Bon Voyage

Okay, this is a serious question: How does a mom-of-one deal with her son flying off to foreign soil and being out of touch for five days??

Yep, you guessed it — Domer’s on his way to Dublin, Ireland, for the Notre Dame v. Navy football game on Saturday, Sept. 1.

I’m ecstatic for him. He’s never been outside of the U.S., and being of Irish descent means this is a trip back to the motherland, of sorts.

But he’s going to be gone for FIVE DAYS!

“Ireland isn’t the end of the world,” he told me before he left. “We’ll be fine.”

But can’t you at least call or text me, to let me know you’ve arrived, I asked.

“International calls and texts are expensive,” he said.

Then how about e-mailing me when you get to the hotel, I suggested. If you get time.

“If I get time,” he agreed. “We’re going to be pretty busy, and our schedule is full.”

I know, I know. Just try.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t been a helicopter mom. Really.

I haven’t “smothercated” him with suggestions. Or advice.

I’ve done my best to ground him in the basics and gradually step aside so he can take tentative steps away. On his own path. Toward his own future.

But I’m just not ready to turn him loose completely. Is any mother ever ready for that?

My own mom would love having her “baby biddies” nearby, and we’ve been “adults” for a couple of decades now.

Domer’s 21. Legally an adult. He’s also got a sensible, level head on his shoulders.

And he’s thrilled at being selected to represent his university like this, playing his horn and cheering for his team.

The Irish are “coming home” to Ireland!

This is BIG. A never-before occurrence.

So I’ll do the only thing I know to do — put him in the hand of a loving God and pray Bon Voyage.

Or, in Irish, Go dté tú slán (May you go safely).

Wanna Buy Some Stuff? Huh? Pu-leeze?

The other evening I was working at my computer when the doorbell rang.

I opened the door and there on the stoop was a tiny elfin child — no bigger than a minute, with long, Palomino-colored hair and immense blue eyes.

She squirmed a bit, then blurted out, “Would you like to buy some chocolate candy?”

No details as to the type of candy, the price, or which organization she was selling for.

I glanced toward the driveway and met the watchful eye of her mother, who was sitting astride a bicycle and waiting for the sales call to be over so they could move on to the next victim er, prospect.

As it turns out, I didn’t want or need any candy — chocolate or not — so I had to turn her down as kindly as possible. My days of purchasing useless stuff ended when My Favorite Domer graduated from high school. And I won’t have to be a sucker  customer again until Domer marries and has little Domers of his own.

W-a-a-y down the road!

Then it struck me — school hasn’t been in session two weeks and already, our little ones are being indoctrinated in the ways of salesmanship.

Armed with order sheets, their tiny heads filled with pictures of exciting things they can “earn” if they sell enough, they’re being turned loose on an unsuspecting public and encouraged to peddle.

Domer had to do it, too. But he was in so many activities that it became embarrassing to accompany him on the rounds of the neighborhood. So we purchased enough for him to get a small prize and, if he had to do without the “awesome light-up doo dad” or whatever, well, I knew he’d survive.

I had to do it, too, and hated it. My sister would go behind me, and the homeowners who told me they were on diets and couldn’t buy cookies or candy, mysteriously bought from her! She always talked a better game than I did.

It worries me to see a tiny tot on my porch trying to sell stuff, even with a parent along. The world isn’t exactly a safe place, and I feel we should protect our kids from harm as much as possible — for as long as possible.

Besides, aren’t we already paying enough to educate our kids without turning them into beggars?

Any thoughts? How does your community handle this?

Is Moving Ever Fun?

Stupidity is one of my pet peeves.

So is disorganization.

Imagine my “delight” at finding both — in plenteous amounts — this past week when I helped My Favorite Domer move back to Notre Dame.

I don’t mean to sound petty. Truly I don’t. But the “powers that be” have known for a long time that these kids (and their parents) would be descending on campus this week. They’ve had more than a century to get the “move in game” down pat.

Yet they still can’t seem to make it work.

Picture dozens of cars lined up single file in a parking lot “staging area.” Said cars are loaded to the roof with Junior’s stuff — guitars, TVs, clothes, refrigerators, plastic storage crates — or with Princess’s stuff — ginormous stuffed animals, clothes, tennis racquets, futons, shelving, area rugs. You get the idea.

Now picture a bunch of elderly volunteers, walkie-talkies in hand, trying to move these cars from the parking lot to the dorms in a semi-regulated way.

Now throw in a major campus construction project, just to make the ordeal more memorable.

That’s what we faced. And Domer got to move in early because of Band Camp, so we didn’t even have to face the tsunami of regular move-in.

Maybe we were the guinea pigs.

The day we moved, at least five different “ushers” gave us five different sets of instructions on where to go to unload Domer’s stuff. One said here; one said there. Finally, another suggested we drive up a gravel road closer to the dorm. As we were doing that, we noticed cars that had been behind us in the parking lot queue were now ahead of us; in fact, many had already unloaded and were driving off before we even got to my kid’s dorm!

How had that happened?

To sweeten the experience, another usher was on hand to remind us not to leave our car unattended, to unload right onto the grass, then move the car to a faraway lot, return on foot, and haul the stuff inside.

