Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Shelves

I have new shelves up at the boutique. I didn't buy what I thought i was buying, but it worked out in my favor anyway. Actually I found that out twice today. yesterday I purchased an unopened cardboard, paper sorter thing. today when I put it together it turned out to have been mislabeled. I got it at a thrift shop for $2, so I wasn't going to return it and in the end it was better for me than what I thought I was buying. See last week I bought an obscene amount of ribbon off of ebay and had no place to put it. The paper sorter turned out to be 6 very cool boxes that velcroed shut. The shelves turned out to be non stacking and deeper than I planned. (I had purchased similar ones before that were stacking, but this time I didn't read) So I have 8 inches behind my fabric drawers and 8 inch wide boxes to put my ribbons in. Everything worked out well.

You can't always get what you want, but if you try get what you need.

Dear KFKF 94.1

Having played a country song by Charlie Pride does not make you not racists. I don't know if the dj in question is or isn't a racist, but I do knowing that playing Charlie Pride in the 60s does not make him the anti-racist
My very racist family in Arkansas listened to Charlie Pride and said "He sings purty good for a black guy". They really are a bunch of backwoods racist hicks. Some of them listen to some rap and r&b - doesn't lessen their racist leanings.

If people on the "left coast" and people on the "right coast" consider Kansas City the be the home of redneck, racists hicks the way to prove them wrong is NOT to say "we played a song by a black man in the 60s". Prove them wrong by making sure every person of every color gets fair treatment in this city.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

To the guy in the silverish

Triton truck headed north at the intersection of Main & 39th around 12:45 today....Lay off the f'ing horn and take some happy pills dillwad. The woman in front of you wasn't turning left because she apparently had no desire to be broadsided by any of the cars headed south. So she didn't risk her life and let you barrel through the intersection a few seconds earlier. Poor you. I'm assuming the size of your truck and your overall attitude is related to the small size of your dick. Too back - compensate in some other way. You know why there isn't a picture of you on this post? Because you finally got to turn and went way too fast while I was on my way to take it. I did get your plate and if I ever see it around town I will take a picture to update this blog with.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunday Night Breakdowns

I go to the shop on Sunday nights and take down the old displays so I can make new ones for the next week. It's pretty much the opposite of exciting so I've decided to fix that. From now on there will be SOMETHING going on every Sunday evening between 5 & 7 in front of my shop. At least during the warmer months. Music or other entertainment. Last week it was Teddy, and this week it's either Teddy or David, in a few weeks it will the fire juggling of Jason and Trenton. There is no reason the place has to be a ghost town. Murray's gets people stopping by on Sunday evenings - let's make it a party in the horse shoe.

I'm not fooling myself into thinking that it will be suddenly the talk of the town, but I'm here for the long haul. Things are better when they are built and nurtured, not thrown together and over hyped.

If you're around, stop by. Listen to some music, get some ice cream at Murrays, blow bubbles with me. Have fun.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Maybe the teachers should strike

Dan spoke with the union rep yesterday and clarified something. It's not that the district wants less planning period time that the teachers used to have, it's that the district wants NO planning period time. Fuck that!

I know how hard my husband works and how much extra time he works outside of the school day. There is no way he can lose that time during the day and still stay sane. It's not an issue of teachers wanting time to laze around, the NEED that time. They have to grade papers, prepare lesson plans, meet with students, call parents. Teachers have no free time. Planning period is also when they go to the bathroom. They can't go during the students passing period because they need to man their class for incoming students. They don't want to leave the little angels alone during the middle of class - so planning period is pretty much it.

If the district wants to get more class time in - FIRE SOME ADMINISTRATORS AND HIRE MORE TEACHERS. If they take away the class time I'm pretty sure my husband will pay the $2k penalty for breaking his contract and seek other employment. Maybe he'll go back to being a full time balloon artist. It paid more anyway.

getting better

Zelda is getting better. The swelling in her leg has gone down about halfway. I'm so relieved. I love that giant, drooly dog. We got her originally because of the meth house up the street. Our other dog was getting old and I wanted a watch dog. Zelda is friendly and basically a giant puppy, but she scares the hell out of people. 130lbs of "why are you in my yard??" with white teeth shining against black fur teens to be a bit intimidating. Don't misunderstand, she's never attacked anyone - she's not vicious. Danes are protective though and I wouldn't want to break in or threaten her family.

