Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Project

In the past I have posted about donating hats, gloves, coats etc. to children in the community.  There are a lot of kids who don't have them and this time of year they really need them.

I think I will put some of my energy towards that need this year.  I love to knit, sew and crochet.  I make a lot of hats and scarves for my shop.  This year I will see how many hats I can make for kids who need them.  I'll have to figure out what percentage lets me balance out my store's needs with my desire to do good.  On average I make about 4 hats a week when I crochet, so I'm thinking of donating 25% or 1 hat a week.  52 hats a year isn't much, but it will hopefully help 52 kids.  

Want to join me?  Send me an email or drop by the store.  I'm not setting up a 501, so don't drop off a bunch of hats and look for a tax receipt.  The Salvation Army is good for that sort of thing.  

Orlando's City Walk

Sure Orlando is a tourist hot spot already, but that also means there is a LOT of competition for the $$ already in place.  So why does their City Walk bring in $$ when our P&L loses $$?

I think the guy has it right when he says that it's because they have something for everyone.  Not just people 21-31 who like to drink and puke. 

KC spent $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on a giant playground for people in one decade of their lives.  The average American lives almost 80 years.  P&L decided to ignore the majority of that life span and focus only on the one decade where most people do the drink and party thing.  What a waste.

Why  build the thing at all if it wasn't going to be something useful to most people in KC?  Spend the $$ on established areas of town and a good marketing campaign.  Oh well, woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Too late for that now. 

I am not my mother.

I wrote the following post on October 14, 2008.  I didn't publish it, I just wrote it to get stuff out of my system.  I chose to make it public because recently several people have given me the "my kid wouldn't take pills that he didn't know about" or "they wouldn't even know where to get them" lines. I can tell you that they might. I don't know if they will, but kids today know a lot more about drugs and are willing to take a hell of a lot more risks than we did. It doesn't help that we live in an over medicated society, so the 'good stuff' is easier to get.  

I am not my mother

I have 4 beautiful children. Today I am going to talk about my younger son. My 15 year old son is tall and handsome, smart and interesting. He's also a drug addict.  First I am going to describe my night to you.

Mondays are always hectic. My husband has classes at UMKC and my older son has trumpet lessons in Prairie Village. Lots of running around for me. I have had my younger son watch his little sister, but not so much in the past 18 months or so as his behaviors have escalated. Yesterday I did have him watch her. His behavior has been good for a few weeks and he has never used anything around her. Until yesterday. Yesterday one of his friends stole Seroquel and gave my son a 200mg pill. He waited until he got home to take it. That was at 7:30. We got home at 10pm and my son was unable to stand up or walk. He stood up and collapsed into some dog vomit on the floor. (he let the dog eat junk food and it made her sick) As I stood there watching my 6'2" son laying on the floor in a puddle of vomit I totally understood how a parent could drive to Nebraska. I was torn between fear for his life and anger that my 9 year old had to witness this. His brother had to help him to the car so we could take him to the ER. This was the first trip to the hospital. There won't be anymore trips home from the hospital for him. If I have to take him there again the state will have to find him a new place to live.

This is where the phrase I am not my mother comes in. I am not my mother though we have one very special thing in common. We both have sons that became addicts as teenagers. My younger brother started drinking at 12 and using hardcore by 16. He wasted 25 years of his life and went to prison before he could get clean and sober. Midtown Miscreant has blog post where he talks about the criminal frame of mind. It rang true to me because both my brother and my son have that ability. They can magic away guilt and blame and rarely show any remorse for anything beyond getting caught. Add an addictive personality to that mind and you've got an explosion of trouble waiting to happen. I don't want my son to live my brother's life. I don't want him to go to prison and discover the joys of becoming someone's sexual outlet.

I didn't cause his addiction, I can't control it and I can't cure it. Only he can do that last part. But I don't have to make it easy for him to be an addict in my house. My mom spent years fixing my brother's life. She forgave him for stealing from her, acted like she wasn't embarassed when he stole from the neighbors, bailed him out of jail and always let him come back home when he said he was sorry. I love my son too much to do that. We have no insurance and a treatment facility wouldn't work right now anyway. The addict has to want to end his/her behaviors first. I watched my brother cycle in and out of treatment wasting thousands of $$ because he wasn't ready to get cured. So what to do? All I can do is force my son to be in situations where he has better choices to make. Places where being stoned is not an option. He's already homeschooled (lots and lots and lots of drugs at school) but now he has no unsupervised social time. That has to be earned and after this last stunt it will be a long time before he can do that. I don't give him access to $$ and everyone in the house already knows to keep an eye on their valuables. Basically he is in prison without the rape. In a few minutes I am going to wake him up. He kept the entire family up past midnight and there is no fucking way he is going to sleep off his drug hangover. We had to get up and have a semi-productive day. So does he. He can choose better behaviors or he can choose foster care. I will not subject my other kids to his nonesene. I will also not let him hide in the home of my well meaning parents or my recovering brother. They have their own issues to work out and can't help him. If my son wants help with his problem I will see that he gets it. However HE has to want it. Won't work otherwise.

