Friday, October 30, 2009

Kids and Critters

at Halloween

We always love to see the kids dressed in their costumes on Halloween. Gone is the day when every kid makes his/her costume from modified clothing found around the house. Halloween specialty stores pop up in malls and supply kids with light sabers and goulish masks.

For the little ones, there is a plethora of possibilities. I love the octopus pictured above.

Now the little devil below seems as if he is finding joy in locating a place in which to stick his trident!

On Sammy's first Halloween he was dressed as a lion - much like the photo below.

Lions seem to be a favorite of the animal selections..

Ok, there are amazing costumes for your canine pet. I have noticed that costumes for cats seem nonexistant - most probably because (1) a self respecting cat would never be seen as Wendy of the hamburger chain (see below) and (2) there would not be enough duct tape to attach the costume to the cat.

Dinosaurs are usually the rage for kids in the primary grades. How often do we see a stegosaurus doggie?

Here is my favorite of the dog costumes. Cheerleader she may be, but the expression says that she is clueless concerning what is happening to her.

Judy and I are dressing up for this Halloween. Flora will have her birthday party on Saturday and grandpa will be in his full regalia. No, I am not going as a whoopie cushion!

My manly attire will be that of a caveman!

Question for my medical friends. In the world of H1N1 infection, how does one be assured that the candy placed in the trick or treat bag will not transfer the virus. Even though the candy is wrapped, how does prevent the transfer of the virus from the candy wrapper to the kid's hands? Do we unwrap each candy with a pair of tongs, or do we spray hand sanitizer all over the candy collected? Nothing better than alcohol tainted treats! Just a thought.

Have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fighting the Flu: Do Hand Sanitizers Work?

Yep, we are still trying to get the H1N1 vaccine. We are not in those targeted groups who are approved to receive the vaccine. Trying to get pregnant in order to qualify, but think that is not possible for this geratric male! We need to be extremely careful to do what we can to protect us from the virus. I thought yesterday's article about the use of hand sanitizers was interesting.

By Christopher Wanjek

LiveScience's Bad Medicine Columnist
posted: 27 October 2009 09:49 am ET

With the amount of bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer available for public use at hospitals, schools, day-care facilities and malls now outnumbering the billions of viruses and bacteria on even the dirtiest of human hands, you may be wondering if this stuff actually works.

Is it better than hand washing? Does it create mutant strains of alcoholic germs? Might my retirement savings have actually increased had I invested in the makers of Purell last year?

In fact, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are tremendously effective in preventing the spread of the seasonal flu, H1N1, colds and other viral- and bacterial-based diseases; and sales are through the roof.

There are in fact few negative consequences about this hand-sanitizer mania sweeping the country, although the gels do have their limitations.

Most respectable public health experts will tell you that hand washing with ordinary soap and water is the most effective way to remove germs from your hands. But "effective" is a questionable term. The recommendation calls for hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to create a full lather and to reach all crevices of your hands and wrists, as advocated on Sesame Street yet
rarely put into practice.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill most types of bacteria, viruses and fungi in a few seconds. While rubbing your hands with sanitizer for 15 seconds is ideal, poor hand-sanitizer use still beats poor hand washing.

And people seem to use hand sanitizers often — so much so that, from a public health standpoint, although proper hand washing is technically superior than alcohol gels most of the time, hand-sanitizer mania will likely be a more effective means to reduce disease transmission. Studies have shown how hand sanitizers reduce gastrointestinal illnesses in households and curb absentee rates in schools and workplaces.

Alas, you can't rely solely on alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Alcohol can kill bacteria but not necessarily clean your hands. That is, it does not remove dirt, which includes organic material such as blood or feces. Soap and water must be the first choice in restrooms.

Also, there are a few key germs that alcohol doesn't kill well, such as the norovirus or E. coli (shown below), which is why soap and water is best during cooking, too.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are best precisely where you see them the most, in hallways, offices and other public areas. They can rid your hands of germs you just picked up before you inadvertently shove them into your body via your nose, mouth or eyes.

Alcohol kills bacteria usually by dissolving its cellular membrane. It's a serious killer, like fire or bleach, and germs don't develop resistance to it. Also, the alcohol evaporates quickly after killing the first layer or so of germs on your skin. This means that, although benevolent bacteria are killed, enough remain on lower levels or elsewhere up the arm to re-colonize. Fast evaporation, coupled with moisturizers, also means this won't dry out your skin.

