Monday, December 1, 2014

Wisdom from "Mausers and Muffins"

Of course, this photo is from the Sig Sauer website at

       If I had to write a post on the Second Amendment, or if my very life depended upon it, I am afraid I could not even approach the clarity or eloquence found in my dear friend's post.   Please take a look at this and while you're there, take a look around her incredible longstanding blog.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reexamining Relationships at Thanksgiving and at Christmas



   I have written a number of posts lately which cause us to examine the relationships we have with either friends or family.   In good times, we often tolerate some degree of bad behavior from others, particularly from relatives.  Over time, we become almost comfortable with the bad or selfish behavior from relatives or in-laws.  We ultimately may reach a point where we no longer see their withdrawn, difficult or even manipulative behavior, when others, outside our families who have not been "acculturized" to it,  still do, and may well be shocked by it.

             When Thanksgiving rolls around, I tend to call my friends I have had over many years and see how things are going for them and their families.  This year, there has been one common thread.  There have either been overt mental health issues with a family member that are coming to a head, or there have been some type of behavioral issue with an in-law, a son, a daughter or someone else.  It seems everyone everywhere is under inordinate stress, and it's spilling over into relationships and may become front and center over the holidays.

               Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday.  At my house there is grief because our youngest son died the day after Thanksgiving suddenly, six years ago.  We have an admittedly quiet and somewhat somber holiday where we connect.  It's also less formal than the holidays I had as a younger person.  We are happy to see our kids, and we try to keep the mood as light as possible given all of the circumstances.   This year will be a particularly tough one for several of my friends and their families.  There are conflicts with their parents, or a sibling, and these conflicts will spill over into their Thanksgiving gathering, and likely include the meal as well.

              I have a few suggestions regarding surviving the Thanksgiving holiday, which you might also wish to extend to Christmas.

*  Understand that you will likely need to let someone down.  Accept that this is one day, and that it will not be possible to do everything that everyone expects or wishes.  Try to spread activities you must do over a few days.

*    Try not to set yourself up for a failure or an absolutely impossible task.   If Uncle Rolf was reluctant to come to your Thanksgiving because you are not traditional enough, and your nephew Jake is on a vegetarian-paleo diet and won't be eating much, then perhaps they should attend different gatherings if they are coming to your house.  Try not to book people who have significant differences or who are actually at war within your family.  Holidays rarely cause people to set aside their differences, and some are more likely to be heightened in their resentment and anger during this time.

*  Serve some foods you love and mostly foods that are healthy.  This way, you and your family will come through having had a holiday, and not a substantial number of calories you really shouldn't have had. The reward to eating properly is not really fitting your clothes afterward, but feeling well enough to continue to take on the world and your life afterward.

* Honestly assess who you are inviting to your gathering.  Most of us have relatives that we would not have chosen. Anyone who has potential for violence or who will steal from you during the holiday, shouldn't be invited.  I know this sounds obvious, but lots of people will be having unbridled criminals who somewhat endanger their families over to their home this holiday.

* Since people on the verge of becoming abusive tend to be pushed toward it with the use of alcohol, you might want to serve some Martinelli's sparkling cider this year at your gatherings.  (Honestly, I don't have stock in their company, and they are selling multiple bottles in packages at Sam's Club right now.)  You might also save some cash by doing so.

* You have a right to have a family gathering that is safe. Don't take chances with your family with iffy invitees. The police are quite busy enough this season.

           Set some limits, folks !

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Remembering Our Veterans Who Still Live


                 If you listen to American news, they proudly report that an upswing in available jobs and hiring,  is occurring. "The recession is over !" they hail.   Of course, none of the long term unemployed with whom we are acquainted, have been hired.   They are getting a few more interviews from time to time though. There is another phenomenon we are seeing in Virginia which I find particularly disturbing.  About twice a week or so, I make a run by car to one of two cities within a days drive from here. Consistent with having good situational awareness, there are lot of things I notice on these trips.  I also dress as "the grey woman" so I can come and go quickly, unnoticed, and a lot of people talk to me, and I respond. I learn a lot of things by simply speaking to people in my travels.  There is, a decided uptick in the number of veterans who are panhandling within my state.  There is a veteran from the  Vietnam conflict  panhandling on one corner who has listed his numerous medical diagnoses, on a giant cardboard placard, many of these diagnoses are likely correct, but misspelled. One of them is metastatic bone cancer.  He is standing on the corner, and from the gentle sway, he is obviously in pain. I had seen him and spoken to him several times to make sure that the staggering was pain and not drunkenness, before I gave him money. He is homeless and waiting for some type of disability. to come through  He stays at the mission whenever they are open or they have room.  I accept that there are people out there who won't take help sometimes, and who fall through the cracks in even the best systems. However, I am seeing an increase in the number of veterans in really serious situations who aren't getting what they need, and as an American citizen, I am both embarrassed and  ashamed.  I have done a little research on this, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs claims that there is help, housing, vocational rehabilitation, and medical care for these people.  If this is so, then why would so many veterans of so many different conflicts, and of both sexes, with differing issues not make use of the available help ?  Certainly, the social workers at the missions and homeless shelters have internet access and can help these souls who gave so much to us some direction to such programs, if such programs exist.  Why is this system not working ?   The VA says that homeless veterans are usually of African American or Hispanic ancestry and I don't know how they could even know this, because so many don't wish to be counted.  So many wish to be completely off grid.  The ones I mention in this particular post have all been caucasian.  I don't actually care what their ethnicity is identified as. Someone who served our country and was damaged or injured in the course of doing so, should have our support in both the short and the long term until they once again can take an important role in our mainstream.

