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Good evening, everyone! As involved members of our community, you will understand the importance of the Community Quilt Project, conducted by Sara R and her sister, winglion.

I have followed this project rather on the periphery for some time, occasionally contributing a message and some funding for this astonishingly generous and compassionate project. Never did I hope or expect to become a community quilt recipient, myself, but fate intervened.

This diary is my response, a diary 'quilt' in its own right, just as I hoped (but boy was it hard to do!). I hope you find it both different and enjoyable, a celebration of our totally unique community here on Daily Kos.

Special thanks to kos for what he has built, and for what he has enabled and allowed us to build.

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Here at Top Comments we strive to nourish community by rounding up some of the site's best, funniest, most mojo'd & most informative commentary, and we depend on your help!! If you see a comment by another Kossack that deserves wider recognition, please send it to topcomments at gmail by 9:30pm Eastern. Please please please include a few words about why you sent it in as well as your user name (even if you think we know it already :-)), so we can credit you with the find!

NOTE: Bowing to that newfangled DK4 stuff :-), you also may send nominations to the Top Comments group email. If you don't see a nomination you made to there in the diary, please pipe up - it means we're still trying to remember not to forget to check!

On Feb. 17 I was out training on my bicycle after work, preparing for the (age-graded, 55+) state road race championships. Training had been going exceptionally well, and I can’t recall the last time I felt so strong and fit in February!

Something happened, I know not what, that resulted in my crashing in rather catastrophic fashion, resulting in severe injuries. My femur smashed up through my right hip socket, my right clavicle and scapula were fractured, I had four cracked ribs, a skull fracture, and I had a small internal bleed in my head and blood running out of my right ear. There was also the usual road rash and bruising, I wasn’t a pretty sight.

Fortunately the head injury was not very serious, and the hip and the shoulder received the attention of an orthopedic surgeon I would nominate any day for a special award, if I could, for the quality of the work he did in over ten hours of very hard work, in two separate surgeries. They expected I would be in non-weight-bearing status for three months, he viewed the fresh x-rays taken at the six week mark and pronounced me cleared for weight-bearing activity six weeks early! And the balance of my rehab (one month in the hospital, the remainder since in my home) has gone correspondingly ahead of schedule.

So, even though I never expected to be nominated as a quilt recipient, so it came to pass. And Sara composed two separate diaries for me, here and here, to solicit messages for inclusion on my quilt. Many of the Kossacks I admire most participated, and submitted comments which, to this day, still blow me away.

So tonight it is my turn to try to thank Sara, her sister and my many friends and colleagues on this site for their incredible support. It is my turn to try to shine a spotlight on this brightest of all community ‘heart-spots,’ in the hope that those of you unfamiliar with it may get some sense of its value and role here.

I have thought for some days about the best way to express my undying gratitude, I have reearched how others have done it, and for the LIFE of me I cannot find words to do it better than smileycreek has done, in a March diary to these special sisters.

(Keep in mind, if you have not visited that diary before, diaries in DK4 remain recommendable in perpetuity! And even if smileycreek may never notice it, it is good community etiquette to recommend the diary anyway. Obviously if you recommended it before, that will be unnecessary. But if you have not read the diary before, recommending it would be a nice thing to do.)

In smileycreek’s words:

CLICK HERE to make ANY donation, no matter how small, to the Quilters to help with future Community Quilts.

This is Sara's and Ann's life work.  As my thank you to them, I ask that people support their healing work with a donation, no matter how small, towards the next quilt.  Sara says:

It takes time and material to make these quilts -- if you can help by donating toward these, we are most appreciative. Here is a PayPal link - or message me if you prefer to send a check and need an address.  Suggested donation is $10/message -- but if you can help cover messages for others, it would be great.  We don't want anyone to think they cannot participate because they can't afford to donate.   That being said, all are encouraged to leave a message, donation or no!
In my words ... you will never find an initiative within the Daily Kos community which helps its members as the Community Quilt Project does. Sara and Ann have no hope of becoming wealthy with this project, it is more a labor of love. Still, it is hard work and significant expense is involved. If you can make a contribution to support these pillars of our community, PLEASE do so! It is very important, and you will never find anyone on this site more deserving of your support than them.

Thank you, Sara and Ann, you have touched my life in ways you will never know, and I will never be able to thank you enough.

Here are some pictures of my beautiful quilt. (I wanted to be standing for them so people could witness my weight-bearing status! Special thanks to Kathy for taking these for me!)

