Day 214-Flash Fiction Friday-Angels of Arvada-Part One-Avalanche

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Avalanche

Huddled inside their warm, cozy cabin in the foothills of Arvada, Colorado, Amanda and her five year old son Ethan cling to each other as the avalanche sends the snow down the mountain. Amanda tries to reassure Ethan…and herself, that the provisions she bought the day before will be enough to sustain them for a couple of months if they get trapped in by the snow. The recent death of her husband due to a work accident has left them feeling lonely and overwhelmed, but she’s hoping her faith and talent will see them through…if her drinking doesn’t kill her in the meantime.

Life for a budding author in a little town meant that Amanda had to stick to a pretty strict budget, especially now that Anthony was gone. She and Ethan did everything they could to be self sustaining, she kept a garden, clipped coupons, and they ate mostly natural foods…Amanda being vegetarian helped with that. Since Anthony’s death, the isolation was stifling and she had turned to alcohol for comfort. Wine mostly, but there was the occasional mixed drink when she wanted a change. Writing helped, and there was Ethan to cuddle with, yet there was still a hole in her heart that only drinking could fill right now, maybe with time it would heal.

Right now though, she needed to get herself and Ethan to the center of the house, away from the windows lest they implode from the force of the snow pounding down the mountain. She located their emergency kit with all their important papers and medicine, a flashlight and portable radio and they went into the walk-in pantry to ride out the avalanche. She always kept spare blankets and sleeping rolls in here, just in case this kind of emergency happened. Living in the foothills meant blizzards and the possibility of an avalanche was more than just likely. Anthony had taught her when they first moved to the cabin six years ago what kind of preparations needed to be made for instances like the one they currently faced. Luckily, she had paid attention.

What he couldn’t have known was that his life would be cut down in it’s prime, that God would decide it was his time to go at only twenty eight years old and he never would have left them to fend for themselves like this. Amanda was so angry, mad at the job, at Anthony,  even a bit upset with God at the moment. Why, why did this have to happen? He was simply doing his job, when the caterpillar he was driving went off its track and rolled over, killing him instantly. She was of course, devastated. Her whole world was turned upside down, and while she considered herself a strong woman, this was too much. How in the world would she manage way out here, mostly alone and Ethan so small? Her sometimes writing career was still in it’s infancy, she had transcription to fall back on but only a couple of clients right now. She had been working hard to figure it all out, little Ethan helping her as much as he could. He helped her tend the garden and assisted her with kitchen tasks, he missed his daddy too but sensed his mommy needed his help.

Now inside the pantry, she tried to calm him the best she could, offering him a snack and his favorite teddy bear while she fretted over what to do next. She tuned the radio to the local station and waited to hear the conditions, now that the snow seemed to have stopped. Soon, she peeked out and looked toward the windows to see if they had been completely or partially buried by the avalanche. She could see a sliver of light at the top of the window, that was encouraging! The fire was still burning in the fireplace, oh happy day! What about the front door, she wondered. She and Ethan crept slowly through the house, listening for any additional snow or rocks falling, and as she reached the front door, Ethan said “No Mommy, I’m scared!” “Ok, ok, calm down, I’m just gonna open it a crack,” she replied while motioning for him to stay back.

What was funny was that she had been considering writing a tale just like the situation they now found themselves in. Now, she was rethinking the whole thing. She reached for the doorknob and slowly turned it, but as she pushed, nothing. It wouldn’t budge, not even an inch. “Guess we’re stuck inside for a little while,” she said as she turned back to her little boy who was now looking at her with eyes the size of saucers. “It will be ok Honey, Mommy just went to town and got us lots of paper goods and food, and you have plenty of toys and books to keep you busy.” And thank God I have wine, she wanted to say but didn’t. It was going to take some liquid courage and a big imagination to get them through the next couple of weeks, or how ever long they would be trapped in here. Little did she know her life was about to change again, this time for the better.


Welcome to the first in a series I’m attempting, Angels of Arvada. It is my first try at a series and I hope I don’t make a mess of it. Join me for the continuation next Friday…we’ll see how it goes. 

 

Day 213-Throwback Thursday-Cousin Love

Good morning everyone! Today my feature photo shows my baby, who is now 29, holding his infant cousin, who he now works with, lol! The irony!

