Thursday, August 28, 2008

End of Summer - Plans for fall

It's been an eventful summer. the store has kept me very very busy, but in a good way. Usually when I am busy it's not in a good way. It's always in a stressed out, over the top way that leaves me cranky and exhausted. For the most part I enjoy the shop, so it's a good busy.

Once upon a time I used to do a podcast called the Balloons R fun Show. I enjoyed it, but life got overwhelming, so I stopped. Stephanie from Sage & Daisy and I are going to start it up again. Once a week. We'll record on Sunday and put it out on Tuesday. The subject will be crafts, Westport and whatever else crosses our minds. We're sick people sometimes, so it should be interesting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

UPS maze

I ordered a package from Target. According to the tracking it has gone from Texas to Kansas City, Kansas and then on to Lenexa. It is in Lenexa right now as I type this on Monday, August 25. The estimated delivery is for August 28. WTF?!?!? I could drive to Lenexa, pick it up and be back here before Bessie had to be in school. That's WITH rush hour traffic. I should quit looking at tracking numbers, they only make me mad.

The USPS has UPS beat in the stupid department though. I ordered some button supplies from my guy in Las Vegas. The package went from Las Vegas to Anchorage ALASKA, and then back down to Kansas City. Why the post office thinks that Alaska is between Nevada and Missouri is beyond me. Might explain the ever increasing cost of stamps though.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things I am making

I have a 3 project limit for any given time. I love to try new things and will get distracted before I finish something. The 3 projects I currently have on the needles are

1. a sock - might be a pair, depends on how this looks Just a basic sock - no pattern or anything, but the yarn is cool and it stripes as I work.

2. a crochet market bag. I have several of these and I like them. All cotton and I make them big enough to actually hold stuff. The bottom is single crochet and the sides are a combination of single and double.

3. a to-be-felted purse. This is the indigo blue one. I think I have just enough yarn to make it the way I want. I have to make the flowers for it still, but so far the purse is coming out nicely.

Those are for me. I have other on going things that I do for sale.

Buttons - 1 inch, 1 1/2 inch, 2 1/4 inch. Not just buttons, but mirrors and key chains as well. I do regular ones, but the ones I like best are made from recycled mylar balloons.

project bags, cell phone bags and other little fabric bags

yo-yos. fast to make and people buy them for their own quit or craft projects. I can understand. I started to make a yo-yo quilt once. About 100 yo-yos into it I got bored and never finished. Buy getting them from me, people save a step and hopefully finish before boredom sets in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Movies that I never turn off

There are a group of movies that I consider "must watch" whenever they come on. Even if I've missed part of it, I will keep it on and watch the rest. My oldest daughter has pretty much the same list though she probably has a few newer ones thrown in. For the most part they are happy or funny movies. I do like Drama's, but only a couple make me want to watch them again and again.

1. The Blues Brothers
2. Pretty in Pink
3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
4. The Breakfast Club
5. Caddy Shack
6. Ghostbusters
7. Thelma and Louise
8. Rock Horror Picture Show
9. Animal House
10. Office Space
11. Airplane
12. Blazing Saddles
13. Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Knitting and Yo Yos

Having the shop has been great for my creative side. I've knitted, crochet and now I'm sewing and making yo-yos. I don't do a lot of this at home because there are too many people and our house is crowded. Also I have a lot more dead time at the shop. I have to be there, even if people aren't, so I make stuff. It's work to keep the creative clutter under control, but that's a small price to pay for the freedom to craft a couple of hours a day.

Stephanie and I have started a craft meet up on Sundays. Anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. We listen to music and make stuff. last week Bessie started a crochet chain that's getting pretty long. I think she is trying to use the entire skein on one chain. :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Knits and stuff

I love to knit and crochet. Right now I am working on a purse in a deep blue that I will felt. I have searched for this color for quite a while. A while back I had some mohair/alpaca blend in this color that I started a purse in. I was 3 inches away from finishing it when the puppy ate it. I loved that color and have looked for another yarn with it for awhile. Today at MisKnits I found it. It's a Lamb's Pride bulky that I just love.

I'm thinking of going back to MisKnits on Wednesday. They have unfinished project night then. I always have at least 2 unfinished projects at any given time. Like lot of creative people I can get bored working on the same project all the time. I tend to make a lot of sock. Not socks, just sock. Well, I guess it is socks, but not pairs of socks. Just one sock at a time. Cute socks and thankfully I never care if my socks match.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

they made a comic about my son

Friday, August 8, 2008

Something isn't right

I live in Grandview somewhere on 150th terrace. Remember that because one day in the future you will see 150th terrace on the news. It won't be my house, but one up the street. Why? Because something isn't right up there. It's not wrong enough that I can call the cops, but something just isn't right.