I want to say a few words about the quilt to those who have never experienced such a thing. I have thought about this for some time, and the first thing I thought of was Frosty the Snowman! You see, there must have been ... some magic in ... that old silk hat they found ... For when they placed it on his head ... he began to dance around. (Frosty the Snowman lyrics from here.)

I understand it all too well because I believe without reservation that a quilt like the one I received can be a receptacle for pure magic, channeled by the loving and very focused intent of special human beings. The right experts, such as Sara and Ann, have the ability to incorporate that magic in fabric form, to be conveyed to yet another, very blessed human being. For I assure you, when my quilt arrived on my doorstep, and I unpacked it, like our friend, Frosty, I did indeed begin to dance around!

The quilt contains messages of encouragement, support and nurturance, and those have a magic all their own. The messages in my quilt were posted by the Kossacks listed below. On the nights Sara solicited their messages I was only able to visit for a short time, so it was not then possible for me to thank the message bearers in person as my heart demanded of me ... I did not have the strength or energy.

Tonight I hope to at least partially rectify that shortcoming, with a ‘diary-quilt’ of my own. I have posted a thank you comment, below, to everyone who gave me this gift with their messages. As it is now possible to pre-post ‘tip jars’ before diary publication, I have taken the liberty of pre-posting my comments to those who have blessed me through the messages in my quilt. I apologize in advance, as it means that some scrolling may be necessary before you will be able to see comments you post in the comment threads, but honoring the message bearers, for me, tonight, had to take priority. I certainly do NOT expect you to read every comment. They are intended as personal comments and acknowledgements and thank yous to those who created messages for my quilt. Read as many or as few as you wish! My hope is that they will respond, as they are able, to the comments posted in their names, and that you will be able to tip their comments there. If you wish to see the comments for a specific message writer, or if you ARE the message writer and would like to take a shortcut to the comment intended for you, I have hyperlinked those comments in the list below. Simply click the name of the message writer and go directly to the comment!

I would like to send a special thank you to Ojibwa and his wife, as the beautiful card Sara includes with the quilt was designed by her. Here is its picture.

Isn’t that STUNNING?!! And it is completely hand-made!

Here is the text of the card that Sara wrote.

Because of bandwidth considerations, the photo resolution is not the best, so here is my transcription of the message Sara and Ann included on the card itself:

Dear Ben,

This quilt is full of community love for you and we hope it will help speed your recovery. Washing instructions are on the label - just use a mild soap that will not affect color and cold water.

All our love,
  Sara
      Ann

(Card was made by ojibwa’s wife!)

And this is my reply:
Umm, Sara, we have only met through this magnificent blog, but I think it only fair to tell you that I was born without a label, and my surgeon did not see fit to install one. As per your instructions I have been bathing with a color-fast soap (so far, so good!), but the cold water has been just killing me, quite literally! How long must I continue this regimen? And, do you make all quilt recipients undergo it?



Love,
    Ben

ps. Just kidding. :) Love you two VERY much indeed!

Aren’t those magical sentiments? Thank you, Sara. ::smile::

And now for the list of our message bearers! (If you don't wish to scroll down, simply click the name of the person to be taken to that person's tribute comment! They deserve any accolades you can give them!)

beach babe in fl
blue jersey mom
boran2
brillig
bronte17
cai
cany
Carnacki
C Leven
cfk
citisven
CJB
commonmass
Crashing Vor
Cronesense
davehouck
Dem in the heart of Texas
desertguy
Dragon5616
Dreaming of Better Days
earicicle
Ekaterin
emeraldmaiden
figbash
flumptytail
gchaucer2
gizmo59
gloriana
greenbird
high unitas
JaxDem
JekyllnHyde
Khun David
Kitsap River and Charles CurtisStanley
left rev
leu2500
llbear
LNK
Lorikeet
Louisiana 1976
maggiejean
marykk
Meteor Blades
navajo
nomandates
NormAl1792
Ooooh
Otteray Scribe
Paradox
Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse
potatohead
princesspat
psnyder
puddytat
radical simplicity
raincrow
rubyr
Runaway Rose
Sandy on Signal
sardonyx
sc kitty
she said
slksfca
smileycreek
Steveningen
swampyankee
teacherken
TheOrchid
TrueBlueMajority
ulookarmless
Zen Trainer
Zoskie

Thank you all for making my life so much better through your generosity and your compassion! And thank you for supporting Sara’s magical Community Quilt Project!

Bottom line: We are each other’s angels. I feel it so clearly. As sung by the song’s creator, Chuck Brodsky.

And the lyrics, courtesy of Chuck Brodsky's website.