The meth house is gone. FINALLY. Still it's nice to know that I have Zelda around. I know anyone with a gun could take her out, but anyone with a gun is more threat than most security systems can handle. I don't own a gun and don't want to own a gun, so I'll stick to a big dog with a scary bark. For the guy with the gun I have a Pomeranian with a shrill bark. He's kind of an early warning system. It's impossible to sneak up on my house. The pom will set off the dane and everyone is up. Of course they sometimes react the same when a squirrel tries to sneak up on the house, or a cat - still that's a small price to pay for being able to sleep knowing with some small sense of security.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If I won the lottery

is a stupid question. For starters I don't play the lottery. I consider lotto tickets to be a penalty for being stupid. On the rare occasions that I do gamble it will be a place where alcohol is served in fruity drinks, not in my living room or the front seat of my car. I see a lot of people rushing in to QT to get their scratch offs. Then they sit in the car and rub furiously at $35 worth of tickets to win $10. It's tempting to let them scratch the paint off an equivalent spot of my car for $25. You figure they are only scratching a few inches maximum and then I could earn enough to paint it blue. They are still out $25, I get new paint - it's a win win situation.

Ok, so my mom says "If I win the lottery..." a lot. She does play, and no, she really isn't a stupid person. She does do a few stupid things though. Smoking and playing the lottery come to mind. What she would do with the money is always nice stuff for her kids and family. Of course given our hillbilly relatives she would most likely spend all day fending off requests for money. I'm not as nice and polite, they wouldn't ask me.

What would I do if I bothered to buy a lotto ticket and won? Heck, let's pretend I won the big prize. Oh there's the practical stuff, like making sure the kids have money for college, paying off the house and car etc. But let's talk about fun stuff. I can't say I would quit my job. I love my job. It's probably the reason I don't feel compelled to buy lotto tickets. I'm happy, not looking for an easy way out. I think I would first buy balloons. Lots of balloons. We already spend $600 a month on balloons, but I'm talking $60000 all at once. We never seem to have everything I want and it would be cool to know that I had any color, shape or size I wanted right on hand. After that it's hard. I guess I don't want a lot, or at least I don't want a lot that's out of my reach. So I think that with any leftover money I would do two things.

1. Give to every panhandler I see on the Plaza. Let the city try and run them off, I would make it worth their while to be there. KCMO spends far too much time trying to santitize the city. I have never once been accosted by a panhandler. Asking is not accosting. It's ok to say no, I do it all the time.

2. I would buy a billboard or at least rent one to vent my complaints on. It would be so cool to see my opinions in giant letters as close to city hall as I could get them.

Most people would view those as a waste of money, but that's why money exists. Anything beyond the basics is wasting it. Might as well do it in style. I would leave altruism to my mom and others. I'm not out to save the world. I don't have time for it and I don't think it can be done anyway. Besides how many people are truly altruistic AFTER they win the money?


We think our great dane has been bitten by a snake. Yesterday evening one of her legs was swollen and I'm pretty sure I saw a bite area. With the swelling it was a bit hard to tell at first. She doesn't appear to be in any pain and we don't know when the bite happened. Zelda isn't a yelpy dog, even when she's in pain, so she might not have made any sound when she got bitten. Since we don't know what kind of snake, we can't get her anti-venen, all we can do is treat the symptoms. I'm hoping for a copperhead though the bite mark was a bit high up for that. Rattlesnake bites are more often fatal without anti-venen, but for an animal Zelda's size a copperhead bite would not likely kill her. As long as secondary infection doesn't set in the treatment won't break the bank. If it does we're going to be eating ramen a lot.

I'm glad she's not in any pain. She didn't flinch or get upset when the area was touched. A dog that size in pain can be very very difficult to handle. Her strength can catch you off guard and I would not want to be bitten. I've seen her teeth, looks like it would be a very painful experience.

I'm getting Teddy & Tommy some boots and having them clear out the weeds along the fence line (with a weed whacker) because that's prime snake hiding territory. Yeah I could send Dan, but honestly my teen age sons are less likely to be bitten than their father since they are more observant. I'm also keeping Bessie & Puppy (yes that's his name) out of the backyard until we have a chance to check things out. Walking Puppy is Bessie's job and she often does it in flip flops. Obviously I don't want anyone else bitten, especially my youngest child. Puppy only weighs 30lbs or so, so he would take a much harder hit than Zelda. I never walk Stinky back there. He's a weird little Pomeranian who decided long ago to use the litter box like the cats. He only goes to the front yard. Yes, I know there could be snakes in the front yard, but the grass is a lot shorter and it's less likely.

