Sunday, August 27, 2006

Work in Progress News

It is with deep regret that I report the status of my work in progress. As you will recall, I have had my difficulties with my current work in progress. While the dyeing process actually worked (thanks again, Angie for the dyeing tips!), my attempts at stitching a passable motif were challenging at best. I was determined however to complete not only this project, but two more similar ones. That of course, was before the dog had her say in the matter.

I won't go too far into a description of my dog other than to say that she eats anything in sight, whether edible or not, which makes her not the most trustworthy of pets to leave alone. Textiles, including all of my throw pillows, have long been favorites of hers. Being a dog of eclectic tastes though, textiles are not her only choice of chew toys. Magazines, for instance, are another popular treasure. Of course, only certain magazines are deemed appropriate for total destruction. "Mother Jones" and "The Nation" are current destruction targets, making it obvious that the dog is frustrated to have her values as a conservative, right-wing, Republican thwarted in a house of left-wing liberals. Regardless of her taste in literature, she apparently developed a taste for my current work-in-progress, now the work-that-is-no-more, last week. Why she chose to take only that piece carefully out of my handwork basket, I don't know. There was nothing overtly liberal or Democratic that I can point to about the design of the embroidery, but perhaps she saw something subversive there that I missed. Regardless of the reason, the item is now gone. Truly and completely.

There it is. The whole, sad story of the work-that-is-no-more, once the work-that-had potential-even-though-it-was-a-pain-in-the-nether regions-at-times.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Birthday Season

We're right in the middle of one of our "birthday seasons", those periods during the year where numerous members of the family celebrate the time of their birth. My middle daughter happens to be one of those celebrating this month. It seems impossible the little (relative since she was nearly 9 lbs at birth), helpless, and fragile newborn at left is now a beautiful, incredible, and capable young woman at seventeen. I have to admit, she's still as much of a clothes horse as she was at 2. Still as determined. Still as sure of herself and, most definitely, still as charming.

I wish I could tell you how proud we are of her. It's impossible though, since I simply can't express how deeply the woman she's becoming impresses me. She has a deep and caring heart, one that is touched often by the clear need evident in so many areas of our world. She fervently supports Doctors Without Borders, not only as an abstract concept, but financially with the money earned from her job. She's an amazing person, someone that I feel so privileged to know. Warm, caring, intelligent, loving and ethical. Oh -- the list goes on and on. There isn't enough room in this blog to detail how many ways she's special, miraculous and wonderful. A very happy, heartfelt birthday wish for a wonderful and exciting year ahead for this daughter of mine.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Horror in a Small Town -- or Hazards of the Department of Licensing

I recently had to brave the wilds of the DOL in a humble quest to renew my driver's license. A request complete with impossible tasks, obsequious kowtowing, terrify officials, and intimidating fellow petitioners.

While I realize that the DOL isn't a favorite place for most of us, I have a particular revulsion for it. I'm not entirely sure why, but the mere site of the place as I'm driving by can make me shudder. Every five years though, I must conquer my terror and venture into the abyss to request a license renewal. Friday afternoon was such a day for me. One that I still hesitate to recall.

I started my afternoon adventure attempting to squeeze into the ridiculous area that they have set aside for parking. I will say no more of this part of the quest other than to note that this must simply be yet another sadistic attempt to determine worthiness. Having gathered my courage, I walked steadily, with head held high and eyes straight ahead, into the building and toward the "take a number" machine. Having gotten my number of "95", I looked up toward the 2 counters made available for the many and varied petitioners, hoping to determine the likelihood of escaping alive in time to cook dinner. The fearsome red numerical display and bored, but malevolent mechanical voice detailing which aspirant needed to head to which counter was terrifyingly clear -- 95's audience was some time away. Pizza was a likely dinner choice.