We Are Each Other's Angels



I hope I see you later - 'cause it's time for me to go
That's my ride that just pulled over - and it sure was good to know you
So go answer your calling - go and fill somebody's cup
And if you see an angel falling - won't you stop and help them up?

    We are each other's angels - we meet when it is time
    We keep each other going - and we show each other signs

Sometimes you'll stumble - sometimes you'll just lie down
Sometimes you'll get lonely - with all these people around
You might shiver when the wind blows - and you might get blown away
You might lose a little color - you might lose a little faith

    We are each other's angels - we meet when it is time
    We keep each other going - and we show each other signs

Thank you for the water - thought I was gonna to die out here in the desert but you quenched my thirst
Let's break a little bread together - I've got a little Manna - it was a gift
From someone who was passing by and offered me a lift

    We are each other's angels - we meet when it is time
    We keep each other going - and we show each other signs

That's it! Please alert me to any errors and I will do my best to fix them if at all possible! (I can edit the diary, comments will remain as they are, but I'll apologize, as needed, and post a corrected comment as soon as I am able.)

Thank you all for visiting tonight! On to tonight’s comments, most graciously collected and formatted by Top Comments Queen, brillig! (Thank you so much! I’m exhausted!)

(brillig here... I quite frankly have never, ever seen something this beautiful. It truly is a window into the generosity of Ben's soul, IMHO)



Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
From bronte17:
RFK Lives links to a alternative perspective counterforce from Charles Pierce (excellent piece!) on "Mr. Brooks Movin' on Up" with his cyclical bullshit. It is a nice counterpoint and substantiates the excellent diary The mainstream German magazine Spiegel asks has the US mixed economy turned into an Oligarchy from Democrats Ramshield.
From nomandates:
This is BeninSC at his usual best, reaching out to encourage a young kossack after Amendment One passed in North Carolina
From BeninSC:
I was not able to do any significant mining while writing this diary, but I did want to include this comment from Dave in Northridge about the aftermath of Amendment One in North Carolina, with its focus on continuing the fight, with winning in mind. Indulging in anger and frustration just isn't the way.
From Noddy:
husl piper 11 speculates about RL's new FB page in SuzyQ4624's diary Rush Limbaugh's Desperate Attempt to Lure In Women.

Andrew C White invents a new war and Utah Saint flips it.

From 2thanks:
The first comment was funny enough on its own. pat of butter in a sea of grits commented in weatherdude's diary Fox: "Obama Declares War on Marriage"  as the first comment under the tip jar.  pat of butter in a sea of grits and alguien then offered a cascade of funny. It starts with: "I like cats and by saying that, I am DECLARING WAR ON CATS!"


Top Mojo for yesterday, May 8th, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic!
  1) The structural problem we have ... by Dallasdoc — 139
  2) my own state, too by Cedwyn — 131
  3) Bravo, dude! by Youffraita — 127
  4) asdf by muddy boots — 115
  5) Move by Miss Blue — 110
  6) Very.Well.Put   nt by twigg — 107
  7) Armed revolution would, indeed, be "coarse". by Smoh — 107
  8) I've never been boycotted. :( by The Nephew — 98
  9) And someday, even in NC, you'll be right there by Mother Mags — 92
10) Consider yourself "out". by JeffLieber — 88
11) I can point you to the WhiteHouse.gov by Laura Clawson — 86
12) I'm imagining the Wild Things welcoming him by Dave in Northridge — 78
13) Profitize those students! by The Dead Man — 77
14) 56 yr old man refused a new ballot by The Nephew — 76
15) wingnuts are getting scared by cacamp — 75
16) Yeah.  Just got home from a long day at school by bkamr — 73
17) Um, he was not controlling the bomb maker. by Geekesque — 72
18) The facts that this was an intelligence mission by Geekesque — 70
19) And glad to have you in our midst, Weatherdude! by bjedward — 70
20) Really a shame that President Obama's by helfenburg — 70
21) There were no publicized pre-9/11 warnings b/c by Jesselyn Radack — 69
22) What about California? We failed with Prop 8 by voracious — 69
23) You're trying to put a stop to a by NMDad — 68
24) Awesome. by Laura Clawson — 66
25) I got to vote today by Joieau — 66
26) We're next to you in the polling booth too by Steveningen — 64
27) Innovate those unions by crystal eyes — 64
28) When I hear that the would be bomber by NMDad — 64
29) KoKo's Big Day by kishik — 64
30) now comes the court challenge by jsfox — 64


Top Pictures for yesterday, May 8th.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!

Originally posted to Top Comments on Wed May 09, 2012 at 07:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Quilt Project, DKOMA, Street Prophets , and J Town.

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