Friday, July 22, 2011

The Picnic Basket

A couple of years ago, my mom was piling stuff up for Good Will, including her old picnic basket.

I've been seeing this picnic basket all my life and it always meant good things to me. As a child I loved the idea of picnics - eating outdoors, eating mostly without silverware and being together with my family.

On an impulse I asked my Mom if I could have the old picnic basket, and she said, "Of course, but do you really want that old basket?" Visions of lazy picnics and sunny days danced in my head. So I brought it home.

I took this photograph of it a couple of days ago. It's a good, old-fashioned picnic basket: simple, practical and well-made. No, it doesn't keep cold things cold, or hot things hot. It doesn't have a drain in the bottom, or wheels. It doesn't have flashing lights and wouldn't float worth a darn.

But... it holds everything you need, and it's solid as a rock even after 50 years. It holds all the food, even casseroles and odd shaped bowls, and dishes and cutlery. It holds a picnic blanket (I have a Sage Green Modern Design Blanket in there.) It holds books, and crayons and notebooks. And when the handles are folded down, it makes a fine low tabletop.

It is clearly something my mother would buy. My Mom never bought cheap stuff - she just didn't believe in it. If she wanted something, she saved up and bought the very best she could get. And then she took care of it.

You may wonder why on earth I'm writing about this picnic basket and my Mom.

I think it's because she's had such a profound impact on me, and by extension on Gilden Tree. What it means is that I don't want us to sell something that my Mom wouldn't have wanted to buy.
I want every product we sell to be well-made and to do what it's supposed to do. I want it to be the best quality we can make it. I want it to be amazingly good.

I know you can buy cheaper stuff, much cheaper in fact. But if Gilden Tree is going to offer you something, I hope it will be something you'll hang onto. Something you'll take care of and maybe - just maybe, something one of your own kids will rescue from the Good Will pile one day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Foot Care Tips for Diabetics

For people with Diabetes, summer can present a real challenge - but by using a little common sense, you can still enjoy the beach, the pool and the great outdoors.

Over time, the feet of a diabetic lose sensitivity and may not be able to "feel" as well as the feet of a person without Diabetes. They also take longer to heal from infections and injuries, so you need to protect them from the elements: sun, hot pavement, rough surfaces and sharp objects.

Little problems can become big ones if you don't take care of them. The California Podiatric Medical Association says "Most [serious foot health issues] begin as minor injuries that were left untreated."

So enjoy the summer and protect your feet by following these common-sense tips:

1. Wear real shoes and clean socks. Avoid sandals, flip-flops and going barefoot - it's just not worth the risk to your feet. Clean, unwrinkled socks and comfortable shoes will mean you can enjoy the outdoors safely. (The American Diabetes Association also recommends that you buy shoes at the end of the day, when feet are the largest.) Going swimming? Wear water shoes that hug your feet and be sure to check them frequently for debris.

2. Shake out your shoes before you wear them, in case there's any gravel or other objects in them. Check with your hands to be sure that nothing in your shoe will rub against your feet. (Good advice anytime!)

3. Wash feet daily with warm water and gentle soap, and moisturize with a good foot cream like Gilden Tree's Nourishing Foot Cream. Always dry feet gently first and don't moisturize between your toes.

4. Inspect your feet daily, using a hand mirror if necessary. Look for bruises, cuts rashes, blisters or anything which looks odd.

5. Schedule regular appointments with your podiatrist - especially if you plan a lot of outdoor activities. If you have any doubts or concerns about your feet, do check with your doctor. Better safe than sorry!

6. Control your blood sugar, and don't smoke. Goes without saying but especially important in the summer.

All the pleasures of summer are waiting for you, if you just use a little common sense and take good care of your feet!