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Saying Good-bye

All good things must come to an end, they say, and that was true of Dolly's too short visit with our family. Dolly and I went shopping one more time, and found the cutest band to make her a bracelet. The band says "Groovy Chick". It seemed to fit Dolly perfectly!
Dolly will be greatly missed, but we understand she has many more people to visit, and Robin was patiently waiting for her turn to see Dolly. So good bye, Dolly, have a safe journey, and we'll be thinking of you.

Off to the Special Olympics!

Dolly was excited to be here for the Special Olympics Basketball trials. It was rescheduled from the week before.

It was basketball only for these trials, and very noisy. Puddy did not like the noise but Dolly was happy to comfort her.

They both enjoyed watching the children play. Puddy was still not feeling well enough to play this time. We had one scary moment when a little girl ran up suddenly from the basketball court, excited to see Dolly. She tried to shake Dolly's hand, but pulled off her 'Rich' bracelet! All turned out well, though, as the little girl immediately apologized and put the bracelet back on Dolly's wrist. I almost had a heart attack, however, thinking of what Dolly might do without that bracelet of Rich photos.

I had been monitoring the stands for kids to rush up, but never considered the idea that someone would leave the free throws to come and hug Dolly!


Dolly and Puddy play dress ups!

Well, it hasn't snowed, but it is very cold and has rained a lot, plus Puddy is still having some pain, so we are pretty much shut in for the week. Dolly discovered that one of Puddy's favorite games is playing dress up.
Puddy has been inventing unusual and interesting clothing designs since she was a toddler. She sometimes makes pony tails for herself out of shirts. She turned shorts into little bolero tops without ever having seen a bolero at that time, and turns tops into skirts.
This fascinated Dolly, who decided she wanted to play, too. We went looking through the house to see what dress up clothes we could find in Dolly's size. We came up with a few interesting pieces.

Darn! I completely forgot that her evening dress from Diane and her corset from Tara were in her travel cabin!! Well, that's OK, We all had fun trying on new styles. I think the pictures speak for themselves!

The lei reminded Dolly of home. She said she misses you, Pam, but she is having fun, too!

 Here she is all warm and cozy, never mind the cold outside!

Who is that in the hot pink wig?


Dolly's visit becomes a mission to soothe my Puddy Girl!

Dolly arrived on the day my daughter came home from school with a toothache. Well, sort of a toothache. Her permanent molar was pushing through and had pushed her baby tooth over sideways, where it was growing sideways, out the side wall of her gum! Poor baby! She's autistic, and does not handle mouth pain very well, among other things. So, Dolly's first weekend here was probably the least pleasant of her entire journey. She was probably hoping she had gotten waylayed in the post office so she could have partied with postal workers again.

But Dolly is a real trooper and she pitched in to help keep Puddy as comfy -- and distracted -- as possible.

On Monday, Puddy went to the dental hospital at UNC-Chapel Hill to have her tooth cared for, and Dolly volunteered to go along.

She enjoyed the nearly an hour long ride there. She got to see the James Taylor Bridge, named after the famous singer who grew up in Chapel Hill, NC.

And she crossed the Jordan Lake, which is a pretty and active place in the summer, but looks fairly drab in February. The only green I seemed to catch was out hubby's window. The bottom picture is out my window! How'd he keep all the pretty to himself?

Bleak though it was, the ebullient Dolly seems to find joy in the smallest of sights.

Finally, we arrived at the hospital. It's a big, confusing place, but we've been there so much, it's old hat. There is a lot of construction going on, and has been for the two years we've lived here, so it's not very pretty, but probably will be when finished.

As bad as she had wanted to get to the "tooth doctor" to get help, Puddy was starting to get scared, but Dolly told her jokes and gave her hugs in the waiting room and cheered her right up.

