It is fair to say it was well received
Wednesday May 17th 2023, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

What was her friend’s favorite color?

(She knew what that question hinted at.) I dunno; blue, I guess??

They have been each other’s bestest through years and all kinds of life experiences, and now there’s going to be three thousand miles between them. The friend dropped something off at our house a few weeks ago and her face gave away how painful it was for her that the Silicon Valley downturn was taking her friend three thousand miles away.

I gave up on the blue I’d ordered (some of it still isn’t here yet) and started just going with the off-white afghan that already had the bottom edging done so I could get it to her faster. And yet, and yet… No matter what I told it, it kept telling me that that one was actually for… And I wanted to get it done before moving day and my hands just haven’t been letting me do that much of its heaviness at a stretch…

But. I had a blue afghan. I did, and it was all ready to go. I’d bought the fingering weight yarn years ago and had dyed it three gradient shades from royal to navy and then had eventually knit them together. It was even 2/3 cashmere like the white one, though 1/3 fine wool rather than cotton. I’d offered it to someone a few years ago and they’d chosen another option, I’d offered it to someone else last year and they chose another option, and I kept thinking, it just hasn’t found its person yet. Why is it so hard to find its person–I know they’re out there, someone for whom it has to be blue.

And then I’d forgotten about it.

A certain someone just walked in the door after a farewell dinner.

Where she told her friend, You have to open this before I leave so I can relay to my mom the look on your face when you do.

Friday May 12th 2023, 9:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was an unexpected knock on the door. Michelle opened it, listened a moment, turned, and called, It’s for you, Mom.

Years ago I confessed to Sandy next door that the town paper had run a piece on older dads, interviewing them as they chased after their toddlers and small children. Rodger had talked about the joy.

I noted that no mention was made of his previous life and wife and children nor just what kind of joy he expected them to feel after he left them. I have always kind of wanted to meet him, because I just didn’t get it: why, I wanted to ask the man, did you deliberately lose so much? Your ex is a privilege to have as a neighbor and her kids are the best.

On the other hand, if he hadn’t, she would never have moved into that house and I would never have met her. So there’s that.

I saved the article and saved the article and at long last tossed it, thinking, she doesn’t need the agony of reading that.

Oh! she told me when I finally mentioned it–No, I didn’t see that, actually, I would have loved to have. I’m long past worrying about all that. And then in a conspiratorial tone, hand to one side of her mouth and kind of mocking herself: I’m curious!

In early 2020 after a medical crisis she sold her house and moved into assisted living near her son and oh goodness it turned out to be about two weeks before Covid lockdowns began so she couldn’t even see him except to wave hi through the window.

I texted her kids pictures of the old house as changes began with the new neighbors, paint, landscaping, and asked if I should share them with their mom; the answer was, No, not yet anyway; it would be hard for her.

Her daughter at the door today told me that Sandy had passed and they had wanted me to know. The family was holding a remembrance together on Mother’s Day here.

Turns out Sandy’s ex had also recently died. His memorial service is tomorrow. Also here.

His obit does not mention her. Just his wife of 42 years, children, and grandchildren.

Her obit does not mention him. But I knew she loved him. Just their children and grandchildren.

Who clearly co-ordinated between each other to make everything as easy as possible, since Sandy’s kids live out of state.

While I wonder at how, somehow, when the one was gone, the other went, too, her 84 to his 90.

Carly Simon wrote a song, Like a River, to her late mom: Do you know any more about God? Are you dancing with Benjamin Franklin on the face of the moon? Have you reconciled with Dad?

I think, from what little I heard on the subject, that by the ends of their lives, they had.

And oh how I miss her.

How to politely say don’t go when you know they’re going
Sunday May 07th 2023, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Friends are moving away, and I missed them last time but today I got a cowl into her hands before they leave: cashmere, because nothing else would do (yay for mill-end outlets so I can).

She just happened to have put on a dress this morning that matched it.

I need to be more ready to do that more often in more circumstances, because, man, it felt good to know she’d be taking part of here to there when they arrive at their new life.

I will so miss them.

Thursday May 04th 2023, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Friends

She was coming into San Francisco for work, with time to spare on the front end of the trip, she told me.

I was afraid I was being pushy when I asked if she might like a meet-up? Imagiknit is, or was under the previous owner I’m not sure now, the central point for all things Malabrigo coming into the US; if they had anything new coming out you’d be able to see it there first.

