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Thank you, HGTV!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

What does a person with meningitis DO for the many weeks she is in bed?

The first two weeks were spent sleeping, thanks to the wonderful narcotics combined with the absolute fatigue of the illness.

After that initial period, I was able to stay awake for several hours each day. Much to my irritation, I was unable to use this time to make any sort of headway as far as the tower of books on my nightstand is concerned because I couldn’t read. The virus had made it difficult to focus. Plus any prolonged intellectual activity hurt.

Television. And lots of it. Law & Order (the entire franchise), West Wing, and the news. I discovered Without a Trace. But most of all, HGTV.

HGTV (Home and Garden TV) is like the television version of Home Depot. They are empowering. Whenever I walk into Home Depot, they make me feel as though I am capable of executing any home improvement project I undertake. It’s an amazing power they have given that I have no such ability IRL (thats “in real life” for those of you who aren’t fluent in Text or Twit). HGTV is the same way. Watching hours and hours of home improvement made me want to redecorate, relandscape, and redo our entire house! Of course, that might have been influenced by the heavy medication…

Beernut, who is in the 3rd grade, had a trimester project that was due today. The students were asked to trace their family’s roots and learn about an ancestor who came to America from another country.

Part One:
Why did s/he come to America?
When did s/he come to America?
What was it like in the country before s/he left?
What was it like for your ancestor when s/he first came to America?

Part Two:P
Include in your report —
1. Map of the country your ancestor came from
2. The dress and customs of that country
3. The type of industry and jobs in that country
4. Special foods eaten
5. Special holidays celebrated (if any)
6. Three additional facts about the country
7. Any additional information you would like to add
8. Drawings to illustrate anything in your report

Part Three:
Make a doll from a clothespin dressed as your ancestor.

3-5 pages, typed, and with a bibliography and title page.

Given that we are Jewish, this was not exactly as straightforward as it looked. Beernut decided to interview my grandmother about her mother’s experience as an immigrant. Grandma Gussie came from Galicia, a region in Eastern Europe. The problem is that the geo-political fluctuated regularly; sometimes it was part of the Austrian Empire, sometimes Poland. Now? Ukraine. She came from a shtetl called Kalusz. Beernut wrote about life in the shtetl rather than life in Austria or Poland or Ukraine because that was our experience before we came here. He was excited to learn that many of the foods we eat are the same ones his Great-Great-Grandmother ate and that we observe the same holidays and mitzvot!

And then there was the doll.

My Grandmother, in her infinite kindness, had Beernut pick the colours of yarn that she used to knit a little dress and hat for the doll. Darling doll…but it did not in any way resemble what her mother would have worn in Kalusz. God, in His Infinite Wisdom, got involved…and that doll was misplaced. We turned the house upside down, but it was nowhere to be found.

In middle school, we had to take a trimester of Home Ec. in 6th grade and trimester in 7th grade. However, the year that the school opened, I was in the 7th grade so I was exempt from that requirement. Which was unfortunate given that 6th grade was the sewing trimester and that would have come in handy on many occasions. [Of course, taking the cooking trimester in 7th grade didn’t seem to take, much to PC’s chagrin.]

Yesterday, though I was supposed to be in bed, I ventured out to the craft store to find supplies to make the doll. Got the clothespin — actually a whole package so if you need a clothespin, let me know — and then walked the aisle looking inspiration. We had learned from the ship’s manifest (thank you, Ellis Island!)that Gussie had blonde hair. Yarn didn’t really look right, but embroidery thread did. I found some scrap fabric in colours that seemed right. Except that I don’t sew… Ah! HGTV. I remembered seeing an episode of Designed to Sell that talked about a type of adhesive tap that could be used to hem curtains. Why not use it for the doll’s clothes?

The result? See for yourself…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. marjorie permalink
    Wednesday, 3 December 2008 2:49 pm

    is it wrong that my first reaction to the clothespin doll was “OMG i would TOTALLY wear that”?

    brava! now go back to bed, lady.

  2. Wednesday, 3 December 2008 4:45 pm

    Aren’t we crafty?

    Good job, now go rest some more!

  3. Wednesday, 3 December 2008 9:20 pm

    that’s pretty darn impressive for a sick girl. are you back in bed yet?

    p.s. i had chicken pox when i was 15. conveniently, it was during the winter olympics. i watched a LOT of hockey that year.

  4. Thursday, 4 December 2008 8:49 am


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