Reykjavik Beach Club

No, well get out your beach towels. For, on a beautiful, sunny and calm summer day, admittedly a rare meteorological occurrence at this latitude, you may want to visit Nautholsvik (pronounced “nay-tolls-veek”) for a day at the beach. Yes, there’s a beach in Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, and on very good day you can sunbathe, play volleyball, build sandcastles and even swim. Truth be told you could do many of these things on any day just not in a swimsuit. Iceland is famous, or shall I say notorious, for its capricious weather.

That’s not to say that there isn’t nice weather here. It just won’t stay that way and warm days are somewhat rare, all of which creates a sense of urgency to get out and soak up the sun. The day I visited Reykjavik’s “thermal beach,” as it is called here, was on a particularly splendid Saturday in July, the skies were clear, the winds calm and the temperature was about 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit) — downright warm for Iceland.

Nautholsvik is situated in a nice little cove at the mouth of a small bay and is not far from downtown Reykjavik. If you are ever here and want to find this beach just locate the Reykjavik Airport and follow the road that parallels the runway to the end. Yes, it is right near an airport but it is just a small regional airport for domestic flights and not a big noise disturbance. On the contrary, it’s kind of interesting to see the various small aircraft taking off and landing. Nautholsvik is mostly man-made: the sand was brought from elsewhere and the ocean swimming area artificially created. It has two fresh water swimming/wading pools more like oversized hot tubs, called hot pots, both with heated fresh water. The two hot pots are kept at about 38 degrees Celsius (about 100 Fahrenheit) and the ocean swimming area is about 30 degrees Celsius (about 86 Fahrenheit).

There’s a nominal charge of 200 kronur (about $2.75) per person to swim in the hot pots; other then that the beach is free. There’s also a nice building adjacent to the rectangle shaped pool where you can borrow a locker, change into your swimsuit and buy ice cream and other snacks. The whole thing is run by a city wide organization called Íþrótta Og Tómstundaráð Reykjavíkur (a mouthful), ÍTR for short. They are the same organization that’s in charge of all the pools and spas in Reykjavik.

Your day at Nauthólsvik can include most of the standard beach activities – sorry, no surfing. It even has a very nice paved walkway that follows the ocean, circling around the airport in one direction and following along the bay in the other direction. People rollerblade, walk, run and bicycle along this route. There’s even a small coffee house near the beach sporting a traditional Icelandic sod roof. There you can have the refreshment of your choice and watch the people go by or daydream about traveling to an island way out in the North Atlantic, just below the Arctic Circle. Wait that´s where I am! And, I can’t help but be almost constantly amazed by the irony of this place given its global position. Planet Earth is an amazing, beautiful and diverse place.

Nautholsvik used to be just the site of a small, natural hot water stream that fed into the ocean and Icelanders have been coming here to bath for years. Though I wonder how warm the bathing area was back then with just a small hot water stream flowing into the bay. This spot is no longer dependent on a small stream and has its own connection to the city’s hot water supply which, coincidentally is located in five huge tanks on the hill above the beach at a site called Perlan (the pearl). Iceland has hot water in spades; it is the lifeblood of this country. And, it is used for just about everything, from home heating to warming the ocean water for swimming. Let’s face it without this abundant hot water swimming here would be unbearable.

It is redundant and almost cliché to say that Iceland is a land of extremes and contrasts, I know. But, the truth is, everywhere you look you are reminded of this fact. Nauthólsvík is just another example of this. Iceland is a beautiful country and there is so much more to see. It can also be a harsh land. These contrasts come together to create an atmosphere and mood that is totally unique. And, when the weather decides to cooperate and the sun shines and the sky is clear, I have rarely seen a more beautiful place than here. The views go on and on as far as the eye can see, the air is clean and clear and the temperature can soar – well, sort of. So, if you come to Iceland, don’t forget your sunscreen.

Sump Pump Installation for Do-It-Yourselfers

According to recent surveys, over 85% of all homes with basements will experience some form of wet basement problems in their lifetime. Installing a sump pump in the basement can be a great benefit, even if it’s only to keep the water from getting deep or to act as a floor drain.

What To Buy

Sump pumps are generally sold according to the horsepower rating of the pump motor. You will see ¼ horsepower, 1/3 horsepower and ½ horsepower pumps available. Although the horsepower of the pump is a good “yardstick” to use in judging which size pump to buy, a more accurate way is to look at the GPH or, Gallons Per Hour that the unit is capable of pumping. For instance, you will find ½ horsepower sump pumps that can pump 3,000 gallons per hour and you will also see other ½ horsepower pumps that are capable of pumping over 7,500 gallons per hour. As you can see, horsepower ratings are not very accurate in judging which size pump to buy. Generally, I like to buy a larger pump than necessary because it will usually last a lot longer because it doesn’t have to work so hard.

Choose a pump with a reliable switch. The switch is very important because it tells the pump when to turn on and when to turn off. There are several types of switches available on pumps. Some of the different types of switches you will find are called; “2 pole switch”, “mercury switch” and “diaphragm switch”. I only buy pumps that have a 2 pole switch. They have proven to be the most reliable over time. After all, what good is a sump pump if it won’t turn on?

Sump Wells

A sump well is the container below floor level in which the pump is installed. You will be able to buy a 20 gallon to 30 gallon sump well at you local home improvement store, in the plumbing section. Many people opt for a smaller 5 gallon bucket; don’t do it! Your pump will burn out very quickly because it is turning on and off too much, because it can only pump out small quantities of water each time it runs.

Installation

You will need to rent an electric jackhammer to break a hole in your basement concrete floor. Ask for a shovel bit when you rent the jackhammer. The shovel bit will make quick work of digging out the hole in which you will install your sump well. The lip of the well that holds the sump well lid should be installed slightly lower than the basement floor surface. This will allow your sump well and pump to act as a very good floor drain in case of a broken water pipe, leaky hot water tank, etc. You will need to buy a bag of sand mix cement to re-cement the floor area around the sump well and the broken concrete.