She hadn’t wanted to make the assumption that I’d be willing to negotiate the maybe an hour of traffic to do any such thing, but I wanted to, very much. Turns out she did too. I surprised myself by actually having  a hard time falling asleep last night because I was like a little kid the night before Santa.

I was finally going to get to meet Lisa!

Coming up on South San Francisco, the highway sign suddenly flashed, Crash ahead lanes blocked past 380.

Which is the connector between the two north/south freeways and the airport and right ahead of me. I went up the overpass and got out of the brake lights just ahead.

But that meant having to pull over once I finally got into the city to figure out how the heck to get where I wanted to be. I turned on the Waze app. I hadn’t earlier because my phone battery’s been iffy and I knew the way there–the way we usually go, anyway.

Yay Waze. There was even an open parking spot.

We had such a good time. Such a good time.

You know those moments when every sentence spoken contains an entire world behind it that you want to find out everything about? The Cliff notes of a life clearly well lived. All the questions I could have asked, and can only wish for a next time to squeeze more of those in. But what I learned of Lisa is that I could ask, that she is warm and welcoming and loving and was instantly a good friend in person, not just online.

I have a face to put to the emails now.  It was a privilege to get to borrow that little bit of her time.

She bought some yarn, I bought some yarn, and a good time was had by all.

I turned Waze back on to go. It took me the fastest way, not the way I preferred, but knowing about that crash I went where it told me.

My phone just barely made it home. I plugged it in. Nope. Wouldn’t charge. A few hours later Richard waved a small gizmo that looked like a scratching pad for a kitten and said, Here, use the WiFi to do it.

A little later, a perplexed, Huh from him. Nope.

I don’t know how to get cherry guts out of its port; I’ve certainly tried. It had hung on just long enough after that escape-pied in the kitchen the other day to make today happen. When I needed it to be, it was a resounding 6s.

And so was the day. Thank you, Lisa!

The week after
Sunday April 30th 2023, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,Mango tree

Before we left for Seattle ten days ago, the pomegranate tree still had some leaves in the bright light reddish gold of early spring.

Now they’re all a lush dark green and the first flower buds have appeared. I love how they mimic cacao pods at this stage.

The Anya apricot that germinated right before we left has started to sprout side branches.

Re the older woman who coughed at church last week: I didn’t see her.

But clearly one of the young men who’d been at the front had seen the whole thing because he wears a mask while breaking the bread for the Sacrament and had forgotten his today and knew just whom to ask. That there would be a ziplock in my purse with a bunch of new ones, readily offered.

I had actually taken it out while unpacking everything from the trip and yesterday thought, that needs to go back in there, and went and got it.

I was so proud of him. He was looking out for everybody, whether they noticed it or not.

It was my old friend Eli, who took care of my mango tree against the cold weather while we traveled when it and he were younger. Whichever college gets him next year will be very fortunate to have him.

Stitchbusters anonymous
Thursday April 27th 2023, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit

Come craft together, they said, whatever your project type. It’ll be fun!

It was, too.

But (bifocals notwithstanding) I knit with my glasses off to see up close but I left them on so I could lipread and found out that tiny stitches and slippery silk and having to count and not being able to entirely see what I’m doing while I’m paying attention to someone else…

meant I went home and slowly carefully painstakingly stitch by snaggy stitch ripped out every single thing I’d done there because there was just no rescuing being off by that much that far down and across–and boy did that yarn want to run.

But we had a good time. Next time I’ll bring something brainless and wool on size 7s.

In person time
Wednesday April 26th 2023, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Lupus

In January, a very kind friend offered to drive us to the airport when we needed it.

Yesterday, her husband asked around if anyone could take them to the airport.

At rush hour. Across the Bay.

I’d hurt my back in the last hour at Sam’s before flying home Monday but knowing how much they would need that ride I said yes–along with a few quiet prayers that I’d be able to manage it. And if not, then that someone else would step forward.

I didn’t hear back yesterday and didn’t hear back today and that’s unusual from them so I sent off a hey do you still need this.

Huh. Nothing. Well, I guess they didn’t, then, and went about my day and didn’t fill the car nor take out stuff like reusable grocery bags to make more room because sun exposure time vs it wasn’t needed anyway.

Five pm I picked up my cell and Missed Call had appeared on it in the last hour.

