Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"A Little Consideration, A Little Thought for Others, Makes All the Difference".

The quote is from A.A. Milne, who gave the world Winnie the Pooh and his friends. He attributes the quote to my second-favorite character, Eeyore, the maudlin stuffed donkey. (My favorite, oddly enough, is his polar opposite, the manically happy Tigger - armchair psychologists, go for it.) I needed this quote today, because it was a rough day.

Aside from some family and personal issues that are slowly working themselves out - just taking forever to get to it, like picking at a knot to unravel - today was a day I wish I could have hit fast-forward on.

Three months ago, a young, nonverbal, autistic teenage boy left his school and disappeared. As a mother, it was a nightmare to even consider. Not knowing where your baby is, compounded with the knowledge that he couldn't even speak to call out to you, to call for help... I'm having difficulty even writing this, it upsets me so much. This boy was from my neighborhood. He lived about two blocks away from me. I pass his building all the time. I may have passed him and his family on the street, dined in the same pizzeria or Chinese food restaurant as they did, stood on line with his mom at the drugstore as we loaded up on cough medicine or Band-Aids, as moms do, when you have a home with children.

He loved trains. He lived right near a Long Island Rail Road overpass. I took pictures there all the time for my friend's son, who also loves trains. Who was thrilled that I texted his mom with a train that was passing at that moment - "It's happening in real time!" For the past three months, every time I have walked across that overpass, I have looked. Looked for a sign - maybe some blankets. Cans of food. A jacket. Something I could find to say, "Hey - he's right here!" All I'd find were bushes, and the odd can of cat food someone left out for the strays.

I wanted him to be found. When the days grew shorter and colder, I prayed he'd be found - maybe he wandered onto a train and found himself upstate? Maybe even in Connecticut, or New Jersey?

It got to a point where I had to look away from the shop windows in my neighborhood. From the information booth in my local subway station. His smiling face tortured me, because I couldn't imagine what his family - his mother - were doing to get through each day.

You know how this story ended today. I'm grateful for the snow. I hope it keeps the news vans away. I couldn't imagine having to contend with the sharks when all I want to do is bleed.

It really sucks to want to do something when there's absolutely nothing you can do. But then I remembered, there's always something. Something kind always touches someone in some way. I can't help that family, but I can do something to help someone else.

Tonight, surfing Facebook, I came across this picture and note, from the DoSomething page:

"Temperatures are plummeting tonight in Ontario, so a kind soul
has been placing these handmade scarfs around the city."

That is amazing. Imagine, just making scarves and handing them out for people to take as they need? And then, I remembered The Red Scarf Project, where knitters and crocheters make red scarves, according to Foster Care to Success' guidelines, as part of a care package that will go to an 18 year-old teen who is aging out of foster care. The Red Scarf Project will accept donations again in September, but I can have quite a few scarves ready by then. I can't bring Avonte home to his parents, but I can help keep other kids warm.

Rest in Peace, Avonte. You deserved so much more.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

So what am I knitting?

I've been knitting quite a bit lately, and making time to knit at home, in addition to my weekly knitting group time, has been a source of great relaxation again. I just made Wee Gozer a pair of mittens for his little hands, which have gone over very well - he loves them!  I used Indie Dyer's toddler mittens pattern - I didn't realize how hard it was to find toddler sized mitten patterns, so I was very happy to find this one!

I've also been working on Will's blanket. The black and orange one I knit him almost 10 (!!!) years ago finally collapsed on him, so I thought I'd knit him a nice, warm blanket that befits a teen, and this Boys Afghan pattern was just the thing. My friend Julie referred to it recently as the "Big Green Forever", which is now it's official name - it's gorgeous, but this thing is taking forever. But as long as I remind myself it's the journey, not the destination, I'm good.

I'll keep working on these, but I've got loads of stuff on deck for this year. My buddy Nancy and I are being totally goofy/cheesy/fangirly and will knit up the BFF cowl from Knitty, with a fangirl twist - we're going to work the cowls in our favorite supervillains colors. And Julie, Nancy and I are going to be working on a KAL together, Ysolda Teague's "Follow Your Arrow". It was a New Year's treat to myself, and I'm really looking forward to it.

You know what I miss? Knitting Swaps. I used to love those. I'm hoping to join one (or heck, start one up) once I have a paycheck or two under my belt. Anyone interested in one?

Welcome, 2014. I've been waiting for you.

So 2013 was not the best year. It wasn't even a good year. It was an okay year at best, and a complete crap year at worst. Hell, I wasn't even supposed to be here - because 2012 was a pretty dark damned year, too.