Most pumps come with a 1 ¼”threaded connection for PVC pipe. Get an adapter that converts it to 1 ½” schedule 40 pipe. 1 ½” schedule 40 pipe is more universal and a lot easier to find fittings for. Next, you’ll want to attach a check valve to your piping. The check valve prevents water already pumped up through the plumbing from draining back down into the sump well when the pump shuts off. These are easily attached with a rubber boots and a screw driver.

Make sure to use pipe cleaner before gluing your pipe fittings together. The pipe cleaner actually softens the plastic and allows the pipe glue to bond better. Check with the instructions on the glue can about how long to wait before pumping water through the newly glued connections.

Plug your sump pump directly into a grounded electrical outlet. Don’t use an extension cord because it will shorten the life of your pump. The electrical outlet should be on a breaker which is the proper size for your pump. Your electrical outlet should also be on it’s own dedicated circuit breaker to prevent other electrical connections from overloading your breaker.

Summary

Installation of a sump pump can be a pretty easy do-it-yourself project with some great benefits. By doing it yourself, you can save a lot of money and provide some great protection for your basement and its contents.

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The Missing Link In Your Exercise Program

We can sometimes get overwhelmed with the idea of ​​"healthy lifestyle change". Remember, making little changes every week will have a compounding effect and lead you to your goal. I want to take a step away from nutrition today and concentrate on what I believe is the second biggest myth (only behind "sit ups will help you burn belly fat") in the fitness industry today.

The role of Resistance Training in weight Loss.

Now before we get into the reasoning behind using this crazy approach, lets first recount how we got to where we are with our fitness beliefs.

At some point during the creation of the world, according to ancient fitness stories and legends, God brought down from heaven and provided Adam with the gift of a Bench Press. This was very important, to the survival of man as Adam was now able to sculpt his pecs and triceps (and check himself out in the mirror after each set to ensure adequate shape and firmness) in order to make him more attractive to the opposite sex .

Coincidentally at this same time Eve was lucky enough to receive the gift of treadmill. This came with very specific instructions; 1. step on treadmill, 2. run for as long as you can without exceeding the speed and most importantly never go near Adam's bench press because if you even touch the heavy weights you will instantly swell up into a huge ball of muscle (think Incredible Hulk with long hair and a stylish skirt to replace his purple pants).

The details of this story may have changed slightly over the years but the underlying message remains the same: women should not lift weights! The reasoning behind this, as it is presented in mainstream media, is that weight loss is achieved through cardiovascular training (ie treadmill) and lifting weights is for bulking up.

Here is my beef with this approach, and for anyone who has read my blog in the past yo know where I stand on long slow cardio. Stepping on a treadmill and keeping a nice slow pace while watching the latest episode of Dr. Oz is not going to give you the results you need. Studies have proven that interval based training (short bursts of high intensity followed by a recovery period) is much more effective for weight loss and over all health.

"In their trial, women either exercised for 20 minutes, alternating 8 seconds of sprinting on a bike with 12 seconds of exercising lightly, or exercised at a regular pace for 40 minutes." After exercising three times a week for 15 weeks, those who did The 20-minute, alternating routine lost three times as much fat as the other women "You can read the full article at http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/04/15/new-study -shows-how-you-can-exercise-less-and-get-more-benefits.aspx .

There have been numerous studies that have produced similar results and yet I see women everyday climbing on the treadmill and just running until they can not take it anymore. So if you insist on using the treadmill, at least do it the right way, short bursts of sprinting followed by a longer recovery phase. This will cut your workout in half and give you better results. Short bursts of speed work in a similar way to weight lifting. It helps to stimulate muscle growth and increase your metabolism. Think of the physical difference between long distance runner and a sprinter. Now those are extremes at either and of the scale but the concept is the same for the average person.

OK, so back to this whole weight lifting debate.

Here are the most common myths associated with weight lifting:

I do not want to look like a body builder.

Women of often associate weight training with the female body builders they see in magazines and body building shows. Here is the problem with this, women, being testicle-free, do not produce enough natural testosterone to get those bulging pecs. These women are on so many supplements (some legal, some not) and have to take an unthinkable amount of calories just to get up the same level as men. What you also do not know is that most of these women need to workout 7 days a week and sometimes more than once a day just to build that much muscle. The average female will not get anywhere near that!

I want to lose weight so I'm just going to do cardio for now.

It's your lean body mass, that muscle mass underneath your body fat, that burns calories 24/7, allowing you to actually eat more calories without gaining weight. Muscles require much more energy in order to function. This energy comes from the calories you consume. Therefore the more muscle you have, the more energy and calories you burn. Long cardio sessions will actually begin to break down your current muscle (as your body will begin to use it for energy), this will result in a smaller energy requirement to the body and less calories burned.

I just want to tone so ill use light weights and lots of repetitions.

First let's establish what "toning" means. Most women use this term to describe a healthy muscle definition without looking bulky. This means you have to lose the fat that is surrounding the muscle and under the surface of the skin and increase the size of the muscle to give it more shape and definition. Hmmmm, that sounds like what I mentioned above. The problem here is that picking up those little 2 lb weights and performing bicep curls until you can no longer move your arm will not help you with this. Light weight with high repetitions will actually activate the slow fatigue, endurance muscles that are necessary for endurance based sports. Muscle growth and shape comes from the fast fatigue or "power" generating muscle fibers that are stimulated through short bursts of weight lifting power based activities. Once again think of the difference between marathon runners and sprinters. One trains for really long distance activities lasting hours of repetitive movements and the other trains for short, all out bursts of speed.

My advice is to end your love affair with the treadmill and pick up some weights for a change. This will give you more bang for your buck!

If you're worried that you may somehow turn into the female version of the Hulk overnight, this will only happen if you are willing to devote hours per day to weight training and thousands of dollars to your supplements. Believe it or not it takes extreme dedication and changes to every aspect of your life just to look like anything close to what female body builders look like.

