Surviving #Sandy

November 1, 2012 · 14 comments

in Inspiration, Journalism how-to's, Making art, Relationships

It’s 5 a.m. on Day #3 of no electricity, wifi or heat. The only way I can upload this blog post is by typing into my iPhone. :)

Since I can’t add photos, here is the scene: The new RayVac RoughNeck flashlight is doing a good job in my pitch black house. I just took a hot shower. A pot of water is boiling on my stove as I prepare a cup of tea and sit here with NOTHING to complain about.

Even though I have no electrical power in my house, there is abundant wattage and personal juice charging my life.

For starters, I am so grateful Hurricane Sandy spared me. No flooding, no trees falling on my home. My daughter Gabi and I are both safe. My back has recovered from hauling sandbags and other storm preparations.

Interestingly, our pets, who might be more in tune with nature, are slightly freaking. On Tuesday, the usual first day of my work week, the dog fell down the stairs and limped around until last night (nearly recovered now). This morning I woke up to find all three the cats sleeping on my bed (they never do that).

Anyways, my little family & nest are intact. They anchor me as I’ve go about chasing stories about the Sandy aftermath.

What an unbelievable, surreal situation to hit millions of residents here in the Northeast: Sandy’s wrath has cost people their homes, businesses and income. Yes, lost lives too.

It is a privilege to be a working journalist during this disaster. Nearly everyone I approach has welcomed me as a vehicle for telling their story. Being publicly acknowledged by the press reminds them that they matter.

Giving them that reassurance is the reason I’m back in this business. Real people need to be heard.

Of course, I am a “real people” too — a fact that I was reminded of when I checked email a little while ago on my iPhone.

Waiting for me was a notification that today is Nov. 1, the start of National Novel Writing Month! I did it last year for the first time. To read about my experience, just search for “NaNoWriMo” on my blog or Google it
for general info.

Well, guess what I will be doing tonight after work. Instead of collapsing in bed at 8:30 pm because it’s too much of an effort to have a normal night in a dark house with no heat, I am going to write on my MacBook Pro, which has a lighted keyboard.

I have a book that I want to finish this month. There’s no saying “no” as it knocks against my soul, waiting to get out.

This is the latest in a challenge originally presented to me in the immortal words from the Spiderman comics: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

It is a call I responded to long ago and continue to live by. Rather than being a burden, each step forward and up leads to new vistas.

Every day brings exciting horizons to consider and fresh marvels to inhale. We have every reason to respond to life from a place of spontaneous, positive emotion rather than deadening fear.

So let’s get on with the day, with its stories to tell. Be safe too, okay? Xoxoxoxo

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffany November 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

Glad you’re safe, Betty! Your optimism is so inspiring.

2 MJ & TJ November 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Betty,
It is good to hear you are ok. I was wondering how you are weathering the storm. No lights or heat doesn’t sound too fun. The temperature here is such that I don’t need to run my heater at all. i was wondering if you had a frieplace, wood burning stove or a portable heater. At least you range is gas! I see the weather in the 40′s and 50′s which is a lot beter than freezing! Hope you get the power restored soon. We just sent 40 line men from Utah to help out.
I wonder if I could drive one of my jeeps out there to help out. My comanche can go anywhere including over 30″ of water .

3 Rose T. Ellis November 2, 2012 at 5:19 am

‘Woke up in the night to electricity…’hope you did too. You’re a real trooper Betty…’stay safe!

4 Ange November 2, 2012 at 8:36 am

Inspirational words from my dear friend Betty…. “So let’s get on with the day….”

5 Toby November 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

If it gets to be too much, Betty, you’re always welcome in Trenton. We never lost power and have a comfortable guest room. Our cat stays upstairs (there’s a gate on the stair) so yours could stay downstairs. What’s one more litter box to empty in a time of crisis?

6 Bria @ WestofPersia November 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

What a refreshing attitude you have, Betty. Glad you are safe, sound, and inspired. (And inspiring, I might add). Hugs!

7 Skye November 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hi Betty! So glad to hear that you are safe! I shared your tip of water in the bathtub for flushing with a friend over in upstate NY. I hadn’t realized that plumbing and piping could be affected and he said it does happen.

Kudos to living up to your power, responsibility and responding honestly to your soul. Happy November!

8 Adriana November 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Happy to hear you are safe. My building was flooded, we have no power, and no heat but like you we are safe and very thankful. On my beat I also encountered a willingness and desire of folks who wanted to share what they went through. I was invited into homes to go from muddy room to muddy room surveying all of the damage. Lots of emotion and sadness but even with all material possessions gone most said it is nothing compared to what others have gone through.

9 jaimie November 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm

thank goodness for your iphone keyboard! you continue to be an inspiration, betty. how do you find time to work on a novel? jeesh! xo

10 betty ming liu November 2, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Ahhhh, at last. Back here with you. The power came on at around 2 in the morning. Thrilling! So here I am, after a long day at work, sitting in bed with my laptop, ready to catch up…

Tiffany, thank you — I am safe. The optimism keeps me going!

MJ, I have a wood-burning stove. And yes, there are Con Ed workers here from every part of the country.

Thanks, Rose, so great we both got power at the same time.

Ange, you inspire me ALL THE TIME.

Toby, oh honey, if I show up, it will be with three cats, three litter boxes & the dog. Or I could leave them home. Would love to visit. Tx!

Bria, so grateful to be safe. And so happy to have you stop by. :)

Skye, these practical tips are worth gold. Here’s one someone shared with me that helped during Sandy coverage: if you’re on the road and need to charge your cell phone, might work to plug it into your laptop. Even if the laptop isn’t plugged into anything, the phone will still recharge, using your laptop like a battery. I can do this with one of my Macs and it was a lifesaver during the storm.

Adriana, you are doing a huge public service. You can tell, people so appreciate your willingness to listen. Thanks for sharing!

Jaimie, I haven’t found time to get the NaNoWriMo thing going yet but I will. This happened last year too. Took me a while to rev up, then I fell behind, and then I caught up. It is what it is!

Quite frankly, I might blow tonight too. It’s only 6 pm but I am beat. I covered two funerals, back-to-back, both at the same church. They were for two boys, aged 11 and 13, who were playing in the house when a tree fell on them. Really intense and exhausting. But again, a privilege to be there to tell the story of these two young buddies. Here’s the link. I don’t know if it’s behind the pay wall, though: http://bit.ly/VIvA0k

11 Geek November 3, 2012 at 5:36 am

I grew up in NYC and I never recall having a hurricane affect us or have a power outage. This is so severe. I hope NYC recovers soon.

I missed the hurricane by a bit, I had to change flights at JFK and the airlink train stopped working so I had to take the overpacked shuttle while trying to squish in to take me to the right terminal for my flight. Thank god JFK reopened and I didn’t have any flights canceled and thank god to all the workers that came to work at JFK so my flight plans were able to continue.

I think to look on the bright side it made the residents of NYC bonded together to overcome a crisis by helping each other out and families spent time together.

12 betty ming liu November 4, 2012 at 7:47 am

Yes, Geek. There was a lot of generosity and bonding going on. Now let’s hope it continues….it’s getting cold. Temperatures are hitting the freezing mark and hundreds of thousands of people still have no electricity or heat. The region is supposed to be powered up by the end of the week, but will everyone make it? Very scary.

13 bigWOWO November 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Glad you’re safe, Betty! Keep telling people’s stories!!!

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