Ideas on assisting in the relief effort without going in person. Much can be done without leaving your house. Give those affected by disaster some hope, and use some of these ideas to help them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

March 07 Updates

Photo taken 3/4 in front of a mirror. Hence, poor rez.

3/31 Life just doesn't get more interesting, I'm telling you. Have had a lot of great movement on the Real People Relief site, so am thrilled about that. My dad is sending out the last 6 boxes of stuff I had collected - have sent out almost 20 this month. Enough for 1 month. I can only afford so much postage!
Speaking of Dad, he has a killer sinus infection. Finally went to the doc after 2 weeks of feeling worse every day. During that time, he infected both me and my mom. She ended up in the hospital early this AM because of it. She has 2 issues going on at once - probably lung infection and a "cardiac event". She went into congestive heart failure for no apparent reason. Blood work (except ABGs) is fine, EKG is fine, Xray showed lungs half full of fluid. So, they're not sure why it happened, but diurectics took care of it thus far. They are urging her to start a smoking cessation program. I say, this is life. She's smoked for the last 60 years. Ya think she's really going to quit?
So, I've been up since 130AM and am finally feeling like I could nap. Dizzy. Yuppers.
Oh - if anyone can give me an idea of how many dentists were in Hancock County prior to the storm, I'd appreciate it. The MS Dental Association states 13 was all the county had. Like that was enough?! I just have a hard time believing it. They're also strongly suggesting no outside help is needed for the citizens. I've got a letter drafted, but need to have somewhere to send people or 'dental kits', should I get a response to the letter. She gave me little to know assistance in that way.
So, will keep you posted! I'm thinking it's naptime.

3/28 Well, I've had one of those roller coaster days. Vertigo is just slamming me to the couch, and had a dentist appointment, BUT said appointment went far better than originally planned.
All I can say is: Get a second opinion and use Act Restore.
Doc 1 said I needed 8 fillings. Got Doc 2 for the fillings - filled one and said I was good to go, didn't need the other 7. That's an 800 dollar difference in finances.
I bought a lottery ticket. 2 even.
Restore, according to the hygienest in her best conspiratorial whisper, is more than just marketing, works better than their flouride treatment and is about 1/4 the cost of that single treatment.
So - hope to be back up and running in the next day or so - as long as I stay away from reading. LOL

3/24 Much going on. My vertigo is better the last couple of days. I've entered a new stage with it. At the beginning, I was just dizzy every day without escape. But, it's been 5 years and while I'm dizzy all the time, there are times I can actually ignore it for up to an hour - so that's huge progress.
But also, now, I am finding medications bother me. The first was a year ago and it took me almost that entire year to figure out it was the medication. Once I was off it, my allergies were better, my vertigo was better and my MOOD was better. This time, I started an allergy med up again - Feb/March are my worst months - and I was instantly worse with vertigo. No depression with it - GOOD - but no reading or computer work either - bad.
Quit taking it and am bumping up good old benadryl to help compensate. So, am back to being able to work on the computer again. Not as much as last week, but will build back up in the next week or so.
Went to a rummage sale - first of the season. I was able to buy about $500 for $34. WOW. Have shipped most of it out already, have 2 more boxes to pack up and another 2 to ship with them Monday and it'll all be on its way.
Generally I HATE rummage sales, but when it's for a good cause - like my families - I'll make the effort to go.
Plus, there are several people who were running the sale who want to assist, so might have gotten another church into my network of helpers. Way cool!
Have sent out over 400 letters to groups I think will listen - from all over NYS.
You know that 90,000 sq. mi. figure bantered about for destruction from Rita/Katrina? Well, if someone asks you - it's the same space as MA, ME, NJ, DE, CT, RI, MD, VT and NH being destroyed. How long would it take to rebuild that kind of area?
And considering NY hasn't rebuilt the 13 buildings that were destroyed (and 25 that were damaged), how long do you think it will take to rebuild that kind of area?
Sent out an update for folks working in Hancock County, MS. If you want to be on that list, please let me know and I'll get you there. Just let me know who you're affiliated with and the email you want used for the updates. It usually no more than 1 every 2 weeks. If I send one out every 10 days, I'm amazed.
So - that's it. I think. In a nutshell anyway. If I think of more, I'll add it.
Take care and write.