But 2014 is going to be different, and I want to go into this year with positive energy. So here are the things that happened in 2013 that kept me here past my planned expiration date:

-  I continued embracing comic books, which helped save my life back in 2012. By writing for my friend's site, WhatchaReading, I became even more steeped in comics and comics culture, met some amazing people and read some fantastic stories that kept me going forward. It was my escape hatch and my adrenaline shot.

- I read like a maniac. I went after books with an appetite I hadn't had in a while. Steampunk, sci-fi, nonfiction, fantasy, cookbooks - you name it, I read it. I went back to blogging my book reviews for kids, and I discovered, thanks to my friend, Stacey, the joy of Overdrive. So now my local library system's e-circ may be going through the roof. You're welcome, Queens Library.

- I volunteered. I do work for Reading with Pictures, and even got a full pass to New York Comic Con because of it. I keep meeting great people, and learning new things. I am forever grateful. I also volunteer as a children's librarian at the Rego Park Queens Library (my neighborhood), where I truly feel like I've found my calling. I love working with the babies, toddlers, schoolkids, and tweens. I love all of it.

- Related to that, I got my Master's Degree in Library Science after four years! I climbed the mountain, and I did it through a pregnancy and nursing an infant. I am pretty damned proud. And I got my public librarian's certification.

- My friends kept me connected. I am blessed to have close friends that kept me going. You all know who you are. My Ladies Who Lunch let me throw pity parties for myself as needed, never judging and only offering solutions when the situation presented them - otherwise, they were all ears. Sometimes, you just need someone to let you cry. Meme Mondays gave me a reason to hate Mondays a little less. My weekly knitting group was an oasis in my week. And Fangirl Friday became a daily thing, which proved, as Doctor Who once said, that time is "wibbly wobbly". You guys are all the best, and I adore every one of you.

So what's next? Well, I have a job! No kidding! I accepted an offer from a great nonprofit to be a consulting librarian. I'm going to help kids and parents love books. I'm knitting regularly again, and every day is looking a little better. Some days are harder than others, but it's going to be a good year. Make it so.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I haven't blog-faded...

It's been a challenging year. It's been a challenging almost two years, to be honest. Let's hope that 2014 ends up being the year I thought 2013 would be.

I'm sure I'll be doing some catch-up in the posts that will follow, so a long and drawn out post now isn't going to happen. I am still knitting, I am still reviewing books, and I am still drinking a lot of coffee.

I wasn't sure what I wanted this blog to be, since I now publish my kids' book reviews at my site, Mom Read It and my comic reviews at WhatchaReading?. But I think I still want to keep a place on the Web to talk about life, knitting, and everything in between. I've had this little nook for a long time now, and I'd hate to see it fade away. I'm on Facebook and Twitter, but there's something to be said about talking for longer than 140 characters. So I guess my first resolution for the new year is to visit with you more often.

For now? I'm knitting a pair of mittens for Wee Gozer, my 18-month-old. I'm working on a cabled blanket for Will. Pictures to follow. I'm experiencing a renaissance in reading, thanks to the Nook I received for my graduation. It helps when I'm running after Wee Gozer all day long, and it comes in really handy when I want to read in bed at night and not wake anyone up.

That's about all for now, but there will be more to come.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Of Superheroes, Comics, Knitting, and Life.

So last year was... interesting. I was dealing with a lot of pressure, not the least of which was having a baby 9 years after my last one was born, and all the adjustments that come with being pregnant again. Oh, and finishing up graduate school while pregnant, with the impending stress of my final two semesters coming while dealing with an infant, and all the sleep-deprivation goodness that comes with that territory.

Bottom line: I needed something to take the edge off, because it was ON, and it was on, big time. There was no time for novels or knitting anymore, two things that I always turned to for stress relief. I wasn't working anymore - a part-time schedule with a full-time infant? It wasn't in the cards. I was climbing the walls.

And then a friend - a fellow fangirl, mom, and knitter, who would become an even better friend in the days to come - casually mentioned that my favorite comic book character, Gambit from the X-Men, was back with his own title.

I hadn't picked up a comic book in years, but Gambit? Well... that may just be worth a trip to the comic book store. And what's one title a month, right? I could read a comic in no time. I missed my comic books, especially since losing my mind when The Avengers hit movie theatres that May. Of course, my friend upped the ante by sending me the first two issues, so now I had no excuse. I hit my local comic book store, feeling very freaked out about my 12 year absence. And I walked out with Gambit, and a few other titles.

