Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sherwood Samaritans Spring into Action

The Sherwood Samaritans got their first call today, only a few days after the group formed. For those of you reading this who are not part of our condo association, the Sherwood Samaritans is a neighbor helping neighbor organization that offers assistance such as transportation to a doctor's office or other similar appointment, light shopping or house cleaning for someone recuperating, meals for a shut in and even odd jobs and mule work to help the less able.

Today's call was short and simple, but it underscores the need and reason for the organization. Before I tell you about the call, I'll give you the background, which it actually more significant than the call itself.

The day after the meeting, I received an email from Deb, one of our residents. In the beginning of the message, she apologized for missing the meeting, because she did want to participate. She went on to explain that she has just undergone knee surgery, was having difficulty getting around, and couldn’t drive.

She went on to say that she just realized the irony of the situation. She wanted to attend the meeting and needed help, but never thought about asking for a ride until writing the message.

I think that like Deb, many of us are more than willing to give a hand when we see someone who needs help, but are often hesitant or remiss when it comes to asking for it. Having an organization such as the Samaritans visible and available, can help alleviate that problem.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I started out by saying this was about our first call for help and seemingly wandered off into Deb’s story, but things do come full circle. It was Deb who made the first call.

Deb was having a birthday party for a family member. She and her granddaughter were setting things up and neither one could get the valve open on the helium canister they rented to blow up balloons. It was a simple thing to do. I opened the valve and helped hang a banner. It only took a moment, but it helped a neighbor and made a difference.

She gave me a call, probably not just because of the Sherwood Samaritans, but she was now aware of the organization, because was a neighbor, and she didn’t feel uncomfortable in asking for help. It’s important that Deb and the rest of the residents understand that every member of the Sherwood Samaritans would be just as happy to have come to the rescue. We have contact people on every block and no one should be uncomfortable contacting one of them for help.

For those of you who are members of the condo association and aren’t familiar with the Sherwood Samaritans and how we function, make sure you login to the Members section of for more information and a list of neighborhood contacts.

We all need help at some time or another and the Sherwood Samaritans are there for you. No questions asked!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tai Chi for Health and Fitness

It's not likely any of us will be running in marathons or entering any iron man competitions, but that doesn't mean we can't stay fit. One way to accomplish that is through Tai Chi, a gentle form of exercise that relieves stress, tones the muscles, stretches the tendons, and conditions internal organs while helping align the spine.

In July of 2010 I joined the New England branch of the International Taoist Tai Chi Society. We meet at the Adult Learning Campus in Exeter (the old high school) I began learning the 108 movement form as developed by Master Moy Lin Shin.

Joining the society allows you to attend any of the classes being offered anywhere in the world. By December, I had finished the basics and am now taking ongoing classes to learn the fine points. If I attend frequently enough, I may or may not be completed sometime before I pass on to my next lifetime.

In some ways, Tai Chi is like chess. You can learn the basic moves and get a great deal of enjoyment and stimulation fairly quickly, but to master it can take a lifetime. To accomplish this, a few times a year there are intensive workshops where master teachers offer a full day of training. In March there was an intensive workshop that was followed by a dinner to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, and talent show where members shared their other loves and skills.

In January, our web master moved to Chicago and I volunteered take over. With the help of other dedicated volunteers who supplied the content and planned the structure, the website was rebuilt. Please visit it to find out more.