Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

Figuring out the “there” you want to get to.

I love sayings and quotes, especially random ones that I find in packaging, like inside Chines fortune cookies. I didn’t expect sayings on Splenda packets though, but lo and behold this 400-count box of Splenda packets comes with sayings.

People seem to fight about everything online and since I have my own strong opinions about many things too – I’ve been guilty of kicking up a little bit of controversy a few times too. However, I’m trying to avoid that, but yes, I’m aware I’m a contrarian by nature, lol.

The above Splenda packet came in a 400-count box that was given to me. In fact, I was gifted two 400-count boxes of Splenda packets that were given to me by my son’s friend, who had received them by mistake in a Walmart grocery pick-up order. She hadn’t ordered them and when she tried to return them to the store, they told her they don’t take returns on pick-up orders. These boxes are over $14 each, so that store lost almost $30 on that employee error, so it’s a crazy policy, I think.

With my using a Splenda packet saying, online some people would automatically want to start focusing on their views on Splenda being an unhealthy sweetener and why I shouldn’t use it, while I was merely amused by the sayings on these packets. And yes, I am using Splenda packets in my hot tea and oatmeal, because it doesn’t elevate my blood sugar like sugar does. I also use stevia and I’ve heard monkfruit is a good sugar alternative too, but it’s expensive and I haven’t tried it yet. I’m open to trying alternative sweeteners, but I also don’t get invested in all the health food drama in America and all the word games that come with the marketing of “healthy” stuff. I found this saying amusing, but let’s be honest you’ve got to define “there” in journeys or you’ll probably start down some wrong paths and have to make a lot of U-turns. Words can be tricky and the emotions we invest in words even trickier.

Most people around the world don’t have access to goods like we do in America or the myriad of consumer goods and widespread availability of food that we still have. And yes, there are growing shortage issues and inflation here that are dramatically impacting many American homes, but by and large, we still have way more that is available than most parts of the world have ever had. Plus if you live in constant dire financial straits, well, most often in America those situations are due to bad personal decisions, not because of some unexpected event or emergency. Sorry, that’s the truth. Once you get to the truth about people’s financial decisions, especially things like debt to income ratio and looking closely at personal spending habits, often there are things like cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, fast food, lottery tickets, even junk items from dollar stores, etc. that give a clearer picture of personal finances. I’m not trying to bash any particular person or group of people, all I’m saying is most household budgets contain some choices that indicate there were other, more economical, paths to take. The figuring out where you are matters before you decide on the “there” you want to go. That’s where I prefer to start – thinking about a plan of some sort.

While there really are some disturbing major crises unfolding around the world that are likely to impact everyone, including all of us in America, like everything else the impacts are likely to vary widely in severity, depending what country you live in and even regionally or based on personal lifestyle choices and events. For instance the other day I bought an 18-count carton of large eggs at the grocery store for $6.38 and that was definitely sticker shock for me, but I decided to buy the carton, because I want to make some deviled eggs for Christmas. I don’t use that many eggs really and I have a pack of Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer and some whole dried eggs in my food storage, so I have other options for most other egg needs. I also had the choice, of course, to not make deviled eggs. I don’t know of any alternative way to make deviled eggs without fresh whole eggs, so I paid the $6.38.

With the blog posts I’ve written about emergency preparedness, I’ve felt that while I disagree with so much of the constant stream of online preparedness hysteria and fearmongering, assuredly the people who engage in that constantly would likely insist they want to motivate people to prepare and that they’re sharing important information and not fearmongering. Despite my disagreeing with the fearmongering approach, the truth is people who have taken some steps toward getting their finances in better shape, stocking up food and supplies, learned even a few skills are way better off in a crisis than people who haven’t even thought about emergency preparedness at all. That single truth is what I’ve been thinking about with a major winter storm, replete with Arctic temperatures and high wind, forecast to impact a large section of the US later this week.

Considering it’s Christmas time, millions of Americans will likely be traveling too and it’s also likely most won’t make any preparations for winter weather emergencies. That’s been mostly what I’ve seen over the years, even when people do have advance warning of an impending emergency situation.

Fear can be a powerful motivator to prod people into action, because as my Splenda packet says: the best way to get there is to START. The problem comes in that living in constant fear only works for a short time. To stay motivated and committed to being prepared requires both a mind-set and a lifestyle change, not living in a state of fear or anxiously waiting for a SHTF event to hit. It’s not all about buying supplies on a list, but more about a way of thinking, decision-making and overall lifestyle. You can’t buy your way to developing a preparedness mind-set, but the toss side of that is even modest preparedness efforts can reap big rewards, provide you with more options, but most of all it can buy you more time to come up with more solutions in an emergency situation.

Where I live we’re expected to get some freezing temperatures and perhaps some rain, but I ran to Lowe’s to pick up a few items yesterday. I asked an employee for assistance in finding an item. I told this young man I wanted to do a few things around my house to prepare for the storm that’s headed across most of the US later this week. He said he wasn’t aware there was a big storm coming. I asked him a question about a product and he started to tell me his neighbor is sort of a crazy Doomsday prepper type guy, but knows a lot, as he explained something to me. I laughed and told him that my kids think I’m sort of a crazy Doomsday prepper too. The neighbor, who is likely to be where this young man goes for help in an emergency, was labeled with the negative pejorative “Doomsday prepper type.” The truth though is this nice young man had no clue about a major weather event that’s going to impact the US this week. I expect most Americans are like this young man and think prepping is stupid or people who try to be more prepared are weirdos.

Media is largely responsible for creating that negative stereotype of emergency preparedness, by hyping the most extreme preppers and promoting that “Doomsday prepper” labeling. In this April 2022 article, This is the surprising generation least likely to have even $1,000 in savings — and here’s what they need to do about it, it states:

“A survey of 1,000 adults from Bankrate this year revealed that 56% couldn’t pay for even a $1,000 emergency from their savings account. Meanwhile, data from the Federal Reserve showed that when faced with a hypothetical expense of $400, only about two in three adults could pay that expense using cash or its equivalent. What’s more, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in 2022 that 24% of consumers have no savings at all set aside for emergencies, while 39% have less than a month of income saved for emergencies.”

According to the USDA, around 10% of Americans were food insecure at some point during 2021.

While I don’t agree with a lot the drama and hysteria I see within the online prepper community, I still think the focus should be on trying to get more unprepared people to take some steps toward being more prepared and not so much focus on the most extreme “Doomsday preppers.” I had a neighbor come to my door in the past month needing some food, which I gladly provided. I’m going to take them a food basket this week too, because there are two small children in the home. I suspect there are people all over America, especially elderly people, who might be in need of some help and that’s where I think the focus should be – not on labeling people.

Without getting into politics much, I’ve always been very conservative and several years ago, one of my adult kids was telling me that she describes me to friends as sort of a “militia-type right-winger – without the guns.” I was sort of dumbstruck and appalled by that description and I was thinking, “This is what my own child thinks of me?” Then Trump came along and I was NeverTrump really, because I believed all along he’s a phony, not conservative in the least and just playing on the fears of a lot of poor Americans, especially poor white people. Trump was a NY liberal, whose golfing buddy was Bill Clinton, so I never got on the Trump train and I guess that spared me somewhat from being cast into “The Deplorables” basket. Now the targeting has moved to labeling everyone on the right as “MAGA Republicans” and I guess just about everyone who runs afoul of the liberal political views will be cast into the MAGA Republican group of “undesirables.” Which brings me back to the “Doomsday prepper” labeling, which came about by the liberal media…

What I really believe, as my core beliefs, has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. I believe in trying to help other people and treat other people as I would like to be treated.

Yes, inflation is supposed to get worse in the coming year and more and more people are likely going to be struggling, even in America. I want to focus on helping my family, friends and others people as I can, not on politics or dividing America into hostile camps. That’s the “there” I want to get to and perhaps most of us might be on board with that as a place to START.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, Food for Thought, General Interest

No stress with my holiday meals this year

Last Fall I was concerned about reports of a turkey shortage, that was being hyped online. I was in my local Kroger grocery store and there was an employee by a meat bunker stocking their store brand turkeys on one side. On the other side of that bunker was one large turkey of a brand I bought many times in the past. That turkey was over 18 lbs. (it was me and my two sons here for Thanksgiving dinner), but as I stood there debating whether to buy it, a manager approached the employee and I overheard bits of their conversation. The manager was telling the employee not to try to order more turkeys, but I only heard bits of the rest of their conversation. I made a rash decision to buy that large turkey. I still have one bag of turkey meat in my freezer left from that turkey. I don’t care much for turkey, but my sons love having homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving and turkey goes great with that. I also like to use drippings from my turkey in the stuffing.

