Ways to Quiet a Squeaky Hamster Wheel

Ways to quiet a squeaky hamster wheel.

About a month ago, I realised that one of my silent spinner hamster wheels was not as silent as before. Squeaking sounds came from the wheel as my roborovski hamster was running on the wheel. I was puzzled because I spent a few more bucks buying a silent spinner but it ended up making more noise than the normal ones. I Googled the possible reasons and solutions as to why my silent spinner was making these loud squeaky noises and came to realise the mistakes I have made and how it can be resolved.

Ways to quiet a squeaky hamster wheel

  1. Use non-toxic lubricant to keep your silent spinner noise free! Strip your silent spinner and detach the axle from the wheel. Use a cotton pad, dapped with some lubricant, to wipe the axle thoroughly. Fix back the axle to your wheel and your wheel will be as good as new!

    Some lubricants you can use:

    • Vegetable oil
    • Vaseline
    • Butter – wears out after awhile and you would have to apply it more frequently

    If this method should fail and your hamster wheel is still squeaking, then you can try the following methods to solve your problem.

  2. Instead of using a cotton pad to dap the axle of your hamster wheel, soak the axle in vegetable oil for an hour. Make sure that the plastic part does not get into the oil. After that, take out the axle and wipe it with a kitchen towel before fixing it back to the other parts of the wheel. This will prevent the vegetable oil from over-flowing into the wheel and getting onto your hamster.
  3. Another method you can use is to move your hamster cage into a closet at night when you are sleeping. It will not make the wheel quiet but at least the sound will be more muffled as compared to leaving it outside of the closet. Remember to leave it slightly ajar so that your hamster will have some ventilation.
  4. Lastly, and this should be your last resort, move your hamster cage out of your room.

These are some of the information gathered while searching for ways to quiet a squeaky hamster wheel. In the process of doing so, I have also came across 2 factors that might have caused your wheel to become squeaky and how you can prevent it.

Here are some of the reasons why your hamster wheels become squeaky and how you can prevent it.

  1. Rusting of axle
    I have read in forums and some ‘online answers’ advising hamster owners to use vinegar to rinse their hamster’s toys to remove odour. This is an excellent method to remove odour but vinegar will oxidise the metal and cause it to rust. Once it rusts, the process will be irreversible. So my advice is to remove the axle from the wheel before rinsing it with vinegar and water. Then make sure it is dry before attaching the axel back to the wheel.
  2. Wheels being used for a long time
    Because hamsters run a lot, the axle might get worn out in the long run. This wear and tear is caused by friction and can be prevented by lubricating your wheel frequently with the recommended lubricants mentioned above.

Conclusion

In my article, I mentioned 4 Ways to quiet a squeaky hamster wheel:

  1. Lubricate using cotton pad
  2. Lubricate by soaking
  3. Leave your hamster cage in closet at night
  4. Move hamster cage out of room

I have also mentioned the 2 causes of ending up with squeaky hamster wheels and how to prevent them:

  1. Rusting of axle
  2. Wheels used for a long time

I hope you have learned something new from my article and I want to emphasize that the lubricant use MUST be non-toxic. This is because the lubricant might get onto your hamster’s wheel and the consequences will be fatal if it ingests it. Another thing is, prevention is better than cure. So before your wheel becomes all squeaky and noisy, wipe the axle with a cotton pad soaked with oil. This will allow you to have longer lasting silent wheels. Wishing you and your hamster happiness!

Important Functions of a Business Plan

Today all entrepreneurs or small business owners know and respect the importance of a business plan. But to most of them the benefit it has for their company after it has been used for an investment remains hidden. Therefore, it is important as it plays an important part in the growth and development of your business.

Business plans are documents that clearly describe the goals of the company along with all major and minor details regarding it. It is almost like a blue print of how you plan to build your company or organization. At the same time it plays the role of a medium to communicate through for investors and banks.

Not only does it guide your company towards its goals and accordingly the strategies are thought of, but even the management of your business relies on the business plan. Before you have written a plan you only have faint idea about what you plan to achieve and the milestones you wish to conquer. After the plan is written, the aims are clarified and you set up a plan of action. It describes everything about your organization.

Its position in the market and your products or services , a brief background story, your target customers, your budgets, your finances, strategies etc. it contains all details regarding the amount of money you need for starting up or carrying on. It is a financial tool.

The final, ready business plan can provide guidance to entrepreneurs for organizing and creating ideas to move forward. It would also contain details of where your company stands now, where it is going and where it plans to go. You can break down the goals into milestones to be achieved in a year.

If you haven’t upgraded your Company’s business plan, now is the time, a lot depends on it.

You may wish to read more at: You may wish to read more at: Writing a Simple Business Plan and Sample and Example Business Plans for You

Switchword – Words of Empowerment

It was a book I needed to read. I do not know where it came from. I know I did not buy it. I do not remember anyone giving it to me. Suddenly it was on my bookshelf. Another book on self help and enlightenment!

All of the books I have previously read about enlightenment condemned the ego. The message is clear the ego is bad and one must strive to negate it.

This book "The Secret of Perfect Living" by James T. Mangan is different. Instead of trying to negate the ego, it suggests we encourage the ego to acknowledge the work the subconscious does. The purpose is to get the conscious (ego) and the subconscious (higher self) to unite. Instead of working against myself, I would be doubling my potential.

For me it is impossible to get rid of my ego. In fact, I have come to realize that my ego is not the problem. It evolved to help me exist in this world. It has done a wonderful job.

But the truth is that the subconscious controls and does far more than my conscious ego. Yet the ego gets the credit! The ego has become a dictator. There is an imbalance! So getting the two most powerful parts of me together to create a more powerful I, rocks my world!

The Secret to Perfect Living explains how to achieving unity of the conscious and subconscious mine. Part of this unifying process includes a list of what Mr. Mangan calls switch words.
Switch words are words you say internally that instantly unifies our mines to accomplish a specific task.

For example: you can not find your car keys, instead of wondering around aimlessly you say reach to yourself or out loud and within minutes you find your car keys.

It's so simple and yet it works.

Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Extended Review

The first thing to realize about Lexus's GS 450h hybrid is that the vehicle was not solely designed to be a fuel-efficient hybrid. The fact of the matter is that as a Lexus, this line is expected to consistently develop more impressive and sophisticated vehicles, being it gas-powered or hybrid. This is no exception, as the GS 450h is still a high-performance vehicle, capable to keep up with any other luxury sports car or sedan. As a result, car enthusiasts will always continue to enjoy and be satisfied by driving such a smooth and valuable vehicle.

Considering that Lexus is a name under Toyota, the technology in the GS 450h is just as up to date as is to be expected. The Hybrid Synergy Drive from Toyota is the technology that makes the acceleration much easier to achieve. Since the Drive technology can generate combined horsepower of 340, the GS 450h can rev and blaze down the road like any other sports sedan.

The GS 450h handles like any other sports car, with being able to reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and then can come to a full stop from 60 mph in only 123 feet. At its top speed, the Lexus GS 450h has been recorded at 131 mph. Part of what makes that so possible is the Mark Levinson system and the CVT technology utilized in this Lexus vehicle.

This beautiful vehicle runs quietly, smoothly, and with the top speeds for hybrid vehicles today. Amazingly, the Lexus GS 450h set out to bring together high-end performance vehicles with the eco-friendly necessities of the environment. And Lexus has succeeded in creating an elegant, chic, playful, smooth and luxurious vehicle has wins over other hybrid cars hands down.

The handling itself of the vehicle is extremely precise, with a suspension system to match. A speed-sensing steering wheel and the double-wishbone suspension in the GS 450h create the precise handling you've come to expect from a Lexus.

Fuel Efficiency and the Green Factor

In 2007, Consumer Reports reviewed the GS 450h and it was determined that this vehicle was an overall success, extremely quite quite reliable. Thanks to that report, people took note of Lexus's hybrid sedan, looking at the environmental factors of the car.

