Disrupted by a thief

I rarely have anything stolen from me.  I can thank three factors.  Caution, luck, and until recently, not having anything of value to steal!  However, that changed recently.

I was at work, busily making a living, and someone decided to take advantage of that fact (and my inattention) by getting into my trunk.  My car hadn’t been locked that day.  My trunk is messy and not all that interesting, so the only thing convenient to grab was my emergency kit.

I learned a couple of things.  One, I rely on that kit quite a bit.

“Hey, do you have any glue?”

“Sure, it’s in my…. oh darn.”

“I need some duct tape.”

“No can do, not unless I restock.”

And so on.

As I was rebuilding the kit, I learned how disorganized the old one was, and realized most of the over the counter medications needed to be rotated anyway.

As I shopped, I had some fun imagining the thief opening the unassuming backpack.  What treasures are inside?  Electronics?  CDs?  Maybe medications?

Nope.  The first thing he’ll find is a big pack of Maxi pads.  They make great semi-sterile compression bandages.  And there are medications all right – aspirin, generic Benadryl, and some oh so exciting Dramamine.  Gauze, tape, glue, emergency candles, and more.

I learned a third thing by this experience.  You can put the different items of your emergency kit into gallon sized plastic bags, the kind that zip with a little plastic tab so they are easier to open and close.  Bandages can be in one, disinfectants in another, small tools in still a third, and so on.  things stay cleaner, more organized, and much easier to get to in an emergency.  I removed the outer packaging on the individual itemsBird of Paradise crop as well, which saved a great deal of space.

I also included a bottle of water, an ounce or so of beef jerky for protein, and some dried mangoes for quick energy.  The kit isn’t meant to sustain a person for days, but rather to get you home safely.  I sometimes have problems with low blood sugar, so having that small amount of provisions could make a big difference if I needed to function at my maximum.

Despite the expense, and the annoyance caused by this major disruption, I know that my kit is much more organized and complete than it was.  I’ve also changed where I park and I always lock my doors.

 

via Daily Prompt: Disrupt

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

Drunks, Extremists, and the New Year

The New Year is a great chance to make a fresh start.  We can take stock of what happened, look honestly at our mistakes, and think of ways to do better this time around.  It is definitely possible to change, despite what many people secretly believe, and one of the ways is to improve the way we have our conversations.

I’ve seen a huge tendency to use black or white thinking.  I’ve seen it in friends, the media, extremist groups of all kinds, my neighbors, and myself.  It’s poisonous and it’s how wars get started.  Here’s a little example of what I’m talking about.

Last night, my neighbor was playing his music loudly all day, and my least favorite kind.  It was the kind that brings back bad memories and I just don’t want to hear.  Yet, it was still at a volume that we could (kind of) ignore it, and it was New Year’s Eve after all, so we didn’t bother him about it.  We thought about blasting some Dio in retaliation but in the end didn’t even do that.

Then he decided to turn it up twice as loud on a song we couldn’t stand, which wasn’t helping our already growing headaches.  It was so loud that it was loud inside our house with the door closed.

Did we yell at him?  No.

My dear spouse stepped outside and asked him if he could please turn it down a LITTLE.  She was quite polite in both tone and wording.

He said “Happy fuckin’ New Year” in a nasty tone of voice, called her an asswipe, then turned it OFF.

First, you don’t call my wife an asswipe.  I’m proud of myself that I didn’t go out there and make things a lot worse with what I wanted to say and do.

She tried to make peace by saying “hey, you don’t have to be like that, I just asked you to turn it down a little.”  He told her angrily to go into the house and then griped loudly to his friends for the next half hour.  And blamed us for ruining all his fun.

This was from a guy who called himself a friend.

Now, his problem was the bottle.  And he’ll probably come over and apologize at some point, after enough reminding from his family.  However, the problem will happen again next time he drinks, and once again we’ll be the BAD people who ruin all his fun, and it’s for one reason.

An underlying attitude of extremism.  Black and white thinking.

If it’s not on loud, it’s off.  If I can’t have it all, I’ll have none.  If you’re not 100 percent into everything I am, you’re my enemy.

Take a look around and you’ll see this everywhere.  Wouldn’t it be better if we all took a more middle of the road approach?