After purchasing that large turkey, my local grocery stores had lots of turkeys in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and I felt stupid for first acting on bits of an overheard conversation and second, allowing online fearmongering and doomsday yammering to influence my decision-making. And yes, the more “dire” news and chatter you listen to, the more you’re opening the door to letting fear take up space in your thinking.

This past weekend, I saw Butterball turkeys in my local Walmart neighborhood market and there were lots of smaller size ones, which works better for me. I had been thinking about whether to get turkey or make some other type of meat for Thanksgiving for a few weeks and I had decided that I would buy a turkey, if I found one that wasn’t outrageously expensive and was smaller or I would roast a whole chicken for Thanksgiving. So, I had calmly thought about my meal-planning ahead of time. The Butterball turkeys were $1.18 a lb. and I fully expect some grocery stores might have turkey on sale before Thanksgiving, like other years, but I have the space in my freezer for a small turkey, so I bought it. I have all of the other things for my Thanksgiving meal, except if I decide to buy some fresh vegetables. I’ve got frozen, canned and dehydrated vegetables in my food pantry, so Thanksgiving is covered regardless.

It felt much calmer and sane to buy a turkey, where I had thought out my meal plan and options ahead of time and I wasn’t letting online hysteria about a turkey shortage influence my decision. And, yes, I have seen online hysteria about a turkey shortage again, recently. Sure, perhaps there will be a turkey shortage this holiday season, but by calmly thinking through my meal-planning and having a second option, I didn’t feel any anxiety or worry. That’s how I’m trying to work through both the real economic turmoil brewing and the accompanying news and social media fearmongering and drama now. I have enough food that I could bake Christmas cookies and put together a nice Christmas dinner too, so I’m not stressing about that either. A turkey shortage would not negatively impact my life in any way – it’s something I buy once a year and I’ve got plenty of other options already in my freezer and even pressure-canned meats.

Everything with the economic, energy and other big crises that are unfolding here and around the world are beyond my control. I’m not going to get myself worked up everyday or try to get other people worked up about things that are beyond their control too. I do have concerns about how so many people don’t do anything to become prepared, especially with basics, like food, water, and items to cope with weather emergencies that happen frequently in their area. However, I’ve had this concern for probably 40 years, when as I moved around the Army, I met people from all over the world and with all sorts of lifestyles. Many weren’t like the country folks I grew up around and in my own family, who were prepared for just about anything. I’ve seen many people over the years who got paid and blew their paycheck on stereo equipment, computer stuff, etc. and then complained they didn’t have food to feed their family until the next payday. These kind of people usually bog down government and private charity services, repeatedly, or leech off of family and friends. Here again, I learned over the years that I have zero control over what other people do. The only person I can control is myself.

I bring this up, because a lot of people are selling fear constantly – from the news media to many online formats. It obviously is working for them with clicks, but I’m trying to skip most of that and just work more on other stuff.

In other blog posts I’ve mentioned an elderly friend, whom I visit often. We worked together years ago, when she decided to return to work in her 70s, after she had retired from a job she had for decades. She is almost 86 now and on home hospice care, but she still lives in her home alone. Her son passed away a little over a year ago, so she has no family nearby. I do live nearby. At her son’s funeral service, I listened to the pastor talk about how my friend would need people to do more than just show up that day. He was right. I enjoy talking to her and help her out with errands and some small tasks. I also run into her hospice nurses sometimes when I stop by and most of them I know from my husband’s time on home hospice care and it feels reassuring to know they are looking after her. I enjoy sitting and talking to her, even though we are completely different personalities and have very different views on many things.

In recent months her memory is getting worse and on Saturday when I stopped in to drop off some spaghetti and salad I had made, she was excited about a “big” lottery jackpot. She’s told me many times that she always loved playing bingo, playing slot machines, and playing the lottery. Not that long ago, I ran and picked up MegaMillion tickets for her, because of some big jackpot, so when she was telling me about a big lottery jackpot, I assumed it was MegaMillions and I googled it, but that wasn’t a huge jackpot. She wanted $20 in tickets. I thought she had misunderstood something she heard on the news. Then yesterday morning I saw a news article about the Powerball jackpot is around 1 billion dollars, so I realized she wasn’t confused. I called her and told her it was the Powerball and I went and bought her tickets. I don’t generally play the lottery, or play bingo or gamble, not because of some moral stance, but because I’m not big on risk-taking,

I decided to spend $10 on tickets for myself, knowing full well, I just threw $10 away. She is excited about her lottery tickets, while I’m still feeling nothing except I threw $10 away, but I’m not beating myself up over that – even if the economy crashes tomorrow and everything goes to hell in a handbasket. I spent that $10 and can’t change that, anymore than I can change whether an epic catastrophe happens.

Honestly, my friend’s happiness with her lottery tickets was probably worth the $10 I threw away in the process. She regaled me with hilarious stories of some of her big “wins” at bingo and playing the slot machines. She had me laughing out loud and she was happy remembering the fun she had.

My friend asked me what I would do if I won that much money and I told her I’d probably have a panic attack. I have no idea how to manage a large amount of money like that, even in good economic times, and in this current uncertain economic time, I have no clue. She told me she’s been thinking about some cabbage and sausage, so I told her I will cook that this week and bring her some. She can’t see well enough to cook anymore. I even have a head of cabbage in my fridge and sausage in the freezer, so it’s a no-stress meal.

Instead of worrying about world crises or winning the lottery, today I planted some blueberry bushes in the ground that I had growing in pots, I mixed up some homemade vanilla extract, which I’d been meaning to try for a long time (it only took a few minutes), I saved some more flower seeds and finally some of my sweet basil, that I let go to seed, had some seeds ready to gather. I already saved a lot of lemon basil seeds. And I’ve worked on a few other projects. I also learned something new on YouTube. I glued together some jigsaw puzzles in the past and it was a bit messy. I saw a YouTube video on using glue sheets to just peel and stick on the back of the puzzle, which is mess-free and only takes a few minutes. It’s probably something that’s been around awhile, but it was new to me. I have a puzzle, that I completed over a year ago, that’s been sitting on a piece of foam core board waiting to be glued together, so there’s another easy project.

I’m also reading a book called, Landrace Gardening: Food Security through Biodiversity and Promiscuous Pollination, that a YouTube homesteader mentioned recently. I saw it in amazon and it was a bit pricey, so I checked Hoopla, which is a free ebook/audiobook service available through many libraries. My public library offers Hoopla and this gardening book was available, so I borrowed it. I don’t understand enough about plant pollination/cross-pollination or the scientific stuff referred to in this book to feel confident I’m grasping all of the ideas presented, but it’s interesting.

Here’s the thing, even if something epic, like an economic collapse happens or WWIII starts or some other major calamity happens, each day everyday life still goes on. We’ll have to figure out meals, figure out how to carry on our daily tasks, take care of our families and probably a lot of us will try to help our friends and neighbors too. I’ve found planning and decision-making, no matter the situation, is easier if I work on decluttering my mind from a lot of noise and fearmongering.

I felt stupid last year for letting social media yammering about a turkey shortage lead me to feel anxiety about whether I’d be able to get a turkey for Thanksgiving, then overreact based on bits of an overheard conversation that seemed to reinforce that yammering. We would have been fine and had a nice meal, even without a turkey, because I had a chest freezer full of meat last year too. I was only seeing the glass almost empty, when in reality my glass was full of options already in my own pantry. It wasn’t a crisis in my life in any way, shape or form, even if there had been an actual turkey shortage.

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A good video to spark prepping ideas

I really like this type of shopping video the Sensible Prepper YouTube prepper channel does. This one was at Home Depot, but they’ve done other ones, like at Harbor Freight. You can get all sorts of ideas for prepping supplies watching these videos.