The EPA rated the gas mileage for the GS 450h at 22 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg on the highway. While not quite as good as Toyota's Prius, the GS 450h is still better than its conventional counterpart. The difference really shines through in city driving, where the hybrid gets 22 mpg and the conventional only gets a paltry 19 mpg.

The fuel-efficiency factor of the Lexus is easily accessible and obvious in the car's design, inside and out. Most notably it is in the two electric motors that operate during specific situations in tandem or separately from the gas engine. This way, the ride you experience is a seamless transition from one form of energy to another, while silently reducing harmful emissions and lowering gasoline consumption.

Another feature that has become a staple of the Toyota-brand hybrids is this regenerative braking technology that self-charges the integrated battery pack. When the brakes are activated, or even if the car is decelerating, the energy produced is converted into electrical energy, stored in the battery pack for later use.

Additional Features

The safety feature of the GS 450h are high-tech and near pre-cognitive when you need them. This hybrid utilizes a Pre-Collision radar system to detect oncoming vehicles. This way, even your vehicle can help you prevent collisions or incidences and in the event it can not, prepare for oncoming trauma. In fact, the safety features are prominent from the moment you step into the vehicle. You may not notice at first, but the moment your foot is on the brakes, decelerating, you can feel the seatbelt retract and the brake assist is instantly activated. As far as active, not passive, safety systems, you would be hard-powered to find one as extensive as in the GS 450h.

In the event of a crash, the hybrid is standard with dual-stage airbags in every location that would be able to protect you and your passengers in the event of a crash. The vehicle has airbags placed so that in the event of frontal impact, or other major collision incidences, everyone is protected on all fronts.

There are several other safety features of the GS 450h, and not all of them have been mentioned. The fully colored backup camera, braking assistant, and airbags have all been mentioned, but there is also an electronic Traction control, child-care system, a rigid body structure to the vehicle, crumple zones, and anti-lock braking systems leave you feel Well protected.

The next question is the one of price, and be very aware that it is a hefty. At the base cost, expect to pay about $ 54,655. That cost is already $ 10,000 higher than a conventional gas-powered Lexus GS, but considering the car's quality and brand, the price is near to be expected. After all, it is a Lexus, and the brand is known for expense, luxury and high-end quality.

So, if you find yourself in a position that you can spend the money to purchase a Lexus GS 450h, the vehicle will last you quite a while and will be well worth every penny spent.

Paradise Road

With my mother’s illness came a demonstration of darkness visible at the roots of it all that I couldn’t explain away.

I shifted the sand through my fingers. I counted my toes. I thought about people who lived though awesome, magnificent, terrifying blizzards and tornadoes on the other side of the world that I was just a spectator to. The beach was one of my favourite places to go to. It was a good place to come to and think. When the tide recedes the waves go with it. The dark sea waters are like pulsing, vibrating shadows. The sand is its friend.

Whenever I felt lonely I remembered those days. My mother walking ahead of me, barefoot, her hair blowing in the wind, across her mouth, a pair of her soft shoes in her hand, yet she still looked beautiful and elegant to me. Her glasses perched on the edge of her nose.

My father didn’t take the news very well. He became sadder as each day rose. He never drank in front of me but sometimes he would fall asleep at night in front of the television. My father and I never talked about ‘imminent death’, ‘cancer’, radiation’ and my mother leaving us ‘forever’; they were all just pieces of thought that hung in the air. We still shared the same space on this planet. We were still a family. But our daily routine was becoming more and more disorientated and abnormal by the day.

I told my mother when she lay in her hospital bed in the ward that she had nothing to worry about. My father and I would take care of each other. It wasn’t a lie but I was just making it up as I was going along.

I have sand in my shoes; sticky and sparkling like glitter, golden beads that catches my eye and spins like wheels in the wind.

I have no idea what happened to that dream of us being a ‘happy family’ forever. I wanted to see her again even as a ghost. I wouldn’t be scared I told myself.

Daddy is lonely. He isn’t sleeping. He is getting thin but he says he is happy. I know he is just putting on a brave face for me. It has only been three months since my mother has been gone. I pretend she’s disappeared; vanished without a trace, without a collect phone call, that she left without a sad goodbye. She left some of her clothes behind. It still has her smell. I can’t let go of that. Was it my fault she left? My father can’t explain that away that I feel it’s my fault.

At first she went through a lot of tests before they said the ‘C’ word – cancer. Then there was some kind of finality

I watch the surfers and the swimmers at the water’s edge. Gulls fly overhead while the gentle waves slap against the rocks from dusk till dawn; sunrise to sunset.

With the rain comes a pale March, an autumn breeze that rushes through me. The ocean is a very magical thing to me. It whispers its secrets to me in the fragments of shells and in the voices of children playing in the water; swimming in the sea.

I remembered when she painted the walls in my room a clean green. Sang me a lullaby to sooth my tears when I was a kid. When she gazed upon my bedroom walls were I hung my works of art that I did in middle school and when she was oh so serious, hip-deep in her work in the kitchen, her knees half-bent in her world.

I remember when my mother and I used to for long walks on the beach.

I remembered how she used to smile at me. When she told me I was her star. I tried to forget about how much pain she was in. The state of mind she was in those last days. I pretended not to care but my father made a better job of it. I cried every night after that for nearly a year and what seemed like six months. It only seemed to remind me of everything I missed about her, my mother, so my father thought it would be a good idea to move.

He thought being in a different country would solve everything but it didn’t. He had a new job even started dating but I had grown into a completely different person. I was growing taller. I always wanted to travel the world but I didn’t want to be uprooted from the only home I had ever known.

I thought that was what we had decided on; that she would slowly get better.

Now she went and gone and done it again. She changed her mind on me without consulting me. Her body gave up on her and she went as she came into this world. We weren’t there when it happened. We were at McDonald’s having lunch; we meaning my father and I, sipping our milkshakes through long straws. My father promised me after we got the news of her passing that I would see the sun again. It was normal to long for her, to long to see her again but I still cried myself to sleep that night.

Do you remember what you said to me, I wanted to tell him when he forgot to pick me up from school and when he forgot to microwave my supper. But I had to forgive him. He was suffering to. It was a long walk to paradise road. Baby steps. You had to count every step

“We had looked for brighter options all that ancient summer”. I was listening to my father as the kettle boiled in the kitchen. We were looking at albums.

My father was very serious in the picture. There was me, in my crisp summer dress with pretty flowers on; huge blooms, bright and cheerful. In the picture next to me was my mother when she was just a slip of a young married girl with a young, married life. She was wearing her hair fashionably, like the models of that time did in all the fashion magazines – dressing fashionably. My father was behaving fashionably, all gentlemanly-like. “Oh wasn’t that a perfect day on the town. Your mother was just a smitten girl then. She was so shy she wouldn’t even let me hold her hand. I called her baby, sometimes sweetheart but she would just blush.”

My head space was caught up with what I had decided to call ‘mind hurdles’. They were insecurity, self-esteem, self-worth, my sense about my body image, sense of abandonment, neglect, mood swings, anger-management, stress, sadness and depression. They were hard for me to take in. These were hard times. I was a teenager. I was growing up but my mother wouldn’t be there to see me walk down the aisle, help me with my hair, braid it or comb it lovingly like she used to do and help me choose my wedding dress.

We wouldn’t talk about boys. She wouldn’t be my best friend any longer. Who would I talk to when I had questions about when it was ‘that time of the month’ for a young lady? I had to create spaces inside my head where I felt safe. I couldn’t I slowly began to realise always rely on my father. He couldn’t always be there in the way I wanted him to be.

It was difficult in the beginning learning how to manage all of our emotions with everything that was going on between visits to the hospital and seeing my mother weak and defenceless. I had to grow up quickly. I had to learn what the words ‘inner strength’ and ’emotional maturity’ meant.

It will ease the strain some of the doctors said if we prepared ourselves fully for the trials that lay ahead of us. My father and I had to learn how to prioritise our time. We had to make ‘to do’ lists and place the errands we had to run in categories ranging from the most important to the least and we had write down any looming deadlines we had.

