A Call To Action Against Bullying

I recently participated in a call to action against bullying. ZNO Street published the imaged below and asked writers and rappers to respond. Here’s the image and my response. If you want to get involved, click on their name above to go to the response page.

Cowering in the shadows
Red like wine
Red like blood

Green envy covers the walls
All wanting
Willing to Destroy
The Other
To get it

Back to the wall
Cracks in the wall
Like the sticks
They swing
You crouch
Life chips away.


The Promises We Keep

I overheard the following as I was walking cross town yesterday: If you will be good just this once,  I’ll never ask you to come anywhere with me again. 

The tone was more angry and exasperated than pleading. And I began to think about those bargains we drive with recalcitrant children, bargins that are impossible to keep.  But what would happen if we did? 

Here’s what my imagination did with that as I continued my walk:

If you will be good, 

Just this once, 

I’ll never ask you to come 

Anywhere with me again. 

And you were. 

We made it through that awful ordeal

Of settling your mother’s estate. 

So I kept my promise. 

Grandma would love to see you, 

I’d say and you’d look at me 

With a challenge in your eye, 

“Are you asking me to go with you?”

No, I’d sigh, but she would love you see you. 

“I’ll pass.” And I’d call the sitter.

As you got older,  I’d go to your games, concerts,  and shows. 

“Don’t ask me to go home with you.” 

You challenged, and so win or lose,  

You’d catch a ride with someone else. 

I took to watching from the bleachers

And sneaking out. Perhaps,

You never knew I was there. 

And when your grandmother died, 

You walked to the church.

Your aunt drove you to the burial

And then back home 

Where you retreated to your room.  

Still every morning I made your breakfast and lunch,  

But I never drove you to school. 

Every evening you’d grumble over dinner and glare at me and Joey. 

As soon as you could,  you bought your own car, 

But you never offered me a ride

And drove yourself to college, never to return. 

Joey and I would take road trips 

To see every one of your shows. 

Til your brother went off on his own road too.

Then it was just me.  

Following your career,  

Calling every week for a few minutes 

Of awkward small talk and strained silence

Only to find out from the tabloids

That you were engaged. 

I was relieved to get an invitation, 

But you did not ask me to walk you down the aisle. 

You did that yourself.

And when you won that award, 

I was so proud of all  you accomplished

And you thanked everyone except me,

Including Joey and your mother in heaven. 

Now, here I am, alone, in this hospice room. 

Would it be breaking my promise

To ask you to come see me

One last time?

I’m afraid it would. 

“The promises we keep define us,”

You said all those years ago. 

So young,  so headstrong, and so prescient. 

You fought against me defining you, 

And in the end,  you defined me. 

Snow It Is

Well,  the meteorologists were right.  The snow came and blanketed the spring-like fields of yesterday. 

We headed out for a walk and to clean off the car and got some help from the abominable snowman. 

Okay,  that’s really just the ice scraper. 

But by the time we were heading home the sun was shining, promising better days to come. 

Spring today, Snow tomorrow

Today it is 61 degrees in New York City,  in February,  and on my walk through the park,  the barrenness of the trees is at odds with the sunshine and temperature.  

It’s weird,  but I still took advantage of weather to take a longer walk through the park today. And I was not alone, though the picture below makes it seem that I almost was. 

The oddest thing about our spring February day is the weather report for tomorrow–8-12 inches of snow. Of course the metrologists are having a field day predicting all different scenarios,  but for me, I’ll enjoy the open fields of Central Park instead. 

We’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings. I’m convinced now that the snow won’t amount to much because they’ve already closed the NYC schools. I wasn’t actually looking for a snow day because if we don’t use them,  we’ll get a five day weekend in May. But I’ll take it; at least I can spend the day creating (and grading). As Robert Herrick says, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”

Crochet and Mishaps 2

Last week I started a post about my crocheting mishap and published it accidentally, which is really apropos actually. If you read my last post, you know that I made some big mistakes in crocheting a baby blanket. And, I posted about it on the Instagram (and Facebook) page for our Etsy store (AlyCatCreations1) too. Here’s the thing: This series of posts garnered 90% more likes than our other posts.

