An Ancient Tale of Separation, Longing and Loss: "Changgan Memories" Revisited

In an epic poem that marks the passage of time with the changing of the seasons,

Li Bai, the celebrated Chinese poet, describes the union of a young teenage couple amidst the great bucolic splendor of historic Changgan county.

In this vintage poem, “Changgan Memories”, Li Bai speaks through the voice of a

beautiful young woman, yearning for her distant lover. In a brilliant description of

heart wrenching adolescent emotion, he writes,

When my first hair began to cover my head,

I picked and played with flowers at the gate.

Then you came riding on a bamboo horse*.

You circled the trail; playing with green plumbs.

We lived together, here, in Changgan.

Two little children without even a misgiving.

Then when I was fourteen I became your wife.

I was so shy my face remained closed.

But I bowed my head before the shadowed wall,

and called you one thousand times, yet I never turned, not even once.

At fifteen I began to lift my brows, and wished to be with you

as dust is with ashes.

Yet you always kept your massive pillar faith**.

I had no reason to climb to look for you upon any hill.

But when I was sixteen you went far far away….

to Yandui in the Qutong gorge.

You should not have risked the dangerous floods that come in May.

And now as the sad monkeys cry in the sky, my pacing has left a mark before the gate.

And little by little the green grass has grown.

The moss is much to deep to just push away.

And as leaves fall in early autumn winds; in August the butterflies are yellow.

A pair of them flies over the grass in the western garden. I feel that they are damaging my heart.

My face now grows sad red and old.

When you come down the river, send a letter to to your home.

We’ll go to meet each other however far.

I’ll come to meet you at Changfengsha.

A Contemporary Reading of Events

In a bittersweet story of a young girls’ adolescence, this poem demonstrates the poets’ great ability to describe the kind of deep genuine emotion that can cut straight to the bone.

Brimming with playful heartfelt imagery and filled with rugged rustic scenes, its real value may lie in the human drama that may, like the woman in the poem, encourage us to call into question the foundations upon which our very existence is built.

A Massive Pillar Faith

In a tale that calls to mind the spiritual dimensions of a young womans’ first love, we find a girl awakened by the opening of her heart and soul. Tragically however, this wonderful feeling soon begins to fade away.

Overwhelmed by an emptiness that threatens to ravish her very soul, she searches onward. But her yearning is followed by pain; a tragic mournful loss.

Yet in the end she continues to beckon. But only the poet knows if her true love will ever come to return.

And Now the Sad Monkeys Cry

In a scene in which monkeys are said to be crying in the sky, the young girl is immersed in her desperate longing and pain. She cries out, but no one can really hear her.

And little by little the green grass continues to grow. But the moss is now much too deep to just push away.

My Face Grows Sad Red and Old

In a doleful state of sorrow, the young woman must cope with an array of emotion for which she has been sadly, quite ill prepared for. Faced with the prospect of a life of loneliness, racing thoughts and endless ruminations begin to trouble her mind. And tragically, they begin to take their toll.

The sad mournful woman cries, ” As leaves fall in early autumn winds; in August the butterflies are yellow…. I feel that they are damaging my heart.”

When You Come to the River Send a Letter to Your Home

Yet in a demonstration of hope she looks inward. Hoping to find a dream that will rekindle her steadfast faith, she says ” When you come to the river send a letter to your home. We’ll go to meet each other however far.

I’ll come up to meet you at Changfengsha.”

A Foregone Conclusion

Yet the ultimate fate of our lovely young lady is certainly for us to question.

Will her heroic husband return?

Is she destined to live alone?

Or will she be lost in a sea of bitterness, or like the beautiful butterflies, learn to fly gradually, up above?

….. For only she and the poet, will ever really come to know.


* a bamboo horse is a bamboo cane used as a toy horse

** a massive pillar faith is a term from a traditional Chinese story. In this story a man arranged to meet his lover by the pillar of a bridge. When the river waters rose, he continued to clutch the pillar awaiting her return. Ultimately however he drowned as he waited.

Basic Excel – How to Activate, Select, and Edit Cells in Excel

All Excel users should be able to activate cells and input data into an Excel Worksheet – after all, these are the most basic Excel actions. However, many Excel beginners don’t fully understand the difference between a cell being ‘activated’ and a cell being in ‘edit mode’. Even the more accomplished Excel users often don’t know all the different ways in which you can select a range of cell or enter edit mode for cell in Excel.

When you click on a cell in an Excel Worksheet, the cell is not in edit mode, it is simply activated. If you start to type, while a cell is activated, your typed text replaces the contents of the activated cell. Or, if you press the left, right, up or down arrow keys on your keyboard, this will move the activation to an adjacent cell (to the left, right, above or below the previously activated cell).

However, if your cell is in edit mode, the rules change. A cursor appears in the cell (or formula bar), and anything you type will be added to the cell, alongside the existing cell contents. Also, when a cell is in edit mode, the right, left, up and down arrow keys on your keyboard cause the cursor to move within the cell.

So now we have clarified the difference between activated cells and cells in edit mode, how do we actually activate a cell or range of cells? You can use any of the three main ways listed below:

  • Single click on the cell with the mouse
  • Use the left, right, up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, to navigate from a current selection, to the cell you want to activate
  • Type a reference to the cell in the ‘Name Box’ on the top left of the worksheet – eg. To activate cell A2, type “A2” in the Name Box, and then press the return (or enter) key.

Note that you can easily see which is the current activated cell, as it is highlighted in Excel by a thick black border.

