Sunday, March 30, 2014

Now, Will America Return to Teaching Russian Language in Schools ?

              I don't often recycle my own posts, but this one, which appeared a year ago, was oddly prophetic.  Not only do we need to take responsibility for monitoring radicalized Muslims within the Russian Federation, but we need to have our fingers on the pulses on the mood and news of "Mother Russia" and Mr. Putin, as well, for other reasons.
Perhaps more people would agree now that Russian language studies needs to return to American high school, college and university curricula as an offering.



    
Russia, with superimposed Russian flag.




    Just after 9-11, there was a big push in American colleges, universities and even high schools, to make Arabic classes available to students.  Our country knew that we needed to better understand people who spoke Arabic.  We also knew that an entire generation of really fluent Arabic speakers would be needed in order to better pour over the huge amount of information available in Arabic in magazines, and on the internet, which might portend future attacks and concerns for homeland security.  The newest generation of intelligence analysts needed to be started today.  As intelligence analysts we need people who understand the true nuances of a particular language, not someone who received a crash course.  Ideally, those analysts should be trained in Arabic over a period of time.
               This was an excellent idea given what had happened, and some universities also gave money to beef up the programs in Farsi  (spoken in Iran, or the former Persia)
              The problem with this, is that in order to fund these programs, Russian was cut in the high schools in which it had been taught.  Less money was appropriated on the university level for the study of Russian language. Students who had planned trips to study in Russia found their funding cut, and fewer exchange professors from Russia were slated to come here.   This was a terrible mistake, and I said so at the time.
               Russia is the largest country in the world, as calculated by land mass.    According to the 2011 census, there are at least  141,930,000 who were in urban enough areas to be counted.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, they have taken to capitalism like the proverbial duck to water.  In fact, Moscow now has the largest number of millionaires of any city in the world.  There is an incredible potential for us to sell consumer goods to Russia.  This is why Coca-cola, Benetton, Burger King, and many other companies are already there now.  As their economy changes from state owned housing one rents according to income, to a primarily personally owned home economy, there are incredible opportunities economically for us.  Unfortunately, if none of us speak Russian, we are going to miss those opportunities.  This is without even considering the vast cultural and scientific opportunities that are possible if some of our finest minds speak Russian fluently enough to communicate well with Russia.
                 There are not a lot of Americans who speak Russian well.  You may remember Hilary Clinton's blunder during the first days of the Obama Regime when she wished to send a "Reset" button to the Russians to say that she would like to turn a new page with regard to the US relationship with them. The button said peregruzka which does not mean reset, it means overload.   Sergei Lavrov, the diplomat involved told Mrs. Clinton that they had gotten it wrong.  Perezagruzka, a different word,means reset.  Perhaps if we had a larger body of Russian speakers and translators we would be less prone to serious language errors, particularly on the highest levels of diplomacy, where it really matters.

                 When I was in Russia, I  learned that in Moscow, schoolchildren do have learning English as an option.  However, when we were in Vladivostok, Russia, 5000 miles East of Moscow, that schoolchildren have the option of learning to speak French, not English.  Consequently, when I ran out of Russian vocabulary there, I dropped into French, to be more precisely understood.  I could not expect to find those who spoke English, or Angliski as the Russians call it.

                  The bitter civil war in Chechnya, and the known connections which exist between Al Qaeda in the rest of the world, and their Muslim brothers in Chechnya mean that in the US, we need to be better monitoring the Russian and Chechen communications via phone and via internet.  Perhaps if we had more analysts who were Russian fluent, we would have had more of a heads up on the Tsarnaev brothers, the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombings.  We might not have detected these radicalized individuals, or stopped this particular bombing, but it should serve as a wake up call that we are depending upon the Russians to do their own analyses of potential world terror, and to tell us about it, rather than having our own Russian speaking analysts on staff.



These are Muslim Chechen rebels.
 

                   Like it or not, Russia, and its outer regions figure prominently on the world stage, and deserve our attention, if not our concern.  In Moscow, Radical Chechen Muslims took over the Dubrovka Theatre  in October, 2002  One hundred and thirty hostages died, many of them children. Seven hundred people were injured.  Eventually, all forty terrorists died also. 

                 This is America's wake up call to pay attention to Russian Muslims as a potential source of US terrorism, as well as radicalized Muslims in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.




Click on this:
Documentary on the Moscow Theatre Seige


                                       Bolshoe spasiba !

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Way to Make Blue Cheese for Home Use

                 In the past several months I have developed quite an addiction to blue cheese crumbles on my salads.  In the past year I gave up salad dressings and found that one tablespoon of small blue cheese pieces and crumbs (aka crumbles) on my salad is not only fewer calories but by virtue of the strong and sharp flavor, but it makes me perfectly happy.   It is particularly good on the greens I grow myself.  My favorite are my home grown lettuce varieties, with small apple pieces and about a tablespoon of blue cheese crumbs.
                I haven't been paying a lot for blue cheese crumbles as I am not consuming them all that quickly, but I did wonder this week how I could continue this addiction, should the price of blue cheese skyrocket.I found an excellent recipe for blue cheese you might wish to try.


The general directions and the pictures between the two sets of undulating lines are the sole work product of
WikiHow and were found at:    

 http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Blue-Cheese

I have summarized some of it.

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Photo: Wikihow.com





You'll need:

1. Cold drained curds from Farmer's Cheese

2. 2 tsp. table salt

3. 1/4 cup cool clean water

4. A pan of hot water

5. Clean new Phillips screwdriver that you will need to sterilize by boiling for ten minutes.
     (The Wiki people sterilized theirs using vodka)

6.  Clean cotton cloths you will need to sterilize by ironing.

7.  Food thermometer which reads 50-100 Fahrenheit (or 0-45 degrees Centigrade)

8. Clean vinyl gloves

9.A small amount of blue cheese.  (Saga blue is recommended.)


1. Start with one package of Farmer's cheese, made from about 2 gallons of milk
    You should drain the water from it while it sits in the frij.




2.  Next, place the salt on top and mix to create small crumbles, the size of baked beans.



3.   Then mix a quarter cup of cool clean water in a blender with a bit more than a teaspoon of new, clean, uncontaminated blue cheese.  (Again, Saga Blue variety has been specifically recommended, but I used blue cheese from Kroger, called "Private Selection".)    This will create a smooth liquid we will call "the inoculum" because we inoculated the water with the specific bacteria found in the commercial blue cheese.


