Personal Safety

Recently I have noticed an uptick of “suspicious person/vehicle” posts in my neighborhood from people out walking/hiking/cycling through the neighborhood or one of the many trails and parks in our area.

In this age of home schooling, social distancing, and quarantine, the need to get out of our homes for some fresh air and relaxation has never been greater.  It may not be feasible to always use the buddy system, but there are a few simple things you can do to help keep yourself and your neighborhood safer.  

  1. First and foremost, trust your instincts. If the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up and your gut is telling you to do something, do it. Don’t worry about going out of your way, being silly, or politically incorrect. Your safety is paramount.

  2. If you’re going for run/walk/ride, be sure someone knows where you went and how long you think you’ll be gone. Leave a note for your family.

  3. Snap a picture and text it to someone to let them know where you are. Text messages do not need as much signal strength as voice calls to go through. Texts will also keep trying to send until they get enough signal strength. This will also create a “ping” to the cell towers.

  4. Take pictures along the way of landmarks. They will be available in the cloud if needed for someone to backtrack your route.

  5. Even in worst case scenarios, take pictures. Picture files contain EXIF data that pinpoint the location using GPS, the date, and time it was taken.

  6. If you see anything you even think might be suspicious, snap a few pictures. You can delete them later, but you have the security of having them just in case.

  7. Share your experience or suspicions on your neighborhood Facebook or Nextdoor groups. Check if your neighborhood has a specific “Crimewatch” group.

  8. Walk facing traffic, but cycle in the direction of traffic. Be alert and follow all traffic laws.

  9. Carry a protective device. Pepper spray can deter an aggressive dog, wildlife, and humans if needed. Even a simple police whistle is a deterrent if you are not comfortable with using sprays. Give whistles to your kids and teach them to only use them in emergencies.

  10. We all love our headphones. Unfortunately, the may keep us from observing danger until it is too late. Try keeping your volume down to around 25% or lower so you can hear your surroundings. Personally, I use a single earbud and keep my open ear facing the higher traffic side of me. This works in the office as well so I don’t scream when someone sneaks up on me!

  11. If you are coming up on someone, remember to announce yourself “passing on the right”. This can avoid an accidental collision or the heightened pulse rate of thinking someone is sneaking up behind you.

  12. Download a GPS map to your phone in case you get lost and can’t get a signal. Google maps is one that will allow you to download maps for use offline.

  13. Don’t wear dark colors. Purchase a roll of reflective tape. Use a strip of tape on your clothes, bike, stroller, leash, or anywhere else that can be seen by oncoming traffic in both directions.

Wearing Masks Works

Astonished by the number of ignorant people stating they refuse to wear masks because they ”don’t do anything”, I compiled a few resources here so I can share one link, instead of four.

Please forgive my referencing such ”fake news” organizations like Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic
So why weren’t face masks recommended at the start of the pandemic? At that time, experts didn’t yet know the extent to which people with COVID-19 could spread the virus before symptoms appeared. Nor was it known that some people have COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms. Both groups can unknowingly spread the virus to others.

COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected.   That’s why it’s important for everyone to practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people) and wear cloth face coverings in public settings. Cloth face coverings provide an extra layer to help prevent the respiratory droplets from traveling in the air and onto other people.

Science Daily (study by A&M)
A study by a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor has found that not wearing a face mask dramatically increases a person’s chances of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. Hopkins
Face masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Because it’s possible to have coronavirus without showing symptoms, it is best to wear a face covering even if you think you are healthy. A mask helps contain small droplets that come out of your mouth and/or nose when you talk, sneeze or cough. If you have COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms, a face mask reduces your chance of spreading the infection to others. If you are healthy, a mask may protect you from larger droplets from people around you.

Chemo Tips & Tricks to Help Make Treatment a Little Better

(A beloved family member is starting their chemo journey.  I am re-posting this for him and his family in the hopes they might find some useful information.)