Most women want to look healthy and strong like the picture of the female athlete on the right (who happens to be a goalie for the US women's national team). Unfortunately you will not achieve that with the standard approach to exercise. Think outside the box, or treadmill in this case.

Paris, The City of Lights

Paris, the City of Lights, is a city most will fall in love with, and like every other tourist visiting, we were anxious to see its many attractions. Some areas of this city date from around 4,200 BC so history abounds. This was definitely brought home to us when we took a cruise down the Seine on our first evening in Paris to orientate ourselves. Seeing this, we were glad we had discussed some of the history of each of the places we would be visiting.

The Louvre Museum, our first stop, had originally been a royal palace. It is now the world's most famous museum with works of art such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo. The museum originated with a collection begon in the 16th century by King Francis I. Over the years, the collection grew and in 1793, during the French Revolution, it was opened to the public. There are three wings, each housing different collections.

The Sully Wing holds a collection of French paintings, an intense collection of Egyptian antiquities, artifacts and sculptures, a Greek collection and some remnants of the medieval castle of the Louvre. This was the first wing I ventured into and having made the decision not to go on a tour was able to stand at the exhibits that interested me the most, for as long as I wanted to enjoy them. In the Richelieu Wing there are paintings from the Middle Ages to the 19th centure including decorative art and sculptures. It was no less impressive than the Sully Wing. In the Denon Wing is the Mona Lisa plus other paintings of restructured artists, antiquities and artifacts. The crowd surrounding the Mona Lisa was large and surprisingly the painting was much smaller than we expected it to be.

We spent hours in this fabulous museum following our interests from display to display, room to room and wing to wing, the art amazing and the statues beyond belief. Even the floors and soaring ceilings were spellbinding with paintings, carvings and inlays. With over one million works of art, only about 35,000 are ever on display at any one time.

The Eiffel Tower, rising 300 meters above where we stood, was completed in 1889. It was built for the World Exhibition in celebration of the French Revolution. At the time, many protested that it did not fit in with Paris' architecture but is now currently seen as the symbol of the City of Lights. And it is no wonder. We saw it lit up as we went down the river; Beautiful at night and dramatically visual by day. The following day we went back with the intent of going to the top but rumors told us there had been a bomb scare and one of the elevators was not working. Line-ups wound across the grounds like a slithering serpents slowly making their way towards the entrance. Having only a limited amount of time to spend in Paris, and many places we wanted to see, we decided to come back again. As it turned out, we will have to go up on another trip to Paris. But even looking up at this immunity structure while standing on the ground beneath it is awe-inspiring and was worth the visit.

The Notre Dame Cathedral is located on a small island in the Seine in the heart of the city. Begun in 1163, it was not completed until 1345 because of renovations and additions. It has two 226 foot towers and a 295 foot spire. Decorated outside with statues, massive doors and stunning architecture, it was not a hardship to wait in line so as to have a better opportunity to admire it.

Inside the cathedral is quite as amazing with beautiful, massive stained glass windows, statues and candles glowing everywhere. There is a hush while the crowd slowly moves through the huge cathedral as most who visited seemed to be as much in awe as we were.

The Palais de Tuileries was built by Catherine de Medici after the death of her husband Henry II in 1559. Large, by I suspect most standards, she built it in the Italian style to remind her of her native Tuscany. Tuileries Gardens, surrounding the Palais with its large pond and fountain, has walking paths between rows of grass, shrubbery and flowers but I was most impressed with the statues.

Another attraction, the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 was not completed until 1836. It is fifty meters tall, adorned with carvings of battles and at the top of the arch, thirty shields are displayed, each signifying Napoleon's successful battles. It is located at the end of the Champs-Elysees, in the middle of a square, where twelve streets converge. Trying to cross this busy thoroughfare would be suicide but fortunately there is an underpass to the monument. Once there, to reach the viewing platform, there is no elevator only 234 steps making it a heart-pumping hike to the top.

Other attractions briefly visited were the Luxembourg Gardens in the heart of the Left Bank, with ponds, fountains, gardens and sculptures. We picked up a sandwich and had our lunch while sitting on the chairs provided around the huge pond. Established in 1625, these gardens were a joy to visit, quiet, tranquil and away from the rush of traffic that is most of Paris.

Another interesting area was briefly visited the Montmartre district where a walk up the hill on cobbled streets will bring you to the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. There you'd better have excellent lung capacity because the stairs leading up to it are many. A multitude of shops line the streets where we bought souvenirs for family and friends. This area is considered to be the most historic neighborhood in Paris. We also did a quick tour past the Sorbonne University and the Pantheon.

Unfortunately, the clock was ticking and our time in Paris was running out. Having to catch the train for our next adventure, we left with a promise to return again to explore all the other areas of this City of Lights that we had not been able to see.

Bed Bug Inspection: How to Inspect the Room

You may have noticed itchy welts on the skin, blood stains on the sheet or have seen an insect in the house you suspect is a bed bug. The first thing to do is to correctly identify the pest and do a bed bug inspection. Inspect the bedroom first. The pests tend to stay as close as possible to the host’s resting area.

If after inspecting the bed you discover the infestation is severe the next place to inspect is the perimeter of the room. In severe infestation, the pests tend to move away from the bed to other locations.

What to look for

a. Blood stains

b. Dark faecal spots

c. Eggs, eggs shells, cast off skin

d. Bed bugs (adult and nymphs)

e. A pungent mouldy shoes or sickening sweet odour from an oily liquid discharged from the glands in the thorax

Inspection tools

a. A strong flashlight

b. Magnifying glass

c. Plastic zipper bag

d. Crevice tool

e. Compressed air

f. Screwdriver

g. Small tool kit

h. Alcohol, cotton swabs/baby wipes

i. Sticky traps

j. Gloves, soapy water, cloth and sponge

k. Mirror with handle

l. A notepad

m. A camera

n. Adjustable spanner

o. Hammer

Inspect the perimeter of the room

a. Remove all wall hangings (e.g. mirror, paintings, pictures etc.) and inspect them.

b. If framed photos or art are on the wall open the frames and inspect inside and underneath the paper backing.

c. Check behind loose wallpaper and peeling paint.

d. Remove curtain rods and examine them carefully.

e. Check underneath hardware on the walls.

f. Inspect all door frames inside the room including the bathroom, closet and other door frames.

g. Inspect inside the bore hole for the latch on each door.

h. Inspect ceiling lights and fixtures. If bed bugs are found in ceiling lights it may indicate they are moving from the upper floor unit.