4. Then, pour your inoculum over your salted curds and mix well with a fork.


Photo:  Wikihow.com



5.  Fashion yourself a cheese press by  lining a dish with a sterile cloth.   Then place your cheese inside. The press can be fashioned as above using rubber or other types of bungees. The glass jar should exert pressure on the cheese overnight.   The objective is to extract water while leaving some air inside the cheese.




Photo Wikihow.com



6.   The following morning,  sterilize your new screwdriver, either by boiling for ten minutes continuously and then allowing to cool before use, or by soaking in vodka, then drying the phillips screwdriver thoroughly.  Create air holes with your sterile screwdriver, about every quarter inch on the top of the cheese.  It is important not to introduce any other type of bacteria or mold into the cheese or the holes.  I used thin vinyl gloves for this part.



7.  Rub the surface slightly with salt.  Then cover with another sterile cloth.  The cheese should sit in a refrigerator which is set at 50 degrees F (or 10 C)    It should be in an area where plenty of air can circulate around the cheese. You do need a refrigerator thermometer.  The frij should be 70% humidity.  You can buy a hygrometer and test this.  To increase the humidity if necessary, place a dish of  clean water in the frij. If the humidity is not high enough, the cheese will dry out.  If it is too wet, it could become moldy.    Turn the cheese daily. If the cloth becomes wet, then replace it with another sterile cloth. Do this for about ten days.


Photo: Wikihow.com



8.   Look for a white "bloom" on the cheese.   If the bloom covers the holes, you will need to make the holes larger, with your resterilized phillips screwdriver to permit air circulation.  Then keep turning your cheese for two more weeks or until the characteristic blue coloring emerges. This should appear on both the inside and outside of the cheese.

Remove the cheese following a total refrigerator time of two months.  It can be aged longer, but this is unnecessary.    Notice the natural penicillium which has grown to provide this cheese with its characteristic color.


Photo: wikihow.com

Voila !  Blue cheese !     Photo: wikihow.com

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CAUTION:     People who are allergic to penicillin or other molds may occasionally react to blue cheeses.  Make sure that when you sample this and other blue cheeses that you do so cautiously before eating very much of it.  Those with known mold allergies should talk to their allergist before trying blue cheese from any source.

Should you be unable to wait two months for the flavor of blue cheese on your salad, it is possible to buy a powdered blue cheese, a bit like powdered Parmesan, only with blue cheese. They have other varieties as well:

     Firehouse Pantry






Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Questions from Foreign Lands

       

Graphic from: www.epicparent.tv    







 Because I agreed to have this blog translated into many languages, I get a lot of questions asking for clarification about subjects I have discussed on the blog.    Certainly, computerized translation leaves things to be desired, and this may be one reason that the full intent of some of my posts might not be clear.  I do get a lot of unusual questions, mostly from foreign lands, and I can only think that there are differences between how some things are done in the US and Canada and how they might be done elsewhere.  Still, it is important to share.  I have learned many things that have been abundantly useful to me from many nations other than my own,and I hope I have at least occasionally, I have brought something of interest or of use to you.


Question # 1:    Who controls or chooses what you talk about on your blog ?

          I do.  The adult woman on the sidebar right selects the topics, chooses the links  used, and makes the commentaries in the body of the post itself.

   Perhaps you meant,  where do I get the ideas for my posts ?

           Sometimes a friend has asked me something or suggests I make a post on a particular topic, like oxygen absorbers, repairs of vinyl siding, etc.   Sometimes it's something I have had to research for personal reasons and then after all the research, I have chosen to share what I have learned.  Sometimes, I have been reading some articles about something that has concerned or frightened me, and then I know it's something I should talk about here. This was the case with the series on self defense.   The series on envenomation injuries and dangerous spiders in North America came as a result of my being treated for hemolytic anemia in the aftermath of a brown recluse spider bite, early one Spring when I was bitten at the back of one leg while driving.



Question #2 :      In your country, are you not worried that you will be in trouble for criticizing your government ?

            That is a great question.   Compared to many other blogs which are much more political than my own, my comments regarding my worries for my country are comparatively tame.   I would hope that the attention of computer based intelligence analysts would be focused on others with more unusual views than my own.   I was audited by the IRS a couple of years ago, and I did comment that each time I made a mildly negative comment concerning our federal government, I received another letter from the IRS.  This may well have been coincidental. Let's hope so.
            The United States used to have freedom of speech which was designed to support the exchange of differing ideas about everything from education to government spending.  The free exchange of ideas is supposed to be how our system is to work.



Question # 3:    Have the young men missing from Virginia Commonwealth University ever been found ?

           No,  Jonny Dorey has never been located, alive or otherwise.

Ian Burnet, who was attending VCU, and who disappeared during a trip to New York City, has also never been located. 

If you are out of the country, please take a look at these links and see if you have seen them anywhere.

This is a page from another blog of mine:    

http://learnedfromdaniel.blogspot.com/2011/05/where-is-jonny-dorey.html

 

Information on Ian Burnet:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2013/01/where-is-ian-burnet-now.html 

 

   In addition, a young woman who did not attend VCU but who disappeared from college in Bloomington, Indiana, and is named Lauren Spierer also remains missing.


            Thanks for the questions.  Best wishes to you, wherever you are.






 


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Looking at Doing Laundry Without Laundry Facilities

           

( Drawing:  sau53.org )




  Just after 9-11, my husband and I had a prescheduled trip to Russia.   We spent a month in Far Eastern Russia, five thousand miles East of Moscow, near Vladivostok, and then ultimately in Moscow.  Although there was a laundress at our hotel when we were in Vladivostok, there were no laundromats.   In Far Eastern Winter, you are wise if you pay for your hotel only one night at a time. Power outages are frequent and if you have paid for a week and the power goes out, and you can locate another hotel, then you will not be refunded the balance from the original one. For this reason, we were reluctant to send laundry to the laundress and then lose it when changing hotels might be necessary.

                In that setting,  I washed laundry in our hotel bathroom sink daily.  All underwear and shirts were washed by hand with a small amount of bottled generic Woolite I had brought from the US.  Once a week I washed skirts and larger items. (I did not wear pants to go out, as this would have identified me as an American, and after 9-11, you were wise to dress as a Russian.)    When the clothing was washed, rinsed, and ready to dry, I either placed it on a coathanger in the shower for the day, or placed the underwear or shirts on the heated towel rack in the bathroom, which I was told was connected in some way to the boiler. We established a routine in the first week, and this kept the extra errands to a minimum. We also came home with everything we intended to bring home with us, and this is always a plus !