                        There is a young woman who is a veteran of one of our recent wars. She has an amputation, and panhandles about one day a week  She has a dog who is protective of her.  She doesn't say much other than she "doesn't have anywhere to go".      I have met a number of fairly able bodied looking former soldiers in the community in the past six months.  Most are trying to adapt, and trying to fit in, even those without continuing medical issues from injuries. Goodwill has provided a job to a few of them.   It is quite difficult for many of them.  Some of them find a willing ear in the preparedness or survivalist communities.  Some of them over time are able to calm themselves enough to begin to piece together a life.  What bothers me is how many of these former soldiers claim that there are no resources allocated to help them reintegrate into their communities.  I know only one who found a job and is doing fairly well there.  Some of them don't trust the systems in which they once worked enough to confide in them to get the help they need. For a few, the Department of Defense has become a secondary untrustworthy enemy.  Many of them know what happened to Brandon Raub and they are acutely aware of NSA gathering of information, of Edward Snowden, and of the progressive erosion of the US Constitution under the Obama regime.

                       Yesterday, as I picked up fruit at a Wal-Mart in a distant town, I noticed a warmly dressed man in a beard in the line in the express line in back of me.  He had a bottled water and an inexpensive compilation video of an action series. "Sir, why don't you go ahead of me ?" I asked.   He looked surprised, but he silently went ahead and thanked me.  I commented that the compilation for five dollars is a very good buy.  At that point the female clerk in at the checkout said that he often finds the best priced videos.  As we headed out to the cold, he told me that he is a former marine, homeless and  living in a tent in nearby woods and watching compilation videos from a small portable battery operated player, whenever it's time to hunker down, like on the holidays.  I thanked him for his service to our country. For a moment he stood a bit taller and straighter, and didn't seem quite so cold.  How sad our country didn't find a better way to help those who have sacrificed so much of themselves to run operations which were said, at least at the time, to benefit America and her security.   As I shivered my way back to my car and thought about how when I finally got home,  I would have to spend a couple of hours once again today outdoors in snow and rain caring for horses and other livestock, caring for them, and placing them in the barn. I thought about the lives of so many who are simply living out in the cold all the time.  I said a prayer for the men and women like the marine.I met today. Please do the same.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Revisiting "Why There is Thanksgiving Sadness"

Every Thanksgiving is a snapshot in time which may not come again.  (

                      This post was first written and posted on November 21, 2012.  I don't think I have anything more profound to say at Thanksgiving, other than please have a safe and good one.

