Archive for the ‘Survival’ Category


“Hello, Super Market Management?  I am in your store and I am in the far end.  You know, near the chips?  I am a handicapped elderly woman (in a therapy boot) gratefully using one of your electric carts but the cart battery went dead.  Can you help me?

I cannot walk all the way back for another cart.  I need a new cart with active batteries and someone to help transfer all the groceries.  Yes, I am by the chips.  Thank you so much.  I love it that you offer this service.  It’s a very kind public gesture, but for some reason the cart batteries always go dead.

The electric carts at my grocery/big box store constantly run out of battery power.

And this usually occurs on the far side!

Getting stuck in the middle (or far end) of a gigantic store leaves a person (this person with the BigFoot) in a precariously helpless, embarrassing position, stranded in limbo with peripheral problems like being emotionally distraught.


  • The basket on this electric cart is full.
  • It will lurch forward while emitting a weak sickly beep.
  • It will never make it back to square one for a new cart.
  • That means I must WALK (Limp) back across the store (for what seems like a mile) to get another cart.
  • You may witness my staggering arrival at the cart area where there may or may not be a new cart available.
  • If I am lucky and find a cart it may have a dying battery, and there is no way to tell if it will make it back to Cart #1.
  • Hurrah!  It arrives at Cart #1 for a transfer of goods to Cart #2.
  • Finally… leave Cart #1 stranded and,
  • With aching foot and increased blood pressure, move on to finish shopping.


  • Embarrassment
  • Pain
  • Anger 
  • Frustration
  • Fear of getting stuck again.

The latter fear has taken such a hold that I can only shop on one side of the store at a time, i.e., bar soap is on the wrong side (the other side) of the store.

Soap therefore, must go on a different day’s shopping list entitled “Right Side” or “Left Side”.

I also finally devised a Diabolical Plan (feel free to try this yourself if you are either elderly, infirm, or both):

  1. Program the name of the store and it’s local phone number into your cell phone.
  2. Choose an electric cart without too much concern for dying batteries.
  3. Begin shopping and don’t worry about filling your basket. Fill it to the brim or higher! Remember, the point of this plan is to send a message to store management.
  4. Be alert and wait to get stuck ANYWHERE in the #$%2x##* blankety blank place (preferably far far from the stable of carts).
  5. Are you stuck yet? Well, if you are, then sweetly call the store from your cell phone.  Please, reserve the urge to rant!  
  6. Helplessly plead you are handicapped and need to be saved by a store employee who will have to fetch another cart.

Will pity prompt positive action?

I haven’t tried the Diabolical Plan yet.

Stay tuned.



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My BigFoot “Expert Doctor” is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s about an hour and a half drive over the legendary Afton Mountain.

And even on a clear day you can be confronted with fog.

There are lights embedded in the roadway but it still feels treacherous.

And it may not actually be fog, but the signs say so.  Last time we went “over the hill” we could see a low lying cloud enshrouding the roadway, and then drove right into it.

What a thrill it is to creep along and wonder how bad it could get and would we careen over the edge?

Can you tell I am a worrier?

We have survived the winter with several visits over Afton Mountain and actually this was the first time to experience fog.

From Virginia Living:  “The drop-dead gorgeous scenery disappears when clouds blanket the mountain. Fog and ice make for a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) has addressed safety by installing expensive airport runway lights along the 64 roadway to guide motorists…”

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It’s done!  It’s done!

And it’s the day AFTER my tooth extraction.

My new dentist is probably the best in the entire country.  He is on my Super Star list even though he does his work from an exercise ball.


  1.  There were no needles to accomplish numbness.
  2.  He was strong and reassuring and explained every step of the way.
  3.  It only took 30 minutes.
  4.  AND THERE WAS NO PAIN!!!!!!   Not during the procedure and not after and not today (the day after).

What more could anyone ask?

  • Well, you might want to have a reassuring dental assistant too.  Ruth Ann is another star in that office and is very sweet and reassuring.
  • And you might want to know if the office is efficient and knows you or remembers you.  Well, I told them once that I had an adverse reaction to epinephrine and they had that on record and didn’t use it!

