Political and Social confusion in the U.S.

Politics are such a hot topic item, and people do not want to have the conversations, but instead rather argue with no sense on reason. The U.S. is in such a downward spiral and the division being placed with in its citizens appear to be done on purpose. The division between races, which the average citizen could care less about, or the division between left and right. People forget we are all American first and foremost, and that most of us live in the center politically, with different opinions on hot button topics.

Right now, guns and abortion are some of the biggest dividers for politics. These are some opinions on abortion from a level headed and willing to talk about the topics person. I will not push my personal opinions, but a logical conversation on the topic ahead. The Supreme Court reversed Roe V. Wade because it is not explicitly covered by the constitution. I can understand it. I don’t have to agree on a personal level, but I can understand it. Abortion laws were then placed on the state level to prevent government over-reach. Preventing government overreach I am ok with.

A large problem came from when it was passed to the state level. Some states banned it, which is a states right, but then some states made it illegal to go to another state to have an abortion. Once you cross state lines, you are out of the states jurisdiction, and then it would become federal territory. State laws cannot extend beyond the reaches of the state. This is my understanding, and I may be wrong.

Another issue on the topic is that, prior to Roe V. Wade, abortions still happened, but were in dangerous dirty back offices and vans with rudimentary tools and unsanitary conditions, along with sometimes questionable medical qualifications. They still happened. Some state offer safe places to shoot up heroine with clean needles and no consequence for using illegal drugs. Why? Because the thought is that a safe and clean place to do your drugs is safer than doing them in some dirty alley with shared needles. Wierd? Even if illegal, we would rather them be done in a safe and clean environment, but for illegal drugs? Food for thought.

Another issue I find is one where I cannot provide a fool proof solution. When I had my vasectomy, my doctor would not schedule it until he talked with my wife. If I was unwed, he would need to talk to my girlfriend, and if I was single, to talk to my mother. This was to ensure that I wasn’t making a bad decision or taking the opportunity away from, say, my wife or girlfriend to have kids without their knowledge. The mother part was kind of wierd, but it was probably meant to open up conversation and make sure it is really what I want. The problem is that, theoretically, my wife could go and have an abortion without my knowledge and kill what could have been our child. Perhaps she was raped or cheated, and didn’t want that conversation, or maybe she would make a decision that effected us both, who knows? But that could happen.

That being said, the idea of specific qualifications for abortion are also kind of strange. You are only permitted if you were raped, a victim of incest or it risks the life of the mother. I am not the judge, jury and executioner, and I do not need to justify what another person’s decision is. I don’t know your situation nor can I really judge what your decision is based on. I think there needs to be a time limit on abortions outside of certain restrictions. Right now, the gestationally youngest child to ever live was born at 21 weeks and 5 days. That is a hard number that a child was able to survive with medical intervention. When does a clump of cells become a life is a very hard question, but I submit this number as the start of a serious talking point.

Abortion should not be just as easy as using a condom. Day after pills shouldn’t be bought like aspirin and tylenol. The reason I say this is because, while accidents happen, these do not prevent the spread of disease, and that is something it seem society has forgotten about. Day after pills, in my opinion, should be accessible. My wife and I had an incident once when had to use one. It was after my daughter was born, and she was breast feeding and, do to other issues as well, could not be on birth control at the time. We had a condom break. We took swift action utilizing the day after pill. This was a one time thing, and with a married couple. Things happen, and accessibility should be available as this really prevents the fertilization process, and cannot really be considered killing a life. This argument I never understood. This is before the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Moving onto my last talking point, at the end of the day, this one controversial topic is going to destroy republicans in the upcoming elections. Political figures are supposed to follow what the American people want, as we vote for them and pay them by our increasingly ridiculous tax rates. It is no joke that the U.S. political show appears to be a comedy by the rest of the world. The U.S. is a laughing stock, and losing its global renown faster than the dollar is losing its global currency status and faster than our inflation is raising…. I mean lowering, if you follow the “news.” One solution would be to go to the old system, where one wins and the second place becomes VP. Force the parties to work together. Could you imagine a Trump/Biden white house? Yeah, me neither. Nothing would get done.

The fact is that, whether Americans are for or against abortions, it needs to be a conversation, not a line in the sand. The people who voted these politicians into position didn’t have such a major decision to think about at the time they were elected, and don’t know those voted in places views on them. Instead of whipping ban orders, perhaps hold a question on the next ballots, and allow the people to vote what they want. If 65% of people support to ban, at least the people had a say. By appeasing your voter base, even if you disagree, and follow the people, you would truly be a successful politician.