Dolly suggested we take pictures of the experience to help Puddy the next time she has to lie down on the dentist's chair. She does not mind saying "Ahhh!", but she hates lying back in the chair and having no escape. In fact, this was the first time she has been able to do this. I think it might have been Dolly's pep talk. Dollly also demonstrated a few times for Puddy, but I missed those photo ops!

They gave her cool sunglasses to wear through the ordeal. That helped keep the bright light out of her eyes, but she was still worried about lying in that chair. After sitting up a few dozen times, and listening to Dolly reassure her, Puddy finally lay back and allowed the dentists to work.
No needles at all! This was her first dental procedure without full anesthesia! Mommy, Daddy, and Dolly were all so proud of Puddy! 

And her reward -- besides STICKERS, YAY! -- was a photo op with the famous Dolly! She won't go anywhere without her hats on her head, by the way.

On the way home, Dolly wanted me to take these pictures and to tell you all that the snow was not her fault -- this is her proof: Look at that sun streaming through! No snow curse going on here!


Dolly Arrived!

Dolly arrived on Friday, February 5.  We had been out in the driving rain all afternoon, with non stop problems, and arrived home to find Dolly waiting. What a nice surprise!
It only took her around 24 hours to get from Winston Salem, NC, to our house, just south of Raleigh, NC, even with a snow storm in Winston Salem, and a cold, hard rain in Raleigh.
We just watched a little TV and all went to bed that night. Everyone, even Dolly, was exhausted. But Dolly wanted me to note that the "Dolly snow curse" seems to be broken. We were expecting an inch or two, but only got rain that day.
 Dolly seems very comfy in her travel accommodation. Susiehomeconomy sent some yummy Moravian spice cookies -- THANKS!


What is the meaning of eHow Dolly?
Dolly is a little stuffed doll -- similar to a raggedy Ann doll, altho in the beginning she was sort of a voodoo doll, but she never put any bad spells on people. She was always on the side of good; after all she is the special creation of a special and good creative person, veryirie. OK, at times Dolly was on the side of good fun: she did love her some Fat Bastard, and was occasionally seen sprawled and inebriated on the eHow Chatter Forums. She has cleaned up her act now, and is making her way around the country, visiting various eHow members, as a sort of combination good will ambassador and pen pal project.
Dolly represents many things to many people. All good. I don't recall ever hearing a negative meaning for Dolly. To me she is a testament to the human spirit, and particularly to the kind of people that seem to be drawn to write at eHow.
Consider her story.
First, Dolly was a big time party girl. She was usually only heard from when she was drinking Fat Bastard, or occasionally when she wanted to show off her eHow jewelry which her mom, veryirie, made for her. Her jewelry revealed her huge crush on Rich, the Community Manager at eHow (more on that later). Since she was a big party girl, she lifted the spirits of the eHow community if they were down about the sweeps, low earnings, or the occasional squabbling on the forums. She was always on the spot with her silly antics, bringing laughs and good cheer in her wake.

Over time, Dolly began to change. Maybe it was her crush on the squeaky clean cut Rich, or maybe the gentle prodding of the eHow members and Pam, but for whatever reason, Dolly decided to clean up and dry out. She is now sober and lady-like, but still full of fun and good cheer.
Somehow, through all her antics and good times and changes -- no one is sure just how it happened  -- but it became clear that Dolly wanted to meet more of her good eHow friends,Amy K played a big role in planting this idea in Dolly's and everyone else's head. She made the suggestion. Of course, Chriss J demanded that Dolly be permitted to visit her since she lives near veryirie's hometown and felt Dolly should see it -- so she played a role, as well, in getting this tour off the ground. In the end it was quite a group effort, with Shirley and Diane heading the organization staff and others contributing as well. Mom veryirie was a little concerned about such a small Dolly being on her own in the vast countryside across the Pacific (Dolly lives in Hawaii.). Finally, after considering how well Dolly had cleaned up and turned into such a lady, and many promises from eHow members to take good care of her, Pam agreed to let Dolly travel alone, and the eHow Dolly Good Will Tour was born. and see the world. Well, the USA, anyway. We do know that

