SMIDGE: She’s baa-ack!

Cousin Smidge arrived home Wednesday afternoon, just minutes after our Bean got the bad news that, yet again, the City Inspector, would not be coming.  He didn’t bother to tell her or the company that did the generator installation who requested the inspection.  Instead, he just blew it off, and then whined that the Company Rep should have called him, which she did, and she then slammed back that since he knew all the numbers, he should have called the clients he blew off.  OK, it could go on and on – Bean is madder than that proverbial wet hen – but it’s just a long boring story without a happy ending, so….

But suddenly, all that disappointment was gone because Smidge was home.  Hooray for Smidge and the postal service.  We have her royal Pinkness in the house and in our arms.  She’s glad to see her newish brother Chase again, who she had barely met before going off with her BFF, Voir de Wizzy, for a 7-week sojourn, and Smidge was beside herself thrilled to meet her newly adopted sister,  Elizabeth “Pinkly” Pinkerton, for the very first time.  I think she was also fairly pleased to see me. We are cousins, but we are also very good friends.

Our bossy little Pink miss was tired, but once she rested up, just full of all the fun she had, her horrid trip home, the excitement of being with Voir, the baking, the skating, the nursing, Krismiss, her birthday….yup, she’s back.  And you know what?  We are glad to have her.

You never really know how much you’ll miss someone until they aren’t with you every day.  This was Smidge’s first trip away from us, and although we kept up with her doings via Facebook, it wasn’t the same as having her here.

We are family.  Welcome home Smidge.

Keeping it light

After some consideration, we (the Royal “we”) have decided that we needed to remember that people read our (the Royal “our”) column primarily for enjoyment and entertainment.  We don’t want to become the doom and gloom of the dollie world, so we decided to keep it light and interesting, as much as is humanly (dolliely?) possible.

Some updates are definitely in order. Today, we announce some major changes regarding household residents.  We have added two new members to our dollie family.  First, I am extremely pleased to introduce to you my new brother, Chase Herbert, who has finally emerged from the mausoleum where he’s been hiding out from the Bean’s daughter (that is a VERY long story for another day) to become a full-fledged member of our household. I’m pretty excited since the only other male member prior to Chase was the most diminutive House Boy (yes that’s his name, not his occupation) who rarely stepped off the shelf.  Not much of a player, House Boy.  Cute but quiet. So a hearty welcome to Chase, namesake of the male hero of Shelby Bach’s book series, The Ever Afters.  Bean says to tell you the series is highly recommended for anyone over the age of 10 or so (5th grade +).  Bean has confessed to reading all four books four times each.  Awesome.  I totally look up to Chase – literally.  He’s about twice my height.

Second, there is Pinkly.  Her full name is Elizabeth Pinkerton, but she goes by Pinkly.  She is a honest-to-goodness detective!  Pinkly arrived very recently, but she is making friends rapidly with her winning personality.  As you might guess from Pinkly’s nickname, Smidge Herbert had a hand in bringing her to our home.  She is pink-haired and prefers pink clothing.  Hmm…now who else does that sound like?  The featured photo for this column is of Chase and Pinkly, who just opened a “welcome to the family” gift from her cousin Pip.  Nice tote…and it’s pink, of course.

They are currently both hard at work securing some decent living conditions.  I’m trying to help with that, but I’m sorta small, so from my lower vantage point I mostly find dust-bunny igloos, which aren’t large enough to accommodate them but may become my eternal resting place. ((cough*cough))   Not sure how this will work out, but I’m sure they will find a place to stay in short order.

Meanwhile, we all await the arrival of our dear Smidge, who will be home soon, back from her extended visit in MN with her best friend, Voir de Wizzy.  Any day now…

Wait… is that the doorbell?

Party Day

No, not THAT party.  Smidge’s party.  Late last year, the final day in fact, was Smidge Herbert’s birthday.  Most people tend to party a little on December 31  anyway, since it’s also New Year’s Eve, but we party because it’s Smidge Day. Not so 2016.

Let me just say that Smidge is probably one of the sweetest dollies I know.  She’s very tiny – only 4.5″ – but she commands attention.  She can be anxious and nervous, but she can also be soothing and gentle. She can be impatient at times, she rules the house with her tiny force of will, and everyone bows to her wishes. But while she’s demanding, she also treats others with kindness and compassion, and she dispenses her miniature pearls of wisdom when asked…and sometimes when she’s not asked.  Need advice? Ask Smidge.  Need something done?  She’s your gal. Want pink?  Oh yes – she’s the epitome of pink.

Not all our resident dollies even know their birthdays, much less celebrate them.  But Smidge celebrates and remembers all things, so she makes sure that we do as well.  We had a huge party for her last year.  I say that as if I were there, but I had not yet arrived to my Cousin Smidge’s home when that party took place. The others told me it was a monster party at the Capital City Convention Center, sponsored by the Hittys.  Voir de Wizzy, her BFF who lives in Minnesota, was here, and they played games, danced, had cake & punch, and watched Smidge open presents.  They enjoyed themselves Smidge style.

