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July 2009

Where have all the manners gone?

    Brace yourselves, folks, I'm hauling out the soapbox today.  The topic at hand?  Good manners, or the lack thereof in today's society.  This one's been simmering for a while and I finally had to let it out.

    Yesterday I went to the grocery store.  That in itself is a depressing activity these days, when I feel as though I start bleeding money the moment I walk through the doors.  What makes it worse, though, is the overwhelming lack of good manners.  What happened to simple phrases like "excuse me", "thank you", or "I beg your pardon"?   I'm beginning to dread going shopping, simply because I'm tired of being treated as though I'm invisible.  People cut me off, walk between me and whatever I'm looking at/reaching for, bump into me, you name it...and never an "excuse me" do I hear. 

    Please understand that I am not a fan of excessive formality.  However, a little common courtesy is rather like oil on the gears of society - it keeps things running smoothly and comfortably for all involved.   How many times have you walked out of a store or event feeling frustrated by others' rudeness?  I'd bet it happens far too often.  And let's face it, folks, there is no reason for it. 

    My father, in particular, was a stickler for good manners and respectful attitudes.  "Please", "thank you", "excuse me", and "May I..." were programmed into Melinda and I from the beginning, as well as respect for others and their belongings and beliefs.  Jon and I have tried very hard to continue that teaching with our kids.  When one of my children says "Excuse me, sir"  or "Can I help you with that?" to an older person, and the individual looks at them in astonishment, I'm saddened to realize that a  polite youngster is an oddity in our society. 

    I would propose that we all take a little more care with how we treat others, and teach our children to do the same.  It's one of the easiest things we can do to help make our world a nicer place to live.  Don't let courtesy go the way of the dodo, or the "dodos" will take over the world - and who wants that? 


Just grumbling

    This has been a kind of strange week for me.  Last weekend's busy-ness left me pretty tuckered out come Monday morning, not to mention that I woke up with a loverly migraine to start my week.  Fairly early Monday I also got a call from a friend asking if I could watch her two girls for the day - not a big deal because they're great kids, but still two extra bodies to think about.  Tuesday we spent most of the day visiting with some good friends who are going to move to Mexico next month.  Wednesday - okay, this is bad - I don't remember Wednesday.  I really don't.  I think it rained, but other than the whole day is just a blur. 

    Thursday was a bit more productive - got some things done around the house, ran a few errands, found the bottom of my kitchen sink - pretty good day.  My poor hubby had to drive over 500 miles that day, though - he left home at 4:30 a.m. and got home at 10:15 p.m.  All for work, too, no fun involved.  Then Friday we got up and darling daughter said that her throat hurt and she was coughing during the night.  I thought she felt a little warm, so we called the doctor and got an appointment.  Everything was moving along right on schedule until I backed my van out of the garage and realized it was leaking gas.  No, wait, it was spraying gas.  Quite extravagantly at that.  Okay, not driving that to town, grab the keys to the back-up car and take off.  (Please note that the back-up car is the one Luke - ah - forcefully introduced to a tree a few weeks ago, so the driver's door doesn't work.  I had to crawl in from the passenger side.  SO very dignified.) 

    We got to the doctor's office and waited for what seemed a very long time, but finally walked out with the information that my girl has strep throat (ugh) and possibly mono (double ugh).  She's on antibiotics for the strep and we'll have results from the blood work on Monday or Tuesday.   Once we got home I drugged her up good on Zithromax and ibuprofen and started supper.  About 6:00 p.m. we'd all eaten and I walked into my bedroom for *something* (God only knows what) and was struck by the realization that Seth was supposed to be at one of his buddies' birthday party - at 5:30!!  Aaargh!!  Flew to the phone and called the family, then hopped back in the car and ran him to his buddy's house for a few hours.  Went back to pick him up in a whopper of a thunderstorm, got home and crashed into bed.

    This morning I slept until 10 a.m. (gasp!) and still felt like roadkill when I dragged myself out of bed.  Stumbled around for a couple hours, went back to bed for a couple more, and now I'm sitting here moaning and groaning to the computer.  I now have a sore throat and a general feeling of blechiness, as does eldest child.  Darling daughter sounds like a cat with a horrible hairball.  Youngest child has poison ivy all over the left side of his face.  So far husband is just tired, but that could change at any moment.  He did fix the van (for just $17!!) but wow, what a week.  Is it Monday yet?