          
              Doing larger amounts of laundry with limited water, limited power or tough weather conditions can be more difficult.  After Hurricane Isabelle, we were without power at our original farm for about two weeks.  Large families generate huge amounts of laundry and sometimes, it simply needs to be washed.
The way I did laundry post Hurricane Isabelle was to prepare a bucket of tepid water and place a smaller than normal amount of conventional liquid soap in it.  Then the clothing soaks in it for about an hour.  Then I would remove the clothing, wringing it out, and place it into a second bucket with plain water. After about thirty minutes, I would move it on to a third and final rinse bucket.  Then, I would do a final wringing using a clean and new wringer I had purchased some time earlier from Sam's Club, which actually had been intended as a mop wringer and bucket.

This is the Rubbermaid Wave Break.  It wrings out clothing, including towels, sheets and the ends of blankets one side at a time. This sells for about forty dollars at Sam's Club and is worth every penny when it is necessary to employ in  the alternate manner I am suggesting. I was very lucky to have thought of this in advance of actually needing one.


           Wringing out the clothing had been essential during the weather conditions which occurred during Hurricane Isabelle. The conditions were extremely damp, and without having all the moisture possible removed during wringing, the clothing would just hand indoors remaining wet even after a day, and potentially molding if simply left that way. I was glad I remembered that I had bought one of these for this exact purpose some time earlier.   Sometimes, the best strategy is to fashion a clothesline and hang your clothing outside. However, during the days that followed Hurricane Isabelle, this was not an option. In a great many other scenarios, it might not be either.  My mother used to hang Winter laundry in our garage during the coldest parts of of the year. My parents, who were very early to the sustainability movement from their time in Europe, did not use a clothes dryer unless they absolutely had to.

            I use blankets in dog houses during the coldest months within our dogs large commercial grade kennel. In Spring, these blankets need washing, and I am not about to throw them into my washing machine, even if I can run a bleach load afterward.    I wash them by placing each blanket for a day in a large washbasin with cold water, liquid commercial detergent.  They do need some form of agitation, and I do this by having bought a large sized toilet plunger.  The plunger is marked with magic marker and says "Dog laundry agitation only".   (This way you can be sure that no one used your plunger in a toilet in the off season !)   I soak and wash one blanket per day in Spring.   Then, I wring them out by hand and hand them on the back of the fence of the unoccupied kennel to dry.  Most are completely dry in about a day, and ready to be bagged in plastic in the barn for next year.



(Graohic: blog.greendeals.org )    Certainly, you can make your five dollar clothesline as long as you want or need.






          These are the laundry strategies we have used here for the purposes of "laundry survival".  Your family size, available storage, the availability of hanging space in a laundry room or outside, all dictate what would be possible for you.  What IS important is that you give some thought NOW, before an emergency which adversely impacts how you would do your laundry occurs.  Now is the time to gather items needed to do laundry in adverse conditions. Remember that keeping the clothing clean that is in contact with your skin can go a long way in helping to prevent skin issues and potential infections, which often occur during emergency breakdowns in normal water and electricity supplies.



You can buy the Rubbermaid Wave Break here



This post is part of a series on remaining clean and healthy in emergency conditions:

This is my prior post:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2014/03/strategies-to-keeping-clean-and.html



Friday, March 21, 2014

Using Sense With Supplements

            






         Sometimes I profile or tell you about a company I have used or a product I think is interesting.
I don't receive any type of reimbursement from the companies I profile, unless I have indicated I do (and so far, I never have)  
              I do use vitamin and other types of supplements on occasion.  There is a wonderful book that exists in many editions called:

    Balch's      Prescription for Nutritional Healing


It is in its fifth edition, and has a great deal of really valuable information.  It's about fourteen dollars on Amazon.com and may be had for less than that at www.half.com on occasion.  The earlier editions are also quite helpful, and I still have one.    This book talks about correct and careful supplementation of vitamins and minerals on a disorder by disorder basis.    Have dry scaly skin ?   Then, a zinc supplement could be in order, for example.  There is also a Spanish version of the book also available on Amazon.

       In an era where our unimpeded access to our primary physician could be more and more tenuous, then staying healthy using careful supplementation as a strategy could be one modality to staying healthy.

            In addition to reading carefully and following the guidelines in a variety of disorders, you might find that your grocery store or your Wal-Mart doesn't have all the supplements suggested    I use taurine, coenzyme q-10,  and magnesium glycinate, for example, and these are not always easy to find, especially in the doses I use.    The vitamin shop by mail I have been using is not only reasonable, but has a lot of the unusual things I might choose to use.   In addition, one of my sons needed to supplement biotin, but in the stores locally, they were flavored as a chewable natural cherry.  He is allergic to cherries and so we needed to find a natural biotin flavored with orange or strawberry.   Swanson Health Products had it, and everything else I have used lately.  They also had them with significant discounts over vitamin shops and with expiration dates far into the future.   (The expiration dates are not a hard and fast rule, but I try to obtain things with as long a shelf life as is reasonably possible.)  Swanson also runs occasional specials where there is free postage.   I was fortunate that for my last order, this was running.

This is a listing of some of its products are uses:

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/VitaminsAndSupplements


        Certainly,  your physician should be aware of any supplements or vitamins you take on a regular basis.  Some of them interact with prescription or OTC medications.  Some physicians don't believe that supplementation is necessary.  However, I have seen great differences in patients who have found some type of supplement for something of which they were deficient.   I have seen brown hair come back where gray was growing when zinc was supplemented.  I have seen biotin grow longer hair in a person whose hair did not grow, as a simple side effect of the vitamin.  I have seen apparent eczema clear on supplementation with zinc. I have seen improvements in people's vision when they supplemented specific products for improved vision.  My own atrial fibrillation all but disappeared on supplementation with physician's permission, of taurine, conenzyme Q-10, and magnesium glycinate, and the discontinuation of Prilosec.  
        Certain disorders actually burn through more vitamins and minerals than normal, and it's natural to consider that some of us might need some supplementation while others might not. We are all individuals with differing genetic predilections to disease.

         Remember that your physician should be the best historian on your health and what it is safe to supplement. If he isn't, it's time to locate someone with more of an interest in health maintenance rather than collecting your money when it's time for treatment.  I assure you, that there are good physicians out there.






                        

            

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Understanding the Potential for Financial Collapse

         This is one of the best and clearest explanations of banking and of potential for financial collapse that is so simple, it could be explained to a child.

          Please take a look:

http://www.canadianpreppersnetwork.com/2014/03/economic-collapsewhat-does-that-mean.html





Don't Tell Me There is No Inflation

                 
(Photo:  www.telegraph.co.uk  )



           My daughter bought her own home about a year and a half ago and has been doing pretty well as a twenty-something paying her student loans, her mortgage, her health insurance, and the like.  Her extravagance has been a smaller pedigree dog she plucked from the pages of Craigslist.  The dog is well cared for and adored.