Turns out they had answered; the email had vanished. Oh. It’s been wonky, that’s why I sent it again from my other addy. They’d called my cell, not knowing that the landline is the one I can hear ring.

Maps said 50 min to an hour 50 to get there that time of day and they needed to arrive by 6:30 at the very latest and they were halfway across town and it was 5:00.

I immediately called back, asked if they still needed a ride, said give me two minutes to get out the door, turned off the preheating oven, scribbled a note to Richard who was in a meeting before vanishing on him (he’d known I’d offered), and made a dash for it. Whatever was in the car was in the car and we would make do.

They knew it was a terrible airport to try to get to but it was the only one with a direct flight after work in order to get in at a reasonable hour. They were going to see their only grandchild. She was turning one and she had just learned to walk.

Oh how cool! Such a fun age.

We had a great time catching up on life. It felt an immense privilege to spend that time together. I could even hear Eric in the back seat most of the time, and that’s highly unusual for me. Man, that felt great.

The traffic was as good as it could have been at that hour.

They thanked me, I thanked them, and we pulled up in front of the terminal at 6:29. At 6:30 their bags were out of the car. At 7:25 I sent them a message that not only was the traffic so good the other way that I was already home, I’d filled the car on the way. They told me they’d had enough time to buy dinner, and had just boarded.

After two and a half hours on the road the only time my back had twinged the whole way was the brief moment when I tried to reach the FastTrak toll pass velcroed to the bottom of the window to reset it to 3 so we could use the carpool lane. No dice. I’m too short to reach the quite reasonable spot where the tall guy set it up. No matter.

I can only chalk it up as a small favor from G_d because on my own, I was not at all sure I could manage that trip I’d committed myself to. But I did it.

I expected pain and it didn’t happen.

What I got instead was joy.

Growing it forward
Tuesday April 18th 2023, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life,LYS

How many years ago was it? Someone I only knew a little back when Purlescence was still open posted on FB about having all these extra tomato seedlings and it seemed terrible to throw them away but the whole packet’s worth was way more than she was going to put into the ground. Please. Somebody. Take!

She does not live close by but her office was kinda sorta halfway between us, so when I expressed some interest she dropped them off after work.

At the time I wondered why she would go to so much effort for such little things; years later, I totally get it.  They’re yours, you’ve nurtured these, you know what they could give to someone, how could you not try.

It had been easily twenty years since I’d grown a tomato plant. I had no idea where the path of the sun relative to my yard was or where what was shaded when.

I watched some of hers grow and was inordinately proud that they did. I watched some get killed off by my inexperience; I never did get a Black Krim that year. But somehow, eventually I actually got to pick a tomato off my own vine that I had raised that had all started with her generosity and enthusiasm.

I was hooked, and even last year when every drop of water was being accounted for I grew a tomato plant. One single one. Bought at Costco at the last minute when I just couldn’t stand not having one.

Burpee’s and Park’s send out their catalogs in the thick of the January gray and cold (and, this year, rain.) Not before. They know their audience.

So. I had a few extra seedlings on standby after transplanting: nobody needs more than one zucchini plant (uhhh…) Okay, nobody needs three. I wanted to make sure I had replacements in case the snails devoured anything.

And yet… (Day 1, day 2, day 3…)

They were all fine…

I messaged my next door neighbor. I had one seedling each of Sungold tomato, butternut squash, and a zucchini leftover, and I’d planted all I was going to need for us; did she want them?

She’d love!

She had all kinds of questions. Could you grow them indoors? Do they need direct sun?

You can always try; they might get pretty big. Six hours, as far as I know, in order to produce. (Tomato: Oh yeah? Just watch me!) I told her of my crazy Sungold that kept going for three and a half years.

I knew how much she was going to enjoy watching those grow from tiny to productive, and walked away mentally thanking Janice all those years ago for starting this. It’s all her fault. I’m so glad.

Oh, and, I told her that squash vines can go on for 10-12 feet but I’d deliberately chosen varieties that grow small and straight up.

Sunday April 16th 2023, 8:58 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Life,Lupus

I know there will certainly be days to come when I will wish that my bad day was the kind of a bad day like this one was.

That said.

We were about to leave for church when, walking down the hall, I caught a glimpse of shiny–wait, what? Turned and looked and it was sunshine from the skylight bouncing off the water on the floor. Water?!

The toilet was Niagara-ing impressively.