The situation I'm talking about involves a man over 50 who is a bit of redneck. Loud country music, working on cars in the driveway etc. It also involves at least 2 young african-american teenage boys. I know one is 17 and I'm guessing the other is about the same age. I don't know what's going on, but for the past several months the teens have been spending a LOT of time with the redneck. I've known the 17 year old for 10 years and he is not the country music type, nor has he ever shown interest in spending time with adults not related to him. More often than not if I see this man out he has one of the teens in his car. They hang out in his yard and go on walks with him throughout the neighborhood. Last week a few more teens (both sexes, various races) started hanging out there too.

If the 50 year old was the kind of guy who spent his time helping the community I would be a lot less suspicious. However, so far I've only seen him helping himself to beer. He doesn't seem to work right now and is always hanging out with kids. I have teenagers and I can't imagine them wanting to hang out with a middle aged man. I think most teens wouldn't find that to be a normal activity. UNLESS something else is going on. Drugs, alcohol, sex - something is going on up there and one day you will see it on the news.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mayor's Caucus

Funkhouser has called for a formation of a caucus of mayors from local cities. Some of those who will attend his meeting will include mayors from Independence, Blue Springs, Liberty, Gladstone, Raytown, Belton, Raymore, Parkville, Weatherby Lake, Greenwood, Oak Grove, Sugar Creek, Platte Woods and Pleasant Hill. For once Grandview has done something sensible and isn't on that list. KCMO is a sinking ship and I don't think I would want to be tied to her in any form.

Things I probably shouldn't do

1. Make eye contact with people in elevators. Actually it's not just elevators. Making eye contact seems to freak people out. That's one of the reasons I do it.

2. Pretend to take pictures of people at stop lights. See above for why.

3. Open bags upside down. Things like balloons and chips. I don't care, but Dan is obsessive and always picks them up so that they are right side up. This causes everything to fall out the bottom. The print is often the only difference between top and bottom, so I open things however way I happen to be holding them. This drives Dan nuts.

4. Use Dan's obsessiveness against him. I used super glue to attach a penny to the inside of the ashtray on our old truck. He KNEW it was glued in, but that knowledge was not stronger then his compulsion to move it.

5. Make stuff up that I know people will repeat. I do this when I encounter one of those people who act like they know EVERYTHING, but in reality they know every little. I make stuff up because they will then repeat it later and look stupid. It's mean I know and one day karma will bite me in the ass for doing it.

There are lots of other things that I shouldn't do and probably more that I should, but for today I resolve not to do any of the 5 things I mentioned here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

8 months into the year

and where do I stand on my goals.

I have not gone on a trip with Susi, though we have talked about it.
I have probably made 1000 people smile. Of course that was a low goal for me. I'm a balloon artist - making people smile is my job.
I have only taken a couple of photographs that I would consider amazing. I think I should schedule some photo outings.
I have impressed some members of the balloon community, but I'm still working on this one.
I have not even given the balloon a thon any consideration.
I have sent thank you cards
I have increased my bookings by about 15%, so I'm getting there.
Talk to me about camping when it's not a zillion degrees outside.
I have crocheted many cool things.
I have yet to teach Bessie to make cookies. This will be a fall activity.

So far, it's much better than I did last year.

Enough whining

When I'm not making balloons I make buttons. Cute little 1 inch buttons for the most part. I have one that says "No whining" Today I was thinking that it's good advice for me as well as for my kids. I've let too much stuff get under my skin. yeah, KC government sucks, but I can choose to focus on it or choose to work to change it or choose to ignore it. I shouldn't choose just to complain about it. I don't want the things that suck to become a daily part of my life. In the case of KC government I choose to do what I can to change it. I'll still whine, but in letters to the council and mayor. They don't read my blog and the few people who do can't change things for me. The council may not change even one thing based on my letters, but they will at least know how I feel.

So today starts a whine free day for me. My husband and family will be thankful. I can't promise what tomorrow will bring, so I hope they enjoy today. :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kansas City is prepared to sacrifice

Westport and other areas in town to the Cordish Empire's goals. It's not just that KC isn't promoting Westport, it's that they appear to be actively seeking to destroy other entertainment areas. Drunks puke and piss on the street every night in the P&L. they stumble out barely able to walk under their own power, but do you ever see a police check point there? Nope, and you won't. Can't give the impression that everything isn't perfect.