                       At the beginning of this year more money started to be withheld from my daughter's paycheck, and she is finding it more of a challenge to pay electricity, phone and internet.  She also got a raise which threw her into a higher tax bracket.   Her boyfriend has never found a fulltime job after college and he works part time without benefits, but is willing to take additional hours when anyone calls in sick, and they often do.  Despite being fairly careful, they are finding financial life difficult.
                        I dropped off a new vacuum cleaner from Wal-Mart one day last week to find them sitting in the dark trying to save electricity.   I decided to try to help them in small ways until they navigate some of these changes.  I remember money stress from my twenties and it can be no picnic.   I decided that as I shop, if I find a good buy on something I will pick it up for them.

                        I have been in a couple of grocery stores this week and thought I might get them a few specials that I know they like and will use.   I know her boyfriend likes fig bars and that my daughter doesn't and so I can be reasonably assured that he will eat them.   In the Fall, I bought him a package of store brand fig bars for about a dollar that was about a pound.   Today, the only store brand I could find was $3.29 and it was two pounds.   They didn't even have the one pound variety, and I have paid more than three times what I paid in the Fall.   I also bought peanut butter.  The jar is smaller and has a big concave bottom and is more money than it was in the Fall.   This was true of Wal-Mart,  Food Lion, Giant and Kroger.  All of them were offering less product for more money in their generic lines as compared to last Fall when I bought some grocery items for my daughter for Winter.  The government says there is no inflation.

                     My daughter's electricity bill has risen if you compare September to September etc.  Yes, this past month has been colder than normal, but even without that, her basic bill for electricity has increased. This is interesting because she has a fairly new house and spends a great deal of time at work. But, we have no inflation.

                   Our daughter used to drive to the university for about forty dollars a week. Now, she commutes to a location that is closer, with a car that is smaller than the one she traveled to college in, and her gasoline bill is about eighty dollars a week.  But, I remind her that we have no inflation.

                   We used to use several different independent car repair shops.  With a large family and a variety of cars and trucks, this was necessary.  Now, the labor has gone up so much in the last couple of years, that we only use them for mandatory state inspections.  We now do all our own maintenance and repairs.  But, there is no inflation, according to our government.

                  Of course, all of our recurrent bills have risen here too, but with young adult sons in college, I know that they will consume more food, use hot water, eat more food than they did as younger teens.   The question is, if no one gets raises anymore, and everything continues to rise in costs, how long will it be before the Middle Class becomes a memory ?

                  I'm not even going to mention health care or medications, for that is a series of posts all its own.

                  The federal government creates "statistics" based on the goods and services that have not risen or have decreased in the last couple of years, while ignoring the predominance of the items that have risen.. It must be nice to simply cast aside the data that doesn't support the conclusion you wish to advance, because this is what they are doing.




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Strategies to Keeping Clean and Avoiding Illness During Protracted Emergencies

        
These are compressible plastic peri bottles which can be helpful in a variety of hygiene situations for general or special needs.



        Most of us know how to maintain personal hygiene normally, although standards of cleanliness do differ in the world.  The American habit of the daily shower is considered a bit obsessive in many parts of the world.   There are other hygiene taboos in many parts of the world of which Americans might not be aware.  One of them is that in Russia, placing a lady's purse on a dining table at a restaurant is considered to be quite a violation of hygiene, as such a bag has likely been to a ladies room and near a toilet. Failing to remove ones shoes while entering homes in Russia is also considered poor breeding, if not certainly poor hygiene.  (Think about it. People spit in the street, and if you enter their home with the shoes you wore in the street, the highly durable acid fast bacillus which causes tuberculosis, might then inhabit their carpets)

                Sometimes, during natural or man-made emergencies, we don't have unimpeded access to enough water in which to shower. Sometimes, it's simply too cold to remove our clothing and bathe, and we might not only not be able to take a daily shower, but we might have trouble receiving a weekly one !
                 In such emergencies there are some strategies that may help you keep clean, maintain some level of personal hygiene and therefore help to avoid disease.


Strategies to Disaster Personal Cleanliness:


               Suppose you found yourself in a post disaster area in hot weather.  Excesses of perspiration might make you wish to shower more often, but clean water availability might make this less possible.  In such circumstances, you may be able to locate a clean basin of some type. You can place plain water in it.  You can add a little liquid soap or use a small bar of soap.  Use paper towels or a clean cloth like a washcloth.  Daily, you should wash your face without soap.  Then, using soap wash your chest, under your arms, your feet, your legs, any skin folds, and very last, your genital region.  Then rinse out the basin, place to bar soap to dry, and soak your washcloth in either your laundry soap to wash it, and dry for a time in a couple of days, or place a capful of bleach in the washcloth soak water.  Then rinse it with plain water, and hang it to dry for use either tomorrow or the next day.  It works best to have two washcloths to alternate.   Later in the day you can wash face and hands a couple more times with either a paper towel or cloth at bedtime.  Your back can be washed at the weekly bath. Dry carefully anywhere that there are skin folds. Certainly, if you have it, using deodorant daily is more comfortable and more pleasant.
             Certainly you can wash obviously soiled areas at other times of the day as needed.


These are hospital style wash basins.  These are available inexpensively from the Claflin Medical Supply Co. at http://www.claflinequip.com



              Women, those with diarrhea, women who are menstruating, babies, incontinent family members,
those with diarrhea, and anyone with a special medical need, especially diabetics, should use a perianal cleaning bottle filled with water to gently rinse their perianal region.  Plain water will work.  Very soiled areas can be squirted with a tiny amount of mild liquid soap and water,  and then rinsed just after with plain water.   Rinsing using the peri bottle is very important, particularly for the aforementioned groups because it helps to decrease skin bacteria that can lead to boils, particularly among diabetics.  Rinsing the peri region is essential because it can help to prevent everything from urinary tract infections to yeast infections.  Women who have given birth recently must use a peri bottle for at least daily cleansing in order to avoid potential internal infections. In general, a woman who still has post partum discharge is recommended to use a peri bottle with plain water in it as a rinse to the perianal region each time she uses the toilet.  She can pat dry with toilet paper afterward.  This is probably a good plan also for menstruating women in emergencies when they can't shower daily.


You can add commercial products such as these, or even ordinary lotion to your washbasin and do an excellent job keeping clean.