I don't hate snakes, and don't follow the "a good snake is a dead snake" philosophy. Encounters happen and the snake was not stalking my dog waiting for an opportunity to strike. Still, I have pets and kids, so I'm going to have to work to make my yard a bit less snake friendly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Get over it already

I have a friend who has a baby. A little baby, about 2 months old. My friend had the good sense to breastfeed her child and yesterday was recounting the horror stories of feeding in public.

It's been 6 1/2 years since the last time I breastfed a kid and I would have hoped the world had changed - maybe just a little.

I was 22 when I had my first baby. I used to hide away and feed her out of fear that I would offend someone. I can't count the time we sat in bathrooms or hot cars so that nobody had to be blinded by the sight of my breast. (though they looked damn good back then) The rare times I did feed my daughter in public I was treated with many many obnoxious comments. My favorite - "Honey if you can't afford formula you should go to the welfare office and sign up for WIC." Today I laugh and make snarky comments about the woman - back then I cringed and hid.

I was 24 when I had number 2. With him I just tossed a blanked over my shoulder and maintained some discretion. I got lots of comments and was generally polite to the jerks offering advice.

18months and 3 days later I had number 3. By this point I had 2 small children and a newborn. People are just lucky I bothered to wear a shirt. Those foolish enough to comment on my breastfeeding in public were met with sarcasm at best, cussing at worst.

I waited a few years and had number 4 at 32. By this time I had grown increasingly bitchy and god help the person who dared tell me to stop that. They were generally treated to my theory that the increasing decline of society is due for the most part to the lack of breastfeeding. Back when this country was useful and growing most people breastfed. I'm pretty sure that none of the founding fathers had a bottle full of formula. My tirades ended with the comment that I was breastfeeding my kid so that she didn't grow up to be a moron like the person talking to me.

I'm fun, interesting and generally a good person. I'm just not an overly nice person. It's a good thing I don't plan to have any more kids. The next step would be physical assault.

The next time you see a mother feeding her child and get the urge to tell her to stop or to make a sexual comment consider this

1. you are probably a douche bag. shut up and go away.
2. breasts can be fun, no doubt about it, but they can also be useful.
3. lots of famous and influential people were breastfed. I don't think enfamil existed during the time of Jesus. You all want to be more like Jesus don't you?
4. if you get turned on by the sight of a woman mothering her child you may have issues with your own mother that can't be resolved by watching and drooling. Seek help.
5. The person you are about to say something stupid to may be even bitchier than me. Don't open your mouth unless you are prepared to have a fist shoved in it.

Women who choose to nurse do so for a variety of reasons, but number one is that it's best for their baby. We live in a society where too many parents take the easy way out and leave their kids screwed up and alone. When you see someone trying to do what's right - don't mess with it.

Get over it already.

I wish KC had a Jungle Jims

I'll admit it, I watch odd shows on tv. I hate reality show that aren't real, but I love show like the Travel Channels "Best of..." Last year they did a show on extreme grocery stores. Yes, you read that correctly. My favorite was Jungle Jim's in Ohio. As luck would have it I was going to Cincinnati not long after I saw the show, so I got the chance to visit Jungle Jim's in person. It was everything I could have imagined and so much more. This place is so big that you actually need the map they give you if you plan to find your way out. I am soooooooooo jealous. I want one here. Of course it's not a chain and that's why it's cool, so I guess I want the whole thing airlifted here.

I am going back in November when I attend Float, but I wish I could go in August. The weekend of fire sounds very very cool. This place had more hot sauces than you can imagine. They even had an adults only section with XXX rated sauces because of the names and pictures on the bottles. Last year I bought 4 new sauces and this year I plan to buy at least 10. If JJ had an online store I would be broker than I am now.

I haven't mentioned the international food section yet. They had lebkuchen. Not the crappy stuff you usually buy here, but the good stuff from Germany. That's on my shopping list too. As is more ramen. The good kind, not the 10 for a $1 kind.

I don't usually get this excited about grocery shopping, but I just realized last night that I would be in Ohio again. (we just decided to attend Float) Hot sauce and balloon friends, it looks to be a perfect weekend.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Guess what Bessie did???

