Monday, October 30, 2006

My Babble on Being Caring

Every night I get into bed and babble on for 15 or 20 minutes about whatever crap is in my head... kind of an end of day release before I fall asleep. (Plot exposition... it has to go somewhere.) John patiently listens to me, and more often then not I suspect, lets the noise of my babble float in one ear and out the other until he drifts off.

But last night my babble was more structured than usual. I'd had a difficult start to my day - emotional, disappointing and trying - but had faced it and worked through it, rather than letting it eat me alive all day.

My problem is that I care. I care about everything -- too much even. I want everyone in my life to be happy, healthy, successful, treated well and loved. I don't think that is too much to ask in life... but life is unfair and doesn't work that way. I see these injustices and they frustrate, stress and anger me.

Worse, I see people who deserve these things in life stand there and let themselves get run over by people who simply don't care. PWDC... People Who Don't Care.

I met one yesterday during my afternoon journeys. A young woman working at a craft store wearing a badge that indicated she was the Head of Customer Service. She was cashing out my purchase. A man had come into the store looking for a replacement blade for a rotary cutter. He was obviously new to the store, overwhelmed, lost and really just looking for a direct answer. The replacement blade is a common and simple item, that honestly was also available at the office supply store next door. He'd already gone to one associate, who then had come to the "Head of Customer Service" to try and direct this customer to the product. I watched this woman not only make vague hand gestures and statements, but basically waive the man away. She wasn't familiar with the item but announced that it might be found in one of two departments. Head of Customer Service. This man stood there and had no choice but to let this PWDC run him over and discard him.

I care too much. I intervened and told the man exactly what the item was and where it was located in the store. My reward was the look of relief on his face and his thanks as he strode off to get what he needed.

Outside the store I vented to John about how ridiculous that scene was and how frustrated I was by the "Head of Customer Service", and how this behavior seemed to be a growing trend. I'm simply disgusted by the way people treat each other, and frustrated with mankind in general. I actively try to be a good person and to help others, and with the exception of a rare few around me... well, I'm alone. It seems all too easy for the general population to not care, to absentmindedly say mean and hurtful things or to be dismissive.

Part of me would like to gain a little of that in my life... to reduce my sensitivity, if you will.

Then I'm reminded that caring isn't a bad thing.

So last night, my babble became more a counting of blessings. Not the tangible things like the roof over my head, my dogs snoring happily, or the fuzzy socks protecting John from my frozen feet... but the real blessings - my friends. I'm blessed with many people who actually care about the same things I do - maybe not to the same stressful end that I do - but who genuinely care and are supportive.

I told John I was going to knit a scarf for one of my friends, Janet. I'm awful at staying in touch, and reminding people how much I appreciate them. I found myself missing her and kicking myself for not being better at staying in touch. I guess that's the lesson. It's not enough to behave like you care... you have to communicate it too.

So, I'm knitting that scarf. Janet, thank you for working so hard everyday on your two businesses, your two children, and for being a wonderful, caring and supportive friend to both me and the strangers around you. You are a blessing in my life, and I'm making you a wonderful bright fuzzy scarf to keep you warm in the Maine winters, while reminding you of the bright spring flowers I know you love so much.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Congratulations Ben & Jill

Can you believe they aren't professional models?

This is one of those photos that come with the frame and you actually hesitate to take it out.

Congratulations guys! It looked beautiful.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Literacy Month

October is Literacy Month and today was the Storybook Parade. All of the student were asked to dress up as their favorite storybook characters. When I asked Sam who he wanted to dress up as, he didn't even hesitate - Curious George!

I made Sam's costume out of brown felt. It has a zippered front and a tail, tethered with fishing line to the back collar to keep it up and moving with him.

His mask is a foam monkey face I found at the craft store. I simply cut out the eyes and punched holes for a ribbon to tie it on.

I thought the banana was the crowning touch, but Sam says the tail is the best part. Everyone loved Sam's costume.