Anti-bacterial soap, ironically, is largely considered the worse thing you can use to kill germs. This is because antibacterial agents kill many but not all bacteria and then linger on the skin to enable the remaining bad bacteria to develop a resistance.
Watch out for the cheap stuff!

To be effective, alcohol-based hand sanitizers must contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Some cheaper brands contain less and are no better than water. Worse, they offer false protection.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ya Gotta Love These Critters!

As you know we have always been fascinated by nature's critters. My special interests are in the area of herpitology (reptiles and amphibians) and entomology (insects and their cousins). Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects and spiders.

Here are a few of his photos.

The female jumping spider above and the white faced fly below show how wonderful once can see beauty when the image is up close and personal.

I think damselflies are really glistening jewels specially when the light strikes their exoskeleton. Blue is not the pigment color embedded in their chitin armor, but the light is reflected back to our eyes in the blue wavelength. Bluebirds are not truly blue, but use the same technique when you see the blue hue.

Deb and Bruce stopped by the other day with a sampling of sheep feed that had a population of insects living in the grain. I examined the critters and they were weevils as shown below.

The horsefly is one of my least favorite because of the large painful bite that it can administer to my body! One still has to love the prismatic compound eyes.

An adult male jumping spider looks like an alien from outer space.

To give equal time to the ladies, here is the female jumpimg spider! She is from the same planet as the one above!

I shall leave you all with a close up of the robber fly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ABVD Chemotheraphy Completed!

The Cane!

Yesterday (10/21/09) I received the last in the series of ABVD infusions ( 12 of 12) designed to eradicate my Hodgkin's lymphoma. As you all know the toxic chemicals that have been placed in my veins for the past five months miraculously have created no serious side effects on this arthritic body. I have had some hair thinning, but very minimal. No nausea ever is the good news!

Wow, have I ever been blessed with family and friends support during this period! I have had the best team of professional caregivers, nurses, physician assistants, and doctors imaginable. Dr. Michael Craig is the most amazing onocologist/hemotologist. He has now become such an important member of our family and will continue to track my remission. I will have my first followup PET/CT scan during the last of January, 2010.

It is such a great life and, throughout my sixty three years, I have had continual blessings. Judy and I have had a multitude of experiences that have created new friends and adventures. This day was no different.

We checked into the Mary Baab Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown around 9:30 AM. As we waited for our infusion room, a couple arrived and sat in front of us. We noticed he was carrying this fancy cane. As your probably know, I am a cane and walking stick collector. Judy started the conversion with, "What a neat cane"!

The gentleman said that his hobby is making canes and all are unique. The couple explained their circumstances and why they were here this day. He had been diagnosed with an agressive cancer seven years ago. He has had many battles with the disease and its effects on his body, but managed to survive those conflicts. The cancer has now returned and he was told that the cancer has spread to many vital areas and that the diagnosis is grim (only a couple of months left in this world). He was starting a new round of chemotheraphy this day.

He and his wife were so charming. He is such a robust looking fellow. You could feel the love and caring radiating from this couple.

I explained that this was my last infusion of ABVD. He looked at us and said, "Here, this cane is yours"! After some discussion, we humbly accepted his gift and it is now in a place of honor is our collection. I have attached my last ABVD hospital admission wrist band and our "The Meads Team" lymphoma bracelet to the cane. You guys can now take off the Meads wristbands to celebrate this occasion. It certainly gave me a wonderful uplift to see "The Meads Team" bracelets worn throughout these past months by family and friends.

As I write this blog, I am so full of joy and appreciation for life. What an exciting and wonderful world Miss Judy and I are experiencing! Thanks to our new cane making friends and their gift of love. And many thanks to you all once again for your strength and support!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tis now 28 degrees in Glenville. This ole body does not love the cold temperatures. Where are the warm October Days? There was not enough time this fall to put the flower beds to rest for the season. I had planned to move more rocks into the rock gardens. Oh, well!

This is a busy week for these retired folks. It seems that every week is the same with a plethora of events scheduled.

A reminder to you folks who love the Glenville Farmers Market. It will be open only two more Saturdays, There will be open a Saturay in December to sell Christmas trees and wreaths. The good ole fresh local vegetables and fruits are minimally available at this time. Sad- I will miss those bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes sandwiches - and those fried green tomatoes!

