Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Haven't posted anything for awhile, so decided to post a little writing prompt I've been working on the last hour.
Writing prompt from A Writer’s Path, http://ryanlanz.com/ Include all of these elements in one scene: elevator, fear, umbrella, surprise, animal, and companionship.
“Ugh!” I shouted loudly enough for the neighbors across the hall to hear. If I had to stay shut up in this bloody apartment for another day I was going to go stark raving mad. The rain had been pummeling the sidewalk outside my building (and everywhere else for that matter) for a week now with no relief in sight. I stood looking out the window of my fifth-floor flat at a few brave souls below who, whether because they had somewhere to be or because they were actually just brave souls, had donned their slickers and umbrellas, thrown caution to the very wet wind, and gone out. By damn, I decided, I was going to join them!
I pulled on my heavy, navy blue wool pea coat with the brass buttons, tucked my shoulder length black curls up under my yellow and blue rain-proof bucket hat, grabbed my umbrella from the umbrella stand by the door, and made my escape. I had no boots. I’d been meaning to rectify that with the advent of autumn, but, as usual, I had spaced it off in favor of more important things, like trips to the Bookateria. I would not let it deter me, however.
No one was about as I marched with purpose down the hallway to the elevator planting the pointy end of my umbrella with a solid thump on the linoleum with each step. The sound was so refreshing after hearing the same old apartment noise for days that I was immediately cheered. Stopping in front of the elevator doors, I pushed the red “down” button. Elevators made me nervous, but I was desperate today to be outside. I could hear the gears and pulleys roar to life as the metal car rose to my floor. The doors slipped open with a pneumatic whoosh, and I hurried inside, impatient to be on my way. I could already imagine the smell of wet concrete, hear the rain rat-a-tatting on my umbrella. This was going to be a delicious afternoon.
The doors closed with a clank and the elevator started down. It had barely begun to move when I was jolted hard enough to have to grab the handrail to steady myself. The elevator had stopped. It could not have gone more than a few feet. It was obviously stuck between floors. “Oh no!” I said aloud to no one. “Gawd, I hate these bloody things!”
I had been claustrophobic since being stuck in a small closet whilst playing a game of hide and seek with my sister when I was five. The door had jammed, and she had been unable to get it open. I’d suffered some kind of breakdown in that horrid little space for a whole afternoon until my parents had come home from work. That was, in fact, one of the reasons it had taken me forever to rent my fifth-floor apartment. The idea of riding up and down in a metal coffin — for so it felt to me — was appalling. And now, here I stood in that exact predicament.
I pushed the emergency button several times. Nothing. I pulled the little door open on the emergency telephone and tried to call out. It was just then the lights dimmed and the back-up generator kicked on. The phone was dead. The emergency lights blinked on and I knew the storm had caused the power to go out. With that, the unreasoning panic settled in.
Leaning against the wall, I dropped the umbrella and slid down to sit on the floor. Arms around my knees, I settled in to wait for someone to realize the elevator was stuck between floors. The air felt heavy and my breathing was rapid and ragged. As I sat in the dingy light trying my best to breath normally and focus on how wonderful the rain outside would feel, I noticed my umbrella begin to shiver. I watched in terror as it rolled over itself and a bunch of whiskers peeked out from inside by the handle.
“Oh dear lord,” I said, to the same no one there. I pulled my legs up tightly to my chest and watched in horrified fascination as a little gray mouse ran back and forth from one side of the elevator to the other. Again and again it crisscrossed that path then stopped and sat back on its haunches noticing me for the first time. With a start, it dropped back down to all fours and scurried to the corner by the phone. I realized, suddenly, the little blighter was far more frightened of me than I was of him.. her… it…
Forgetting for the moment my own menacing panic, I watched in some amusement as the tiny animal stuck it’s head as far into the corner as it could get, as if by hiding its eyes it would be less afraid. Oddly, it’s behavior took me back to my own childhood. To waking up in the night and being afraid of the shadows cast by the nightlight in the room I shared with my sister. I felt dreadfully sorry for the poor thing.
It was strangely comforting to me to know we shared a sense of fear. And over the better part of an hour I grew quite fond of that little mouse. His quiet companionship had had an amazing affect on me. I realized I was breathing quite normally, though I was sweating profusely beneath the heavy pea coat. I was just about to rise and take it off when the lights flickered and the elevator jerked to life again. The power was back on.
As the old mechanical monster groaned and lumbered its way to the lobby, the mouse huddled further into the corner. At last the elevator stopped and the doors slid open with the customary whoosh. I jumped to my feet, grabbed my umbrella from the floor, and wedged the metal tip of it into the door track to keep it open. Then nudging the little critter with my foot, I watched it scamper out of the elevator and down the hall. I half expected it to stop and look back. It didn’t, of course.
I unstuck my umbrella, let out a breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding the entire time, and walked quickly out onto the building stoop. I slid the runner up the shaft of the umbrella opening the ribs to stretch the red nylon taught above me, and stepped down into the reassuring drumming of the downpour. As I went on my way, I couldn’t help but wonder about the little mouse, about whether it would find its way back to its family somewhere five floors up. One thing was for sure. I bet it wouldn’t take the elevator. And despite my admirable handling of my own panic during the episode, neither would I. How bad could five flights of stairs be?