Often in Excel, you will want to select a range of cells. Note that, even when you have a range of cells selected in Excel, just one of the cells within the range will be activated (shown by a thick black border). This means that when if you enter data or text, this will overwrite the contents of the activated cell, and when you press the arrows keys on the keyboard, this will activate different cells within the selected range.
There are several ways to select a range of cells. You can either:

  • Use the mouse to click on the start of the range and drag across the range that you want to select
  • Type a reference to the cell range in the ‘Name Box’ on the top left of the worksheet – eg. To select cells A1 to D4, type “A1:D4” in the Name Box, and then press the return (or enter) key.
  • Activate a cell at the start of the range, then press the SHIFT key. With the SHIFT key still selected, use the mouse to click on a cell at the end of the range.
  • Activate a cell at the start of the range, then press the SHIFT key. With the SHIFT key still selected, use the left, right, up or down arrow keys on the keyboard, to increase or decrease the selected range, by one cell at a time.
  • Activate a cell at the start of the range, then press the SHIFT and CTRL keys. With these keys still selected, use the left, right, up or down arrow keys on the keyboard, to increase or decrease current selected the range to the end of the current data set (note the selection will end at the next empty cell).

If you want to select an entire row or column in a worksheet, click on the row number at the left of the worksheet or the column letter at the top of the worksheet, or if you want to select the whole worksheet, click on the grey/blue square at the top left of the worksheet.

Finally, we look at the three ways to put a cell in edit mode. You can either:

  • Double click on the cell

Or, select the cell you want to edit, and then either:

  • Click on the Formula bar
  • Press F2

You may initially think that there is no need to learn all the different methods of activating, selecting and editing cells. After all, as long as you know one way to select a range of cells, why bother to learn 4 other ways to do the same thing? However, if you use Excel a lot, you will find that different methods are more suited to different situations, and that, overall, you will soon save a lot of time by quickly selecting the most appropriate method on each occasion.

The Acupressure Mat – Effective Headache Cure!

A short overview of what headache is, and how acupuncture, more specifically an acupressure mat, can alleviate or even cure headaches.

Let’s first define a headache!

To put it simply, a headache is a pain in the head caused by a variety of causes. These can be tension, muscle contraction, circulation problems, trauma, infections, even some medications can cause headaches (particularly when they are being withdrawn)!

One common way to define headaches is to split it into three groups: tension headaches, migraines and cervicogenic.

Tension-type headaches are the most common. People who suffer this kind of headache usually have mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head. The pain is commonly described as having a “band” around head which is being inexorably tightened.

Practically everybody has experienced this type of headache at some time in their lives, and some people are more affected than others.

Migraines affect far fewer people than tension-type headaches and have a much shorter duration but the symptoms are more severe.

They are more common among women and are usually one-sided. In severe cases migraines can force the sufferer to stay in bed for days.

The last type of headache to be separately described is the “cervicogenic” type. Pain that originates from muscles in your neck or from your spine can be felt in your head.

Who suffers from headaches?

Nearly everyone will suffer a headache at some point in time. There are studies that suggest as many as 50 million Americans may be suffering from more or less chronic headaches.

What can acupuncture do for headaches?

Acupuncture has been used to treat headaches from the earliest beginnings of traditional Chinese medicine.

All different kinds of headache are relieved effectively by acupuncture. One big plus with acupuncture is that there are no side effects.

Conventional medicine does not know how acupuncture works, but there have been lots of studies that show it is effective.

The “Hedgehog Mat” uses the same basic treatment principle as acupuncture, but instead of needles it uses acupressure points.

Simply relax on the mat, and the numerous acupressure points (more than 6000), will trigger your immune system.

Since the mat is in your home you can use it at any time, no need to make appointments and take time off work.

This amazing and powerful headache cure has been developed in Sweden, based on research done in Russia and the US.

How Soon Should You Have Your New Carpet Cleaned?

Let’s say you buy a new pair of jeans and start wearing them every day. How soon should you wash them for the first time? If you normally wash a particular pair of jeans once-a-week, should you wait one month before washing the first time? Of course not. So why do people wait two or three years or longer before getting their carpet cleaned for the first time, when normally they have their carpet cleaned every year or two? I’m glad you asked, because I know the answer!

Back in the 1960’s, professional carpet cleaners used high ph shampoo to clean with. When the carpet dried, the shampoo left a residue in the carpet that was like a magnet for dirt. So what happened? People noticed their carpet would get dirty after cleaning at a much faster rate than when it was new. They made the obvious and correct assumption that carpet got dirty faster after cleaning. Let’s move up to the 21st century now. There have been major improvements to chemicals and equipment, so that most competent cleaners now will leave very little if any residue in the carpet. The carpet does not soil at a faster rate than before the cleaning.

A second aspect of carpet is its ability to filter the air of dust/ well as pick up tracked in soil. If the carpet is not maintained on a regular basis including when the first cleaning happens, the ability of a professional to clean out all of the soil and particulates lessens. The carpet is like a wastebasket that fills up upside-down, from top to bottom. If it is completely “full”, it will be difficult for the cleaner to remove all of the soil. BUT, it will look clean. But since the “wastebasket” is still partially full, it will APPEAR to get dirty sooner.

These are two good reasons to NOT WAIT more than a year (or so, depending on the traffic) for that first cleaning. With regular and timely cleanings including the first one, your carpet can stay looking new for years to come. If you live in central Washington state, check out my websites listed in the Author Resource Box. Thanks!

The History of Egyptian Rugs

Looking for an Egyptian Rug?