Almost a year later, I review comic books. I go to conventions. I have a lot more than Gambit on my pull list (it's a reserved title file at your comic book store). I love superheroes. They make it all better, no matter how bad the situation seems to be. There are days when I really need them, and they're always there with their iron suits, enchanted hammers and mutant powers, no matter what time of day or night I need them. 

So, knitting. Well, that's been a journey back, too. I don't get much in the way of knitting time at home these days, but I am lucky enough to have friends who take a night out of their week, when we converge on a small coffee shop in the city and knit for a few hours. We talk about crazy things, we talk about geeky things, we laugh a whole lot, and we knit. Some days, most of my week revolves around counting down to knit night. I've been working on a scarf for almost three months - something I'd normally be able to whip out in a week or two - but I'm learning that it's all about the process. Kind of like being a new mom again. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Returning to Life, Kind Of.

So here I am, after four years. I've finished my final project, and will be receiving my Master's degree in about two and a half weeks. I mean, I won't be at graduation - a flight to California just isn't in the cards right now - but I will be graduating, and bringing this journey to a close. Or a crossroads, depending on how you see things.

So what happened over four years? I went into grad school. I lost one job. I found another. I had a baby. I lost another job. I rediscovered comic books. I started a few blogs for class, one of which I'm keeping. I knit a lot. I juggled.

So yes, I'm back, and yes, you can expect to hear from me more often. But there will be a few changes, so here's the obligatory housekeeping post to tell you what's what.

This blog will be the place I talk about life, knitting, and overall, books and comics that I'm reading. This is the "Roe Blog", if you like that sort of thing.

The book reviews will be updated at Mom Read It. Right now, I'm posting the ages 0-4 book reviews I worked on for my Materials 0-4 class, so if you are interested in that sort of thing, that's where to look. Reviews of middle grade (ages 9-12) and teen/YA books and media are already there, so feel free to wander around and check it out.

In other news, I review comics now! I've been reviewing comics on my friend Chuck's blog at What'cha Reading for a few months now, and having a blast. Again, if you like that sort of thing, come on over and visit, there are some great people reviewing some fun books.

More to come soon, I just wanted to get this sorted out.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Aaaand... DONE.

For now, that is. I've finished my last two classes in my grad program. It was a grueling semester, but it's done and I'm finishing strong, something I was terrified of not doing when I undertook two classes while taking care of an infant. I'm relieved, and so grateful to my family and friends that saw me through this. And now, the winter break, as I prepare for my final project: the ePortfolio. I've already started getting myself organized for this, as it's a gauntlet of writing over 12 weeks. It can be done.

In other news, I've decided that for now, I will not be splitting the blog content. I will continue to post book reviews at my Mom Read It blog on WordPress, as that's garnered a following thanks to Twitter and LinkedIn notifications. I may split the blog content in the future. Again, if you feel strongly either way, let me know. I also blog comic book reviews over at my friend Chuck's blog, Whatcha Reading? I just posted one for Lance "Bishop" Henriksen's new undertaking, To Hell You Ride, which looks like it's going to be some really good stuff. Head over and check the reviews out if you get a chance!

I inadvertently discovered today that an article I had published in Library Student Journal last year is on the syllabi for two different library school classes. Talk about a surreal moment, right?

I've also picked up my knitting needles again, which is such a huge relief. I missed the therapeutic feel of the yarn running through my fingers and the comforting rhythm of the patterns. I love the little "click clack" of the bamboo needles. It's an altogether relaxing experience that I denied myself for far too long. I'm working on the Commuter fingerless gloves from Knitty's First Fall issue this year. I'll have pictures up soon. Promise.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Quick Update...

I've spent the past few days loading up book reviews I wrote for my Materials for Teens class, so all my reviews are in one place. Please look through and enjoy. Or disagree - we all know books are highly subjective, as well they should be.

I'm also guest blogging now, giving comic book reviews on my buddy Chuck's site, What'cha Reading?  Please go check his site out - he provides some really strong commentary on an amazing range of titles. His taste runs a lot more indie than mine, and he's introduced me to quite a few new books in the eons since we've known one another. I've only got one review up now - the Marvel Now kinda-relaunch of my favorite Merc with a Mouth, Deadpool - but as this hellish semester comes to a close, I plan to remedy this and get to work, bringing superhero goodness to the site.

I have also been thinking (always a scary thought). While I fully intend to continue blogging about more than just book reviews, but I don't know if that will alienate anyone who comes here specifically for reviews. So do me a favor, and weigh in - would you prefer to read the content separately? Should I keep it all in one spot for ease of browsing? Comment and let me know.

More to come soon - but first, a  paper due tomorrow demands my attention.