26 May 2013

"I hear the ticking of the clock..."

I've been having very vivid dreams that stick with me even in my waking for a time.  I mean that the dreams linger for a time after I awake.  And I also mean that I've been having the dreams for a time as well.  Time. time. time. {"see what has become of me?"}

The dreams can cause anxiety during and afterward.  Or they can just be really odd, but I don't really react to that oddness with anxiety.  But usually, of late, I've been anxious in my dreams, which makes me physically anxious while I am dreaming, as well as waking anxious and being very disoriented and anxious for the first hour or so after I am awake.  Which in turn makes others anxious who are around me cuz I don't seem myself.

This morning, the sort of rhythmic whir of the bedroom's ceiling fan wormed into my dreams as the ticking of an alarm clock that was scaring my dream~self cuz someone was trying to find me and I thought that the clock's ticking would give me away.  There was another part of me trying to reason or reassure the dream~self that clock would tick even if I were not there.  Sort of the "tree falling in the forest" debate then ensued within the dream~self.

It's no wonder why I awake somewhat befuddled and turtleheaded.

Suthern Belle

My husband's youngest son and his wife are expecting their first child in mid~September.  This precious lil girl's name will be extra special but for right now, for the purposes of this blog, I'll call her Suthern Belle.  So at seventeen weeks in~utero they took some snaps of her during the sonogram and these pix are amazingly detailed.  The things that can be done with technology today seems utterly limitless.

In the past, when folks would show me their sonograms, I would smile and nod, while murmuring vaguely about the whitish greyish blackish blobs that seemed to shift even as I looked at them.  If someone pointed and said, "and his fifth arm is double jointed!", I would have continued to smile, nod, and murmur.  Cuz who the hell actually could make sense of these things.  My mammogram made more sense than these things and according to it, I can expect a pair any day now.

All joking aside, when I looked at these sonograms of Suthern Belle, my lil heart went pitter patter and my face went, "awwwww" as my head cocked to the side as it does when ever I see anything excessively cute, like a big~eyed puppy licking a toddler's ice~cream cone.  I was a goner.  Especially when I saw the one pic.

Suthern Belle was in the classic pose of a genteel lady in mid~swoon.  As all truly southern belles can tell you, nothing makes you look quite as helpless as the back of the hand to the forehead.  I know they tell you that when newborns smile, they really just have gas.  Well apparently this is the equivalent for in~utero baby~girls!

25 May 2013

The Gift of Giving

Each year, or thereabouts, I select a non~profit group in the area whose work I appreciate to donate hand~knit/crocheted &/or loomed items to.  Sometimes I already have a list of local groups, and other times, I construct a new list.  It depends.

I like to first look at groups in my town, county, and the surrounding Golden Triangle.  Then I widen the net to also consider efforts of those organizations within the state or the SouthEast region as a whole.  Usually I don't get further than that, cuz there are lots of groups right here at home, in my own backyard so to speak; that going national or international doesn't make the list often.

I also consider what sort of work that group does, who they serve, and what sort of record they have.  Do the recipients actually receive the benefits, or does most of the money go to the administration?  Is the organization mostly made of volunteers or is it staffed with mostly paid/salaried folks?  Is this group funded in large part by some major foundation? Is there a need for the items I make?

In the past, I've made fifty hats/scarves/hoods/hooded~scarves for the Palmer Home for Children {an orphanage in Columbus, MS}; over a hundred hats for the Children's Hospital in Little Rock, AR; about thirty lapghans for French Camp Academy's Autumn Auction; scarves, hats, toys, washcloths for both the Safe Haven {Meridian, MS} and Sally Kate Winters {West Point, MS}, which are shelters for women and children; and other projects for groups in the area.

I always contact the organization before~hand, telling them what I do, asking if they would be interested in some items, and if so, what are their preferences/requirements/restrictions.  If possible, I ask if they can give me some demographics for the population they serve.  I give examples of what I make, and why I am asking for the information that I do.

For instance, some organizations work with populations like children who need soft caps because they now have newly naked, tender heads due to the chemo and radiation treatments.  Their siblings and parents often need warmer hats too, as most of the families' resources are going toward care for their sick child.  However, there usually are many groups that are assisting these organizations.

So I tend to want to help those that are not quite as widely or publicly known to be in need, so might not be receiving the assistance that they need.  Group homes for the elderly, mentally ill, recovery addicts, or developmentally disabled are usually in need of items and don't receive adequate assistance.  Their clients are often financially stressed, have health issues and expenses, and can use something that is personal, functional, and pleasing.  Often these folks don't have families who provide them with boundless love and support, sometimes those families don't have the means to provide them with much at all.

I know what it is like to be on both ends of this spectrum.  I've received services over the years.  I've worked as a provider of services.  And when I can, I like to be able to give back, help someone else out, let them know that folks do care and can help and will help.  Sometimes, receiving a personal item can remind the person that they are just that, a person, an individual worth caring about.  A scarf, a washcloth, a lapghan, a hat are all small things, yet they can mean so very much.

So this year, I looked at various non~profit groups within Mississippi.  I read about Baddour, a residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities.  Baddour is a community, of sorts, which provides the clients there with various activities and environments that address residents' abilities, needs, and wants.  So some folks garden, work, create items to sell in the facility's store, learn skills that will help them live more independently, cook, sew, watch movies, play sports, etc.  It's about empowerment and enrichment.  It's about encouraging and assisting these adults who are like you and me in that they want to be able to live their lives with dignity, joy, and freedom.  Yet these adults are not like you and me, in that they might not be able to drive to the store, select groceries for diner, pay or count the change, or cook that dinner when they return home.  They might not be able to process multi~stepped tasks the way you and I do.  They might not have families to love them, scold them, get together and take them to the movies.  They might be depending on others to provide their clothing, their meals, their allotted monies.

I can't do everything.  But I can make Dot a shawl of blue so that she can feel pretty.  I can make Bill a maroon and white afghan so that he can show his love for MSU.  I can make a bag that will fit onto Sophie's walker and a large cloth so that Sam's shirt stays clean while he eats.

I know I like to receive something special that let's me know that I am thought of and cared for.  I think we all do.  Don't you?

what the ... fleece?

My husband and I are very "Jack Spratt"; he's slim and I am almost a hundred pounds heavier than he is.  Which means, amongst other things, that I am always lots warmer than he is.  I am throwing off heat.  My body generates tons of it.  With all these solid layers of fat, I am encased in thermoheat wraps, the internal kind.  Now with summer just a twitch away, I break out in a clammy sweat just thinking of stepping outside.

So the other evening, I glance over at my freshly showered and clad~for~the~night husband stretched out in his recliner.  The air~conditioner is set on 74, I'm in my panties and v~necked T, hair up off my neck.  He's in his long sleeved T, the one with super~heros on it.  A thick pair of woolen socks are covering his feet.  And his sleep pants?  Fleece, festooned with teenage mutant ninja turtle faces.

I'm hot summer.  He's a snuggly winter night.

We're an odd couple, but we fit together hand in glove.  We both are comfortable, with ourselves and with each other.  Even if he is a 58 yr old going on twelve.