On a personal note, I have mixed feeling about the topic of abortion. I think that you should have made that decision before you are halfway through your pregnancy, but then there are people who never knew they were pregnant. I think there are legitimate reasons and BS reasons, but if it is not my child, why should I have a say? If we provide safe places from illegal drug use, why not at least offer that protection for women who are having an abortion? It is a sensitive topic, and a hard conversation for some to have more logically and less emotionally.

When my wife got pregnant, we were only dating, and her mother asked her if she was getting rid of it. I told my wife if she did that, we were done as there was no redemption between us. We kept the child, got married, and have been going strong for many years. That child is now 12 and on a field trip with friend who may have never known this kid had my wife made a decision all those years ago that could have changed our personal history. That being said, we both partook in the events that led to that child, and we took the responsibility of our decision. We were both sober and of sound mind, and that was our decision.

How can expect you to make a decision based on what I do? I have made good and bad decisions as we all have, and those make us who we are today. The simple fact is that our politicians need to be compassionate and understanding of the people’s needs. Abortion is a complicated and challenging conversation to have, but it needs to be had. Don’t let tempers rage, but instead communicate. The people I deal with every day can have these deep conversations, surely you can too. Stay safe and stay prepared.

Throughout the months…

Moving forward through the months, my personal journey and growth has been going well. While weight loss hasn’t been extreme, that is not what I wanted. What has happened is a lifestyle change. I may have mentioned this prior, but first things first, diet. Not just I, but we, my family, have changed our eating habits. My wife and I have not had pasta since before the new year. We have, however, enjoyed spaghetti squash. Spaghetti Squash has 1/5 the calories of spaghetti and between 1/3 and 1/7 the carbs of spaghetti. This number seems to be all over the place, but either way, less than spaghetti. Another simple change comes to pizza. I make my food homemade, and that includes pizza dough.

I found a recipe that exchanges pizza dough for a chicken based crust, and it is delicious and filling. It uses 1 can of canned chicken, squeezed as dry as you can, like 1/4-1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, and egg and whatever seasonings you want. Put parchment paper on the pizza pan, roll it out, cook at 350 for like 20 minutes, turn it over, repeat, then add sauce, cheese and toppings. Cook like any other pizza at this point. Delicious and low carbs. We have been doing a lot like this, which changes lifestyle, not crash dieting.

The other side of the coin is exercise. Almost every morning, I have been hitting the trail, continuously, outside of terrible downpours or, more common, kids home from school sick. Outside of that, being outside, exercising and fresh air is quite enjoyable. Another aspect of exercise that is nice is going to the gym after work every night. There is a gym at my workplace, and I have, for the last few weeks, been going every night I work. This is not only enjoyable, but important for long term goals. I am still working on my goals, and maintaining the long term goal of being in better shape, lower weight, stronger, lower bad cholesterol, still keeping my good blood pressure, and just overall improve myself.

These are some simple things, but while relatively small changes, huge in the grand scheme of things. While yeah, an hour of walking the trails in the morning and 1/2 hour to 45 minutes in the gym at night doesn’t seem like much, that is an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes not sitting on my ass. This is doing something. Not only doing something, but doing something positive for yourself. You have to remember that while prepping items is very important, prepping yourself is far more important. What can you do if you are unable to support anything? This is something that really needs to play a role in your preps, especially in the direction our world is heading. Stay safe and stay prepared!

1 week later, thus far.

I have been working on me so far the last week. I have maintained my trail hiking/walking/jogging the little 2.7 miles. I have been lazy for years, so I am not running a marathon next week. That being said, I am walking a the first 3/4 mile, then jogging 1/4 mile, walking to the trail end, and back to the same 1/4 mile jogging section, then walking the rest. The reason for this is this is a wooded area, and a little more private. I am working on building stamina.

Another subject I am working on is, on certain points on the trail, doing lunges. I am working on building knee strength and stability. Knees are a poor point in my family as my dad has had knee surgery and I have a couple uncles who have had to get knee replacements. I know this is a weak point, and I need to protect that.

