Courage as you least expect it

Some people say that courageous people are never afraid.

Not true.  They are afraid all the time.

The difference between someone who is brave, and someone who is a coward, is that the brave person acts in spite of their fear, while the coward lets it win.

Courage is also seeing the truth, as it really is, rather than how we would want it to be.  It means not settling for the explanations that are given to us, but digging deeply, checking our own sources, and thinking critically about the result.   There are so many common misconceptions that would be seen through if more people had the courage to see clearly.

It takes courage to shout the truth – it takes more courage to speak it, politely and in a reasoned way.  More people need to pause, consider their words, and then speak only the truth rather than resorting to shadings or leaning on the common rhetoric.

Here is a post I did about courage that has some tips for overcoming fear if you, too, want to be brave.

After all, cowardice is not a life sentence.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Courage

Short Story – When the Eye of London Blinked

I flopped down on the wide, pillowy, slid under the fluffy duvet and between the fine sheets.  It was late, the room was dark, I’d had a long day of exploring, but I just couldn’t get comfortable.  You could say I’m bad with hotels.  Not even this particular grand lady, the famous Savoy of London, could woo me into sleep.  True to legend, the hotel was a beautiful old place, lavishly decorated and full of Old World charm.  I was footsore from exploring London, window shopping and sightseeing and trying not to act too much like a blasted Yank.  My return carry on was filled with sweetmeats and trinkets and I fancied I was already developing an accent.

I shifted one way, then the other, trying to find just the right spot.  My business meeting would come early tomorrow and I wanted to make a good impression on the Senior VP of European Export.  I sat up on the pillows, looking out the window.  City lights shone pinkly against the clouds, and I had a good view of that dazzling Ferris Wheel, the Eye of London.  Personally, I hate the thing.  I think it spoils the skyline.  London is meant to be an old and storied city, not a setting for a blindingly modern eyesore.  Then again, I’m not from ’round here, and it’s not really my city to complain about.

Damn it, I thought, I have to get to sleep.  Old Man Bedford isn’t going to put up with me if I’m not a hundred percent on the ball.  He’ll want his money’s worth for flying me all the way over here, and I don’t blame him.  I briefly considered a Scotch and soda.  That wouldn’t do, though, I pondered.  Then I’ll be muzzy and tired.  I just need to relax.  I lay back again, still watching out the window.  Finally, almost miraculously, my eyes grew heavy.  They slid closed, opened again.

I snapped awake.  It was dark outside, most of the building lights were out, and the night sky was perfectly dark.  I jumped out of bed, my heart pounding.  Was there a power outage?  I looked out the window, sniffed vainly for smoke.  The Ferris wheel was completely black – had the power gone out?  I strained to see it, then realized it wasn’t there.  More, the sky was clear and I saw stars.

I looked down at the street and stared at the only glow I saw.  The streetlights had changed.  They were were lower to the ground and had changed to old fashioned looking lamps.  They shone with a yellowish white light.    I blinked hard, shook my head.  Was I dreaming?  The room felt utterly solid and real. The carpet was still soft under my curling toes.

Then I heard an unmistakable clopping sound, along with the rattle as of wheels on cobbles.  Presently, an old fashioned horse drawn cab – I think it’s called a hansom – rolled by.  The horse had his head down and was plodding slowly.  The driver looked tired too, slumped a bit into a his long, dark coat.  He removed his black hat, scratched his head, put it back on, gave the horse a touch of his whip, and they clattered out of sight.  There were no cars in sight, not even the ones that had been parked along the street, and I saw no painted lane markers anywhere.  Only worn, dirty cobbles shining damply under the yellow-white gaslights.  I began to look at the buildings, seeing how everything had changed.

Am I going nuts? I thought.  I leaned closer to the window, straining to see more.  Then the world rippled, there’s no better way to explain it, and all at once everything was back the way it should be.   The blasted Eye stared me down, almost mockingly, and all the streetlights stood tall, shining pinkly against the clouds.  The cobblestones were gone.  Cars were parked outside again.  I couldn’t help but check to make sure they were the same ones.

I hope that conjured up some interesting images for you!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/conjure/

Tending my health with “Fire Cider”

It’s cold and flu season where I am, and I am in the middle of helping teach a class of forty two adults, many of whom have little germ factories, I mean, kids!  This is in a highly populated building and I also have shopping and errands to do.  I also have narrow airways and wimpy sinuses.  Needless to say, I need something to help keep me well!

Enter Fire Cider.

This is a potent concoction consisting of apple cider vinegar that has had all kinds of good things soaking in it – like garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric root, horseradish, chili peppers, citrus, as well as various other herbs and spices depending on need and taste.  It steeps for about a month in a glass jar and then you take it by the tablespoonful.  You can mix it with raw honey, water, or both.  I use water currently and can deal with it just fine.  In fact, it’s tasty – I used a smoked chili in my mix so it has a lovely flavor.