This is harder on my husband than it is me. Not that I love my son less, but I've seen this up close and personal before. Addicts will use you. They lie as easily as they breathe. They find the one thing they can say to make you feel for them and they push that button over and over again. Works on my husband and he keeps getting his heart broken. I'm harder. I knew he was smoking pot but hadn't caught him yet. He denied it and my husband believed him. We did catch him (love home drug tests) and he claimed it was the first time he had ever done it. My husband believed him. He got caught buying it (no charges because the cops bought his sob story and told me that they were sure he had learned his lesson) kid swore he would never do it again. My husband believed him. Two weeks later I caught him buying again. This is how it goes on and on. I feel so bad for my husband. I want to trust my son, but that has to be earned. I've spent plenty of time crying but this whole thing has really crushed my husband's view of people and family. Family just doesn't lie to you like that - not in his world.

To my knowledge this was the first time my son took anything harder than pot (which I firmly believe you can become addicted to) or alcohol. I don't know if the experience scared him. Scared the hell out of me. Scared the hell out of the parents of the kids he was with. (I tattle) I called them at 10:30 pm and told them to search their kids pockets. I didn't want any of them ending up at the hospital with my son. I'm sure at least one of them counted the #of pills left in the bottle. We were told he should sleep it off and that he would feel crappy today. He got lucky. Search the web, there are a ton of stories about kids who didn't have his luck. If you take it, your kids can get it and they WILL share it.


For the record my son has not used since this incident.  At least not anything that can be tested for.  At home drug tests are a wonder and I use them.  He's doing well and has pretty much become the kid I remember before the drugs kicked in.  Does that make him not an addict?  No, it makes him someone who is currently making better choices.  I gave him his choice and  I'm thankful that he realized I was serious.  It's a hard, very scary thing to do as a parent and you have to be willing to back up your threat.  He has stopped cussing and is more interested in family, friends and life in general.  He helps me at the store and I am happy to be around him.  He's not perfect, he's still a 15 year old boy, but I am thankful for every day for the small, 'normal' screw ups like not taking out the trash. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I am sad

I love Twist & Shout.  It's a balloon convention for balloon entertainers.  We've been for the past 3 years and were really looking forward to attending this one.  I even started knitting Bessie a balloon dress to wear.

Now we can't go.

For some reason I thought it was after Valentine's day.  I have a later date stuck in my head for some reason - just found out that it is the week BEFORE Valentine's day.  There is no way I can close the shop and go.  Sucks for those of us who do delivery, decor and entertainment.  

I'm not as sad as Bessie.  She was really looking forward to attending.   We'll have to do something extra fun here instead.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

ARRRGGGHHH - he took it again!!

There is a trash can near my shop that Westport cid put there.  Mark (works for Californo's, filling in for his brother Mike) took it yesterday.  I wasn't positive that the can didn't belong to Californo's, so I just asked maint.  about it.  They were super nice and brought me a new one.

Mark took that one too.

I saw him doing it, asked him not to, told him that the maintenance guy had brought it up there.  Don't worry he says, he's just going to empty it.  Now I have no trash can once again.  I don't have lots and lots of trash, but I liked not having to walk downstairs in the cold to get rid of it.  Now I have to chase Mark down and ask for my trash can back.

I'm going to buy my own trash can, paint it pink and write "MARK LEAVE THIS ONE ALONE"  on it in yellow letters with blue trim.  Maybe he'll get the hint then.

So now what

Ok, I'm greedy.  I got a toy store, but I want more.  The store that used to be the Imagery is huge, but they are going to divide it into two stores.  One will be approximately 1/3 and the other will of course be 2/3 the size it is now.  

So what would be cool?  Westport needs more clothing stores, but not regular ones.  I think it would be great to get clothes store in, but even better to get a designer co-op.  Two ways that would work.  First several small designers/students could work together and open a place.  Another way is for one person to open it and rent racks to the designers.  They do this a lot with crafts, but I have not seen it with clothes.  Seems like a great way for new designers to get some exposure when they are not quite ready to open their own shop.

A baby/child consignment store would be good too.  Something like Children's orchard.   

I have my eye on the spot that used to be reading reptile.  When I have enough $$ in place I want to open an "art playground".  The name isn't worked out yet.  A place for people to come and  create.  Like a gym, only you work your creative mind, not your body.  People can rent a locker to keep their projects in and use the facilities to make stuff that they can't or don't want to do at home.  I know that when I try to make gifts for family it's hard to keep them secret.  I actually came up with the idea one day when I got sick of pulling dog hair out of a knitted project.  (I don't knit at home not that I have the shop).  Anyhow, it's an idea only at this point.  I'm sure insurance will be through the roof, but I have faith.  Eventually it will all work out.