When it comes to diet, I have been doing pretty good. That being said, my work schedule is on a rotating days off and I just passed my 2 weekends off. I ate a little less healthily, but never the less, still pretty decent. We introduced Spaghetti squash into the mix, and everyone likes it, including the kids! That is a personal win. We tried stuffed acorn squash last night, and while not bad, we will not be getting that again. Today I am making butternut squash soup, and we will see how we like that. These are things that we are eating while home as a family. On work days, I am still maintaining my oatmeal for breakfast and chicken/veggie for lunch/dinner.

I am not focused on what a scale says, but my overall well being. I feel great after doing my trail work in the mornings, and will be adding weight training into the mix starting Tuesday. I can tell you that I am sleeping far better at nights now. I am ready for bed shortly after I get home, and I sleep soundly. On the weekends, we, as a family, go on the trail, which is nice and get away from electronics.

I do find a rather solemn peace while exercising. Something about being disconnected from everything and anything and just being me. The stretching and the lunges bring an awareness to how, well, how weak I have become while the running invigorates me. When I was a marine, I would run 10 miles in the morning. I have long since been removed from that lifestyle, but still recall parts that I pull into my morning routine. On weekdays I run before I eat breakfast. I enjoy it.

Perhaps moving forward I will put more thorough thought into what I am doing and writing and make it more exciting, but for now it lends itself to personal growth. I have also pulled myself away from some other vices, and have been allowing myself to live in the moment. As a prepper, that can be very hard, but I never really lived in that part of life where you just worry. I just prepared so I didn’t have to worry. I now need to rebuild myself from the ground up, and so far, I have been satisfied with my personal progress for this week. I know it is a long and bumpy road, and mistakes have and will be made, but never let yourself down. Move forward and complete the tasks. Stay safe and stay prepared.

New Year, New Beginning!

So I started this new year eager and ready to go. I am very happy with almost every part of my prepping and personal life balance. The problem is with our number 1 prep, our bodies. I had plans to move forward in the past, and I allowed things to get in the way. There is no need for excuses here, as this is just me. I allowed myself to let these excuses get in my way.

When I decided to quit smoking, then completely cut out tobacco and nicotine, I had to be ready mentally. There were times I said I wanted to quit, but I wasn’t truly ready. I thought I was, but then I allowed myself to fail, giving myself some kind of bull shit excuses. I knew I was ready when I finally quit because, well, I am a few years out from the last time I used any tobacco or nicotine. That spot is where I am now with personal fitness.

I talked a few years ago about Project Valhalla. Valhalla, from my very basic understanding, is where warriors went when they died to keep training until Odin needed this army to fight in ragnarok. For my personal use here, I call it Project Valhalla because I was physically more a warrior in my marine corps days, and that warrior has died as I got fat and lazy. Let’s face it, so many of us do.

I know how many people talk about New Year’s resolutions being a joke or fad, but I think that the reason people wait until the new year is because the food of the holidays is always delicious and we are all with family. Starting the new year, there aren’t any real meal heavy holidays until what, Easter? That gives you a good block of time to set new habits. I am ready, and this is the start of my New Year New Me story.

I started 2023 at a whopping 267 lbs. This is disgusting. The timing is nice for this because, at work, they are doing a biggest loser competition, so with me being ready to make the changes, it is an added bonus. Last time work did one of these, the winner won $600. Added incentive one might say.

Anyways, the start of this is to get my diet on track. I am doing something I have done before and was very effective. This revolves around 1 serving of oatmeal for breakfast and chicken and broccoli for dinner. I am currently on day 3 of new me. Here is how it has gone thus far.

1/3/23- Breakfast was oatmeal, dinner was Chicken and peas.

1/4/23- Breakfast was oatmeal, lunch was a chicken thigh, and dinner was a chicken leg. This was interesting. Last time I did this meal plan, I lost 39#’s in 6 weeks, but it took a week or so where I was still feeling hungry. This time, on day 2, I had to almost force the chicken leg down. I just was not hungry, like at all. I did mess up today without thinking. I had coffee in which I normally use sugar and milk/creamer in. I used no sugar, but I did use creamer which has sugar in it. I write this as an honest push here, with integrity, and because messing up isn’t the end of the world, but being able to push through the mess up and keep going is important.

1/5/23- Today will be the same, but with 1 added bonus. I am starting relatively slow, and adding as I move on. Before breakfast, I walked a 2.7 mile trail. I will have my bowl of oatmeal and bring my chicken leg and broccoli to work.

