Wednesday, July 29, 2009


On the “What! You’ve got to be kidding me!” list this week is the discovery that the loathsome crapvan I drive does not qualify as a “clunker” under the new clunker law. It’s not that I’m seriously shopping for a replacement vehicle. I’m only dreaming of a replacement. But that little bit of biting reality has me reeling in disbelief. I just naturally assumed that my 1996 Dodge Voyager, which wheezes its way through Houston, doggedly spewing out greenhouse gases, would be a natural fit under the new clunker law. But it’s not. We checked and according to the EPA, the crapvan actually gets (or got once upon a time in a land far, far away) 18 mpg combined city and freeway driving. I don’t know what they are smoking in the EPA offices, but they need to come and watch the crapvan smoke and then tell me it’s not a clunker.

Seriously, this has been a shock to my system. For several years now I’ve thought of the crapvan as the quintessential clunker. Only it turns out it’s not. It’s going to take me a while to get used to the idea that I’m actually driving what is considered to be an earth-friendly car. I mean, I’m right up there with all the people who drive a Prius; or at least on the same planet.

So when you see me toddling down Chimney Rock trailing exhaust fumes, don’t be giving me any dirty looks while you say disdainfully, “That woman needs to do the environmentally responsible thing and trade in that clunker for a more fuel efficient new car!” Because, I’ve got proof that officially the EPA has no problem with the crapvan.

Which is more than I can say for myself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Emily's Dress Again

I found better photos of Emily's dress. This shows the bodice detail:

And these two show it in full length:

The fabric I used was a lovely silk georgette for the overskirt and bodice ruching. The underskirt was a satin (not silk) with the dull side out. Both had to be 'xerox paper white.'
And yes, the lace crowns are traditional at her school's graduation. Though they seem a little much to begin with, it's really much prettier than your average graduation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Emily's Graduation

Due to a lot of reasons, I never got around to posting the promised pictures of Emily's graduation dress. Making this dress was really a journey for Emily and me. We truly designed it together. And once I got it to the point where she could try it on (something that took longer than I expected due to issues with figuring out how to ruch the bodice), then there were adjustments to be made to the dress to make it fit/look the way Emily was envisioning. I owe a big thank you to a lovely lady named Marilyn, who I met at Angela House in Houston. Angela House is a halfway house for women who are trying to get back on their feet after being in prison. I was there to take photos of students from the school where I work, who go over on Sunday evenings w/ dinner for the residents and spend time with them as part of the social awareness program at school. Marilyn is a master seamstress and we spent some time going over my sketch of the dress talking about how I could make it work.

Here is Emily in the dress. (She's the one in front,)
Not the best view of the dress, but the best I have access to at the moment. The day was made even more special because Emily received the school's highest honor for a graduating senior: True Child of the Sacred Heart. The senior class nominates three girls and the entire Upper School students and faculty vote for who will receive this honor. It's announced on the morning of graduation at the end of the Prize Day awards ceremony. I was there because I take photos for the school and I just burst into tears. And yes, we are incredibly proud of Emily.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hover Parents from Hell

That thwup, thwup, thwup sound you heard last week was the helicopter parents gathering at St. Edward's University for one of the orientation sessions held over the summer. Having never been to the parents portion of an orientation session, I was totally unprepared for these overprotective parents who hover ceaselessly over theiir children monitoring course schedules and bowel movements with the same intensity. These people would reattach their children's umbilical cords if possible. And woe to the person who suggests that the whole point of raising children is to get them to the point where they are capable of taking care of themselves.

It was interesting watching the university staff and faculty tiptoe around these people and attempt, in the nicest way possible, to encourage them to let their children go and be adults. I don't know if this is a bigger problem at St. Ed's due to the the fact that it's a small university, but it's obviously an issue. I mean they call a parent who shows up on campus in response to an issue (usually minor) "Black Hawk Down."

Okay, we're only going to say this once: If your child does not know how to do laundry, take care of himself, do their own schoolwork without having it checked over by you, etc. by the time they are headed off to college, then you really haven't done your job as a parent. In fact, it's a pretty good bet that you don't understand what a parent's job is. Your job is to turn out a responsible, independent grown-up. If your child has learning disabilities, then your job is harder, but in most cases, it's not impossible. And if you are not allowing your child to make decisions for themselves of ever-increasing importance throughout their childhood, then you are pretty much guaranteeing that as an adult, your child will make the wrong decisions. People learn from their mistakes. So do children, unless they are never allowed to make a mistake. A little failure now and then can, in some instances, be more valuable to a child's learning processes than continual success, especially if the success is because the parent stayed up all night working on a project.

So, it's time to stop hovering fellow parents. Let your children learn the hard way. Like most of us did when we were young. I'm not saying don't support your child. I'm just saying let him or her have a little freedom and responsibility.