After what I went through earlier this year regarding my left hip, I can say that it has been no walk in the park on a beautiful warm (but not too hot) sunny day. There were times when I got stressed out over this. There were times when my husband and I sniped to each other using nasty tones of voices. There were times when I felt like just giving up and order a motorized scooter or wheelchair that I could get around in.

There was even a time when I bought something totally crazy for myself. It’s so crazy that I haven’t even had the guts to tell my husband about it. Since he says that he rarely has the time to read my blog anymore, I feel totally safe revealing it here. (Heck, I’m willing to bet that he won’t read this entry until sometime during the Christmas season.)

The day before my surgery on September 8, I decided to do a last hurrah for myself that was totally fun. The only thing is that my left hip had grown so painful that I had to use a walker plus I would get easily exhausted whenever I walked a quarter of a mile. So my options on what to do were pretty limited. I ruled out anything in Washington, DC mainly because I would’ve had to use the Metro and that system is notorious for frequent outages of both its escalators and elevators at many of its Metro stops. (People who are in wheelchairs are frequently inconvenienced by this.) I just didn’t want to risk going to a place that was located at a Metro stop with a busted escalator and/or elevator. (Driving to downtown DC is usually out of the question for me due to the lack of parking spaces.) I ruled out downtown Annapolis and Baltimore because the weather was sucking so bad at that time. (There were several weeks of rain every single day. There has been way too much rain in my area this year. My yard is now a mud pit due to the ground being completely saturated with water.)

So my option was to go to a shopping mall. After mulling over several options, I decided to check out Tysons Corner. I hadn’t been there in a few years and I thought it would be cool to check out the new American Girl store that opened there just a few months earlier. (I’ve visited its New York store on Fifth Avenue and it’s really massive.) I wrote about this expedition and even posted a few photos previously in this blog entry but there was one detail that I totally left out.

I was stairing at the historical dolls section of the American Girl store when I came across this display devoted to the 1974 doll, Julie. Now I’ve seen similar 1970’s displays of this doll at the New York store and I gave a chuckle mainly because, without going into details, I was a young girl in the early 1970’s like Julie Albright. I have memories of things like Wacky Packages, 45 r.p.m. records, 8-tracks, cassettes, Beautiful Crissy dolls, Go Ask Alice, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

This time I became more drawn to the display than usual. I just started to remember what I went through in the 1970’s and I also remembered owning some of the similar clothes and accessories available for the Julie doll.

In fact, the Julie doll’s default outfit was nearly identical to a similar outfit I had in the 1970’s. The only difference that I never worn another shirt underneath my peasant blouse and the jeans I had was one single shade of blue instead of the different shades of blue on Julie’s jeans. But I remember that white peasant blouse—my mother sewed it for me from a pattern (which also included an iron-on transfer for the embroideried part) and I think I may have owned a similar leather macramė belt that’s part of Julie’s outfit.

What’s even freakier was the optional accessories that were available for the Julie doll, which included a crocheted cap. I once owned a crocheted cap that was similar to Julie’s, except that my cap was white and it included a white crocheted flower on the side.

I also took a look at her long blond hair. As a child I had naturally blond hair. I spent many summers hanging around at the local pool where the chlorine and the summer sun would turn my hair even blonder. There are numerous photos of me with platinum blond hair that resulted from hanging around outside at the pool. In some photos my hair was even the same shade as Julie’s.

Okay my mind wasn’t exactly totally sane due to my hip problems so I paid more attention to the Julie doll than usual. The saleslady noticed and asked if she could help me. I said no but then I admitted that I felt embarrassed to say this but I lived through the same era as the Julie doll. The saleslady said that this doll is the biggest selling historical doll for American girl.

I initially thought about just getting the Julie books to see how they deal with the 1970’s era then eventually donate them to this little library that my church is currently considering starting for its members and their children. But my mind kept on looking at the Julie doll and I kept on thinking about my upcoming surgery that I did something totally crazy: I bought the doll with the included first book.

Yeah, I was crazy. But I’m now keeping the doll a secret from my husband mainly because he’s been on this campaign about reducing unneccessary clutter and I really don’t want any further conflict at the moment. (I want to wait until I get fully better.) So I now have this American Girl doll that’s made for kids and I’m thinking about what I can do with it.

Here’s one idea I could pursue. Many months ago I purchased a book on how you can make a variety of items like tote bags and aprons using plastic store bags that have been fused together with an iron. Since I’ve been customizing and selling recycled used Barbies found in thrift stores, I thought it would be pretty cool to try to make a Barbie outfit with fused plastic, even though my first—and so far only—effort at making fused plastic fabric didn’t quite work out. (I had the iron on a heat setting that was too high for the plastic. I wanted to try again with the heat setting at a lower temperature but my bad hip got in the way of that.)

I might try making an American Girl sized outfit out of fused plastic bags. If that works, I could try selling it on a trial basis at a street fair sometime next year (when I should be fully recovered from my surgery). American Girl dolls are relatively popular (despite the high prices and the tanking economy) and there are numerous 18-inch cheaper knockoffs that are sold online and at places like Target and Wal-Mart under names like Springfield, Our Generation, and Sweet Pea Girls.

If that idea doesn’t work, I guess I could always make artsy photos of the Julie doll. All I know is that it’s the first and last time I’ve purchased an American Girl doll mainly because these dolls are not cheap. I have no intention of buying the numerous 1970’s themed accessories (such as the bedroom collection and the table and fondue party set) because they are pricey and I really don’t want to have to deal with finding room for them.

At least I didn’t pay for it with a credit card so my husband doesn’t even know about this doll. If he doesn’t get around to reading this entry by the Christmas season, I’ll come clean about this purchase sometime around New Year’s Day. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep the doll hidden and just don’t mention it. By the way, he knows about the Julie book because he found it and I explained that I was curious to see how American Girl portrayed an era that we both actually lived through (which is the truth). He’s not too perturbed about the book since it’s a small paperback that I’ve already read. I’ll get around to writing about the Julie books in a separate entry because I’m getting tired now and I think it’s time for me to end this entry.

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