The whole happy event yesterday reminds me of a (true) story.

Once upon a time I was a substitute teacher for a third grade classroom (for one day).

I had no control and the children literally went wild.  They were so loud they couldn’t hear me begging them to simmer down.

And one red headed little boy locked himself in the bathroom.  I had to call another teacher in for help.

What does this have to do with dentists you ask?  Well, I had an appointment after class.  And I was never so happy to get into a dentist chair!

I know.  My long ago story doesn’t really seem to fit this current extraction episode.  But, actually, it does because it was my first happy dentist-experience and yesterday was my second.


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I am having a tooth pulled tomorrow.  It was deemed a “gonner” 10 years ago but will finally really be gone.

My old dentist retired and the new one says it’s time.

But I hear the new guy sits on an exercise ball to work so I am kinda dreading the whole event.  What if the exercise ball bounces or something?

You may assume Dor is a big baby about dental work.  But that is simply not true.

I am actually very brave even though having had horrifying experiences since childhood.

  • Mom was afraid of dentists so she never took me.  When she finally did (probably  because I was in pain) I was 14 years old and had 14 cavities that had to be drilled and filled, all done with no Novocaine!   “Raise your hand if it really hurts,” said that dentist.  And I went to him for weeks and weeks and weeks.
  • Then there were the Wisdoms (with roots wrapped around the jaw bone).  That dentist had what looked like a chisel and hammer and called in one of the patients from the waiting room to help!  True story.  Of course this was in the olden days when you still had to spit in a tray.
  • The last bout created an adverse reaction to Epinephrine (supposed to be a life saving thing they give people who are allergic to bee stings).  In my case they gave it as an adjunct to a numbing agent.  The reaction?  I thought I was having a heart attack.

Right now I am only thinking about tomorrow and already having an adverse reaction with no Epinephrine – just thinking about it.   

Another dentist once told me that older people feel less pain.

I’ll let you know if I live through tomorrow.

Note:  Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. It plays a critical role in the “fight or flight” response. Epinephrine is given in many situations of acute cardiac arrest and is also given in the treatment of acute allergic reactions.  Epinephrine is used by dentists because it acts to constrict the blood vessels. By doing so, the local anesthetic remains in the area longer, because there is less blood flow to take the local anesthetic away. Simply stated, the epinephrine helps you feel and stay number longer.  And epinephrine is a key factor in keeping patients adequately numb for procedures.  However, if you have ever had an adverse reaction you should tell your doctor if your first injection caused serious side effects such as increased breathing difficulty, anxiety, or uneven heartbeats.



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If you are weary of hearing about my bear visitors here in rural Virginia, I do understand.  I hope you are able to “grin and bear it.”

But I must recount the latest episode.  This time I was away from home with a friend.

We were out for lunch at a general store (and diner) in Natural Bridge Station, Virginia.  That is only a few miles from the actual Natural Bridge (an awesome sight indeed).

The Natural Bridge  is also now a Virginia State Park.

Anyway, we pulled into the driveway of the little general store and there he was – Bruno’s father! BIGBruno!

He was crossing the parking lot right in front of us.  And he went loping down an embankment to a little stream, and up the other side to cross the road into the woods.

Could I get out of othe car without fear of bodily harm?  No.

I was on the bear’s side!

Could I outrun the bear?  No.

Still having trouble hobbling around on a bad foot, but even if it was normal……. well, you get the picture.

Was I stupid enough to get out of the car (on BigBruno’s side) and slowly make my way to the diner entrance?


And so it was.  Lunch was a breathless affair recounting the story to the hostess.  She said they had been frying bacon all morning.  Well, no wonder BigBruno was enamoured of the place!

And on the wall was this frightening image!

It looked just like him.

I still don’t know if it was a photograph or a painting, but BigBruno loomed out of the canvas as big and wild and beautiful as I could ever conjure up in a dream/nightmare.

Lunch was delicious by the way.  A very informal setting with all natural all fresh salads and sans – everything to a bear’s liking!