We were a family in crisis. There was my mother, tired and sad all the time. My father putting on a brave front for the whole world to see and me caught up in the middle of it all. All these brave emotions running through me like an electric current.

My father was wearing his socks and sandals more often now. Sometimes he even forgot about getting my supper ready. I could make breakfast for us in the morning before I got dressed and went to school. I made it special for him. Scrambled eggs, hot, buttered slices of toast with Heinz tomato sauce or Mrs. Ball’s chutney. He would inevitably get stains on his shirt from the sauce and would have to change his shirt. I would eat huge chunks of peanut butter bread when I came home from school to stave off the hunger pangs with coffee.

At night when I waited for my father to come home I would try to make something decent for us to eat even though I wasn’t really very good at it. I would put sweet potatoes in the oven, whole, unpeeled, I just rinsed the dirt off under the tap and baked it until it was soft and oozing the smell of syrupy sweetness out of every side. It left black blobs on the bottom of the oven that I had to use something metal to scratch off. If I didn’t and put in something else to bake like a macaroni and cheese or bread to make toast out of, the oven would begin to smoke and then the whole kitchen would be filled with this lingering smell of something that was burning.

My father often came home and found that smell just as he walked through the door. He wasn’t very pleased with me when he found me in the kitchen putting the oven’s switch off secretly behind his back and presenting him with my supper made in my own special way.

My mother was a very elegant lady as I’ve said before although some people will think she wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. She struggled valiantly but everyone could see the brightness in her eyes was just a façade. Yet we were all pretending in a way. We thought she had much more time but she didn’t. One day she was there, talking animatedly about the food she got served, sitting upright in her hospital bed, talking to us, smiling, laughing while grimacing through the pain of it all.

We watched this silent killer come and take her away. I tried very hard not to cry when I was with her because I knew it wasn’t very easy for her to see me like that; although I knew she would understand most of all, better than all of everyone that came to see her.

It hurt to cry. I could feel it in my chest. I couldn’t breathe. It hurt to breathe. There were knots and butterflies in the pit of my stomach and like butter she slipped through my fingers. She was gone. I was left frozen. The needles of icicles seemed to be stifling me and stabbing me in the heart.

When we said our goodbyes my father said we should just keep it brief because she got tired so quickly. I remembered all the mean, nasty things I said to her when I was angry at her. I remembered the time when she forgot to pick me up from a rehearsal of a school play and left me standing in a cold wind waiting for an hour.

I felt really sad about that. I thought for a long time whether or not I should ask for forgiveness for what I did and said all those times but in the end all I did was kiss her pale, damp face and tell her how much I loved her and how much I was going to miss her.

Then I couldn’t hold it back anymore. It was too much for me to handle but my father somehow he knew that. It was as if he was reading my mind. My father let me go in by myself. Other family members stood around him, shielded him from my demeanour as I came out. I went straight to the bathroom. Luckily there was no one else in there so I quickly washed my face with cold water. I washed my hands and I went out again.

My father couldn’t understand or rather he couldn’t make sense out of the bizarre meals I made for him sometimes. I had to pretend somehow that there was still something of her that still belonged to me even though it was just through food and preparing meals for him.

Sometimes he would work late at the bank. I knew it was only an excuse though when there was no more reason to go to the hospital anymore to visit her. I just missed her so much. I would think about her all the time. Like right in the middle of a test at school or a conversation with my friends I would find my mind wandering. I would find myself in the middle of reverie. It wasn’t unpleasant. I had fond memories of her.

My mother taught me about success and humility. She always said, “It’s not if you win or lose its how you play the game.” My father on the other hand taught me things like how our own society defined success and that was by climbing the ladder of social status and by how much money you earned. He taught me how the different denominations of churches defined success but most importantly how do you define success that would lead you to have both a fulfilling and successful life as well as a career.

After six months I could only make out fragments of her face in my thoughts from memory. We still had pictures of her around the house we had moved to. My father thought it would make things easier. In some ways it was. She was always different in the pictures though. Sometimes smiling, laughing, posing, standing still, caught unawares, dressed in a turquoise floor-length dress with her hair all done. That picture I kept next to my bed. It was my favourite. It was taken in her childhood home. She had never spoken much about her childhood and where and how she had grown up. I had always been unsure and confused by this. What stopped her from speaking about it?

Was she trying to run away from something that had frightened her, scared her half-to-death when she was a child? What was she trying to escape from? Was she blinking back tears in this photograph? Was she sad, was she happy, did she like her parents; or rather more importantly did she love them for who they were? Were they responsible for making her a socially aware and capable citizen of the world always feeling happy and free when she was with her own family?

I never felt alone or lonely because I didn’t have any brothers or sisters around to play with or to keep me company. My mother’s sport; tennis, her infectious humour, zest and energy for life, her enthusiasm for any kind of gardening project that she had in mind over the weekend more than made up for it. Our drives to the beach, swimming long laps in the Olympic-sized local swimming pool, our long walks made me happier than any kid could be. Most of the kids my age had friends in the neighbourhood. They were making mud pies while I was my mother’s confidante.

But from a young age I was inseparable from my parents. They lavished attention on me and spoiled me but they also taught me important life lessons.

When I was about five my mother decided to cut a tree that was on our property. It was a mulberry tree. I remembered eating the sweet berries off that tree. My mother plucking them one by one testing their ripeness and juiciness between her fingers and then she would hand it to me. The juice would dribble down my chin and leave purple stains on my clothes.

Then one day out of the blue off the tree came in the middle of the garden. This tall grand tree; magnificent and stately. And all traces of sentimental childhood memory with it. I often thought about what that meant. What was my mother trying to say? Was she trying to tell us something or did the tree just represent nothing to her. Was there a history behind her actions? What did the previous owners that left it behind think about when they first planted it? Did they perhaps plant to coincide with the birth of their first child?

I let my imagine run wild. Perhaps my mother just thought it was time for new beginnings.

There were times when it was hard for me to reconstruct my mother from memory. I liked the world better when she was around. She made things brighter and even more beautiful than they really were.

She wore these thick, yellow plastic gloves when she was gardening. She would mow the lawn. She didn’t play tennis anymore. She was the picture of health. She never taught me how to play tennis. Instead she took me for tennis lessons to six different teachers when I was at different phases of my life. It was a sport that I never really took to. First I didn’t really understand rules like ‘foot fault’, ‘ace’ and ‘match point’.

Not that there was much to understand about it. Some people would say the rules of the game were pretty straightforward to understand.

Honestly, I found the game boring to watch and I didn’t have the patience to master the game or learn the rules.

When we came back from our hospital visits in the evening I would make toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches. I would grill it in the oven and hungrily watch the cheese melt. Then I would boil the kettle and make two steaming cups of Milo. My father would sit at one end of the kitchen table and I would sit at the other. We didn’t speak much those days. It was early days yet, we spoke around the illness or so we thought.

My mother taught me how to love and that there were many different variables, solutions and equations and variations that came with it. Her love was warm and kind. It was tolerant and patient during the times that it was called for for her to be tolerant and patient. It was there even when she got angry with me over something I did. I could still feel those intense vibrations in the air. I never had room to question it. I could always recognise it in her voice when she spoke to me or my father.

Just now, I can’t stand him. I want him to pull himself together or snap out of whatever has taken hold of his mind. I want him to be my dad again. I want him to walk around the house whistling and calling out my mother’s name out from the top of his voice. But she won’t answer him back because she’s not here. This is when the reserves I have within me of bitter resentment, anger and negative energy over my mother’s untimely death seem to spill over into the air. I have no control over it. It sweeps all the loveliness and happiness I have inside of me that I have kept away from prying hands and eyes away.