Finding an authentic Egyptian rug can be a more complicated task than many consumers expect when rug shopping. In the current market, a majority of Egyptian rugs resemble Persian rugs, and very few designs actually depict the recognizable “Egyptian look” that consumers hope to find.

Each year there are only a few rugs and carpets that make it over to the American Oriental rug market featuring the traditional Egyptian style. For this reason, Egypt is unfortunately not described as a rug and carpet producer.

Despite the low quantity of rugs produced, they are viewed as some of the most intricately designed and highest quality rugs on the market.

Why are Traditional They so Rare?

Ancient Egypt artifact recovery digs have found hand looms that date back to 2400 B.C. However, contemporary Egypt weaving styles stem from a much more recent design era.

The most recent style of Cairo rug weaving actually dates back to the 16th century. The rugs woven in Cairo provide beautiful, entrancing color palettes in addition to their unique, ancient design motifs. However, by the middle of the 17th century, Egyptian carpet production seemed to cease all together, and it was nearly impossible to find traditional them anywhere on the market.

Current Markets

Then, post WWII, authentic rug production started up again in Egypt in 1952 as several companies refocused on creating authentic Egypt styled carpets. These companies currently employ thousands of weavers who want to learn the beautiful art of Egyptian rug and carpet weaving.

Still, only a small percentage of the rugs and carpets produced by them actually make it to America.

The Beauty of Egyptian Rugs

Typically, Egyptian or Merino wool or silk is used in authentic weaving patterns. This material is then dyed using synthetic dyes and machine-spun pile. Although the styles include Persian knot-tying and weaving techniques, the graphic design and layout associated with these styles differs from other Oriental rug styles on the market.

Typically, Egyptian designs and motifs feature geometric patterns and intricate floral designs. These designs are very complex and feature a wide variety of colors that can complement any living space.

Are they Worth It?

Egyptian carpets are difficult to find, and they can be rather expensive. However, a rug of this quality and beauty is a great asset to any living space. Though Egypt is not typically well-known for its rugs, the rugs are beautifully well-crafted and depict the best qualities of rug weaving that every carpet producing country has to offer.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Carpet Patching (But Didn’t Know Who to Ask)

A patch is one of the most common types of repairs that we do. We use a carpet patch to solve several types of carpet problems where small to mid-sized portions of wall-to-wall carpet have been damaged. People usually call us to patch their carpet when other methods to restore their carpet won’t work.

Common causes of carpet damage that require this type of carpet repair include carpet burns, carpet stains, carpet tears, carpet holes, pet damage (Bad Kitty!), and remodeling as well as worn traffic paths.

We remove the damaged area, and replace it with an identical piece of carpet. When done correctly, it’s normally, but not always invisible to the eye. Depending on the type of carpet you may be able to see the patch, but it will almost always look far better than what we started with.

Reasons why your carpet patch may not look as good as you’d like

* The patch is a different color due to the original carpet fading.

* The patch is new and the area where it’s going is old and worn.

* The patch has a gap or overlap in the seam.

* The carpet is running the wrong direction.

Start with the essentials: carpet anatomy

The greater the damage, the more complicated the repair, so it helps to understand what exactly your carpet is made of so you can assess how far the damage has gone.

Every carpet has several layers below what we can see with the eye. That top layer, which comes in various colors, weaves, heights, materials, and densities, (and which is the fun part to pick out when you go carpet shopping) is called the pile. The pile is made from many different materials: nylon is the most common encountered in both commercial and residential carpet repair, because it is relatively stain- and heat-resistant and doesn’t crush easily.

Most people are familiar with the fact that padding lies below the carpet, which helps give it its comfortable feel when you walk on it. This is the bottom layer. Common types of padding include foam (cheap), rebond, frothed foam, slab rubber, waffle rubber, fiber (such as jute, recycled textiles, synthetic fibers, etc.), and in some cases special Berber padding.

Between the pile and the padding is the backing, which is made of two layers and holds the fibers together so the carpet doesn’t fall apart. When the carpet is manufactured, needles are used to push the fiber through the primary backing. It’s then sealed against the secondary backing with very strong adhesive to keep everything in place.

Once you’re familiar with how your carpet is constructed, it’s easier to envision how patching works, even if you’ve never done it before. These are the basics of your carpet’s anatomy, and should help you in assessing how far down the damage has gone, which is an important step in carpet repair and carpet patching.

#1 Carpet Patching Requirement: Carpet Patches!

Just as important as removing the damaged carpet is replacing it with well-matched good carpet. There’s a few different ways to find a fresh carpet patch:

· In ideal situations, the new carpet patches come from spare scraps left over from the original installation. Always save the scraps!

· If you don’t have any leftover carpet from the installation we may be able to steal some carpet from a closet, beneath a radiator or from under a piece of furniture that you never move. (Now you’ll never move it for sure.)

· If your carpet is a relatively common style, a nearby retailer may have a perfect or near-perfect match that you can purchase. (The chances of finding a perfect match are somewhere between slim and none.)

· If you need to patch a significant area that matches the rest of the house (such as several steps in a stairway or a hallway, one great carpet patching alternative is to re-appropriate matching carpet from another room, such as a bedroom. Re-carpeting just that one bedroom means the hallway/stairway still matches the rest of the house, and costs a LOT less money than replacing the carpet for whole common area.

Basic Steps of Carpet Patching for the novice.

1. Removing the damaged carpet: Start by using a straight edge and a row finder. An ice pick or a Phillips screwdriver can be used instead of a row finder. Place the straight edge on the carpet with the groove side down. Use the row finder to separate the nap. Do this by dragging the point of the row finder across the carpet up and down and against the edge of the straight edge.