Up three flights of stairs.

Without air conditioning.

And only a freight elevator that’s on the temperamental side.

Did I mention it was HOT, too??

Still, the kids were great — greeting friends and parents alike, offering to help, stepping aside for those carrying precarious loads. They lofted furniture, started setting up TVs and laptops, even hung up their clothing.

In preparation for a new school term.

New classes. New friends. New memories to make.

Perhaps it’s a bit like giving birth — you don’t remember the pain of move-in day, in the wake of the clean slate which awaits.

But honestly, couldn’t someone have done a trial run in a golf cart beforehand??

Six More Beaded Creations

Who’s ready to see more of my beaded jewelry creations?

You are? Cool, let’s get started:

1) This is a pair of approximately 3-1/4″ long earrings with round, olive green faceted Czech glass beads, 6 mm in size. Also included are small barrel spacers, flat round spacers, and an ornate connector piece. I bought the green because it’s one of my favorite colors, of course!

2) I found these interesting connectors (the long silver portion) at Hobby Lobby. They remind me of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I paired them with 6 mm white faux pearls and 4 mm dark grey hematite beads. Did you know that Hematite is a good gemstone for Virgos like me?? Hematite supposedly carries grounding and soothing energies to help you relax physically and mentally — all I know is, I love the way it feels. So cool to the touch!

3) Don’t you just love this shade of turquoise? They’re called fiberoptic or cat’s eye beads because they have a tiny white line running around their circumference (sounds like I was listening in Geometry class after all, haha!). They also feature long, antique silver tube beads. Anyway, true story: I wore this pair to a first meeting with a potential new client for my Web Design company. Everything went well until I got home and realized (gulp!) I’d lost the entire bottom half of one of my earrings! I checked throughout my car and retraced my steps to the garage, to no avail. I can only surmise I lost it at the guy’s office (sure hope he doesn’t have a wife or girlfriend who’s the jealous type because nothing happened. Promise!!)

4) These silver earrings are almost long enough to brush my shoulders! They’re made with twisted silver tube beads and an ornate connector piece. I love finding earrings that are as light as these are, too! They don’t yank your earlobes, but that means I’m checking periodically throughout the day to make sure they’re still there (unlike the previous pair, ha!)

5) Another piece in green! This one is a bracelet featuring bamboo-shaped tube beads, interspersed with crystal spacers and fastened with a toggle clasp. Perfect for St. Pat’s Day or the Irish in you!

6) Generally, I work in silver-colored metals because I’ve found it to be more flattering to my skin tones. However, sometimes a girl’s just got to try her hand at something yellow-gold, and this is what I came up with. I used the same olive-green beads from photo #1, along with faux white pearls and gold-colored daisy spacers. I have no clue what that weird round shadow is at the bottom of the green beads — must be some kind of reflection I didn’t notice until now. Trust me, they’re pretty!

If we could get an entire day with a steady rain, just imagine how much beading I could get done!

P.S. Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s back to school we go! I’ll be taking a few days’ off this coming week so I can accompany the Domer back to college. I’ll catch up with everybody when I return — please don’t abandon me entirely, ‘kay??

What’s a Writer Worth?

Domer just loves to push my buttons.

Recently, I was bemoaning an article in Writer’s Digest magazine, where author Jane Friedman discusses the basics of e-publishing.

“Independent novelists charge very little for their work, usually between $.99 and $2.99,” Friedman wrote.

‘That sounds about right,’ Domer said. ‘Nobody knows you. Why should they pay good money for your book? Besides, wouldn’t it be better for you to charge $1 for a book and sell a million copies than to sell only 10 copies for $30 each?’

Not necessarily. If “nobody” knows you, how are you going to sell a million copies?

More to the point, I for one haven’t labored the better part of six years on my series to sell each book for a measly dollar. It’d be too demeaning.

Look at it this way: To become a doctor in the U.S., a person must spend four years in undergraduate university, four years in medical school, three to five years in residency, and two to three years in a fellowship. Nobody does all that and charges each patient $2 per visit!

Why should what I do be of less importance?

True, writing novels isn’t exactly saving lives, but how many doctors are saving lives? Honestly, don’t they sometimes make people sicker — from worry and fear, from side effects of medications or procedures?

Domer is looking at it as a numbers game. Fair, since he’s studying Business. And you can’t argue with his math — one million copies at $1 each totals $1 million, whereas 10 copies sold at $30 each amounts to only $300. That’s a big difference. Huge, even.

But how many novelists are trying to “get rich” from their work? Isn’t it more likely that we can’t NOT write? That we believe we have something to say, something that might change another person’s life? That we might take our readers on a thrilling journey, far from their possibly mundane existence? That we might scare the socks off them — and ourselves — through the power of our written words? That we might inspire them to be their best, to unshackle themselves from burdens they don’t need to bear?

I say creative people have endured far too much devaluation over the centuries of civilization. It’s time we appreciated our own worth and realized our world would be a wretched place without writers, musicians, and artists. If we don’t believe what we do is worthwhile, how can we expect others to believe it? And, believing it means rewarding it.

Any thoughts from my fellow creators?