If you find bed bugs on the wall they may be hiding under ceiling mouldings, in smoke detectors and in thermostats.

In an established infestation, bed bugs will spread throughout the perimeter of the room (walls, mouldings and rugs) and hide in clutter on the floor and underneath the bed.

i. Inspect mouldings and where the floor joins and examine the walls closest to the bed. Swipe the crevice tool in an upward motion behind mouldings to chase bed bugs out of the harbourage.

j. Gently fold back the edges of wall-to-wall carpet and look for the pests. Pay attention to the tack strip of carpets.

k. Inspect beneath the edges of areas rugs.

l. Remove electrical switch plate and outlet and phone jack plate with a screw driver and inspect behind them.

Inspect unusual locations

a. Inspect the television and battery compartment in the remote control.

b. Inspect cell and cordless telephones.

c. Inspect lamp and alarm clocks.

d. Inspect computers and other electronics.

e. Inspect children toys and stuffed animals.

f. Inspect jewellery boxes.

g. Inspect books, magazines, newspaper and files.

h. Inspect brick walls and textured ceilings.

i. Inspect air condition unit, ducts and heating unit.

j. Inspect wheelchairs.

In severe infestation, the insects sometimes make their way into adjacent rooms or unit by going through electrical, heat and phone line conduits. They can also crawl under doors and make their way across hallways. In this case, it is important to extend the bed bug inspection into rooms.

Evidence that suggests the insects are moving across rooms includes:

a. The pests are found in ceiling light fixtures.

b. The pests are moving in and out of electrical switch plates on walls and excrement found on the side of switch plates or near ducts.

c. The pests are often found in the bathroom or kitchen.

In this case, the pests may be coming from a severely infested room adjacent to the kitchen and bathroom. They make their way into the kitchen and bathroom along water pipes.

Bed bug inspection requires much time, especially in severe infestation. You must be very patient to locate all the harbourages to eliminate the pests.

Things You Should Know and Possibly Do not!

In response to a discussion I had with my husband about "sleeping computers" and other appliances left on I decided to do some research that fill our life. There are many things we should know about call it trivia, if you will, but these little tidbits can often times become life changing strategies.

What started out as an "I told you so" project turned out to be very interesting and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did researching it.

Regarding the discussion I had with my husband concerned his computers and if it cost money to let them "sleep" and if not turning them off added to what we call "carbon footprints," the answer is yes.

I will bet you did not know that your sleeping computer, the plugged in cell phone charger that is just sitting around waiting for the cell phone and all the other sleeping appliances you have around the house add about 5 percent or more to your power bill. Not only is it costing money it is adding to the carbon footprint of the atmosphere.

So if saving money is one of your goals and if trying to help save our earth is something else you are interested in trying doing this. Plug all your sleeping appliances like the computer, chargers, TV's into those power strips and turn them off when you leave the house or are simply not using them. Yes, it is another thing to bother with, but if it saves some money and if three of four million of us did this we would save 2.5 million tons of CO2 from being added to the atmosphere this year. Now that is good.

Here are some quick tricks to putting out small fires that may happen around the home. If you have a steak or lamb chops in the oven and the broiler catches fire, close the oven door and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will soon put out the fire.

You are lighting candles for a special evening and your sleeve catches fire, do not wave your arm around, as the oxygen will fuel the fire, do what you kindly learned in school, drop to the floor and roll. The lack of oxygen will put the fire out.

A small grease fire that breaks out in a pan needs a lid put on it immediately, do not put water on a grease fire, you will only make it grow. A lid and turning the stove off cuts off the oxygen supply and the fire will go out.

If a large grease fire breaks out use a Dry Chemical ABC fire extinguisher that you should have in your house. If the extinguisher does not work and / or the fire does not go out quickly, call 911 and get out of the house at once.

If the fire you are trying to put out is one of turmoil, one of problems that do not go up in flames, but feel as though they are going to, take a moment to do some deep breathing. Whatever the crisis it will not be solved with hysterics or dish throwing, though I do admit sometimes that feels like the perfect thing to do.

Taking a moment to prioritize will help. Decide on the big issues and then work on the smaller ones, taking one small step at a time solves many problems. Reevaluating circumstances, changing things you can change and negotiating the things you can not change can work wonders. Remember, whatever the crisis you are facing, there is a very good chance that it is not the end of the world and that a solution is possible, if you take your time to work it out.

Ever have problems knowing what to say in time of sickness, death, job layoff, a cheating spouse or divorce. The typical "he is in a better place" or "it's for the best" are really not appropriate, even though I have used them more than once.

Sometimes remembering a funny story about the person is appropriate. Offering to help with something specific, (not the call me if you need anything talk), but offering to mow the lawn, help clean or whatever looks like it needs to be done, gives comfort to the person in need. Talking about the person's good qualities can help, too. But most of the time it is important to say it like it really is. "It sucks." And then give the person a great big hug. In my book that phrase says it all and suits most occasions.

Talking to your parents or other older relatives about what to do when they become ill or mentally incapacitated is probably one of the hardest things to do. Most older people do not want to face that day and many are very closed mouthed about their affairs. It takes a bit of planning before you even begin the conversation. You may even have to weave a tale to get the conversation going. In my opinion this is when a little white lie falls into good graces. The conversation has to take place at a time when the people involved are mentally healthy. It is best done in private and not at a family gathering, it is a serious and worthy topic that every family should face. Every state has its own laws, so you should be certain you have done some homework before you start this conversation.