2. Use a slotted blade knife with a fresh blade. You can use a slotted blade knife (butted up against the straight edge to cut through the carpet without cutting through too much of the nap if you used the row finder properly. The more nap you cut off, the worse the carpet patch will look.

3. Choose a scrap of carpet that’s leftover from the original installation for the carpet patch. If you don’t have any leftover scraps of carpet then you’ll need to remove a piece from a closet or from under a piece of furniture. Some people try to find a piece of matching carpet at a carpet store but it’s nearly impossible. On occasion we will have the customer buy some carpet from a carpet store that is very close to matching. We then take carpet from a closet to do the patch with and use the new carpet in the closet.

4. Determine the direction of the nap. Carpet lays down more when you brush your hand in one direction than in other directions. It’s incredibly important for proper carpet patching that all the carpet runs the same direction. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell which way the carpet nap runs. All I can say is to keep brushing your hand in different directions until you really get to know the carpet. If you keep at it, you’ll figure it out.

5. Turn the carpet patch over and use the straight edge to cut a perfect patch from the back. If you are untrained, chances are that you won’t be able to cut a perfect patch. (Tip, use a fresh blade in the slotted blade carpet knife)

6. Now that the carpet patch is cut exactly perfect without any gaps or overlaps at the seams it’s time to seal the edges. You can seal the edges with latex or with a glue gun. Just use the slightest amount of glue along both edges so that there won’t be fraying in the future. Not everyone seals the edges but it is highly recommended.

7. The carpet patch is cut to perfection, the edges are sealed and now you’re ready to adhere the carpet patch to the rest of the carpet. The way we do it is to use a special carpet seam tape with an iron or with a hot glue gun. For the beginner I’d recommend using the glue gun.

Cut the seam tape to the size of the carpet patch. Line up the carpet seam tape so that half of it is under the existing carpet and the other half of it will be under the patch.

Use the glue gun to apply a generous amount of hot glue under the seam of the carpet. Slowly work your way all the way around the carpet until you have glued the carpet patch into place. (hint, have a glass of water right next to you for when you get molten hot glue on your fingers. A quick dip will cool it off right away and prevent you from experiencing nearly as much pain.)

When gluing the carpet patch down using the glue gun, pay special attention to the backing. You want to glue the backing down so that it’s butted up just right. Also be especially careful to avoid getting the nap of the carpet pushed down into the hot glue. It’s a mess when that happens and there’s no recovery.

As you glue the carpet together, push the carpet backing down into the hot glue using a carpet tractor. It’s a good idea to put a flat weight on top of the seam for a few minutes as you work your way around.

If you’re a novice, I wouldn’t recommend that you try to use the carpet seam iron to patch a carpet. It takes a skill that doesn’t come on the first try. You can get a better idea by watching the free videos that you can find on the main website.

How to Cure a Cold Sore – 9 Home Remedies for Cold Sores You May Not Have Seen

If you’re plagued with chronic lip or facial sores, you’ve probably done tons of research on how to cure a cold sore. There are so many people telling you so many different things to try. Here are a few home remedies for cold sores you may want to test out that reportedly work for a lot of people. Some, you may not even heard of.

Preparation H

Dab it on at the first sign of tingling. If you catch it in time, the blister may never form. Preparation H is intended for hemorrhoids to easy the burning, itching and swelling, so you do the math.

Ear Wax

This is definitely an interesting way of how to cure a cold sore. At the first tingle, put a little ear wax on it. I don’t know why this works, but it does for some people.

Nail Polish Remover

It stings, but an interesting remedy is to put nail polish on the sore. Hold it there for about five minutes, then put Neosporin on it afterwards. Do it a few times a day.

Tea Bag

If you already have a blister on your lip, apply a warm tea bag to it for a few minutes. Follow this with applying eucalyptus oil. Do this several times per day.

Alcohol-Based Household Products

You’ve probably heard of people who have had success by applying rubbing alcohol. You can also use other household products that contain alcohol like mouthwash, aftershave or hand sanitizer.


If you already have a developed blister, rub a fresh garlic clove on it for about ten minutes every hour. While it takes time to do this, it helps shorten the duration. Garlic is a powerful antiviral. You can also mash the garlic into a paste and apply it that way.

Instant Coffee

This was actually published back in the 1970’s in New Scientist magazine. Mix instant coffee – the dried granules- with a little water and apply to the sore. This only works with instant coffee, not regular ground.


This one’s a bit controversial, as some people are very sensitive to the chemicals in bleach. If you are one of these people, pick something different to try. Soak a cotton swab in bleach and apply it so it burns. You can do this several times a day.


Either when you feel the first tingle or even after the dreaded blister appears, put on some regular white deodorant. Deodorant acts as a desiccant, drying up the sore.

These are just a few home remedies for cold sores that I’ve heard are particularly affective. If you’re brave and looking for how to cure a cold sore faster, give them a try.

How To Apply A Lace Front Wig

Lace front wigs are the secret to many celebrities’ fabulous looking hair styles. Available in various textures, colors, lengths and styles, front lace wigs and full lace wigs allow women to have the hairstyle that matches their needs and their lifestyles.

Aside from providing women with great looking hair, another advantage of using lace front wigs or lace front wigs is that they have invisible hairlines. They provide the most natural-looking hair line among all available options and make a person look stunning.

Another great thing about lace front wigs is that you can apply the wig yourself without the help of professionals. Just practice the right way of applying your lace front wig and have great looking hair every time you want!