I will not be posting every day, per se, but I will be updating every few days as this borderline journal of my personal growth and development will be important for me to keep track of the ups and downs and keep me honest with myself. I have no problems writing about my missteps, but to me, writing them makes them stick a little more.

During this time of personal growth, which, for now, is a short term goal of a 1 month and a 3 month plan, I am also working on making some changes in me as well. There are some negatives that I have let become the normal that need to change. I am also going to start learning some new and interesting things that will develop skills useful to a prepper and a prepping community. As we keep moving forward, the world may leave us behind, so working towards goals is invaluable.

With that, I am going to say farewell and stay safe and stay prepared.

Keeping warm in the winter… an update into localizing you warming.

As we head into winter, often times it comes with a feeling of dread. We know the gas or electric bill is going to go up, often by quite a bit. We often times take it as a way of life, part of the ups and down. Sometimes we get on their payment plan to pay the same amount all year. This is what I do. It got a whole lot more expensive this year.

I have done some things to help mitigate these additional costs. I put in a wood stove along with a chimney. I bought some firewood. I bought some thermal curtains to segregate my basement area for food storage. We have done a lot of stuff to assist with heating. Lowering the heating temperature and wearing warmer clothes. This is still not enough. What if gas shortages get worse?

I ended up getting a chainsaw. Specifically, a refurbished Husqvarna 435 from ebay for $179. Also got a manual log splitter. The kind that is a 12 ton bottle jack shoving the wood into a wedge.

Now, all the benefits of having the basic equipment is that there is less to go wrong. A Chainsaw is going to have issues eventually post-shtf. The log splitter may, but easy enough to fix. Also, keep oil in it, and it should work. No fuel, kids can use it. Instant win! The other benefit is that I have a guy at work that wants land cleared, and wanted someone to cut those trees down. Another coworker and I are clearing the wood and getting free firewood. That and with the amount of woods around me, and the amount of fallen trees, I should be able to get wood if need be.

Personal prep before the fall

This is going to be short, but we have a lot going on with our nation and the globe. We are in scary times and there are many forces at work potentially on the verge of a global war. Even moving forward, we are hearing threats coming ahead for September 24th. What is it? No one knows, but the potential for a boil over is there. What happens next? No one knows.

While I have been prepping, we have been moving forward with our lives. One thing I cannot see past is the importance of vision. When I was overseas, vision was very important. Whether is was using corrective glasses or night vision, your vision gave you an advantage. Moving forward, what if glasses weren’t as accessible, or available at all?

Today I am having corrective eye surgery, Lasik. This is one of my biggest preps, and the most life altering, potentially. The fact that I am able to have this done before the threat of what may come is amazing. Even if nothing happens now, I can still be ecstatic that I can see without the use of corrective lenses or contacts. I will add more further down the road on recovery. Wish me luck, stay safe and stay prepared.

Dealing with stress in the apocalypse and the every day.

I was talking to a friend the other day who was so stressed they felt like collapsing in tears. This is a prepper friend, and someone who pays attention to the news and global events. I am far from a medical expert, and mental health is outside of my realm of expertise, but for regular people stressing over regular things, I have some tips.

When I was deployed in Iraq, we were in fire fights damn near every day. This is a high stress environment, but I noticed then that there were 2 different types of people. These are people who hold onto things and those who let go. I personally am a let it go type person. I don’t tend to hold grudges and tend to roll with the punches. A marine buddy of mine never saw a firefight and was stressed for years after his deployment. He is a hold onto it type.

The difference is that we as preppers have prepped to soften any blow we may receive. That is a large part of the reason we prep. I don’t want to be stressed on a personal level when we have natural stressors on a national or global scale. Take a breath and slow down. At what point has stressing been of benefit to you? Even though it may seem like everything is crashing down, this is what we prep for, and in the end, whatever situation comes our way we can come through out the other side better and stronger for it. The same reason you prep, and the people you prep for are your strength.

As Days Go By…

Over the last couple of years many remakes of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” could have, and have been made. There is so much negativity in our world everyday that it is easy to lose yourself in the media and global events, let alone local and personal events. Everyday there are new headlines like “Monkeypox is the next Pandemic,” “Pelosi goes to Taiwan, China start live ammo drills,” “Covid-BA1.6.15 is coming,” and “Biden printing more money stating this time is different and won’t cause inflation…”

Life happens, and the world progresses. Realistically we must remember that problems are temporary, and almost always human problems. That is why we must prep. Unfortunately when people are involved, so are feeling, every single time. We, as a species, are unable to realistically divide ourselves from our emotions to use rational thinking about something you feel very strongly about. That and it seems like every other world leader just wants to keep poking once they find out what pisses you off.

