Archive for November, 2014

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with writing or reading or Search and Rescue. It has to do with our humanity.

In a world that seems filled with only killing and hatred and evil and greed, we need to be reminded, more and more often it seems, that the world still has good people everywhere, in all countries, millions of them, people who love each other, respect each other, who help each other, give one another hope and joy, people who are smiling, laughing, singing, and, yes, even dancing.

Enjoy! And if you’re as touched as I was, please share the joy!




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What Would Gracie Do?

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I considered re-posting this blog this winter, but certainly didn’t expect it to be in November! But since most of the country is experiencing the frigid fall-out from the polar vortex now, here it is!




What better time to talk about winter survival than when vast portions of the country are experiencing record low temperatures.

The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” (attributed to Ben Franklin), is so true when it comes to survival. What you do BEFORE you leave home can literally save your life.

Whether you’re going for a hike or short walk, or whether you’re driving over the river and through the woods on the way to Grandma’s house, remember these few easy, very basic tips.

1. “File a flight plan.” This means let someone know where you’re going and when they should expect you back or at your destination. Then, allowing yourself a few hours buffer for mishaps and the unexpected, determine a time when they should call out the troops, i.e., report you missing. This step alone has saved countless lives. You want Search and Rescue to come out looking for you sooner rather than way later.

2. Never go out into the cold unless you’re well-dressed and well-equipped. (No, I’m not talking about Dior or Dolce and Gabbana.) I’m talking about dressing in layers to take off if you begin to get too hot (sweating is NOT a good thing when you’re out in the cold) and to pile on if you get too cold. Wool is a great insulator and very warm, but never wear it or other natural fabrics directly next to your skin. Natural fibers absorb and hold water and can speed up the onset of hypothermia. (Wearing only blue jeans when you’re out in the cold is a big fat no no! There’s a reason they’re called hypothermia pants!) Wear synthetics like nylon or acrylic as an underlayer against your skin, including socks!

Wear gloves (or better still, mittens) and a hat. Opinions vary on the percentage of heat loss, but you can lose as much as 40 or even 50 percent of your body heat through that big head of yours.

And don’t forget a water/wind-proof layer in case the weather turns foul.

Bring water with you. And although food is at the bottom of the list of essentials when you’re in a survival situation, snacking on peanut butter crackers or peanuts or candy can make a world of difference to your state of mind. And a positive mental attitude is THE NUMBER ONE most important thing to have if you find yourself in a survival situation.

Bring a flashlight with extra batteries. If you’re driving stow extra blankets or a sleeping bag or two in your car.

3. Don’t rely solely on your GPS or car’s navigation system to get you where you want to go. They fail. Batteries die. Plus they’re not infallible and might even lead you into danger if you’re not careful. In other words, bring a map along and know how to read it.

4. Also never rely solely on your cell phone. Never think, “I’ve got my phone. I don’t need anything else.” Cell phones die. Believe it or not, there are still places with no reception (such as in deep canyons or in the mountains). Plus, if you get lost and can reach someone on your phone, you still need to be able to tell them where you are. (Duh!)

So go out and have some fun! But stay safe and stay warm!

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Poppy field

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
— John McCrae

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