Friday, March 17, 2006

Winter endurance tips

Update: Pioneer Park as seen on the first day of 'spring'

[snow and speck in Pioneer Park]

The speck in middle of the photo above
[closup of speck (border collie)]
is a border collie racing after a killdeer, with seemingly inexhaustible energy


"They" may say this upcoming Monday is the first day of spring, but we know better.

To help you make it to spring:
  • Winter driving tips from Kady Guyton
  • Footwear tip: a pair of YakTrax or Get-A-Grip Ice Cleats will help you remain upright when walking on snow and ice, if you can find them; neither product seems to be available in western Nevada County.
  • Frozen door lock tip: carry a small lighter with you; heat key before inserting in lock. Thanks again Sally!
  • If you're parking where there's nighttime frost, park under a tree or cover the windshield.
  • For keeping warm indoors, without having to deliver your firstborn to PG&E by winter's end:

    • Live in a subset of your house; let the rest stay cool.
    • electric heaters: my experience has been that the cheap heating-element-and-fan ones don't last; the oil one does.
    • Kmart sells microwavable flannel-covered gel packs for $10; buy two, so you can nuke one while sucking heat from the other.
    • they also sell those Mylar(?) "emergency blankets", which reflect heat and so can be put over your aged single-pane windows, if you don't mind taking the tinfoil motif to distress-the-neighbors extremes.
    • radiant heat barrier (the aforementioned 'emergency blanket'?) under the mattress pad
    • fingerless gloves; the alpaca ones from Asylum Down are wonderful.
    • long underwear.
    • a piece of Reflectix can be made into (short-lived) insoles for your slippers.
    • next year, have the sense to insulate and weatherstrip before the advent of cold weather.
And consider taking 1000IU of Vitamin D daily - many to most of us are deficient, by this time of year, and it matters:
vitamin D deficiency is behind musculoskeletal pain:
... 93 percent of all subjects with non-specific musculoskeletal pain were Vitamin D deficient
... We were stunned to find no Vitamin D at all in five patients who had been told their pain was 'all in their head.' This study supports more routine testing for Vitamin D deficiency.
Studies have shown that higher Vitamin D levels also cut the risk of developing multiple sclerosis by 40% and many cancers by as much as 50% (here's the meta-study)

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