She mouth inflated a 260!!!!! So what? If you don't think that's a big deal stop by the boutique and I'll give you one to try. I know people who have been in this business for 20+ years who can't do it.

Of course I had to call all of my friends and since most of them are also balloon artists, everyone was pretty impressed. My non ballooney friends tried to be excited, they really did, but they don't know exactly how hard mouth inflating a 260 is. The reaction was "Oh, that's cool." When I called Susi or a balloon artist the reaction was "Wow!! Way to go Bessie!!!" She's going to be so pleased with herself at the next convention. :-) It's nice to have a job that I can share with my family. It's also nice that the job makes me part of a very supportive community. Balloon artists are a bit nuts, but usually in a good way.

Friday, July 18, 2008

KCMO school superintendent

I hope that when the KCMSD school board finally picks their new scapegoat they give the guy a chance. I don't think Dr. Martin was wrong when he said it would take 10 years and a whole new administration to fix the problem.

I wrote Dr. Martin yesterday and told him that I wished he would stay on as superintendent. I doubt the position would be offered to him, but one can always hope. I know Dr. Martin from his days at Grandview and he is a man that I like and respect. As our superintendent he was always open, fair and honest. KC schools need something like that. They also need to quit playing politics and engaging in overt nepotism and FIX THE PROBLEM. It's not a quick fix. Just like dieting there is no magic pill, no matter what commercials you see on tv. The board needs to set LONG RANGE GOALS. Then they need to implement them and stick with them.

I have a tiny business and I have set goals. You can't run a business without them. The school district is a business and needs to act like one. Find a CEO who is fair, open & honest like Dr. Martin and then work to make the company a success.

Oh and also...

Don't hand the next super's balls to the board. Dr. Martin could speak out because he's not staying, most of them don't have that luxury. Don't let the board fire him/her - put that question before the voters - even if it calls for a special election.

Giving it the look of a boutique

I call my shop a boutique because it's simply too small to be called a store. Besides, it's way cooler than my other shops so it deserves a different title.

I have been working on the website, trying to get it updated, but it's been hard. I was stuck because, to be honest, I had no clue about what I wanted. I've been shopping with the same attitude. I don't know what I want, but I know that isn't it. Currently only my 9 year old will go shopping with me because the rest don't want to hear it.

I did finally decide on a new logo and will have the new website up sometime next week. the logo led me to a new color scheme and some new wallpaper. I was so excited when it finally came in. Tommy came up to help me because he is tall and I am not. We got the job done, but learned a few things along the way.

1. Wallpapering is HARD.
2. We suck at it.

Of course painting isn't hard and we sucked at that too. We need to take classes or find enough money to hire people because nobody in my family go the tools gene. Susi swears she can wallpaper and paint. I took this declaration as a promise to paint my ceiling next month. Lucky her.

The beam is papered as well as it's ever going to be and we left the hard part for my mom when she visits. She likes to wallpaper and doesn't say things like. "Hey did you know they put instructions with the wallpaper?? We should read those before we go any further." You would think that by now I would have learned to look at directions once or twice before I start a project. You might think that, but you would be wrong. I don't look at them often, only when I get stuck. By then it's often too late for the directions to be helpful anyway. In this case we did read the directions and changed what we were doing a little. didn't help. We still sucked at it.

We finished up and went to the movies. We saw Mongol, something I can't recommend enough. It's a great movie, even if don't speak Russian and have to read along with the subtitles.

Monkeys, Mermaids & Handprints

I have a new way to guage how much attention my window display is attracting attention - at least from the little people. Hand prints. If there are lots of little hand prints on my windows in the morning, then the kids were pressed against the glass looking at whatever was inside. So far the mermaid has gotten the most hand prints, with the monkey coming in second. I'm extra proud of the monkeys head design, so I'm going to blame Dan's body construction for it's second place showing. Of course beating a 5 foot tall mermaid can be tough, even for a 4 foot tall monkey.

My daughter's play

I went to see Waiting For the Parade Wed. night. It was really good, even better since my daughter is the stage manager. It's her first paid theatre job and she was really excited to have everyone come.

Since I have no clue what she does, I'm going to say that she did it very well. Everything looked good to me, even though she swears mistakes were made. Susi is a perfectionist, so mistakes are always going to be made. Perfection doesn't happen, but she keeps trying. Whatever it is that she does, it makes her happy and she's good at it.

