Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Week in Ireland with the Locals

This is part the story behind

A Time for Travel
The Christmas Project

kids’ time travel book By Janice Czaplewski

A Week in Ireland with the Locals
About Me ********
After almost half a century, I am planning a trip to Ireland to finally meet my pen pal, Florence. Join me on my journey to the beautiful country that she calls home.

Back when I was a Freshman in high school, the class had an opportunity to purchase a pen pal. It cost a quarter and we could choose the age, gender and country for our pen pal. I signed up for a boy named John from Australia and wrote to him for several years, but then we quit writing.
I also chose a 14 year old girl from Ireland named Florence. That was 48 years ago! We have stayed connected through boyfriends then husbands, then having children then our parents passing away. Now that we both are old and gray (at least I am) and have grandchildren we are finally going to meet each other for the very first time. Maybe I should change the title of this to “Old Lady Writes Travelogue”.

I doubt that 48 years is a record, but it has to be right up there. Florence and I lost track of each other a couple of times over the years, but always managed to reconnect. Sometimes it was a matter of finding an old address in a file somewhere and sending a letting, hoping against hope that it would arrive. The last time, I had moved after my husband passed away and couldn’t find her address. I did have an old email address for her daughter, Alison, who lives in England, and thought I’d take a chance to see if it was still valid. It was! And even better, Florence how has an email address, too.

Although we have just gotten into emailing in the last year, we exchanged Christmas presents and letters with “snail mail” up until then. We have often discussed how great it would be if one day we could meet. Finally last fall I decided to accept her invitation to visit Ireland. I was planning my retirement for January, so the timing was perfect. My trip is scheduled for spring , so we are -82 days and counting.

fecal treatment

This is an old treatment for this sort of thing. I remember over 30 years ago maybe 40 years ago that we did the “home” version V the pharmacy way which did not exist back then. It was very effective. Is there a YUK! Factor? Of course there is! However most people would not like to see ‘normal’ healthcare being provided either.
Check out after you are done with this story.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Imagine a low-cost treatment for a life-threatening infection that could cure up to 90 percent of patients with minimal side effects, often in a few days.

It may sound like a miracle drug, but this cutting-edge treatment is profoundly simple — though somewhat icky: take the stool of healthy patients to cure those with hard-to-treat intestinal infections. A small but growing number of physicians have begun using these so-called fecal transplants to treat Clostridium difficile, commonly referred to as C-diff, a bacterial infection that causes nausea, cramping and diarrhea. The germ afflicts a half-million Americans annually and kills about 15,000 of them.

But fecal transplants pose a challenge for the Food and Drug Administration, which has decided to regulate the treatment as an experimental drug. Stool transplants don’t fit neatly into the agency’s standard framework. And while regulators have shown flexibility in their approach, some critics say the mere presence of government oversight is discouraging many doctors from offering transplants. That’s led some patients to seek out questionable “do-it-yourself” websites, forums and videos.

Most researchers agree that the FDA’s concerns are warranted. Patients can contract HIV, hepatitis and other viruses and parasites from fecal matter that is not properly screened. Additionally, there are no long-term studies on potential side effects of stool transplantation.

FDA officials declined to be interviewed for this story, but said in a written response that the fecal transplantation “shows promise in treating C. difficile infection that has not been responsive to other therapies.”

Indeed, with many patients no longer responding to potent antibiotics, fecal transplants have emerged as an effective therapy against drug-resistant strains of the C-diff superbug. The procedure works because the healthy bacteria found in donors’ feces can help fight off foreign infections.

View gallery In this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, technical assistant Eliska Didyk transfers human fecal matter …”We’re dealing with something that is pretty close to miraculous,” says Dr. Lawrence Brandt of New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, who has performed over 200 fecal transplants.

Most products reviewed by the FDA spend years in testing before they are submitted to the agency, usually by large drug or medical device developers. Fecal transplants have followed a different path.

In recent years, a handful of doctors have published small case studies on their use of stool to treat C-diff, with many reporting cure rates of about 90 percent. In January 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published the first rigorous, head-to-head study showing that fecal transplants were superior to antibiotics for patients with recurring C-diff.

The FDA announced last May that it would regulate stool transplants as an experimental drug, meaning doctors could only perform transplants under an FDA-approved research application. The so-called investigational new drug application must include detailed information on the drug to be tested, the study design and safeguards to protect patients. Assembling a single application can take months or years, even for large drugmakers.