If you have purchased a new lace front wig and still don’t know how to properly apply it, continue reading to find out how.

There are two ways to apply your lace front wig: with the use of double-sided tape and using liquid adhesives to keep the wig in place. Some retailers sell adhesives together with the lace front wig so you should have no problem choosing which one will work well with the wig. If no adhesive is sold with the lace front wig then choose either of the two adhesives but make sure that the product you choose has been designed specifically for this purpose.

When using liquid adhesive, first place the lace front wig on top of your head. Pin back the wig hair in front so that you don’t end up gluing them on your forehead. Apply a very thin layer of adhesive on a small part of the lace front. Make sure to also get your real hair out of the way. You can choose to cut the baby hair or keep it out of the wig; it depends on the look you are going for. Press down the lace front wig on the part where you applied the adhesive. With a good adhesive, it should only take you about 5 seconds to press it down. After that part of the lace front wig is firmly in place, move on to the next section. To make the application easier, apply the adhesive to an inch of hair each time until you have applied adhesive and pressed on the wig from edge to edge.

When using a double-sided tape, cut the tape into 3-inch strips. The tape should be around 3.8 inches wide. Take the first strip and lay it on the patch area where the lace front connects to it. Make sure you attach the tape on the front hairline at the edge of the lace. Place the other strips of tape on the edge of the lace until you have laid down the tapes on the entire front side of the wig from edge to edge. Make sure that there are no spaces between the tapes. This should help keep the wig in place and also provide a natural looking hairline.

Tile Baseboards – Correctly Fixing the Tile Baseboards With Adhesive

With your tube of adhesive inserted and flowing correctly from your cocking gun, and your tile baseboards already cut to size, you are now ready to begin attaching tile baseboards to the wall. As a rule of having a nice cosmetic finish, in the most visible parts of your room use the cut tiles which still have the factory finished edges surrounding three out of the four sides. Keep the center cuts for hidden areas or alcoves where they are less likely to be seen, as these will only have factory finished edges on both short sides.

Keeping the factory edge facing upwards when installing tile baseboards, lay the tile upside-down on the floor, and then apply a ‘snake’ line of adhesive to the underside using the cocking gun. Don’t apply too much glue to the underside though, and try to steer clear of the edges of the tile. This will soon spread out when the tile baseboard is pressed firmly in place.

Once applied, release the pressure from the gun to avoid the contents from continuously flowing. Some adhesive may still flow out when this is done, so the best thing to do is place the nozzle end over the following tile to be attached to the wall. This way none of your adhesive will go to waste, and you will avoid getting it stuck on your fresh floor tile layout. The chemicals in the glue will stain the grout if given half the chance to fall upon it, so try to contain drips as best as possible.

Slide the tile baseboard up to the area on the wall where it is to be placed, making sure that it is in alignment with the floor tiles, and flip the tile up against the wall. Press firmly, moving slightly from left to right to gain an even spread, and then align with the existing grout lines. There is no need for tile spacers in this job, so if there are any off sized tiles, just align them as best as possible using your eye, and the glue should quickly hold them in place.

Continue as planned with the remaining tiles, and because the adhesive is very fast to dry, it is actually possible to begin grouting the gaps within about half an hour, or the time it takes you to apply all the baseboards. To be safe though, wait a little longer to avoid tile shifting if there is no rush to finish the job. If you decide to install transition pieces along the edge however, you must do this while the glue is still workable, These will give the baseboards a better finish and hide any visible cuts other than factory finished edges, although they are not entirely necessary and you will find that by applying silicon cocking can be just as effective with less expense.

One final tip: when installing tile baseboards in a room where the floor can expand or shift, for example, the second floor of a house, is that it might be wise to insert a ‘breathing’ gap. This is simply done by leaving a space between the tile baseboard and the floor tile, and can be done by using tile spacers between both in order to raise the tile slightly even just by 1/8″ inch, to then be filled using silicone cocking. If floors did have the ability to shift and expand, then you may find that tile baseboards in direct contact with floor tiles can tend to pop-off the wall due to this unseen force and exertion within the building’s structure.

With your tile baseboards firmly in place, you can then either choose to completely grout them if transition pieces are used to finish the visible top edge, or simply apply silicone sealant cocking. The latter choice will quickly fill lines and hide any gaps, and also apply a waterproof seal to them where they are attached to the wall. This type of cocking is reasonably inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors suited to match your tiling design. By again using your cocking gun to apply silicone, fill the gaps and then simply wipe and form gently with your index finger in continual, even, and singular strokes.

Steam Boilers’ Thirteen Essential Fittings in a Nutshell

Steam boiler is dangerous machinery, and for that reason, law is required to control every aspect of the boiler. Factories & Machinery (Steam Boilers and Unfired Pressure Vessel) Regulations, 1970, provided stringent requirement on safety aspects and controls on boilers. This Code stipulates that any boiler should consolidate thirteen essential fittings so that boilers can be operated safely.

The thirteen essential fittings can be grouped into three categories. The first category is safety fitting. Safety fittings include safety valves, gauge glasses, pressure gauge, low water alarm, low-water fuel cutout, and fusible plug. The second category is control fittings, which incorporate blowdown valves, main stop valve, feed check valve, and feed pumps. The final category is legal fitting, which incorporate inspector’s test attachment, registration plate, and manufacturer’s name plate. In this article, I would discuss some safety fittings.