I waded in and turned the water off to it, we put a whole lot of towels on it and down the hallway, threw a bunch in the washing machine, managed not to soak our Sunday best in the process, washed our hands and headed out.

Or were going to–but someone had parked across our driveway, you know, one of those I’m just running over there for a few minutes things, and he was soon out of the way–after sitting in his truck and being on his phone awhile first.

Got to church, sat down–and the woman behind me started coughing. A lot. Right into the back of my neck. She was not wearing a mask but I had just stocked my purse with a bag of new ones so no problem, and offered her one to match mine.

This is someone I’ve known for 36 years and I did not expect the reaction: she stood up in the middle of the meeting livid, stared me down angrily, and walked out.

I was like, what just happened here?!

I’d had no idea she was a MAGA. I was trying to help her out (and everybody around her) with what she’d clearly forgotten rather than embarrassing her by moving away from her myself, which would only help myself.

I apologized to her husband after the meeting for upsetting her.

We got home from church, started in on the towel laundering, and the dryer was only halfway working. It would do it, but it took two and three rounds through and in fact the last load of towels is still running at 8:00 pm as I type even though I did what I could to make sure the vent was clear. (Ed. to add, third round didn’t do it. I gave up and hung them to dry the rest of the way.)

The grandkids FaceTimed and that helped save the day.

But I knew I had to say something to that woman or this would come between us forever and life’s way too short for that.

I apologized in an email. I had given offense and I’d had no intention, but I had and I was sorry.

(Type, edit, pray for her, edit, go away for a few minutes to look at it with fresh eyes, repeat, pray so I’d say it right. Edit some more.)

But it felt important to keep at least some medical context so I said, my autoimmunity has been mildly flaring and it took me straight back to 14 years ago when I’d been starting to flare and someone had sat down behind me in church with “just a cold” that turned out to be bronchitis. My lupus and Crohn’s went nuts and I lost my colon and six months later after I still didn’t stop bleeding they did major surgery again.

I touched briefly on the lung damage and cardiac inflammation. I just can’t do germs with a system that thinks I am one. And so I watch my exposure carefully, I said. I just wanted to explain–but I gave offense and in no way meant to and I apologize.

Prayed again and sent it off.

Sometimes you just have to tell someone how it is. Especially when you don’t want to be a was.

And to establish boundaries.

Heathered purple
Sunday March 26th 2023, 9:58 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift

We were just a moment early at church so I pulled out my little carry-around project to add a row or two, and thought at it, If I knew who you were supposed to be for I could have gotten you finished five days ago and been halfway on to whatever comes next. Oh well.

Dottie was sitting next to me. Her preferred usual spot is usually a row or two behind, but somehow not today.

She watched my hands for a bit and as the start of the meeting got pushed out a few minutes more asked me a little about it. I told her I like to always have a simple little something on hand that I don’t even have to look at, just knit by feel while my attention is on something else. My fidget spinner.

And then she said the magic words, though she had no idea: “Such a pretty color!”

And that is how the body of that hat later magically transformed from a few rows to 40, one or two away from the decreasing at the top. Bwaahahaa.

Piuma wanderings
Thursday March 23rd 2023, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

It was one of those times when a yarn leaped onto the needles of itself. Probably because I’d made Nanci a cowl out of that peach cashmere and she’d so exclaimed over it that I made a second one. That’s probably why I bought more of it, for that matter. I have some memory of thinking I was going to overdye some, till I decided it seemed too fragile to risk having the strands felt together.

(This is as close to Piuma as they have now. That price makes me feel like I really got a bargain. Anyway.)

The second cowl sat there quietly waiting to find its person, and as the pandemic came on and our  interactions with friends died off and felt far away it became utterly forgotten.

Last year someone mentioned on Ravelry–and I rarely read the threads on Ravelry, it’s like trying to catch up on every conversation with every knitter everywhere–that she’d made her daughter a sweater out of this glorious braided Piuma cashmere from Colourmart and had wanted ever since to make herself one to match. She had some of the peach, which she loved, but that mill end was long since sold out.

How much did she need? I went looking. I did! I had a cone and now I knew why, and dye lot would never be an issue from them. I mailed it to her. She insisted on paying me. I’d gotten it on sale. I told her, how about paying it forward instead by buying something from someone in Ukraine? With Etsy waiving fees there, it all goes to them. She really liked that idea, and did, and made a point of telling me what she’d ordered so as to share that happy anticipation and sense of reaching out to good people far away who were going through so much.

