You really do not want to know about my 5 1/2 hour experience at the DMV, but I am going to tell you anyway.

Even though it is 107 degrees in the shade, even though the lines, nine of them are out of the door and spill into the nearly filled parking lot, even though I had an appointment, even though I began to sob and lean deeply into my cane and even though I dragged my ass from window to window for over 5 hours, there was no escape.  There was no escape from the lines with only one person helping the deluge of people, there was no escape from the many and varied languages spoken at high volumes all around you, there was no escape from the heat, there was no water and the lines to the bathrooms equaled the ones you are waiting in to have your picture taken. It was the kind of terror I experienced when I was nine months pregnant and I realized that I had to do this, it was my baby, I had to have it; and this time as well, there was no other way out if I wanted to participate as a driver in my state, in my country. I and I alone had to navigate this maze.

Without further ado, I did pass my test missing only one.  No I am no winner, I studied beyond the bell. I knew every question backwards and even the ones stated in their tricky manner, except the one where I may have made an error on being polite. Nope, you can’t even be polite, just legal.

I paid $31.00 for my license renewal, but would gladly pay $100 if it would gain enough revenue to open one more line for photos, one more line for information, one more line for appointments, one more line to get and take the driving written test, one more line to correct the test and another line to take the driving test. There are nine or ten booths to take your money, and your vision test, which takes minutes, but only one line for each of the other services.  Imagine the crowds descending from the open easy booths to the funneling; huddling crushes of one line for each of the other the services.

Several much younger and stronger folks just sat down or lay down in line.  I used a chair with a handicapped sign on the back and pulled it around for a while.  I am waiting in another type of line for a partial knee replacement.  If I had known the extreme physical challenge of the DMV experience, I would have come in a wheel chair and had someone wheel me through the process. It would not have cut down the time because no one will let you in line for handicapped, everyone in that building waiting in line was in pain and felt sorrowfully handicapped. Dragging the chair did help me through the ordeal.

When I had waited in all of the lines and all of my tasks were done, they put all of my collected information into a computer at the end of the last line.  Mine would not go through.  Everyone before me had theirs go through. I began to melt down. The gentleman was very apologetic, but nonetheless, I had to go back to window 1 and start over.  That is when I opened up the floodgates and melted down to jelly.   I was assisted through the second time at the head of the lines. I can’t wait to see my second photo after 5 and 1/2 hours in a sweatbox. Of course, by the time I got to my car at the end of the long, long parking lot, I was proud of my accomplishment at the DMV facility because I was still alive, barely. It takes several days to get over an experience like this at any age.

There is no one to listen, but I do believe that you might be interested to know that the written test is given in every language imaginable, and people walking out of the DMV that day passed their written driving exam, but will they be able to read merge, and end of divided highway?

Since I realized that all of my immediate America was in this building, huddled together for a common and individual cause, I looked around and drank deeply of ethnicity. They all acted very nice and accommodating to each other. People who didn’t even know each other, and some that did, helped each other and took turns standing in line for one another while the other rested in some chairs provided. When there were no chairs, they just slumped into the wall and ultimately the floor. I thought I was the only one suffering so greatly, but as I looked around at these faces, they were all commonly suffering for the same singular goal; the right to drive in California, in the United States of America. The young, the old, those in the middle of the road and all those in between had pain and standing for long periods of time hurt, plus the whole experience was daunting and painful. It was good to know I was not alone.

A good observation to report is that all of the people working for the DMV behind the counters, with the floods of people staring at them from the other side, never ever lost their cheerful, high spirited approach to their job and the people they served that day.

All Things British in “OH FANCY THAT”

OH FANCY THAT

Do you love all things British?  I do. For your information, we have a treasury of all things English here in Tarzana and this tribute to England is found waiting here for you in Oh Fancy That located at 18399 Ventura Blvd #11, Tarzana, CA 91356. When you call: 818 996-4405, ask for Jean, the owner.

When you walk into “Oh Fancy That” you are encouraged to pick up and take the Union Jack newspaper along with the British Weekly. The British radio is on for you to catch up on the news and all that is going on in Britain. Stepping inside of store # 11 you have crossed over into another country with no costly plane ride and your car is conveniently parked right outside.

New in the store, you will find, Lifeforce Irish Meuseli, Nescafe Cappuccino and five types of Pot Noodles. Enjoy Butter Toffee and dark chocolate dippers. Spend endless hours relaxing and enjoying Typhoo, Five Roses, Lyons and Tetley tea, How about Barry’s Fruitfields Marmalades, orange fine cut and Golden Shredless. Try Jacob’s Lemon Puff and Birds Rum Sauce, Weetabix, Vegemite, Marmite and indulge in Jelly Babies, Cadbury’s Crunchie, Flakes and Dairy Milk. You can select T-shirts, exquisite teapots and dainty English china teacups. Royal Wedding china will be coming into the shop momentarily.

