Monday, February 23, 2009

ice cubes, old style

We've been trying to phase out the plastic in the house one slow piece at a time. So we'd gotten rid of the plastic ice cube trays which left us buying bags from the Plaid Pantry. So RT went on ebay and found this little vintage cutie.

Who knew that ice cubes could be so good? These homemade, vintage ice cubes are to convenience shop ice cubes what a good maple desk is to an Ikea build-your-own. And RT walks around clinking the cubes in his glass saying "Listen to this. You can't get ice cubes that sound like this these days." And he's right.

To me they sound like my parent's martini hour, like getting iced tea ready for my aunts on the Fourth of July, like a cold glass of water after raking the leaves. I say it's slow food. He says if it was slow food we'd be chipping slivers off a block of ice. I guess you can always go slower.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

making dollies

Ever since I sold Barbies on Ebay, I've been fascinated with doll collectors. I even read a whole book about them with chapters like "Dollification" and "Innocence and Fear". I'll admit I was biased against them, or at least the obsessive collectors, who, after I listed an Ebay auction for Barbie's "Solo In The Spotlight" outfit complete with microphone, would send me detailed questions * about the state of the label (was it fully stitched on?) the shine of the dress (original sparkle?) and the condition of the microphone (mint, unused and from a smoke free home?) I'll brag here and say that I ended that Ebay write-up saying "You'll have your vintage Barbie singing Happy Birthday Mr. President in no time" which I thought (and still think) is hilarious.

What I'm trying to say is that I've always thought of dolls as a bit strange. My mother bought me a new Madame Alexander Doll every Christmas and Birthday and I was made to display them in my room. I never had a feeling for any of them. Never wanted to play with any of them. Maybe that's where my bias originated. But I don't think I'm alone in finding the whole doll thing at best curious and at worst downright creepy.

Well, now I have a little girl. And bless her heart she's turning me on to the coolness of dolls. Especially simple cloth dolls. And of course, with me, if I can make it then I can love it. So I've been having a blast making dolls for Addie and her friends. Here's the latest. Made for our neighbor for her fifth birthday. I downloaded the pattern from
here and I've been having a lot of fun with it.

Next stop. Original design mouse doll. Stay tuned!

*Ebay Doll Collector questions are loosely based on my recollections. These quotes are not verbatim and are solely intended to indicate the level of obsession typical of hardcore Barbie collectors.

Monday, February 2, 2009

walk the dog


I’m thinking about commitment. Probably because I’ve made a serious commitment to my dog. She’s a sweet thing, a little on the needy side, very high energy. Oh, and she licks and licks and licks. I’ve created a rich fictional back story for her, a doggie fairy tale we tell, where she was abandoned by the side of the road and lived for months foraging pieces of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum from underneath piles of leaves along the highway. And then she was scooped up and dropped off at the Humane Society, where she came this close to death. But she was saved at the last minute and hustled off to the New Life Shelter (I know, sounds like a religious rehab joint for dogs) where Rollie and I found her. When the dog shelter employee picked her up (her shelter name was Opal), she promptly peed all over the poor woman. We played with her. We hemmed and hawed until the doggie re-hab people kicked us out. Then we sat in the car for ten minutes, trying to drive away, before we turned around, went inside and signed the papers.

So, I want her life to be better. She just seems so confused. Her feelings are so easily hurt. She’s uncertain. (Or maybe she’s just the victim of an obsessive anthropomorphizing owner?)

I rented the Dog Whisperer and studied two episodes intently. And came to this brilliant conclusion – she needs a good long walk first thing in the morning. So I’ve made a commitment. Every morning for almost two weeks now we are out the door in the dark and off to the park. I do what the Dog Whisperer says, keep her close to me, on a short, short leash, and she hustles by my side, focused and loyal.

And I practice “calm assertiveness”. Which, incidentally, is turning out to be a good lesson all around. Who knew three-year-olds respond to calm assertive as well as dogs? And maybe I can start phasing out my “monkey howler” voice.

The plan is she’ll finally find her place in life. Quit bopping from submissive to assertive, type B to A. That she’ll be able to relax in to her role as follower, that she’ll learn to trust that we’re the uber dogs and we’ll protect her. That’s the upside.

The downside is that now I’m locked in to getting up early every morning to walk the dog. Every morning. ‘Til when? The rest of her life, right? Because if I don’t get up and walk her I have to face those disappointed brown eyes. And who wants that on their conscience all day?

Of course I’m learning from all this. Getting out in the morning is nice. Fresh air. Pinecones. Misplaced seagulls circling overhead. A well exercised dog which means less irritation (and obsessive licking) for the whole family. And I get a tiny bit of exercise and alone time every day. But I can’t help feeling a little bit of the dread that, for me, inevitably comes with commitment. Because long term promises are, ultimately, so hard to keep.