If you are dealing with someone you know will not respond too favorably to dealing with his or her affairs with you. It may need to bring up an imaginary or real person that suddenly became ill and did not have their affairs in order. Or you can mention you are getting your affairs in order and ask if they have done the same. If they say yes, ask for information on how they handled it and who is in charge of their affairs. Taking time if they say no, to explain the difficulties they and who ever will be in charge will face in the time of need. They may not be aware that in the case of mental problems or serious illness the person and their affairs will have to go into a guardianship hearing, which could be rather heartbreaking for all concerned.

There are several types of Power of Attorney available from temporary, medical and durable, each covers a certain group of conditions and needs to be looked into each particular case.

If your parents or elderly relative are resisting the idea of ​​putting their affairs in order, do not push. Tell them to think about it and that you will get back to them in a few weeks. If in the meantime your parents are agreeable ask if they would like to speak to their lawyer or yours. Be gentle, but firm, as it will make life a lot easier for all of you, even though they may not understand it at the moment.

Well, I have touched on the tip of the iceberg of things you should know and may not; There is a great deal of things to be covered, but for now I will let you absorb these tidbits and wish you well.

Mattress Maintenance

Most people are not affected by dust mites due largely to the low ambient humidity levels (below 50% RH) in most homes; As such there are generally no significant problems with dust mites or associated allergens, which are attached to their fecal pellets. Increase the level of humidity and you begin to provide ideal conditions for mites to thrive.

You might say I'll just keep the humidity low and there will be no problems! However there's one area often overlooked when dealing with dust mites and excess humidity.

Our mattresses and pillows are the exception to this low humidity rule. We humans provide mites with a plentiful source of food, (dead skin cells), of which we shed some 300,000 skin cells on any given day.

Since we spend about eight hours in bed, a large amount of these skin cells wind up in the mattress, they sift down through the sheets as we toss and turn. Further, our bodies generate high amounts of moisture and moisture during the night, by means of perspiration, trapped body heat, and of course breathing … an oasis for our nocturnal bed fellows.

While dust mites serve to remove dead skin cells they also cause contamination and allergens in the process. It has been estimated that upwards of 2 million dust mites inhabit the average bed mattress, which produce, on average, 20 fecal pellets each night … 40,000,000 daily. These fecal pellets (although even smaller than our microscopic friends) contain a protein from the stomach of the mite, which causes an allergic reaction when the pellets are inhaled by humans; Particularly children and asthmatics.

Now imagine after a few years of neglecting your mattress how much dead skin, dust mites (dead or alive) and fecal pellets have accumulated inside your pillows and mattresses. It's been said that as much as 10% of the weight of a mattress is the accumulation of the above mentioned nastiness.

There are steps that you can take to reduce and control dust mites: vacuum the mattress at least once a month, using a HEPA filter equipped vacuum. Steam clean and sanitize your mattress at least once a year or after steam cleaning it purchase a mite resistant cover for the mattress. This is also a great idea for your pillows also. The best way to vacuum a pillow is by placing it into a plastic bag, insert the vacuum hose and turn on the vacuum.

Bed mattresses are often over looked as an item that requires routine cleaning, let alone bi-monthly vacuuming and steam cleaning … without of course you have severe allergic reactions or live with an asthmatic. Then of course this type of maintenance is as routine as placing your pillow in the freezer during the daytime hours.

Pain Management After Plastic Surgery

After any surgery, pain control will be a priority for you and your doctor. And while there is a level of discomfort and pain to be expected after any type of surgery, your doctor will take preventive steps to provide you ways to manage your pain. This isn’t only to keep you comfortable, but when your body is in pain, it can’t heal as quickly as it should.

When you are about to have surgery, your doctor will go over your current medical well-being as well as your medical history. Always be honest and advise them of any type of medication you are taking, especially if you are already taking medication for managing your pain.

The Types Of Pain To Expect

After surgery, you may experience pain in places that will be a surprise. Many times it is not at the surgery site. Some areas where you may experience discomfort or pain after surgery are:

• Muscles – You may feel discomfort or pain in the area of your back, chest, neck, or shoulders muscles. This comes from lying in one position on the operating table or the “handling” the team may do with you while in surgery.

• Throat – Your throat may feel scratchy or sore. This is from having any tubes in your mouth or throat. Movement – Any movement like sitting up or walking will be uncomfortable and painful. Even coughing or sneezing will cause increased pain.

Keeping Your Pain Under Control

You will have a big part in your own pain management simply by keeping your doctor and the nursing staff advised about your pain. Your main will be measured and during your hospital stay, you will be asked to rate your pain on a scale using numbers zero through ten. Zero is no pain and ten is the worst possible pain. This system is helpful for your medical team to know how the pain management treatment is working or if there is a need to make changes.

Who Will Help You Handle Your Pain?

You and your doctor will talk about your pain management prior to surgery, determining what is acceptable for you. Sometimes doctors will bring in a pain specialist to work with you after your surgery.

At the end of the day, though, you are the one that will make the ultimate decision. Your medical history and current health condition will be used by your doctor and the pain specialists to provide you the options for pain management.

The Different Types of Pain Management Treatments

It is common for a patient to be given more than one type of pain management treatment. It is based on their needs and the type of surgery they had. Your doctor and the pain specialist will make certain they are effective but safe, although, there is some level of risk for any type of medication. Some of the most commonly used pain management treatments are:

• Intravenous PCA (Patient-Controlled Analgesia)

PCA is a pump that is computerized and allows the patient to self-medicate safe amounts of pain medications. The unit is programmed and will only release a specific amount within a certain amount of time.

• Nerve Blocks

A nerve block controls pain in small, isolated areas of the body. This method of pain management may be distributed by an epidural catheter for prolonged pain management.

• Oral Pain Medications

After surgery at some point, your doctor will most likely order some form of pain management medication that is taken orally. You will need to let the nursing staff know when you are experiencing pain and if it has been within the usual four-hour timeframe, they will give you the prescribed dosage.

