Do you Have an Advanced Care Plan?

“Do you have an advanced care plan?” was one of the questions asked of me at a recent doctor’s visit. One can take that question in two different ways. The first thought that came to my mind was, “Boy, I didn’t think my lab results looked that bad!” The thought of the medical team looking out for my future care and wishes never entered my mind. Luckily, it was the second way and not the conclusion I had jumped to. I do have one. Where it’s at, I’m not sure. I really don’t plan on needing it for a couple of more years.

An advanced care plan is another term for an advanced directive. It enables you to record the type of care you want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself. Besides having a written plan, you may want to TALK to your loved ones about your care decisions.

T – take time to have the conversation with your physician and family.

A – Always be open and honest.

L – Leave no doubt about your values and preferences.

K – Know that advanced care planning is a quality-of-life choice.

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Sunlight’s Health Benefits

I think we all realize that too much exposure to the sun can damage our skin which could lead to skin cancer although a moderate amount of sunlight has health benefits. Here are some of those benefits.

  • 30 minutes of sun while wearing a bathing suit causes our skin to produce a significant amount of vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and a healthy immune system. If you’re not into sunbathing, 15 minutes of sun on your hands, arms and face two or three days per week provides some vitamin D benefits.
  • Sunlight also gives a boost to our levels of serotonin, a mood- and energy- enhancing hormone produced in our brain.
  • Exposure to sunlight supports your body’s production of nitric oxide, a substance that helps lower blood pressure as well as chronic inflammation, which may have a role in the development of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
  • Remember, ‘moderation’ is the word when it comes to sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are at their peak. If you are out in the sun for 15 minutes or longer, wear a sunscreen with a (SPF) sun protection factor, of at least 15.

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Minor Burn Treatment At Home

I’d be willing to bet that there aren’t many people out there who haven’t had a minor burn of some kind and treated it themselves or had a loved one treat it. For a minor (second degree) burn to heal by itself, all you generally have to do is the following:

  • Cool the burned area as soon as possible. Run cold tap water over the burned area for 10 to 20 minutes. If the burned area is on the face or body, gently apply cool compresses on the area.
  • Don’t do as my mother always suggested. Do not apply butter, ice or ice water to the burn as these items can cause further tissue damage.
  • If there is a chance of swelling, remove jewelry or clothing from the affected area. It’s a good idea to remove these items even if swelling isn’t a possibility.
  • Wash your hands before treating the affected area and do not touch the burned skin directly to avoid infecting the burned area.
  • If needed, clean the area by gently washing the area with cool water and patting dry. Do not rub.
  • If blisters form, DO NOT break them open.
  • If a blister does not break open, no bandage is needed. If a blister does break open, place a loose bandage over the area and change the dressing if it becomes soiled.
  • Heaven forbid that a bandage becomes stuck to the burned area. If it does, soak the bandage in lukewarm water to help loosen it.
  • See your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about the severity of the burn or if it becomes infected.

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Buy Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Locally

Besides organized farmer’s markets and private fruit/vegetable ‘roadside’ stands, grocery stores have started to partner with local producers to also provide fresh, locally grown produce in their isles. The Virginia Cooperative Extension service offers these five reasons why one should buy local. These apply to where ever you live, not just to Virginia.

  • Tastier & Longer Lasting Food – Neighboring farmers can pack and sell their fruits and vegetables when they are most fresh. Avoid purchasing imported foods that loose nutrients and see their best days in warehouses or in the thousands of miles of travel.
  • Invest in Local Families & Communities – When you shop local, you help someone in your community feed their family and keep their business alive. Gain a better understanding of how your food was grown by forming trustworthy relationships with local farmers.
  • Strengthen Your Local Economy – The dollars you spend on local food are more likely to stay in your community. These food dollars help local businesses keep and create more jobs.
  • Leave a Lighter Carbon Footprint – Local farms help preserve farmland and environmental resources near you. The greater the distance between a farm and your place, the more non-renewable resources are needed to process, pack, transport and store food.
  • Buy Local to Invest in the Future –  Support local farmers today so that there will be farms and local food businesses in your community tomorrow!

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Basic Vehicle Emergency Kit

According to AAA, 4 out of 10 American drivers would be unprepared if a breakdown should occur. They also state that two-thirds of drivers have never had their battery tested, 1 in 5 do not know how to change a tire and 4 in 10 do not carry an emergency kit. With the heat we’re having this summer and families getting ready to take their annual summer vacation, here are a few things to consider.

Remember that more batteries fail due to extreme heat than to cold. If you haven’t had your battery tested lately or if it has some age to it, now is the time to have your battery checked by a professional. Tires are the same. If you haven’t noticed, you see more pieces of tire rubber laying alongside, if not on, the road during the summer than the winter. I’ve never seen anyone throw pieces of tire out their car window like they do cigarette butts or garbage. Have your tires checked. To avoid the engine overheating, have the engine coolant checked when you have the battery tested and tires checked.

If you do not have a basic emergency kit in your vehicle, here is what it should include as a minimum:

Mobile phone and charger
Warning devices such as flares/reflective triangles
First-aid kit
Jumper cables
Raincoat/poncho
Tarp/trash bag
Gloves
Basic toolkit
Pencil and paper
Duct tape and plastic wire/cable ties
Rags/towels/pre-moistened wipes
Windshield washer solution
Nonperishable food/treats
Drinking water
Toilet paper/napkins

I’m sure there are other items as well. If you can think of other needed items, add them to your kit. For your piece of mind and safety if a breakdown/emergency should occur, having the basics on hand is a necessity.

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Antiques, Collectibles and Black Light

Dabbling in cast iron and pottery collecting we quite often frequent antique stores in our travels. We’ve seen people using black lights in examination of various items but gave it little thought until I stumbled on about.com.antiques on the internet. Some of the information presented here comes from them.

Many antique lovers use a long wave black light to date objects and test for authenticity. Some clues to age or telltale signs of repair aren’t easily visible to the naked eye, but will fluoresce under ultraviolet light. While it’s not the end all answer in antique authentication and dating, it is a good place to start.

We mainly collect Griswold cast iron and Watt pottery and have seen some reproduction pieces trying to be passed off at authentic pieces. We haven’t used a black light yet but I’m looking to unpack the box where I do have 2 from my Haz Mat instruction days. The reproductions we have seen look authentic at first sight but upon close examination you know they are not real.

Vintage banks, mechanical toys and door stops from the early 1900’s were made from cast iron. If they contain the original paint, they are quite valuable to collectors. It’s generally this high dollar type of antique that is being reproduced. One has to  be careful when purchasing these items.

Most modern paints will fluoresce whereas the older, original paints do not. Not noticing painted repairs and reproductions of cast iron pieces could prove costly. Besides the paint not glowing, also check for signs of age and wear to make sure the represented age is authentic. If extremely valuable, have the piece evaluated by an expert besides your personal evaluation.

Black light use is valuable in:

Dating textiles
Testing ephemera
Detecting porcelain repairs
Dating glass and testing for reproduction
Authenticating works of art
Detecting repairs of cast iron

These are probably but a few uses for a black light in testing antiques and collectibles.

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