This is when we have to remember what is really important, ourselves and our families, and those for whom we prep. Prepping also doesn’t just specify stacking food, water and shelter, but means so much more. As we see every day, we are inches away from global conflict, Axis and Allies of the 21st century have been forged, energy seems to be a commodity that will get very expensive, and both sides don’t want to budge but the other wants each to move.

This means the potential of certain things to become very sparse. This can, and probably will, include medical care. Making sure you are taking care of medical issues as they arise is very important. We have had a lot go on this year, but that is not my place to talk about. What I have coming up, however, is all with in my place to speak of. I wear glasses/contacts. SHTF would be very bad if you couldn’t see a threat coming. I am having corrective eye surgery to eliminate that possibility. I am aware this is elective, but we have also been taking care of other medical things that are not elective.

The biggest thing we have to do is look forward and plan accordingly. We can stress over every article put in the news, but remember to live your life. Prep like your life depends on it, but don’t get buried in stress and prepping. My life is good as I have been prepping, and still prep, but I am living my life with my wife and kids. Make sure you stay safe and stay prepared.

A new find for life and prep

I have been looking for a kayak for a while. We have a couple of inflatable kayaks which are great for transportation in an emergency and fun during camping. However I do not feel comfortable fishing out of an inflatable kayak. This is where my search began.

I started looking at new kayaks available in my area, and was considering the Lifetime Tamarack Angler Pro for about $400, but the weight limit is kind of low at 275 pounds. I then set my sights on the Pelican Covert 120 at tractor supply which was on sale for $449 and had a weight limit of 350 pounds. This was my bookmark. I was hoping to get the July 4th military discount at tractor supply already on their sale price. Truth be told, I figure the price would go up prior to the 4th.

I then began searching on different classifieds pages. After about a week, I figure I am not going to find something that meets my requirements close enough to be worth the drive with the price of gas. I stopped checking for a few days then randomly decided to look. I found a 12 foot canoe/kayak hybrid with a 350 pound weight limit for $350. Sold. I know have a hard shell kayak which I have wanted for a few reasons.

I wanted somewhere I could mount a small solar panel on, along with my battery and charge controller. I want to be able to use my radio if need be and utilize my fish finder and trolling motor. Buying used also lets me feel less bad for modifying the kayak. I would suggest looking in the used market if you are looking for anything prep related, but especially watercraft. I just wanted to throw this out there for anyone who may be interested. Stay prepped and stay safe.

Pre-planning my kayak

We currently have 2 inflatable kayaks which are fun and easily transportable which make them great for prepping. That being said, I have always wanted a hard kayak for a few reasons, especially fishing. I don’t feel comfortable fishing in an inflatable kayak. Our kayaks are the Intex Excursion Pro which is very sturdy and do well with myself and 1 child in each.

I am looking at purchasing a hard kayak, and the reason why I am deciding this now is because of a bonus from our work place. If you had worked the entirety of the pandemic, our union is giving us a $1,000 bonus (I think this is just part of our dues returned) and I made a deal with my wife. My intention was a kayak, but I needed a way to get it. I began thinking about how to wheel and deal, and a genius idea came up. “Hey hun, I want to let you know that I am getting a $1,000 bonus from work, and I think it would be fun to split it 50/50 and you can spend it however you wish and I do the same.” She agreed surprisingly easily. I am looking for brand new ones in case I cannot find a used one in my price range, but should be able to get a better kayak for the price if used. If not, I think I am looking at the Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100, at least for now, as my go to.

I have been looking into the basic upgrades for what I want. I did buy an old fish finder, a hummingbird LCR4000. Should be in this week. I am not looking at spending a lot of money in upgrades, but I will be adding a few. First will be a solar panel on the front. This will help charge the battery for the fish finder and the radio that will be mounted. Yes, it will be a cheap radio, but for emergency comms should you need them. I am also interested in using a magnet for magnet fishing as an anchor. Maybe grab a few interesting finds this summer while fishing.

I will post more coming up as things develop. I am trying to separate global politics from my evolution as a prepper. While neither is mutually exclusive, and both are really tied deeply together, this site was developed as a prepping site, and while I have my opinions, outside of facts, I am trying to separate the two trains of thought. Stay safe and stay prepared.