Sometimes I feel my father doesn’t respect my space or my attitude towards certain things that I feel very strongly about. I can’t stand this place now. I can’t stand being around him here and being judged all the time. I can’t stand not being outstanding at doing something which I love; being in the spotlight like it was when I was on the stage shining for my mother. It’s not something I want to do again sometime soon.

It reminds me too much of her and knowing that her seat will always remain empty forever leaves me on edge.

Sometimes my father says I am just like her. My moods, my mannerisms, the things I say, the fact that I like books and reading so much (although I hate romance novels, the endings are too transparent; you know how the book is going to end from the first page already), when I think about something long and hard before I reply and my nose crinkles up and I get these lines on my forehead.

The day stretches on. We fill it up with car pooling, lists, priorities and schedules. He hurts. I hurt. We both have this ache in our heart that can never go away. There will never be another mother’s day in our household unless my father goes and remarries and I get a new stepmother. It’s not something I look forward to; my father getting out there and dating again. I can’t choose who he falls in love with; that’s not my prerogative. I wouldn’t want to anyway.

My father still sees me as a child. He called me ‘you’re just a girl, a smart aleck’ (we were having an argument) the other day but inside after everything the two of us have been through these past months I don’t think that’s fair. I hate the word ‘teenager’ even more. I feel more grown up that’s all. Not a girl, not yet a woman.

We had moved to Johannesburg or Jozi as the locals called it. It was hot. Sweltering heat seemed to melt everything in sight; my ice-cream for one and my pain, the pain that came from my mother’s passing into pieces of thought.

We live in a new house on Paradise Road now. My mother would have liked the garden that is here. Everything smells like dew, fresh and pure in the morning. You feel like turning over a new leaf or if I wake up and have a bad mood in the morning I just have to step outside with my cup of coffee, barefoot, my nightgown trailing on the outside steps and then I feel as if I have been welcomed into a different world. I see the world in different eyes.

It’s winter now. A chill has descended on everything outside even the shrieks of the children at play end long before night time. Dark clouds are gathering in daily as they often do this time of year; winter has come soon; rain closes in, plummets into umbrellas, eyes are shielded by hands. There are slick pavements, congested roads and traffic and the windows filled with cosmopolitan displays, some with mannequins in the expensive shop windows are now in blurred states.

I am left with a blank emotional slate. I cannot escape from the silence that fills my room. Some nights are bittersweet. Is my mother watching over me from heaven? Does it even exist? As I fill in the quiet moments with the beauty that is introspection, I am left an empty shell of a girl or perhaps it is just the weather that is making me feel so blue.

The support that we got from Hospice during my mother’s illness encouraged me so much that I thought about maybe volunteering for a charity, Red Cross, a nursery school or a not for profit organisation. I even thought about becoming a doctor or a psychologist. Working with people who were deeply impacted and affected by a death, untimely or otherwise, in the family and the unconditional love that they had for the person who died and the love they built up over many years struck me deeply. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to teach other people that hope is in the letting go of someone that you love and deeply care about.

The grieving process is not one that is easy. It has not been easy on both my father and me. It slowly gives way to inner strength, human will and emotional maturity. I’m growing up. There’s no turning back now.

Plant Fertilizers: Importance of Micronutrients

Even if you haven’t been growing plants or maintaining your home garden for a long time, the chances are that you’ve still heard of macronutrients. The most important of these are of course NPK or Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. These are the building blocks upon which you build your garden but they aren’t the ‘be all and end all’ when it comes to plant nutrition. You also need to know your micronutrients!

The essential plant micronutrients are boron (B), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu) and molybdenum (Mo).

Though not required in as large quantities as the macronutrients, these still play an incredibly important role in plant growth and development. They also develop a plant’s ability to fight off pests and diseases that plague most home gardens.

Let’s take a look at how they help the plant by taking each micronutrient individually.

1) Boron (B)

Living in a region with high rainfall and sandy soil? Haven’t checked the pH balance of your soil and think that it may be too acidic? Well, if your plants are displaying stunted growth or hollow stems and fruit, then your soil most definitely lacks boron!

Boron helps in cell wall formation which ensures plant growth and development. Processes like pollen formation, germination, and flower retention also require boron.

2) Chloride (Cl)

Chloride helps in a little known yet incredibly important function of the plant; it regulates the stomatal opening. Through this, it affects some outcomes, the most significant being plant water loss. The stoma is an opening on the surface of leaves through which evaporation takes place. The presence of chloride means that this is regulated so that the plant doesn’t dry out.

But in its absence, you’ll see wilting, widespread roots that are striving to search for water to compensate.

3) Manganese (Mn)

Necessary for that most important process of all, photosynthesis! Manganese aids in the metabolic processes in the plant, forming the compounds that are needed for metabolism to take place. If your soil lacks manganese, then you’ll see the effect in the leaves, as they develop brown/white/ gray spots that indicate decay. You’ll also notice a higher rate of leaf drop and delayed maturity.

4) Iron (Fe)

Not just humans, but plants need iron too! It is a cog in many plant processes, including but not restricted to energy transfer, production of chlorophyll, nitrogen fixation and acting as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions that produce energy. If the leaves of your home plant are yellowing, then they lack the required iron content.

5) Zinc (Zn)

Plants need a constant supply of Zinc to display the most optimum growth, especially in the early stages i.e. germination. Zinc also helps in the development of enzymes that regulate growth, produce energy and synthesize all the essential proteins in the plant. A lack of Zinc means stunted growth.

6) Copper (Cu)

The presence of copper helps in strengthening the plant’s cell wall structures by synthesizing lignin, which also reduces the chances of wilting. It is also a necessary component of nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism. Pale green leaves and dieback of stems are the symptoms of copper deficiency.

7) Molybdenum (Mo)

Molybdenum makes its presence felt in the process of pollen formation which goes on to affect fruit and grain production. It initiates enzyme systems that relate to nitrogen fixation in legumes so that symbiotic bacteria may grow easily. However, molybdenum requirements are usually low, so most plants don’t exhibit any deficiency in this.

Now that you’ve been introduced to these essentials start testing your soil for deficiencies and help your plant grow long and healthy!

How to Stop Being Late in the Morning

If you’re not a morning person then that’s often the excuse that you’ll use if you’re regularly late for anything that happens before noon. But, deep down, that’s all it is: an excuse. We’ve had alarm clocks for long enough now that you should know how they work and be able to set one. Ideally one that won’t stop just by pressing the snooze button!

But what else can you do to stop being late in the morning?

Work out the factors that are affecting your timings

Sometimes this can be as simple as realising that you can’t burn the candle at both ends and that you should go to bed earlier.

Sometimes it can be other factors but most of them will almost certainly boil down to getting a good night’s rest.

If that’s the case, make sure you go to bed at roughly the same time each night – we’re creatures of habit and that will help your mind to “know” that it’s time to go to sleep.

Whatever the factors are that affect why you are always late in the mornings, jot them down and give them a score. The exact score for each item doesn’t matter but it will give you an idea where the biggest problems are that are affecting your punctuality.

Once you know those, you can move on to the next item:

Work on one factor first

It’s much easier to concentrate on one area than many.

Don’t worry too much about which factor you’ve chosen although I’d suggest that you leave the bigger problems until later as they can seem daunting and it’s better to have a minor success on a smaller factor than a dismal failure on a larger one. The success will help push you forward and tackle the other areas that are causing you to be late.

Do some simple things first

Alarm clocks really are useful.

But the snooze button is often just taunting you to press it and you’ve managed once or twice before to reduce the amount of time it takes you to get out of the house.

Plugging the alarm clock into a different socket or putting your phone further away from your bed (if you use your phone as your alarm) could make the difference. If you have to get out of bed to stop the noise, make a conscious effort to stay out of bed and start your morning procedures such as cleaning your teeth,

Getting things ready the night before could be another useful step to helping stop you being late in the mornings.

Setting out the clothes you are going to wear, preparing your packed lunch if you take one with you to work, that kind of thing.

Anything that shaves some time off the morning rush – so long as you don’t use the preparation you’ve done as an excuse to have a bit more of a lie in.

