Saturday, April 14, 2007

The SCARIEST thing I've seen on TV this year.

I caught an rerun of VH1's 'documentary' on Kiddie Beauty Pageants. Hands down this is the scariest thing I have watched this year. These kids don't even look real. Only one of them appeared to be doing it for herself instead of her mom. That's the one who refused hair extensions, spray tan and fake teeth. She's also the only one who didn't get upset when she didn't win a huge prize. She was ok with it and is probably the only one who will grow up semi ok with herself.

The moms of the other girls all claimed that the kids were doing it for themselves. yeah, right. What kid wants to get up at the crack of dawn to spend hours in a chair getting her hair pulled, primped and sprayed. All the while mom is yelling at her to sit still and smile. These contests are judge simply on beauty and the moms let the girls know that if they want to win they have to rely on being pretty. Great message to give the girls. Oddly enough most of the moms were overweight blondes with huge boobs. Except for the one girl who broke the 'rules' and went as natural as you can get at one of those freak shows. It think the moms are trying to relive their own failed beauty pageant days.

The girls are given spray tans, more make up than your average hooker, fake hair and fake teeth called flippers. Then before the show they are given lots of red bull and sugar to hype their personalities up. The crash after the show must be extreme. All the stress and all the sugar and all the tears if they don't win. Mom's tears. And all the backstabbing. Entering your children in these contests should be considered child abuse.

Friday, April 13, 2007

My Job things I Love, things I Hate

I would have to say that I have a pretty good job. I make balloon animals for a living, which is a pretty cool thing to do. Not that there aren't things I don't like about the job, cause there are. Spring is my busy season, so work has been on my mind more often this month. (It's spring despite what the weather would indicate) I decided to make a list of what I do and don't like about my job. I figured that if I put it in writing I might find a way to change some of the don't likes into likes.

I get to look people in the eye and say "I make Balloon animals for a living."
I make people happy.
The Ego stroking. People tell me I am the most wonderful thing they have encountered all day/week/month/year.
I get to be creative.
I don't have a boss other than myself.
Balloon artist conventions are a lot of fun.
The people in the industry are creative and interesting.
I get to meet a lot of cool people.
I don't work in the same place day after day after day.
It pays pretty well in the busy times of year.
My kids & husband get to work with me making it a family business.
The job makes me happy.

Don't like
Paperwork. When you work for yourself, you have to do a lot of paperwork.
I'm my own boss and I'm a bitch to work for.
In the off season money can be tight.
The people in the industry are artists and can get kinda bitch at times.
Balloon conventions are expensive.
Loading the balloon apron takes forever.
Jobs are never close to home or even close together. . I may have a party in Liberty followed by one in Olathe on the same day.
People sometimes have the perception that all balloons are free. This sucks when I am not being paid by the restaurant, but working for tips only.
People think that $1.00 is ok for a sculpture that took 10 balloons and 15 min. to make. Would you want to work for $4/hour? Well, $4 minus the cost of balloons.
Kids who take their sculptures apart and then the parent demands that they be given a place at the head of the line since it "only needs to be fixed." It's not fair to the kids who have been waiting in line.
Parents who let kids chew on the end of their balloons. If the balloon breaks, they could choke to death.

I guess those last ones could be summed up by saying
People who don't think.

All in all it's a great jobcast1

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Garden , survival of the fittest - part 3

13.  Return of the Pink Tree14.  The return of the Tulip10.  Honeysuckle in Bloom The frost came and went and I thought many of my plants were goners. I was wrong. This small tree/bush thing has fresh buds coming out where the old ones have started to die off. Soon it will have little pink flowers. The tulips were totally wilted and on their sides. Today with a bit of sunshine they have come back. I'm hoping that the tulips on Troost all do the same.

12.  Chocolate MintThe ever present mint.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My Grandmother helped make me what I am today.