3/20 - FYI - Am not going to be posting much for the next few days. My vertigo has decompensated again and am too dizzy to do the reading necessary to update. It's spring - my worst season of the entire year - so it might be a slow one. Please hang in there with me. I'll keep doing all I can...

3/17 Happy St. Patricks Day to all. I do hope it hasn't been exclusively for drinking green beer. I do have to admit, I'm off sweets for Lent and made a banana/nut cake just for today. LOL - have only had 2 thins slices, so am doing better than I thought I might.
Wing Print and Foot Path of Crow 3/18/07

For those who like statistics - I've had roughly 43000 (42600) hits on the blogs since I began this little venture. Not bad considering I've done NO marketing and can't make phone calls to increase my networking field.
The Carnival of Hurricane Relief was being highlighted at www.blogcarnival.com this past Thursday. I was a bit disappointed there wasn't a huge uptick in hits, but about 40 more than average, so it's 40 more than I would have gotten on a Thursday.
And no, I don't post the numbers because this isn't a competition. And to me, that's all those numbers are for - to compete. It just tells me that word is spreading and people are using the resources I've posted - which is the sole purpose.
One of the groups I snail mailed 8 letters in 1 envelope to (still doing that by the way) has offered to send an open letter to ALL of that states university listservs of staff, faculty and students. WOW. Obviously, I'm taking my time with that wording. Keeping it relevent, focused, accurate AND moving all at the same time - not easily done. But, once I'm sure of the wording, I'll post it for you to send out, should you wish.
Small world note - I have a cousin in AZ who stayed with friends for a week in Phoenix. Their daughter was spending her spring break in Pearlington. He said he'd have her email me when she got back, knowing I was trying to help P-ton as well. How wild is that? I remain amazed at how connected we all really are.
I also received a note from the woman who runs Charity in Action. I had sent out a note to all of those working in Hancock County re: some local efforts to get some help rolling in. She read the letter from Suzanne Stahl about the West Hancock Fire and Rescue (Pearlington), and wrote a check for $5000, with fund raising to begin to send more down, hopefully on a regular basis.
How wonderful is that? They need the cash so badly too. Fuel is the huge cost. Some fire departments are ending up limiting their training severely because they need the fuel for actual emergencies. Very scary.
Please visit the Carnival. I have focused on the elderly. I truly tried to find some good news stories or posts from others, but they don't exist. It's tragic how horribly the elderly are being treated. I am appalled and ashamed at the way our nation, gov't and citizens alike, are choosing NOT to assist - except for a few thousand intrepid folks doing everything they can to find ways out of this mess. 3/15 - The Elderly