Maybe it’s worth enlisting the help of a friend – so long as you don’t set your phone on silent overnight you could arrange for them to call you at a specified time to check up on your readiness for the day.

Tips on Touring Mount Isa QLD

As we drive into Mount Isa, the world's largest city, named so due to the city limits extending over 40,000 sq klms and the main street being 188klms long, the first thing that grabs our attention is the tall mining stack that is 266m high. (873ft) Mount Isa mines for copper, lead, silver and zinc. A multi-cultural and dynamic city in the Queensland outback, there is a thriving population of about 25 000 in town and 36 000 out of town on properties and in aboriginal communities.

CITY LOOKOUT shows you a constantly changing view across this outback oasis. It is easier for me to understand the beginnings of Mount Isa since I have read an interesting history book. I can really appreciate what the first settlers endured without water and suffering from the extreme heat and weather conditions.

THE UNDERGROUND HOSPITAL was built by the miners during the war in 1942 to prepare for Japanese bombing. In 1959, the present day hospital was built and the underground hospital was renovated in 1977 and now opens for tourists from April to September from 10.00am to 2.00pm. Closed during the wet season.

HARD TIMES MINE lowers you down 1.2 klms so you will experience something special. Your tour guide who has worked as a miner for most of his life, will kit you out in over-alls and cap lamps. He will tell you interesting tales of the old days while you are descending in the Alimak Cage. You can get up close and work the air-leg drill, and also feel the earth rumble when the blast face is fired. Tours run 7 days per week but bookings are essential.

PAPER MAKING is demonstrated at the Mill, Arilla Paper, which is located at the Old Mining Museum in Shackleton Street and you can watch Indigenous women weave their magic with local grasses, trees, reeds such as buff grass, spinifex and river gum leaves.

THE RIVERSLEIGH FOSSIL CENTER in town has some very interesting finds of fossils dug out of the nearby fossil fields. Tourists are able to share landmark discoveries with their resident Palaeontologist on a daily basis. These fossils are found on a cattle property about 250klms north-west of town. From 1983, the beautifully preserved remnants of thousands of inhabits such as giant pythons, marsupial lions and carnivorous kangaroos have been excavated from limestone rocks that are 10 to 15 million years old. Opening Times: 8.30am-5.00pm daily. Lab tours Monday to Friday 10am & 2.00pm (Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)

THE ROYAL FLYING DOCTORS CENTER can offer you an insight into this essential flying service. It offers vital care to the injured or seriously ill among the population scattered over 500,000 square klms, as well as regular clinic care to remote regions and inter-hospital transfers. This service has been available from Mt Isa since 1964, and is on call 24 hrs per day, 7 days per week. Pilots must be able to land on anything from roads, dirt strips and paddocks. Doctors and nurses must be prepared to conquer any conditions to get to their patient. Location is 11 Barkly Highway, Mount Isa. The Center Opening times are Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm. Entry by donation.

FRANK ASTON MUSEUM has great history underground too, and features exhibits of the local Indigenous people. There is also a lot of old mining gear and flying doctors radios and a huge crocodile skull. It is not only a museum, but also has a long 65m tunnel, with five smaller chambers and a large 100sq metre chamber, which was mined into the hill under the one of the town's early reservoir tanks. The museum features a simulated Aboriginal camp showing tribal customs of the district. The Frank Aston Museum can be found at Shackelton Street, Mount Isa. Opening times are daily from 9.00am to 4.00pm.

CLIMATE in Mount Isa is worth knowing as the cooler months are between April and September. The summer heat can be very stifling as day temperatures can reach over 40degrees Celsius. The city has two types of summer weather, hot and dry or hot and wet. The city rates 9.5 hours of sunshine a day and the annual rainy of 437 mm tumbles down in the 50 wet days a year. Summer night-time temperatures severely ever fall below the mid-twenties. The winter dry season will usually find the skies colored a brilliant blue, with daytime temperatures in the mid-twenties and pleasant nights averaging 12.5C. The lowest winter temperature recorded is 2.5C.

There are many other sights to see when you visit Mount Isa. It is also home to the second largest rodeo in the world, held every August. I find the history of Mount Isa to be so interesting and heart-rendering for the early pioneers with their exploits and adventures often leading to illness and death. They are truly exceptional people to be invited.

Sailing Costa Rica

I have sailed my whole life in fact growing up on Cape Cod it is practically a law for a kid in his teens to own a sailboat. In fact I recall my dad helping buy my first sunfish. I gave him the first thousand bucks I had saved in life working summers and he came back with my brand new sunfish. I remember I found a two wheeled pushcart especially designed to hand push the sunfish down to the beach. It had a metal loop just like the top half of a giant paper clip that fit through the centerboard hole with two inflatable scooter tires. Hooray I was sailing.

I live now in Costa Rica and still love to sail and have the true fortune to do the sailing Costa Rica thing with a friend and several clients that have allowed me access to their boats. We recently did a marvelous sail up towards Ollie’s Point and around Papagayo on a beautiful 32 foot Trimaran that really hauls ass if you know what I mean. The boat is so fast with the right winds that the dolphins were able to ride our bow wake just like they do in motorboats. In fact the wake as I recall assured me that we could have pulled at least 1 water-skier. Man was that fun.

We were sailing at the tail end of the dry season in Costa Rica which has a surreal beauty all its own. The transformation from lush jungle to dry California hills takes place in Guanacaste every year starting around December and lasts about two months while the jungle transforms from a green impenetrable carpet to a stark, dry, brown landscape of a desert covered with leafless trees.. For those of you not familiar with the weather patterns in the world’s last dry tropical rain forest (I know seems a contradiction in terms but bear with me.) The rainy (green) season lasts from April until December then the winds turn out of the north and the rain stops on a dime. Perpetual sunshine embraces the region for five months without a single drop of rain normally. The days are beautiful and warm but definitely a tourist delight. The dry sunny season coincides perfectly with the northern winters making Costa Rica a very popular destination for snow birds.

All the better for sailors in Costa Rica is that this time of year the winds out of the north are brisk and constant. On this truly fine day we had a north east wind pulling at 15- 20 knots that allowed us to truly have a lot of fun with such a lean lady and a captain that knew how to really trim that vessel.

We moored the boat in Playa del Coco for the after party which is always the custom after a day of sailing Costa Rica. Fresh seafood buckets of beers and a party atmosphere were really the perfect climax to a great day of sailing.

Solving Water and Corrosion Issues With LED Boat Lights

The number one issue confronting boaters when installing and maintaining exterior lighting is the effect the marine environment has on metal and electrical devices. Every boater knows the problems salt water can create, and metals and electrical components not well designed or properly protected can be destroyed in short order once exposed to corrosive salt water. Compounding the problem is the tendency for humidity levels to reach very high levels in the areas in and around marine environments, and when combined with high levels of salts in these same areas, they can really wreak havoc on equipment. For these reasons, it is critical to the longevity and reliability of exterior boat light to ensure the use of equipment capable of withstanding the effects associated with marine use.

The biggest problem for electrical devices onboard a boat is the constant exposure to salt water. Most metals are subject to the effects of corrosion in one form or another however, in the presence of an electrolyte, this process can become greatly accelerated. As you already know or have probably deduced, salt water is unfortunately a very good electrolyte. The corrosive process at work here is called galvanic corrosion, and it occurs when two dissimilar metals are joined together in the presence of an electrolyte. If we join two metals, such as a zinc bolt and a stainless fitting and expose them to sea water, we would see the zinc bolt rapidly oxidize until it eventually loses its structural integrity and fails. This process is constantly at work onboard a boat, and as a result boaters find themselves always faced with paying close attention to the metal structures onboard and keeping them well maintained and protected.