Pain Management Without Medication

There are ways to achieve pain management too. Such as guided imagery, a focused relaxation method that works by the patient’ creating calm and peaceful images in their mind. This mental escape can be enhanced by listening to music and changing positions.

Your doctor may give you instructions for cold and heat therapy. This will reduce your pain and any swelling you may be experiencing. For surgery in the abdominal or chest area, using a pillow when you a cough, sneeze or take deep breaths will help as a method of pain management.

Your 4-Step Beginners Guide to Fitness and Weight Loss

Step 1 – Food. Counting calories, carbs and grams of fat can be very intimidating. I do not and will not do it. It is easier and quite effective to just try to increase your nutrition, and cut out the foods that do not actually feed you. This will automatically reduce the calorie content. Look for high protein foods such as, meats, fish and eggs (if vegetarian there are alternatives). Add lots of green veggies. Raw is best as the nutrients are still intact, not heat damaged or diluted by boiling; Lightly steamed or quick stir fry is okay. Avoid white food (except cauliflower) as they are high starch, and high on the glycemic index (I will over simplify to say high on the glycemic index means it converts to fat easily). Avoid anything made from flour. This means cakes, cookies, pasta and bread. Do not worry, you will not starve. To keep from being hungry either increase the proportion of the proteins, or veggies or add beans. Beans are starchy so they are filling. They have high fiber, and although they have calories they are processed slowly so you do not get hungry for quite a while. This means you end up eating less. If after you fill up on these foods you want one of the foods you are avoiding go ahead. Have ONE. One cookie, or one slice of cake. Not one each. If you feel deprived of these things you will not keep up with the healthy eating. Or instead of giving yourself permission to have one treat a day, some people prefer being very, very strict with themselves 6 days a week and on the 7th having a "Cheat day". I can not stop with just one, so I like the cheat day myself. I even write down the foods I really want, it is a reminder that I do not have to give them up forever, I can still have cheese cake. Other people say no cheating, never. If you can do it, I salute you. I have tried and ever I just wave up. I want a plan that actually works, not one where I can play the martyr with my friends and family or where I try to impress people with my will power. I do not actually have any will power.

Step 2 – Water. You need water for your body to be able to flush out the fat, and the toxins stored in the fat (that could be a whole other article). Everything your body does, it does better with adequate water. Chances are, you are not drinking enough water (soda, coffee and juices do not count). Start getting more water by substituting water or tea for your soft drinks and coffee. Do this slowly, give yourself time to adapt. If you normally drink 4 soft drinks a day, then on day one make it 3 soft drinks and 1 water or green tea. When you are used to the change, substitute water for a second soda, then a few days later substitute for the third. You want to have no more than 1 a day. I would not recommend cutting the "bad" drinks (except diet drinks) out completely as that will make you resistant to keeping up with the plan. Only have one when you really want one and then take a little time – sit down and enjoy it. It will be more satisfying if you make drinking it an "event". Being satisfied will keep you from wanting another one immediately.

After you gradually reduce the sugary or caffeine laden drinks, you will want to start adding more water. Again do it gradually. Your body is not used to getting all the water it needs. It is used to storing and hoarding water. It will still store water for a while as that is what it has always done and it takes time to change. This means you may have a little water retention, be a little bloated. This is temporary. As your body comes to rely on you giving it water, it will start to store less. When it stops storing and starts releasing old water, you will have to go to the bathroom more frequently. This is also temporary. Your body (bladder) will get used to working again and you will have less frequent urges. Your body needs 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, but you have to allow your system time to get back into gear. Do not overwhelm your body or yourself by making this change too fast.

Diet drinks may not have the calories, but there are other problems. They are not good for you. Do not start drinking them. If you are drinking them, try substituting them out of your diet at a slightly faster pace. You may even consider using the regular soda instead of the diet while they are being phased out. There are numerous articles and books on the dangers of these drinks. I will not repeat them here (although I may at some point do an article just on diet drinks). Just think of them as poison and treat them as a disease you need to be rid of. I will just say one thing. Your body knows how to process sugar, but it has trouble dealing with unnatural foods like diet soda. There is an insulin response because it is sweet, but there is no sugar for the insulin to work on. What happens? My theory is the insulin that has been released because of the diet drink has to do something, so it works on whatever sugar is there in your blood stream, turning it into fat, and as your blood sugar lowers, you get hungry. So even though there are 0 calories in that drink, the extra snack you are eating because the diet drink made you hungry, does contain calories. Diet soda is one diet food you could do without.

Step 3 – Supplements. Do you need supplements? Supplements can help, but you do not have to have supplements for success. If you are currently taking supplements keep on taking them. If you are not taking any, but you are interested in boosting your nutrition with supplements go ahead, but again I would caution you to go slowly. Add one supplement at a time. Give yourself time to adapt to it and time to be certain there is no adverse reaction. People can be sensitive to supplements just as some people are allergic or sensitive to some foods. If you add a dozen supplements to your diet all at once, and you react to one, you will not know which one is the problem. Also your body has to learn how to process the supplement. Even if you are giving yourself something you really need, your body has learned to cope without it, now it has to do things differently. Even though it is a change for the better, it is something that your body must learn and adapt to. Do not overwhelm your system by too much at a time.

I would start with a good multi-vitamin. You could read the labels and find the one with the most vitamins and minerals, or ask a friend, or ask your doctor, or ask your chiropractor. After a few days, you can add another supplement. The second one I would add would be something to provide Omega 3. You have some choices here. Fish oil, hempseed oil, Chia seeds all are good. With fish oil, you want to be sure the manufacturer has tested it for pollutants. I believe fish oil, good fish oil, to be the best option, yet I do not use fish oil myself. I can not swallow the capsules, so I eat Chia seeds. If you get Omega 3's from fish oil, I would add vitamin E. It helps to protect you if the fish oil is even a little bit "off", which can happen. The third addition would be a good pro-biotic. If you have ever had an anti-biotic you probably need to increase the good bacteria that your body uses for digestion. The fourth one would be Vitamin D. The use of sun screens, has resolved in nearly all of us being low on vitamin D. Next I would add magnesium as my reading indicate it is a mineral we all seem to be deficient in.