While big box stores are great to find all sorts of surprising and useful things, in this video, the host, Sootch, explains that sometimes in an emergency situation your only option might be a gas station.

When big storms, like a hurricane or major snow storm form, usually the weather forecasters begin warning of these storms days in advance. The best thing to do is to begin looking through your supplies quickly, but it’s human nature to procrastinate. The longer you wait, the harder it will become to find supplies, especially at the big box stores.

I looked over my supplies as soon as this storm started gaining strength in the Caribbean, but each day I decided I wanted more of certain items. Yesterday morning I decided I wanted to buy some fresh vegetables for salad to go with the lasagna I was making, so I ventured to my little Walmart Neighborhood Market. I knew it would be packed because of Hurricane Ian heading our way. I had no problem finding the things I wanted, because fresh veggies aren’t in big demand as a hurricane supply, but other things like bottled water were wiped out. Many of the shoppers yesterday morning were just beginning their preparations for this storm and many people, especially in the Biden economy, are having a hard time making their money stretch between paydays. They can’t afford a lot of extra supplies. My local Walmart closed at noon yesterday and won’t reopen until Saturday morning.

A couple days ago, I decided I wanted more D batteries, even though the only thing I need D batteries for is my magnifying floor lamp that I use for needlework and reading. That lamp has a cord, but can also run on D batteries. I could find some batteries at my local big box stores, but no D batteries. I decided to stop at a Dollar General and they had lots of D batteries. The same goes for flashlights. In my small town Lowes and Walmart are the main places people go for things like flashlights. I ran into Ace Hardware, which isn’t the hot shopping spot here and they still had an assortment of flashlights. I bought two cheap $5 Eveready flashlights, that came with a battery in them, in case a neighbor might need a flashlight.

I find all sorts of useful things at smaller stores, thrift stores and around where I live it’s easy to find military supplies, even at yard sales. I look around my garage for military-type supplies. One small thing my late husband carried on his key ring was a P-38 can opener. It takes some practice learning how to use a P-38. If you’re left-handed, like me, it’s a bit challenging, but a P-38 is a really useful thing to add to your key ring.

I found these little band-aid packs at Dollar Tree a while back. Although they only have 15 items, that includes 2 alcohol pads and 3 sterile sponge bandages, plus an assortment of band-aids and they come in a sturdy ziploc package. It’s easy to carry in my purse. Little things like this can be good stocking stuffer gifts for the non-preppers in your family, to nudge them toward a preparedness mind-set.

In the video above Sootch mentioned ponchos like this. I found these at Dollar Tree earlier this year and because they’re small and don’t take much room, I stuck two in the glove compartment of my car. I keep a couple umbrellas in my car, but It’s kind of hard to hold an umbrella and handle any sort of car emergency in the rain. My grandmother carted everything, but the kitchen sink, in the trunk of her car, but she always had a jacket or coat inside her car and a stadium blanket. A fleece throw or blanket is a good thing to keep in your car.

One final cheap, but useful item to have for holding things together, even loose cords or something like tent stakes is nylon hair scrunchies. They’re very stretchy and have all sorts of uses, besides holding hair together in a ponytail. Plus they’re way more durable than most rubber bands and easier to put on and take off than zip ties.

Many small, inexpensive items can not only be useful survival gear, they can keep you more comfortable during emergencies. Being hungry, thirsty, wet, too hot or too cold can be life-threatening situations. Since most of us don’t hesitate to buy snacks or other luxury items we want, we should also not hesitate about buying some basic emergency supplies too.

I’m adding a photo of the $5 Eveready flashlight I found at Ace Hardware. It takes one D battery, which comes with the flashlight:

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Storm clouds all around

This post is about a few hurricane thoughts. My area is under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch, but we’re not expected to get anything nearly as severe as what Florida suffered yesterday. I had the basic supplies, pulled out flashlights and lanterns to check batteries a few days ago, bought a couple more cases of bottled water and a few other things. Like just about everyone else, I’m following the weather reports and local advisories closely.

I’m also getting ready to make two pans of lasagna, one to take to a neighbor and from the other pan I’m going to deliver some to an elderly friend this afternoon. I’ve got salad stuff too and garlic bread. That seems a better use of my time than staying glued to the media hurricane hysteria. While getting weather updates is important, staying glued to “crisis” news is not good for your mental health.

I see a lot of people online overreact to every media crisis spin cycle. The FL hurricane will draw massive ratings, so even liberal media switched to that, despite not wanting to give FL governor, Ron DeSantis, airtime like that. He’s been calm, really organized with his briefings and he presents concise information, which I like. I find his leadership in this crisis pretty impressive and as my son reminded me yesterday, FL really dodged a bullet in that FL governor’s race, because they could have ended up with Andrew Gillum, the guy who got caught with a male prostitute and strung out on drugs… and, oh he recently was accused of wire fraud.

Leadership in a crisis matters and I remember Trump creating unnecessary drama during a hurricane and drawing lines on a hurricane map with a Sharpie, rather than staying focused on the emergency plans. When people’s lives are at risk, it’s reassuring to have leaders who don’t get sidetracked by media and partisan political drama.

Twitter is the absolute worst social media platform for hot take news drama, where the journalists, pundits and other blue checkmark people flit from being “experts” on one topic to the next, as spin cycles change. They’re all epidemiologists when the news is fixated on a COVID story, Ukraine experts when it’s that crisis, financial experts if it’s the economy or world economic problems, and in the past couple days they’re blabbing about the Nord Stream pipeline leak. Liberal talking heads blame Putin and right-wing talking heads are blaming Biden. Tucker Carlson went all-in on blaming the US and since he’s been opposed to the US and other Europeans aiding Ukraine from the start, same old, same old. And, of course this ramped up another WWIII frenzy on several social media platforms. I don’t know exactly what happened with that pipeline leak and neither do any of the people blabbing about it.

Of course, this pipeline story led to another round of people online talking about “preparing for war.” If you’re prepped with food, water, basic supplies, there’s not a darned thing you can do to “prepare for war.” Sorry, I’m not preparing for a nuclear attack. I served in a Pershing missile unit, have read a lot about nuclear issues over the years, but I’m not living my life in fear of a nuclear exchange, because frankly, that would set off so many other dire world events, that radiation fall-out might be the least of our worries. All I am doing about “preparing for war” is praying for God to save the world. And today, I’m praying for the people of Florida and all the people still in this storm’s path.

Stay safe everyone.

Pray for peace.

Update: It’s after 5 pm and we still haven’t gotten any rain, but it’s pretty windy where I live in SE GA.

Just to be clear, I do take preparedness seriously and I will continue to try to be more prepared, but I believe in preparedness more as a lifestyle, not reacting constantly to news or stories flitting across news media or social media, for which I have no control over. I’m not going to run to the store and buy more stuff in a panic every time there are more hysterical stories about politics, world affairs, the economy, WWIII or a potential nuclear exchange, because that’s just panic reactions. Speaking of stores, my local Walmart store closed at noon today and won’t reopen until Saturday morning.

It’s understandable to be concerned or even alarmed by all the serious problems in our country and the world. The growing chaos is alarming, however we still have to live our lives and not let our lives become only about preparedness. I’m trying to put my energy toward the things I can do – not worrying about WWIII or nuclear war, which I can’t do a thing about.

The other day I checked that the emergency lantern I gave my elderly friend last year works, but I was concerned about what if the power goes out and she’s walking around in her house somewhere. So today when I took her some lasagna and salad, I took over a touch light I bought and I stuck it on the seat of her walker. I sat with her and had her turn it on and off several times. She wants to stay in her own house, so I was trying to think of something easy for her to have light if she was moving around the house and the power goes out. I thought about a head lamp, but she would struggle fiddling with that. Then I thought these touch lights are so easy and it could be stuck on her walker seat. She told me she wants more of these touch lights to stick around her house.

I had my husband deploy to war twice and one of my sons served in the Air Force and deployed to Iraq. My youngest sister, was in the Air Force and she deployed to Afghanistan in the early years. I know what it feels like to have family in harm’s way. When my husband deployed there were no cell phones and families had to go about their daily lives – take care of the kids, do the laundry, pay the bills, deal with any problems that occurred. Many military wives even had babies while their husband was deployed. You just carry on with life, because that’s the best thing you can do for your spouse and it’s the best thing you can do for your family and yourself. Sitting around worrying about WWIII is wasted time and energy. Worrying about a nuclear exchange even more so. That was my point.