3/9 How do!
I'm going to harp one more time on the work we've chosen to do - first, a 10 page pdf link Keeping Our Eye On The Ball
Next - some stats isolated from other sources:
Katrina, followed by Rita one month later, were two of the most intense hurricanes ever recorded in the nation’s history.
The storms had a massive physical impact on the land, affecting 90,000 square miles – an area the size of Great Britain.
Over 80 percent of the city of New Orleans flooded – an area seven times the size of Manhattan.
More than 1.5 million people were directly affected and more than 800,000 citizens were forced from their homes – the largest displacement of people since the great Dust Bowl migrations of the 1930s.
These are the reasons we need to stay focused and not get distracted by the tragic, yet small disasters elsewhere in the country. We've given our word to help the COAST. Others in the nation can and will assist the smaller disasters that continue to occur.
You know what makes me feel rich? New socks and new jeans. I haven't bought socks in over 2 years and haven't had more than 2 pairs of jeans in at least 15 years. I still have to buy the socks since I'm down to about 5 pairs and they're pretty thing. But I now have *5* pairs of jeans. WOW. A tan pair, dark blue pair, 2 medium blue and 1 faded blue. Who knew you could actually USE that many?!
So, I've gotten through about half of my printing of letters to mail out. I'm doing the biggy first. It's 8 letters in 1. I'm sending it to a national group similar to Alternative Spring Break called Campus Compact. I've been in contact with one of the heads of the national department. The Powers That Be strongly urged him to remove Katrina from the website's home page. But he hinted that if I sent a letter or two to the different states' departments, I just might see a resurgance of assistance. I love reading between the lines!
So, I'm sending 8 letters in one envelope. I might as well overwhelm them as much as the rest of us are. But it really shows how large the need still is. To me, that's most important.
I'm continuing to break up the resource pages as they become cumbersome. I've added more than I thought I would, and am going to be breaking more out as well. But, it should make the pages less overwhelming to work with and make it so folks don't have to scroll through pages to find something.
Have made some big progress with different networking projects. If you know of anyone starting a community project within the Gulf, please let me know! We, as volunteers, as well as (and more importantly) the nation need to see what all of these folks are trying to do to help themselves.
We'll get there yet.
Please write soon.
Picture of my Fat Boy (Jaspurr), sleeping
3/4 - Am updating resource pages - have 2 done and am adding at least 2, please be patient.
3/3 Hey Folks. If this is disjointed, it's due to my vertigo having "decompensated" this weekend. I'm dizzier than a dirvish right now.
I've noticed a disturbing trend, especially among the Virtual Volunteers. Many are taking their efforts to a national level. While I applaude the notion of sharing the knowledge and information gained through the recovery efforts in the Gulf, I cannot applaude how it's being accomplished.
We, as a group, committed to helping the Coast recover. By using our time and nergy researching resources for states other than those in the recovery area detracts from and to the detriment of those we've given our word to helping. I know we are helping those who evacuated, and that research isn't being wasted, but Alaska?
As an example - a group I work with has an incredible amount of information on resources for every state in the nation. But they haven't spent that same energy in researching the resources available to the people in MS, AL or LA. I just sent them my list of 40+ organizations and agencies that are in just one county. And when you remember that about 100 counties were DESTROYED by Katrina, how many more are they missing?
Plus, most natural disaster strike no more than a half dozen counties in any given state, and do no more than sporadict destruction, with even more sporadic damage. Katrina destroyed all infrastructure in those 100 counties.
These are the people we said we'd help. Not the ones who still have roads, sewer, water, post offices, grocery stores, schools, and 95% of their homes liveable (vs. 95% washed away).
I have offered my information and knowledge to those who have had a disaster strike - my area was hit by a 300 year flood June, '06, and established a blog for the initial information citizens would need to start getting their lives back together. From there, I have been very much in the background and they research my sites rather than come to me directly. It allows me to remain focused on my goal of Hancock County, MS and the rest of the Gulf Coast.
[hopping off soap box]
I have found that I make an effort to update 6-10 pages on my sites. I found this out because I've begun keeping notes on what I update - I've been losing track lately. I then found out WHY I was losing track - I have more than 700 pages to keep track of.
I remain amazed that I have that much information to process on a daily basis and that it remains this constant this long after the disaster struck. I don't argue at all because I'm in the for the long haul. I just am amazed that there is this much to assimilate, colate and disseminate daily!
I also remain about 40 emails behind. That just won't change, I'm afraid.
Am preparing for a pretty big mailing binge. LOL - I can mail up to 5 pages with a first class stamp. So I am hoping to utilize this by reviewing all of my letters, printing out the relevant ones and sending them as a packet rather than a single page letter to different organizations around the state. I might as well go through a ream of paper per roll of stamps!
I'll let you know what ones I settle on in case you wish to do the same.
I've also had some help from a great friend who's also a VV in reviewing the look of the blogs. She helped me incredibly, and so the side bar has a new look that works far better than the old one. I will be doing similar work to some pages as I have the eye/brain power.
Take care.

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