The issue of corrosion is even worse for electrical devices. This is in large part because of the electrical current that is constantly passing through them as they operate, which can serve to even further accelerate the process of galvanic corrosion. When we consider that the internal electronics of a device contain a wide variety of metals in their construction including zinc, steel, lead, tin, aluminum, and other metals, the issue of corrosion becomes critical indeed. If you need any proof of this, simply take a basic transistor radio onboard once and allow it to become exposed to some light salt water spray. The radio may continue to function for a day or so, but it is almost guaranteed that within two days corrosion will have attacked the internal components to the point of causing failure.

So what is the issue for the standard exterior boat light fixture? Probably the biggest issue with standard incandescent and HID boat lights used for exterior illumination whether they are spreader fixtures or simple navigation lights is the corrosion of the internal bulb sockets and wiring/contacts. Just about any boater who has serviced a standard spreader light has come across the all too common bulb permanently welded to its socket by corrosion. If the housing seal is less than perfect, or fails, it is almost certain that salt spray and high salt content humidity will contaminate the interior quickly begin the process of galvanic corrosion. Once this starts, it is difficult to control or stop, even if caught in the early stages, and most boaters don’t even realize it is occurring until the light fixture has failed altogether. Mounting hardware itself is constantly exposed to sea water and humidity, and unless it is composed of the most resistant metals, will also fail in short order.

A big part of the problem here is the difficulty in effectively sealing the housing on an incandescent or HID boat light. Although high quality gaskets and good tolerances between housing and sealing lenses and doors can effectively lock out moisture in all its forms, the constant exposure to UV light, heat, humidity, and stresses from a boat that’s underway will cause them to eventually fail. There is little remedy for this aside from a diligent routine of inspection, maintenance and replacement, and this can become difficult and time consuming to execute consistently. With all of the work that goes into maintaining a boat in seaworthy condition, it is just all too easy to overlook light fixtures until it is too late and corrosion has taken its toll.

By this point you are probably wondering how to effectively address these issues without increasing the already significant amount of time and money you are currently investing in your vessel. Current incandescent and HID style boat lights haven’t changed a whole lot in their basic design over the last 25 years, so something different may be in order if a true upgrade is desired. Fortunately, new lighting technology exists in the form of LED based fixtures that offer exactly the kind of improvements we’re looking for.

LED boat lights although still relatively new on the scene have advanced incredibly in design and function over the last 5 years. Their overall performance now far surpasses that of traditional incandescent lamps, and easily rivals HIDs for brightness and light quality, so we can pretty much do away with an concerns regarding the loss of light power in the quest for greater durability. The primary reasons why LEDs are such a good fit for boating applications involves their ability to run natively from 12 or 24 volt DC power sources, compact size, solid state design, and in particular their extreme long life and efficiency. Incandescent and HID lamps by their very natures just aren’t very long lived, and as result, any fixtures designed to use them must be capable of allowing frequent bulb changes. This means removable lenses and multi-piece housings that will require seals and gaskets to protect the internal components. After several bulb replacements, gaskets get worn, and leakage occurs leading to failure of the fixture as described earlier.

LED fixtures on the other hand can be permanently sealed because of the extreme long life of the LED. With operational lives in excess of 50,000 hours, these lamps can last for up to 10 years without requiring replacement, allowing manufacturers to produce fixtures which are almost impervious to intrusion from sea water and marine humidity. There are no bulb sockets, no glass bulbs, and installation and maintenance can be as simple as bolting the fixture in place and periodically inspecting the mounting hardware for corrosion. Add in that you’ll greatly reduce the power your lighting draws from your battery banks, and LEDs offer about as close to a set it and forget option as you’ll find for boating applications, and that alone means less time and money spent on maintenance and service, and more time spent just enjoying your vessel.

A Few Myths of Public Speaking

I took an informal poll recently among some speakers to determine what people tended to think were the hard and fast rules of public speaking – and see if any of those rules turned out to be myths.

From the time I first knew what public speaking was, it seemed there were a few statements I'd heard that were intended by help me become a better speaker. Or at least prepare for the next presentation I gave. Since I rarely spoken in front of people, most of those little sayings did not mean much. But I do remember a few of them:

"Imagine the crowd naked." The idea was that if you did this you had a little chuckle, get past your nervousness and get one with the speech. But really, can you get up on stage and imagine your audience unclothed? I think it would tend to make you get a little distracted! Nope, just forget about that. And concentrate on your speech. Myth Busted.

"Look over the heads of the crowd to an imaginary point and speak to that." The concept of this was that if you did not like public speaking, you could just speak over everyone! This does not work, either. You're better off finding a helpful of friendly faces – and there are always a few – and get eye contact with them. Shift your attention to the next one, then the next one, then the next. Soon you'll have maybe a half dozen people you can count on to be paying attention to your speech. Beside this core group, look out at some other faces in the audience to let them know you're including them – then go back to your 'friendlies.' It makes your speech go faster and you feel like you're talking to good friends. Myth Busted.

"Start with a joke." Heard this one only a time or two. But the plan was that if you got 'em laughing, they'd like you and it would make the rest of the speech go well. Trouble is, unless you're really good joke-teller – and your joke is perfect for your audience – chances are good that it will not go over with everybody. And where does that leave you? Up in the air, wishing you could get back on the ground. Nope, humor works better when it's used as part of a story, or when you use self-deprecating humor and poke fun at yourself in a light way. By using yourself as a foil, people can see you're a real person, and not full of yourself. You're more human – and that makes you more likable, which means that they'll pay attention better and your speech will be more successful. Myth Busted.

Beyond that, though, here are some other myths I've heard over the years about public speaking:

"A great speaker uses the learner." Not so. A great speaker dispenses with the podium or lectern and gets out in front of his audience. He concerns with them. The podium acts as a barrier. Break those challengers down if you can and show your audience who you really are. Myth Busted.

"Do not talk with your hands." This is ridiculous on the face of it. People use dramatic gestures even when they're talking on the phone and the person at the other end can not see them! That's the way we talk, so use natural gestures. Now, it may help to go through your speech a number of times and rehearse your gestures, but even with that, you can make them seem very natural. Myth Busted.

"Do everything you can to calm yourself before you get on stage." Trouble with this myth is that it sounds so plausible. Of COURSE you should try and calm yourself before getting up on stage. But here's the thing: chances are you'll be nervous anyway, so why not work with it instead of trying to get rid of it? Realize that being nervous is normal. Having adrenaline rushes is normal under those conditions. But once you get up and start speaking, you'll get into a rhythm, your speech will progress, and your nervousness will handle itself by becoming a part of your energy – your positive energy – which you are channeling into your speech. Myth Busted.

And finally …

"Memorize your speech – it'll go over better." Only under a few circumstances should you memorize your speech word-for-word: in a speech contest where you must meet certain time constraints. Or possibly where you are in a situation that demands you deliver the same exact presentation several times. Otherwise, you're better off memorizing an opening and a closing call to action. And even those who can be either very short (such as a sentence or question), or the beginning concept and the final action you'd like your audience to take. Otherwise, memorizing your speech can get you into trouble. What if you forget where you are? What if something in the audience throws you off? Then you're left to remember where you left off and pick it up – and that just will not happen flawlessly. No, the good speakers know their topic cold – and they know a number of ways to make the points that they're going to make. They do not read and they do not memorize; If anything they may have a couple of 3 x 5 cards or notes available. Myth Busted.

If you cling to the myth that only certain people can become excellent, dynamic speakers, I believe you're wrong. Anyone who puts their mind and body to it can become a professional-looking and sounding presenter. It takes work, time and practice – but like almost any skill skill, it's within the reach of anyone who wants it quite enough.

Male Slave Teasing Ideas

The best male slave teasing ideas come from the knowledge that your man wants you to allow him the pleasure of orgasm… but craves you to exercise your feminine power and say “NO!” right at the time when he wants and needs to orgasm the most.

So, here are three simple but effective…

Male slave teasing ideas

Before we begin, though, it’s important you understand one thing: hard as it is to see your man ‘suffering’ like this, and hard as it is to ignore his begging and pleading for you to be merciful and less cruel with your teasing and orgasm denial, you must realise this is what he wants, and if you do show mercy he will not thank you for it and will complain and say you should have been stricter and more forceful.