As mentioned in an earlier blog, our friends Deb and Bruce came over and shared their bounty of lima beans. Judy and I had to get lessons on how to extract the beans from the pods. We were slow learners (chuckle)! Deb and Bruce explained their own personal techniques. Before we knew all the beans were prepared for steaming. Judy and I used the Tom Sawyer tecnique! Yes, you remember the story of painting the picket fence?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Story of Create WV Communities

Glenville, Spencer, and

Mountain Made (Davis/Thomas)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Khagendra Thapa Magar

KATMANDU, Nepal - Now that he's all grown up, 18-year-old Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal wants the world to know just how tiny he is.

Magar, who stands 22 inches tall, has been waiting four years for his chance to take the title of the world's shortest person.

On Thursday (10/15/09), a day after his birthday and becoming an adult, supporters mailed an application package to Guinness World Record in London seeking to stake his place in the record book.

Magar's family initially filed a claim when he was just 14 years old but it was rejected since he was not an adult and there was a chance he might grow, said Min Bahadur Ranamagar of the Khagendra Thapa Magar Foundation.

Ranamagar said it was not clear how long the certification process would take. When Magar applied four years ago, Guinness officials said he would need to be examined by a doctor to confirm he had stopped growing.

The current record is held by 21-year-old He Pingping of China, who is 29 inches tall

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I was thinking this morning of the beauty that surrounds us. I have been so lucky to be able to observe many of the earth's unique critters. In photography, one of the rules is to make certain one fills the frame. It is amazing to see details when one places the camera in "close up" mode.
Here are a few photos that are not from my lens, but would be proud to take the credit! Have a great day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mystery on Van Horn

Late last week, Miss Judy asked that I come outside and look at the driveway. She had just returned from getting the morning paper. Once at the end of the driveway, I noticed debris scattered in the gravel. The mail box and newspaper box had also been moved.

As I walked closer to the driveway, I soon realized the debris was flower pots that had been pulverized.

It did not take long to see that a car heading from the far end of the street had entered the yard by the satellite dish. It somehow went between the small white ash tree and the mailbox and paper box, scraping the boxes as it went. The tracks told the story.

The vehicle hit the first flower pot, continued across the driveway, took out the second flower pot on the other side of the drive, bumped through a ditch, and manuvered back onto the road.

We thought that a driver impeded by the evil spirits of alcohol was likely to blame.

Because we are concerned that there are too many speeders disregarding the 25 mile-per-hour zone on our street or, in this case, possibly a drunk driver on the way to more trouble, Judy called Mickey Metz, Gilmer County Sheriff, and he and his deputy, Larry Gerwig, came to see the damage. Larry bent over and picked up a piece of plastic and turned it over to reveal a shiny red color, then said:

"And there is the car that did the damage!" Now is that not fast service from our local county law enforcement folks?

Into the ditch along the road pulled a red van. A young woman got out and said, "I am the one who did the damage. I am sooooo sorry," and continued saying that over and over. She was obviously shaken and emotional while holding tight to a napkin on which she had written her name and an explanation of the accident. She said that she would pay for all damages. Judy and I told her she did not owe us anything after we heard her explanantion.

It seems that she encountered the Meads/Chisler deer crossing where one of the herd had jumped out in front of her on Van Horn Drive, and she swerved! She then lost control and took a tour through our yard. We were glad she wasn't hurt and also relieved that there was not an early-morning drunk driver on the loose.

Judy asked if it would make her feel better to help clean up the debris and she readily said it would. Neighbor Don brought over his garden rake which made quick work of the mess, and we gathered the pieces in a garbage bag. She was so contrite and shaken that we hugged her and said all was well. Even the sheriff hugged the shaken woman and told her she acted responsibly by coming back to own up to the damage. Sheriff Metz advised her not to ever swerve when a deer jumps in front of the car. He said he knew the consequences all too well because he had helped remove too many seriously injured from accidents caused by swerving to miss deer.

Thanks to Sheriff Metz and to Deputy Gerwig.

If you are motoring on Van Horn Drive, please note the speed limit is 25. There is a school zone at the end of the street, retired folks who like to take walks, and pets out for their walks as well.

Case closed!