.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


a new look

Everyone loves a makeover. This time, Darlene was the artist at work. Her business, Chameleon Blog Skins, designed my spiffy new look and I love it. I think it's really funny that even though this site was not made with me in mind, it suites me as though it was. The cafe theme is perfect for my nickname, Bean.

Does everyone know how I became Bean? It's a short story. It all started with my creative writing teacher, Mr. Heinitz. I used to wear a Body Shop vanilla bean oil. Whenever I would walk past his desk, he would ask if I just made french toast or something. He would follow that up with a comment about loving french toast - ew! I told him that it was actually a vanilla bean oil. So, he started to call me Vanilla Bean. Eventually my good friend Jen, who was also in the class, said that I should be called Marla Bean, because my middle name is Jean. Inside of a few months, I was known as Bean to my friends and peers. It's been with me for nearly 11 years. It's the sort of term of endearment that makes me smile.


blogger block and birthdays

I have blogger block. What is it? It's this large blockage in your imagination that makes it impossible for you to be witty and entertaining, like your fellow bloggers (see the long list of blogs in my links area for proof of extreme hilarity beyond Random Beans). I don't know if I have taken a "serious" pill or what, but I am just not able to think of anything that all of you would even take a glance at. So, I get to write about not being able to write. It's such a cop-out...

I think it's just because I have had such a heart of prayer for Rebekah that I can think of little else. I read the updates several times a day and my heart hurts for them. Please keep the prayers going!

This past weekend was spent in Gardnerville, Nevada. It was my father-in-law's birthday yesterday, so we drove-up to their lovely home and went to his birthday BBQ. Truth be told, I am super tired from the trip. I couldn't sleep on Saturday night, because their guest room is a little warm, but you cannot open the window, because of the highway noise. So I tossed and turned. In my half-sleep daze I thought about writing a blog about salad, because I was thinking about "tossing" so much that salad came to mind. How dumb is that? Obviously, I even have blogger block in my sleep. I spent most of yesterday on my feet, chopping onions. So, not only was I a tired wreck, I was a balling, tired wreck. I was able to caffinate myself to be conversational by the time the guests started arriving, but I was feeling pretty grouchy on the inside.

Justin and I decided to lay down for a bit, after everyone had eaten. One lady came in to get her handbag and seemed embarrassed to interrupt us. We couldn't figure it out, because we were just laying there, fully clothed and not even cuddling - it's not like we were getting it on or anything. Just when we decided to go back to the party we heard "Happy Birthday to you.." from the dining room. So, we got up and rushed out of the room - drawing a fair amount of raised eyebrows at our disheveled clothing and my bedhead. It looked bad. Oh well. We're married! I was hoping they would chalk it up to being newlyweds. You know, my father-in-law did not let us escape before he mentioned (this is twice) a desire for us to give him a granddaughter. Maybe that's what they thought we were doing.

Anyway, so I was looking forward to getting home to our bed - to get some sleep. Our cat made that impossible. She decided that since we left her alone, she was not going to let us sleep. We took off her collar, so the bell didn't drive us nuts, but that didn't stop her from running from one end of the house to our bedroom to attack my feet then run away. I finally gave-up and tried to sleep in the guest room, but she didn't like that either. "Meow. Meow. Meow." So, Justin managed to kick her out of our bedroom and I returned to bed, but soon after that, she stuck her little paw under the door and grabbed the door-stop-spring-thingy. BOING! BOING! I was so frustrated that I screamed and Justin decided to give-up on sleep and catch-up on TIVO at 4:00 AM. Needless to say, I am still frustrated and tired and rambling.

However, I do have one more very important thing to say/sing: Happy birthday, to you. Happy birthday, to you. Happy birthday, dear LUUUUUUUKE. Happy birthday, to you.

Luke is 5 today.


prayers for rebekah

As Christians, we are called to always be reaching out to others. It is sad that many times our reach is only to those we can physically touch. I spent a great deal of time on a blog last night (thanks to Darlene). It was a blog put together for a little girl suffering with Cerebral Palsey and Ewing's Sarcoma (an inoperable cancer in her face and neck). Rebekah is her name. I do not know this family, but I was crying and praying for them last night. I cannot even imagine what they are going through. I have been spending my quiet time in Job and I am still amazed at and baffled by Job's choice to worship even on the very worst of days - when his house, livestock, servants and children were tragically taken away. Can anyone out there say that they would WORSHIP on that day? Job must have been super-human. That is why he is so amazing to me. And reading Job reminds me that I should be thankful for every single thing in my life.