So, with that in mind…

  1. Restrain him face-up on the bed and with a generous handful of lube, take his penis in your hand and slowly slide your hand up and down. The lube is essential here because the sensations will drive him mad and the reduced friction will make it almost impossible for him to orgasm unless you really want him to. In other words, you are going to have an incredible amount of control. As you sense him getting close to orgasm, slow down and just before the point of ‘no return’, stop entirely and just watch his face. For added torture, this is the point when you can (and should) remind him he is not going to be coming for a long time, perhaps months. Once he’s cooled down, start again, repeating the process as many times as you need to so you have completely enslaved.
  2. Bend him over a table or similar, restrain his wrists and ankles, and then slowly milk his testicles/scrotum just as you’d milk a cow. You might find this hard to understand, but believe me, it will drive him wild. The trick to this one is, again, plenty of lube, and a two-handed motion with your finger and thumb encircling scrotum – meaning as you stroke down from the base of his penis with one hand and reach the bottom of your movement, immediately start stroking down with the other hand. Within a few minutes he will be begging you to allow him to come. I ‘treat’ my husband John to this at least once a week, and yet he is now allowed just one orgasm a year. As you can imagine, this keeps him in line.
  3. Use him as a ‘toy’ but don’t ever let him inside you.This takes a lot of self control. In essence you use his penis as a ‘toy’, stroking it around your sex to stimulate you, but all the while taking care NOT to let him inside you and definitely not allowing him to orgasm. This is best done with you on top, but you can do it the other way, too, by lying underneath him.

Some women women like to keep their slaves entirely chaste, as in giving them no sexual contact at all. I think this is a mistake because it’s easy for a man to get bored of this, and if there’s nothing to look forward to, then there’s no reason for him to obey or to be diligent in serving you.

To my mind, one orgasm a year is enough for him to be looking forward to, yet allows for regular and very cruel teasing as I’ve just described.

You know the Internet is full of hype and nonsense about orgasm denial and male chastity, and if you’re SICK and TIRED of it, then get sane, sensible and sound advice from a genuine 24/7 couple who are living this lifestyle for real.

How To Decorate Your Home With Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is becoming increasingly popular in homes and for good reason. The end result of this type is nothing short of luxurious. There are several ways in which polished concrete can be used to elevate the aesthetics of your house.

Read on to find out how you can incorporate polished concrete into your house to make it look more elegant and stylish.

Concrete Flooring

Polishing is a great way to improve the overall look of your house. One of the most popular methods of this flooring is diamond grinding. Polishing machines with diamond abrasives and a resin matrix are used to polish it when the floor is used by the diamond grinding method.

When they have been polished with the diamond grinding technique, you are left with a surface that is smooth and shiny. Polishing is being opted for increasingly because it is a very cost efficient way of mimicking the look of natural stone like marble and granite.

Coloring concrete flooring with stains is also a great way to make it look appealing. With acid staining, people will never have to deal with boring and dull solid-colored cement floors again! The possibilities with staining are almost endless. When stained concrete is polished, the floor not only becomes more attractive but also looks more personalized.

Concrete Countertops

Installing countertops is one of the most common ways in which people incorporate polished concrete into their homes. Counters are becoming popular among homes for a number of reasons. Countertops, like flooring, can be stained to exhibit designs and patterns of your liking. Being the most prominent part of a kitchen, people love different counters because of their ability to be personalized and designed in almost any way.

As in the case of concrete flooring, when concrete countertops are polished, they too have seamlessly shiny surfaces which not only look luxurious, but add to the appeal and aesthetics of kitchens.

Concrete Furniture

Whether furniture is needed for the bathroom, or for kitchens, this kind of furniture can be used anywhere. Technology has allowed concrete furniture to become not only more light weight, but also an extremely durable addition to the interior of homes. Owing to years of research, it is now even possible to customize and personalize concrete furniture in a way that it does not look too rigid or uncomfortable. When the furniture is polished, the final result is really spectacular! I hope this new information will helped you be more knowledgeable to make practical decisions for your liking.

Coffee and Acid Reflux – Can You Drink Coffee and Still Avoid Heartburn?

I love coffee, and I drink it everyday. In the past, I suffered from acid reflux, and I had a flare-up if I even thought about drinking coffee. It became so bad that my throat would burn most of the day, and I had to sleep with my head elevated.

In retrospect, I realized I was consuming too many trigger foods, the worst of which was coffee. I'd drink coffee daily, and every time I'd get heartburn. It did not take a doctor to determine that there was a link.

Actually, medical researchers have determined that coffee does not cause acid reflux. That is, if you do not already have acid reflux, coffee will not give you the condition. However, it sure can exacerbate an existing condition and induce a flare-up. Caffeine is widely known to be a major trigger food for people with heartburn.

The market is full of remedies for these conditions. Most are effective at relieving the burning. Some – known as proton pump inhibitors (eg, Prilosec) – completely shut down the acid pumps in the stomach. Proton-pump inhibitors are often expensive, and long-term effects of using them is unknown.

The most gentle and effective way to stop food-induced acid reflux is to either stop consuming coffee and other trigger foods, or find a way to reduce the acid in these foods.

Fortunately, there is an inexpensive way to do this with a product that combines calcium and phosphorus. Prelief is a small pill taken with food (or dissolved in coffee) that safely takes the acid out of food. Unlike almost every other product on the market, it does not affect your stomach acid – it simply makes trigger foods safe again. Prelief is safe and inexpensive.

Check out the link below to learn how you can avoid acid reflux and still consume coffee (and wine, tomato-based dishes, etc.).

How the 3 Degree Rule Torpedoes Quality Systems

When you are engaged in developing 5s, IS0 9001, Lean Manufacturing, 6 Sigma, TQM or Kanban quality systems, you might find that you need to think about the equipment that helps deliver a result that exceeds your expectations. After all you would not attempt to tackle a sport, such as rock climbing or skiing, without being properly kitted out. I have visited thousands of businesses over the years and they frequently fall into the same trap.

There are some very simple mindsets that can transform your business and turn it into a powerhouse of great ideas and, more importantly, a hive of activity delivering your business promise on time, in time and in tip top condition.

The power of the 3 degree rule provides you with the opportunity to ensure that the business and its constituent parts are all correctly aligned towards the project. The result of this will alert and focus the requirements of the project to enable both correct training and therefore structure which in turn will highlight any shortcomings in equipment and supporting procedures. Leading the field in your business requires good supporting equipment. Materials handling and storage systems play a vital role in ensuring you operate efficiently and that you are making the right meaningful changes in your business.

Whose fault is it?

A Total Quality Management standard must include fail safe systems. The Clio car bonnet which is supposedly to have a fail safe device to prevent it from opening when the car is moving was clearly not safe and worse still the manufacturer was content to brake maintenance procedures. There is also Chernobyl, the Gulf Oil Disaster and of course Iraq, the worst political disaster since the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. No wonder, and thank goodness, we are holding back on Libya. Getting things right is not easy. All of these events are knee deep quality systems and complicated procedures. With so much checking being done how come we keep keep so many disasters! There is an easy answer. When 'thy will be done' becomes 'my will be done' you have a recipe for a 'project train smash'.

The right attitude is the 3 degree approach

You can get anything airborne, just give it a good kick, even flying is easy but landing takes a cool head and practice. The more dangerous, complicated or special something is the more training and planning is required. An aircraft that attempts to land at less than a 3 degree angle of approach gets a sore nose, more than 3 degrees and the tail plane is likely to plant itself in the runway. Additionally, there are always 3 other aspects you need to get right to achieve this. In flying terms they are Pitch, Roll and Yaw, so 3 is the magic number. In other words if the pilot adopts the wrong attitude he will crash and burn every time. There can only be one attitude to safely land a plane and that is at 3 degrees.