               Another strategy that will help women in particular, keep cleaner when they might not be able to change underwear as often as normal, is to use sanitary napkins or panty liners in their underwear, even when not menstruating.  It is important that these be the normal variety and NOT the deodorant variety which can cause some allergic reactions and irritation.  Also in emergencies, the pads can be changed a couple of times daily if needed, and the underwear can be rinsed every couple of days unless obviously soiled.


Hairwashing

 
This is one brand of liquid castille soap.   It does a lovely job in hair.




     
           Those of us who wash our hair daily aren't thrilled at the prospect of having the water out, or the hot water out.  However, if this is the case, most people can wash their hair weekly without developing infections or boils from not doing so.    A bottle of plain castille soap  (used for simple washing or as enema soap) makes a fabulous shampoo.   Wet hair, lather, and then wait five or ten minutes for the lather to dissipate, and then the hair can be rinsed with much less water than you would normally.  The hair can be rinsed using a jug or a peri bottle refilled three times.   My daughter and I both have very long hair and we washed one another's hair during a two week power outage during Hurricane Isabelle.  Most of the time, you can place the persons head over a sink or tub.  If this is not possible, a child's swimming pool catches the water well.  In hot weather, washing hair outside is a good idea.



             Sometimes the water is available, but it isn't hot, or your home or where you are staying is not warm enough to safely disrobe completely without potential for chill or for actual hypothermia. (Think of those polar bear clubs and their annual frosty dips.)   Many of us, especially the young, can handle cold water upon us without dire consequences.  However, this is not true of babies, the elderly, or those who take cardiac or blood pressure medications.   A rapid chilling for many of these groups can result in some degree of shock, activation of the dive reflex, or a drop in blood pressure or pulse which could result in a loss of consciousness.

            For those people, you should heat some water on the stove and add it to cold water. I do not recommend microwaved water for bathing especially in peri bottles because I have seen a number of people burned by the practice as it is not always possible to determine exactly how hot all the water is, because microwave ovens do not always heat uniformly throughout the food or the fluid.  (I also don't recommend microwaving dialysis solution for peritoneal dialysis.)




Special Cleanliness Needs:

Babies

Incontinent Family Members

Menstruating Women or Those who have recently given birth

Those with ostomies or urostomies

Those using insulin pumps need to keep their abdominal areas clean.



So long as you don't plan contact with an open flame or you are not smoking, a gauze pad saturated with alcohol can also do a good job for spot skin cleaning when water is not available.  I have used a gentle alcohol wipe on backs and abdomens of those who can't shower, on occasion.  Be careful near mucus membranes, eyes, or abrasions.




Zodi Extreme Shower:    is another way people can obtain hot water for showers in extreme conditions.
This is a prior post here discussing this:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2011/12/zodi-extreme-portable-hot-shower.html



You can obtain perianal bottles at the following locations:
I stock a number of them which I occasionally use for clean water rinses of animals or other purposes.
Every family should have some.

 The least expensive quality source for perineal irrigation bottles.




 To purchase hospital styled wash basins, one for each family member for about a dollar each plus postage:
 You may wish to have extras for foot soaking.

Claflin Medical Inexpensive Wash Basins 

A source for inexpensive liquid castille soap

A source for unscented liquid castille soap



I will discuss oral hygiene in emergencies and doing laundry with restricted water and without electricity in  upcoming posts.




Monday, March 17, 2014

An Indictment of the Churches

           
Some churches are rotting from the inside out.   (Photo: fineartamerica.com )

 


            I thought long and hard about writing this post because if you are attending a church which helps you, and you feel is doing God's work, then I am very pleased for you and I don't want to interfere in that relationship at all.  However, I feel I do have to say something in terms of identifying some issues.

                To my way of understanding, Jesus Christ was a man who lived two thousand years ago.  I accept that he was the Son of God made into man, but if you don't, that's fine.  Each of us are on our own spiritual journey, and I have seen God reveal himself to people in many ways in the course of their lifetimes, and so I won't preach to you. I don't plan to convert you.   It's not my job.  Even if you don't accept that he is the son of God, then he was a remarkable human being in many ways, and the simple memory of him has fueled the devotion of millions of people over the past two thousand years. Great good has been done in the world overall, in the name of Jesus Christ.
     
           When I was a child, my parents were of the belief system that a parent should not impose a particular faith upon a child.  We were free to go to church if we wanted, but we didn't have to.  My mother was Church of England, and my father's family were Christians, but when my parents moved back to the US after my father attended college in England, there was no Church of England here, and my mother didn't think that the Episcopal Church was anything like her C of E !  When I was six, I chose to attend the Presbyterian church nearest our rural home.  My parents didn't attend, and they did take some heat for this, but they were reasonably supportive of my own attendance.  Overall, it was a good church.  Almost everyone in our small rural community attended, except my parents.  The people supported one another, and with a very few exceptions, behaved respectfully toward one another.  I do remember the out and out rejection of a young girl in the 1960s who became pregnant out of wedlock.  I also remember that the Sunday School class did some rather heavy hazing on a child who was a little slow.  Overall though, they were a charitable bunch. They did the bake sales,chicken dinners which occasionally yielded salmonella,  provided birthday parties to the families whose fathers had died in the year prior, and supported a few kids overseas using Christian Children's Fund.  They weren't wealthy people, but they found a way to give, either time, talent or treasure.  I benefited greatly not only in terms of the fellowship, but as the choir director was a Juilliard trained musician. In effect, I received private singing lessons as a member of the choir.

               As a young adult, as a college student, and a young parent, in different areas,  I casually attended a number of churches afterward. Some had great Sunday School programs. Some had terrific outreach.  Some were good fundraisers and did good things with the money they collected, and some were not.  I actually think that I am fairly easy going and that I don't seek perfection, particularly in something administered by man.   It just seems that as the world's cultures and societies have deteriorated that the churches have followed suit. Rather than being a beacon or a support to those seeking to do the right thing, they seem to have failed many times in many ways.

             These are just a few of the concerns I have had with regard to ministers and to churches in the last so many years.   My in-laws were kind and gentle people who tried to do the right thing, not just on Sundays, but the rest of the week as well.  They gave money to their rural church quite regularly, even when it was a hardship to do so, with four sons all of college age.  When both of them died before ever collecting the first payment of social security, a percentage of their estate went to their local church, and in consideration of this, they were allowed to be buried there.  I was a little miffed that the minister had not found the time to visit my mother-in-law at home before her death, but she understood saying that perhaps he thought that the role was adequately being played by her large family.   Funny.  I am many things, as are my brothers-in-law and husband, but a minister isn't one of them.   In the following year, there was an investigation of where the contributions of my in-laws and other monies of the church had gone.  Eventually the minister resigned.  It was determined that he had not broken the law, but had taken the discretionary funds of the church and allocated them all to hospital beds for AIDS patients in the closest city.   The parishioners were fundamentally good people.  They would have accepted a percentage of their tithes went to helping those with AIDS.  They were not okay with all of it doing so, especially when our church was the only one in the county not contributing to local foodbanks, which helped every type of family.

