“From Netta, With Love”

 

One day while working on a crochet project I was thinking about a conversation R and I had had awhile back.  In the area where we live in it is not uncommon to see someone down on their luck standing on the lane dividers at intersections asking for any help people are willing to give.  Now, I know there are some individuals who will do this even when they don’t “need” it or that will scoff if they think you gave them to little of an amount but every time he mentions that someone is standing there my heart suffers a sadness.  One of my greatest wishes is for everyone to be comfortable in life.  To not have to worry about if they will eat today or whether they will have a place to sleep tonight or if they will have to sleep outside and battle whatever weather we may be having.  To feel safe and warm.

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While sitting there I was trying to figure out a way I could help…..and then the light bulb went off.  The answer was literally right in front of me.  I may not have anything to give money wise but I do have yarn.  I can crochet.  I then went on to think of what I could make.  At first I thought about mats crocheted using plastic grocery bags like I had heard about on Facebook but quickly realized as awesome as that would be it was just not something I felt I could tackle on my own.  The turn around of finishing one would take me an enormous amount of time due to what it took to simply prepare the bags to crochet.  So for now that thought has been filed in the brain box to possibly be revisited another day.  It was then that I thought about how uncomfortable it can be outside when it gets cold.  Another light bulb.  Hats.  I could make hats.

 

I am not the fastest crocheter but I have decided to challenge myself to make a minimum of one hat a day.  365 hats in a year?  I think I can do that.

Project decided, I then thought about how I would want to hand them out.  Not being able to drive or navigate unfamiliar areas on my own put some limitations on my options so I thought about who could do the that part of the “leg work” and I immediately thought about local charities.  From there this is what I decided…

  1.  I want to keep a small box in our car and when he sees someone while we are out and about down on their luck I want to give them a hat, thoughtful words and a smile.  And…
  2.  I am going to pick 2 charities/organizations (Links to their websites are below)  and I am going to start making donations.  As of right now I plan to alternate yearly between the two.  If I am able to crank out more hats that I am anticipating then I will divide them between the two charities.

It may be a small gesture but if I can help even one person be warm and not have to make the decision of whether they will eat today (or for several days) or use the money they have collected to buy a cheap hat to help keep them warm than I will be happy.

Chosen charities/organizations:

Horizon House: Website

Wheeler Mission Ministries: Website

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank R, my family and all of my friends who have been so supportive with this decision. I would especially like to thank my book sisters from Bink’s Clubhouse for helping me decide what to call this hat adventure that I am going on. They made name suggestions and then voted on favorites. A special hat tip to Manda Laurie for suggesting “From Netta, With Love”.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

-Mother Teresa

 

 

 

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Challenges of a New Place

Per the suggestion of my best friend Allie I am going to share with you some of the things that are involved when someone who is blind is moving into a new place.

Let’s start with orientation and mobility…

Orientation refers to the relationship between a person and the physical space that surrounds him/her. It includes conceptualizing spatial relationships, such as right angles for negotiating intersections and understanding the layout in one’s own home or office so that a person can confidently and efficiently function in these environments.
Mobility refers to techniques used to move safely through the environment while getting from Point A to Point B.
If you found that ^^^ information interesting you can read more here.
When I am out and about I use my cane to help me navigate my surroundings. Basically my cane and my hearing work as my”eyes”.  When I am in the comfort of my own home the cane gets tucked in the corner and forgotten about until I get ready to go somewhere. Learning the layout of our new apartment wasn’t hard for me per say as it is a relatively small place. I trailed the walls and practiced walking across rooms and such probably 3-4 times and at that point I felt decently confident.  For me it was staying in the mind that I was in a new place. Most might say “You forgot your were in a new place?!?!” Why yes, yes I have. All it took was concentrating completely on navigating the buildings stairs and hallways (while moving in our things) and then being happy I did it independently (albeit slowly) for me to drop the ball on focusing on where I was and where I was going after I walked in my front door. While concentrating so hard on navigating 2 sets of stairs and a small hallway while not only carrying something but not having my cane I found the apt door, walked through it and immediately veered to the left a little and BAM ran right into a wall. See in our old place when you walked in the front door you were in the living room and if you veered to the left a little bit it would have had you walking through the open area of the living room and to the couch. In the first few week I have woken up a couple of mornings and “forgot” where my bedroom door was.  Eventually it will all just mentally be there but it takes time. The next step for me as far as orientation and mobility goes will be getting familiar with the neighborhood and learning and practicing getting to and from the bus stop. Luckily, aside from getting to and from the first bus stop, the bus travel I take to work will be the same as it always has been for me.
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Organization…
Once you get familiar with the layout of the apartment then comes the organization/placement of everything. This is the norm for anyone moving right? In our house our big goal is to only “place” things once. We think hard about how we want things to be so once it’s done then I can just focus on getting use to where everything is.
The food might not sound like a big deal to most but organizing (and never changing) the way food is put away especially canned goods is important so I can be confident that I am not opening a can of diced tomatoes when I need a can of corn. There are ways to label most of everything but I have found repeatedly put things in the same place works best for me.
Appliances…
Appliances have been the most frustrating thing for me as far as the new place goes but it’s not because they don’t work properly or anything like that. It’s because I apparently tossed out my bump dots without realizing it while packing. Bump dots (see Here) are peel and stick dots that people who are blind or visually impaired use to mark everyday items. They help me tactically navigate our appliances, my work phone, computer keyboard etc. since I can’t just look at them and know where the buttons or settings are that I need. I know the nice flat touch buttons on stoves/microwaves probably make them look nicer but let me tell you…you can’t FEEL those touch buttons (until they are nice and worn in) which in turn creates a small issue for someone who can not see.  R and I discussed using tape or stickers until my new ones came in but honestly it was easier for him to start things for me and then we didn’t have to worry about trying to pick the temporary stuff off of the appliances when my bump dots arrived. The day I got home with my bump dots was a good day. I can now independently use my dishwasher, stove/oven, microwave and washer/dryer. It’s a lot easier to get things done when I am not constantly having to ask R to help with these things.
 Moving to our new place has had it’s challenges but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am still working on getting everything set up exactly right and with time that will happen.
“Everyone faces challenges in life. It’s a matter of how you learn to overcome them and use them to your advantage.”
-Celestine Chua