For the little restaurant I want either an Italian place or a boutique bakery.  Something like Baby Cakes in the market area.   

If anyone has any outside the norm ideas for places that should open in Westport, send them on.  I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Save the Toys!!!!

New government regulations intended to keep toys safe make not differentiation between Mattel and a mom and pop toy shop.  Even toys that use not products that do not contain lead must undergo testing for lead.  EXPENSIVE testing.  Some small manufacturers have been quoted $4000 per product.  When you only  make a couple of hundred wooden toys a year this is too much!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Girl Scout Cookies

Starting January 6th Bessie will have Girl Scout cookies for anyone who ordered them.  Didn't order any?  Dont' worry, I've got a few extra boxes that will be up at the shop.  

yes, we have thin mints!


yeah, it's probably art and not intended for use, but ewwwwwwwwwwww

well, ewwwww for humans.  Makes me think of interesting things to make for the dogs.  :-)

Obama shirtless

It seems to have been quite a story.  I love the Sun's take on it.  

Befriend a Geek

Be sure to click on the action groups for suggestions on how you can make a difference in your community.

KCMO School District refuses to guarantee basic supplies

Let's pretend that KCMO promises to make sure students have textbooks. I doubt they will, since they don't do a good job of that now, but let's pretend.  What does the lack of adequate supplies mean for students?

Students may view it as a good thing.  With no copier paper there will be no handouts or homework sheets.  In the entire time Dan has been teaching for KCMO he has been unable to get more than one ream of copy paper per quarter.  1 ream for 100 kids for 6 weeks.  That's already only 5 sheets per kid and he was supposed to make it last 6 weeks.  We've always had to buy more paper out of our own pocket, but this year we have committed to NOT buying supplies that the district should provide.  Granted his classes this year are computerized, so they are less effected by the lack of paper, but what about other classes?  We are not the only ones refusing to take away from our families to make up for the districts lack of interest.

We've bought dry erase markers.  Kids steal these, so when Dan has them he keeps them under lock and key.  No dry erase markers means no notes on the white board.  There is no paper for handouts, so the students better learn how to write while listening.

With no paper and no dry erase markers, tests will be different too.  Or they will be non-existent.  

Folders.  In the past Dan has been instructed to keep a folder or notebook for every student.  The district never provided these folders or notebooks, we always had to buy them.  Not doing that again.  If the district wants them, they will buy them.

pencils, pens, erasers, tape, staples - we've gotten all of this with our own money in the past.  Not anymore.

It's like being a house painter with a wall and some paint, but no brushes.

During the semester that Dan subbed in Grandview things were very very different.  Paper was kept in the copy room and you could use what you needed.  You were not allowed to copy personal stuff, but enough was there to make sure you could do your job.  Dry erase markers were issued and so were folders.  I'm pretty sure KCMO spends more per student than Grandview, so why can Grandview do more with less?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Got a toy store!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A guy is going to rent the old Sage & Daisy spot and he's going to open a toy store!!  Got my Christmas wish!!


Shalana, the Funky Felter posted about this great new site called Artfire.  From a sellers point of view it's great.  They've even included a space to tell the story behind your work and how long it took you to make it.  Overall, I like the feel better than etsy.  We'll see how that translates into buyers and sellers.  Etsy has plenty of quality work and the people who buy it.

I am 42

Sometime yesterday morning I completed my 42nd year of life.  

I spent about 10 min being retrospective and thinking about my life.  That made my brain hurt, so I decided not to bother with it.  

A friend of mine is big into lists and constantly forwards them to me.  I'm supposed to change her answers to mind and send them back.  I never do.

Now to tie the three previous thought together.

I make new year resolutions on my birthday. 

I did about half of my list from last year.  It's on the side bar, I'll update it later.

Here's my new list.

To do 1095 nice things for people.  1 for a friend, 1 for a family member and 1 for a stranger - every day.

To teach Bessie to knit.

To paint the inside of my house.  

For the store to be supporting itself and hopefully us.

To learn how to do 12 new things.  One every month.

Filling in some of my friends lists will go towards the 1095.  They make her happy and really don't take much time out of my day.  I probably should have been doing them all along.

The birthday was yesterday, the party is in February or March.  You're probably invited.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Not to Crochet

Now some of these I think I would like to crochet.  Although to be fair the rat is knitted.

Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie

They make me laugh  This isn't the official video, but it has the version of the song that I like best.  Ignore the subtitles, they have nothing to do with the song.  It's just some guys interpretation of the song.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Crochet can be cool

In my last post I referenced the icky stuff people used to pass off as crochet 'fashion'.  Want to see come super cool crochet stuff?

You know you do

She is often my inspiration for knitted and chrocheted scarves/hats/whatevers.

