Allergy Season

Allergy season is here. I know this because my eyeballs feel like they have fur. My nose is twitching (in a most un-bewitching way). And the tickle in my perpetually raw throat has me asking, "Is this COVID?!"

Allergies in a pandemic are a right puzzler! Am I symptomatic? A danger to my fellow humans? Should I be confined to bed (my fuzzy head and leaden limbs tell me I should definitely be in bed)? Or, am I just at odds with the life that's stirring in the earth and trees and such?

You're allergic to Spring when...

Allergy Season

Does this make your nose itch?

Allergy Season2

Are your teeth feeling the pollen in the air?

If so, you might have allergies!

The Science

Asthma Canada notes,

  • Respiratory allergies such as allergic rhinitis affect 1 in 5 Canadians
  • 80% of people with asthma also suffer from allergic rhinitis or sinusitis
  • Allergies can affect your quality of life at work, school, and play

What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Health Link helpfully instructs,

Symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Sneezing.
  • Runny, stuffy, or itchy nose.
  • Temporary loss of smell.
  • Headache and fatigue.
  • Dark circles under the eyes ("allergic shiners").
  • Drainage from the nose down the back of the throat (post-nasal drip).
  • Sore throat or coughing.
  • Snoring.

How can you help prevent seasonal allergies?

Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are often caused by exposure to pollen. You can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

  • Keeping your house and car windows closed.
  • Limiting the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high (during midday and afternoon).
  • Wearing a pollen mask or dust mask if you need to mow the lawn.
  • Limiting your mowing tasks if you can.
  • Rinsing your eyes with cool water or saline eyedrops to remove clinging pollen after you come indoors.
  • Taking a shower and changing your clothes after you work or play outside.

How can you treat seasonal allergies?

The following home treatment measures may help relieve your symptoms:

  • Clean the inside of your nose with salt water to clear a stuffy nose.
  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in the bedroom and take hot showers to help clear a stuffy nose.
  • If your nose is red and raw from rubbing, put petroleum jelly on the sore area.
  • Use over-the-counter allergy medicine to help your symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • To relieve a stuffy nose, use a steroid nasal spray (such as Nasacort). A steroid nasal spray can also help with red, itchy, watery eyes.
    • Another way to relieve a stuffy nose is a nasal or oral decongestant (such as Sudafed PE). Decongestants may not be safe for young children or for people who have certain health problems.
    • For itchy, watery eyes; sneezing; or a runny, itchy nose, try a non-sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, like fexofenadine (such as Allegra) or loratadine (such as Claritin). Older antihistamines, like chlorpheniramine (such as Chlor-Tripolon) and diphenhydramine (such as Benadryl), are less expensive but can make you feel sleepy or tired. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
    • To help relieve pain, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Stuck indoors during allergy season

COVID will affect exposure to seasonal allergies. Many of us are restricting our outdoor movements already. If you're like me, you're making steady use of your Claritin when you do venture out. And we can agree that a few seasonal discomforts aren't really all that bad in light of what we might be facing. Here's to clear airways and sturdy health!

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Peaceful Parenting

Parenting in an a new normal

What has this past month been like for you? If you're the parent of school-aged children you may be feeling a lot of pressure these days. Some of you are working from home while hands-on parenting. Home schooling used to be the practice of a minority (myself included), and is now the norm. If you have a child with special needs or learning challenges, you may have added complications.

Are you finding support in all of that? There are resources available to you. Do seek them out. This is a time for asking for what we need, and leaning into available resources.

Kim Golding on peaceful parenting

My colleague forwarded this on to me just yesterday. It's from Kim S. Golding, 2015, with an added acknowledgement of Clover Childcare, Norfolk.

This gentle 7-step guide may be a helpful resource for all of us as parents? First, it offers a reminder for us to take a minute to check in with our self when facing into a parenting conundrum. "Calm begets calm; peace begets peace." So say parenting specialists. That calm begins with us as parents. Take a look at this:

That trusty oxygen mask

The well-worn metaphor of the oxygen mask on the airplane applies here: Mom? Dad? Take your own deep breaths first. Then tend to your kiddo.

One of my practice instructors has patiently reminded me, "When we change the dialogue with which we speak to our self, we'll change the way we speak to others. As we transform inwardly, we'll change outwardly." What does she mean by that? Be nice!

This is the time to be "excessively gentle" (John O'Donohue) with ourselves. And as we turn compassion inward, we'll find ourselves more able to be patient and understanding outwardly.

May peaceful parenting bring about peaceful kiddos in a decidedly un-peaceful time in history. You've got this! And where you need back-up? Reach out. You are not alone.