Safety valve is the most important safety fitting on a boiler. It is fitted to prevent excessive pressure buildup in the boiler which could lead to boiler explosion. FMA Regulations 1970 stipulates that every boiler having a heating surface surpassing 100 sq.ft must be equipped with two safety valves, one of which must be direct spring-loaded type, mounted vertically as close as practical to the steam boiler shell without shut valve placed in between. The relieving capacity of safety valves is determined by the capacity of the boiler at peak load. The safety valves must be able to effectively discharge all steam with a rise of pressure of not greater than ten percent of the authorized safe working pressure (ASWP). The safety valves must be set to blow at different pressures. The first valve should open when the pressure exceeds three percent above the boiler working pressure while the other valve should open at a pressure slightly higher but must not be higher than the ASWP. The working pressure of a boiler is usually set at seven percent below ASWP. The spindles, disk, and other moving parts must not be made of materials that corrode easily.

Pressure gauge is the fitting that measures steam pressure inside the steam boiler. The Bourdon tube is the most common pressure gauge used on a boiler. The Code specifies that a pressure gauge should be installed on the steam space and provided with a shutoff cock and a siphon which develops and maintains a water seal, protecting direct contact of live steam with the Bourdon tube. A pressure gauge is usually mounted in front of the boiler in such a position that the boilermen can conveniently read it from the firing floor. FMA (Steam Boilers and Unfired Pressure Vessels) Regulations, 1970 stipulates that the diameter of the dial must not be less than 6 inches and must show pressure within a tolerance of two percent the authorized safe working pressure. The scale on the dial of a code pressure gauge must be graduated to not less than one and one-third and not more than twice ASWP.

A fusible plug is used in addition to other forms of low water protection. This device is not required by ASME code but is still included in FMA Regulations 1970. The fusible plug in watertube boiler is placed 3 inches below lowest water level while in firetube boiler, fusible plug is placed 3 inches above top tubes. In the event of low water, fusible plug will melt, the pressure inside the boiler is released, and the sound of escaping steam will produce high whistling sound, alerting the boilermen. However, the capability of fusible plug to quench the fire in the furnace is debatable because the steam rushed out is too small to have quenching impact. The hole of fusible plug is only 1/2″. Fusible plug is made of brass or bronze and contains a tapered hole. The hole is filled with tin which has a melting point of 230 deg.C. According to code, the fusible alloy should melt at a temperature of not more than 70 deg.C higher than the saturated steam temperature corresponding to the ASWP. For example, for a steam boiler of 10 bar, the saturated steam temperature is 180 deg.C; therefore the fusible alloy should melt at 250 deg.C. The use of fusible plug is limited to solid fuel and steam boiler having a pressure of 17 bar, which corresponds to tin’s melting temperature. Higher pressure would require low water alarm. That is why in a modern boiler, fusible plug sometimes cannot be found as it is replaced with low water alarm which serves exactly the same function.

2 Easy Recipes for Jalapeno Havarti Cheese

Havarti is a semi-soft cheese that has a mild yet slighty nutty taste. This cheese, originally made in Denmark, is a common addition to cheese platters, sandwiches, fondues and sauces. It’s also available in a variety of styles as flavors like dill, caraway and even jalapeno. The jalapeno variety of havarti has just enough kick to spice up for favorite panini, salad or entree without overpowering it.

Here are two ways to try this tasty variety of havarti.

Havarti Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese recipes are so wonderful because they’re easy to adapt. You can use nearly any type of cheese — or a blend — from havarti to cheddar, gouda and mozzarella. You can try this recipe with regular havarti cheese but the jalapeno adds a grown-up flavor to a meal that’s usually a favorite for kids.


3 cup pasta, uncooked

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1-1/2 cup milk

6 ounces shredded mild cheddar

4 ounces shredded jalapeno havarti

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, prepare a baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

3. In a double boiler over gently simmering water, melt the two tablespoons of butter. Stir in flour, milk, salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, cook until sauce slightly thickens. Add both cheeses and continue cooking until melted.

4. Drain pasta and layer in baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and stir gently.

5. Melt remaining butter and mix with breadcrumbs. Spoon over pasta in dish.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

Chicken Stuffed with Jalapeno Havarti

This cheese recipe requires only four ingredients. The spice is enough to satisfy the adult palate without turning away the kids, too.


Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 package of Dofino Havarti with Jalapeno, sliced

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Create a pocket in the chicken breasts by slicing into the side without going all the way through. Lay the chicken open.

2. Cover the chicken with saran wrap and pound it with a mallet until flat. You can also use the edge of a plate for this. Remove the wrap and sprinkle with chili powder. Add a single slice of havarti to each side.

3. Fold chicken closed and secure with toothpicks. Season with salt and pepper and bake in a baking dish, covered with aluminum foil, for about 30 minutes.

Moore’s Brick Cottages and Lake, a Trace of Vintage Virginia Expires

It’s summer in pre-World War II Virginia and the livin’ is easy – and hot as blazes.

Where do you go to escape the heat?

Moore’s Lake!

The popular swimming hole right off U.S. Route One between Richmond and Petersburg, was the most refreshing refuge from humidity and sweltering dog days west of Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It was a mecca for locals seeking a few hours of blessed relief and a major vacation destination for tourists from throughout the state. Folks were drawn by its enormous sand beach, water slides, the high diving board where giggling girls congregated to watch the boys show off, and the adjacent dance hall that filled the evening air with Big Band melodies. Everyone entering the bath house received a distinctive pin, later using it to reclaim their clothes after a swim. Today, the brass pins are cherished by many old-timers who wear them as lapel ornaments.

