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August 2009
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October 2009

If I had a dime...

....for every time someone said "Oh, what pretty stones!", or "Wow, these are cool, how long do you have to bake them?", or "So you blow glass?", I could put all three of my kids through college without a second thought.

I did a craft show this past weekend, and as always I was amazed, bemused and sometimes appalled at the things people say.  Over the course of the two-day show I heard all three of the comments above, plus several others.   Many were complimentary, some were curious, a few were ignorant and one was just insulting.  It's interesting how people seem to feel that they can say anything they want about someone's work at an event like this.  Apparently being in the fresh air loosens folks' tongues to the point that basic restraint and common courtesty are forgotten. 

One nice lady commented on how beautiful my rocks (lampwork beads) were, and how did I get them so shiny?  I explained that they were glass, and I make them in my workshop.  "Oh, do you have one of those tumbler thingies?  I guess you couldn't take them all to Lake Michigan and wait for them to get smooth!"  No, dear, I couldn't. 

Another older woman and her daughter were looking through the beads, and the woman picked up one of my vessel beads.  Now, vessels aren't necessarily easy to make.  They're fiddly and time-consuming and therefore cost a bit more.  This woman looked at the price, exclaimed "You want that for this?  It isn't even pretty!"  and plopped it back down.  The daughter was appalled - "MOM!" - and I was proud of myself for not saying anything in return except "Those are all handmade, by ME, in my workshop.  They take a long time to make."   The woman at least had the grace to appear ashamed of herself, and left very quickly.  Sigh. 

Of course, as I chatted with other vendors, I learned that lampworkers aren't alone in dealing with such comments.  The fellow on my left made very nice steel plant hooks, banner poles, etc. - good quality, heavy, much nicer than anything you'd find in the stores, and for a better price.  He said that most people assumed his pieces were iron (because they were black), wanted to know where he bought them, or casually informed him that they could "make one themselves".  Yeah, because skilled welding and metalworking are things everyone does in their spare time, right?

The woman on the other side of me had some luscious handmade soaps, lotions, and air fresheners.  People wanted to know if she made them herself (yes); where she bought the soap (she MADE it); how did she make it (how long do you have?  it's a lengthy process!); are those edible? (air fresheners....pretty, but NOT food!); and so on and so forth.   We vendors were all considering charging for stupid questions by the end of the second day.

I do realize that many people ask such questions out of a genuine curiousity and desire to learn, and that things like glassworking aren't exactly common hobbies.  What gets to me are the ones who ask the questions but don't listen to the answers, or who insult your work without any knowledge of what's involved in the process.  Those are the ones you want to charge just for breathing.   Petty?  I suppose, but this poor lampworker can only take so much.  Someday I'll be able to just let it all roll off my back, but until then...."You like the pretty rocks?  $5 handling charge, lady!"    

A public service announcement

Warning: contains discussions about nasal discharge.  May be mildly nauseating to some readers.  Continue at your own risk. 

Sometimes the weirdest things crop up in conversation with my sister.  For example, we were on the phone the other day chatting about this and that, and all of a sudden Melinda exclaimed "Hey, did I tell you about the vinegar thing?"  Vinegar thing?  Um, no, pretty sure that wasn't part of the discussion....what vinegar thing? 

Sis proceeded to explain that she had heard (somewhere) that combining equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water, heating it to the boiling point and then inhaling the steam worked wonders for plugged-up sinuses.  Since we both have chronic sinus issues, she thought that would be helpful for me to know.  I made appropriate noises in response and moved on to another subject. 

The next day Melinda called me back, positively giddy, and announced, "It worked!  I did the vinegar thing and it worked!  I can breathe!!!"  What?  Oh yeah, the vinegar thing....really?  It worked?  Inhaling apple cider vinegar steam will open your sinuses?  "Oh yeah," she assured me, "It really loosens things up!  Don't open your eyes, though, that steam is pretty potent stuff!"  