A post over on The Flogging of America got me thinking about my grandmother. Bessie Lee (Owens) Walker. She was born in 1918 in the middle of nowhere, north Texas. Her father died and her mom remarried making Bessie the oldest of a whole bunch of kids. Between brothers and sisters, full, half or step there were 13 kids. Uncle Jim was the baby and my grandmother took care of him like he was her own most of the time. Even though they lived on a farm she never had a lot of time for farm chores. Too much time spent babysitting. I once had a disagreement with my mom who assumed that her mom knew how to kill a chicken. After all she had lived on a farm during the depression. I said that she spent her time watching kids and the chicken killing was left up to other people. I was right, but not for the reasons I thought. She said her hands were too small to get a good grip on the chickens neck, so she couldn't wring it properly.

Bessie married Dawson Walker and moved first to Louisiana and then to Arkansas. Along the way they had 3 kids, all girls. My mother is the middle sister. The 3 girls gave them 10 grandchildren of which I am the oldest. My dad was in the Army, and we traveled a lot. Whenever it was possible my parents would send my brother and I back to Arkansas to visit my grandparents during the summer. Among the things I remember most are shelling beans, wrasslin and the arguments over air conditioners. My grandparents used a couple of window units to cool their house and someone was always coming up and turning them on or off, the other person would always get mad.

Shelling beans was a way of life for many people back then. You grew them or bought a few bushels and shelling was part of getting them ready for preserving. In my grandmother's house this was either done on the front porch or in front of the television if "wrasslin" was on. She loved professional wrestling and had favorites that she would root for. Once we went to the Watermelon Festival on Hope, Arkansas so that she could see The Junkyard Dog wrestle in person. Wrestling bored me, still does, but the watermelon was good and my grandmother was happy. All in all it was a nice trip.

My grandmother died in 1998. She had been battling Alzheimer's for awhile and the Bessie I knew left a long time before her body quit working. Shortly after she died I became pregnant with my youngest child. I decided long before she was born that I was having a daughter and that her name would be Bessie Leigh. Thankfully she didn't turn out to be a he and I got my wish. I named my daughter after my grandmother not just because of the love I felt, but because my grandmother had a lot of the characteristics I would like to see in my daughter. She was strong, sometimes to the point of being obstinate and she was adventurous. She liked to go and try new things and age didn't stop her. If anything as she got older she got more adventurous. Right before she got sick she announced that she was driving to Alaska. She would have done it too if she had been able. I hope that my daughter gets even a tiny bit of that spirit.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

My Garden , survival of the fittest - part 2

I don't usually take care of my garden, I promise I don't. I'm a firm believer in letting it grow or die on it's own except in extreme circumstances. The weather lately has been extreme. Last night it was still 30 when I went to bed at midnight, so I didn't rush out and cover the roses. Guess I should have because by the time I woke up it was 19 and the damage had started. The tulips are goners and a couple of the roses don't look so good. A surprising victim was the blackberry bush. I think it will recover, but right now it's not looking so good.

I have covered the plants in preparation for the awful cold tonight. I was not prepared for this blast of arctic weather this week and neither were my plants. I have hope though, some of the roses look pretty good and the mint refuses to succumb, so my garden will go on.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Things I never thought I would say

There have been times I've said things that I never could have imagined myself saying. It happened again today.

Watching some show, can't remember which, a clip of Geraldo debating Bill O'Reilly. I have a dislike for both men and their news styles, so seeing them in one clip is a nightmarish event. Before I could change the channel I got sucked in by the way they were arguing.

- back story- A young girl was killed by a drunk driver, who turned out to be an illegal alien. (from Mexico, not Mars in case you were wondering) Instead of ranting on the evils of mixing autos and alcohol Mr. Reilly decides to have an discussion with Geraldo because everyone knows that Geraldo represents all people who can speak Spanish. - now ya know how the clip got started -

The two pseudo journalists were arguing. At some point it looked like O'Reilly was going to pick up a chair and break Geraldo's nose again. You could practically see his breath as it exploded from his head. Not one to ever back down, Geraldo gave as good as he got. However, in a sad twist of fate, I found myself saying (the thing I never thought I would say) GO GERALDO!!! TELL THIS PIECE OF CRAP WHAT THE REAL STORY IS.