Check out savory stuffs (click the freezer marked gallery)

I'm personally fond of the ham scraf, but Bessie has been hounding me to make her a bacon and eggs scarf.  I think she will get one for Christmas.  :-)

Yarn Snobbery

I am a yarn snob.  I have a strong adversion to the harsh acrylics that you find at discount shops.  I don't want to make a sweater that can stand up on it's own.  I like soft, cuddly, fun to work with stuff.

I'm also broke.

That's where Mis-Knits comes in.  Good, basic yarn is a huge amount of colors.  Amber carries my favorie wool - Lamb's Pride from Brown Sheep in a lot of colors.  She will also order anything I want from Brown Sheep ( I love their stuff).  Her prices are good, not just fair, but good.  I would love to buy some of the fancy, hand spun, hand painted yarns that other shops carry...but I don't want to end up making a $300 sweater for my size 3 daughter.  I spent $13 on two skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun at Mis-Knits and so far have made 3 crocheted beanies out of it and have some left over for other stuff.  3 Christmas gifts for $13.  Beat that!  And while these are brightly colored, they are not the grimace inducing, 1970's crochted stuff that you may be used to seeing.  Nature Spun makes a good wool.

I also frequent a couple of online, luxery yarns for less stores.   I'm poor, but I would rather not knit than use crappy yarn.

My favorite way of getting great yarn for less?  Thrift shop sweaters.  Angora is EXPENSIVE at any yarn store.  Angora sweaters are cheap at thirft shops.  Find one that's not been washed (unless you need angora felt for a pattern) and the sweater must also be knitted or crocheted together.  If you find one that has been serged you won't be able to use it.  Find an end and unravel the sweater.  After several hours you will have enough yarn to make a new sweater or something entirely new.  Takes forever, but is worth it.  I do it when I am riding in the car or watching TV.    The yarn in these is usually VERY thin, so for most projects be prepared to use double strands or very small needles.  I like to run it along with another yarn to add softness and contrast.  Sometimes I will use double strands to knit the cuffs to socks or gloves.  Luxery yarn and recylced too. 

Friday, December 19, 2008

Teddy needs a job and to be thumped upside the head.

My son Teddy is a brilliant jazz trumpet player.  Sadly he's also a bit of a Diva.  This attitude may interfere with him playing at State this year.  

He made the band, we just can't afford to send him.   People are worried about the economy and as a result our income is down about $1800 a month.  (balloons are fun, but food is funner for most people)  It's picking up, but I'm not skipping the mortgage payment to send him to state.  We're only talking about $200, but right now it might as well be $20,000.   Here's where the Diva kicks in.  He totally doesn't understand that holding his hand out to me isn't going to get him the $$.  He needs to get his ass in gear and WORK for it.  Countless kids do this every year.  I've given money to this team or that player trying to head to this or that tournament.  Teddy feels different, but he's not.  I know from experience that he can earn $$ playing his horn for tips.  He used to do it all the time, right up to the point where he realized exactly how good he really is.  Now all of the music that he used to play on the street is "boring" or "stupid" or "not very challenging".  I tell him that challenge is great, but knowing how to play songs people can sing along with pays the bills.  His trumpet teacher told him the same thing.  

Keep your fingers crossed that he gets past his arrogance in time.  Right now I am annoyed enough that even if I found $200 hidden away and forgotten, I would not give it to him.  If he doesn't do something missing state is going to be a harsh and rather painful lesson to learn, but nothing compared to what the real world will heap on him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dog-Eating Crocodile

I've lived in several parts of Florida, Mississippi and Georgia and they all had alligators.  Gators will eat dogs.  Gators LOVE dogs.  Bring a small dog to a pond full of gators and you will see a bunch of eyes sliding across the top of the water to your side of the bank.

Some people never learn this.  I would see people letting poodles romp around by the bank.  Even worse I would see people letting small children throw bread to the alligators.  They don't eat bread, but a small child would fit the bill nicely.  

In Mississippi there was a 70lb lab taken by an alligator in one of the bayous.  My kids and pets never got to play outside alone since we lived on a different bayou.  The only gator in the water by our house was small, but others could join him at any time.  

Man vs nature.  Nature always looses.  The croc in the story will end up in a zoo and people will continue to be stupid blaming the reptiles for doing what they do.  Here's an idea...IF YOU WANT TO LIVE AROUND ALLIGATORS, DON'T LET YOUR PETS OUT ALONE.  A lot less dogs would be eaten and a lot less gators would be harmed by vengeful people.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The scariest stage in my life as a parent

Each stage in a child's life brings new fears to parents. So far I've managed to get 1 of the 4 to adulthood without any major screw ups that I am aware of.

When she was a newborn everything scared me. The first time she threw up a lot, the first 'odd' poop, the first rash...the list was pretty much endless. I'll be glad when she's older and I don't have to worry as much is what I thought.