Your attitude is a very complicated place but there is one thing tougher and that is someone else's attitude. Attitude is a condition of approach, willingness and confidence, which is why the best quality systems work hard on hearts and minds. Ask three witnesses the same question and you will get three different answers because they are in three different positions and all see the same thing differently.

My point is that the 3 degree rule torpedoes quality systems every time because it is not a procedure so much as an attitude and the real challenge is attitude. This can not be taught because it is governed by emotion with raw energy. Raw energy distracts commitment and this is the reason we have team talks to harness the energy and motivation.

What the Icons do

I wonder if David Beckham thinks I wish I could play as well as Frank Lampard. What would happen if the Ferrari team tripped at the critical moment during a pit stop, or who does the Queen wish she is like. Can you imagine Filipe Massa saying " how much for that engine, have you anything a bit cheaper? ' Or David Beckham going to Matalan for his next designer outfit. Reinhold Messner, one of the world's greatest climbers, did not start out 47 years ago in the 1960s with the materials or equipment we have for climbing today, no mobile phone or satnav for him No, the only thing these very ordinary people share is an amazing attitude and that is what sets them apart.

The sheer bloody minded determination that there is no place for second best, that you are 'The' one and that you are going to do it right and best with all that that means, and you want it more than the air you breathe. Now that is attitude!

Reality Checks

The 3 degree rule states that if you approach any task with the wrong attitude you will fail. The largest single cause of this type of failure is not seeing yourself in your right place and your total role in the whole setting in which you find yourself. In other words you are seeing things as you would like them to be instead of as they are. Until or without you start with what is, you are never going to achieve what is needed so any goal is just a good idea and can never become a reality. The difference is that you have to jump in, get involved, train, gear up for the task, get informed and practice every second of the day.

Many couples never really get married, they can not, they are already married to the idea of ​​how marriage should be. You would think that would make for an impressive failure statistic would not you? The reality then hits them and they spend their lives chasing a goal which is never going to happen because they failed to see the key elements of what makes a successful, happy marriage. All champions have learned this, never a black belt was won without turning up to the training sessions and you do not go up Everest on Sunday afternoon after a heavy lunch.

So, first of all, you need to discover in yourself that you really want and need to do this, that you are teachable and that you are prepared to invest the time and money to gear up to do it correctly, not cheapskate it and not Just pay lip service to it. You need to equip and practice everyday with this equipment.

A Quality System in 12 weeks (not recommended)

When I was in my 20's I bought in an impressive Ministry of Defense contract by ensuring that their quality standard was implemented and I did it in a few weeks. I reported this to a prospective employer some years later and was given a job as managing director. I was then given 12 weeks to take 25 Homer Simpsons Up to this quality standard or hand in my car keys along with my career. I have never forgotten it. It was a throw away line at an interview that grabbed me by the throat on my first day in the job! Just for the record I did it in under the time and we kept a Home Office contract thatave me the time needed to reverse the misfortunes of the company.

Remember that joyful feeling when they offered you the job

You now see yourself in the totality of it all. Remember how you felt when you were told you had the job in the first place! (Great I hope). You need to feel like this every day. The first few days in a new job are always exhausting but the positive feeling you have is the same one you need to deliver a successful quality project. It is the lack of this positive drive which will sink your hard work every time. Of course if you are already a black belt you will have developed this mindset and so the next stage is raising up.

You also need the right routes and carabiners, in the right documented condition and you will want to know who you bought them from and how old they are. More importantly though you must have them at your fingertips ready to pack, deploy and use and for that you will need a storage and handling system.

What you get when you are not geared up

Workbenches, lifting equipment, shelving, bins, feed systems and transport are part of all quality systems and they are often overlooked because of their cost but without this equipment, or still still the wrong equipment, this is what you get:

  • Waiting Time
  • Rejects
  • Re-Work
  • Shortages
  • Injuries
  • Slow productions times
  • Time wasting journeys in the work place
  • Too much or far too little
  • Wasted investment in equipment which stands idle

The wrong gear is worse that no gear

The amount of people who buy yard trucks because they can not afford the correct handling equipment defies belief. It is the equivalent of using baler twine to go up the North Face of the Eiger. Yard trucks, although very successful, are single handledly responsible for billions of pounds worth of damage, delays and time wasting because they cause a domino effect in the work place and here is how it happens: –

Yard trucks need 4m aisles in which to operate so your pallet racking has to be 4m apart face to face, but you have already bought a factory unit too big and suddenly you are out of room, half the operating space you need, so now you Buy bigger and double your costs. You may think this sounds ridiculous but it was common place in the early 1990s and it still happens. Yard trucks in restricted spaces are demolition machines. New managers often come and they are faced with fleet costs that they are tied into several years and are punitive to exit so they are paralysed and caught up in a time warp. Sometimes in busy operations one type of equipment is allocated on a 'one size fits all basis'. I'm sorry Mr Schumacher, but the managing director of Mercedes says you have to use this 950 cc engine for the next race because we have a cheap batch of them rejected from our engine plant and they are good enough for racing, and by the Way we have some redundant gear boxes left over from the Smart car production line. Someone from the test line has a day off next week and has agreed to fit one for you. I know the race is this Saturday but the managing director says you are low priority. It is just so stupid as to be inconceivable, yet this mindset of 'mend and make do' is exactly why we have a 75% drop in manufacturing, with millions of job losses and why we have lost the majority of our engineering capability in the UK to foreign competition.

Why the true cost of the wrong equipment is 3.5 times more than you would have paid for the right top quality item and how it drags your business down into its substandard performance

Why, just because it is for work, does it have to be cheap? Sack barrow imports from China last up to 28 times less than correctly constructed UK products. I see them everywhere I go, bent, broken and buckled, but they are still sold for £ 15.00 each, sometimes 3 times this price, with a 400kgs safe working load which is but rubbish, but they are so cheap nobody questions it. These are 28 times more expensive to buy because they do not work, but they are very cheap! How does £ 420 each now seem for a cheap sack barrow! The right one made in the UK is much, much cheaper. There is also all the administration time to order the replacement and the wasted time. 5 human trips without the sack barrow to do the job plus the closed muscles and the time off work because of back injury. What distracts the buyer is that he sees the right thing as being 8 times more expensive than the wrong thing, and because of a lack of understanding, goes for the price because it is so cheap it does not matter, it is a disposable item. This decision plants the company's backside firmly in the runway! So if you ever thought training was expensive, wait until you try ignorance. The solution is to call in a materials handling engineer and not to buy off the page. He would have cost nothing and saved you £ 430 too! In addition a materials handling engineer to commercial operations is the equivalent of having the best free week's skiing off piste, all expenses paid, in the Alps courtesy of an instructor. No quality program is complete without expert equipment, advice on procurement, application and specification. You can not tell that by watching at the page of a catalog. The supplier wants you to buy what they make most money on and not what delivers the best performance for you. Half the equipment in catalogs is placed in the range by people who are not engineers, do not understand it and have no idea or interest in what you do because they are too busy doing what they do. My point is that if you gear up correctly with the right equipment from the right places and people you can expect:

  • Minimally a 30% increase in output
  • Right first time products
  • No extra time wasted on re-work
  • No stoppages due to shortages
  • Better attendances
  • Faster production times
  • More output from the same people
  • Correct volumes and reduced work in progress costs
  • Fully employed production plant and handling equipment

Less is more

Correctly applied materials handling, storage and distribution systems take up half the space or even less than that of their competitors and produce two to three times more with less equipment and people but if you go and look at what they bought you will not understand how on Earth they ever managed to afford it because on the face of it, it cost a fortune.

Materials handling, storage and distribution equipment plays a vital part in all quality systems. It means vital equipment has a well thought out role, a place and condition. Workbenches, tool stations and small parts are where they should be ready for use. Waste and scrap are kept out of sensitive areas and you spend less time counting, looking, reaching and tidying up.

The fact is that people who enlist quality engineering equipment, advice and design support outperform those who do not by a significant margin when it comes to quality assurance business results.