You know how much I detest cancer for all the destruction is has done in my family, but being led to go deeper in Rebekah's story was a spiritual journey for me. Too often I focus on myself. Too often do I forget the suffering of other people. Too often do I take things for granted. This family will be dedicated to my prayers every single day. No one is going to be able to know how much hurt they feel inside, but we can pray for a strength, a peace and energy that surpasses all understanding. I will always believe in miracles and I will be praying for one.

I hope that you will visit Rebekah's blog, I have linked it to the title of this post as well as added it to my sidebar. Please drop a comment on one of the postings. I know they would appreciate all prayers and notes of encouragement.


the fast

I met with my wonderful accountability partner, Janelle, on Thursday. Among many things, we discussed the frequency in which I purchase unnecessary items. Please understand that I am on a continuous journey to be the kind of woman God made me to be. I stumble, I fall, I am human. I know the general public takes that to be hypocritical, but as My Man said, "Those of you without sin, cast the first stone." I think the importance of living down a hypocritical image is admitting your faults and showing the human side of Christianity. But I digress (that happens a lot with me).

These unnecessary items are starting to make a dent in our budget, so Janelle suggested a fast. Now, I knew you could fast from things other than food, but a fast from shopping had never entered my mind - probably because it sounded utterly preposterous to the fashionista side of me. Because Janelle felt a certain conviction about it as well, she decided that it was something we could do together. So, here we are: a couple of chicks dying to shop, but choosing not to and putting God in front of our minds when stores attempt to lure us in. This fast shall include (but is not limited to) the following items: clothing, accessories, shoes, home decor, excessive beauty products, pj's, entertainment items, DVDs, downloaded music and workout hear. We are allowed to purchase gifts for other people, but we cannot buy things for each other. Since unnecessary and excessive are subjective terms, we cannot purchase stuff for ourselves that only we consider necessary. Our husbands have to think it's necessary as well. I think Janelle might have an easier time getting Jackson to agree than I would with Justin, but I haven't proved my judgment in shopping to be the best in the past. See what a great start I'm off to? I'm already trying to find loop holes around our fast - like the people who give up desserts for lent, but do not count it a dessert if it's a main course.

I am a little daunted by the amount of time we decided to fast for - until Thanksgiving (that's third Thursday in November for you foreigners reading). I can't even spend my extra cash on this stuff. If I have extra cash in my pocket, I am supposed to put what I would spend on an item it into savings. Now, that's just crazy-talk to me, but I agreed to it. I am really viewing this as a jump-start on the life I want to live. I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on this stuff, and it has only put me in debt. I am tired of being enslaved by debt and am ready to live a life fully committed to my beliefs.

So, here I go. Back on the wagon... I am looking forward to the bumpy ride and I expect a few splinters and a certain amount of aching. I'll survive. Right?

God, help me.


sick sad world

I have spent the past two days at work, not working. There is nothing to do. I think I'm going to start breaking down from sheer boredom. Oddly enough, while work is not bursting with things to do, there is a minute amount of tedious tasks that need to be completed. Have I been the diligent worker and created work for myself? Not really. Have a I made myself indispensable to my boss - as I have suggested to many people who are faced with a light work load? Oh no, of course not. I'm too busy with volunteer work to actually do the stuff that I get paid for. I am a sad, sad disgrace.

In other unrelated events, what the heck is with this picture? I found it by accident, when trying to look-up the weird job my cousin has. The best way I can explain this job is that she rides around on a 2-wheeled scooter that you stand on and it's like a small, moving promotional booth. And if that makes sense to you, you're awesome. To make things worse, I accidentally typed in a web site that was some sort of French public safety site and two clicks later involving a cow, I arrived at this photo. Why are the French so weird? What does this even mean? Why did I have to go through a cow to get to the ear baby? So, as I was disturbed by the drawing, I decided it was just random enough to be my new chat icon. And that, my friends, is how my weird, sick and strange humor evolves, daily.


