Friday, October 28, 2011

Homeless Statistics Aren't Just Numbers, They Have Faces

        The numbers of homeless people continues to increase every year. In the 2008-2009 school year the Hearth Project identified 2,038 homeless students in Polk County, FL. In the 2009-2010 school year the number increased to 2,289.  For the 2010-2011 school year it continued to increase to 2,453.

        We must never forget that these are not just numbers. Each of the 2,453 has a face. Most of the homeless are single moms with small children.

        My soon-to-be-published novel, Address Unknown, speaks to this issue and encourages discussion. Perhaps it will lead to more being done to assist those in this very difficult situation. That is my hope.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Road Kill Snow Skiing

        I've been snow skiing one time. "Road Kill." That's what they called me. 

        As I struggled to the beginners class over snow and ice, skis clamped firmly in place, I had two "aha" moments: 
          1) I would rather be walking barefoot across hot beach sand and 2) do I have an up-to-date last will and testament?

        We beginners stood in a line facing the instructor. He told how to bend our knees and lean this way in order to go that way. He very gracefully demonstrated. Then it was our turn.

        I bent my knees and leaned as instructed, but my skiis apparently weren't listening--they never went in the direction the graceful instructor said they would go.

        I did learn how to stop.  All you do is fall down. I practiced stopping more than I wanted to. I was good at it. 

        Often, when I stopped, the skiers behind me were surprised since we weren't practicing stopping at the time and, being beginners, they practiced stopping also--by running into me. Road kill.

        The class grand finale was to go on a ski lift and ski down the "easy" beginners slope. For those of you who have never been skiing before let me tell you a secret they don't tell you until you are in line for the ski lift-the lift doesn't stop for you to get on.

        When your turn comes you have to hurry to position yourself so the lift chair hits you in the buttocks and you fall into the seat. It sounds easy, but here's the tricky part-you're wearing skiis. When I hurry, I practice stopping. You're not supposed to stop when in line for the lift.

        Another secret they don't tell you until you are actually seated on the lift-it doesn't stop for you to get off.

        Directions for getting off the ski lift:
          1. Jump.
          2. Land upright on your skis.
          3. Very quickly ski out of the way so the person seated behind you,
              who will be jumping into the very same spot you jumped, does not
              land on your head. Falling is not recommended.

        I do not remember skiing down the easy beginners slope. This should not come as a surprise--people who go through a traumatic event often can't remember anything they did while going through said event.

        I wouldn't mind going to a ski resort again. But next time I'll watch the skiers from the lounge with a hot drink in my hand. And I won't have to worry about my last will and testament.