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.