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Sewing is a basic preparedness skill

This post is going to be about acquiring some basic sewing supplies and learning to hand sew. If you’ve never attempted picking up needle and thread to hand stitch or your one experience was for some craft or scout project as a kid and your only memory of it was about how much you hated hand sewing, well fear no more, because just about anyone can master a few basic stitches and enough proficiency to stitch up a torn seam or sew a button back on. Actually, I am confident that if you make up your mind to become proficient at hand sewing, you can surely do it. I’ve linked to some basic sewing YouTube videos at the end of this post, if you want to just skip my blabbering on.

Hand sewing dates back to prehistoric times, so if cavemen could figure out crafting needles from shards of bone and other materials, then use various fibers to stitch together furs and other natural materials, then assuredly most people now, with a literal plethora of sewing materials easily accessible, can sit down and master a few hand stitches.

I came across this interesting conversation between an online homesteader, Carolyn at Homesteading Family, who I often watch and one of the most creative YouTubers, Bernadette Banner, whose channel is devoted to historical sewing and promoting historical dress reproduction. I absolutely love this channel. Bernadette considers hand sewing an Apocalypse skill, because if you can hand sew, you can make clothes, which is vital. You can also make bedding, repair fabric items, and you could repurpose many items in your home that you could salvage to keep you and your family clothed, warm and comfortable even in the worst of times. Here’s the video:

If you ask 10 different people who like hand sewing what supplies they’d recommend for a beginner, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Due to modern mass production of fabric and clothing, needlework of any kind now is mostly pursued as a hobby and not learned as an important basic survival skill. I’m going to approach this from an emergency preparedness perspective and geared toward people who have little to no experience handling needle and thread.

As I’ve mentioned before I like decorative hand sewing, particularly counted cross stitch. The photo at the top is hand stitched quilt blocks I’m working on. I made a few a couple years ago, then put this project aside, but I pulled it out recently and began stitching together more of these quilt blocks. The pattern in America became known as Grandmother’s Flower Garden and the technique is called English paper piecing, which dates back to England in the 1790s.

My great-grandmother made several quilts using this pattern and I spent many hours as a kid helping her pick out colored prints for her quilt “flowers” and cutting out fabric hexagons for her. Interestingly, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, an old English quilt pattern, became very popular during the Great Depression in America and that’s when my great-grandmother became enamored with this quilt pattern. If you’re interested in learning more about English paper-piecing, I went back to England and found this YouTube channel, Emma Jones Vintage Sewing Box, with all sorts of project ideas, tutorials and tips.

I think just like preppers talk about having emergency supplies stocked up at home and having a to-go bag packed in case you need to evacuate your house quickly, you should have two basic sewing kits – one for home and a small travel sewing kit.

There are a wide variety of cheap travel sewing kits available and while any needle, thread, scissors and a few safety pins can be handy to have if you need to do a quick clothing repair, it’s not expensive to build your own home sewing kit with a few supplies and skip the packaged sewing kits, especially those travel sewing kits. If you put together a simple home sewing kit you can easily pull a few items from that to put together a small travel sewing kit.

I haven’t bought and tested these specific sewing kits, but I have used similar ones over the years. Men might prefer a sewing kit like this Raine military sewing kit, which comes in a zippered, nylon case Here’s a Singer brand travel sewing kit that comes in a hard plastic case. Personally, I would skip the preassembled sewing kits, especially the travel sewing kits, but if you wanted to go with a preassembled travel sewing kit, something similar to either of these would serve the purpose. When I was in the Army I was issued a small sewing kit similar to the military one I linked and the thread was sturdier than previous travel sewing kits I had, plus the buttons that came with the kit actually went with military uniforms, which was useful.

Here are my main complaints about most preassembled sewing kits. Often they come with a wide assortment of thread colors, which lures the unsuspecting. The natural assumption is that with so many thread colors, you could have just the right thread to match almost any clothes that needs a quick repair. Wrong! The thread is usually cheap polyester thread that tangles and tears easily. The needles are usually awful too. While a cheap sewing needle is awful to try to sew with, cheap thread that tangles and tears constantly is a total nightmare. If you manage to sew with flimsy polyester thread, the chances of that seam holding for long are very slim. In an emergency if you had only needles, you could even do some emergency stitching using your dental floss as thread and even that would be 100X better than that cheap polyester thread.

Here’s the truth about thread colors – you don’t need 99 colors. A few neutral colored threads can work perfectly fine for most hand sewing repairs (or larger sewing projects, truthfully), which is what a basic sewing kit and a travel sewing kit are designed for. Black and white thread are obvious choices, but gray and beige thread blend in amazingly well on most fabrics. If I had to choose one thread color, I’d choose gray thread. A few small spools of all-purpose dual duty thread and a spool of button/craft thread (I’d buy gray), for sewing heavier fabrics and sewing buttons back on, can get you a long way with simple hand sewing repairs.

To put together your own sewing kits, select a bag, basket or container to store your sewing supplies in for your home sewing kit and then a smaller pouch, bag, or container you want to use as your travel sewing kit. Even a small metal box, like an Altoid box can make a simple travel sewing kit. The Singer Survival Sewing kit has neutral thread, needles, a needle-threader, scissors, and a few other items. In the comments several people complained that the box is larger than most travel sewing kits, so that’s something to consider.

You don’t need to put whole spools of thread in your travel sewing kit. You can purchase plastic or cardboard thread bobbins or make your own. It’s very easy to cut out a small piece of cardboard or even a small piece of an index card works. Then cut a small slit on two sides, cut a few yards of thread, then anchor your thread in one slit. Continue wrapping the thread around the card, through the other slit. Finish by making sure the tail end of your thread is anchored snugly into a slit.

The nice thing about using plastic or cardboard thread bobbins to hold thread in a travel sewing kit is they take up less space and lay flat. A small piece of felt can be used to anchor your needles and safety pins onto. Another alternative is there are all sorts of needle cases available, but if you look around your home, you’ll probably find small containers that can be repurposed to hold sewing supplies You can even find foldable scissors on amazon that will fit into a repurposed Altoid box. A lot of men like those multi-tool/pocket knives and many of those have scissors on them too, so check out what tools you already carry in your to-go bag and avoid unnecessary duplications.

What you choose for your sewing kits beyond needles, thread and scissors is up to you. One additional sewing item – a thimble has been listed as required, not optional, in every hand sewing book I’ve ever read. Thimbles come in different sizes and all sorts of material – metal, ceramic, leather, plastic, etc.,

The thimble is worn on the middle finger of your dominant hand that you use to hold the needle. Finding a thimble that fits your middle finger comfortably, but that stays on can take trying several thimbles. You can get by doing small clothing repairs without a thimble, but if you plan to do longer stints of hand sewing and hope to improve your stitching, you’ll have to learn to use a thimble. Using a thimble takes practice, because at first a thimble feels awkward and unwieldly. If you’re trying to hand sew through thicker fabrics, it will become abundantly clear why thimbles were invented. Thimbles allow for better control of your needle and more consistent stitches.

Adding a few band-aids in your travel sewing kit can be handy, just trust me on this. Every person who hand sews has stabbed their fingers with their needle and likely drawn blood. Having band-aids right with your sewing kit can prevent you having to hunt around for a band-aid while trying not to get blood smeared around. Ask me how I know this, lol.

Safety pins are a very useful addition, as are straight pins. With needles and thread you will encounter all sorts of sizes, numbers and terminology. Different size needles are intended for different weight (the thickness) fabrics. Likewise, there are different types of thread for use on different types of fabric. For general clothing repair, needles that are called “sharps” work fine and all-purpose dual duty thread will likely work just fine.

Don’t make things too complicated.

You’ll quickly figure out how you want to personalize your sewing kits, once you actually begin practicing hand sewing and become more comfortable and proficient with the process.

With all sewing and needlework, the variety of supplies can be daunting. There are a lot of trendy gadgets and brands that many people insist are the only ones they will use or “must haves.” I’ve had my own needlework snobbery moments over the years too and I prefer European made needles for my needlework.