1. For mouth pain-Buy Biotene toothpaste and mouthwash (it’s made for dry mouth sufferers). Using these items helps the mouth pain and helps keep your mouth a little moister. Walgreen’s sells it.

2. For dry skin-Chemo dries out your body quite a bit. Switch to a moisturizing soap like Aveeno. Cetaphil lotion is non-irritating, non-greasy and quick absorbing (my dermatologist recommended these).

3. Adriamycin – The Adriamycin pretty much guarantees hair loss. Mine started falling out on day 14 after my first treatment.

4. For nosebleeds-After about 5 treatments, my mucous starting getting a little bloody, especially in the morning. My Oncologist said to use a saline spray to moisten the nasal passages, but this didn’t work very well for me. I bought a case of the small kid size Gatorades and drank one a day. Problem solved.

5. Nausea – If you get nauseated during a treatment, ask the nurse to slow down the drip (Decadron). Adding 15 minutes to the drip really reduced the discomfort. They didn’t tell me this until about treatment #9.

6. For hip pain-If you’re white cells drop and you have to get Neupogen shots, they can cause a great deal of discomfort. My hips and legs hurt so bad after the shots, Vicodin wouldn’t help. I know this sounds weird, but take an anti-histamine. The pain is caused by a histamine reaction and most of your white cells are produced in your hip region. One Zyrtec later, everything was fine.

7. Numbing Cream – If you don’t have it already, ask for Lidocaine Cream. Apply to your port area 2-3 hours before chemo and cover with Saran Wrap to allow better absorption without messing up your clothes. This numbs the injection site. Also works well for celebratory tatoo when cancer free!

8. For the ladies (Especially if you’re amply endowed) – Before having your port inserted, invest in a sports bra. The weight of your breast can cause the scar to widen because of the pulling during the healing process. I learned this the hard way. When I had my port removed, I explained this to the surgeon and he cut the scar tissue away so I could start with a fresh wound. He found it amusing, but said he had never thought of that (he looked about 20 years old). I explained to him that he only sees us lying down and wouldn’t realize they were D cups when they spread out.:-)

9. Weight Gain – If you gain >15% of your body weight and are not having difficulty with nausea, ask your doctor to decrease your Decadron a little.

10. Nausea – One of my readers used Prilosec to help alleviate nausea during treatment.

11. Tylenol – If you aren’t already given it, ask for Tylenol at the beginning of treatment.  It helps the discomfort of treatment and any headaches from chemo.

If you have any tips and tricks to share, I’d love to hear them and add them to the list. Click on the comments link below and submit them. Please let me know if you found these tips helpful.

Let’s talk fleas…

This year I opted not to use the usual on the neck flea prevention aids unless I actually saw fleas.  I did treat the yard as I usually do.  We have a lot of Ivy ground cover and cool shade so I don’t think I could get away with not treating the yard at least once.

Every night at bedtime my Poms (and a Min-pin) get a Brewers Yeast w/Garlic tablet (1,000 tablets are $11 for cats and dogs).  I’ve been using it for almost 2 years and they think it’s a treat. In addition to containing some beneficial nutrients, it is said to repel fleas because they do not like the scent.

I also use cornstarch and Lavender powder between baths.  The cornstarch, in addition to deodorizing and being soothing to the skin, is also thought to suffocate any fleas that come in contact with it.  Lavender is another aroma fleas (and other flying insects) don’t like and also makes the Poms smell fresh.

We also take in rescues and after an initial bath with a flea soap, I have used the same methods on them.

So far this year we have not seen any fleas on our dogs, the rescues or in the house.

What do you do to control fleas on your pets?

52 Week Money Challenge – Save $1,400 in 2013 painlessly

I am trying this out on our Christmas Club Account this year.
I just set a reminder on my calendar for every Monday to transfer funds.  
Now we’ll just have to decide what to splurge our new-found $1,400 on at the end of the year…