Doctors pushed back, saying the requirement would force them to turn away desperate patients.

View gallery In this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, technical assistant Eliska Didyk, wearing protective gloves, …”FDA and some others are concerned about the long-term effects,” Brandt said. “But my point was these people are getting ready to die now. They are not going to survive long enough to develop the diseases you’re afraid they’re going to get.”

A few weeks later, the FDA revised its position, saying it would not enforce the requirement for doctors treating patients with drug-resistant C-diff — provided donors are properly screened and patients are informed that fecal transplants are still experimental.

But regulating stool samples as a drug presents other challenges. While it’s easy to limit access to experimental drugs, everyone has access to stool. And with detailed instructions available on websites like, there’s nothing to stop patients from trying the procedure at home — especially if they can’t find a doctor to perform it.

“Some of these patients are very desperate and they’re not going to take no for an answer,” says Dr. Michael Edmond of Virginia Commonwealth University, who has performed fecal transplants for patients who travel from as far away as Ohio.

Catherine Duff of Carmel, Indiana, says she had no choice but to help herself. In April 2012, she was suffering through her seventh C-diff. infection, going to the bathroom 20 to 30 times a day and making multiple trips to the hospital due to dehydration.

View gallery In this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, a bottle containing human fecal matter solution sits in an Op …”My quality of life had gotten to the point where I was beginning to think that it might be better to die,” says Duff, 58.

Duff asked three different physicians if she could try a fecal transplant, but none were willing to perform the procedure. Her gastroenterologist did offer to test her husband’s stool to make sure it wasn’t contaminated.

Using instructions found online, Duff and her husband created a solution from his stool sample, mixing it with saline in a blender and administering it via an enema bottle. Four hours later, Duff said she felt good enough to get up and go for a walk.

Today, Duff runs a nonprofit group, the Fecal Transplant Foundation, which aims to raise awareness of the procedure and help patients. Duff says she gets up to 15 emails a day from patients looking for a doctor or a donor. Some even ask if they can use a stool sample from their infants or pets.

Duff says the unresolved status of FDA’s oversight discourages more doctors from offering the treatment. “There are so many doctors who are suspicious that the FDA could change their mind at any given moment and decide to not exercise discretion,” Duff says.

In this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, technical assistant Eliska Didyk wears protective gloves whil …According to a list maintained by the foundation, only about 100 physicians offer fecal transplants in the U.S. There is no one method for performing the procedure. Some doctors liquefy the stool and drip it into the patient’s colon via colonoscopy. Others use a tube that runs from the nose down into the stomach.

With so few providers available, proponents of stool transplantation have come up with innovative solutions. One big hurdle is the high cost of screening a stool sample, which can run up to $1,500 per sample. Insurance typically doesn’t cover testing the stool sample because donors are usually healthy without signs of sickness.

Since October 2013, a Boston-based “stool bank” has managed to bring costs down to about $250 per treatment by screening samples in bulk. To date, OpenBiome has shipped over 300 stool samples in ready-to-use frozen preparations to 39 hospitals.

But in March, the FDA released an updated proposal for regulating fecal transplants, saying doctors should only use stool from a donor who is “known” to either the patient or their physician. Some doctors and patients worried the proposal, if finalized, would shutter OpenBiome and a handful of other stool banks, which use anonymous donors and ship to providers hundreds of miles away.

But OpenBiome founder, Mark Smith, says his group continues operating after having several productive discussions with the FDA. Smith says regulators have encouraged him to set up a formal study in which hospitals that work with OpenBiome will contribute data on the safety and effectiveness of fecal transplants.

“They understand the importance of making treatment available for patients today, while making sure there is adequate oversight of the risks,” Smith says. “We’re actually totally on the same page



YUM-O what a topic!

Diarrhea is one of the biggest threats to human life there is. Even at that diarrhea is a symptom of disease, not a disease in and of it’s self. Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting is helpful to your body. How can that be? ;] glad you asked that! If you ingest something that is either poisoness or spoiled, the body has a way to get ride of it – think of a cat with a hair ball. This applies to germs too. Even when diarrhea is helpful to your body at some point it stops being good for you and becomes bad for you.