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Winter Blues

Today I re-routed my errands. Instead of just ticking off the to-do list musts, I took a 5 minute wander into the seasonal section at Canadian Tire. Winter blues haven't been the specter this year that they have been in winters past. But this is the season for getting ahead of them, and one of the ways I do that is by thinking about dirt and fertilizer and seeds.

There's something about the scent of earth and the hope that I'll soon have a spade in one hand, and a satchel of seeds in the other. Spring doesn't feel so far off, even as February holds us in a winter grip.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder aren't necessarily one and the same. SAD is a medically acknowledged condition, and sufferers may benefit from treatment.

The Mayo Clinic notes, in most cases, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunnier days of spring and summer. Less commonly, people with the opposite pattern have symptoms that begin in spring or summer. In either case, symptoms may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Fall and winter SAD

Symptoms specific to winter-onset SAD, sometimes called winter depression, may include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain
  • Tiredness or low energy

Spring and summer SAD

Symptoms specific to summer-onset seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called summer depression, may include:

  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety

Creative treatments

Light therapy and medications may be effective in treating the winter blues, and SAD.

Canadian Living's online magazine offers some helpful guidance on managing mental health at this time of year. Getting out into the sunshine whenever possible is high on the list. Furthermore, consider taking up a winter sport, or throwing a winter social event. Take on a new project and set goals for yourself. Moreover, give your own mental health some of the attention you may not once the weather shifts and life picks up the pace again.

In addition to these useful self-care tips, consider caring for others. A little generosity of spirit can go a long way. Take care of the caretakers in your life. Check-in with the folks who seem to have it all together. Give! Share your time, your heart, your creativity, your resources. It's easier to shiver through the winter doldrums when offering warmth and support to others.

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Acura RDX, 2020

The 2020 Acura RDX is beloved by reviewers and drivers alike. The ride, the cargo space, and the economy. What's not to love? Well, the non-Android-compatible, not-touch-screen multi-media system. And yet, reviewers agree: utility and performance make the Acura RDX a win for the money.

Car Gurus have their say

"A capable, spacious, luxury cross-over" is George Kennedy's summation of the Acura RDX. While, he notes, it's not that much different from the 2019 model, he has a lot to say about the value and drivability of the RDX.

Trouble spots? He does highlight the Acura's infamous infotainment system. Users seem to weigh-in as having easily adapted with a little time and savvy. On the other hand, reviewers love to pin their criticism to that component.

TFLCar - The Fast Lane's review

TFL loves the Acura, but consider the multimedia system, "a nightmare." From the sounds to the unintuitive radio screen access, this reviewer is super sad about the infotainment and navigation system.

Stay with this video to learn about sport and sport plus modes. The Acura RDX has some fun features to play with!

Honda and Acura vehicle donations

Hondas and Toyotas make for strong donation outcomes. As our decade-plus files show, these makes hold their value well. Furthermore, donated Camrys and Accords bring in some of our highest donation outcomes.

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Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck controversy

The Tesla Cybertruck is here, and it's creating stir!

Popular Mechanics' Take

The Tesla Cybertruck, says Popular Mechanics, is a little bit Blade Runner. It's also definitely a conversation starter, and certainly not bullet proof. Eric Adams notes,

"The design overall is a bit awkward and ungainly, particularly around the wheel wells and some of the proportions, but I get what they’re going for—something futuristic, surprising, and thoroughly avant-garde.

In that sense the truck is a smashing success. Its front light bar and roof bar are brilliant, its high waistline slices crisply down the side and projects outward, adding an extra dimension to the exterior, and its profile slopes down to the front, adding a bit of Mad Max-ian urgency and speed to the car’s vibe. Its triangular cab is more at home off-world than in the Home Depot parking lot, but it does cap off a thoroughly executed, highly conceived design. They went for it with this truck.

Ultimately, it may not appeal to a lot of conventional truck-driving folk, but it could also create a whole new class of enthusiasts for the segment, the brand, and electrification itself."

Yours for $39, 900

At $40,000, the Cybertruck is not unreasonable for those in the market for a pick-up. Tesla offers single, dual, and tri-motor options. For $7000.00 extra you can enjoy the self-driving option.

Curious about how the new Tesla compares to your Ford? Motor Trend compares it with the F150-Raptor (the world's best selling truck). Check out Nick Yekikian's match-up, Tesla Cybertruck vs. Ford F-150 Raptor: Off-Road Champ Meets Off-World Newcomer.

Out with the old

'Thinking of donating your old truck? Granted, a self-driving Tesla may be out of reach as a replacement! But, perhaps a good ol' Dodge Ram is within reach. Consider donating your old vehicle sale proceeds to your charity of choice.

