Friday, January 30, 2009

This is what I would do if I could -- forget talking on the cell phone while driving.

We're still unpacking from our move to Baltimore from New York, and I can't find the cable for our camera and it's too full of the photos my youngest took of our cat and dog for me to take new. So you get this one. Unless you're dying to see Cookie or Hud.

Reminder that the first charity project is a call for:


for the homeless shelter in my town -- twin size, any color, any type of yarn, any pattern, just please make sure it can be MACHINE WASHED.

Send your finished blankets to: Catonsville United Methodist Church, 6 Melvin Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228.

My local yarn shop is offering a discount on yarn purchased for this project -- check them out here and support a local mom at the same time -- as soon as their online shop is up and running.

It's one small thing I can do for the homeless in my town. I don't pretend to know how to solve the problem of homelessness. I don't pretend that I naturally strive to be my brother's keeper. The sight of the homeless can hurt. It can offend. It can scare you. But I feel less scared if I am doing something about it. I know my own limits -- I can't work as a case manager or an addiction counselor -- I don't have the guts for that incredibly hard work. (I also don't have a college degree, but I digress.)

But I can do one small thing that helps the folks who are able to care for the homeless in those more important ways.

And I can ask you to do that one small thing with me.

Knit up your stash -- use what you have -- send it my way -- and I'll personally place it on the temporary bed of someone's brother, someone's father. Someone's son.

The blanket you make will belong to that brother, that father. The folks who help the homeless in my town help with apartment credit checks, job interviews, connections to Traveler's Aid for a free bus ticket home, finding black boots for their interview at McDonald's. They help them get off the street, into the shelter, and then into a home.

When they leave the shelter, they can take our little blanket with them.

So we'll have to keep knitting more. Because right now, in the cold, is someone's son.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Day

This is Day Two -- Two Day -- Today -- Tuesday.

OK, I've had some coffee. It's my last drug, and I'm leaning on it pretty hard.

I was hoping to start up the blog and the first charity knitting project (see yesterday's entry) with all the bells and whistles of blog-dom -- for instance, you will see fancy photos HERE and then THERE to the right, the list of blogs I read every morning will be so very neat and tidy. Maybe with some funny pix over there, on the other side. I am so very behind in learning all of this stuff. I am somewhere between being 70 and remembering when we called computers 'word processors.' Someday I'll know how to highlight 'first charity knitting project' above so that you instantly get all the info.

But my 10 year old, Maisie, started throwing up at 3 am yesterday morning, so my head was too fuzzy and I was doing laundry most of the day and once she woke up around 10, she and I made lightly toasted bread and water for her to take tiny mouse bites out of until we were sure her evil twin, Stomach Flu, had gone for good. (We're pretty sure -- but she could only venture as far as a small bowl of Cheerios and milk for supper, so she's home again today to try some real food.)

So my day was home nursing instead of fine tuning the blog, sure, some knitting between fetching more apple juice (noro scarf like everyone and her sister have been knitting -- this one in pretty pinks and light blues with already the best swatch of yellow and orange for my sister whose birthday is at the end of January -- wouldn't a picture of it right HERE be sweet? I hope she likes it -- January is a horrid month for a birthday and ever since Freddie Prinze died on her birthday in 1977 and we were stuck in our rural Michiana family home during a blizzard and she had to have homemade doughnuts instead of birthday cake, well, poor Dawn's birthdays are a bit fraught.)

Having a kid with stomach flu does a lot for my Gratitude TherMOMeter:

I am grateful my girls are 10 and 12 YEARS old and not MONTHS -- stomach flu, like so much else, gets easier;

I am grateful I have a washing machine and dryer (you never say 'drying machine' do you -- let's all start -- it could become a thing --- a thing machine!) inside of my house and I don't have to go down to the building basement, or down to the corner, or over to the pole barn in front of a dead corn field and use drying machines that take all your quarters;

I am grateful that I am an unemployed mom so that a kink in my plans like a sick kid means only that I can't walk the dog or show up at the clothing closet to organize things for the men's homeless shelter in my town, but it's all still accessible, it all still works, no pressure to get to work or find someone to watch her, all that.