             This was also the church that sent us a beautiful brocade box filled with lovely preprinted envelopes for our tithe to be sent to them weekly. There was actually a letter which suggested exactly how much we should provide to them.   The minister knew that we had just had a premature infant and that since our insurance had changed mid-pregnancy, that we were left with huge expenses for what became out of network physicians.  We were having trouble making our house and car payments, and I could not go back to work with a sick preemie.   Eventually, insurance paid for a nurse in our home so I could return to work, which lasted all of five minutes when the agency sent a nurse over with a dirty uniform who proceeded to fall asleep on our couch as she had worked the previous night on pediatrics.   I didn't expect financial support from the church, but I did expect some slack with regard to my tithe.  We left the church just before the minister was forced to.

           At our next home, we were less concerned about finding a church for us, and more concerned about finding one with a good youth program.   The next church had our kids pushing Bibles  (at ages 8 and 7) and looking for donations, and they bussed them into one of the most dangerous areas of the city, just past the "non-prostitution zone".   My son heard a shotgun cocked that day just before one man opened his door.   The church wasn't only not very nice to children, but required the memorization of large chunks of scripture without imparting any understanding of them.  When one of my children was hospitalized, we didn't hear a word from them.

          When we moved out to the country we made a considerable effort to find a family church.  This proved to be a lot tougher than we had ever realized.     The first church had doors on the pews which were locked during the service.  It was less a church and more a concert series by the lovelier child members of the choir.   Our kids didn't like not being able to go to the bathroom during the long service.

           The second church was very devoted to its private Christian school and I thought this might work well for us.  The minister seemed nice enough.  One of his sermons was two and a half hours talking about washing feet.  My husband nixed this church because he said it offered nothing scriptural and was little more than motivational speaking.   The Sunday school seemed good though.  We were glad we looked elsewhere though when one little girl was molested by someone in her class.

            A third church was supposed to be "homeschooler friendly".  I suppose they were. They offered a rock band, contemporary worship and they knew all the songs on my local contemporary radio station.  You did have to be a sandal wearing Christian-just-like-them though.    We had a Russian child with us at the time, and they apparently weren't terribly supportive of helping people who weren't exactly of their upper middle class appearance or roots.  That church bought a bank building, and I swear I think they were working toward "drive-up-communion".   Anything to make church easy and to attract "customers".

            The last church we tried seemed nice enough.  They had a foodbank ministry which we actually think is very important.  They do, however, have ALL of their church elders as cohabitating couples.   Now, don't get me wrong. I have friends who have lived together for many years and I don't care that they had children and didn't marry.  (Although I don't see how a child is less of a commitment than a marriage.)   We just thought that ALL of the elders shouldn't be cohabitating.   One of the "elders", my age, making a pass at me also which didn't help their case.

            Since then, our family prays regularly, and we do good in the world with our time, our talents, and our treasures.  We exceed the ten percent  " recommended weekly contribution".   I am honest about following Jesus Christ, but I honestly haven't seen too much good lately coming out of the churches I have found.

             I do attend the funerals of good people I know.    This was where I encountered the giant picture of Barack Hussein Obama hung in the church hall where Jesus used to be.    I also attended one in a lovely church in Richmond where families were encouraged to contribute to the memorial garden at the church.    A thousand dollar contribution would  plant twelve tulips, five hundred bought liriope.  A bush was six hundred bucks !   Where are these people buying their flowers ??? !!!!  I get mine from a catalog.   They are being shaken down by their church !    What was the church doing with the extra money ?  This was doubly disturbing because when I inquired, I found that other church members were donating the flowers and the cash for the memorial garden was going straight to the church.

            The last thing I want to mention is that just after my youngest son died, I needed to get some extra pictures of him enlarged for the funeral.    I went early to the Ben Franklin Store which has an automated Kodak color enlargement and printer.  It makes lovely enlargements of photographs, particularly those on flash drives.  I had entered all my data in the machine and was awaiting the requisite 25 minutes or so for the machine to spit out the enlargements, when a man turned up, annoyed to see the machine in use.  He asked me at once, "Will you be much longer ?"   I told him that my information had been entered but that the machine could take 25 minutes or more to complete its tasks.  He was annoyed.    I thought he might wait better if I shared with him why I was printing the enlargements.  He didn't react one way or another.  He needed his civil war reenactment photographs and he was a busy minister and didn't have time to wait !  Could I cancel my order and let him go first ?  I was surprised at his apparent callousness.   He waited with me, and then he became additionally distressed when the machine ceased, apparently requiring more rolls of large photo paper inserted into the machine.  The reinsertion of the rolls took time. It was a Saturday and the normal Kodak machine savvy employee was off.   He sighed loudly.   Finally, the minister asked me what had happened to my son.  I told him that he had collapsed and died and that an autopsy was being done.  The medical examiner thought it might be a sudden heart rhythm disturbance which has been happening a fair bit around the world recently.  He said something about my looking okay, even though I certainly wasn't.   I told him that Daniel was loved by us very much, but that he had also been God's to call.  He became angry that I apparently had more faith at that moment than he.  He said, "God didn't NEED your son. He doesn't need any of us !"     There were some similar comments as he waited.  Eventually, I told him that as a minister, he was not suited to counseling the bereaved by virtue or training or of temperament and that if he chose to do so, that the family might resort to suicide.   He seemed upset that a bereaved person would call him on his incompetence and his negligence.   After he left in a huff, the final and most beautiful pictures of Daniel slowly emerged from the machine.  Somehow, the enlargements showed Daniel's beautiful greenish blue specked eyes.   The woman who placed my enlargements into large acid free envelopes knew the minister and told me who he was.  She said that he is "a difficult sort".

         The problem is that for some time, we have been seeing a deterioration of our churches and some of our ministers.  I deliberately did not mention which churches these were. They were all Christian faiths of one variety or another.  I have long believed that although you can't be all things to all people that as a Christian, you lead by example, not simply words, that often judge someone whose path you know nothing about.  You can't talk about purity to young girls and then have the minister sleep with his secretary.   You can't talk about being generous with the funds you receive on this Earth and then divert them and spend them on your own pet projects.  You can't talk about Christian love and then exclude the people who don't attend your country club !  You can't pay to black top the church parking lot and then lobby loudly at the county meeting to make the presence of homeless people and panhandlers illegal county wide !   Jesus Christ asked us to "love one another".     Sometimes that means giving someone whatever canned goods you can spare.  Sometimes that means driving them to the doctor.  Sometimes it means taking a homeless person to lunch.  Sometimes it means telling a friend something you would rather not.  Sometimes it means agreeing to take an obese elderly pet for someone who is dying.  Sometimes it means forgiving someone.     I guarantee that when you do these things, that you get more from it, than likely the other person does.