The play itself was very good. I have not been to a play in ages and wasn't sure what to except from one with such a small cast. It centers on 5 women and their lives during WWII as they manned the homefront. The actresses are really good and the storys are engaging. For some reason lost to me the stage is shaped like a penis. Ask the director why when you go see the play.

Performances are at 8 tonight through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at UMKC.

A $10 donation is requested. Seating is limited but may be reserved by e-mailing Kathryn Bartholomew at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Store front pictures

A couple of new pics from the store. The lights are really cool. I took down the icky boring track lights and put these up. These are the ones that for some reason wouldn't light up without a bulb (from a previous post)

Bleah on teens who don't listen

I spend a lot of time at the boutique. That's a good thing, it's my JOB. I don't ask a lot from my sons, but today I asked the oldest to be on the lookout for my balloon order which was coming COD. He knew were the $$ was and all he had to do was ANSWER THE DOOR. He didn't. He let his brother get it. Said brother didn't know anything about the $$ and the UPS guy left with my balloons. He will bring them again tomorrow, but that puts me behind schedule. One thing, that's all I asked. Bleah on them! Oh and do you think that either of them could be bothered to call me. How about calling and saying "mom there's a guy here who says we have to pay for some balloons." Nope, couldn't be done. I'm trying to remind myself about why they have cell phones.


Monday, July 7, 2008

I want a sticker

Actually I WANTED a sticker. I started out wanting two stickers, got one and got denied on the other. What stickers? One from Betallic and one from Qualatex. I wanted to put them on my door since I use both types of balloons in my work and at the boutique. Betallic said no problem and they would find me something. Qualatex said no. Actually they said only if you are a member of the QBN (Qualatex Balloon Network) This is an "organization" that you pay to join and apparently have to be a member of if you want to advertise for them. I would have to PAY them in order to advertise the use of their products. Hmmm....I don't think so. I have instead chosen to reduce my use of their products. Betallic has long been my favorite twisting balloon although I still used Qualatex in my decor. From this point on unless the product I need is not available in some form in a Betallic product I will not purchase Qualatex. That pretty much means I will use Geos, spider eyes, agates and a few of the 3ft. prints from Qualatex. The rest I will get from Betallic via Mayflower distributing, TMyers and Continental Sales.

I have long been opposed to getting a CBA (certified Balloon artist) designation from Qualatex. I don't find it essential to my life or my business and I have met plenty of crap balloon artists with that at the end of their name. Mostly my hesitation has been a feeling that Qualatex does not exhibit real support to the twister end of business. For many years entertainers were treated as unimportant with their exclusive focus being on the needs of decorators. Betallic realized years ago that entertainers were an important part of the industry and LISTENED to them. Also persistent rumors have it that Qualatex engages in some shady business practices. It's not just coming from one person, but lots. If a distributor wants to carry Q products they will not promote B products - at least latex ones. The foil market still seems pretty open.

So, I didn't get my sticker, but that's ok. I just got pushed to vote my opinion with my $$. It may not be a lot of $$, but it's going to go to Betallic, not Qualatex.

Of course maybe I'm just venting and I'll feel totally different in a day or two.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stupid things I have done

I'm going to blame my recent stupidity on the stress of getting the boutique ready to open. It's either that or old age and I prefer to blame the stress.

Two days ago I changed out my track lights which involved wiring new pendents to the adapters. It's very easy, even I can do it, still one of them would not work. No matter how Dan placed it in the track it wouldn't turn on. I checked the wiring but it was correct, so I was at a loss for why it wouldn't come on. Then as I was turning it this way and that I found the problem. Seems I had forgotten to put a light bulb in it. That's usually critical in getting the light to turn on. :-)

Yesterday I tried to make coffee. I ground some beans, got water, set the program, but no coffee. I pushed every button the thing has, but no coffee. Today I saw why. I have a coffee maker that doesn't have a pot, you dispense it with a button. Well, there is a pot, but you don't pour from it. I use that pot to carry water to the machine and pour it into the heating part. Except I forgot to pour it. There was no coffee because the machine didn't think it had water. No matter how many buttons I pushed there was never going to be any coffee. It's sad when I need coffee in my system before I can operate my coffee pot.

This week I've gotten the store together, so I will have fewer stupid moments.

I hope.