Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Baaaa-aaaack...!

Finally! Back home and back to blogging!

I didn't want to exactly announce that Mark and I were vacating our home, and abandoning our children for 3 days, so I was covert. Well, 2 of our kids are adults, and another one nearly-so, so it wasn't exactly abandonment ... but I didn't want to invite anything troublesome.

I decided, very last-minute, to participate in what's billed as the "World's Largest Christmas Bazaar" in Portland (Oregon, of course). I wasn't sure whether to put out the money, after participating in an abysmal show the week before ... how many times can I afford to *pay* to sit there for 3 days..? But, a friend I'd met at the previous show (my new-found-friend-for-life, Vivian - the modest biker-chick!) encouraged me to go ... and it turned out that out of 900+ vendors in two buildings, we were right across the aisle from each other (what are the odds? well, 900 to one!).

Earlier that week, I had hung a mirror in a local bakery (the marvelous folks at Cascade Baking Company devote an entire wall to local art being displayed!), and it sold within 18 hours! And they want me to hang another one! Soooo ... that more than covered the booth fees for two shows, freeing me to enjoy this show, consider it as "advertisement", and not be concerned about sales. Mark sacrificed the weekend to get away with me (I could NOT have done it without him!), and we enjoyed taking advantage of his frequent-hotel-invading points (got upgraded to a suite, sans kids!), which helped to remind us why we had 8 kids in the first place...!

For 3 fun and festive days, I got to schmooze with hundreds (thousands?) of people (15,000 attended the show), and enjoy the folks who were drawn into my booth (it's a happy space ... full of life and light and joy ... one woman said she felt like she'd had a massage and therapy, after our conversation!). I love to encourage others to discover their OWN artistic/creative bent ... I discovered I could paint at age 40, so this gives them "permission" to give it a shot. I even explain how to do it. There's no competition ... my stuff looks like me, and their stuff will look like them, and there's room for all manner of creativity on the planet! Lord knows we've all got to do what we can to eradicate beige from the earth ... beige being the root of all evil, y'know.

I sold 3 tables and a couple of smaller items ... and many more fell in love with various pieces, though most were unable to afford them now (Oregon has been particularly hard-hit with the recession, as most of the industry here is construction and lumber). No matter -- I gave away scores of business cards, and expect to get many commissions in the near-or-distant future.

I couldn't count the number of people who just stood there, looking around (there's much to take in), sighing and smiling...! I had a long conversation with a man from the Czech Republic, who moved here 4 months ago with his love, and are now expecting their first child. He said that my booth made him (almost) become an optimist...! Besides enjoying Vivian (who looked fabulously authentic-biker-babe in her leather chaps!), I got to know Chuck, who visits Nepal, pays the folks a (get this!) fair wage, and sells their items (journals, hats, prayer flags, etc.). I bought a Tibetan prayer flag, which I shall hang on my porch (wonder if it will horrify the neighbors?) ... as it fades in the sun, the legend is that the prayers are carried on the breezes to God. Lovely thought, festive display.

We spent time getting to know a nurse from Ghana ... he sells the handmade masks and drums from his native country, & works at the trauma center in a Portland hospital (& likely runs into our son, who is doing his EMT internship in the Portland area). He played the drums frequently, and invited customers in for jam sessions...!

Then there was the winery from my birth-city, Eugene, Oregon ... the sweetest, most grape-fragranced wine I've yet experienced! We bought three bottles. Being Sunday, I stopped to talk to the young man selling Christian jewelry (well, you know I *had* to!) ... hope I didn't ruin any of his potential sales, since I parked my wine bottle on the table next to his crosses, while we talked for 45 minute! He now has several "new" ideas to consider, after our encounter...! ;)

Oh, and Mark treated me to lobster (get this!) three nights in a row! I adore lobster, and hardly ever get it. We had the same waitress twice, and were treated like royalty ... the first night, I kept listening in on the conversation of the table next to us ... very entertaining, ribald and witty comments, and one man even sang, outloud. As we got our coats on, I leaned over to them, and said, "Thank you for the dinner show -- do we get a dance on the table next time?" That led to a wonderful impromptu conversation of longish duration ... in which I discovered that the gentleman owns or manages a Victorian B&B in downtown Portland (we were staying in the heart of the city) ... and he invited us to come and stay at a discount ... he's a former member of a legalistic church, and we realized we had much in common ... the woman with them was leaving another legalistic denomination, and was in the fear-place. I gave her this blog-address ... who knows if she may show up! I'm thinking I oughta be putting my furniture IN that Victorian! For display and sale!

On a sad note, as we approached our home town, we had to take a detour ... the highway was closed, beause a terrible traffic accident had just happened, claiming the life of a young woman in a small car, which collided, head-on, with a large SUV, a the top of a hill. My son was on duty, and had to commandeer the recovery operation (his first time to do so). He learned that he no longer wants an economy car, and is going for a big and sturdy model. We realized that if we had not stopped on the way, to purchase a mirror for me to paint (to replace the one that sold), we would've likely been at that crash-location, at the wrong time, or close to it ... one just never knows when this chapter of our existence has expired ...

Life is sweet, when we look for that which is sweet. At any given moment, we can find something for which to be grateful, for which we can celebrate, from which we can learn. Let's go through this life intentionally purposeful, intentionally conscious, intentionally participating in the adventure we've been offered ... and which we are, one way or another, creating.

Thoughts are powerful -- choose the good ones.

Shalom, Dena


Steven McDade said...

YOU CAME TO PORTLAND & DIDN'T THINK OF COMING BY? If I'd known, I would have gone down to the Bizarre. Sounds like a good time.

Dena said...

Steven - Now I *know* I included you on the email I sent to the folks in the area, about going to this show ... I think I sent one to your wife as well (check your spam file maybe?). I had hoped you might stop by.

It was a crazy-busy weekend ... and what little time we had off-duty we really *needed* to spend in a reconnective sort of way ... between Mark's travel schedule, and my painting/show schedule, we'd been like ships passing in the night. We had much-needed couple-time during our weekend.

But we still want to get together with y'all ... it'll happen!

bea said...

Now Dena, beige is the root of all evil? I couldn't agree more but am a little perplexed... on my computer screen I could swear that your blog is primarily beige! time for a new template perhaps?! ;)

Dena said...

ROTFLOL! You caught me, Bea...!

I was going for the rich chocolate brown in the background ... and the beige came with the template (you get what you "pay" for on free sites like blogger!). Funny! Perhaps I shall have to option shop, now that I've declared the secret of evil ... or should I allow this to be a demonstration for how we can all overcome the root of evil ... simply by writing our own inner truth upon that which we are "handed"...? Hmmm...

Lesa @ Conveniently Simplistic said...

There are plenty of beautiful free templetes out there for blogger. Do a google search for free blogger templates and you'll be overwhelmed by them. I use free templates on both of my blogs.... Conveniently Simplistic and the other one. ;)

Dena said...

Thanks, Lesa... more creating!!!