Happy New Year my fellow survivors and preparedness believers…I hope you had the chance to spend the holidays with your loved ones in peace and comfort. I had most of my family in my home which was good and led to some interesting moments and some truths coming out, but I am grateful for them and being able to be with them all none the less. But as you and I go into 2012 I am wondering what this new year will bring to us.

Last month, December, was a month that I don’t care to repeat financially however…as people beat each other up over waffle makers, maced each other to get the latest Xbox and took shots at each other over tennis shoes, my own eBay business tanked and tanked hard right before Thanksgiving. So much for the holiday spending and from what I also understood from other sellers, they didn’t have much going on either which is really strange for eBay during the holidays. For me, there were some obvious reasons as I lost my ‘top rated’ seller status thanks to a nasty little man who tried to get a refund from me without returning the crystal (which resulted in my listings basically being on the bottom of the pile) but there was something else going on too…and that was the Euro…a lot of my big sales that sustain me during the winter months come from Europe and the month of December saw a dramatic fall in the value of the Euro verses the dollar…not good for sales and the governments over there are really getting hyper about getting their VAT taxes on packages that come into their country, so those sales are disappearing somewhat. And there are those who still think that what happens in Europe stays in Europe…ha! We are pretty interconnected economically and I for one am very concerned about the drop of the Euro. It looks like Greece won’t be the only country going down in flames this year and the Lehman Brothers didn’t learn a darn thing…or did they?

But anyway, things turned around on eBay for me last week in a big way as soon as my ‘top rated’ status came back…interesting huh? Supposedly this ‘status’ isn’t supposed to be such a big deal, but as I found out, lose it and you are punished. Call me paranoid, but I am left with the feeling that eBay does its best to punish sellers who make some buyers mad and caters to ‘the customer is always right regardless’ mindset which is part of the problem in this country…And I am left wondering how to prevent this issue from coming back up without resorting to being held hostage by individuals bent on getting something for nothing with their Khol’s/Walmart mentality nor having to cut prices and giving free shipping to all to keep sales up…but this is what I am up against and trying to find a happy medium the beginning of this year.

I had thought that perhaps having other websites would be a safety net against eBay meltdown but have learned otherwise and this leaves me feeling very uncomfortable this new year with more questions than answers. But I will figure it out, usually do if I just let it sit for a while. Amazon is looking better and better but the cost of doing business there and the difficulty of getting a storefront together on their site makes me shy away from them, but I may have to bite that bullet.

A few things I did learn from this experience is that I have done pretty good on my preps. Didn’t have to worry about food or toilet paper or diapers while I had no money coming in  and figure that I could last upwards of 3-4 months even with a house full of people on what I have on hand right now which means I am making progress!!! What little came in went to gas for the most part and dog food (have you noticed that the prices of dog have gone up and you are getting less for it??) I am seriously considering going to the following recipe for my Pitbulls to save on money and be able to stock up for them. I have copied this from Survivalblog.com and will post the entire posting in a bit just as an FYI as a reference for you… this is the permanent link to the article on Survivalblog : How to Make Homemade Dogfood

 

The “Third Recipe” for Dogs:

White rice- boiled with an optional chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally. No pasta, will ruin a dog’s teeth.

Vegetables – frozen or canned or fresh – green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.

Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs

Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s). All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.

Primatene mist has now disappeared from the shelves and is now illegal to sell at all. It seems that is a victim of the ban on CFC’s but my instinct tells me that big pharm and the AMA pushed this. Just another victim in the march towards control of the populace in my opinion. I suspect that we will see an increase in deaths from Asthma in the coming months and years as those who didn’t know get caught without emergency asthma control or run out of what they were able to stock pile or expatriation dates come due on what is had.

As an aside, Sam’s club in my neck of the woods has some awesome deals on cold weather clothing and socks.

It seems that the Judiciary in Virginia has declared a silent war on bailbonds and Constitutional Rights of its citizens…magistrates in my neck of the woods are telling those with secured bonds to bring cash or titles to their office to get someone out, that the person who has a secured bond can’t use a bailbondsman. Regardless of your stance on bail, you have a right to use a bailbondsman to post bail for you if you live in this state (VA), you don’t ‘have to post cash or land’ in order to get someone out of jail. And the dangerous part of this new trend is that the STATE holds your money until you are adjudicated fully which can be months and then they take out fines and fees before giving your money back to you. Interestingly enough, they aren’t telling people THIS little fact, but instead are telling people that if you pay a bondsman you don’t get the money back (which is 10% of the bond amount) but if you post the cash or title you will get it back. They forget to tell the fine print…

Now, with this said, the state of Virginia is having a hardtime getting its fines and fees from those court ordered to pay them and I suspect that this is an attempt to ensure that these get paid. And IF you are late getting to court or somehow or other miss your court date, well, guess what? You forfeit that money you posted immediately, no recourse, no hope…done deal whereas if you use a bailbondsman no worries, the bailbondsman has legal recourse with the courts such as a time frame to make sure you ‘appear’ before he has to forfeit.

Interestingly enough we (myself and my partner) have seen the courts changing dates and times without letting the defendant know about it. Their (the courts) answer to this is ‘well, its YOUR responsibility to make sure you appear and that YOU have your dates and times right’. Now, with that said, somehow the lawyers involved (mostly court appointed) know about the change but the defendant doesn’t get the message…makes you wonder doesn’t it? Sigh…seriously? Somehow I have a hard time accepting that the courts can just change things and then expect you to somehow magically know this without giving notice in writing like they USED TO DO. You’d get a letter in the mail well in advance, but now they just let the ‘court appointed’ counsel know and let it go at that…and this person just happens to work for the state… I smell something rotten going on and regardless of your opinion or stance on crime or belief about those who get arrested, it should worry you when the courts start demanding money for release and don’t give you the option of using a bailbondsman (in the states where this is the norm) and then start changing dates and not giving notice to the person whom it most effects. It just doesn’t sit right with me…sorry, my opinion and I am not liking the trend that I am seeing. I can’t help but wonder how many other states are doing this too to get money in their pockets.

And just in case you have been hiding under a rock…Obama signed the NDAA into law on the 31st.  Read more about it here…NDAA There goes your rights…though ‘they say’ that it won’t happen…uh huh…isn’t that what they said about Too Big to Fail and bailing them out? Happens everyday now…

Anyway, life rolls on and I was able to replace what I used for the most part and add a few goodies too…bit the bullet and bought a case of freeze dried yogurt bites from Thrive the other day. My kids will eat this and dairy is important to have in your diet especially if you are female. Found a good deal on cotton tube socks on ebay yesterday too. And just a heads up for those who are stocking up on antibiotics…tetracycline is becoming harder and hard to get so you may want to look into this since it’s a ‘go to’ antibiotic.

Lastly, the flu is going around and manifesting itself as a potentially nasty upper respiratory issue that comes on quick and lingers. I am just hearing this from people that I know looking for ways to halt the slide into pneumonia that seems to happen if you don’t catch it in time. Suggestion here…get the homeopathic Bronchitis by Heel…it seems to stop it (the pneumonia) from happening and for adults I wouldn’t be afraid to use Mormon Tea mixed with rosemary to help yourself.

 

Happy new year one and all, keep your eyes open and keep on preparing and keep your loved ones close to you this year. Mend the fences that need mending and let go those things that no longer serve you. Life is too short and unpredictable to carry burdens upon your heart and carrying these burdens gets in the way of being prepared.

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