Are The Kids Alright?

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The senseless act of violence against innocent people in Boston this week, once again leaves us mourning the loss of lives, worrying about the injured, and asking hard questions – Why? Who? What will happen next?

I jump every time the phone rings. Both my kids live in the Boston area. One has been in lock down twice this week…phone lines down…afraid to go outside. And like so many, I’m finding the heartbreaking stories and images of the bombings at the Boston Marathon difficult to view and comprehend. Yet, who can look away?

What about the children? How do we explain such unimaginable tragedy to children? How do they process an event that in our wildest dreams we could not even imagine happening? How do we help kids cope?

“It’s very difficult. The first thing you do is check in with your own emotions. Because you can guarantee whatever you’re feeling, your kids are feeling as well.” ~ Dr. Janet Taylor, community psychiatrist, Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital

One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a teacher after 9/11 was that children develop a deep sense of empathy when they are given the tools to cope with difficult circumstances.

There may not be one prescribed road map to reassure children that they are safe, but here are 5 wonderful resources leading the way:

1. National Association of School Psychologists: A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope

2. American Psychological Association: Helping Your Kids Manage Stress In The Aftermath

3. Boston Mamas: Five Certainties Following The Boston Marathon Bombings

4. Parents: Boston Marathon Explosions: Be In Control of What Your Child Will Hear and See

5. Boston.com: After the Boston Marathon Explosions, What Parents Should Do

Our kids live in a difficult world right now. While they may not experience physical injuries, emotional wounds can run deep. Let’s take this horrific tragedy and encourage our kids to deepen their feelings of empathy…and please give your kids a hug.

Egg Shell Sculptures

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Elegant – These photos of gorgeous egg sculptures are created by Chinese artist, clinic Wen Fuliang.

Fragile – When Wen Fuliang was laid off from his job as a wood carver, pilule he turned to this unusual and skillful form of art to make ends meet.

Repurpose – He uses chicken, goose and duck eggshells to carve out designs and places of interest.

Artistry – Egg carving is done using a fine diamond bit on an electric rotary tool. Wen Fuliang carefully empties the yolk and egg white with a syringe and sketches a design on the shell.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

MORE Easter posts:

DIY Silk Eggs From Old Ties
Super Natural Eggs
3 Ways To A Clean Air Easter
“Green” Easter

Photo via Daily Mail

Equal

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EQUAL: e·qual  /ˈēkwəl/ Adjective: Being the same in quantity, size, degree, or value. Noun: A person or thing considered to be the same as another in status or quality.Verb: Be the same as in number or amount.

It’s time for marriage equality.

The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Tuesday in cases involving gay marriage.

3 Reasons why it’s time for marriage equality:

  1. 9 million Americans are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a 2011 study by a scholar at the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.
  2. 49% of Americans now favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in mid-March. 44% percent are opposed.
  3. There were 646,000 same-sex-couple households in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

My best reason for supporting marriage equality: I fell in love. Got married. Nobody told me I couldn’t. It should be every American’s constitutional right to marry the person they love.

Do you believe it’s time for marriage equality?

Source: Politico Painting via Designerman

Downhill Race To Save Winter

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During a recent conversation with a fellow skier, I mentioned my dire concern that climate change has derailed winter. Last year, my internal snow globe geared up as the temps dropped — skis tuned, fluffed up the down and kept the backpack ready to go at the first dusting.

No snow.

Same routine this year.

Snow!

But in my neck of the woods, the Catskill Mountains saw ski conditions that were just horrible. The mountain terrain for much of the season was mostly man-made snow cover on a thin natural base. This equates to dangerous ski conditions. The mountains were dotted with ice chunks the size of small cars. Bare spots with exposed rocks were interspersed among grassy craters. In February, local ski areas started closing during the week.

My friend said, “What’s a few degrees here and there? I’m not retiring the skis yet. You’ll see, winter will come back with a vengeance next year.”

Save Winter

Skiers, snowboarders and the ski industry depend on powdery frozen water, but snow sport enthusiasts all over the world can no longer expect a long “freestyle” winter’s ride.

According to a survey taken by the National Ski Areas Association, last year’s warm weather and low snowfall dropped visitors to ski resorts by almost 16%, the sharpest decline in more than 30 years. At least 11 of the nation’s 486 resorts went out of business. The survey concluded that “long-term  climate change” was a factor.

Protect Our Winter was formed to save winter:

“Protect Our Winters mission is “to engage and mobilize the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change. Our focus is on educational initiatives, activism and the support of community-based projects.”

I asked Protect Our Winter Executive Director, Chris Steinkamp what’s up with the weather, and why it is so urgent to curb climate change now:

“I always say that what’s outside our window is weather, not climate. To accurately assess climate change, you need to look at the long term trends. The last decade was the warmest on record for example, and 2012 was the warmest on record in the US. Experts also say that with climate change will come some extreme weather in form of floods, tornados and snowstorms. As the weather warms  though, that snow will be rain. Be glad that its snowing today, but take a long look at the problem.”

Are winter sports headed for a chilly crash landing? Please read my interview with Chris HERE and find out what you can do to help protect winter.

Photo: Vintage ski poster

Adventures In Irish Knits

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We attribute meanings and associations to holidays – real, tradition or made up. Leprechauns, green beer, corned beef and cabbage, shamrocks, parades, and four-leaf clovers sum up today. For me, St. Patrick’s Day is the day to be swathed in a big Irish hug — one of the Fisherman sweaters I obsessively knit for many years. Not only are these sweaters unisex, they never go out of style.

After attaining knitting proficiency by reading and swatching my way through tea-stained copies of Barbara Walker’s series, A Treasury Of Stitch Patterns, I set out to learn the Irish stitch patterns. I soon found these Aran patterns were as addictively intriguing to knit as the messages conveyed in the individual stitches.

The classic knitting book by Alice Starmore, Aran Knitting provided the background and patterns for traditional fisherman sweaters. This book was out of print, but happily, it has been re-released, revised and expanded!

History

Aran Sweaters go way back. The emergence of the first sweaters are debatable, but commercially available Aran knitting patterns were published in the 1940’s. The yarn was spun and knit off the west coast of Ireland on the Aran Islands. The sweaters were handcrafted for fishermen and farmers, and passed down from generation to generation. Each stitch pattern is said to carry its own unique meaning. These sweaters were often used to help identify bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach following an accident at sea.

Stitches

The combination of stitches have been interpreted in these popular Aran sweater stitch patterns:

cableThe Cable Stitch depicts fisherman’s ropes. It represents a wish for a fruitful day at sea.

diamond

The Diamond Stitch reflects the small fields of the islands. Sometimes the diamonds are filled with Moss Stitch, which is said to depict the seaweed that fertilized the barren fields. The diamond stitch is a wish for success and wealth.

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The Zig Zag Stitch is a half diamond. It represents the twisting cliff paths on the islands. The Tree of Life reflects the importance of the family – a desire for clan unity.

Photo: French Voguettes via Pinterest, Vogue Knitting