A pack of Singer needles with two small spools of Coats and Clark all-purpose dual duty thread in black and white would not be a bad choice to start. This assortment comes with a needle threader and if you’re older and have a harder time seeing the eye of an needle, needle threaders are a real lifesaver. You can find all sorts of inexpensive needle-threaders online. The way these needle-threaders work is you push the little wire loop end of the needle threader through the eye of the needle, then stick the end of your thread through the little wire loop of the needle-threader. Then gently pull the wire loop, with the thread looped through it, back through the eye of your needle.

A tape measure can be a good tool to have for sewing and many other uses. A small pencil is useful too. With sewing notions they also sell sewing chalk and packs of marking pencils, for making marks on different colored fabric. White chalk is easier to see on dark fabric than pencil marks or blue or red chalk marks.

A seam ripper can be a handy tool to add to your sewing kits and it can speed up ripping out stitches and cleaning up tangled thread mishaps.

You’ve probably seen those red tomato shaped pin cushions with a little attached red fabric strawberry. The tomato part is a pin cushion where you can stick pins and needles, but that little strawberry is actually filled with emery sand and is for cleaning and sharpening pins and needles.

So, that’s a few basic supplies and then if you’ve never picked up a needle and thread, you might be totally intimidated at the prospect of learning to sew. Relax, be prepared for some mishaps, knotted up thread disasters, confusion, and frustration.

Learning to hand sew takes some patience and practice. Every single person who hand sews has experienced knotted thread, thread tearing, tangled up messes, stitches that look terrible, stabbing their fingers and having to tear out stitching and try again.

Once you have some needle and thread in hand, it’s time to start learning a few basic stitches. Here again, opinions will likely vary on what are the most important stitches to learn. I think learning a running stitch (straight stitch), back stitch and hem stitch (felling stitch) are valuable stitches to know. A running stitch is the most basic straight stitch. A back stitch is a way to strengthen seams made with straight stitches and it can be used to help lock in stitches when you begin and end sewing a seam. The hem stitch has multiple uses, but as the name implies, hemming is important and since I’ve been focused on learning some hand sewing for repairing clothes, sometimes hems come out of clothes and it’s useful to be able to quickly fix them.

Here are a few hand sewing tutorial videos to get you started:

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Living in the present

“Nobody lived in the past, if you stop to think about it. Jefferson, Adams, Washington—they didn’t walk around saying, ”Isn’t this fascinating, living in the past?“ They lived in the present just as we do. The difference was it was their present, not ours. And just as we don’t know how things are going to turn out for us, they didn’t either. It’s very easy to stand on the mountaintop as an historian or biographer and find fault with people for why they did this or didn’t do that, because we’re not involved in it, we’re not inside it, we’re not confronting what we don’t know—as everyone who preceded us always was.”

David McCullough, Knowing History and Knowing Who We Are

The David McCullough quote is from a piece he wrote in 2005 and I’ve included the link for it. A brilliant military strategist, Dr. Colin Gray, made a similar comment in one of his books about strategic planning, emphasizing that none of us knows the future and he cautioned against the human tendency of too harshly judging strategic planners in the past for decisions that turned out badly or assuming that they had to know, X,Y and Z would happen. He suggested that often people were operating in good faith and making decisions they believed would be successful.

Here’s a YouTube video of McCullough speaking about history and at 17:18, he makes the same point he made in that above quote about people did not live in the past:

It’s easy to be armchair critics, as I can attest to, because I’ve done plenty of that myself, but despite my judgmental habits, I’m trying to think more before writing blog posts. One thing it’s easy to do is to draw sweeping conclusions based on very tiny amounts of information and often even that information is just “so and so online said,” not verified in any way. Along with the sweeping conclusions it’s very easy to cherry-pick information that feeds our own beliefs and views.

An economic collapse, whether through a lot of unforeseen events or financial power players trying to manage a collapse they know is coming, really is an area I have no expertise on. My understanding of macroeconomics could fit inside a teaspoon, so I’ve been doing more reading.

Klaus Schwab, the World Economic Forum’s founder, influence-peddler among the world’s elites and present arch nemesis among the American right has been talked about frequently, so I read his book, The Great Reset, and while I found many of the ideas promoted disturbing, what bothered me the most was the certainty with which he presents all of their climate change policy assertions.

I still don’t understand all the intricacies of the “Great Reset’ agenda and here’s the thing, I believe most of the people who bought into these ideas truly believe their plans are for the good of all people and that the entire world will prosper and flourish. While I expect widespread chaos and that their plans will fail and cause massive hardship, I could be wrong. The other thing is all sorts of other events might happen that upend the Great Reset agenda completely and the world may be facing other unforeseen massive problems.

In my own life, I live a simple and modest life and hope I can keep doing so. I can’t plan for the collapse of the world economy, because I have no idea what events would unfold in such a global catastrophe like that. For me, it’s about living in the present, while trying to take practical steps like having food, water and some emergency supplies on hand, but it’s also about continuing to learn new skills and practice old skills.

These days meteorologists do a good job tracking storms, whereas in the olden days people near coasts didn’t have a week’s time to prepare for a hurricane or major storm. Currently, I’m watching Tropical Storm Ian, just as Hurricane Fiona battered Canada and going over my hurricane preparedness plans.

George Washington was planning out changes he wanted to make to his gardens back at Mount Vernon, while he was off fighting the Revolutionary War. He wasn’t planning to be the first president of the United States of America, which didn’t even exist yet. There are personal letters of Washington’s where he’s going over account books for his estate and concerned with personal family business during the war. He was living in the present.

I’ve watched YouTube preppers who fixate on all the terrible things they are sure are going to happen or that are “signs” that SHTF is imminent and then they’ll list the latest hyped up news (ZeroHedge is a source mentioned frequently with the most hysterical and alarmist predictions) and I’ve seen advice based on these alarmist news reports range from “pull all your money out of the bank” (panic-driven bank runs exacerbated the economic collapse during the Great Depression), to urging people to “pack up and move from these blue states immediately” or “get out of the cities.” I’ve seen videos urging people to get rid of all their paper money and invest it in gold and silver.

I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m not an expert on personal financial management, so I am hesitant to urge dramatic actions like that, which could cause a lot more financial problems for many people than it solves. I do believe, as a guiding principle that getting out of debt and living debt-free, is a better lifestyle choice, under any circumstance and having some emergency savings can turn a personal crisis into just an inconvenience. These two beliefs apply during times of calm and plenty and in times of chaos and scarcity.

A book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life: 1790-1840, by Jack Larkin, explains early America’s complex economics, after the American Revolution. There was little money in circulation, so most of the actual money flowed back to the cities and rural people lived under systems of “exchanges,” that were closely linked to their social interactions in communities. Some of their dealings involved simple bartering, but some involved systems of credit and IOUs, that could be “paid off” later in goods or services.

The monetary currency circulating varied too. Larkin wrote, “A bewildering variety of foreign coins circulated: Dutch rix-dollars, Russian kopecks, as well as French and English specie. Most of the coins Americans used were the silver dollar halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths minted in Mexico and in the South American republics where silver was abundant.” This led to a lot of confusion, as most of the early Americans in the former colonies were still used to the British shillings.

The varied and diverse ways these early Americans conducted their business transactions came out of necessity, because very few people, even back then, were totally self-sufficient, even on the larger farms. There are also accounts of a divide between how Southerners and Northerners conducted business, where the northern way of writing down transactions conflicted with the Southern habit of a handshake and a man’s word being considered a sacred bond. People in early America, just like people throughout history in times of turmoil, self-organized and found ways to manage without some masterplan or people fixating ahead of time on how to prepare for every dire scenario imaginable.

These early Americans were dealing with unforeseen catastrophes on a regular basis. Illnesses swept through and could wipe out entire families. As the frontier moved westward, the settlers living closer to that edge faced skirmishes and massacres in battles with Native Americans. Every imaginable hardship and natural disaster hit and there was no 911 to call or FEMA and the American Red Cross to mobilize. These people had to pick themselves up and work together to salvage what they could and rebuild. They were living in the present, while trying to lay down foundations for their children and grandchildren.

Building more skills, and that means practicing old skills too, seems like it will be more useful for me than getting worked up about a world financial collapse or some other hyped news story, that I have no details or information to verify it.