I take several other supplements, but we do not all need the same things. This is a good start and for many people it is all you need. If you wanted to investigate whether anything else was needed I would recommend seeing a qualified naturopath, or getting a good book on supplements from the library.

Step 4 – Exercise. Exercise can be tricky. It is possible to lose weight without exercising; Harder, but possible. If you are losing the weight to look better, or to feel better, then do it with exercise. Otherwise the weight you lose may be muscle as well as fat. You may be thinner, but soft flabby muscles are not attractive. Working out also jump starts your fat loss.

With exercise, you have to start where you are; Where that is and build yourself up. Too many people start at a level that is several steps above where they are. At best they will get discouraged and quit, at worst they get injured. Take your time. A slow success is much better than a quick failure. If you are quite out of shape here are some very easy exercises you can start with.

• Gentle stretching. My mother is 92 and in very good physical shape. She starts her day by stretching (while still in bed). She recommends moving like a cat. Move everything that can move. Stretch your arms up, stretch your legs out. Lift your leg (you can use your hands to help) stretch your thigh. Bring your knees to your chest to stretch your lower back. Give yourself a hug to stretch your upper back. Just slowly and gently move yourself. Do not do anything that hurts. Do not do anything fast (too easy to go too far and hurt yourself). At her recommendation I started doing this. Before, when I first got up I would ache, just a little, walking downstairs was just a little difficult. This has made a big difference. Now I roll out of bed ready for the day.

• Walking. Do not worry about how far you go or how fast – it is not a competition. How much time do you have? Make the walk fit into your schedule, do not rearrange your whole life for the walk because you will become resistant to doing it. When you start your walk, pay attention to your energy levels. When you start to get tired turn around and come back (you have to have energy for the return). It does not matter whether you go half a block or a couple of miles. Just go. Do what you can. As you get stronger you will go farther. If your time is limited you do not have to take more time, you can build yourself up by doing your route faster. It is also effective to walk at a brisk pace for most of the walk, but add a sprint (full out run for 10, 15 or 30 seconds). Yes, I said seconds. You will be amazed at how much good you can do in just a little bit of time.

• Weights. You do need to weight train too. Hold on, weight-train is not a four letter word. It does not need to be super hard, difficult or complicated. You can start slow and easy. You do not even need equipment in the beginning. You can use your own body weight to start. Stand by a wall palms touching the wall about level with your shoulders, lean into the wall and then push away. As you get stronger move from the wall to a counter, then to a braced table (braced, you do not want the table moving and you ending up on the floor), then a braced chair, then a push-up from your knees . There are a lot of ab work outs. To start, just engage your abs while doing other things. Tighten them, hold the muscles but do not hold your breath. Another, while lying down on your back, try to pull your navel toward the floor. If you do these for a couple of weeks you will be strong enough to try a "plank". A "plank" is where you are on the floor, face down supported on your elbows and toes. Keep your back straight. It is your abs that keeps you from slumping. Try to work up to holding this position for 30 seconds. Work up to 30 seconds, if at first you can only do 5 or 10 that's okay, start where you are. You will get stronger. If you are a woman, the body parts most in need of help are the triceps. You know them. That is the part of your arm, that when you wave good-bye continueaving after your hand has stopped. Some people have you start training triceps with "dips" or with weights. They are tricky to work. Problem with "dips" is you may not be stronger enough to start there. You could try a reverse push away. Stand with your back resting on a wall, feet 4 to 5 inches from the wall, palms on the wall about hip height. Push yourself away from the wall just a couple of inches (you do not want to push yourself over, just a little movement is necessary). Pay attention to your muscles. If it is not the triceps that is doing the work of moving you from the wall you may have to adjust your hands up or down, out or in. Do these exercises and you will be able to feel yourself getting stronger.

• When you can do these easily you will be ready to start a more traditional work out with free weights (dumbbells) or resistance bands. I would do the bands first. You can easily adjust the tension to increase or decrease the level of difficulty. If purchased as a set, usually instructions and exercises are included in the package. Neither the bands or dumbbells are extremely expensive. Dumbbells can be purchase one set at a time, starting with just 2 pairs (light and medium weights). You can add bigger weights as you get stronger so you are spreading the cost out over time. If you are still concerned about the expense of buying equipment, it is possible to use items in the house as a substitute for weights. A milk jug washed out and refilled with water (how much water depends on how strong you are, increase the amount as you increase your strength). Soup cans also work as weights.

• There are many books and videos that describe the best method for using bands and free weights safely. While books and tapes are good references, and I know many people feel that gyms can be expensive, even so, if you can afford to go to a gym and see a professional trainer, even for just a couple of sessions; Go. You need someone to show you how to do things right so you do not injure yourself. A book can not see your form and could never correct it.

The information in this article is enough that, if you actually did it, regularly, every day, it would result in weight lose and it would build strength. You would get fit. If only it was really this easy. The real secret to fitness and weight loss is mind-set and motivation. The why? Why you are fat, why you want to lose weight, why you have failed in the past? Is much more important than what to do? Or How to do it? But that is a slightly different topic, for a different article.

Powerful Thoughts

In 1881, the New York YWCA's proposed typing lessons for woman bought protests citing "the female constitution would break down under the strain." I wonder how many women believed that and did not sign up? Or how many would-be-travelers listened when "experts" determined that riding a speeding train of fifteen miles an hour would cause them to suffocate in tunnels as blood spurted from their noses? These incorrect thoughts are amusing now. But, do not laugh too hard. We have plenty of our own that limit progress and hold us back.