Some of my favorites are the Robinsons drinks with barley water and Horlicks malt. I have enjoyed the Old English Scone mix, and have tasted every candy they carry and when I spot something new, I take it home to savor. I have purchased all sorts of cooking sauces that brighten up my meals. For example, Aahh! Bistro white sauce and parsley make such good starters. An all time favorite of mine are the McVities, especially the caramel and chocolate covered Digestives and Rich Tea Biscuits.

Once you taste some of these treasures you can’t do without them. You will create a taste for the little bits and pieces you find in this store and “Oh Fancy That” will become your retreat.  Careful now, once you enter, you will be hooked and have to come back time and time again.

It looks like I am trying to convert you into becoming an Anglophile; someone who greatly admires England or the English so, having an affliction of Anglophilla is a good thing. Go for it and visit Oh Fancy That, today!

THE TEA PARTY

THE TEA PARTY:  SEPTEMBER 19, 2010

Sometimes a party just clicks and it is spectacular from the conception of the idea to the planning stages as well as the event itself. This was one of those magical gatherings of the clan.

Musings: You have an idea that you haven’t used your collection of gorgeous teacups since the major earthquake in 1994 when you gathered them from the broken mess of so much clatter and clutter. You must have a tea party so you can use and enjoy the ones you saved that day. Okay, but what does as traditional English Tea Party, entail?  It entails research. This was the birth of our Tea Party. By the way having an elegant tea party is very fashionable once again.

Get ready: First of all the tea is the star of the event, surrounded by dainty cucumber sandwiches, as well as sandwiches lightly buttered and topped with egg. Another popular tea sandwich is ham and watercress. Cream cheese is used in many combinations to craft and create fun tasty tea sandwiches. To make proper sandwiches, you have to have very thin bread minus the crusts. More

Today’s Bits and Pieces: The Friendship Luncheon

You know we have started a ladies luncheon group and it started with about 18 ladies who did not know each other at all. Many were hesitant and nervous about it, but came anyway. The ladies sparkled throughout the afternoon and many lively conversations ensued.

Now, it is time for another get together luncheon. No one has said, “No.” (Yet) The concept is a good one. We have a name and it is The Friendship Luncheon. So much has happened since the first luncheon; a husband passed; two ladies have hooked up to go to plays together; dinner engagements and friendships outside the circle have sprung up. One granddaughter and another’s grandson have been introduced. It is all so very interesting.  One lady expressed that it was nice to come somewhere where they aren’t asking for money and force you to listen to a guest speaker. She is right.

Our next luncheon engagement is December 13th. Please come.

Bits and Pieces: My Labor Intensive Dinner Party

My Labor Intensive Dinner Party

I know many of you will relate and some will not. The ones who will not relate do not cook and the ones that do, cook.

We have a dinner date for this evening and I thought, well, I am not particularly busy, so I will prepare dinner. I made a deal with myself. No bought prepared items. All of this dinner would be from scratch. Okay, here we go. I baked bread from a friendship starter which I take half of and replenish the starter with milk, flour and sugar, then continue making the bread. I made that first to give it ample time to rise. Then I started with hors-de-vors. I made egg salad, which turned out especially good. Then, I pitted and pealed avocados and made homemade guacamole. I ground up chickpeas, oil and spices and there was a creamy, deep tasting humus. Now I am on a strict schedule so that the guacamole will not darken. Lemon juice is a good deterrent, but time is still of the essence. I have the French Onion soup already made. I toasted the bread rounds, place them on top with cheese, thickly placed. They are put on trays to brown under the broiler for a few minutes.

The lobster is boiled and it only takes a few minutes. They are ready to be shelled. The veggies have been chopped and all of the fresh herbs are chopped as well. Bell peppers, carrot slivers and onions are chopped and put in the wok ready to be sizzled. Oil is drizzled and cooking begins. As this mixture is stirred, I add curry and special secret spices from distant lands. I locate my secret sauce (yogurt, various grated cheeses, sherry, white wine, curry, and anything I find I might like to add). I shell the lobster and cut up a chicken breast from last night to be added at the last moment to the mixture. This is a lobster/chicken, curry sauce extraordinaire, usually and hopefully for tonight.

I scurry to set the table with beautiful glistening glasses, leather placemats, fluffy napkins, my every day dishes with a gold charger, modern silver settings, I add a dramatic two tiered dish, low enough for a centerpiece filled with yellow and orange fruit. I dangle a few cherries for drama. I have cut dramatic leaves from the garden to strategically place and the table looks beautiful. More

Today’s Bits and Pieces: Paper Plates on Thanksgiving

I write this paragraph because one of my friends verbalized shock when I mentioned the paper products I was using for the most the thankful holiday in America

The paper plates are out, the cups and clear plastic forks, knives and spoons are there, too. The turkey is in the oven, and all other items are warming to room temp before being popped into various crannies of the oven. More

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