In my next blog post, I’m going to write about basic sewing and make a few suggestions for supplies, beyond the little sewing kits they sell for a few dollars. Learning a few basic sewing skills is not nearly as daunting as many people make it. And just about anyone can master a few basics.

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Some critical needs to survive

This post is going to be about a few things I think might become critical needs to survive and thrive, as the green-energy transformation (collapse of the world economic systems as we know them) speeds up. My list isn’t your usual list of food, water, and ability to defend yourself, your family and your home. There are literally dozens upon dozens of online sources and books on emergency preparedness, survival, gardening, and farming available that can provide better information on those topics than I can. The things I’m going to talk about again, don’t cost anything, except working hard to develop critical-thinking skills.


Reliable and actionable information is vital to help us make decisions and respond, especially in a crisis. The first thing I’m going to mention again is learning to critically analyze information. According to polling and viewership stats on public trust in news media, across the board, trust in news media is at an all-time low.

Yet, just as people say they don’t trust certain news media, most people still get news from various news sources and this holds true across the political spectrum.

For instance, many Trump-supporters completely distrust mainstream (liberal) media and they’ll rush to distrust FOX News or any right-leaning news source, if that news source reports anything negative about Trump. Often, Trump will tout some new right-wing news media source and many of his supporters will gravitate there. Some people on the right get their news only from certain right-wing online sources or pundits, whom they trust.

On the left, this same phenomenon plays out with choosing news sources too. Recently, CNN’s new management fired some big name people, who were rabidly and openly anti-Trump. One of those people was a hard news reporter, who tweeted hate-filled anti-Trump diatribes for several years. Many liberals are outraged at CNN for firing these very biased CNN personalities. People on the left, who hate Trump, likewise gravitate to only left-wing online sources and the more they hate Trump, the further left they move in their news source choices.

If you gather your news only from sources that align with your partisan politics and trust them completely, that’s called confirmation bias. In a rapidly changing environment, relying only on information that feeds your own prior beliefs and values can leave you very ill-informed and it can lead you to make important decisions based on inaccurate or totally false information. It can also leave you blind to a whole lot of other events and information that could better inform you about what’s happening.

If you place your trust in personalities, by trusting only certain pundits or online influencers and make decisions based on their advice, it could easily lead to some disastrous decisions in a crisis. Many pundits and online influencers engage in a whole lot of confirmation bias too, but they also make money hyping stories, that are speeding down the internet superhighways, to attract an audience. Drama attracts viewers and keeps them coming back for more.

In the old days many people relied on a trusted family friend or someone locally, when making major financial decisions, but millions of people now trust online influencers or popular pundits over people in their own lives. In a crisis, local events happening can be way more critical and important in your daily life and how well you survive and thrive, than listening to news sources, who have no idea exactly what’s happening where you live. It’s important to figure out some local news sources and try to build some local community.

Developing a wider circle of information-gathering might be useful too. I think it’s wiser to gather information from across the political spectrum, compare it and also work to develop local sources. I also try to completely read through news articles, rather than react to headlines, because often important information is buried deep in news articles. Often, I jot down notes of things I want to look into a bit more.

Survival is local

Local news can be harder to find these days, since local newspapers are a dying entity, but even talking to neighbors, the guy at the gas station or people at local businesses might be more useful than news sources from across the country or across the world. When I was growing up in rural PA, the local diner was the information hub and my father liked to stop by there almost daily to hear about what was going on.

Finding reliable local information will be more valuable than knowing about some global shortages and all the global events playing out. Finding the supplies and things we need to survive closer to home in a global financial crisis will be critical. We’ll all likely have to shorten our own family’s supply chain a great deal in a global economic crisis, as big corporation supply chains we rely on sputter and falter.

Knowing about events that are happening closer to home matters immensely with personal and home security decisions. For instance, if major civil unrest breaks out in some urban areas, but things in your area are calm and safe, then reacting as if it’s unsafe to go out in public where you live or deciding it’s time to hunker down would not be an informed decision. It would be overreacting to media hype and a failure to gather reliable and actionable information for your location. Remaining as resilient and able to move about freely, rather than rushing to hunker down, makes more sense than self-limiting your personal liberty based on fear and lack of reliable local information. I suspect with the pandemic craziness there will be some people, who voluntarily live hunkered down, out of fear, for years to come.

Know Thyself

In life you’ll encounter many types of people and it’s much easier accurately assessing other people’s personality, character flaws and behavior than it is our own. The road to self-awareness is hard and most people, avoid being completely honest about their own short-comings, failures and mistakes.

It’s a continual work in progress to face up to your own mistakes and flaws. It’s even harder to work to change them. And it’s much easier to assess blame on other people and events rather than face the truth. Learning to face the truth is hard.

Most of us like to be right and we like to be vindicated when other people challenge our views or criticize us. A lot of people will do a circle the wagon approach, trying to find a group that uncritically supports their views and they in turn will do the same thing for them. In the online world, just like the real world, there are cliques (communities), where no disagreements or criticisms are tolerated and even saying you disagree with anything is deemed “trolling.” Often others will rush to condemn the “trolls,” but when I read comment sections it’s like all or nothing – any comment that isn’t 100% in lockstep is labelled trolling and there’s a circle the wagon attitude.

Surrounding yourself with only people who agree with you completely can lead to a failure to honestly assess yourself, your ideas, your plans. It’s fine to find like-minded people to try to work together on things that matter to you. Even I would look for someone interested in needlework to form a sewing circle, but insulating yourself from other ideas and views can lead to stagnation in your thinking. It can also make you weak and unable to adapt to chaotic times. Being open to new ideas and being willing to admit you were wrong are two important survival habits to develop.

A couple years ago I made a statement to my youngest daughter that I am a very flexible person. She told me there are lots of words she’d use to describe me, but “flexible” isn’t one of them. She was being totally honest and once I thought about it, I knew she was right.

I am very set in my ways, very hard-headed about “following the rules,” have very strong opinions on right and wrong and often I cling to ways and things whose time has passed. I am still clinging to my landline phone, still clinging to my older TVs, that aren’t smart TVs and therefore using cable. I am thinking about buying a newer TV and ditching cable, but I’m still very attached to my landline phone. I do have a cell phone, but hate using it. I prefer to use a hand grater rather than my electric food processor and the list goes on. I’m like this about many things – I don’t want to adapt rapidly and in truth, I’m definitely not very flexible. Being flexible can be a very good trait in rapidly changing times. And, yes, I know I can be too judgmental too, as my family tells me regularly, especially when I reject completely the latest liberal culture war crap they tell me about (ok, I believe rejecting that is a good thing – that’s where I stand and I won’t change).

Avoid the drama

Finding some calm and inner-peace, even in bad times will help you weather the worst storms. My late husband had this totally irreverent sense of dark humor that would end up making me laugh, even in really bad times. A lot of soldiers are like that and that ability to find ways to relieve stress helps people through the hard times.

Social media and news media overflow with drama, distractions and endless rabbit holes to grab our attention and never let go. Finding ways to limit our news consumption and social media consumption can be hard, but working on breaking free of the drama and distraction will give us more time to think about other more important things. I struggle with this too, because of my being a news junkie. And unless you want to live like Alice in Wonderland, it’s best to avoid rabbit holes, especially the most alarmist, the-sky-is-falling ones.

The media is also full of soap opera news that can waste your time and energy. I didn’t watch even one minute of the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial and what I did learn was from my adult kids wanting to tell me about it. I told them I don’t care about it at all and I still don’t care.

Right now the news media is in a Royal Frenzy. I admired Queen Elizabeth II in many ways, but I’m not into monarchy. I wrote two blog post on King Charles III, because he’s relevant in relation to the great reset events and I wanted to be clear that despite the media gushing about him, his history is that of being closely connected with Klaus Schwab and a committed green-agenda zealot, in my opinion. I don’t care about the minute-by-minute royal reporting and I don’t care one iota about Harry and Meghan or William and Kate or any of the other royals. I do admire Kate’s fashion sense though.

We’ve had a lot of rain where I live and I’m more concerned about paying attention to the weather right now than caring about what’s going on with the royals.

If I want to escape, I’m planning to get back to my crafting and needlework, plus I have piles of books I want to read.

