I’ve been watching the news for the last few weeks, and find myself pretty stunned by how many people find themselves going through a snow and ice storm, completely unprepared. I know, this doesn’t have much to do with daily celebrations, and we’ll get to that, but sometimes there are just things that need to be said! Watching news reports about shelves stripped of food, as people race in and grab what they can in a frenzy; seeing news of people stuck in their cars, completely unable to keep warm or survive in the extreme cold; hearing of folks who are freezing in their own homes because they’ve lost power and have no way to heat up food and survive without electricity. It is not just the cold that the unprepared can’t survive. Think about various disasters that strike, leaving people exposed to a variety of environments, without food, without shelter and without adequate water. These are all things that can be taken care of with a little forethought and planning. The tired excuse that “nothing is going to happen to me” is just that, tired. I work with someone who refuses to even put a coat or blanket in the car. That’s what 911 is for, right? When something happens that has her stranded? Yeah, her and 100’s of other people waiting for help in a snow storm. For basic ideas, check out the FEMA website. I may not agree with a LOT of what they say, but they do have some links and lists for preparing ahead of time for a disaster that can give a good start.
Today I want to point out a few things to ALWAYS have in your car, just in case you are stranded and unable to get home. I never leave home without these things, and more, no matter if I’m going 5 miles, or 500.
1) Comfortable shoes and extra socks – If you are heading for work in high heels, or slick bottomed dress shoes, and you slide off the road in the snow, you’re not going to be able to walk anywhere for help in them. I always have walking shoes, socks and snow boots (In the winter) in my car.
2) A warm coat, a hat and some gloves – Perhaps a parka doesn’t go with your dress, but if you are stuck somewhere in the cold, that coat will be pretty welcome, even if it does clash with your outfit. Having a way to keep your head and hands warm will also make you more comfortable and keep you alive longer in the extreme cold.
3) Blankets – These aren’t just for keeping you warm, but if you happen across an accident, it may mean the difference between life and death for the victim. Case in point, years ago I was taking my daughter to a concert she was in when we came upon an unconscious woman in the middle of the road. To this day I don’t know why she was there, or what happened, but the extra blanket in the car shielded her from the rain and cold until help arrived. The EMT’s said it made all the difference. You can find inexpensive polar fleece blankets at Walmart or Target for just a few bucks. Pick up a few when you find them on sale and toss them in the back of your car. Polar fleece doesn’t soak up water, and it is very quick drying. It’s also quite warm. Cotton will wick the warmth right out of your body – so NOT a good idea. Wool will keep it’s insulation value, but once it gets wet its incredibly heavy and doesn’t dry quickly.
4) Drinking Water – dehydration isn’t going to help your situation at all. Keep a few bottles of water tucked into a backpack or tote in your trunk with your blankets, coat and extra shoes. You can survive much longer without food than you can without water.
5) Food – keeping a few protein bars on hand is a good idea. You don’t know how long you’ll be stuck until help can reach you, and having food to sustain you not only makes you feel better, the calories will help keep you warm and keep you aware of what’s going on. Low blood sugar isn’t helpful in these types of situations.
6) Flashlight and extra batteries – this is pretty self-explanatory. If you have to walk a distance, eventually it is going to get dark. You can illuminate your path, AND it makes you visible to anyone who is coming along the road. You don’t want to get hit by a car while you’re trying to reach help or home.
7) Keeping your fuel tank filled. If you need to keep warm, that gas is going to help you out for at least a little while.
8) Make sure your cell phone is fully charged so you can reach help when you need it. Don’t waste the battery playing games or talking to friends.
I know, these things seem like they should be obvious, but truly, they aren’t! So many people venture out without anything in their vehicles to help them survive in a snow or ice storm, flooding over the roads, earthquake that blocks roads, or other disasters. Basic preparations can mean the difference between living and dying, and in those situations YOU are not the only person needing help and it could even be that the emergency crews are struggling to getting around too. Be smart, be prepared. It may help you avoid becoming a statistic.
And now for the celebrations of the day . . .
Facebook’s Birthday – Today is Facebook’s 10th birthday. Though there are many things about Facebook that bug me on a regular basis, the fact is that it helps people connect with family and friends all over the world. Many times people who have lost touch for many years find each other again through this social network. We are able to spread news and information that people may not otherwise have seen, and we are able to use it as a place to express ideas, views, objections to injustices, and to share laughter and fun. Happy Birthday Facebook – no matter how much you annoy me with all of your changes, the silly games, and the occasional censorship . . . it’s still a good thing that you exist.