         I hope that you have or that you do find a church where the benefits of membership exceed the draw, or at least without the insanity of some of these places. I don't actually care what your church is called or why you choose to do good.  However, if you attend a church,or you don't.  you can still be a force for light and for good in the world.  The world is as dark and can be as difficult as it was in Biblical times. Perhaps we each can model the behavior of Christ and the lessons he taught, quietly to one another.    Love and best wishes to you all.





Does Anybody Hear Her ?                                             Casting Crowns




Control of the Internet Given Away to Whom ?

            





  This week, the Obama administration agreed to relinquishing the "internet's core architecture" to the "global internet community".    What ?  Why don't we just give California to Mr. Putin ?   This is one more example of our present governmental systems not acting in the best interests of the American people.  Who are they working for, if not us ?

               Relinquishing control of the internet in the US will do a number of things, some of which we can't even anticipate as this falls squarely in the domain of the laws of unintended consequences.  First of all, with less control of the internet, where we do have a large machine (and I mean that figuratively) to monitor cyber security, we will be powerless when misuse occurs and other nations don't have the same paid employees to investigate and shut down such issues.   Data stored on the internet may well be more prone to breach under alternate fuzzy controllers !   There would be nothing to prevent waves of cyber attacks.

                In addition, with frenemies in charge of the internet, how many minutes do you think it would be before we all start paying internet excise or use taxes, not unlike Britain's annual tax on ownership of each television ?

               Write a letter to your Congressman, to John Kerry, and to Mr. Obama and tell them that in this era of uncertainty, we need whatever control of the internet our nation can have. We need to be able to fight global crime and cyber attacks on systems, companies, schools and individuals.  Perhaps rather than logging all our phone calls, they should be working on the protection of the venue of the only commerce apparently doing well during the Digital Depression !







Information on this development:



http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/200889-us-to-relinquish-internet-control

http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/15/ex-bush-admin-official-internet-giveaway-weakens-cybersecurity-opens-door-to-web-tax/



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Moving Toward More Self Sufficiency Given Your Location

Wall Garden    ( www.marjorymejia.com )
             



  One of the incredible benefits to reasonable efforts toward disaster preparedness, is that during an emergency, you have given yourself and your family choices.   Choices are something that go a long way in terms of helping families to manage risks.   If you are a new mom at home and there is an impending snowstorm, and you are using your last package of diapers and you didn't stock some washable diapers, some plastic pants, and an emergency package of wipes or disposables in advance, then pretty much, you have no choice.   You or your spouse might have to risk your lives heading out into a blizzard to get diapers for your new little one. Sometimes life is just that cut and dried. Some might argue that they couldn't afford the advance preparation for this, and that diapers are expensive.  Before my first child was born, I was 24, and only fairly recently out of college.  Friends from school asked what I wanted in terms of shower gifts, and knowing that we were all as broke as one another, I asked them to buy me a package of diapers. (Top price at the time for the larger packs was about six dollars.) Each friend bought me diapers of a different size, as I had asked.  One of their mothers bought me some cloth diapers that could be washed and were secured with velcro.  She didn't know I didn't have laundry facilities,at that house, but they were a welcome emergency strategy nonetheless.  In that first wintry year, we always had diapers, and in the year which followed, every single one of my friend's gifts were used.  When people ask you what you need,whatever the undertaking, don't be afraid to give them practical suggestions. Conversely, don't be afraid to act on them when someone else says they would rather have something practical !

                Several of my son's friends had a difficult time in college. They were approved for financial aid, and then found it taken back as they needed it when the semester began. One was left with no way to buy food for an entire semester.  My son took care of several of his friend's with emergency breakfasts by giving them large inexpensive packages of quick oats and a box of brown sugar.  One of them ate little else plus vitamins for an entire semester.  This was not a hardship for my son, and it was an incredible help to several of his friends.

               Many times, small inexpensive strategies and simple ideas we implement in advance of a problem can be the difference between succeeding or not.  Advance planning can provide us with an optimal number of choices.  The less spare money you have, then the better you must be at advance planning.   If you are a single mom with two small children and you are heading into flu season, then you MUST head to the Dollar Tree for an inexpensive package of ginger ale to aid in hydration for sick older children, gatorade, generic pedialyte packets, children's acetaminophen, a generic Vick's rub.  If you wait until everyone has the flu and you run to a nearby pharmacy, the same items may cost ten times the price than at the Dollar Tree in the Fall.  By buying early you will also sidestep the fact that during flu season, the pharmacy may well be sold out of the item you need the most. Advance planning is always wise.

            It is with all of these things in mind that I would like everyone to look toward more self sufficiency.  Again, this means very different things depending upon your family size, how much cash you have to spend, and where you live.  However, preparedness does not always favor the wealthy !   Evacuating an area can be easier with fewer things, and it can be easier to start again when you haven't lost as much.
           If you are in an apartment in a city, can you grow tomatoes in a pot on your balcony ?   Can you grow sprouts in a jar on your kitchen window ?   Both things can provide greens for sandwiches and salads. This year all summer I grew several varieties of lettuces in my front porch. I didn't buy any lettuce all summer and for part of the Autumn. We enjoyed terrific fresh salads and despite our harvesting from the plants every couple of days, as long as we watered them, just about daily, they recovered and recovered to deliver more lettuce to us.

     This is a link for growing sprouts:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2011/12/growing-sprouts-at-home.html

And a prior link for storing potatoes and onions in the suburbs:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2013/08/building-cold-cellar-for-suburbs.html


           Being more self sufficient means a lot of different things.  It can mean saving twenty dollars for your children's haircuts by trimming their hair yourself in between haircuts.

This is a post on learning to cut your children's hair, that I wrote some time ago:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2011/12/saving-money-by-learning-to-cut-your.html

        It can mean learning to change your own oil (yes, even if you're female.)   It can also mean learning to do many things on your vehicle, which might not be as difficult as you at first, may think.