Chris and Stephen
Chris and Stephen

 

This was taken right after we moved into our home in NRH, the same town we live in now. The look Christopher is giving me is priceless, (like he’s saying, chill mom, I got this)  and Stephen seems so happy and content in his arms. Today, they work together at the company Stephen’s dad (my brother-in-law) works for and they get along famously. This picture must have been taken within the first month of us moving in, because there is still paneling on the walls. That’s always the first thing to go when we buy a house we have to update. Then the carpets, and so on. This picture is especially funny when you consider the difference in height of the two boys. Stephen now towers over Chris, he must be around 6’4″ or so, and I’m not sure but I believe Chris is around 5’10”, maybe a little taller. Look at the hairstyle on Chris, rocking the mullet, like does everything else. Haha, he may kill me when he reads this.

I hope your day is great and the sun is warm and shining down on you wherever you are. Take care and I’ll see you all later, on the patio!  

Day 212-Medical Minute-Tech Neck

img_0799How many of us are guilty-AT THIS VERY MOMENT-of staring down at some kind of device to read our latest posts, emails, tweets, chats or otherwise work on them? Well, we are killing our necks, spines and backs doing so. What can be done about this you might ask? Toss the phone out the window? Not likely, however, we can try to take a few steps to;

  1. Improve our posture-try to bring your device or reading material closer to your face by either raising the device itself (like on some pillows) or setting it on a table in it’s stand.
  2. Do various exercises throughout the day to balance your muscles-examples can include: Shoulder blade pinches, pec stretches, and chin tucks, along with some neck rotations.

Slouching forward and craning your neck to stare at your smartphone or pad can put as much as 50lbs of pressure on your spine and stretches the upper back muscles, causing the condition now known as “tech neck”. Personally, I can attest to this from spending hours at a time tensed over my computer, even sitting at a desk. Occasionally I feel this weird, tingly sensation between my shoulder blades which causes me concern. Does this ever happen to you?

Part of the problem is that my desk isn’t really a desk, and I’m trying to work at a left angle so I can sit comfortably which is all wrong, wrong, wrong! My laptop sits too low on the desk, so I tried to remedy this by bringing it up some-stacking it on a lap pad and notebook. I also sit at the edge of my chair, all the while crossing my legs. Ugh! No wonder I hurt! Add to that, I spend hours at night on the couch, watching tv and playing or working on my iPad…even though I prop it on pillows, my neck still gets drawn down-not a good posture at all.

Daily exercises like neck rotations can help alleviate some of the stiffness and muscle strengthening exercises are necessary to prevent further damage. I don’t know about you, but my spine is already compromised from past accidents and bad posture, I have pinned nerves in my neck as it is, so I really need to implement some extra stretches and new moves to work it out.

How to do a shoulder blade pinch: While sitting or standing straight, pinch your shoulder blades together and back, holding for a few seconds and then relaxing. Repeat and do ten repetitions several times a day.

How to do a pec stretch: While standing in a doorway, rest your forearms against the frame at shoulder height, bring one foot forward and lean into the door while drawing your shoulder blades together. Hold for half a minute and repeat again. Do this exercise several times a day.

How to do a chin tuck: Sitting up tall in a chair, keep your chin parallel to the floor and draw your head and chin back without tilting it in any direction, like you’re making a double chin. Perform ten reps every hour.

Neck rotations: Several times a day, stop and look gently to the left and then to the right, ten times on each side. Try to do this every hour throughout the day.

I catch myself doing these several times a day when I get up and walk around, another thing you want to do to prevent tech neck and general stiffness from sitting too long at your desk. It just seems natural to want to pinch my shoulder blades together after sitting hunched over in my chair for an hour or so. What can you add to the conversation? Do you practice yoga or other daily stretches? All of us writers must be guilty of these sins to one degree or another, am I right? Let’s agree to fix the problem and promise to try and improve our posture, and prevent the damage caused by putting undo pressure on our necks and spine. According to personal trainers and physicians, this condition can be reversed by doing these and other exercises at least twice a day.

If you google tech neck on the internet, you can find a plethora of great stretches to start a daily routine, like the ones I found at Elle Magazine– The Baby Cobra simply involves lying on the floor or mat with your hands at shoulder level and your legs stretched out behind you. Keep your chin tucked and slowly raise your hands while squeezing your glutes and shoulder blades together. Ok, I tried it and once I got the dogs out of my face, it actually feels good! There were more, and I plan on trying several of them to develop a sort of mini-routine to start my morning before I just jump on the computer. Promise!