doing something useful

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“It’s nice to be doing something useful.” Yes, my mother is very excited about a new project: knitting children’s hats for the 500 Hats Project, which is organized by a local store, Lovelyarns in Baltimore. The project asks local knitters and crocheters to make hats for elementary and middle-school children in selected Baltimore City schools or programs. I hope Mom and I can go to the store to deliver the hats, as it looks fantastic: lovelyarns.com. I found out about the program when searching for local knitting-related charity projects and what makes it very convenient and flexible is that there are no deadlines – they accept hats anytime.  Continue reading

experiencing community from inside the apartment?

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It was cold. It was dark. It was crowded. The lighting of the Washington Monument in early December is a tradition in Baltimore. Many people wander over to the Monument to eat, drink and be merry. Yet, dragging Mom out of her cozy chair on a cold evening seemed inordinately cruel. So, like last year, we watched the proceedings from my living room window. The Monument lights – about four blocks away – were turned on and fireworks filled the sky. We drank hot chocolate, ate cookies and ooh’d and aah’d at the fireworks. But, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that we weren’t more engaged.  Continue reading

clearing out and letting go

clothes-2150834_1280Even in a small space, there are things to sell, give away, donate or throw away. When Mom came to live with me, she mailed several boxes of clothes, craft supplies, etc. and I found homes for them in the closet or in drawers. I sorted through my things to make space for whatever she sent down. This meant that some of my things were put out for anyone to take while other items were donated to organizations helping: women fleeing domestic violence or homeless people in Baltimore or veterans who need assistance or shelter-bound animals seeking a home. Of course, some items were thrown away, having already given their all. Item A needed space so Item B had to go.  Continue reading

lessons learned in year 1

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My mother and I worked through many issues during our first 12 months together as adults sharing a space. The key to successful outcomes always involved patience, problem solving and (eventually) finding the humor in almost everything. We tried to keep it simple, working through the issue together. The range of products available for older people – or indeed anyone who needs assistance –  is amazing and many of these products are not overly expensive.  Continue reading

the first year is the hardest, isn’t it?

welcome-to-our-home-1205888_1920In April 2016, at age 87, my mother took the courageous step of moving from the northern New York village where she had lived for more than 70 years to live with me in Baltimore. This was amazing for several reasons: she has many good friends in NY, she doesn’t have friends living in Baltimore, she has lived alone for more than 40 years and she is fiercely independent. She also was self-aware enough to realize that living alone was no longer working very well. She gave away or sold nearly everything she owned and moved into my (rather small) apartment to live with me and my cat. Continue reading