6 days since my last post

I have had an amazing few days since my last post. Many of you have asked me about the "dream job." You should all stand and applaud because I am meeting with them on Thursday to discuss their proposal. I am praying that it is a full-time position and not the much-dreaded contract position. I will, most-likely, turn down anything less than a full-time position.

I, along with 45 leaders from Crossroads, attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit for 2.5 days. In that picture, I am on the far right next to the girl in green, Alecia. Man, it was AWESOME. Barring death, hospitalization or natural disaster, I will never miss a Summit! Just like last year, I have come off from it feeling rejuvenated and ready to do some serious goal-setting and get in the game to win for Christ. However, this year, I feel a conviction like no other to really start taking this whole leadership thing seriously. I feel like most people think that involvement in leadership with a church is something a kin to an intense hobby. Justin was so good to point that one out to me. It's true. Why don't people take you seriously when you dive into helping save someone's soul? Let's see. Eternal life or a higher dedication to your job? Why does it feel like the later is the most import one? The later is certainly the most socially acceptable in this area. I got to hear from so many GREAT leaders in business and church. It really is food for the soul. The one that hit the home the greatest? I was moved the most by Kenneth Ulmer. He just broke it down - fully commit yourself. It's so important that it's worth dying for. And it is.

I had just about enough time to run a brush through my hair between returning from the Summit to go to my 10-year high school reunion. That was a total trip. Surreal and interesting. It was not what I expected at all. I had a GREAT time! Oddly enough, Justin had an even better time. He enjoyed the rush of popularity as many of the jocks and preps knew him. I swear more people knew him than me. It's funny to see how people change and yet don't change. Someone did tell me that she was surprised that I was still in Pleasanton, because she thought for sure that I would be the most likely to leave and never come back. I remember saying that, but man, way to make me feel like a loafer! At least I was amused to find out that Justin had a huge crush on the one girl that Shannon and I really did not like in high school - Alexa. She was sweet, but there was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. She was a "me" girl. Like, "did you hear about me... did you see me... guess what so-and-so told me..." Anyway, I told her about the crush and when she met Justin, he told her that she was in a play he wrote in drama class. She immediately offered to send his stuff along to the right people, because she "knows" people in the business. She sells something for J. Lo, that's the part of the business she's in. Still, I guess it was a nice gesture, or it was an insincere platitude. I cannot tell which. I think I'll just assume the best of her. Too bad Justin doesn't write plays, because we could find out how far the rabbit hole goes with her connections.

Here's a photo of me and Scotty Doo. He's mighty funny. I wish I had more time to talk to him, but at least I got to hear, in person, about his movie idea. He plans to get Joey Lawrence and Keaneau Reeves in a film entitled "Whoa." Each character will have a double-dose of "whoa" in their lines and it should be an excellent block-buster. Of course, I have no idea what the plot is, but who cares! I would go! (Scott, if I have that wrong, please correct me. I am still laughing about it, though.) I wonder if Alexa would forward his stuff on to the right people...


I am lame

A nice lady in the office next door came over to give me some M&M's. We're both working late (some of us later, because we're taking time to blog, when we could be using that time to get work done).

Before I knew what I was doing, I looked down to see the M&M's separated by color. Why do I do such crazy things? I do them without even thinking! Man, I need help.


barista ninjas

Jackson and I were chatting yesterday and he said the word "moola." That word cracks me up, just because I am so easily amused. I told Jackson that I would use that as my next Starbucks persona, because it really couldn't get any worse than Marta, Maria or Martha. So, I did it. I told them that my name was Moola. Although the girl, who has seen me come in many times, looked at my dubiously, she wrote it down.

And then I heard the words from behind the barista barrier, "A nonfat, extra hot, sugar-free vanilla latter for Mooma." Blink... Blink... At first I was confused, but not long after my drink was ready did I fall into bouts of giggles. What do you think? Are the steamers and grinders just too loud for our dear Starbucks crew? Or are they part of an elite class of folk who get hired on for their ability to drown out the noise, hear the drink order and not worry about the rest? I mean, I guess it doesn't really matter what name is on your cup as long as what's in it is correct. I am still baffled that my long list of hot beverage requirements makes it through the noisy room, unscathed. However, the one single, tiny-little word Marla, or Moola, cannot seem to survive. What is that all about?


would a rose smell as sweet by any other name?