Tommy Crump, whose parents bought the lake and surrounding cottages after working several years for R.D. Moore, the original owner, recalls that hundreds of families from as far away as North Carolina came back year after year. Folks driving from the north to Florida soon learned that it was the ideal overnight stop both going and coming. For the locals, Moore’s Lake was the place to be and to be seen. It was inevitable that the sunny afternoons and moonlit evenings were responsible for untold romances. Many blossomed into marriage.

The sturdy brick and stone cottages Moore built in 1929 were the epitome of luxury when George and Lena Crump took over the business. They quickly modernized them further by adding bathrooms. As the Depression eased and tourists clamored to enjoy their amenities and the sylvan setting, they built more cottages throughout the fragrant woods until they numbered 38. By 1941, they had erected a restaurant and their own comfortable brick home on the property.

When World War II broke out and Camp Lee in nearby Petersburg was reactivated (it was renamed Fort Lee in 1950), some of the servicemen stationed there brought their families along and quartered them in cottages at Moore’s Lake. Several of their wives found work as waitresses in the busy restaurant that served three meals every day to cottage guests, local residents, and defense workers commuting to their jobs at nearby military facilities. To defray expenses, the older children of service families staying there contributed to the war effort by making themselves useful as busboys, dishwashers, gardeners, and lifeguards.

Tommy Crump, now 68, was a toddler then. He was closely supervised by a nursemaid as he peddled his tricycle along the scenic lanes to claim a tasty treat from the restaurant kitchen serving guests of Moore’s Brick Cottages and Moore’s Lake. Growing up in the roomy house his parents built, he learned to swim in the lake and appreciate the beauty and unique setting of the property. It was only natural that he never strayed, but chose to stay and raise his own children there.

In 1970, he and his wife bought the cottages, adjacent gas station, and the restaurant. Re-christened Sylvester’s, the restaurant was destined to become the most popular for miles around. Along with a mouth-watering prime rib dinner that drew crowds, the menu offered succulent seafood, savory soups, “croissant-wiches,” stuffed potatoes, and scrumptious homemade desserts, among them a double chocolate silk pie and hot fruit cobbler.

Moore’s Brick Cottages thrived until construction of Interstate 95 nearby lured cars and trucks away from the venerable Jefferson Davis Highway, thereby cementing the operation’s fate. With the advent of high-speed highways nationwide, families discovered the lure of the open road. No longer content to vacation a short distance from home, tourists sped from Boston to Miami in a fraction of the time they could chug along the obsolete two-lane road. When large motels and hotels sprang up along the Interstate to serve the long-distance travelers, it was not long before Moore’s Brick Cottages became superfluous. The buildings drifted into disrepair and those who came to swim took their chances without lifeguards on duty. Today the lake is little more than an unattended neighborhood swimming hole.

Sylvester’s, however, continued to prosper. It catered to a local loyal clientèle until December 2004 when Tommy Crump sold the property to a developer. The office park and retail businesses springing up on the bulldozed land will serve the town of Chester. Tommy watched with brimming eyes while all but two of the quaint cottages were demolished and their rubble used as parking lot fill.

“I feel an obligation to save these last two as a part of history,” he says. “I’m keeping one for myself and am having it moved to my property along the James River. I hope someone – or some concerned organization – will take the other and preserve it for posterity.”

With no takers as yet, time is running out. Soon only the ghosts of halcyon days gone by will hover over the property that is still sheltered by gigantic, aromatic trees awaiting destruction in the name of progress.

Raleigh NC Apartments That Approve With Bad Credit, Broken Lease, Bankruptcy Or Criminal Background

If you are looking for an apartment to rent in Raleigh NC but you have bad credit, a prior broken lease, a bankruptcy or even a felony or misdemeanor, you may be very well be denied. This is the frustration that is facing many people who propose to look for apartment housing in the largest city in NC without good credit scores or rental history. In the last few decades, apartment complexes have tightened their qualification requirements for new tenants and are not insisting on near-perfect credit before processing an approval.

The fact that you have poor credit or a problematic rental history does not automatically mean that every single apartment in Raleigh will disapprove you; but it does mean that things will be tougher for you in way of finding an accommodating leasing manager. You may have to search harder and longer and many applicants in this category actually end up giving up. If you are in Raleigh and are looking for decent apartment units but your credit is less than flattering, here are a few places to look:

  • College Park
  • Beckana
  • Brentwood
  • Cameron Village
  • Mordecai
  • As we mentioned, if you search diligently enough, there will be an apartment or two that will be willing to work with you. These are usually termed “second-chance apartments” and they do exist throughout the city but are hard to find mainly because they do not advertise. Their lack of willingness to advertise is solely because they want to keep their reputation as safe housing communities which accept only the best quality applicants.

    One way of finding these types of apartments is to utilize the Internet. The Net has plenty of search results if you are looking for apartments with bad credit in Raleigh. Again you may have to go beyond just a casual search and dig deep. Apartment locators can also be helpful especially nowadays when most of them charge nothing to help you locate an accommodating unit. They may know a place or two where the chances are high you will get approved.

    Remember also that even if you do locate an apartment that agrees to work with you, there will be basic requirements to meet. One of them is that you must have a job for at least 6 months. Your income must also be 3 or more times higher than your rent and finally, you may be asked to succumb to a background check to see whether there are any serious felonies in your record.

    Flat Feet: What It Is and How to Effectively Treat and Prevent It

    In this article, I will discuss flat feet. I will explain what this condition is and what causes it. Then I will tell you how you can treat it and what steps you can take to prevent it from worsening and occurring in the first place.