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News and some prepping thoughts

This post is just some thoughts on the disturbing political craziness in America lately. I wrote a few blog posts about the latest Trump drama with the FBI raiding Trump’s home, so I’m skipping that today. With the recent Democrat-created, Inflation Reduction Act (green-energy/healthcare plan), that President Biden signed into law last week and now the executive action this week, where Biden announced $10,000 per student college loan cancellation, I’m left wondering how soon our government’s financial house of cards will collapse. The Inflation Reduction Act was $750 billion dollars more in spending, just as the US passed two quarters of negative growth (a recession).

I went to college one year after high school and my parents struggled to pay for my first semester and I took out a student loan for the second semester. I dropped out of college and joined the Army and I paid off that student loan. One thing that seems obvious is “debt forgiveness,” like President Biden just doled out for student loans, won’t be coming for average Americans, who have racked up more consumer debt than they can handle. This was just a pre-election vote-buying effort. Plus, seeing that the Inflation Reduction Act includes expedited hiring of 87,000 more IRS agents, well, it’s obvious the Biden administration is gearing up to take every cent possible from hard-working Americans to help fund their green-energy dreams.

While the fiscal insanity in Washington should alarm all of us, Washington isn’t alone in crazy fiscal policy, because according to the figures of credit card debt in America, so are millions upon millions of Americans, who are racking up huge amounts of credit card and other consumer debt as inflation is soaring. According to this CNN report from August 2, 2022, “US household debt surpassed $16 trillion for the first time ever during the second quarter, the New York Federal Reserve said Tuesday.” This article also states, “Over the past year, credit card debt has jumped by $100 billion, or 13%, the biggest percentage increase in more than 20 years. Credit cards typically charge high interest rates when balances aren’t fully paid off, making this an expensive form of debt.”

It’s easy to fume about the government’s reckless fiscal policies, but each of can control our own personal finances. Too many people dig themselves into too much personal debt trying to achieve or maintain a lifestyle that is beyond their means. With inflation climbing, most people will have to make hard decisions and for many people that will require cutting out extras and streamlining their expenses to make ends meet. Unfortunately, a whole lot of people are racking up massive amounts of credit card debt to maintain a standard of living their means can’t cover with the rising cost of living.

I can only speak for my own small town’s grocery stores, but inflation is continuing to climb every time I shop. Shortages continue to crop up too – no potatoes yesterday, except for a few bags of red potatoes. I am glad I canned some potatoes, have instant and dehydrated, plus I have some frozen fries and tater tots in the freezer, but I can guarantee you, if the potato supply situation improves once this year’s potato crops make it to stores, I will be canning more potatoes. Nothing has really improved in the overall financial picture in my small area of America – prices on just about everything have continued to climb and while gas prices have dropped, that’s largely due to the Biden administration releasing over a million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is a short-sighted plan.

I mentioned in other blog posts that this move by the Biden White House can’t continue indefinitely, they have no concrete plan on replenishing the SPR and are recklessly leaving America unprepared for a serious crisis. Once they stop releasing that much oil into the market, gas prices could sky-rocket, but it would happen after the November elections this year – and that’s the whole point of their using the SPR. It’s a political gimmick geared toward the November election. The SPR release, the Inflation Reduction Act, which has nothing to do with reducing inflation or this student loan forgiveness plan are intended to buy liberal votes and energize Democrat voters to show up on election day. Here’s a letter from last week, that Energy Sec. Granholm, sent top oil refiners:

Of course, economic collapse and massive upheavals seem likely to hit Europe before the US, but we definitely are positioned to be facing some unchartered political, economic, and societal chaos in the coming months. While I’ve come across all sorts of good emergency preparedness advice, it’s one thing being prepared for a limited emergency like a natural disaster vs. being prepared for a long-term emergency that ebbs and flows, which also has the potential to substantially impact our lives in ways we can’t even predict yet. I’m still struggling with figuring out my own preparedness plan in this situation.

I’ve been trying to continue stocking up food and other supplies, downsizing my lifestyle where I can, and trying to improve my gardening skills and other skills, like gaining experience with various food preservation methods, like home canning and dehydrating, but I also bought a book. Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, which explores several old-fashioned food preservation methods, like lacto-fermentation, preserving in oil, salt, sugar, alcohol, plus dehydrating.

I’m still following some news, but I’m more focused on trying to improve my own skills in several areas. Getting back to my sewing and needlework is on my list too, because I’d like to improve my darning and mending skills. I always loved working on decorative needlework, not fixing clothes and damaged fabric. My mother was very good at darning and mending. She used various stitches and techniques she learned growing up during the Great Depression and she never bought into the disposable clothing habits that took hold in America. My mother had her priorities right – master the important basic skills first, before the frivolous stuff.

Everyone’s preparedness goals will probably vary, but with all the ominous problems from disruptions in supply chains, economic crises, geopolitical instability in the world, serious droughts (here in America and abroad) things look gloomy. Add in the rancorous state of American politics, where President Biden just yesterday, once again smeared “MAGA Republicans” (however he defines that) as semi-fascists and the NY Post reported, “Gov. Kathy Hochul, who hasn’t proven shy about issuing orders, had one for the state’s Republicans this week — all 5.4 million of them: “Just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong, OK?” she said. “You are not New Yorkers.” So much for President Biden being the president who would return us to normal and unite America.

I’m also looking around my house trying to decide which home repair projects I need to get done now and which can wait. I’ve been tackling some small things myself and asking my sons for help with a few things, but I have some bigger projects I’ll need to hire someone else to do.

Each little accomplishment matters and every act of kindness we extend to others or which are extended to us matter too. I’m trying to focus on not criticizing people (in person and online)- yeah, except for politicians, because I am still going to criticize them. We can’t change the world with some big swooping action, but all the little acts of kindness can add up and truly change hearts.

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Running on empty

I woke up this morning (8/3/2022) and decided to edit out all the preparedness portion of this post and stick to the politics.

This will be a politics blog post about gas prices. First, I apologize for making inexcusable factual errors about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and Build Back Better Act. Somehow, I forgot key details that Build Back Better got stalled in the Senate and that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 didn’t pass last week – Senator Manchin, who tanked the Build Back Better legislation, last week decided to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. I apologize for getting my facts wrong and I will try to provide more links to the sources I use. The reality though is the Build Back Better Act was really the Great Reset in America push and the Inflation Reduction Act is a scaled back version of the Build Back Better Act.

Gas prices at the pump have been steadily dropping in America. Here’s a President Biden tweet from this morning and my quote retweet:

The link I added was to the WH fact sheet, released July 26, 2022. It’s become common practice for this administration to stealth edit documents, so anything they release to the public could get the “recession” treatment of being “redefined” or stealth edited without warning.

Here’s the second paragraph:

“The Administration is also announcing steps to repurchase oil for the SPR in future years, likely after FY2023, to help stabilize the market and encourage near-term supply. These actions will enable the Administration to continue the work of shoring up supply and bringing prices down.”

The third paragraph:

“Since the President authorized the historic release of one million barrels per day from the SPR earlier this spring, the Department of Energy has already sold more than 125 million barrels into the market, including nearly 70 million barrels that have already been delivered to purchasers and additional barrels planned to be delivered to customers in the weeks and months to come.”

The administration is releasing one million barrels per day, but the repurchase will “likely” be after 2023. This seems like a very poorly thought out and short-sighted plan.

So, the question to ask is why wouldn’t the Biden administration make resupplying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve quickly a top priority?

The White House explanation in that fact sheet explains a change of locking in a fixed price at the time of the contract of that oil as opposed to the current policy of the price paid being determined at the time of delivery being worked out.

The Biden administration is recklessly depleting the SPR at an unprecedented rate and level of over a million barrels a day and one can only wonder when they intend to stop.

While depleting the SPR with no resupply plan in place, the current WH plan is to stop the releases in October, according to this Blomberg piece, “The US Is Depleting Its Strategic Petroleum Reserve Faster Than It Looks,” from June 17, 2022 :

“If Washington sticks to its current pace, the reserve will shrink to a 40-year low of 358 million barrels by the end of October, when the releases are due to stop. A year ago, the SPR, located in four caverns in Texas and Louisiana, contained 621 million barrels. As the oil market looks today, it’s difficult to see how Washington can halt sales in October. Removing that additional supply would mean commercial inventories quickly deplete, putting upward pressure on oil prices.”