 

Here are some exercises I’ll be trying to rid myself of this poisonous habit, and perhaps you’ll be interested to check them out too.  I’ve found them helpful whenever I’ve used them.

 

Remember that the person is not their behavior.  In the previous example, my neighbor acted like a complete boor.  However, despite my own impulses, I’m trying not to hate him, but rather only be disappointed in his behavior.  They are, after all two separate things.  He’s not a bad person, he’s a person who has some really unfortunate habits.

Take responsibility for your own actions.  You can’t control anyone else, so there’s no point in being angry about that, so work on yourself and let them take care of themselves.

Look for middle of the road solutions.  Even if no one else will, keep trying.  Eventually others will join you.

Take deep breaths and maintain perspective.  Maybe that world leader did something you didn’t like.  But there are other good things they did.

Give up hate.  Hate is bad for everybody.  It’s like taking poison.  And holding on to resentment is like taking poison in an attempt to hurt somebody else.

Always seek the middle road.  Things aren’t as extreme as they appear, the world is actually filled with gray areas.  Perspective helps you see that.

Avoid snap decisions or habitual actions.  This can be hard, but when you have an impulse to do something, stop, take one of those useful deep breaths and think – does this meet my goals?  Is it fair?  Is it right?  Is there a better way?

Don’t act based on emotion.  Our emotions rarely align with what we really want to do.

Remember to listen.  Let the other person talk and really hear what they are saying.  We couldn’t let our neighbor know that our request was reasonable because he had already decided what we were going to say, and was reacting to that instead of what we were really saying.

Keep your words soft and sweet in case you have to eat them.  After all, there might have been a misunderstanding.  You can always get nasty later if you have to.  But you can’t take back harsh words.

Keep on thinking.  Don’t let yourself act based on habit.

If you fail, try again right away.  It’ll get better.

 

Here’s to a bright New Year!

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Conversation

A Glorious way to dispel darkness – and muggers.

The days are getting shorter again.

Do you sometimes feel unsafe at night, or have to go through dangerous areas in the dark?  Do you want something to help protect you, but don’t want to have to deal with pepper spray, mace, or a weapon?  Would you like more options if you are ever attacked?

There’s a simple tool that is not only good for all those things, but is just handy to have for other reasons.  Best of all, you can take them anywhere, even into banks and office buildings!

I’m talking about a tactical flashlight.

You’re walking to your car after a hard day at work.  Your eyes are a bit bleary, your back hurts, and all you can think about is your favorite Netflix show that’s waiting for you at home.

You hear a sound from between a couple of cars.  Someone is there!

The light in the parking lot is bad – maintenance still hasn’t gotten to it.  But you know you aren’t alone.

Is Brad, the creep who kept texting his undying love even after you told him “not jus tno, but hell no” and blocked him?  Or is it the robber you’ve heard about at break, the one who’s been trying to get into cars?  Or is it just a buddy, trying to freak you out?

You don’t know.

Something jumped out of the dark at you.  You turn, bring your hand up.  Your thumb flicks the button at the base of your tiny flashlight, its intense beam pierces the night…

…revealing a stranger’s face, who is now bringing his hands up to shield his eyes from the blinding light.  You hear the clank as something heavy, maybe a tire iron?  hits the ground.  Taking advantage of the sudden distraction, you run back to the building, to call the police or maybe that tough chick who’s always well armed.

Tactical flashlights come in small versions, pocket sized, often with specially reinforced bezels so you can use them to make strikes if the bright flash of light isn’t enough to help you escape.

Look for one with 400 lumens or better Mine has different settings so you don’t use up the battery very fast if you don’t need the ultra-bright setting.  I like it a lot, it’s made by Fenixfire.  I bought it on sale of course but have been very pleased.  It looks kind of cool and lightsaber-y.

Whatever your choice in flashlight brands, look for a flashlight that is either rechargeable or uses rechargable batteries.  Immediately reject anything that uses AA or AAA batteries.  It won’t be powerful enough.  The kind that these flashlights use can be expensive, better to be able to recharge them.

Look for a flashlight that has a button on the tail cap rather than on the side.  If you are going to use it as a striking tool, this will come in handy.  Also avoid glass lenses unless they are tempered.  Also, if you ant something small, do your internet searching with the keyword “EDC.”  EDC, or EveryDay Carry flashlights have to be tiny and robust.