    What are Flat Feet?

    Flat feet, or fallen arches, is a condition whereby the arch of the foot collapses, and as a result the most or the entire arch of the foot comes into contact with the ground, rather than having an original arch in between the heel and ball of the foot.

    This condition can arise as a result of fallen arches, caused by years of wear and tear on the foot that weaken the foot tendons to the point that they can no longer support the arch. In children, flat feet may also be caused by failure to develop the arch of the foot during childhood.

    Another symptom of this condition is over-pronation, a biomechanical condition that arises when the arches of the foot collapse while standing or walking. This can disrupt our natural walking pattern, causing imbalance, and lead to additional and increasingly painful foot problems with each step we take.

    Complications of Flat Feet

    While the condition of fallen arches itself normally does not cause pain, if allowed to worsen, this condition can lead to a number of painful foot conditions, including plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, tendonitis, and heel pain.

    Therefore, it is not only prudent to take corrective measures to correct flat feet as early as possible following detection of the problem, but it is also a good idea to take steps to ensure that the condition does not occur at all through daily foot therapy. This is especially important for elderly persons and athletes, hikers, walkers, runners and others with active lifestyles who tend to put excessive stress on their feet.

    Effective Treatment of Flat Feet

    As a treatment for flat feet, there are a number of orthotics on the market that can be placed in your shoes to correct your imbalance while you walk by propping up an artificial arch under your feet. These orthotics can help correct over-pronation while walking and thereby correct imbalances that may lead to further foot complications.

    As a daily therapy treatment to exercise and massage the foot tendons and encourage formation and maintanence of the arches of the feet, the Japanese bamboo foot massager is an excellent and highly effective treatment device for flat feet.

    This device is actually a small half-cut of bamboo, about a foot in length. The natural hardness and curve of the bamboo is ideally shaped to provide a perfect counter-resistance to the arch of the feet, simply by stepping gently on it.

    This counter-resistance from the gentle stepping motion promotes formation of an arch in the foot with each step you take by working against the flatness of the feet to promote a natural foot arch. Therefore, this device is equally effective as a therapy tool for existing flat feet conditions and as a preventive tool to help prevent the condition from deteriorating into more serious foot problems.

    Firewood – Who Cares What I Burn in My Outdoor Fire Pit?

    May-be no one, except those sitting around the fire. However, many people do care what they burn in their outdoor fire pit or fireplace. Reasons include cost, practicality, ease of use, performance, health, even ecology.

    Since this article focuses on firewood, it is enough to recommend avoiding any temptation to burn solid matter other than natural wood. For instance, an outdoor fire pit or fireplace is not equipped to function as a trash incinerator, into which may be thrown any chemically-treated substance we do not feel like escorting to the garbage can.

    A frequent mistake by unseasoned fire pit or fireplace owners is using unseasoned or “green” wood. Even if lucky enough to get the fire started, tremendous heat would need to be generated to eliminate enough moisture for the wood’s fibers to burn. More likely, the evaporating moisture would continue to extinguish the fire, pumping even more smoke over guests and neighbors.

    On the other hand, using properly seasoned or “cured” wood results in a fire that starts easier, generates more heat, and saves your family from running into the street for air.

    As much as 60-70% of the weight of freshly cut wood is water. Properly seasoned wood has a moisture content of less than 25%. In fact, 15-20% is needed to burn properly.

    To accomplish this, firewood generally is cut to length (@16″), stacked off the ground in a way that lets air get to it, and allowed to dry or “season” for at least 9 months. Knowing this, it is easier to understand why logs that have lain in the woods for years do not burn well, at least until they are cut and dried.

    Although more relevant when heating your home than enjoying a fire in an outdoor fire pit, there is an important cost factor in how firewood is seasoned. For instance, if you buy your wood early in the season and properly stack and store it under cover through the summer, you will generate more heat for your money.

    Just sizing the wood correctly for your outdoor fire pit or fireplace will influence burn quality and ease of use.

    One immediate benefit from efficiently burning fires is less smoke, which is great for guests not wanting to grapple with smoke inhalation. Not only will this help convince everyone you are in control, it is better for the environment.

    What kind of wood is best for your outdoor fire pit or fireplace? There is little difference in energy content per pound amongst the various wood types. Density, however, varies greatly and significantly influences the value of firewood.

    Denser the wood, the higher is the energy content and heat generation. For this reason, hardwoods produce longer-lasting fires and coal beds. Softwoods burn faster and do not produce much of a coal bed. One advantage of softwoods is they ignite faster and function well as starter wood.

    The best hardwoods in terms of heat generation and “burnability” without heavy smoke include: hard maple, pecan, ash, white oak, birch, beech, red oak, dogwood, apple, and hickory.

    The best softwoods in terms of fast warming fires that produce medium heat and burn out before you go to bed: spruce, southern yellow pine, and fir.

    Ideal for outdoor fire pits are apple and pinon pine. One of the best cooking woods, apple is favored for its sweet aroma and the way it burns hot without generating much flame. Not so good for cooking, pinon (pronounced pinion) also produces a wonderful fragrance and naturally repels mosquitoes and other insects.

    So what’s the best wood to use in an outdoor fire pit or fireplace? From a practical, even economical sense, although various woods may perform differently and serve different purposes, the best is the one most available to you, easiest to split, that doesn’t arrive caked in sand or mud, and doesn’t leave sap all over your hands and clothes.

    Even more important is having enough wood correctly sized to your outdoor fire pit or fireplace and properly seasoned.