And I thought, I haven’t met you, but I feel like we would be instant old friends if we ever did.

Awhile later I found two more cones, offered them in case it would help–very much so, thanks!–and I let her pay me back that time.

Months later, I found out she still hadn’t started her sweater. (I totally get that there’s this fear of losing at yarn chicken that can get a project shoved to the end of the queue.) I only know because I went looking for that conversation again to see if she had her sweater yet, because, put away in the wrong spot, I’d found one more cone of that lusciously soft Piuma. I’d had no idea I’d bought that much of it, because it was never my color. It had always been planned to be for other people, so, hey, it was for her.

So that was around Thanksgiving.

Late February, I was rearranging yarns and finished projects, going through seeing what hats and cowls were in the stash ready to go, which ones needed ends woven in–when I discovered, smushed between other things inside a ziplock, that long-forgotten twin to Nanci’s.

It could be backup to the backup to the backup, but what it would be would be the matching-yarn cowl to get that sweater off the ground because I knew how much she wanted to have it. Sometimes you just need a nudge to get started.

Not that it’s any of my business whether she ever does or not. I just enable.

I wrote her a note telling her happy birthday–I was sure she was having one some time this year–and that no, she could not pay me back this time. This was from me, it had been waiting all this time to go where it had been meant to go and now I finally knew. If by chance she lost at yarn chicken on her sweater, I was entirely fine with her unraveling this for it.

I mailed it off.

I didn’t hear back, which was unusual, because in our earlier emails back and forth she’d always been quick to respond.

Then I did, I got a note saying she was out of town helping her mom move into her (likely final) address (my heart instantly went out to them both), and her husband had told her a package had come for her from me and that it felt like yarn and she was pretty excited about that and he was going to fly shortly to come help with her mom and bring it for her to open then. She couldn’t wait to find out what it was.

And then I didn’t hear back.

And I didn’t hear back.

And I thought, well that’s fine. I got the satisfaction of sending it off and knowing she would love it and that it went to the right place and that she’s happy, that’s certainly all I needed.

You know all this weather we’ve been having? You’ve seen the pictures of the 600+ inches of snow covering everything up in the mountains near Tahoe–burying the ski lifts!–and how impassable everything’s been?

Turns out her husband had not made that flight. Nor the next nor the next nor (repeat repeat repeat.) He was snowed in, without power or water or heat for some of that and no way out but with neighbors who needed help so he did. For three weeks. How he managed through all that I do not know, and I am in awe.

Finally, finally, he got out and to where she was and handed her her long-anticipated package.

I’m picturing that moment of all those weeks of anticipation, of hard physical and emotional work for the both of them, unable to be there for each other in person through it all, all the worry, all the goodwill towards those around them that kept them going: finally getting to be back together.

And opening my silly little package as something they’d both been looking forward to.

And finding it wasn’t just yarn. It was the time of a stranger, just a little, but offered freely as they had offered their own.

And that is why I hadn’t found that cowl earlier: this was when they needed the experience of it.

While I marvel at the project that would have looked good on several people along the way but refused to be so much as thought of until the right one at the right time. At the Love that answered his and her love.

As far as I know (with a nod towards Stitches West) I’ve never met her nor she me, but oh we have. We have. As best as we know how.

And here’s where you paws in the measure
Sunday March 19th 2023, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Our neighbors invited us to listen to a piano recital of their daughter and some of her fellow students: a kind of a practice run before their official performances so that playing for an audience wouldn’t be such a novelty on the big day.

We were thrilled.

It took me straight back to my days at the Maryland State Piano Competitions at Peabody Institute in Baltimore: these kids were the best of the best on that baby grand. An hour of straight-up concert. So good.

One of the moms had to show up late. Which led to the moment afterwards where I turned to the young woman behind me and told her with a big smile, Thank you for laughing!

She laughed again.

She’d been at the keys when someone’s mom had had to come late to join us. What we didn’t know is that the family’s large dog had been put in a bedroom to keep him away from the guests, and here was a stranger coming up to the door: his family must be notified! It was his job! WOOF!!!

And then for good measure as eyes suddenly went big and fingers hovered above the keys in freeze frame, an encore of WoofwoofWOOF!!