Most of the time diarrhea [and vomiting] are self limiting and will pass in a few hours to a few days. Treatment for the most part for diarrhea [and vomiting] is supportive in nature. At first do not consume anything for the first couple of hours. Then start with ice chips or sips of fluids. Next use an oral fluid & electrolyte product such as the re-hydration drink we discussed in an earlier post. . Or if you are not comfortable with making your own then go out and spend way too much for a commercial product. Limit solid foods during the active phase and consume mostly fluids and clear [ish] liquids. If you need to you may decide that you need to be more aggressive in your treatment of the symptom of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Some people make use of Dramamine or Phenergan if you go the aliopathic system or ginger root tea if you go with a naturaopathic or homieopathic treatment system.

Another home treatment for the symptom of vomiting or diarrhea with or after the rehydration drink is called the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, and you are supposed to use it during a stomach upset until the symptoms are gone. The rice is cooked very mushy. If you don’t happen to have bananas you can substitute mashed potatoes, which actually is higher in potassium.

For most cases of vomiting or diarrhea won’t last more than a few hours to a couple of days. If on the other hand the diarrhea is secondary to use of antibiotics most people will add yogurt [with a live culture] to there diet for a few days. What this does is repopulate the gut flora so that it resumes functioning. Most of us would most likely benefit from eating some yogurt every few weeks.

There are some cases of diarrhea that will not resolve with the treatment already discussed. We will discuss the treatment for this later.

spare tires 2

spare tires 2

Last time we talked about a couple of ideas for spare tires to make logistics easier. Here is another idea to cut down on the spare parts you have to stock.

Little Wink had a cargo trailer that he would take out into the woods with him or into town for supplies and deliveries. It was a combination of cargo trailer and camper. What he had changed on it was the wheels. He replaced the factory set up with one that would take the same rims and tires as his truck. That way he could get by with less extra parts.

One of the ways Little Wink earned a living was by cutting fire wood and selling it in town to the city folk. The up side of this was that he could work around his ‘day’ job during the year. The down side was that he didn’t get paid for cutting wood until the fall when folks realized that they were going to need wood for heat. He only sold seasoned fire wood so this years worth of work he did get paid for until the following year.

What he did then was when the tires were worn down to the point that they needed to come off of the truck he could still use them on the trailer out in the country. The other issue was that by extending the useful life of the tires that way he could schedule replacing the tires for when he got his tax refund.

A bit about Little Wink and his family. Today they would be off the grid back to the landers. They raised chickens, goats and a few pigs. They had fruit & nut trees along with the acres of black berries. Closer to the house they had a large garden with a roadside stand for the produce and eggs. On that part of the mountain the people who had a phone to use it was a party line and you had to take turns. Back in the day this was how most of us country folks lived and did business.

Spare Tires

Spare tires

This time we are not talking about the spare tire around your middle. We will save the tire for another day. Today we are discussing your vehicles spare tires. A friend was up on the hill hunting last year and some how had a blown out tire about 15 miles from the paved road. He did change the tire; it was a good thing that he had a ‘real’ spare tire to put on instead of the normal undersized ‘idiot’ tire that is only good for 50 miles IF that. To be on the safe side he did go into the nearest town to have the tire fixed. Unfortunately the tire was beyond repair so he had to buy a new tire. They did not have the same tread pattern as was already on the truck so he actually bought 2 tires so that they would match on the axel.

With the economy doing as well as it is this year [tongue firmly in cheek] it may be hard to afford at this time, but it is easier to do ahead of time, go ahead and get 2 rims that will match your other tires. If you are buying a new vehicle you can order it with 6 rims [4 on the vehicle and 2 spares] with matching tires and the price will be rolled into the total price. If you are not getting a new vehicle you can still order the extra rims from the dealer or an after market supply house. A more economical source for rims is at the ‘junk yard or ‘U pull-it” place and get rims and maybe even reasonably good tires to act as your spares. Generally it costs less than ¼ the amount for rims and tires doing it with the u pull it route. One person that I know went that route and got 6 [six] full sized rims and decent tires for his vehicle so that he had basically 2 complete sets of wheels / tires and he would have a one set of studded snow tires for the winter and regular all season for the rest of the year.

Another alternative with that idea is to have them all the same and then you can rotate them and if you are out hunting [or post SHTF] you will have the extra as spares when you may not be able to get good tires mounted. When the economy gets worse than it is now you will have already bought your next set of tires ahead of time and most likely for way cheaper – just like food storage.