Well, now I was curious, so when I went to the store later that day I picked up some apple cider vinegar (for some reason it has to be apple cider, not any other type of vinegar) and decided to give this thing a whirl.  I poured some vinegar and water into a Pyrex cup and microwaved it for a couple minutes, then pulled it out and sat it on the table.  I then scrunched my eyes closed and leaned over the steaming cup.  WHOA!!  An instant blast of vinegary steam rushed up my sinuses with the force of a locomotive.  I reeled back from the table, gasping for air and blinking in disbelief at the deceptively innocent-appearing cup.  What in the world - ?  Cautiously I moved back into the "inhaling" position.  This time I breathed in a bit slower.  I could feel the congestion in my sinuses recoiling in terror from the pickled breath of death I was inhaling.  Encouraged, I remained over the cup until the contents were no longer steaming.  Then I found a box of tissues and blew my nose 47 times and went about the rest of my day. 

The next morning I woke up, sat up in bed, and realized that I could breathe.  Okay, yeah, I breathe every day, it's why I'm not dead, but I could breathe easily.   My congestion was virtually gone.  In addition, the sinus headache that I've been plagued with for almost a month now had finally decided to abdicate.  It's a miracle!  I immediately called Melinda and burbled, "I did the vinegar thing too!  And it worked!  That is SO weird! blah blah blah...."  Then I called all my other friends with noses and shared the gospel of apple cider vinegar steam with them, too.  And that, my children, is my public service announcement for the day.  Go forth and share the joy that is vinegar-steamed sinuses with all and sundry, and may your tissue box never go empty. 

Okay, I lied

You remember when I said I was ready for our fall schedule?  I'm not.  Not at all.  It was a big fat lie.  I'm not ready, I'm not willing,  I donwanna do it!! 

My biggest scheduling concern is the homeschool group.  It's a great bunch of people, as I said before, and it was really beneficial for us our first year here.  At this point, though, I think we've reached a point where the benefits are outweighed by the costs (mostly time and gas).  I hadn't planned to join this year but let myself be talked into it by a couple of the other moms, and now I'm regretting that wishy-washiness.  I don't want to renege on anything, but at the same time, I've already found myself fighting feelings of resentment about my involvement and the time it's going to take away from things I feel are more important.  So that's a big decision I need to make, and soon.

We're also looking at trying to sell our house, which is a big job at any time and especially in the current economy.   The house is solid, it just needs some cosmetic work (like getting rid of all the evil wallpaper!).  Unfortunately, even cosmetic work means time and money.  To complicate things, hubby was informed last week that he has to take a fairly significant amount of time between now and Christmas without pay.  Ouch.  So he'll be here to do things, which is good, but we'll be losing a good chunk of change from the paycheck, which is not good.   That means we'll be tightening an already "iffy" budget even further, which means less running around, etc. 

On the positive side, we've found homes for several of the kittens with families that we know will be very good to them.  We're keeping a couple (yes, we're suckers, we know).  The current favorite is the runt of Lily's litter, named Aiden.  He is TINY - less than half the size of the other kittens - but he makes up for his lack of size with a great big personality! 

Two days later....well, it's been an interesting week.  I made the decision to leave the homeschool group: two of the gals responded kindly, one reamed me out, and the rest of the group apparently doesn't care.  We talked with a realtor last night, and while she was very friendly and helpful, it became very clear to us that we can't sell our house for what we need right now.  So we're looking at some other options that will free up a little more cash on a monthly basis.  And because we were working so hard to making the house more marketable, I now have a khaki-colored bedroom (neutrals sell better, blah blah blah).

I hate brown. 

It's better than the pink victorian roses and deep mauve woodwork (yes, really), but khaki....blech.  Of course, now that we know we're staying here for a while, I suppose I can get creative with the decorating, although at the moment my enthusiasm for home decorating is at an all-time low.  Actually my enthusiasm for just about everything is at an all-time low right now.  I'm just so tired....I know, I know, this too shall pass.  I just think it might pass more quickly if I could crawl into a corner, suck my thumb and howl like an injured pup for a few you think I could get away with that?