As I sat, hoping to look both accomplished and patient, I started to look around the building. As was to be expected, the place was devoid of anything remotely interesting. During my absent minded perusal, I happened to see a small, nearly invisible sign which read "Checks and Cash only. Checks may be made out to "DOL"". Oh no. I quickly looked through my bag and, sure enough, the checkbook was missing. Great. I searched again, fruitlessly. There was no help for it, I was going to have to add yet another labor to this quest. Off I went on my search for an ATM machine. I headed first toward an easily accessible bank. No good. Only a "drive-thru" ATM there. (an aside - who decided that *any* of these machines are "drive-thrus"?? My husband at 6'3" with chimpanzee arms has trouble reaching those things, much less the short stubby arms attached to my 5'4" frame) Okay, there was a market that might have a machine. Yes! There it was. I reached into my purse for my ATM card and . . . nothing. No card. There was a moment of panic before I remembered that I'd given the card to my daughter so she'd have some cash for a snack during a break at work. This was starting to look ominous. Were these signs? Was the universe trying to tell me something? I decided that I would not be faint hearted. I would persevere! Even if it meant traveling through our small town at the absolute worst time of day all the way to my house and back (checkbook safely ensconced in purse) to the DOL for another attempt at license renewal.

I marched in more confidently this time. I took yet another number - "111" this time. As it was much closer to closing time, everything and everyone in the building seemed more tense, agitated and shrill. The atmosphere was definitely deteriorating. The older couple seated next to me, newcomers to the area, suddenly realized the "cash or check only" sign. Panic ensued. The toddler, who had before been content to follow around his brother (albeit attached by a "leash" to his mother) had finally had enough. He attempted time and again to test the length of the leash, each time shrieking after failing to achieve any further distance. Scowls appeared on brows and girls whined to their father's about their test results. It was getting ugly.

To allay the mounting terror any of my readers, I will tell you that after much time and travail, I did indeed prove worthy of a license renewal. I will leave out the more harrowing elements of the quest, such as having to answer "add 10 lbs" to the question of whether height and weight were correct and the beauty advice of the person taking the photograph ("I like the red hair (my natural color) better from 5 years ago" and the more humiliating "no one even needs to see this picture ever"), and just leave you with the knowledge that I prevailed. It's over. The world is safe again.

Ta Da

Well, here she is in all of her shorn glory. Would that my recent license renewal picture from the Department of Licensing picture turned out as nicely.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bosom Friends and Remembrances

My youngest daughter, now 9, has always been the one to challenge. The one voted most likely to break a limb at any moment. The one guaranteed to face the terrifying aspects of a child’s world like bees, sirens, our steep driveway (perfect for racing down on her scooter), and math with nary a flinch. Among many other things, at 3, she was a demon with scissors. Having seen what she was capable of with her sister’s Barbies and her own stuffed animals, we kept a careful eye on the numerous pairs of scissors lying around the house (not to mention eternal, watchful vigilance over the cat and dog's coats). She eluded us though on one particular occasion and, having tired of giving Barbie and her pals new ‘dos, she turned her sights to her own coiffure. Fortunately, we’d learned a lot by the time she was 3 and found her quickly enough to keep her from looking like Demi Moore in “G.I. Jane”.

I breathed a sigh of relief once that stage was passed. I figured that, while I’m sure many challenges faced us in the future with this one, another attempt at her own version of “Outrageous Makeover – Hair Edition” wouldn’t be one of them. I was mistaken. A few days ago, I was called in a hushed voice by my daughter’s young friend to my daughter’s bedroom. There I found a sobbing and inconsolable child curled in the fetal position on the bed. As I didn’t see limbs askew or blood, I wasn’t terribly worried, but it was obvious that something was wrong. After much gentle coaxing, I finally got the story. Although, really, once she sat up and looked at me, the reason for the tears was clear. A large, 3-4” section of hair was missing from her blonde locks. Right. From. The. Front. I was completely flummoxed. What on earth could have possessed this child (at 9 for goodness sake!) to cut her hair? The answer was simple – at least to her. One of her childhood storybook heroes is Anne Shirley, the plucky heroine of the “Anne of Green Gables” novels. In a moment of tenderness and generosity, she wanted to give her own bosom friend a lock of her hair just as Anne once snipped a lock of Diana’s hair. Once said lock was cut from the front however, they both panicked and attempted to rectify the horror by beginning to “even up” the rest of the hair. I’m sure that’s adequate enough of a visual that I needn’t say more.

I quake with fear for the future.

I’m getting too old for this.