As a toddler it was the bumps and bruises, falling down things, running into things. Not to mention the stuff toddlers get into. Once I found her trying to open a bottle of children's medicine. Another time she was trying to climb into the oven. I'll be glad when she's older and I don't have to worry as much is what I thought.

She grew older and my fears changed. In elementary school I worried that she would not make friends or fall behind in classes. I worried that she would get sick from all the new germs or get hurt falling off the playground equipment.

In Middle school I worried that she would give into pressure and smoke, drink or try drugs. I worried that she would never pick her grades back up and be doomed to a life of flipping burgers. I was terrified that she would get caught up in that cutting trend that so many middle schoolers are into. Her use of the internet scared me and not without reason. To catch a predator is a horrible show for parents of middle schoolers to watch.

By high school I was worried that she didn't get enough sleep, and that she would never move past her first boyfriend who had been too controlling. I worried every time she got into a car with her friends. I didn't have to worry about her actually driving. She's never learned and doesn't plan to. She mostly lives her life without cars.

Her move into the dorms brought back the fears about drinking, drugs and now sex. It also brought new fears about strangers that lurk around college campuses instead of playgrounds.

At each stage I thought that I would be glad when she's older and I don't have to worry as much.

Then came the scariest and probably most long lasting stage.

She moved into her own place and I have no control over her life. It started when she was still in the dorms. She could go places and I wouldn't know about it. She didn't have to tell me the when/where like she did when she lived at home. Still, I had some control and influence because she was still reliant upon me for some things.
The day she moved into her place and started paying all her own bills was the day I had to trust that I had done my job and she could take it from there on out. Don't get me wrong, I have faith that she can, but it's still scary. you spend so many years protecting them and then you have to stop. It's hard.



Middle of the week for most people, but actual days off are rare for me, so it could be any point in the week for me. Today it's my Monday. The snow forced me into a day off yesterday. Almost ended up with another one today thanks to Grandview's odd version of roadway snow removal.

They finally plowed my street at 8:30 last night. My hill was bad enough that the snow plow had a hard time going up it. I live on a pretty steep hill. By 8:30 enough cars had gone down it to pack the snow into ice. Part of me enjoyed watching the plow truck struggle. At least I did until I got out this morning and realized that they had put zero sand/salt on the street. They just almost plowed it. They had the plow raised high enough that there was only a tiny amount of snow built up on the sides. Grandview sucks at this was my main thought.

Then I got to KCMO. Grandview may suck, but not compared to KCMO. 71 was ok. MDOT did their job. Looking off on the side streets I can not figure out how people are going to get to work, much less how school buses are going to get up and down the hills there. I didn't see any evidence of plowing or sand/salt. Just snow and ice. They are still having school, and I fear for the kids who are on the school buses.

That goes for my son Teddy too. He has to go to school today. Grandview isn't as bad as KCMO, but the streets are still not good. I would keep Teddy home but that would result in him flunking 4 classes. In Grandview if you are absent more than 4 days a semester you have to go to school on Saturday to make it up. The school wants their $$ for attendance. It doesn't matter if you have all A'a despite the absences, you will still get an F in classes you have missed more than 4 times. Teddy was sick this fall and missed several days of school. He made up his missed time in Saturday school, but there are no more of those left this year, so he has to go. Otherwise I would keep him home.

The cities have only a short while to get the streets cleared. The weather people are predicting freezing rain for Thursday. That sucks enough all on it's own, put it on top of the mess they have now and it's going to suck way worse.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a scare

I had a scare tonight. My oldest daughter was in a car accident. Her boyfriend was driving when some douche bag ran a stop sign and hit them. Totaled both cars. Susi and Tyler are ok. They were wearing seat belts and the air bags deployed. They still have to go to the hospital because her head hurts a bit, his glasses are broken and his knee is really sore.

I know she's ok, but part of me is still shaken up. Another larger part of me is angry. I like to pretend that I am a civilized person, but on many levels I am not. maybe nobody is. The man in California who forgave the pilot who caused his family's death is a civilized person. I've not evolved to that level yet. I want to grab the woman who ran a stop sign and do very bad things to her. I won't because my kid is ok.

That's something to think about when you're in too much of a hurry to stop. Or you're too important for regular rules and courtesy. When you drive like an ass you could hurt someone. The person you hurt could be loved by someone who isn't as civilized as they would like to be. You could end up in a world of hurt that you didn't plan on, even if you make it out of the accident ok. Even if you don't give a rat's ass about other people, care about your own skin and drive like you want to protect it.

More pictures

First the most important pictures.  Yesterday I was in Larence at a Flea Market on Massachusetts ST.  My 15 year old son was in charge of the store for the day and he did a great job.  To my total amazement he mopped the floor.  The just to really blow me away he built a dress.    A good dress.  Here's a closeup

The flea market was great.  Why doesn't KC have something like Mass. St.???  We have cute shopping areas, but not a long area that has a good mix of local and national stores.  And to be honest a lot of the cute shopping areas carry all the same stuff.  There was so much variety to be found.  I am envious.  Instead of P&L it might have been nice for KCMO to strive for something like that sort of shopping.  Invite big names in, but subsidize local operations while they get started.  Probably would have been cheaper and a lot less controversial.