Marta is the other alter-ego that follows me around. She definitely shows-up at Starbucks (obviously), but mostly she shows-up over the phone. Innumerable amounts of people think that my business name is Marta.

I am sure there is some reason why people always get my name wrong, but the real question is: how can I use this to expand my evil empire?

I once created a web guest whose name was Czar Kassim. Say that out loud. It should sound like sarcasm. Anyway, I totally made a comment on someone's website under the pseudonym of Czar. (This website posted alot of mean stuff about my favorite cousin and one of my best friends, so I had to say something.) As I expeted, he did not get it. It was quite unfortunate. What a waste of good sarcasm! It could have been so funny. Unfortunately, he took me seriously and complained to his friends about how Islamic (yes, he thought that name was Muslim) people don't know anything.

And they say ignorance is bliss...


random day

If "random beans" was ever an appropriate name for my very own blog, it is today. I have had the oddest day.

I got yelled at by a crazy realtor who I can only assume must have been having a horrible morning, because she's normally so very nice. I felt really bad, because I dropped the ball on something. However, after she was mean to me I didn't really feel so bad about completely forgetting to do something. I would rather drop my foot in her butt, but that's neither here nor there.

I was great at work (still waiting to here from Mr. VP about a second interview and I'm feeling kind of squirrelly about it). We had a lunch meeting today, a client appreciation sort of thing, and that was when the weird stuff started happening. The room kinda of smelled like a clean, pet-grooming salon. Obviously it interrupted my appetite, but as it turns out the food wasn't good enough to whet it anyway. Then I saw the "My Goodness My Guinness" poster on the wall. When I studied in England, that poster was so disturbing to me. I mean, why did the ostrich swallow the Guinness whole? Wait, why is there an ostrich outside of the zoo? They are not indigenous to England, so I am not sure why nor where the Bobby abandoned his beer. It was just so odd to me whenever I would run into that poster. I have never seen it locally, though. So, I snapped it with my camera phone. When I tried to explain my confusiion and amusement with the poster to one lady she just looked at me blankly and told me some story about her trip to Ireland. Do you ever have people comment on what you have to say, but it doesn't even fit with what you said? I just sit in silence and stare at them. Blink... Blink...

So, we're at this luncheon and for some reason it's appropriate for my mom to start talking about how I was conceived... Yes, I am serious. Even though I am an adult, these conversations still bother me. It's just embarrassing. My parents got down and dirty in a corn field. And this leads to my mom's favorite saying for the past 28 years, "And her dad was smiling from ear to ear." Yuk, yuk.

To top it off: the nameplate at my seat was for Maria. Maria is actually my alter-ego. She follows me around to Starbucks, class rosters, into my mailbox and oh so many other places.

It's an "L" people, not an "i!"


who would've thunk it?

Little did I know that last Wednesday, when my mom and I had the blow-out and I quit, that it would lead to the most exciting job prospect ever!

I started to put my resume out and I was encouraged by the number of people in my own circle who thought that I could fill a position at their place of business. Originally, I was thrilled that a good friend of mine who works at Diablo Magazine had an opening in the marketing department. However, I just interviewed for the most awesome position ever. Do you want to know why it's so awesome? I would be the first, the only and the main person in charge of re-vamping their image. The first project is huge. I mean a WHOPPER. However, what I'm doing now is trying to make myself valuable for the future, as well. There is so much room for growth in this company. I would be walking-in right at the perfect moment.

Please pray for me. If I could define a job that I would love, be passionate about and absolutely thrive in - this would be it. I would do this job for free! Of course, I cannot do that, because I have a mortgage payment, but this is the stuff I love to do. Oh man, I hope I get it!

For all of you Mac users out there: Keynote is my new best friend! Wow! It's totally awesome. I created my own "Marla-commercial" for my portfolio and it totally blew-away the woman I interviewed with. I have to play with it some more, but she was impressed with it. You can do so much with keynote and it looks so professional. I can't believe it. It puts PowerPoint to shame - absolute, friggin' shame.