Want to go to Westport? Even if the traffic is slow there will be a drunk check. You won't see the puking and pissing, but you will see cops making sure everyone knows they are on the wrong streets. Want to drink and drive then get your ass over to P&L. I don't condone drinking and driving - my father was killed by a drunk driver when I was 5. What I am saying is that the cops and KC don't give a rat's ass about drinking and driving if you do it in the all mighty Power & Light.

Lots of cops paid for by tax dollars patrolling the areas around the Cordish Empire. Westport begs for any to help with people loitering and causing trouble. I don't think Waldo and Brookside fare much better. Kansas City is too busy kissing the ass of Cordish executives to give a damn about the rest of the city.

18th & vine could be something cool. It could be an international tourist attraction, but not if the city doesn't stand behind it. I'm not asking for tons of money, I'm asking that they MENTION THAT IT EXISTS. I have checked several maps and tourist flyers at rest stops on my back to KC from out of town. You won't see mention of the jazz district or the museum. Lots of stuff on there, but not one of the things that makes the city truly unique. Power and Light looks almost exactly like most of the things Cordish builds. There is no Kansas City flavor to it.

Shop local, dine local, drink local. Quit sending our money out of state just because the city loves a company from Maryland.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

When you need a laugh

go to This image is from his strange covers section. His commentary on the various comments is hysterical!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dan doesn't need that job

My husband took a cut in pay to become a teacher. he loves teaching but if kcmsd has it's way he will be forced to reconsider and find other employment. What are they doing to run him off?

1. cutting planning periods nearly in half. 40 min a day that he gets to spend making lesson plans and grading papers will be gone. It takes a lot of work to get that done and it's not fair to add 40 min a day in time he has to spend outside the work day to get it done. If he stays he will be forced to give out less work and the children's education will suffer. If he gives out the same amount of graded work his own family life will suffer. Great choice to have to make.

2. more stupid meetings. School districts love to have meetings. Lots and lots of meetings. They are now instituting unlimited professional development meetings. And they haven't said they will pay any $$ for them. It's forced overtime. Would you work at your job for free whenever they wanted? I don't think so.

My husband got a near perfect score on his praxis. I think he missed 2 questions. That put him in the top 1% of people taking the test. He knows his stuff and loves his job. Rather than deal with the ACTUAL problems the district is attacking teachers like Dan and making them seek other employment. It's worth the $2k penalty for breaking the contract. He took a $10k cut in pay when he took the damn job anyway. He can just go back to being a full time balloon artist and have lots of time with his family. The district loses and mostly his students will lose.

Thanks to Tony for making sure this stays in the news.

Friday, August 1, 2008

some days I'm not PC

I need to learn more Spanish. I speak "balloon artist" Spanish. Basically I can name most of the animals and a few other shapes like sword. I also know a lot of colors. My accent is horrible, but thankfully the kids and parents are usually patient and kind. I took a class last fall, hoping to become a bit more proficient, but no luck. The best teachers I have ever had are the kids who get balloons from me. I usually ask them to tell me how to say something new while I am working. So far it's worked, but now I need more.

This is where the not very PC part comes in. Mexicans know how to party. yeah, other races party don't have to be from south of the border to have a good time. Still, the Mexican families I've worked with really know how to party. I want to know how to book events with them. I want to be able to confidently book a quinceros. It's like a wedding without the stressed out bride. That sounds like heaven to me. Not just the big parties, but Mexican families seem to go out for all the parties. I always have a good time and I want to work more in that market. So now I have to make another attempt at getting my 41 year old brain to absorb Spanish that is beyond the Sesame Street level.

Do you want some really non pc posting? I can tell you what sex/race make the best tippers or the worst tippers. Best? Black men. Worst? Wealthy white women. Except when they are in front of their friends, then they are pretty good tippers. As a rule working class folk tip more than well off people - until you get to the insanely rich and they tip very very well. Men seem to tip higher than women and are usually less demanding to work for.

Dante Hall holds the record for our best tipper ever. I challenge any of the current players to try and top him. (please, pretty please. you'll be my favorite player ever. lol)

Why the focus on tips - lots of times we are working just for tips. The restaurant isn't paying us and when people don't tip (ahem Oak Park mall people) I am basically paying out of my pocket to entertain their kids. I actually don't usually complain. I've been broke too and when someone wants a balloon but is low on cash I just tell them to tip the next person they see twice. It all comes back to me in the end, someone else will come along and tip a fortune for something simple. (except at the Oak Park TGIF where people didn't seem to believe in tips) Sometimes seeing a person smile is all the payment I need.