Friday, January 15, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti - What can you do?

As I see the images coming out of Haiti after the devastating 7.0 earthquake of January 12, I have that feeling again. It's the same feeling I had while watching the devastation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the ruins of the twin towers after 9/11. I want to do something to help. What I can afford to donate seems so little, and a little impersonal. I wish I was there, digging survivors out of the rubble. I could pass out food and water. I know some basic first aid, and I'm not sqeamish about blood.

But the truth is, I'd probably just be in the way of the doctors and aid workers and experienced search and rescue teams. And the money I would spend just to get there would be put to better use as a donation to an organization already providing relief. There are three groups I am positive would put donations to good use.

There's the Red Cross. They have local chapters everywhere. Call to find out how you can donate blood or money, or both.

There's a group called Doctors Without Borders. They get medical teams who can provide quality care to the places they are needed the most.

There is also my personal choice for donations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church has already sent emergency supplies, personal hygiene kits, and newborn supplies from the neighboring Dominican Republic. This weekend, two planes carrying 80,000 pounds each of food and emergency resources such as tents, tarps, water filtration bottles and medical supplies will take off from Denver and Miami. A planeload of volunteering doctors will leave soon from Utah. A meetinghouse in Port-Au-Prince, which was mostly undamaged, will be converted to a temporary medical center.

I have participated in church activities where we put together the hygiene kits I mentioned above. They each contain two combs, four toothbrushes, one tube of toothpaste, two bars of soap and two hand towels in a heavy duty one-gallon sealable bag. These are collected and stored until they are needed, like now.

But perhaps the most important thing I could do, from my safe, comfortable home in the Rocky Mountains, is to pray for the people of Haiti.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Oooooh, Shiny!

In the winter I walk around in a semi-mummified state. Since we live in a high desert, it's very dry and cold outside. In our house we heat with a wood stove and electricity, which produces dry heat. You've seen movies where somebody suddenly dries up, crumbles into powder, and blows away in the wind. I'm not quite there yet, but close. I can slather on the lotion and moisturizers, which help, but as soon as I wash my hands the protective covering is gone and I feel myself withering away. (And my age has nothing to do with it, so don't even go there!)

For Christmas, I received an industrial-sized bottle of Olay Quench body lotion. (Keep reading, this isn't a paid ad or anything.) I tried it and it worked beautifully. My hands felt very soft without feeling greasy. So the next time I washed my hands . . . my skin was still soft! Whatever they put in this stuff works miracles.

A few days later I was typing on the computer. I do a lot of that, you know. The bottle was sitting on my desk and I put a little more on my hands. As I was holding my hands up and once more marvelling at the results of this miracle in a bottle, I noticed little sparkles. My hands were reflecting the light! It was like body glitter, but much more subtle and nearly microscopic. What in the world did they put in that lotion?

A quick check of the back of the bottle gave me the answer with the last ingredient on the list. Mica. It's a rock. It's very shiny and soft, for a rock, and you can peel it into extremely thin layers, and apparently grind it up into tiny shiny particles. Yep, I took a geology class in college so that I could identify ingredients in my hand lotion. I can also identify quartz and obsidian, also very shiny. I don't remember much else from that class. Most rocks are dull and just, well, rocks. Although there was this one very cute guy in my class . . . But I digress.

So I'm thinking, why are the advertising people not all over this? A lotion that makes your skin sparkle in the light? With the current Twilight craze, their sales could go through the roof! (Vampires are now sparkly. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, ask a teenage girl.) Maybe I should contact the company. I wonder if they work with freelance writers?