If you don’t like heat, you can make this with weaker peppers, or fewer of them.  The onion and garlic really don’t make it that much hotter.  Some might not be able to handle the horseradish, but if that’s you, you can leave it out.  However, as for me…

Scoville Units.png

Anyway.  The whole point of Fire Cider is to harness all the good properties of these different roots and herbs in a way that doesn’t have you downing a bottle of supplement pills every day.

So far I have not been taking the full Fire Cider, but rather a concoction I made to use while the main batch is steeping – it contains ginger, black pepper, turmeric root, smoked dried chiles, onion, garlic, lemon from my boss’s tree (including peel since he doesn’t use pesticides), and organic apple cider vinegar.  It has many of the good properties of the main batch but probably isn’t as potent.

However, even this lesser batch has had the following clearly noticeable effects:

Improved energy (I use it sometimes instead of coffee)

Better digestion (there’s that ACV)

Improved mood

Better circulation (my legs don’t swell as much now)

And, this is the best part, I HAVEN’T GOTTEN SICK.  This is despite working very closely (like within inches) of people with various colds and strains of the flu.  In fact, when I start feeling run down, I just take extra and it seems to help.  Of course, during the wort days I did augment with extra garlic.  Still, I’m very pleased and am looking forward to starting the big batch at the end of the month!

For anyone who wants good info about how to make this, and more detail on the therapeutic properties, check out these two links:

The Organic Prepper Fire Cider making article, with video (includes “instant” version)

Mountain Rose Herbs Fire Cider article and recipe

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tend/

Profuse Excuses

Do you have a profusion of excuses for why you aren’t succeeding?

I know I do!

The secret to success is eliminating those roadblocks to success.  The first step is to admit they’re there, the next step is to identify them, then you admit it’s possible to overcome them, then you find ways to do so.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?  Not so fast – the first three steps take maybe a minute. 

Let’s use weight loss for an example.  And my own excuses – I make a great guinea pig.  After all, I’ve been known to squeak loudly at opening refrigerator doors!  I know I won’t really lose weight until I figure out what my excuses are, my roadblocks to success.

A good way to do this is to find times where I failed in the past, figure out why I failed, and come up with strategies to avoid the same problems this time.  Usually, there’s an excuse behind everything.

“I can’t stay on a diet, I get too hungry.”

Okay, I got too hungry.  That was my roadblock.  So I design a plan with lots of low calorie foods so I can be constantly eating.  Or I stay low carb and high protein, because that naturally makes my hunger go away.  Excuse nullified.

“I don’t have time to work out.” 

There’s about half a million ways to sneak in exercise, as seen in this article for example, and they are all great excuse busters.

“I get bored.”

Great excuse as that has been the biggest roadblock to many of my weight loss efforts.  So I switch out my healthy snacks, I use music when I work out, I seek variety.

“I don’t have enough money to eat healthy food.”

Another really good excuse.  Good thing vegetables are cheap, so are eggs, and it costs less to cook at home!  Roadblock removed, excuse nullified.

Once I have my biggest excuses identified, I am free to think of creative strategies to stop them in their tracks.  Then all that’s left is to take action!  A well planned strategy to overcome your own difficulties can eliminate your excuses.  This idea works for many personal struggles.  Budget, working out, losing weight, improvements at work, playing with your kids, and really whatever you want to do.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/profuse/

Feline Inscrutability

It is I, Nezumi!

The Moms are off shopping, it’s the weekend after all.  Littledog out back is making all the noise he can, scratching at his door, and I’m glad there’s a fence between him and me.  Out front, there is Bigdog.  He’s as big as some two leggeds.  Sometimes he comes up to the window in front and we look at each other.  Good thing I can’t smell him through the glass.  He hardly ever barks or makes noise.

Newcat, I mean Shinji, is pretty fast moving for an old man.  There’s something else about him, though.  He’s inscrutable.  I can’t tell if he’s going to hiss at me or run or just go lie down somewhere, because with those stripes on his face it’s confusing.

I think maybe it’s because his ancestors came from Thailand.  They guarded both temples and palaces.  Now, he’s got a fair dash of tabby mixed in, but he also has the long body and blue eyes.  I’m still getting used to those.  Before that, the only one who had blue eyes was Mom.  But Shinji’s are even bluer than hers!

Shinji seems happier than he was.  He’s even gained weight.  I guess that’s okay, since I still get the same amount of pettings and nobody makes me share my Gooshy food, or my beds.  He’s so quiet.  Except at mealtime.  Then he’s loud!  His feelings are very obvious then.  But the rest of the time he’s inscrutable.

Shinji Avoidant.JPG

Here he is, meditating.  Or possibly, just avoiding a photo.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inscrutable/

Art idea: Silhouettes

Silhouettes are a lot of fun to use in your art.  You can make them in any number of ways and they are a great chance to explore the use of negative space.  You can do them in black and white, color, in multimedia, with collage, or use them as embellishments on other things if you’re more the crafty type.  Pablo Picasso used to make cut paper silhouettes of animals when he was a boy.  Silhouette work tends to look elegant and tied together.  It also invites the imagination and can really engage the viewer.