       When I was a young college student, and a biology major, I had been a Pre-Med major.  I deliberately chose to change to Nursing, because although I thought I would likely enjoy medical school, I didn't think I could stay up all night working every two to three nights while on call during residency, as was the custom in the early nineteen-eighties, and to slightly less a degree today.  I didn't realize until I was home with two babies in the mid eighties, and working nights as an RN, that I was staying up every third night all night, to do my job !   I thought the same thing about engineering.  I had always thought of myself as a people-person. I was a verbal person whose strengths lay in reading people not machines. I was as far from an engineer as one could get, and I wasn't mechanical !     That misperception also had to bite the dust late one 3-11 shift when I was working in a medical ICU and I had to reset and debug an intraaortic balloon pump for my patient.  It's amazing how mechanical you become when someone's life depends upon it.

      So, toss out your perceptions of yourself.   You can earn extra money on Ebay !  You can earn extra on Etsy !   You can learn to change the oil safely.  You can grow your own sprouts, cut your kids hair without lasting psychological trauma ! You can make a wall garden project with your child.  You can grow onions and potatoes in containers, if need be, depending upon your location.  You can save more, and spend less.  You can have more choices !





Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Next Steps

             
(Graphic:  www.nsc.org  )



      The perception of a lot of people here in the US is that despite the fact that mainstream media tells us that "the economy is getting better" that it continues to deteriorate.  More houses are currently being foreclosed upon.  Local newspapers remain full of foreclosures.  Many banks still have large portfolios of foreclosed homes that are up for a fraction of the funds actually owed on them. Many large companies are cutting entire divisions and closing stores. More people are being left without jobs when most of the people here who lost jobs in the last two years have never been able to regain one.  Fast food restaurants are able to hire people with Bachelor's degrees, and they are. Many of my kid's friends who have shiny new Bachelors or Masters degrees now, still can't find jobs and have choking student loan debt that will only be deferred for so long.    From my vantage point, what I have called The Depression of the Digital Age still seems in full swing. In some ways I wonder if it actually might be broader and deeper than I had realized.

                With this in mind I created the last two posts which aren't designed to scare you, simply to have you assess your own situation and make some smart plans which would stand you in better stead for everything from an earthquake to a tornado to a financial collapse.

                 In the original post I listed , with detail, that we should consider:

1. Contain our expenditures  (shooting for a savings of ten percent over present levels.)
2. Begin storing emergency food that is palatable to your family  (if you haven't been already.)
3. Diversify your savings.
4. Correct known medical or dental issues now.
  

Full post with detail can be found at:

      http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2014/03/what-you-might-do-first.html


                In the second post, I detailed the following additional activities:

5. Establish a Home Medical Kit
6. Establish a Family Evacuation Kit which also contains an Evacuation Medical Kit
7. Gather, protect and store important family documents.


This posts detail is found at:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2014/03/what-you-might-do-next.html



Items 1-7 would take most families a couple of weeks to complete, even if one of them were committed and had portions of these activities completed in advance.   However, if you are ready for the next activities, we can move on.


Begin a Family Disaster Procedure Manual


A plain three ring notebook works best.   In one section, include plans for family evacuation, and in another section include your plans for sheltering in place.    Keep in mind that if Dad knows where the water shut off in the house is, but Mom does not, and Dad is in Atlanta on a business trip when a disaster occurs, that Mom is going to need the disaster notebook and such information should be there.

This is one of my prior posts concerning an Evacuation Manual for your Family:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/04/evacuation-notebookpersonalized.html


Again, my book Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness goes into much more detail.
Some families benefit from a couple of different notebooks.  If you have any family members with medical issues, or who are on regular medications, you might wish to create a medical history notebook with pages for each family member containing medical history as you understand it, physicians names, phone and fax numbers, address and e-mail if you have it. On other pages you should list their medications and doses.
If you had to evacuate your state for some reason, and a rescue agency had a physician prescribing for refugees and a pharmacist filling such orders, then the information you have could be invaluable.  At a later date you could photocopy pharmacy bottles or receipts furthur proving these meds. The difference between doing this and not, could be a hospitalization in another city for your loved one, while another physician you don't know mulls over what their maintenance meds should be.

At my house we have a notebook for Medical Evacuation as mentioned above.  We have a notebook where half is devoted to procedures for sheltering in place at our farm, and the other half of this disaster notebook is devoted to Evacuation from the farm, including animal evacuation.  The primary advantage to this is that if the person who created the notebook with others is away, ill, or gone, then the remaining family members have a prescribed path to follow even during periods of extreme stress or duress.

My point is that we should prepare for both sheltering-in-place emergencies and Evacuation Emergencies as a family or at least as a spousal unit, quarterly anyway.   As for frightening children, if they realize that you and your spouse are making reasonable plans for reasonable potential weather emergencies then they should feel a measure of security from this planning, rather than a sense of terror from the exploration of all the potential possibilities.

        It is extremely important that your preps are not too dependent upon cellular phones, computers or the internet.  Hard copies on paper in notebooks should exist because anything from a protracted power outage to your not being able to afford a cellular phone anymore could derail your electronic dependency.  Anything important should be printed and kept in acid free sleeves and in three ring notebooks.


 Gather Reasonable Amounts of Tools for Your Household and Your Region

       This statement means many things to different people.  If I lived in a townhouse, then a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a snow shovel, and a set of flashlights might be as self sufficient as you might want to get. If you are moving fairly soon or you  have very limited storage space, then your focus might be spent on evacuation plans and your sport utility vehicle or car.    In a suburban home, then an axe, saws, some power tools, and more snow shovels might be more appropriate.  On a farm where there is no snow removal on the farm roads, then a tractor with a snowblade becomes a more reasonable consideration.   Only you and your spouse, if you have one, can properly evaluate what you need in terms of hand or power tools for your region and in consideration of your budget.   You want to have the tools with which to weather reasonable emergencies, without creating a starvation emergency in your home by overspending !
       Make sure that you and your family members at least consider the tools you might need for emergencies.

These are some of the posts in which I discussed the gathering of tools:

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/01/gathering-hand-tools.html

 http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/02/continuing-our-discussion-on-hand-tools.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/03/trip-to-village-hardware-shop.html 


Establish Some Safe Hiding Places in Your Residence


This can mean for valuables, should you need to evacuate your home and leave your valuables.   It might also mean a safe place to hide during tornadoes or severe thunder storms.

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2011/10/tornadoes-in-virginia.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/06/valuables-left-behind-walls.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/12/revisiting-storm-safe-rooms-and.html

http://rationalpreparedness.blogspot.com/2012/03/word-about-construction.html







In the next post in this series, we will discuss some of the aspects of :


Moving Toward More Self Sufficiency Given Your Own Setting and Location.