Now, I am not one to quibble about likes. I’m happy to have traffic to our site. Please, come browse. Like it. Buy something! We’d love to have you. The thing that struck me though, is that while we do get likes and comments about our finished products, the posts that garnered the most attention were the ones about my mistakes. I began to wonder about that. There are so many “feel good” memes and the like on Facebook and Instagram about building each other up and saying nice things. Which are great. Which are the right sentiment. Which we should do. But then, the likes poor in when I fail.

I wasn’t sure how to feel about that at first. Well, actually I guess I should say that I was feeling many emotions at once. I did laugh. It struck me as funny that posting about a product that would never be on our site brought more traffic to the site than the pieces available for purchase. I was happy the posts were getting likes. I also found it funny that Facebook kept wanting me to boost the post. But I would be lying if I said there wasn’t also a twinge of something else-some hurt or embarrassment.

This led to some pondering of the phenomenon of social media. We post all these lovely catch phrases about being good to others, you never know what they are going through. feel-good-meme

And we should. We should think of other people’s feelings. That has been lost on social media. Too frequently, perhaps in an effort to be brief (140 characters only please) or because we’re posting on the go from our phones and not really crafting prose, posts can be too blunt or even hurtful, so we do need to be attentive to tone and diction, now more than ever. But then, when I admitted I failed at a crochet project, the abundance of likes seemed out of proportion to the post. This is where things get a bit tricky. I posted the photos and the story, so I wanted it out there. I wanted to draw traffic to our site, which it did. I feel good about all of this. I am not really hurt or embarrassed. There was just a twinge, no real regret. My main reaction to the failure of the project is frustration. I did begin to wonder, however, what this says about people in general. Do we really like to see others fail?

What I’ve come up with is yes and no. On the one hand, some like to see others fail because it makes them feel better about themselves, but I think that is the minority, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, that is not what was going on with my crooked blanket posts. I think, rather, that the likes on the failure posts were commiseration. Too often we try to make our lives seem perfect on social media. I’m sure you have all seen the memes and videos of Facebook versus real life. (This one is pretty powerful about how destructive this fake life can be.) Perhaps when a post comes up in which someone admits to making a mistake, and does so without whining, we empathize. “Oh I hate when that happens.” “I understand the frustration.” There is no emoticon for that, so we “like.”

So, let’s continue to like each other’s posts, and let’s comment too. I have to admit that I did receive some encouraging and empathetic comments on the blanket debacle posts. I really liked those; they let me know that others understood my frustration. Sometimes that understanding is what we need most to pick hooks up and begin to stitch life back together. So, let’s like; let’s continue to build each other up and support each other when we were down.

As for that blanket, I rewound all the yarn.


And I’ve started again. This time, I’m crocheting my tried and true pattern and so far, it’s lovely. I’ll let you know when it’s done. Wish me luck!

Crochet and Mishaps

**UPDATE: The app decided to publish this post before I was finished with it. As I was writing, I began musing about the seeming frivolity of this post and what message I really hope to convey. Then, I guess the subway bumped a bit and maybe I hit publish without realizing it. And voila, my unfinished thoughts floated out into the world. Here’s where we begin.


It’s been a while since I posted about crocheting, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been stitching away.

Unfortunately,  I ran into some trouble recently.  I was trying out a new pattern for a different style of baby blanket than I usually make.  It is a double stand pattern, using two colors.  I chose a cream and navy, which while still traditionally blue for the baby boy for whom it is intended, navy rather than baby boy blue changes it up a bit.

The pattern is easy, or so I thought,  and I was moving along nicely.  T wo skeins (of each color) in I laid it out to measure and decide on border options. And that’s when I noticed that the pattern wasn’t as easy as I thought.  Stitches had been dropped and picked up rather randomly, abs the edges were a mess.  There was no salvation for it. In the words of my mother-in-law,  “Damn, I’ve got to rip it.”

Out it came. All four skeins.  Which then had to be balled up again before I could begin anew. Lionel looked on in anticipation.