As the days wear on in quarantine, the more irritable we get -- but the more creative we get, also. 

My husband was itching for something important to do so he painted the hubcaps on his old truck. I’ve weeded all I can before losing my sanity, so I’ve begun painting little postcards to all my friends and family in my usual sixth-grade style. It’s been a fun time-consumer, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to graduate to the Dutch Masters level anytime soon. 

I also sent all my Mah Jongg girlfriends each a bright “bandit” bandana to match their unique coloring. 

Still, all around me, I see kindnesses and forethought. 

Gail Phinney at the Palos Verdes Art Center is sending out a daily message to the community sharing her love of art. She features a photo of a famous painting, then gives a brief history of the artist and work in an informative, heartwarming way. It’s her gift to us, and I just love it. 

My sister in law and niece are making fabric masks for anyone who needs them.

My church sends out much appreciated and thoughtful devotional message everyday. The poignant words help take my mind off my own troubles — which truly are non-existent at this time. 

Even the Palos Verdes Peninsula News and Daily Breeze have thoughtfully included a couple of daily pages of puzzles, Sudoku and word games for its fidgety, housebound subscribers. 

My other sister Kathy, who can’t go out of her room at Little Sisters of the Poor is knitting up a storm, making her fluffy, happy scarves for anyone who would like one. They aren’t perfect, and might be missing a stitch or two, but they are made from hands who belong to the sweetest, kindest “special” person you can ever imagine. The isolation is doubly hard for Kathy because she is severely deaf, and talking to people through face masks literally cuts her off from the simplest doorway conversations. 

To that end, I dusted off an old challenge I presented to my journalism students at Cal State University Dominguez Hills to write a 100-word news story.

Participant residents, volunteers and staff at Little Sisters of the Poor are invited to choose subjects like romance, history, fiction, sci-fi, true life — or whatever they want to write about — for their own “100-word Story.” 

My husband and I will judge the contest and award first, second and third prizes for the best entries. The story must have a beginning, middle and end, and be exactly 100 words. The title is not included in the 100-word count. 

Here’s a rough sample of a 100-word fictional story. It’s not Pulitzer worthy, but it has a jovial meaning to me, being a former flight attendant. Maybe others in the community can start their own contests with family and friends. 

Shimmying in the Jungle

The flight attendant stood proudly at entry door welcoming passengers onto the brand new Boeing 747. 

The aircraft was the most modern, technically efficient flying machine ever launched into production. 

Still, the flight crews were nervous about the their ability to evacuate 400 people in three minutes' time. 

The day came when flying into Bangkok, lightning hit the right wing, causing the loss of two engines. 

When the unconscious pilots awoke amidst the downed wreckage, they found the 14 cabin attendants had already escorted all 400 passengers out of the aircraft by helping them shimmy down the dense rainforest canopy.

I’ve already offended one retired pilot with this fictional little farce, so the contest can only get funner. 

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