much more interested in these items than the little yellow half sheet that floated to the ground from my hands. It looked kind of like this:

Below it said something to the effect of "the iron curtain has lifted! 3 week student exchange to Belarus and Russia..." and I'm sure there was more. These words meant NOTHING to me. I could have cared more about the state of my mom's brother's girlfriend's little sister's BFF's nails at that point. (Yes I made that up, I like to exaggerate)

My father, however, snatched that thing off the floor like it was on fire, and started reading it. My mom was in the room, and so then he starts getting all excited. He's not reading it out loud, and so my mom is watching him, wondering what on earth he's on about. He hands it to her, and she starts reading it. They had a brief eye conversation (you know, the ones where looks communicate for you), and then my dad announces that I'm going on this exchange.

My 14 year old, teenage stupid self, riles against this immediately. I'm about to start a NEW school, with NEW friends who don't know how awkwardly geeky I was previously, and I sure as heck don't want to just up and leave in the middle of that.

Thankfully, my parents are very, very smart, and they let me know in no uncertain terms that I would, indeed, be going on this trip, and that it would change my life.

Little did we all know how true that cliche would turn out to be.

To be continued...

Part Two Here

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"That which is said by the awesome, is the awesome!"

Today was a day filled with happiness, some sadness but peace, and a fun surprise when I arrived home. I have some super fun news, but I'm going to put it in a different post. It's probably not what you think, and it is SO EXCITING!

After arriving home from a busy workday, I see a square Priority Mail box on the table. I think to myself "hmm, this could be IT, the big reveal, the one that finally tells me who this awesome person is who keeps spoiling me!"

When I open the box, I find this gloriousness just waiting to jump out at me:

Dude...I can't resist! A) Things are wrapped up with clever notes on them and B) the tissue paper is fun bright spring colors!! My mother in law commented that it's like an Easter basket, and she's right! I kept pulling out awesome surprises!

See that cute little Mary Engelbreit card in the front middle? Inside that, my friend/spoiler tells me that there's ANOTHER box to come!!! Dear Got Friends Swapper, you are SPOILING me, and I LOVE it :)

The colors in this picture are horribly off. I'm going to try and get a better picture tonight in my little light box, but the colors are a beautiful mixture of greens, blues, burgundies and purples. It's not nearly as blue as it looks in this picture!

People, my mother in law, the woman who kept her cool when I threw my back out, the woman who is the calm in every storm I've ever seen....THAT woman SQUEE'd when she saw this pincushion. I'm not sure if you understand the magnitude of this. Think of the most unflappable person in your life, then imagine them seeing something in your hands and squealing in delight over it. It was The Awesome.

The awesome pincushion even has a name!! Swap partner, if you're reading this (and I'm 150% sure you are), what pattern did you use for this? Or did you make it up? It was seriously wicked awesome, and I love it :)

Why yes, yes I do, thank you for asking!

I do have a dream! As many of my readers know, it involves working for myself, and being a stay at home mom to our kiddo. I feel like we inch closer to that dream every day!

Again, my mother in law was involved with this one. She's coming down with a cold, so she's all froggy and stuffed up. Well she opened this lotion, just to see, and the smell of delicious, fresh strawberries came tumbling out of that little container. Even through her cold she could smell it.

People, this stuff smells like HEAVEN. It also is super thick and creamy, and my hands loved me for putting it on before bed last night.

She completely spoiled me, yet again....and just made my night so much fun! thank you again swap partner! You are doing much more than I could have ever imagined :)