Friday, June 21, 2013

The Greatest City on Earth

I've called Calgary home for nearly 32 years. For 24 hours now, I've been glued to my phone and the devastating images of my city and surrounding areas that I love so much, including Canmore and Bragg Creek. I may have mentioned once or twice that I don't deal well with anxiety.

Just last weekend, our family headed out to the mountains for the first hike of the season on one of our favorite family friendly trails. We had no idea it may be the last time for awhile we'd be able to visit the area.

As terrible as the situation is, I'm always so proud to live in a community that cares as much as ours does. For as many photos as I've seen of homes covered in water, I've seen uplifting ones of our incredible first responders working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the city they've sworn to protect. The offers of help flooding my Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the phone calls and texts from concerned loved ones in other parts of the country have warmed my cold, cynical heart.

By no means do I know all the ways in which people can help at this time and that is sure to change in the coming days, but here are some of the ways you can assist at this time.

First and foremost...

Stay home. Or at the very least, away from high-risk areas. You know, like the swelling rivers that have been photographed extensively. Don't make natural selection do its job. The last thing the police and fire department need to do is be tied up rescuing people who had no reason to be in these areas in the first place. If you need a place to congregate and take photos, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to help (and gawk if you must) in the coming days and weeks. Even the mayor thinks you should.

Don't panic. Check your sources. Wait for reputable sources such as the City of Calgary, Calgary Fire Department Twitter feed or Calgary Police Facebook andTwitter accounts to confirm rumors such as water advisories and evacuations. Everyone has a friend of a friend who's heard something, but don't be the one to announce the sighting of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse unless you see them riding in yourself. So many of the reports circulating on social media aren't even accurate to begin with. And for the love of mankind, read the advisories completely before spreading potentially false information.

Other ways to help
  • YYCHelps - Fill out a volunteer form and indicate ways you'd like to help including housing displaced families or cleaning up. Information including community fundraisers, where donations can be made and places to go to for help with repairs post-flood (or if you're a Ms/Mr. Fix-It and want to volunteer for repair work) are also available.
  • Supplies are currently needed for displaced residents of the Calgary Drop-In Center.
  • If you can offer shelter to other displaced individuals and families, add your location and info to this map
  • Make a donation to the Red Cross here or text one:
  • Show your love to the first responders. They appreciate it more than you think.

What are some other ways we can help and show the word we really do live in the greatest community in the world?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

That screwdriver is not a toy

 Who me?

Dear Shooter,

At three-and-a-half, I expect you're starting to catch on to what makes an appropriate play thing, and what does not. However, I know you're developing brain is rapidly processing information, and it can be easy to forget. Based on the past week, let's do a quick review:

Not appropriate
  • Salt shakers
  • Your younger brother's left nostril
  • A power drill
  • Anything with the word "Panasonic" on the front of it
  • Hairspray
  • Sharpies
  • The cat keyboard your uncle thought was a good idea for your first Christmas, but failed to disclose plays a meowing version of "La Cucaracha"
  • Tupperware
  • Cotton balls (so long as they don't go anywhere near that nostril)
  • The plastic hammer that came in your toy Home Depot kit
  • Dried, dyed pasta*
  • Empty toilet or paper towel rolls
  • Washable markers or paint*
  • Bubbles*
  • Any of the hundreds of dollars worth of toys Playskool tricked us into believing would hold your attention and stimulate you
 *denotes toys that are appropriate only when played with in a confined, pre-approved area, under the supervision of an armed Guantanamo Bay guard

It's okay. Really. We'll try again next week. But if you could just point me in the direction of the Magic Eraser you absconded with, I'd be ever so grateful.