It’s only December 3rd and I’m already feeling behind on my holiday decorating and shopping. Plus, at the rate I am going, the winner of my last Mystery Photo Contest may never get her prize. I’ve been working on a set of note cards for the winner and even though I’ve already made twelve cards, something inside me keeps saying the set is not yet complete. I keep adding little flourishes to “finished” cards or I come across another photo that I think would make a pretty card or I decide to experiment with different materials. One of the cards in the set was created from an old map and an outdated calendar. No wonder I’m so far behind on everything – I keep finding ways to reuse things!
#1 – Reuse It!
I like to think that I am pretty creative when it comes to reusing things. Remember the busted plastic hamper that I wrote about wanting to use as a tomato cage? Well, here’s an idea for reusing those foam packing sleeves that are put on fruit for protection. To protect my fragile Christmas ornaments from damage or breakage, I slip one of the solid or lattice-type foam fruit sleeves on them. These especially work well on round glass ornaments.
#2 – Got a Bit of Yarn?
If you think it is cold outside, think about how cold it is for an impoverished child who has AIDS. I came across a site called Knit a Square. The founders of Knit a Square collect donated knitted or crocheted squares from around the world and make blankets, vests, hats and pullovers for abandoned children, AIDS orphans, and for child-headed families in South Africa. The project began as a family project, but has become a registered charity whose goal this year is to collect “105,000 squares (3000 blankets) and and additional 5,000 knitted and crocheted garments.”
Got a bit of yarn? Knit or crochet a square to help keep a child warm.
#3 – Exercise to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
According to an article in Brainangle, one must exercise both his brain and body to help prevent Alzheimer’s:
Mental exercise is one way to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Another means of prevention is to remain physically fit throughout life. All of the organs in the body benefit from being physically fit, including the brain. One Harvard study of more than 18,000 participants found that people who got the most exercise showed less mental decline than those with sedentary lifestyles.
Physical exercise increases blood flow to the brain and keeps it working efficiently by stimulating the production of neurotrophins. This is especially true for the hippocampus which is the first area of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This increased blood flow and neuronal efficiency can reduce the natural shrinkage that occurs in the brain as it ages. An average person will lose between 15% and 25% of brain cells by the age of 90. Those people who get the most exercise will be at the bottom of that scale, while those people who never exercise will be at the top of that scale.
#4 – I-5 Know How
Last week when my daughter was driving back to college with a friend, fog was anticipated on the interstate. Although I’ve previously posted Tips for Driving in the Fog on this blog, I found additional information that I shared with her and her friend. Gary Richards, a San Jose Mercury News columnist, offered these safety tips for driving in the fog and the rain in his column “Roadshow”:
No. 1: Sl-o-o-o-o-o-w down.
No. 2: In thick fog, drive with lights on low beam, reduce speed and crack open your window and listen for traffic you cannot see. Never drive with just your parking or fog lights on.
No. 3: If you are on Interstate 5, look for reflective dots on the right shoulder when approaching an exit. Three side-by-side dots will appear three-tenths of a mile from an exit. At two-tenths of a mile, two dots will appear and at one-tenth of a mile one dot will appear.
No. 4: Watch electronic warning signs. When visibility is less than 100 feet, Caltrans will flash “Dense Fog Ahead” messages.
No. 5: When visibility is less than 500 feet, Highway Patrol cars will turn on their flashing lights and lead traffic at a safe pace through major roads between Kern and San Joaquin counties.
No. 6: If an accident occurs or your vehicle stalls, pull as far off the road as possible, turn on flashing emergency lights, set out flares, and move to a safe area, preferably behind a guardrail. If there is no safe place next to the road, stay in your car and remain buckled up.
No. 7: S-l-o-o-w down. Driving too fast is the No. 1 cause of accidents on wet days.
No. 8: Know how to defrost your car. Before turning on the defroster and blower, move the heat control to “hot” and allow the engine to warm up first. If the windshield starts to fog on the inside, open a side window slightly and turn the defroster to a higher speed. If you have an air conditioner, use it to reduce humidity and moisture collecting on the window.
No. 9: If your car has anti-lock brakes and goes into a skid, you may feel a vibration when pressing the brake pedal. Don’t panic. Hold the brake pedal down firmly. Sensors in anti-lock brakes are adjusting to the wet road, which is why the pedal vibrates. Nothing is wrong, as long as you hold the brake down. Don’t pump or lift your foot off the pedal.
No. 10: Drive in the tire prints of the car ahead of you. When a car hydroplanes, it’s riding on a thin layer of water between the tires and the road. The water in tire prints has already been displaced, so you get better traction.
No. 11: If your car hydroplanes, hold the steering wheel steady and lightly apply brakes. When you feel the tires touch the pavement, slow until regaining control.
#5 – Light and Darkness
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
Enjoy your first weekend in December!