Liberace Day – Born in Wisconsin in 1919, Liberace was a musical genius who brought joy to his audience for many decades. He first appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was 16 years old. Later he began to give concerts in flamboyant costumes with ornate pianos and candelabra, playing mostly popular music. He became very successful, and went on to host his own TV variety series, The Liberace Show from 1952-1955 and 1969. He also appeared in films and later performed frequently in Las Vegas. Because of his blend of classical training, and how over-the-top he was with his showmanship, Liberace was one of the most famous performers of the 20th century. The name he was given at birth was Wladziu Valentino Liberace, with his middle name being chosen because Rudolph Valentino was one of his mother’s favorite movie starts. Both of Liberace’s parents were interested in music, and they started his path to success with piano lessons very early in his life. He turned out to be a child prodigy, starting his studies at the Wisconsin College of Music when he was only seven years old! That’s amazing! He began performing with orchestras when he was in his early teens. To make a living he started playing in movie theaters and night clubs, even adopting the stage name “Walter Busterkeys” for a short time. Before too long he found some success in mixing his love of classical music with contemporary songs. The real breakthrough for his career happened in 1951 when The Liberace Show premiered, first airing in Los Angeles before going national a few years later. He had 35 million viewers at the peak of the program’s popularity – people couldn’t get enough of his piano playing and his on stage charm. With his trademark candelabra sitting on top of his piano, he played with glee and ease. Liberace had mostly a female audience, who appreciated how devoted he was to his mother. Throughout all of this, he didn’t limit himself to his TV show. He sold out many live concerts, and millions of records, starred in the 1955 film “Sincerely Yours”, which showcased his talents. he even was joined on stage by Elvis Presley in 1956. It was about that time that his personal life started turning into a legal drama. He had been criticized for his effeminate ways, and even sued a British publication for libel after they implied that he was gay. He won the court battle, but it was still later revealed that he truly was gay. He worked very hard to conceal this because he had a dominantly female following and he didn’t want to alienate them. In that day and age, being gay wasn’t something that people revealed easily or willingly. Eventually interest in his TV showed faded, but he did remain popular with the concert crowd. His shows and his costumes got more elaborate and ostentatious with the years, showcasing ornate rings, and draping himself in long, heavy, fur capes. In 1982 he was sued again, by his former bodyguard and chauffeur, Scott Thorson. Thorson claimed that he had been in a relationship with Liberace and that Liberace had promised to take care of him and support him. The case was settled out of court. Shortly before he died, stories circulated that Liberace had AIDS. This was denied, and when he passed away on February 4th, 1987, his doctors reported that he had died of cardiac arrest. An autopsy revealed that he had actually died of AIDS-related pneumonia. Like him or not, he left a lasting impact on the world of entertainment, and his flamboyant style influenced performers like Elvis Presley, Elton John and David Bowe. Apparently a move was released in 2013 about Liberace’s life, with Michael Douglas playing Liberace. I have no idea if this is true, but will have to check it out.
Thank a Mailman Day – Do you have a mail carrier who is always consistently bringing you your mail? Always pretty close on time, and pleasant, even when they have to bring a package to your door? We have a nice woman who delivers ours, and though I don’t know her more than to just wave at her, I am grateful that she brings us our mail every day. Today is the day to say THANK YOU to your mail carrier(s). They are there six days a week, no matter the weather. Some carriers have walking routes, some drive. Doesn’t matter what is going on, they are out there, doing their jobs. Did you know that Pony Express Riders were the most famous early American “mailmen”? Their motto was “Neither rain, nor snow, nor death of the night, can keep us from our duty”. Let them know you appreciate them today. I know it’ll make them feel good.
World Cancer Day – Cancer. We hear this awful word every day of our lives. It isn’t just one disease, it is many, and all of them have in common the ability of their cells to invade other parts of the body and divide uncontrollably. It was estimated that in 2012 in the United States, 1,638,910 new cancer diagnoses and 577,190 deaths occurred. And the chances are that you know at least one person who was either diagnosed, or passed away, from cancer last year. We need to work to dispel myths and misconceptions about cancer. Some of those are:
As research continues, and we get better treatments, and hopefully a cure that will actually be released to the public, we can hope and pray that this horrible disease will one day be a thing of the past, known only in the history books.
USO Day – Today we celebrate the USO, which stands for United Services Organization, which started on February 4, 1941. The primary mission of the USO is to lift the spirits of American troops and their families. They are probably best known for their entertainment of deployed troops. Our troops need this boost to their morale while they do their duty for our country. We can celebrate this day be getting involved and either donating to their cause, or checking out other ways to by visiting the USO website. I’ve only seen the USO section of an airport once. We were passing through the Philadelphia airport and came across this wing with all of these people holding balloons, welcome home signs and with an air of celebration everywhere. The door on the other side of the room opened and in walked troops returning home. Not a dry eye to be seen. What was wonderful was that some of those soldiers had family waiting, but for those who didn’t, as sad as that was, there were members of the USO there to greet them, welcoming them home to their own soil, and giving them someone to hug and thank them for their service. It was awesome! If you ever have the chance to help out the USO, please do. They perform such a valuable and necessary service.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Homemade Soup Day – Whether from scratch or just jazzed-up canned stuff, nothing comforts like a bowl of soup. Check out this list of ideas from www.food.com. Yum!
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought, a few things to celebrate on this lovely Tuesday, and an idea of a lovely pot of soup to make for dinner! God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!