She is the friend who encouraged me to go ahead and try quilting. The friend who didn't laugh, too much, when I called or emailed with mistakes and silly questions. The friend who I sent all my quilting questions to, knowing she'd have the answers. She has been my long-distance, via email & you-tube videos (that she has made just for me), quilting mentor.
But even before that, she was my friend. And over the past however many years (neither one of us can quite pinpoint when, exactly, our friendship started) she has gone from "on-line acquaintance" to "email/blog buddy" to "dear, dear friend." I rather dislike using the term Best Friend, because I feel badly for the other good friends I have -- there are about three ladies in my life who I would love to claim as my Best Friend. I feel pretty equally attached to all three of them, I think/hope they all three feel the same way, and so I hesitate to say "Jules is my best/dearest friend" because even though she is, so are these other two women.
But. Hopefully these other two women know that they are also loved & cherished, and won't be jealous when I say, Jules really, truly has become a very dear friend over the past few years. She and I email daily. We talk on the phone sometimes, though not often, due to conflicting schedules. We know each others' secrets, for the most part, and keep them. And yet, until this trip to Texas, we'd never met in real life.
Jules was brave enough to get on a plane and fly from Illinois to Texas, just to meet me in person. We were both rather giddy over the prospect. To have a several-years-long connection with someone, and finally meet in person.....it was a dream come true for both of us. She prepped by sewing a tote bag to serve as her carry-on/personal item on the flight. I prepped by packing up all of my "works in progress" quilt stuff, plus my red white & blue quilt, so she could see these things in person. And in case we had time to sew. (we didn't, but it was important to me that she see my projects in person, so she could give me her honest opinion, not just thoughts based on photos). I was the eager student, proud & nervous about showing my teacher what I'd done. It was a little bit hilarious as I kept her up late the first night she was in Texas --- I kept pulling out fabric and half-done projects and just babbling on and on and on until I finally realized she was maybe a little bit tired. Oops. What can I say, I was excited!! My mentor, the person who taught me everything I know about quilting (even if it's all been via email) was finally there, right in front of me!! Of course I had to show her what I'd accomplished!! Right??? Right.
|me, showing the partly finished Argyle quilt top to R;|
this is pretty much what it looked like when I showed it to Jules, but a repeat the next day ;)
I picked her up at the airport, waiting patiently at the bottom of the escalator I thought she'd come down. She did, we saw each other at exactly the same moment and I'm pretty sure there were tears in 2 sets of eyes right then. It was surreal. Out to the car we went, she met The Chemist and The Boys, we went and dropped them at my mom-in-law's house and wound up eating dinner there and then.....Jules & I went off to our hotel! Yes, not only did I get to meet my BFF in person, finally, but I got a few nights away as well. Sweet!!
Our first morning together we got up early, ate breakfast and took the boys to see my other very good friend who happens also to be mom to my boys' best friends. She reads Jules' blog and also quilts (she is the one who encouraged me to start with a jelly roll & jelly roll pattern, as it would minimize the cutting I'd need to do) and was delighted to meet Jules as well. So fun, colliding worlds on purpose like that. We had a blast together! For dinner that night my Mom met us for Mexican food, which was a treat. Love introducing my favorite people to each other!
|R, me, Jules|
The next day we did some touring around --- I took Jules to Galveston Beach, as she's rarely been and wanted to dip her toes in the ocean. I did clarify that it's just the Gulf of Mexico, not the actual Ocean, and that was fine.
|umbrellas at Stewart Beach|
|Jules & me at the beach!|
Then she came with me to the Lego Store with The Boys -- what a friend to tag along on that! From there, we went by NASA. I forget that NASA is a big deal, but our hotel was on the same road as the Space Center, and we passed the outdoor rockets on display. Jules wanted a photo, so I turned into a driveway/street that led to a parking lot and asked the security guard if we could just park and take photos. He directed me to Rocket Park, a small parking lot that lets the public access, free, the building where the Saturn 5 Rocket is kept as well as a few other rockets. Sweet! We wandered around, took photos, read the signs that tell about the Apollo missions, and just enjoyed the day.
|Jules' first visit to NASA|
|one of the outdoor rockets that prompted us to stop in the first place|
For dinner that day I dragged Jules to a local legend burger joint, Tookie's. Originally opened in 1975, then closed for a few years after Hurricane Ike, Tookie's reopened in 2011 (I think). Best burgers in the area, if not the entire state. As Jules' husband is a pig (and corn) farmer, she was delighted to try The Squealer (my favorite as well) which has bacon mixed into the ground beef before the patty is formed. YUM.
|The Squealer, a Tookie's Special|
plus their world-famous onion rings
for perspective -- the burger is 1/2 pound of beef.
On Jules' last day, we picked up my sewing machine! She took a few photos of me having my lesson, wandered the quilt shop while I played, then we shopped some before heading out for lunch, a stop at the local park and I took her to meet my grandparents. I had to show her all the things, places & people I'm most proud of, and the Gallery is one of those places; my grandparents, some of those people. I was thrilled to introduce my dear friend to some of my dearest family; sadly, we both forgot to take pictures of that.
|me & my new machine :-)|
|getting my lesson|
|Galveston Bay, as seen from the park near where I grew up|
From there, the long sad drive to the airport. Boo. That was not fun, and there were tears again. Not the happy kind this time, either. I do not enjoy goodbyes. At all. BUT. It was amazingly wonderful to finally meet my dear friend in person, and I am so so so so glad we got to have those few days together! What a treat!!! Cherished memories, for sure.
Tomorrow, I'll back-track and show off more pics of our visit to see 3M and their mom and then...finally...the rest of the fabric finds! Stay tuned!