If you’re looking for a new project, this is a fun theme to explore!

Ideas for projects involving silhouettes

Black and White – on a white background, draw the outline then carefully color it in.  Try this reversed, too, so the silhouette is white and the surrounding black.

Black and White with Color – color either the surrounding of the black silhouette, or inside the white one.   You could be realistic or abstract.

Shadow Play – photograph things that form an interesting silhouette.  Or create one behind a white screen then photograph that.

Collage – cut silhouettes of people, animals or objects out of colored pictures.  Place them alone on a plain background or make them into scenes.  You could even use decoupage techniques to put them on an object, such as a box.

Resists – color a silhouette on watercolor paper with white crayon then paint over it.  Or, use frisket or another form of masking fluid.

Papercutting – draw your silhouette onto paper then cut it out.  Glue it onto a backdrop, adorned or not as you choose.

Painting – try something classic, like silhouettes in front of a blazing sunset, or perhaps someones shadow in a window.

A word about Sharpie markers:  Though they are quite handy for silhouette work, I advise photographing or scanning whatever you make right away to preserve what you have done.  They are not archival quality and can fade significantly in just a few years.

 

crows web

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/silhouette/

Your strategy for an effective first aid kit

I never buy commercial first aid kits.  They either contain too much junk I’ll never use, too little of what I will use, are too expensive, or all three at the same time!

I like inexpensive and effective.

Luckily, it’s not that hard to build a decent first aid kit without breaking the bank, having to go to EMT training, or sacrifice quality.

Start by identifying  your basic needs.  What does your kit need to treat?  Where are you going to carry it?  How tough does it need to be?  Who are you going to help with it, and for how long?  I have one kit for my trunk, another for my closet, and I carry basic necessities in my purse, sans case.

Once you know what you want to treat, who you are using it for, and where you are carrying it, break it down a little farther.

Basic medical needs include wound care, illness treatment, and protection against germs.

Therefore, you want to pick good things to clean a wound or irritated area with, like alcohol, peroxide, wet wipes, saline, etc.

You need gloves to protect your hands – nitrile is good to prevent latex allergy and you can get them cheaply at any drug store and even most dollar stores.

You need something to treat and cover wounds with, such as antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape, band aids, etc.

You need to be able to treat basic health issues – allergies, diarrhea, pain, inflammation, and nausea at a minimum.  Luckily, that’s easy and cheap to do.

You can safely ignore useless items like tiny band aids, itty-bitty alcohol wipes that dry out quickly and are useless anyway, or anything that comes in a quantity too tiny to use.  That’s what makes up half of the commercial first aid kits I’ve seen.

Finally, you need cutting implements for dealing with tape and gauze, as well as a tweezers and a good container to put everything in.  That container should be sturdy and organize things well.  I use a small backpack in my trunk and plastic tubs in my closet.  Tackle boxes and tool bags are good too.

Here are some suggested kit items for Car, Closet, and Pocket.  You will find that they are quite available at your local 99 cent only store, Dollar Tree, grocery store, and pharmacy.  Buy generics freely except for the Neosporin – that truly is better in the brand name.

 

Closet Kit

Isopropyl Alcohol

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hand sanitizer

Bottled water or saline

Gloves

Epsom Salts –  for foot soaks or as a laxative

Calcium based Antacid –  for both helping stomach trouble and for muscle cramps

Aspirin – anti-fever and pain treatment

Neosporin or similar ointment

Anti itch gel – I like Calamine lotion, and Benadryl anti-itch gel.

Allergy medicine – Benadryl or generic (good for treating allergies and as a sleep aid)

Other medicines for diarrhea, nausea, allergies, pain, etc

Band-aids, including butterfly bandages, 2 inch giant bandages, etc

Gauze – both squares and roll gauze

Tape – both medical and athletic, plus at least one Ace bandage

Finger splint

Scissors

Tweezers

A good, sharp knife

A flashlight for seeing dark areas of the body

Plastic tubs or tackle boxes to put it in

Car Kit

For your car, you can pack smaller versions of most of the above and put it in a day pack for easy carry.  Some bulky items can be left out or reduced.  I wouldn’t worry about the epsom salts, for example, but would replace them with a portable ice pack.  Focus more on wound care and cleaning items.  Rotate items regularly since everything is being exposed to extremes of temperature.

Pocket

An Altoids tin with a few aspirin, a couple allergy pills, some band aids, and a wet wipe or two is good for starters.  That with your pocket knife can go a long way.

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This has been a very basic overview of the beginnings of creating a first aid kit.  I wanted to give you a start, and if there’s interest I’ll go much more in depth in the future.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/strategy/