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
This is our adult mission week at our church. There are so many opportunities for people to get involved in the community. Some of the things were:
--Working with Habitat for Humanity
--Helping at elementary schools in the neighborhood
--Volunteering at the local food bank (which we do year round)
--Neighborhood projects (we took flyers around to the neighbors asking if there were any maintenance type jobs we could do for them)
--We collected gently used office wear for folks who had job interviews and needed something nice to wear
--Putting together bags of toiletries for the homeless shelters
--Dividing and boxing up over $1000 worth of school supplies that were donated for local schools
There were other things. But last night was one of the greatest experiences I think I've ever had. We were working with an international relief organization called Stop Hunger Now! The founder of this organization realized that keeping kids in poverty ridden countries in school was the best chance they had to break that cycle. And the best way to keep them coming to school every day was to provide them with a hot meal.
According to the rep from Stop Hunger Now, there are about 7 billion people in the world. 1 billion of these folks live on less than $1.25 per day. Of that 1 billion, around 25,000 die everyday from hunger related issues. Of those, around 11,000 are children under the age of ten, children that never had a chance.
It's tempting to just throw up your hands and say that there's just not enough food to feed 7 billion people. However, according to Stop Hunger Now, that's just not the case. There is enough food in the world to feed every single person over 4 pounds of food per day for the rest of their lives. FOUR POUNDS. As our rep mentioned, that's like eating 17 quarter pounders from McDonalds everyday.
So the problem isn't the amount of food, it's access to the food. This is where organizations like Stop Hunger Now come in, by bringing the food to the people who need it most. And because they buy product in LARGE quantities, one meal bag (which feeds 6 people) can be assembled for 29 cents.
The process we used to put these meals together was pretty cool. Six tables were set up with four stations and a big funnel. First the "funnel captain" attached a meal bag to the bottom of the funnel. Once that was done, a packet of essential vitamins was put into the funnel. (This combination of vitamins was prepared by North Carolina State University to supply malnourished kids with what they need most.) After the vitamins, next came a level cup of soy. That was my son's job at our table, and man, I've never seen (or smelled) so much soy! Next came a heaping scoop of dehydrated vegetables, followed by a level cup of rice, my station.
Once the rice was in, the funnel captain removed the bag and gave it to a runner, who took it over to another person, who weighed it and heat sealed it, before sending it off to be boxed. The end result is a fortified meal product. When the meals get to their destination, the people who cook them open the bags, put in the vitamin packets, add locally available protein sources, and local spices to complete the meal. They cooked a pot of it while we worked so we got to taste it. Surprisingly, it was pretty good. With meat and seasonings in it, it would have been wonderful.
It normally takes 40 people 2 hours to bag 10,000 meals, but last night we had 62 volunteers and we did 10,800 meals in 75 minutes. We would have done more but we ran out of soy product.
It was such a trip to see everyone working together, laughing, talking, and doing their jobs, and knowing that this food was going to keep some kids coming back to school. According to our organizer from Stop Hunger Now!, these boxes are going to be going to Haiti at the end of October.
All I can say is that my husband, my son, and I were walking about three inches of the ground when we left there last night. We really felt like we'd contributed something to the world.
So if any of you guys have churches, businesses, civic organizations, or any large groups of any kind and want to make your volunteer time count for something, this is a terrific organization to look into. Here's the link:
And here's a picture of one of the tables working away.
Like those funky hair nets? We had to wear gloves, too.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
If everyone would just all get together and do this what an amazing world it would be! This one is SO MUCH FUN! It's HISTORIC FLASHMOB IN ANTWERP TRAIN STATION - DO RE MI if the link doesn't work. Watch it. It will make you smile!
I wonder how many calories they burned doing this! LOL Ya'll wanna get together and have a Sparkmob?
Thursday, August 21, 2014
So! Have had some peculiar little things going on - UTI, lots of pvc's, gums sore... (You get the picture.) Went to the dentist yesterday to see what was up with that. He thinks the UTI was the culprit, and once I finished off the antibiotic the inflammation just sort of went away.
Then today I finally got to see the new diabetes specialist that took our Joanie's place. LOVED her! She had me come in Tuesday -- pre-appointment -- for blood work so she'd know what was what. I can tell she's on the ball. The long and short of it is (after a not so great visit while I was working the first of the year when my A1C climbed to 6.7), I'm back at 6.1 again. I've been working very hard to get my sugar back there. My weight was the same, which is freakin' amazing! My bp was 120/74 and my cholesterol was excellent at 163. And as I suspected, my thyroid med was out of whack which is likely why I've been having so many pvc's. So got that adjusted.
I told her about the extreme "I-need-a-bed-right-now-or-I'm-going-to-go
-to-sleep-right-here-on-the-floor" fatigue, and she is wondering if it might be a lack of B12. So she's running a blood test to check it. I had to have B12 shots right out of high school, so maybe? It would explain a lot.
So I'm doing a happy dance. And like any felon just let out of their cell, the first thing I did was run off to Starbucks and then come home and have some popcorn. Ok, celebration accomplished -- and over...
Sunday, August 17, 2014
This is the gentleman who continued to do Robin Williams' Genie voice in Disney cartoons. It's a poem he wrote in tribute to Williams. People have been asking him if he would still continue to do Robin's voice as part of his repertoire. I loved the poem, even if it wasn't done in Robin's voice.
If that link won't work you can probably find it under 'Aladdin' Genie Voice Actor Performs Tribute to Robin Williams" in a yahoo search bar. Maybe even google search. It really was very good.
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