Here is an article all about tactical flashlights.  The most important thing is to note that you need to be prepared to move quickly.  Even the brightest light won’t hinder an attacker for long, you need to get out of the situation or fight back as quickly as possible.  However, a small, powerful flashlight can get you out of more than one sticky situation without permanently harming anyone…

… and they can be great to find things in the dark, too.

 

 

 

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

Gazelles may fall but Grunts continue

There’s an old concept in the military.  It’s a concept often held to by strong men and women doing dangerous jobs, but it’s just as valuable for people who live gentler lives.  Artists both of brush and pen benefit when they live by this.

It’s the concept of “being a Grunt.”

A Grunt may fall many times but always gets up again.  A Grunt doesn’t let anyone stop them from eventually reaching their goal, even if they are slow to get there.  A Grunt isn’t the best in the world, not at first, but they continue until they are.  A Grunt handles failure and knows it’s not the end.

By contrast, Gazelles are naturally gifted.  They pick things up quickly and they seemingly sail by obstacles, leaping high over them.  They apparently don’t have a care in the world.  Then, something gets in their way.  But since they don’t understand what to do when they fail, they give up.  It’s over.  Meanwhile, the Grunt keeps slogging on, slowly and steadily approaching their goal.

I was a Gazelle.  I’m trying to learn to be a Grunt.

When a painting doesn’t turn out the way I wanted, I’m trying to learn to do another till I’ve achieved my goal.  When a story or article fails, I work on it till it’s good.  I’m learning that failure is not the end, it’s just a bump in the road, and the key is to continue.  To keep going.

In losing weight, in gaining health, in art, in writing, in singing, in sports, at work, and everywhere, we want to be the Gazelle… that’s natural, but we should want to be the tireless, indomitable, persistent Grunt.

The greatest artists in the world have been Grunts…

winstonchurchill124653.jpg

 

 

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

Your Car’s Survival Kit

You don’t need to spend a bundle on a survival kit just to feel more secure as you are out and about.  Sure, there are a lot of things that would be nice to have but if you buy them bundled usually you also pay a bundle.  Better to head off to your local discount store such as Dollar tree.  Many of these items can be found there.  A cheap backpack (hit the before school sales) makes a convenient way to transport them.  A good first aid kit is also well organized and easy to get to.

In all cases, tailor your kit to where you are.  If you live in a cold area, include warm blankets and a bag of kitty litter to give you traction on ice.  If in a warm place, pack extra water, disposable cold packs, and sunscreen.  If your car is old and needs repair, pack an extra quart of oil.  Everyone should have jumper cables, a spare tire, a jack, and a lug wrench.

 

First Aid Kit

Band Aids – just a few large ones.  You don’t need a million tiny ones.  They can be cut to fit with your

Scissors, Knife, Tweezers – make sure they’re sharp

Antibiotic ointment like Neosporin, change once a year

Gauze pads

Tape, both duct tape and first aid tape

Feminine pads (like Kotex) they make a great semi-sterile dressing

Gloves to protect yourself from blood borne illnesses should you help someone

Pain and fever relief – Aspirin or Ibuprofen, avoid acetaminophen because of liver damage.

Benadryl gelcaps – for allergic reaction.

 

Survival Kit

A good knife – needs a strong blade that can be sharpened.

Means of making fire – such as matches, lighter, flint and steel, or burning glass.

Compass – never breaks, rarely fails.

Flashlight – LED type is best.

Extra batteries – change them once a year.

Water – at least a quart.

Energy bars – high quality ones that will last.  Cheaper than camping food.

Multitool – not required but great to have.

 

Many other things can be added to a survival kit depending on where you are and what you need.  Mine has rain ponchos for monsoon season and two small umbrellas.  Mine also has mylar blankets – they are good for a sun shade as well as for warmth.  Important in the place where I live!  I also have some instant cold packs in case I have to deal with a case of heat exhaustion.  You might want an Epi-pen if you’re allergic to bees.

I hope this gives a good framework to start your own survival kit!  Remember, it’s better to have a bad survival kit than none at all, and you can always improve as you go along.

Keep calm, be prepared.

 

via Daily Prompt: Survive

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