This year, Smidge went to visit with Voir in early December, intending to stay through Krissmiss, her birthday, and the new year before coming home. Unfortunately, Voir’s Human Bean, Wizzy, became woozy with a lay-me-down-and-die-before-I-fall-off-the-edge-of-the-earth virus, so the party planned for Smidge was dropped and they quickly switched gears and donned their nursing uniforms to care for her. NOTE: Nursing is Smidge’s life, and she was pleased to tour and take a refresher class at St. Brutals Hospital in Minnesota with Voir during her stay.

We believe some big Washington, D.C. event, also scheduled for today, will be totally eclipsed by Smidge’s party, being held at Voir’s home in Minnesota.  I’ve heard that there will be presents, Rainbow Pizza, disco dancing, and ice skating on Wintermitten Island at a party that begins this morning and runs the entire day and into the evening with lots of drop-in guests.  I’ve heard a rumor about lots of pink, too, since that’s Smidge’s favorite color.  I know it will be fun because wherever Smidge and Voir are together, there is fun.

Happy belated birthday, Cousin Smidge.  You are loved.

I’m with Smidge! Let’s party!

Virginia’s first snow of the year

When it snows in the south, people notice.  Even a hint of snow sends everyone scrambling for the nearest grocer’s to clear the shelves of milk, bread, and the essential toilet paper.  Their fear would be funny if it weren’t based in reality.

Their fear is well-founded.  In the south, because snow is not a regular occurrence, communities do not own the same sort of effective snow-removal equipment, dedicated to continued street clearing and ice prevention.  Here, they slap a blade to the front of trash collection trucks and, after a one-day training, send out the troops.  The set the blade approximately 6″ above the pavement so as not to ruin the roads.  This effectively does nothing.  Like a barber’s trim, when the blade passes over the snow, skimming an inch or two off the top, the large tires and weight of the truck mash down the snow and creating ruts, ruts that refreeze overnight.  Daybreak comes, and the roads are suitable for ice skating, as long as you are fully prepared for the “speed bump” ruts that strike fear in the hearts of drivers whose vehicles have become bumper cars, sliding from one rut to the next, and hoping they don’t hit the nearest electric pole. And these are the major roads.

Of course only the ignorant actually drive on our snow and frozen rut-covered streets.  Nobody around here knows how, so the danger is that someone moves here from the north and assumes everyone has had on-the-road training to drive in snow.  No.  My Bean, who grew up in MN & WI, parks her vehicles in the garage and doesn’t budge until the snow and ice melt.  Most drivers in Central Virginia are crazy, acting as if there’s no problem out there, and simply zip down the roads because they foolishly believe that they are above it all, or that their 4-wheel drive makes them gods on ice.  Um…no.

Our little neighborhood streets are always promised a plowing, for whatever good that may do, once the main roads and side roads are cleared.  But neighborhood roads almost never see more than a dump truck dribbling some sand mixed with a chemical intended to melt the ice, once the temps rise above freezing.  We sit in our neighborhoods, unable to get to those main streets. Our most recent snow occurred on Saturday.  It was Wednesday when I typed this, and we had not seen a plow or a sand truck yet, though the eventual melt-down did reveal sand on the road’s edges.  On Wednesday, children were still home from schools that remain closed, and temps finally rose to the freezing mark for a high Tuesday afternoon.  Busses couldn’t get down many of the neighborhood roads, and so they closed the schools for all students, even the ones who live next door or for whom busses could get through.   Wednesday, the high temp went over 50 degrees, more typical of our winters, so we wait for the snow to simply melt in order that our lives can return to normal.  Thursday, the schools re-opened at last.

I was thinking that, had this same 7-10″ snow fallen on a Monday, students would have missed a full week of school. Because this happens only a couple of times each winter, I understand why the city and surrounding communities can’t afford to purchase and maintain major snow removal equipment and train its workers to use it properly, but I question whether having children sitting home for days on end waiting for a melt down is a smart trade-off.

Maybe one of those kids, sitting home with nothing to do for days except watch the grass slowly reappear from beneath the melting snow, will think up a good solution for the future.

Or maybe not.  Most kids are thrilled with their unplanned-for holiday.  No need to spoil it with solutions.

The new year begins

We keep hearing from Smidge out in St. Paul that her hostess’s Bean is unwell.  That means Smidge’s new year began with her performing her passion: nursing.  She and friend Voir are trying to make Voir’s Bean comfortable and get her through the illness and back to her typical self.

It makes me wonder whether people, in general, recognize what they have a passion for, and, if they know, whether or not they act on it.

I don’t think finding one’s passion is necessarily hard, but I suspect recognizing it and acting on it might be difficult for some.  Even things you love require effort to accomplish.

My passion is writing, and I try to write as often as I can.  Oh sure, sometimes the writing isn’t easy, or it just isn’t quite what I thought I meant to write, but it is what comes through, and the fact that I do it at all is everything.  It can be hard, for example, to start.  Bean told me that, many years ago during a class discussion on the difficulties of beginning to write, a former student of hers wisely said that she didn’t always start what she was supposed to write but she always wrote down something as soon as she got a writing assignment, and that was, she said, the beginning.  You just have to start, to try, to push yourself to do whatever task is at hand, whether for pleasure or because it’s your job.

And we all have the moments when, following our passion or not, we need a push; sometimes we must give that push to ourselves.

We have to TRY.