So, I thought I'd share what keeps me as sane as I can be [which I've been told is up for doubt some days :) ], and please share yours in the comments below. I think we'd all like to learn different ways to keep on keepin' on.
Family and friends. Even if they are over half a world away, and we only connect via social media, text or email, I can send out something and get something back within seconds to minutes. I have a very expanded definition of family, very different than what most people (and probably those in my "family" would consider) but these are the people that if something happened, I know that they'd drop everything to get to me- and I would drop everything to get to them. I can contact them with anything and no matter how trivial, or how silly, we can laugh or cry or share and it'll be OK. And I have been extremely blessed in that I have found people where ever I have landed throughout my life and have been able to keep adding to my family.
Music. I really cannot live without music, and I am as bad as my tweens and teens with it- needs to be on constantly. I listen to just about anything (save for most rap- that's a whole different discussion), and you can rarely find me without my player. I name them. The current one is named Lilith after the Lilith Fair concert series, an ipod Touch, and has a speaker set in my office and has a port in my car. Plato is quoted as saying, "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything." I prefer Aldous Huxley, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
Tea. I'm not sure how I grew up with sweet tea in the middle of Illinois, but we always had sweet tea in the house. I got out of the habit in college, but after I married That Guy, I got back into iced sweet tea, although the sugar got replaced with substitutes. Now, I've gotten into hot teas at work and at bedtime, and oh, man, it is a comfort. I haven't gotten the hang of the spiced teas or fruit teas yet (always willing to try) and haven't been brave enough to try a chai (they seem so expensive), but I'm addicted to black teas that have vanilla caramel or a good English Breakfast tea. I even got a special cup from my last Disney trip that has Alice and the Mad Hatter having a tea party that I can microwave that has a sippy lid, instead of having to balance an open cup around my crazy kids. Ah, simple joys.
Fluffy things. I've always been lucky in my library career in that I've always had someplace with storage that was mine and mine alone, and I know enough about library worlds to know that my situation isn't always the norm. I've always been able to have something fluffy to take out to play with the kids, whether it's a bear or a bunny dressed in different outfits (did you know that those Build-a-Bear animals fit in about size 3-6 month baby clothes?). And as my space has expanded, so too has my collection of things, as you can see above. I've gone from one teddy bear that was for baby story times to a bear and a bunny (who have been renamed for co-workers by the kids), a chef, two sock monkeys (a pirate and a ninja), a frog, a Dalek, and a Beaker, and there are a basket of Beanie Babies in the closet waiting for the appropriate time. However, the toys aren't just for the kids- they're for me too. They all mean something, and at times, I need the hugs that they've stored up from the kids who have dressed them and babysat them.
Books. Always, constant, faithful companions are books. My house is full of them, my work is full of them, and my life is full of them If they weren't, I am definitely in the wrong job. When I want comfort, I want the familiar, and I want familiar authors- ones that I know I like and will transport me away for a while. I don't want to take a chance on a book and be disappointed. I take off the librarian and blogger hat, and I put on the consumer/patron hat, and read what makes me feel safe. And yes, I know there are bloggers and librarians alike out there probably pulling hair out at the thought of using reading as an escape, but sometimes, for me, it is.
My favorite YA and Adult authors are ones that I know will deliver me to other places and settings, give me a good story, and not jar me with inconsistencies. I turn to the techno worlds of Cory Doctorow, to the realities Judy Blume (heaven help me if Summer Sisters or Superfudge goes out of print). I go to the worlds of Anita Blake and Merry Gentry by Laurel K. Hamilton, and Rachel Morgan and Madison Avery from Kim Harrison. I look for Maureen Johnson, David Levithan, John Green, Rachel Cohn, Jillian Larkin's Flapper series and Anne Godberson's Luxe series (all considered teen/young adult materials). I look for Carrie Vaughn's Kitty Norville series, or Patricia Brigg and Tanya Huff, or Eric Jerome Dickey (all considered adult materials). I look for Mercedes Lackey (an author that can fall either teen or adult, depending on the reader).
So, those are my comforts. What are your comfort reads, your comfort things? Share in the comments below.