This is NOT Sam's Halloween costume. He has already chosen to be the Black Knight, but with 13 days left, that may be subject to change. It's not unusual for Sam to have a couple of costumes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Balloon Fiesta 2006 - "Glow-deo"

Friday night, John, Chris, Sam and I went to Balloon Fiesta Park and saw the Special Shapes Glow-deo. All of the corporate and special shaped balloons go to this event. They fill the balloons enough to make them stand, then as sunset approaches, they gas the balloons, making them glow. It is a great way to get an up-close look at the operations involved in getting one of these filled, as well as to enjoy the construction and creativity of the designs.

Many of the balloon teams have trading cards printed with pictures of their balloons and basic statistics. Kids and adults alike walk around to each balloon with hopes of collecting these cards. We collected cards from 16 different balloons (many either didn't have cards or had run out by the time we got to them. The picture above gives you a very small glimpse of the volumn of people attending. Card competition was HIGH.) We have cards from local Albuquerque companies, as well as cards from Arizona, Utah, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Dakota, Ontario, Brazil, and Germany.

I'm trying to come up with a cool way to display the cards. I'd love to put them up on the wall, but of course, you lose view of the reverse side of the card that way. I could put them in a trading card album, but then you only see them once a year. Of course, with the book, Sam can continue to add to the collection year after year. Perhaps I will color photo copy the cards and do both. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

This picture was taken before sunset with the digital camera. Unfortunately the digital camera doesn't fair well after dusk - so this is one of the few good pictures we captured with it. We did however take the regular 35mm with us. As soon as I get the film developed, there will be a lot more photos.

By the way, if you click on any of the photos in my blog, a new window will open up showing you an enlarged view.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Balloon Fiesta 2006 - Mass Ascension

This is my favorite time of year in New Mexico - the balloon fiesta. This picture doesn't even begin to do the mass ascension justice. Often when I describe it to people I say it looks like someone spilled Skittles in the sky.

This years fiesta got off to a rough start. The festival runs from October 6-15, but the opening weekend we had continuous rain with high winds and lightening - not good flying weather. But this morning was a gorgeous clear morning, and this was the view coming home from dropping Sam off at school.

Tomorrow night, John and I are planning on going to the Glow. At twilight the balloons inflate and the pilots gas without ascending. This lights up the inside of the balloon - effectively making it glow. It is a spectacular site, especially from ground level in close proximity. It's also a great opportunity to enjoy all the wonderful Fair Foods - roasted nuts, funnel cakes, burritos and fresh lemonaid.

I should have incredible pictures to post from the Glow.

More information and pictures can be found at

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Knitting Fool

These days, I'm a knitting fool. I'm working hard to rebuild my website design company, but with anything, it takes time. Clients need time to think about who to choose, then they need time to gather their information, then you put up the design, and they need time to review it. Once all the little changes are made, you invoice the client, and they take their time to pay. Therefore, I knit during all these "times" and sell my handicrafts online at to suppliment my income.

I don't consider myself an experienced or accomplished knitter, but it's getting easier, faster, and I'm able to improvise more and more, modifying basic patterns to get new and unique looks and styles.

The pictures I've posted are some of my most recent creations. I think the "knotty jester" is just plain cute, but the watermelon in one of my favorites. It's really nothing more than a simple trick of colors, but the part I like most are the seeds. I created these "seed" buttons out of polymer clay, baked them, glazed them and then tied them onto the hat. It gives it a neat look and it's definitely a unique product.

Sometimes new designs come out of necessity - like my elf hat. The original pattern called for red & white stripes over the total length of the stocking cap, but I quickly discovered that the red yarn I was working with was in short supply, and my backup supply was a different dye-lot (i.e. didn't match). So... I improvised and came out with a cut little tri-color elf hat.

I've got millions more ideas. New ideas pop up seemingly with every stitch. I saw a pattern for a snowman hat - thinking I'll take a shot at that soon. Also found some cute crochet patterns I'd like to try - they work up so much faster than the knit ones.

I've started a blank book with pictures of each piece and the pattern I used to build it. So far its a really cool collection.