You know what? It was perfect. If any of those kids get nervous on the bigger stage later, they can just picture that big friendly dog making sure from the other room that they were all okay.

We went low tech
Friday March 17th 2023, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Friends

Could group one make theirs all fall? Could group two make theirs not fall? The race was on!

And so the ward party began. The cups cascaded down three times but were back up by the time time was up. The dominoes fell where and if they felt like it but had to be told what to do.

And then a To Tell The Truth game, with my hubby as a contestant. Who had made the first ever mobile phone call and from where to where?

And the answer was the guy who’d worked at Stanford Research International from the time it was new. The place where the mouse was invented before Xerox or Apple ever heard of it, where DARPA net started its evolution into the internet. Basically, the roots of Silicon Valley grew where and when Don was there and he later wrote SRI’s history.

And the young tech workers learned something new from the old while a good time was had by all.

Hail yes
Sunday March 05th 2023, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Scene: church. Time: after Sacrament meeting. Characters: the young men, who’d taken the lace tablecloth that had been placed over the sacrament table outside to shake off any possible lingering bread crumbs.

One came running back in and grabbed his dad. People came out the doors to see.

At first disbelieving glance it was a hard snowstorm, but wait, snow doesn’t bounce–it was hail, and it was hailing so hard that the diagonal streaks of white were accumulating as we watched. Not big, dangerous stones like the ones that dented my brother’s car in Colorado one August, just little ones, but the air was white with them.

That dad pulled out his phone and took pictures of the teenage boys with ice balls in their hair, individually and arms around each other, laughing. It was windy and beastly cold, forget the 53F forecast, we weren’t dressed for this. I ran inside and grabbed a few more people to come see and they were in disbelief too as they took it in. Quite a crowd now.

And then suddenly for anyone who hadn’t already come outside, it was too late: it was a hard rain and all proof that it had ever been frozen vanished away and they were just going to have to take our word for it.

Eli’s mom wanted to know who’d had that camera because she’d missed seeing her boy laughing with nature’s glitter sparkling in his hair. Gordon. Oh good.

Back inside for the second meeting as the sky lost its impromptu audience.

When it was time to go, Richard, who had not come outside and had missed all of that, overheard Kimber’s excited little boy: MOM! I threw a snowball!

Close enough, little guy, close enough.

And that is why
Thursday February 23rd 2023, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Friends,History,Life

(In real life, those lilacs at the top are as bright as a spring morning.)

I have mentioned the woman who sold me two beautiful gerdans in November–whose shop then disappeared from Etsy and there was no way to send her a message to make sure she was okay. Of all the people in Ukraine that I’d interacted with and had tried to do my part to help support, she was the one I was most worried about.

I had bought the second one because I loved it, but also to keep the conversation going. And suddenly all I was getting was Etsy’s notification that this shop was no longer listed.

I googled the name of it in case it might appear on some other platform. No luck. I only had her first name. It hit hard, to a degree that surprised me–and yet didn’t at all.

I have grieved that lost connection. I have wanted to know that she was as alright as possible.

Two days ago, the thought struck me: yes Etsy wouldn’t let me send a message to her shop–but what about responding to months-old previous messages? Were they still there? And if so, why hadn’t I thought of this before?

I felt a combination of, I have to at least try, and a sudden and unreasonable hope.

They were still there! She got it! She answered!

It meant the world to her that it meant so much to me to finally find her again, that it matters how she and her family are doing. The world. It cares. About them.

She told me the way to find and follow her now. Oh my goodness, there was a year old picture of her showing off her latest design and saying how proud she was of it, that she thought it was her prettiest ever–and it was sitting in a box across the room from me as I read that because I had also thought it was the prettiest ever, I had not found anything quite like it from anyone else and it’s what got me to ever pay attention to anything about her in the first place.

But also on her page was a video of a large apartment building collapsed by missiles with fire raging across the bottom, with her cri de couer: “There are people under there!”

And here I suddenly showed up telling her how hard I’d tried to find her and that I’d been praying fervently for her safety and so grateful to find her again. Unspoken was the word, alive.

That is when I realized why I not only have been buying but wearing these hand-beaded pictorial necklaces from Ukraine: each one connects me to the person who made it.

But also, I feel as if in some small and thoroughly irrational way I am somehow helping to protect that person from the terrors and the harm by keeping them right there close to my heart throughout my quiet, peaceful day.