Years ago a family friend [Little Wink is what he was called] made his own super studded tires for out in the forest. He took a well used set of tires for his truck and drilled holes all around the tire in 4 rows. He then took ½ inch bolts and large washers and put them in the holes that he had drilled. When he went into the woods he would put those tires on and even though it did take a little bit of extra time and work to do that he never had to dig his truck out of the snow and mud because he was stuck. His system worked way better than chains. I am not sure how well it worked on dry pavement but he also never got stuck going to town during or right after a snow storm.



“Helping You Live The Life You Want, If Times Get Tough, Or Even If They Don’t”. Jack from TSP [ ] does a good job of articulating it.

Another and older way of saying this is that “Provident living is a way of life.” Which is how many of us were raised. I have lived by this for MANY years. It is too bad that some forget to pass it on to their kids and grandkids.

Anyway the point that I would like to make as far as skills go from a medical standpoint is that EMT training is great and “sexy” and all of that and it does come in handy at times. For entry level though and to be able to earn money as you go or to have something that you could ‘fallback on” in this wonderful economy, it is hard to beat CNA training.

Certified Nursing Assistants typically have around 120 hours of classroom and clinical training [about 3 weeks] before they take the board test and get a license from the State Board of Nursing. Every hospital and/or nursing home is always short of good staff to care for patients. Pay rates can start as low as $8.00 an hour to as high as $15 -17 an hour depending on experience. In my 40+ years of nursing practice in everything from EMS, OR, OB to ICU/NICU, along with teaching nursing and medical students and CNAs & EMTs – the people who start out as a CNA and then go on to EMT or other training, consistently do better than the ones who do EMT first and then CNA.

Another issue to ponder; there are 24 hours in the day. EMT [and Paramedic] focuses on the “golden hour” which is the first hour after an injury in a day to day situation; CNA teaches you how to care for a person for the 23.5 + hours that it takes someone to recover after the injury.

Which is going to be used more?

YMMV but that is my 2 cents worth [not adjusted for inflation]

soap follow up

This is a follow up on the Homemade Laundry Detergent Blog. I found some more information from our daughter, friends who have done this before and the internet.

How to make washing soda from Baking Soda-
Pour baking soda onto cookie sheet with no oil
Place into 400 degree preheated oven
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes
Washing soda will look dull and be a finer grade of granules
Baking Soda cost $2.24 for 4 lbs and Washing Soda is $3.24 so Baking Soda is cheaper (These prices are from Wal mart)
-if you cook the baking soda at the same time as you are cooking a cake, roast or potatoes you will save the cost of cooking it – in other words you will kill two birds with one stone.

For the bar soap to use, you can use any soap you want to but the suggestions were to keep away from the heavy scented soaps. Ivory soap, Castile or if you have soap allergies use the bar or liquid soap that works with your skin.

In my research there was one recipe that called to use 2 TBS of Glycerin in the 5 gallons of liquid detergent. Glycerin would cause the detergent to be a more smooth consistency instead of gloppy gel and would also act as a natural fabric softener.

Other recipes call for adding even more water to the solution, so experiment with using this with your water (if you have hard water or if you have a water softener) and the dirtiness of your laundry.

This is good detergent to use for babies because it is not full of chemicals next to their delicate skin.
It also does not cause high suds.

To make homemade powdered soap-
Finely grate your bar soap
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup of borax

After mixing all ingredients only use 2 tablespoons in a full load HE front load washer. Again experiment with your water and dirty clothes to fine tune the amount to use. So, after you make sure that this works for your skin and clothes, then you can make up more and store away to use at a later date or at least store the ingredients to add to your storage. This will make a big difference in the amount of money you will have to use to put away a years’ worth.

For fabric softener, most of the information I found was that you just use ¼ cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of the HE front loader washing machine with essential oil. If you do not like the smell of vinegar then add your drops of essential oil to the rinse cycle instead of the wash cycle. Basically you can add the essential oil at any stage of the wash or drying. I like it better and it seems to work better to add the essential oil to the dryer.

To make dryer sheets you can use 5” squares of 100% cotton material, that can be from used clothing or you could crochet 5” squares of cotton yarn. Place essential oil onto the material and throw into the dryer. You can use this same square and placing the essential oil onto it each time used for at least 5 loads of clothes, then wash the square. The square can then be used for another 5 loads until you rewash it again. Both the material and the essential oils can be stored away for a later date to use. The key to maintaining oils is to store it air tight.

