Whimsy and wonderings about everyday life

Archive for the ‘Denver’ Category

How to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy

Thinking of those affected by Hurricane Sandy

Here are some suggestions on how to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy both here in the United States and in the Caribbean.

1. Give blood. The Red Cross had to temporarily close 100 centers because of the storm, creating a shortage of blood. Donating today would be an immediate gift.

Bonfils coordinates blood drives locally around Castle Rock. You can see and register for upcoming drives here (and there is one at St Francis on November 4): . The phone number for Bonfils is 303-363-2300. You can also give blood at Children’s Hospital and Presbyterian/St Luke’s..

The Mile High Red Cross chapter contact information is: (303) 722-7474. Address: 444 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203.

2. Support the agencies directly providing food and shelter to the victims, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. If you know of more, please let us know. Other agencies specialize in aid to those who are particularly vulnerable, such as children (Save the Children and WorldVision) and animals (The Humane Society of America.) Groups that have already started putting together and dispatching emergency kits, food and medical supplies include AmeriCaresDirect Relief International and Feeding America. Those who have put teams to work in the field include Team Rubicon and Samaritan’s Purse. In the Caribbean, Operation USA and the International Medical Corps have volunteers in place lending a hand to the needy, according to news reports.

3. Keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers. Obviously, storm damage does not go away overnight. In Haiti, 370,000 people still live in tent cities three years after the devastating earthquake that took so many lives and destroyed the country. Now, between the tropical storm in August and Sandy, their crops have been ruined and a cholera epidemic is threatening those who still struggle to simply subsist in the tent cities. In the Northeast United States, six million people are without power as I write this. There are 18 deaths that we know of. Over 13,000 flights have been cancelled, so countless people are stranded. Businesses and schools are temporarily shuttered, and some small businesses will be critically affected by the damage. The New Jersey shoreline has been devastated, and no one knows how long it will take and how much it will cost to rebuild.

4. Keep yourself safe. Watch this video for our own winter weather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knLErFziUl8&feature=youtu.be. Most of it seems obvious to us, experienced and hardy Coloradoans that we are. But I suspect many of us have let our disaster kits lapse on occasion. Perhaps we’ve left without enough layers – or even without a coat – on a hasty last minute trip to the grocery store before a looming storm.  Please take a minute to make sure you’re ready for winter — and for whatever else might surprise us when we least expect it.

Ready Colorado (http://www.readycolorado.com/) was created by a group of public and private companies that came together to help Colorado residents make sure we are ready in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Perhaps you’ll find it of use.

For example, here are some handy tips on winterizing your house to save money and keep you warm.

Here are some tips on building a disaster kit.

You can create a quick and handy plan for your pets or livestock.

And, here is a guide to creating the entire disaster plan.

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Ordinary time passes entirely too quickly. Savor. Appreciate. Love. And revel.

In my beloved Episcopal church, we have the concept of “ordinary time.” The banal meaning of “ordinary time” is, well, what it isn’t. It isn’t a season, like Christmas. Or Advent. Or Lent.  Yet, the color of poor old “defined by what it is not” ordinary time is green – the color of hope, of growth, of zestful life – the life we are leading when we are not being intentional about what, precisely, we are doing. So, perhaps, 99% of our life?

What I’ve learned about ordinary time:

  1. Ordinary time is too short to spend it trying to judge who is in and who is out. The only call we have is to love our neighbor as ourselves – no exceptions noted. Segmenting by arbitrary divisions – sexual orientation, religion, political party, or any other silly structure we impose between “us” and “them” – dishonors our limited time.  Just love.  Judgment is the province of someone else – be glad.
  2. Running through sprinklers is just as much fun when you’re over 40, as are water parks and roller coasters. Swinging Statue is a bit of a stretch, though, and prank calls are no longer advisable in the era of caller i.d.
  3. Your ability to wholeheartedly commit yourself to someone else, once an adult, is sacred and ordinary. Your partner’s ability or lack thereof is not under your control.
  4. In the early days of marriage,  the romance of newly wedded bliss, the excitement of being together each and every night, will  be tempered somewhat once you discover that neither of you will ever snore *less* than you currently do. Adjust.
  5. Ordinary  new parenthood, that trusting nuzzling snuggle of a sweet-smelling, sleeping new baby, will bring the realization that even though you thought you’d loved before, you have never experienced such powerfully tender love, nor such knee-trembling fear, as that introduced by parenthood.
  6. The fiercely joyful hug of a homesick boy of any age when you pick him up from ordinary summer camp will make up for every dirty sock and unidentifiable piece of mummified food you’ve ever found, in each and every bizarre location.
  7. The only two ordinary, harmonious adult states to be in are either happily committed to someone or happily single.  If you are in a relationship, yet not happily committed, there may be a tough and worthwhile path to get there. If that path is not eventually apparent, or the two of you are not on the same journey, then your path may be that of happily single, at least for now and perhaps for always. The certain blessing: you will be okay, and there will always be love in your life.
  8. The reason our parents were not more forthcoming about ordinary middle-aged marriage is that, done well, it is more passionate, more honest and infinitely more fun than one’s children want to know.  Two grown-ups, accepting of each other’s imperfections, tending their mutual spark with daily care and mischief, can develop a spectacular relationship and maintain and grow a passionate commitment unthinkable in younger years when you are needlessly concerned with what other people think, ego, and whatever other flotsam and jetsam that interferes with what really matters.
  9. Ordinary, daily caretaking, of parents, children, spouses and partners, the mundane and sometimes infuriating responsibility for details, is an unimaginable blessing you might not value until the privilege is —  abruptly or gradually — removed.
  10. Ordinary time passes entirely too quickly. Savor. Appreciate. Love. And revel.

Colorado for Alabama Disaster Relief

A group of Alabama advocates here in Colorado have set up a site for helping the victims of the April 27 storms. On May 14, they’re hosting a crawfish boil at Moe’s Barbecue on Broadway in Denver. On the 15th, there will be live music, barbecue, and a silent auction. What an awesome idea by an inspiring and generous group of people.

If you cannot make the benefits, check out the site to see where donations centers are and who to contact if you want to get involved yourself.  Boulder, Colorado Springs, Summit County are just a few of the places where relief efforts are underway.