In the Bloomberg article, there’s an explanation of the two types of crude oil, medium-sour and light-sweet, and how most of the oil released so far has been medium-sour, which is what US refiners prefer, so it’s not just a matter of straight numbers of barrels in the SPR, it’s how many barrels of medium-sour crude are left, that will make it difficult for the Biden WH to continue to release oil from the SPR after October. That’s why President Biden made that trip to Saudi Arabia in July to try to work out an oil deal.

In a July 16, 2022, Reuters piece, Biden ends trip with U.S.-Saudi relations on the mend but few other wins, all the way down at paragraph 10, after going through all the media hype about the Biden fist bump with MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who is alleged to have ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi:

“Biden came to Saudi Arabia hoping to convince the OPEC heavyweight to boost oil production, but the kingdom held firm on its strategy that it must operate within the framework of the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, and not act unilaterally.”

The oil was the main reason for the trip, but Reuters gets to that at paragraph 10.

The news media in America, across the spectrum, like to divert attention to drama, and often the details are skipped in videos and TV news, but buried way down in print news articles. The news media know most people don’t read through news articles and as more and more print newspapers die and fewer and fewer people bother to read online news article, who knows, we may end up with news told in short videos or just some quick photos, with no deeper context.

Before I end this post, since this post is about Biden oil policy, it’s important to ask more questions about things you hear politicians say and new policies and legislation they propose. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a top-tier piece of legislation Democrats and the Biden administration want to ram through quickly, before the November elections. The soaring price of oil was high on the minds of most Americans, who have been feeling the pinch at the gas pump. The problem is this act has nothing to do with reducing inflation. It’s about speeding up the green-energy transition, even though the infrastructure isn’t in place to support a green-energy transition.

An August 1, 2022 Forbes article, Will The $670 Billion Inflation Reduction Act Cut Soaring Costs?:

According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) there’s low confidence that the legislation will have any impact on inflation. PWBM is a nonpartisan, research-based organization at the University of Pennsylvania that creates economic analysis of public policy’s fiscal impact.”

The Inflation Reduction Act has $80 billion in spending for the IRS. At paragraph 8, in this Marketwatch article selling the Dem plan, The Inflation Reduction Act would send $80 billion to the IRS, but some tax experts wonder if it’s enough to help the backlogged agency, I found this line:

“More than half of the $80 billion will fund more audits and staff for tax code enforcement aimed at the well-off at a time when audit rates have been dropping over the years thanks to shrinking staff.”

In this July 28, 2022 Bloomberg piece, Biden Poised to Get Win on IRS Funding in Reconciliation Package, here’s this:

“The bill also includes hiring flexibility for the IRS, a nod to the agency’s recruiting challenges. It would allow the IRS to using an expedited hiring process, as well as higher rates of pay for a limited number of employees. The administration estimated last year that an $80 billion IRS funding increase could allow the agency to hire about 87,000 additional employees over a decade, doubling the size of its workforce.”

So, let’s add this together and keep in mind that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is really about speeding up the green energy transformation (the Great Reset in America project), then add together over half of the money slotted for the IRS will fund more audits and that the IRS will be able to double its workforce over a decade, hiring about 87,000 new employees.

Despite the smokescreen of IRS woe-is-me stories, I think carbon footprint laws, where individuals and businesses are taxed on their consumption of energy, are headed our way and this large increase in funding, doubling the number of IRS personnel, funding more audits and staff for tax code enforcement, are for the green transition. They’re investing all of this effort to fund green-energy, while kicking the can down the road on replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve…


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Cats and conspiracies…

The economy is tanking, inflation is soaring and here’s a big CNN politics story today:

“As presidential cat, Willow Biden has privileges”

I kid you not.

Well, where to begin, first off, I’m going to try to shift away from commenting on social media content creators, because frankly, any criticisms are deemed “trolling” and from what I’ve seen across the board online, from professional journalists, politicians, and individual content creators, most people take any criticism as trolling and get up in arms. I figure if you walk into the public arena and post content, then if you face criticism, that’s part of entering the arena of public commentary. I don’t regret using that prepper channel as an example, because frankly talking about “be creative” in thinking about ways to defend your property and using the example of Ukrainian farmers poisoning cherries deserves criticism. This is America and we should be trying to find ways to pull our country together and help each other, since our inept government certainly won’t.

A frequent commenter on my blog mentioned that with how many right-wing people do get censored and have videos deleted, he found it interesting that video wasn’t banned. He wondered if that site was a law enforcement set-up, similar to what happened with the Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot. I have no idea, but I will leave it at, if you’re giving advice to Americans on how to protect themselves and you’re talking about poisoning people as a creative example – I will never listen to your advice again. Period. I did check this morning to see if that video was still up and it is, but I won’t be clicking on that channel again. I think it’s a safe bet that federal law enforcement has some presence in the YouTube prepper community. And no one should ever consider poisoning people as a “creative” home defense idea. Seriously, this is insanity!

Among right-wing America there’s been a sea change with how reactionary many of them have become and I suspect a lot of it has to do with social media and the right-wing media space, selling paranoia and amplifying one conspiracy theory after another. Trump latched onto that and sold it too. This isn’t something new. I remember the Jade Helm conspiracy theories over a military training exercise in 2015. Another bizarre incident was there was an online generated confrontation in a TX town several years ago, where two groups of people showed up fighting mad at the other side, but the information spread online was all made up. (likely a hostile foreign information operation.) It was carried out sort of like scammers calling to tell you to send them money, to avoid the IRS coming after them, except they conned people with differing views into showing up to protest, pitting them against each other.

The belief that the government is trying to destroy the food supply is pretty widespread among the online right-wing sphere. It’s based on the belief that the Biden administration and Democrats are evil and want to destroy us. It jumped into high gear with a rash of food facility fires and the belief that there are just too many fires, so of course the only explanation is “they’re trying to destroy the food supply.” Of course, since the economic chaos in 2020, many businesses don’t have enough staff or have hired inexperienced staff and many types of food processing facilities are fraught with hazardous conditions, including fire hazards.

Same goes for the thousands of cattle dying in Kansas recently in the heat wave. The online right-wing buzz is the evil “they” killed the cattle… “trying to destroy our food supply,” again. Here’s a 2017 story from and I don’t recall right-wing online hysteria about this happening: “California Heat Wave Kills Thousands of Cattle and Overwhelms Dairy Industry.” Large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves isn’t something new. That 2017 report estimated 4,000-6,000 cattle died in that heat wave. It took me less than a minute to find information on other incidents of large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves, but I guess it’s easier to get online and ramble on and on spreading conspiracy theories that it must be an evil government plot rather than taking less than a minute to do a bit of checking into the subject.

Where I suspect the real government overreaches are going to occur is in trying to react to the escalating economic and food shortage crises, because the mass panic will start, chaos will escalate and the Biden administration has no federal plans and most states aren’t prepared. Democrats have moved to prodding big corporations to take actions to circumvent Republican resistance and also to shift blame, which we saw during the pandemic. It’s easier to say private corporations can set their own rules and stores have routinely placed limits on some purchases, like sales items. So, I expect more stores to start limiting amounts of various items customers can purchase as shortages worsen and for a lot of “data-sharing” efforts between big tech, big corporations and the federal government to monitor individual Americans purchases. Tracking Americans will move into high-gear is my guess. Now, that prospect I do find ominous, but then again I find so much of data-collection already taking place creepy and invasive.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about the Biden administration had been mulling sending Americans gas rebate cards to help ease their pain at the gas pumps, but that it’s unlikely to happen. CNN played words games in their report. Here’s paragraph 3:

“However, this is unlikely to happen in part because it would be difficult to administer and there would be no way to ensure the cards are only used for gas, the official said. Moreover, Congress would need to approve funding for such an emergency move and that would be challenging.”

The other part which was reported elsewhere was there is a chip shortage, so producing rebate cards is an even bigger problem than Congress. Today CNN Politics is reporting about Willow, the Biden’s cat… Priorities in their news reporting at CNN are quite something.

I will get to writing about my quotes notebook, but I’m going to take a break from blogging this weekend .

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