Thursday, May 31, 2012

When it all hits home

My youngest is deep in the dance trenches these days. Her team is getting ready for nationals and they're spending hours and hours at the studio rehearsing and perfecting. They're tweaking the choreography and adding in new tricks the girls have learned recently. L, the human rubber band, finally achieved a standing over split, which was added to a routine.

What is a standing over split? Well, everyone knows what a split is. An over split is where you can prop one leg up on a mat (or 3 or 4) and still go all the way down. Sounds painful, but stick with me.

This is my girl doing a standing split.

Now, imagine that top leg extended further over the back and the head arched back to pretty much cross that leg. That is what she showed me today. I didn't know what she was going to do when she ran up and said "I want to show you something!" or I would've gotten a picture of it. Yes, it looked extremely painful and the human body should simply not be able to bend like that. But it is pretty cool that this one can.

After having a friend spend the night and them staying up way too late and getting up way too early, after 3 hours of swimming with friends, after 3 hours of dance rehearsal, and after stuffing herself with more chinese food than she ought to have been able to hold, L was still talking 90 miles a minute on the way home tonight.

"Mom, I know this is going to sound weird, but can I go around the neighborhood and ask for money?"

Why yes, sweetheart, that does sound weird. "What for?" I asked, waiting to hear what her reasoning for *that* request was going to be.

"For Penny Wars! N did it!"

Penny Wars is the latest fund-raising scheme for their dance studio. There are many, many reasons I love L's dance studio and this is actually one of them. You see, they don't raise money for themselves. Everything collected for the Penny Wars goes to support an orphanage in Liberia that the studio donates to all throughout the year. It seems they were talking about it again today and mentioned that the kids in the orphanage only get a handful of rice to eat each day. L relayed this information to me tonight and said that was really sad, that it must be hard to live in an orphanage.

"Well, you know you used to live in an orphanage," I reminded her.

And it got really quiet there in the back seat.

"I did?" L asked in a small, amazed tone. "I forgot. I mean, I don't really think about that time."

Just like that, a fund-raiser for unknown children in a far-away orphanage with only a handful of rice to eat each day became very, very personal.

So L would like to ask for your donations, your loose change, to help take care of children in an orphanage far away that may never be as blessed as she is to find a loving home. If you have anything to send, please do it. If you need the address, email me at and I'll get it to you.

Do it so that one former orphan can bless one who still is.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They're sisters, not twins

Tonight as I stared in the mirror and applied a little moisturizer to my face (my friend and I were just talking about wrinkles earlier), I noticed I was looking a little scary. Sure, crazy post-shower hair, no make-up, old no-longer-white tank top, but the thing that made me pause were the dark, furry *things* above my eyes. Yep, they'd reached caterpillar stage again.

My eyebrows can grow in heavy and black, a stark contrast to my pale skin and ever-whitening hair. They were doing their very best Brooke Shields imitation in spite of the fact that I just can't pull off that look. Oh, I've warned them many times, yet they persist in growing wild and thick. Now some people would just say that looks aren't important (so why do they bother wrapping presents nicely or decorating their kitchen?) or they might make an appointment with their faithful eyebrow technician to have them professionally shaped with waxing or threading or whatever the latest weapon is. I, however, would rather save my money for an extra chai tea latte and so I prepared to do battle myself. Armed only with an old pair of tweezers (that happen to work better than any new pair I've bought), I go in for the attack.

The best advice I ever got about eyebrows is that your left eyebrow and your right are NOT twins, they are sisters. Even if you try to dress them identical outfits, they won't look exactly the same. You try again and again to find a cute matching fashion that takes into account the style and identity of both sisters, and one unexpectedly shows up in striped knee socks because she's feeling a little punk today. For me, my left eyebrow is the "good" sister, the one who's easy and complacent and aims to please. The right, however, presents her own challenges. A scar runs along the bottom where a toy cash register fell on her as a preschooler. She's got some lumpy spots and her hair grows longer and thicker at the end. Yep, the right sister is full of personality.

Clean up that top, but not the other. Thin these hairs, but not those. Match the left arch to the right one created by the scar. Slowly, and slightly painfully, the eyebrows look a little less threatening. They still don't look like twins, but at least they match well enough and they won't scare off small children anymore.