(Sure, there's a different kind of stress to being a stay-at-home mom, but knitting helps with that. And coffee. See above -- and perhaps an entry a week from now when I LOATHE being a stay-at-home mom.)

One note about the Knitting Blankets for the Mens Homeless Shelter Project:

Stuff can be crocheted -- of course -- I am NOT an anticrochetite!

Stuff can be sewn -- of course -- I am NOT an antisewite!

(Although my 12 year old, Ella, has said that the way the word sew is spelled has always bothered her. We were at the library at the time, reading the spines in the sewing section (because Santa finally brought me my first sewing machine and you know I would SO have a photo of it here if I knew how to do it!) and I knew exactly what she was talking about. I shuddered a bit with what she has inherited from me: this odd looking at the written word. Don't get me started on how the word 'melancholy' has gotten under my skin since circa. 1967. Why couldn't my children have inherited my awesome athletic ability instead of my cerebral hiccups? Because I don't have an awesome athletic ability. Possibly that's one reason why.)

Stuff can be purchased -- of course -- I am NOT, oh, forget it. You get the idea.

One way to think of helping is allow yourself to think of helping in SMALL ways -- if you've got just the yarn, or polar fleece, for one blanket for one homeless person, that's a lot!

If you are hitting the sales at Kohl's or Target or Macy's and you can afford just one pack of XXXL long underwear, buy just that and mail it to me -- that's a lot!

If you are ordering clothes online, and can afford to have one xxxl hoodie sent to me, that's a lot!

(Andraya Dolbee, Lazarus Caucus, 6 Melvin Avenue, Catonsville, MD 21228)

I will deliver it directly to the homless person requesting it.

It's not just about keeping folks warm -- it's about getting them thermals so they can get that job working outside all day, or about getting them steel-toed boots so they can go to the interview at the construction site.

It's about people asking in their own words for what they need -- and it's about people listening and honoring what they say.

It's sometimes as simple as a blanket, a pair of boots.

It's sometimes just that simple.

And you and I? We can do simple. So many of us can, at least right now, still do simple.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Donate Warmth

I Have The Kneed 4 Knitting.

A men's homeless shelter in my town needs blankets -- and my idea is to contact knitters across the knation:

Have you just about (now that we're in January) finished your Holiday knitting?

Was one of your resolutions that you would not BUY (or finger or drool over) any new knitting until your stash is depleted to a manageable level?

Are you wishing you had some mindless knitting to do while watching the kids, or Turner Classic Movies, or MSNBC, or while daydreaming about having kids with Ted Turner and/or Keith Olbermann and/or Rachel Maddow?

Are you sometimes overwhelmed by the problem of such things as homlessness?

I have volunteered to secure clothing and toiletries for my town's men's shelter, via a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the homeless find permanent housing, jobs, counseling and community (

I have decided that keeping one person warm who would otherwise freeze during a cold winter outside is worth doing.

I have decided that reaching out to fellow knitters to keep one homeless person warm is worth doing.

I have decided to feed the idea that the knitting you do for a homeless person will wrap more than a blanket around him; some part of you will be wrapped around him, some part of him will stay with you.

I have decided to chisel away at the mammoth problem of homelessness, one blanket covering one shivering person at a time.

Please holler at the knitters you know and send your finished blankets to:

The Lazarus Caucus
ATTN: Andraya Dolbee
6 Melvin Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228

Blankets can be any pattern, any size, any color, anything you would want to wrap around yourself is what you should make for others. Please remember the shelter I am helping serves men only -- I will find a family shelter for blankets that seem too much for a child or woman.

The men sleep in twin sized beds (though until recently, they had to sleep on the floor) but they can take your blanket with them when they leave. This way your gift will stay with them as they move on to a real home, or back on the streets, or to another shelter.

I also need:

Thermals -- aka Long Underwear shirts and pants -- size XXXL;

Hoodies -- size XL, XXL, XXXL.

I am trying my hand at a blog to write about this project -- I'll report on what we knit together....

Now warm up the tv, or tune in NPR, or fire up the Sirius Satellite and get to knitting!