    I am a little reticent about Thanksgiving.   In the 90s, my mother in law died in her fifties before Thanksgiving.   Then in 2006, my beloved golden retriever Susan, who had helped to raise all our children, passed of old age, early in the morning the day after Thanksgiving.  She passed at 5 am on a pillow on our bedroom floor. Despite her old age, this was a great loss, and I knew even then, it was the beginning of a trail of losses.   The following year, my mother passed in the hospital the day after Thanksgiving.  I was eating some leftover turkey with some stuffing and gravy when I got the phone call. I still remember how I felt as I sat down in the dining room to compose myself.  The following year, my father passed before Thanksgiving, and I had the great honor to sit with him for five days beforehand.  He was quite lucid and this gave us both a chance to tell each other some things and for me to confirm some final life directions.  Just after Thanksgiving in 2008, our youngest son passed at 12 1/2.   There was a clean autopsy, and physician think he may have had a spontaneous heart rhythm disturbance.  We were supposed to be comforted by the fact that this is happening more and more to children who play sports and to professional athletes also.  I don't think misery really loves company.  I don't think I want anyone to lose a loved one, on a holiday, just after, or any other time.
             I suppose it's probably normal for me to approach Thanksgiving with a little trepidation.  "Whose turn is it this year ?"  is a thought which sneaks in sometimes.  With my new onset atrial fibrillation experienced seven times this year, I think the likelihood is there that it will be me.
             Still, with all this holiday baggage, it doesn't matter.  We ARE here, and we ARE going to celebrate because no one is every promised or guaranteed any day, let alone another Thanksgiving, or another Christmas.  We are here, until we aren't.  The crime would be squandering that time in which we are.
              I could look at our trail of Thanksgiving losses as very bad luck.  Or I could see it as it is.  God has orchestrated for us that He calls us when he is ready, and is demonstrating to our family that there is a plan.  Our family members will be well until they are called, and then they will be lovingly called to go home.  I try really hard not to be sad in the holiday season.  Most of the time, it works.

   Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.  Give a hug to everyone because sometimes it IS their last year with us.


UPDATE:    Thanksgiving Day, 2013        So many people are reading this post this year, that I thought I owed all of you an update.   My healthy has improved greatly from a year ago.  I am no longer having atrial fibrillation since I supplemented magnesium glycinate, and changed from omeprazole which decreases needed magnesium levels over time, to ranitidine, for GERD.
   There is a book called "Beat Your A-Fib" which you can see at     If atrial fibrillation is a problem for you, read this book and then discuss whether implementing its recommendations are right for you, with your doctor.
                  I am still dealing with animal health issues this year.   My son's thirteen year old Siberian Husky is requiring pretty intensive care as a result of probable Addison's Disease with fluid and electrolyte imbalances.  This Thanksgiving, I will be working hard with him on his appetite, until the vet reopens after Thanksgiving for more definitive treatment.    It is my hope that we will avoid a Thanksgiving season loss this year.

 UPDATE:  Thanksgiving Day, 2014
              Our Siberian Husky is still with us and will be sixteen years old in January.  He requires a lot of care but still enjoys his life, and we very much enjoy having him with us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Introducing "Ash Fall"


                        My friend, Deborah D. Moore is the author of The Journal: Cracked Earth which found its rightful place on the best seller's list last year after only six weeks.    The Journal: Ash Fall is the second book in the trilogy which is now available as a kindle edition.

           Buy Ash Fall as a Kindle edition

                       Deborah is not only an expert in family and regional preparedness in her area of the US but she has also been on television in both the US and in Canada.   Her unraveling of the story of Moose Creek is not only very instructive from a standpoint of disaster preparedness, but is entertaining as well.

                     The e-book and printed version of Ash Fall will be available within two weeks and is probably most easily obtained through .

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Piece of Perspective at "Black Friday, Indeed"


  When you have a chance, please visit one of my other blogs at:

                This post concerns long term survival of self and of family in loss and in layered losses.

The Disc-O-Bed Cam-O-Cot


This is the Disc o bed Cam O Cot shown with organizers attached.

  I have promised that from time to time when I see a product that I think could be helpful to some of you, to call your attention to it.  As always, other than my very own books, I have no financial interests whatsoever in the products which I mention here.   Make sure you do your own due diligence. Ask good questions and see that you understand everything about any product you see here before investing your hard earned ever shrinking dollars on them.

      If you have a home sized even slightly larger than you need for daily needs, or if you have a dry basement, you could be called upon to be an emergency shelter for relatives or close friends.  Even a simple snowstorm on Thanksgiving could cause you to need to provide emergency dwelling for friends or family. I keep a number of sleeping bags, but many people can't sleep on them, or on a concrete floor, as would often be in most basements.  The Disc O bed Cam O Cot comes in easily stored bags.  It assembles fairly easily, or you could assemble them and leave them up if you have the space.  You can configure them, as above, as bunks, or you can configure them as separate beds.  These are particularly helpful for your own cabins too should you plan to use those in emergencies and lack the space or money for genuine beds.  These beds can be ordered either in 28 inch or 35 inch wide sizes.

These are the largest beds unassembled in their storage bags.

This is inside one of those bags.  These are easily transported.

  These beds are used by the US military and are especially helpful in tough-to-bunk places.  The organizers as seen in the picture at the top of the page come with the package.  Each bed can be converted to a bench should you need a bench with a back later the next day.  No tools are required for the assembly of these bunks.

       Please let me know how you like them.

One Source of these beds starting at $299.95 per set

Cabela's Page for this Product