I think I need a drink. I know I need to watch less television.

Of course it could be worse. Among the other things I never thought I would have to say are

"Why is there tang on the ceiling?"
"Don't put syrup on your brother." & my personal favorite
(to Apple customer service) "I have an iguana in my computer and need to know how to take the access panel off."

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

20 years

Today makes 20 years for Dan & I. It feels a little strange that it's been 2 decades. When I look closely at Dan I can see the changes, but for the most part he's just the same old Dan that I married.

I won't lie and say that it's been 20 years of bliss. We fight like cats and dogs sometimes. We were kids when we got married and growing up isn't easy when you're single much less when you're married. There have been times when I've wanted to just push him off of a cliff and I'm sure he's felt the same. Still for the most part we balance each other out. I'm outgoing, he's shy. I like to spend, he likes to save. I make choices quickly and sometimes rashly. He can't make a decision without hours and hours and hours and hours of thought. (never ask this man what he wants for dinner) I'm pushy, he's patient. He's can be very rigid about following rules, I tend to view rules as 'guidelines' not absolutes. We're not total opposites, we do agree on lots of things, politics and respect for religious views - the stuff that can really tear a marriage apart if you disagree.

Tonight we probably won't go out and do anything fancy. Dan knows better than to buy me roses (I hate dead plants, a rose bush that i can plant is a better choice) I know better than to buy him anything (he hates to spend) Tonight we will work on getting more signatures for the referendum petition we've been working on. Another day of the same old same old, but it's still special. We get to work together on something that we both feel passionately about. For us that's better than sitting in a restaurant trying to make conversation that's different than what we would talk about at home. Besides, the kids are going to call us 900 times anyway. I think we'll save the fancy meals for days when they are off on their own. Or maybe we'll keep doing things the way we do them now.

Monday, April 2, 2007

My friend Sam

My friend Sam just turned 3. He's at that great age where there is so much exciting stuff to explore and when it gets too much you still have mom and dad to hold you. I met Sam nearly 3 years ago when his big sister became friends with my youngest daughter. Since then a baby brother has also joined the family. It's been a delight to watch Sam go from baby to toddler and now he's becoming his own little person. He's not quite a toddler, not quite a kid. He's at that perfect in between stage. Admittedly his independence is more fun for me than it is for his parents. I don't have to be the one correcting behavior or deal with the question "why" for hours on end. They do a great job and I do remember the days when I had 3 small kids to deal with, so I admire their Patience. I wish I had been more like them back in those days.

Anyway, Sam is fun for me. I get the good stuff. The games, the giggles, the smiles and an occasional hug without ever having to deal with any of the bad. I also get reminded that there is a joy in life that we sometimes forget to find as we get older. Everything is new and exciting to Sam. The puddle, the sand, a pretzel. As I watched him contemplate the joy of jumping in a puddle that he knew his parents wanted him to avoid I was struck by how much people miss out on. We become so hooked on the rules that we forget to think about if we should follow them or not. Very few of societies rules should be absolutes. I'm not talking about the law here, though you should sometimes question that too, I'm referring to the rules of behavior.

There are so many unwritten rules that govern our behavior in every day life. Simple things like facing forward in an elevator. Would your life be so much worse off it you turned to the person sharing this box with you, smiled and said "hello"? Will the world end if you have pasta for breakfast and pancakes for supper? Sometimes the smiles are to be found when you take leave of societies rules and follow your own instincts.

For the record, Sam walked through the puddle. His mom rolled her eyes and said "at least his shoes are fast drying." She's pretty good that way.