BOL idea

There are many places that may make a good Bug Out Location or at least a way point to some place else. One such place that I visited several years ago looked ideal [except that I am sure that others have the same idea and would most likely get there sooner than I would now.] I list it as an example to look for. This ‘park’ was about 45 miles from home at the time and was along the route that I would have traveled during a bug out. ;]

The park is a natural rock bridge that had been carved over the centuries by a large creek.

The park portion had several hiking trails and there were those standing BBQ cook areas with picnic tables that were comfortable for the lunch we had packed.

The site was / is very beautiful and has a rich history as an oasis for the local American Indians. One of the pluses is that it is well protected from the wind. Some of the other features included more than enough fresh water for the tribe and their animals. There are several apple trees which are reputed to have been planted by the Indians. Game such as fish, deer, rabbits and birds are plentiful. I didn’t have time to search very hard but there were many edible plants such as Purslane, plantain, cattails, milkweed and burdock.

I can really see why the Indians would tarry there and perhaps even a good place to settle in the general area.

Czaplewski, Janice

I wish that this first book from Janice would have been available 30 years ago when I was running a counseling agency. It would have been very useful. ——– OH well, at least it is here now. ;]

And Then There Was One: A funny guide to surviving divorce by Czaplewski, Janice (Feb 5, 2014)

If you are wondering, “What in the world do I do now?” “How do I find time for myself” “Do the tears ever stop?” “What do you mean tomorrow? I can’t even hold onto today!” this book will help you. If your self-esteem, credit, morale, and sanity have taken a hit and your head is reeling, it helps to know there are other people out there that have been through what you are going through and they have survived. Let them light the candle that holds the darkness at bay. Let them lead you by the hand and pull you out of the black waters of despair. When you want to cry, let them help you find the humor in the absurdity that your life has become so you can’t help but laugh. Join me as I introduce you to some wonderful people who will all help you to understand what is happening and figure out ways to turn your life into what you want it to be.

A Time For Travel ~ The Christmas Project by Czaplewski, Janice (Oct 25, 2013)

A Time for Travel ~ The Christmas Project is about four cousins who invent a time travel machine over Christmas vacation. They set the time for 200 years in the past and set the location for the Marble Arch Caves in Northern Ireland. That is not where they end up!

Follow Brooklyn, Caleb, Genevieve, and Kennedy as they explore the castles and caves of ancient Ireland on their grand adventures. What will they do once they get there and their time travel machine doesn’t work? Will they find the leprechauns, dragons, fairies and unicorns they are looking for? Will they get home?

Watch for the second book in the series, A Time For Travel ~ The Summer Project coming soon.

A Time For Travel ~ The Summer Project is the second book in the series. Go along with Kennedy, Brooklyn, Genevieve, and Caleb on another grand time travel adventure into the past.
They travel to Northern Ireland to the year 1570. They discover smugglers stealing gold that the leprechauns have hidden in a cave. They need help to capture them but are pirates really the best choice to go to for help?
The chase leads them from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland to England to Scotland and back again.
Will they catch the smugglers? Will they be able to return the gold? What happens after the time machine crashes?

Cost Containment Workbook: Complete Guide to Material Cost Reduction and Containment by Czaplewski, Janice (Feb 4, 2014)

As any business owner or CEO knows, manufacturing costs are constantly rising and you have to fight the battle every day to guard your profit margin.

If you are using a Catapult to fight rising costs and your competition is using a Howitzer, you need to read this book.

In this economy, if ever there was a time to use a howitzer to attack the castle where the profits are stored, this is it. Well, maybe it’s not quite that serious, but you certainly can’t sit back and just hope it gets better. The only way it will get better is if you are proactive, and the sooner you start the more impact you can have.

This book will help you evaluate your situation to see if you need to do a cost reduction project, help you choose the project, walk you through the steps of a project, and even take it to the next level with cost containment. After you have done the work to reduce the costs, you want to make sure they don’t creep up on you after the project is complete.

There are some really good tips to make the process easier and at the end of the book there are even “Excel Hints” to help you with the spreadsheets.

Just remember that if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. Are you ready to do something different? If so, try these proven methods – today!

There are two books in this set. One is for the managers and one is a full color workbook for the people who will be doing the cost reduction projects.

Manager’s Guide to Cost Reduction by Czaplewski, Janice (Feb 5, 2014)

This book is for managers to get the overview and understand the process. Order the full sized, full color companion workbook for the people that will be doing the projects.
If you have an questions or comments, feel free to contact Janice Czaplewski at