......oh my gosh, did I actually say that?  The fever must be starting....


Another grown-up thing

    This past weekend I taught my first-ever beadmaking class!  My buddy Danielle at Glasslink offered me the chance to teach a class on hollow beads, and on Saturday I took the plunge.  Thankfully it was a very small class - only two students - or I would've been a lot more nervous.  It seemed to go pretty well, I think...at least neither one of them asked for their money back while I was still there!  Both students were very new to lampworking and I was a little concerned that they'd find the class more frustrating than helpful.  However, by the end of the session each of them had turned out a respectable hollow bead and seemed to understand the basic concept.   All in all, I think it went pretty well! 

    It was interesting for me to be the teacher.  I've been lampworking for several years now, and there are a lot of things that I don't really think about any more, I just do them.  How to apply the glass, where to position the glass and the bead in the torch flame, keeping the already-applied glass warm without melting it off the mandrel...almost reflexive for me now, but not so much for beginners.  I found myself coaching them about more than just hollows, but I don't think it bothered them. 

    Teaching this class actually taught me a couple things.  First, I really enjoyed working with these folks!  It was a lot of fun to help them realize that they could do something they weren't so sure they could do.  Second, I found that I don't have to be "perfect" at a technique to teach it to someone else.  I make a decent hollow bead, but some of them are still kind of wonky from time to time.   Still, like I said, both students turned out perfectly respectable beads by the end of class, which tells me that I was able to convey the concept in a way they could understand and apply.  I was pretty pleased with that. 

    So that's the story of my weekend.  Now to get some more beads listen in the ol' Etsy shop....sigh.  Pictures again.  Blech. 


My girl

    Yesterday my daughter celebrated her 15th birthday.  Hubby took a vacation day and we spent the day as a family, opening her presents, going to a movie and just hanging out.  She seemed to enjoy it, but all day I had the strangest feeling that she was growing up right before my eyes.  Every time I looked at her she seemed older, more mature, more poised - less like a little girl.  And I don't know if I'm ready for that.

    Faith is not what many would consider your "typical" teenage girl.  She despises make-up, refuses to even consider having her ears pierced, prefers her clothing to be plain and slightly baggy rather than stylish and fitted, and looks at boys as being rather less interesting than the frogs in our pond.  Crowds annoy her, and she'd much rather go to the bookstore or the animal shelter than the mall.  Don't think for a minute that she's not feminine, though.  It's just that Faith knows who she is and what she wants, and she doesn't feel the need to follow the crowd, which makes us very proud. 

    I'd like to show you a picture of my darlin' girl, but she's a bit camera-shy.  I will tell you that she is a beautiful  young woman with strength, common sense and great moral courage.  She also has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that frequently catches people off guard.  She's responsible, loving, generous and kind - and I think she's pretty wonderful.  Happy birthday, Faith.  You rock!  :-)


I did it!

    Well, folks, I finally took the leap:  I opened my Etsy store!   My store is called Vocare Beads, and I have a handful of beads listed, with more to come.  I've been amazed at how long it's taken me to get to this point.   It doesn't seem as though (buy beads) it should be that difficult, but apparently I'm just a slow mover.  Actually, my biggest hang-up has been taking pictures  (didn't I whine about that in my last post?).  However, I did finally get some decent shots.  This process was helped by my sister's reminder (buy beads)  that her husband is, in fact, a camera guru; how could I have forgotten?  Mark gave me some helpful hints, and all I have to do is cut him a percentage of the profits.  (Kidding, Mark!) 

    Now all I have to do is wait for someone to throw money at me in return for my bee-yoo-tee-full beads!  No problem, right?  Riiiight.  This is where I start driving myself crazy (buy beads) by imagining all sorts of negative stuff.   You know, things like "nobody's going to buy my beads", "all the other lampworkers are laughing at my work", and worst of all - "my friends have been lying to me for years and my beads are really crap!"  Sigh.  Um, yeah, I do have serious (buy beads) attachment issues with my beads, why do you ask?   Seriously, I've said it before -  it's tough to put something out there that is so much a part of yourself and assign it a dollar value.  Oh well, I guess I'll have to consider it a growth experience, eh? 

    Oh, and by the way - buy beads!  :-)