I found a new consigner while I was there.  They make THESE.

I LOVE these. I did tell the women who make them to bump up their prices a bit though. They were way underselling themselves. Not that I don't love a bargin, but I don't want my supplier to go out of business! Prices are still reasonable, just not dirt cheap anymore.

Now just for a few shots from the shop. Shalana brought in some brooches that I thought looked good on hats, so I displayed some that way. Dan Smith's pictures look better in person than they do in my picture of them. The chairs and blue room sign are my favorites.

Finally, I've been making/selling reusable shopping bags for some time. Now I've added reusable swiffer pads. They hold up well and you can toss them in the wash.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pitch plog

The pitch included some stuff from Dan in an article about the P&L.  They didn't include a picture from Dan.  For the record that is not a balloon made by anyone at Oh Wow!!.  Not that it isn't a fine balloon, it's not bad at all.  We just didn't make it. 

This is important because the balloon community is a lot like high school.  If the artist who did make this balloon ever discovers it online and associated with Dan's name there is going to bea LOT of whining, complaining and badmouthing.  I can expect to get snotty emails from people who don't appreciate our taking credit for someone else's work and some people will snub me at the next convention.

I've written the reporter and asked him to have it changed.  I have several thousand photographs online that they can choose from.  I even sent him the one at the top of this post if they want to use it.  Keep your fingers crossed that they choose to change it before some other artist notices.

New Stuff

This week Dan Smith brought in some of his very cool photographic work.  There are two that I am coveting.  If they don't sell by the next time I have free cash, they will be mine.  One is of the sign at the Blue Room, the other is of some very colorful chairs.  He doesn't have a website or I would link to it, so you'll have to come by and see what I'm talking about.  His work can also be found at Gifted Hands in Crown Center.

I also got some great stuff in from Shalana at  The Funky Felter  Two of the pendents have already sold, and her stuff has only been here a couple of hours.  She brought me some pendents and some brooches.  The brooches would also be good on hats.  I will take a picture of what I mean and add to this post later. 

Lastly I got a visit from Genea at Gena Beads  She and her husband Ricky came by and are really fun people.  She won't have anything ready for sale here until January, but it is so worth the wait.  Her stuff kicks ass.  Buy some from her etsy shop for Christmas, and them come over here and get a second piece for Valentine's day.  One just isn't enough.  Her mom is also a talented jewelry artist.  I'm coveting a pair of the earrings she makes.  her etsy is Goddess Revealed    I want the falling leaves earrings.

Meg Carpenter and Leesa (who's last name I keep forgetting, but I know she grew up in North Dakota and her sister just moved her from Arizona)  should be bringing stuff by soon.  Neither has an etsy or blog for me to share with you, so you'll just have to wait and wonder.

Oh, there is one more etsy I can share.  Lauren Alexander.  She said she probably won't have anything until January too.  The holiday shopping has cleaned out a lot of her inventory, but I can wait, I love her stuff.  I am some owl prints for my daughter.  She never reads my blog, so I can write about it all I want and she will still be surprised.   Check out Lauren's other blogs too, some of her photography is very interesting.

The people behind the art are as important to me as what they make.  I've been pretty careful about whom I ask and I am happy that I've done so.  I like all the artists, and it's so much more fun to work with people you like.  Besides why be the boss if you can't make the rules?  Rule #1 - I don't work with anyone I don't like.  

Friday, December 12, 2008


Another missing child that haunts my thoughts - Kara Kopetsky.  I first heard about Kara's disappearance from my daughter, 3 or 4 days after it happened.  The kids on myspace were getting the word out, long before Belton police gave a rats ass about her. A month later the rest of Kansas City heard her name.   She wasn't pretty or popular enough for the media to care, so it wasn't until another teen went missing that her name got attention.

yeah, she was troubled in that moody, emo sort of way - but that doesn't make her a throwaway person.  She was a smoker and she left home without cigarettes.  As the child of life long smokers I knew immediately that something wasn't right.  She was a teenager who didn't take her ipod.  She didn't run away, but until Kelsey Smith vanished the Belton police department couldn't' be motivated to give a damn.  

Personally, without any evidence to back me up what so ever, I think Edwin Hall did it.  I think that if Belton cops had gotten off their donut stuffed rear ends, maybe Kelsey would still be here.  Maybe not, but I've been pissed at BPD for 18 months on this, so I like to hold them accountable.  

My heart goes out to Kara's parents and I get a little sadder every time I see one of those purple signs.  I hope eventually they get peace, closure and justice.  A large part of me hopes I am wrong and she did run away and will one day call home.  