Dolly is slowly making her way around the country to the homes of various eHow members. She is currently in Washington, DC, with David. While out seeing the many historical sites in DC, Dolly and David were accosted several times by security guards and police who wondered what he was doing pulling that um, doll out of his coat. Don't get the wrong idea. It can be perfectly ladylike for a small girl like Dolly to ride inside a gentleman's breastpocket, in freezing weather!
At one point, a guard demanded to know "What is the meaning of that doll?" Hmmm. Good question. And so another forum thread was born. And from there, I realized I couldn't summarize my feelings about Dolly and the eHow community in just one forum post, thus this blog. (OK, and I need a Dolly blog anyway for when Dolly arrives at my house.)

What is the meaning of that doll?
Dolly is a picture of the amazing ability of the human spirit to prevail.
Look at her path from a drunken party girl, to a lady of stature and an ambassador. She could have followed a downward spiral, til she hit rock bottom. But Dolly pulled herself up by her sandal straps (don't think they wear boots much in Hawaii). With the help of her Mom and friends, she became a smart, sober, well behaved lady.

Now Dolly is an ambassador of good will on a pen pal mission. But she is much more.
Dolly is a picture of many, many people of different ages and different backgrounds who met online, yes, in cyberspace where nothing is real. But here at eHow, we are real. Real people who have learned we can safely share ourselves and our lives online and in the real world, too. As Dolly visits each eHow member, and as many other members follow her trip on blogs, Squidoo lenses, and the eHow forums, a piece of each of us goes along with her. We all are able to connect in a real way, and get to know a little more about our individual lives, and learn more about different parts of the country. And even more, there has been much trouble at eHow this past year, and even more now in the new year. We're not always on the same side. We disagree, argue, even flat out fight. We have had our trust broken. We don't know for sure what the whole truth is still, but we know a few things. And Dolly is the illustration of such.
1. We will get through this, too. We'll come out stronger on the other side, as we've learned over and over from each other in the last year or two, and
2. We are real, and we are really friends. We can disagree, fight, call each other out like any family, but in the end we are friends, will remain so. We know how to forgive, forget, push forward, and LIVE, and
3. Dolly's desire to travel so far and learn about all the different places and people she is visiting represents the community of eHow and all that we are constantly learning from each other. The first place I go when I need information is eHow -- not quite. More accurately, it's the eHow forums, although the articles library is second.

And I think those are the meanings of Dolly. She represents all those things in each of us that is best, and that is why eHow loves her so much and why so many have opened their arms and their homes to this little doll. That is why a busy husband and father who works full time at an office and seemingly full time again at home was out in the cold showing the sights to Dolly, instead of the many other things he could have been doing and maybe should have been doing. That's why many of us spend time to take Dolly out and take her picture at the sights around our homes and even the sights within our homes. Dolly's meaning is our meaning. The eHow community is not a physical building, and it's not even a location in cyberspace. The eHow community is all of us. We are what makes eHow wonderful, even in the bad times. The people I've met at eHow are like none I've met anywhere else on the internet. Such a mix of intelligence, talent, creativity, cooperation, love, as well as smart alecks, egos, and some hot tempers. But still we are that good part. There are many bad things right now, but we are that good part, and Dolly represents that good part in us -- the part that will remain no matter what else happens at the actual eHow building.

Oh, I promised more on Dolly's crush on Rich. Well, yep, it was reported that they hooked up for dancing during Dolly's US tour. Take a look.

Dolly has her own PRODUCT LINE for the tour, designed by the talented Diane Cass! The proceeds go to a fantastic children's charity. That picture of her at the top of the page is one of her bumper stickers.

Here are Dolly's travels so far:
People who have hosted Dolly speak
Dolly goes to New York
Dolly visits Allegheny College in PA
Dolly in Philly!
Dolly visiting New Jersey
Dolly at the Jersey Shore
Dolly at AJ's