Another adventure in Virginia country living.

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Image from http://wildlife.org  –  Virginia Black Bear and Cub

“What is THAT” said Bill, as he stood at the kitchen window.  “WHAT?” I asked.

“THAT black thing under the tree – down there by the tractor shed,” said Bill.

And then it moved (not the tractor shed)!

The black thing looked like it was rolling in the grass.

“Maybe it’s a big dog”, I thought.

And then the black thing got up and shook itself!

“Maybe it’s a calf from across the hill from us,” I surmised.

“No,” said Bill.  It’s a BEAR CUB.”  And that indeed is what THAT was.

It looked like a big dog.  But then it loped off into the woods.

If we had any doubts before, there was no doubt as it did the loping.  It was a healthy looking robust bear cub hurrying to catch up with Mom!

But where was Mom anyway?

Our home is close by to a virtual forest primeval.

We think of it as our private Paradise incorporating a wildlife refuge filled with deer, fox, bobcats, squirrels, racoons, ground hogs, possums, all avian varieties including a resident hawk, and of course, bears.

We have seen the Virginia Black Bear more in the last two years than in the whole 27 previous years living here.

And no, we do not leave leftovers in any outside garbage.  Warning to those of you who are not bear-familiar, “Do not feed!”  Either purposely or innocently!

Once our neighbors left fish in an outdoor garbage bin.  The bear knocked it over, had a feast, and then wanted more.  He tried banging on their house to get in and our friends had to hole up in a locked interior bathroom overnight.  So no, we do not leave garbage around.

You can be sure I will not be taking long solitary walks either because where there is a cub, there is usually a mother bear who may be the over protective variety.

I am looking for a siren app on my cell phone though.

Do you think that would help?

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My favorite stories are about survival.

Like tales about the plague or hurricanes are just wonderful.

Surely there must be germs of experience in such doomsday revelations to help one through life’s most pressing challenges.

But the latest survival information I discovered is even more direct.  A rather obscure article I read recently gave explicit instructions on imaging to deal with life problems.  Evidently you can think your way into surviving anything by simply writing a thought, shredding it, and then discarding what you wrote!

Doesn’t that make some logical sense?

Presumably, the image of trashing a problem like the plague (after you reduce it to little paper bits) will make the whole thing go away.  I’m sure they never thought of imaging in the days of death-by-plague, but we have definitely come a long way since then haven’t we?

Anyway, as instructed, I now spend 15 to 30 minutes a day writing down every thought and then shredding and discarding each thought, one by one.

The waste basket is full of bits of  note paper .

And in the last few days noticeable patterns emerged.


  1. Reminders.

    “Buy milk.”

    “Get graduation cards for J and K.”

    “Call Kit.”

    (Do you see any correlation to eradicating a serious problem in such thoughts? Well I wrote them down anyway and did the dastardly shredding.)

  2. Questions.

    “When will my friend be moving back to this area?”

    “Should I order pot holders online?”

    (So far there have been no subliminal answers. Maybe I am thinking of this exercise like it’s a Ouiga Board.)

  3. Wishes.

    “I wish I had a dog.”

    “Wish I didn’t have to cook dinner tonight.”

    “I wish I was thin.”

    (Now wouldn’t that be something if I could tear up the last wish and begin to lose weight?  I did notice I skipped the after-lunch cookie today!)


  • This exercise is fun.
  • I don’t think it has any intrinsic value but will let you know if I ever feel problem free.
  • Maybe the exercise can be tailored to address specific problems.  Like one day you shred only those thoughts that are about wishes.
  • Or maybe it is like writing a letter to Santa, who will read the list and come forth with all the goodies
  • I don’t see any signs that my expected longevity is extended.
  • So much for shredding problems.
  • And so much for survival.

And my last thought was/is in the Reminder category, “Don’t forget to buy a whole bunch of scratch pads because you are running out of shredding-paper.”

Now maybe THAT is a solveable problem except I shredded the reminder and will probably forget what I was trying to remember.



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