Space Open

Sage & Daisy decided to move to a bigger location on 39th street, so if anyone is interested in a space in Westport there will be a cool spot open on Jan. 1.  Lots of window space, it's where the Re-runs was before they moved to Broadway.  There are two other giant spaces open in the horseshoe, but they are HUGE and expensive.  This space is 500sq or so and pretty reasonable.  

Just putting it out there because I would love to see something cool move in.  A toy store would be nice.  Surely someone out there has always wanted to open a toy store.  Someone besides me anyway.  Or a pet store, that would be cool too, but there are already two of those close by.  People are always asking about clothing stores too, but those seem kinda hard to run.  At  least by the number of non chain ones that go under.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a toy store.  Get set up in February so you're ready to go when Murray's reopens in March.  Just something to think about.

Of course with Murray's AND a toy store I might stay broke all the time.  Just no fabric or yarn stores.  That would send me into bankruptcy.  :-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gem of a website

I stumbled across this today (using google, not stumble upon) and it is the most useful site I have found lately.  I do a lot of gluing and this tells you what glue to use.   May not make your life easier, but it will make mine a LOT easier.


It looks like they may have found the body of Caylee Anthony.  A trash bag with the remains of a small child was found less than a mile from the Anthony home.   It's been nearly 6 months since the last time she was seen alive.  5 months since anyone found out she was missing and 3 years since she should have been given up for adoption.

Why do so many women who don't want kids keep them?  People struggle to have kids, and would provide good homes, but these women choose to keep the children and then abuse and torment them.  In the end, some kill them.  Our self indulgent society has bred a class of people who never leave the 2 year old state of mind.  Everything is "mine!", even if you don't want it, someone else can't have it.  These people crave the attention and will destroy anything that annoys them.  They also suck in the people who don't want to believe that there is anyone that evil in the world.

Casey Anthony was given access to a 12 year old girl via email.  Why the girls parents allowed her to get so close to the situation I don't know.  They must also be the kind of people who believe that humans are mostly good.  I disagree.  I think humans are mostly bad, but capable of learning good behavior which is why society sometimes functions.  Anyway.  This little girl organized a vigil for the 'missing' toddler.  She wanted to believe that little Caylee would come home safe and sound.  Casey played her like a violin.    This is from an email that Casey sent the girl..

One of the notes said:”Hey Sweetie! I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for my family. I am really looking forward to seeing you. We will schedule something very soon, I promise. I would love to have you spend the night, and spend time getting to know each other. You are such an amazing girl and already a true friend. We are so blessed to have you and your Mom in our lives. I love you. Thank you for my gift (a stuffed animal), I named him after you. I will see you soon. Love, Casey”

Notice there is no mention of the missing daughter.  It's all about Casey.  Giving compliments to keep the attention coming.  Eventually the girl started to realize the truth and it was a serious blow to her life.  

The death penalty is not on the table for Casey Anthony and I don't think it should be.  Let her rot in prison and deny her solitary confinement.  Let her spend time with women who wish they could be with their kids.  Let them add a bit to the punishment.  

And let's keep our fingers crossed that the next time a young woman realizes she is pregnant, doesn't want an abortion, but doesn't want to be a parent...let's hope she makes the right choice and lets her child go to a home where it is wanted.  Let's hope that child grows up loved and cherished, not abused and thrown away.

a fun way to learn copyright law

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Know what I have?

A clear sidewalk in front of my shop.  First the Westport people cleared it 3 times yesterday (and salted) then in between Terry cleared it too.  He owns Californo's and is a really nice guy.  

Parking lot is clear too.  Can't say the same for the streets in Westport, so it may be my Landlord's doing rather than CID.  

Last night was CRAZY.  Two questions

1.  Do  most people not remember that it snows EVERY STINKING YEAR?  They must not because driving in it was new to them.  People were either going 5 or 75, not a lot of in between speeds. 

2.  Do the powers that be not realize that if you put sand down on the road it will make the streets safer to drive on?  The ice was/is bad on lots of KC streets.  Yesterday I was in two counties and 3 cities.  KC was the worst, though Belton gave a good effort to be worst.  71 in Jackson county was only so-so, 71 in Cass county was great.  Grandview did it's usual half assed effort but managed to land as the best.  That's really not saying much, trust me.  I live on a steep hill and had to leave the neighborhood and come in on a different street so that I could go down the hill 'cause my car wasn't going up that thing.  Ok, so my one street was bad, at least the snow routes were clear, right?  WRONG.  To leave the neighborhood I took a snow route and it was slick, barely plowed and no sand in sight.  Like I said, half assed effort.  Normal in Grandview.

I am so happy to see the sun!  Maybe the rest of this will  melt.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Things I didn't know I needed

I love stuff.  Not the girly kind of stuff lots of women like.  You know, flowers, sappy movies, cute knick knacks.  I like junk.  I love science junk - especially magnets.