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Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution

This is a re-post from several years ago. A story with heart that is worth re-sharing!

Cooper is one of those cars that brings a smile to your face. Mr. and Mrs. Irwin knew a little about the make and model from not so by-gone days. They were more than happy to honor the work of a cause they respect with the car that they love! Continue reading "Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution" →

Car Maintenance

From the rubber on up

This past week I got another flat tire. I say "another," because our family's primary car maintenance expenditure is on tires. We've always lived in suburbs-under-construction. That means there's always something rolling around on the asphalt just waiting for our tires to it pick up.

So, the night before Thanksgiving Monday I realized that my rear passenger tire was woefully low. And I realized I was going to need to look for tire support on holiday Monday.

To my happy (thankful!) surprise, I got right in at the shop. 9:30 am on Thanksgiving Monday and the service guys were ready to help. Given the season, I opted to leave off repair of the flat and swap on winter tires instead. They were happy to do that, too -- and then threw in a new set of windshield wipers to boot!

How much maintenance is enough?

The amount of care and money we put into our car maintenance is part necessity, part personal preference.

In a robust article written by Consumer Affairs' senior report, Aaron Sultzman, he notes that discretion needs be applied. He asks, "Are Canadian car owners being misled about how often their cars need to be serviced?"

With a spectrum of climates and road conditions across the country, car care will vary from one province to the next. Some provinces use salt to clear ice; others rely on sand. Our coastal provinces have a running battle with moisture, whereas our Northern locales experience harsh weather. Sultzman explores the line between regular maintenance and dealerships who push for more costly attention than is required.

'Tired of maintaining?

If you're swapping out an older model for something shiny, consider having us auction your running vehicle off on behalf of charity. Or, if you have a recycle ready car just taking up space in the garage, we can help with that, too! You give us your vehicle particulars and choose your charity (there are over 800 to pick from!), we'll take care of the rest.

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Acts of Kindness

"Acts of kindness" has lost some of its punch as a collection of words, but the acts themselves have not.

Kindness is one of Donate a Car Canada's core values. We are a locally owned and operated business, and so we have overhead costs and need to earn enough money to keep the doors open. The women that take your calls and compassionately field your donations need to feed their kiddos! And having a key value of kindness behind it all makes doing this important work so much more rewarding.

Acts of Kindness in Canada

In her, "9 Random Acts of Kindness That Will Make You Proud to be Canadian" online Reader's Digest article, Rebecca Tucker paints an engaging picture of what it looks like to be uniquely kind in Canada.

Tucker's collection of stories championing individual and community efforts of caring invite us to tackle kindness in big and small ways. In fact, the limits to how we extend this basic human dignity are only limited by imagination.

The Reader's Digest Who's Who

Rebecca notes 9 groups and individuals who have made a difference in their own unique ways:

Stella Bowles of Upper LaHave, N.S: Eco-Hero! She took it upon her 11-year-old self (she's a teen, now) to investigate and address pollution in the LaHave River.

Staff at the York Care Centre, a Fredericton retirement facility, immediately circled in to support one of their own who had been victimized by a violent crime.

Milestone, Saskatchewan farmers banded together to pull in a community member's crops when hard times fell on the family.

Larissa Arthur, an RN heading home from a mountain hike, saved Mike Estepa's life. He'd collapsed of a heart attack on a bicycle trek, and she happened upon him just in time.

Three crab fishers from St. Lewis, N.L. pulled off a dramatic Arctic Fox rescue. Fishing the little guy in from where he was stuck on the ice, they nurtured him to health and set him free.

Rebecca Schofield (#BeccaToldMeTo) gave her dying days to spreading a message of acts of kindess in even the smallest things, like, "opening doors, buying coffee for strangers, giving out granola bars at the gym."

Frank Vieira received the Goodyear Highway Hero Award for a dramatic roadside rescue.

Andrew Harper, a 95 year-old philanthropist seeking to honor his beloved late wife, made an unprecedented financial contribution to the Chez Doris women's day shelter.

Kyle Busquine, Julio Cabrera, and Jehangir Faisal exhibited the stuff of superheros, jumping on the tracks to rescue a fallen man.

What's your next kindness contribution?

So many ways to share the best of who we are. At any time. In any place. I don't have $1 million dollars to gift to a women's shelter, but I do have $5.00. I haven't the energy in this ol' body to save a river, but I can pick up the trash I see on my daily walks. And, even on the tired and overwhelming and "What the goodness is going on in this crazy world!?" days, I can offer dignity and respect to every heart I encounter.

To all who will show me kindness today (I don't even know who you are, yet!), thank you. I will do my part to keep kindness going, too.

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