I found this website off of a craft tutorial and I am in heaven.  They even sell balloon molds.  I know where to get liquid latex, so I am going to order a set of molds and make my own balloons.  I'm sure it will be way too expensive to sell, but I'm going to do it so that I can say I did it.  Besides, I might get some cool results!

here's the website.  I'm sure they have stuff you didn't know you needed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wow - Busy

I'm not usually open on Monday, but for the rest of the season I think I will be.  Why, because I have been busier and busier - and even today, on a Monday I had a decent number of people in.  So for the rest of the winter I will be there 

Monday - 11 - 6
Tuesday - Thursday 10 - 7
Friday - 10 - 9
Sat - 10 - 9
Sunday - Noon - 5

I am going to post this and post this and post this

Until someone cares or the situation is fixed.

This is from  it is the status on negotiations about the contract - or lack of it.  Highlighting is my doing.


Listed below are the major items still unresolved in negotiations. After each item is a brief explanation of each item's current status.

Workday Language – We have exchanged proposals, but have not reached an agreement yet.

Classroom Interruptions - The District proposed eliminating language on classroom interruptions, thus there would be no limits on interruptions to classroom time from PA announcements.

Supplies - In the District's last proposal, there were no guarantees to have adequate supplies for your classroom and students.

AFT ER & D Program – In the District's latest proposal, the Union would be forced to compete with other vendors for the right to provide inservice to new teachers on classroom management (and you know how much those outside consultants cost).
Criticisms/Reprimands – The District's proposal eliminates the language that protects employees from public criticisms/reprimands.

Student Discipline - The District wants to eliminate the provision in our contract that gives you the right to send students to the office for discipline and your right to expect a response by the end of the next day.

Transfers - The District wants to transfer employees at will with no criteria and completely wipe out seniority during the transfer process.

Union Access to Members – The District wants to eliminate our right to place literature in the employee mailboxes and our right to a bulletin board at each school/worksite.

Extra-Curricular Duties (including athletic coaching) -- We have agreed upon a fair hiring process, but the district wants to eliminate just cause from the termination process for athletic coaches.

Grievance Procedure – We are very close on this one.

Librarian Work Year - The District wants to strike the language that guarantees librarians would work at their own school sites during their five extra days.

Financial Package (Steps, salary increases, longevity pay, extra-pay assignment schedule, pay for substituting) – No offers of any kind from the District are on the table.

Management Rights – The District wants a management rights in our contract.


Email the kcmo school district and demand that they stop screwing around and take care of the kids by providing a reasonable contract for the teachers.  Teachers can't teach without supplies.

So far they have not gotten their annual pay increases and have no guarantee that they will EVER get a pay increase.  The good teachers have already started to secure jobs in other districts. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Really Cool Stuff

Since I have decided to open up for actual retail next week I have been looking for products to carry. The criteria are:

1. I have to really like it. The store is Oh Wow!! and the product has to make me feel that. Or the artist does. Usually if the artist does, so does the art. My store is about fun and I want the stuff in it to reflect that.

2. It must be made by a local artist. I am putting up bios of the artists with their stuff. I want customers to know the person behind the creation.

This week a few things will come in, more next week and in Jan, Feb and March. Those are the people I have confirmed. A couple of others I am checking out to see if we can work something out. I have met some very interesting people. People who make me smile and who's work makes me happy. I want to share that feeling. If I had the $$ I would rent a giant space and set up a gallery. Well, probably not. That does sound like a headache, but you get the idea.

As I get stuff set up I will post a few sample pictures online for everyone to see. Better yet, stop by and see it for yourself in person.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pictures of stuff

Just some pictures of the stuff I have been working on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Now that we have the space I am going to be adding gifts to the store. I've also decided to drop the Balloon Boutique part and just go with Oh Wow!!.

Why? Because for years we have wanted to have a store where we sold the stuff that makes us go "Oh Wow!!". We still don't have tons of space, but we're going to fill what we have with really cool balloons and gift items that are unique, fun and make us say "Oh Wow!".

I've started the gift area with things that I have made. Hats, scarves (on sale, 15% off this month) a few bit of jewelry and the things I'm most proud of, fantasy flowers. Those are flower sculptures made from uninflated balloons over wire. They make great balloon weights. Flowers don't last, most balloons don't last, but combine the two and you have a fantasy flower that WILL last.

I will have the work of local artists for sale. LOCAL artists. I have to be able to meet with the person face to face. I know that leaves out a lot of really cool people, but there are so many talented people right here in KC. One exception to the KC part. A woman from Iowa that is still close enough to meet with. If we can work it out she does AMAZING quilled jewelry.

Our main focus is still balloons. Did I mention that they were REALLY COOL balloons? Dan's current balloon dress is still on display, but probably not for much longer. Tomorrow is new display day. Something cool will be replacing it.

Come by to see it!