Once Roger Bannister ran a mile under four minutes, providing that the human heart could hold up when running that fast, others quickly followed. And once Olympic champion, Vasily Alexeev broke the weight lifting barrier of 500 pounds, other weight-lifters broke his record knowing it was possible. Yet before he could do it himself, Alexeev's trainers changed his limiting belief by rigging 501.5 pounds of weights to look like 499.

Our thoughts are powerful. What we believe to be true, often is. One of my favorite stories involves an elementary school teacher who was guided the first day of school to see what a smart class she'd been given. Next to each child's name were numbers like 138, 140, 154. Taking these numbers as the students' IQs, the teacher worked extra hard to challenge the class. By the end of the year, the progress was remarkable. It was then that she discovered the numbers were not their IQs but their lockers.

Are your thoughts limiting or invigorating? Self-restricting or self-empowering? Think it's impossible and you'll build your own walls. Think you can not and you set yourself up for a self-fulfilling result. Think you can and your thinking can help make it happen. Take Florence Griffith-Joyner who wrote in her diary before the l988 Olympic Games that she would win the 100-meter dash in 10:54 seconds. She did win in exactly 10:54 seconds. That's because thoughts can determine reality.

Years ago, I told a friend about a promotion that would take me from what I knew into a new discipline. She quickly responded, "Nan, how could you say yes? You will not know what you're doing." It surprised me. I've never thought of saying anything other than yes. "I'll figure it out," I told her. And I did. My thinking told me I could figure things out. Her thinking told her she could not. That difference played out in our carers.

People who are winning at working understand there's power to their thoughts. Power to bring results, create realities and banish walls. Power to overcome challenges, eliminate barriers and achieve what others only dream. Want to be winning at working? Power your thoughts to positively impact your future.

(C) 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Baby Proof Your Home – Frequently Asked Questions

Keeping your baby safe at all times is one of your greatest concerns and responsibilities. There is so much to consider and it is very easy to overlook something that might be fairly obvious to some but escape others. Things like covering electrical outlets, putting up baby gates and turning pot handles to the rear of the stove are presented in a question and answer format.

Q. What is the best way to approach baby-proofing our home?

The best way is to see your home from the eyes of your child. It is recommended that you get down on your hands and knees and crawl around your home. This will enable you to see hazards you may not have recognized at your full height. Are electrical outlets in baby's reach or are there electric cords hanging down that your baby can pull on or get tangled in? Does your furniture have sharp corners? Are there precious items at your baby's level that should be put up out of reach?

Q. What is the most hazardous situation for my baby?

Any situation that places your baby in harm's way is the worst situation for your baby. The most hazardous situation for your baby is choking or anything that might cause him to stop breathing. The most hazardous situation for you baby is one that caused an injury that could have been prevented.

Q. What are some things I need to consider when I am baby-proofing our home?

There are many things to consider. Your baby is a quick mover so it is never really safe to leave him unattended if at all possible. Consider putting up all valuables and broken items out of reach of your baby's. Anything that is small enough to fit in his mouth should be removed. If in doubt as to whether any one item is small enough to fit in your baby's mouth and pose a choking hazard take an empty toilet paper roll. If it fits inside the tube it go in his mouth and possibly harm him.

Q. Why do I need baby safety gates?

Baby safety gates can be placed in doorways or at the top and bottom of staircases. The gates can prevent your baby from getting into the kitchen or bathroom. They can also prevent your baby from tumbling down the stairs or climbing the stairs and falling. The mesh or the holes in the gate should not be large enough for your baby to put his toes through to climb the gate. Gates now are being made to operate hands-free or one handed. There are gates being made with the bars going vertical instead of horizontal reducing the chances of your baby being able to climb the gate.

Q. What are electric outlet covers or locks?

Electric outlet covers look like plastic plugs when they are inserted andvents your baby from sticking his fingers or something else in the outlet and getting a serious shock.
Electric outlet lock plates can replace typical envelopes and in order to insert anything into the outlet the plug has to be inserted and turned.

Q. It was suggested to me that I have motion alerts on our doors and windows, why would I need them?

Some kids are very active and able to do things you would be very surprise about. Children have been known to open windows and fall through screens and become seriously injured. There are many news stories where toddlers have gotten up in the night and unbeknownst to their parents open the door and go outside. Some are found wandering around and others are not so lucky. Some windows now come with a mechanism to prevent the window from being opened more than an inch or two. The alerts will alert you to the door opening and you can intervene before something tragic happen.

Q. What kind of baby-proofing products are available?

There are all kinds of baby products available and most are reasonably priced. There are motion sensors, corner cushions for sharp corners on furniture. There are electric outlet covers, cabinet and drawer locks of different types and cord retractors for window blinds.

Q. Is there anything available to protect my baby from getting in between banister posts?

There is netting available that can be attached with screws that will prevent your baby from getting between the banister posts. This product is similar to the deck netting available for outdoor decks.

Q. Are there baby proofing checklists available?

Yes there are baby-proofing checklists available. You can locate them online and they are printable. Specialty stores, hospitals, and pediatricians are all possible sources for such checklists.

Q. How can I baby proof my nursery?

You can baby proof your nursery by keeping your baby's crib away from windows and blinds cords. Put outlet protectors on all envelopes. Make sure to dress your baby in sleepers rather than using blankets. When your baby begins sitting up place the mattress in the lowest position. Do not put stuffed animals or pillows in the crib with your little one, they could nestle up to them and suffocate.

Q. How can I baby proof my kitchen?

Put all cleaners or chemicals up out of reach of your baby. Make sure all drawers and cabinet doors. While cooking put all pot handles toward the rear of the stove. Do not allow electric cords to hang over counters where your baby can pull on them. Better still, if possible without you are feeding your baby keep him out of the kitchen.

Q. How can I baby proof my car?

You can baby proof your car by making sure the car seat your baby will ride in is installed correctly and that it is the correct one for your baby. Remove all loose items that could become missiles in a crash or quick stop, and place them in the trunk.

In Conclusion

The bottom line of baby proofing your home and your car is to be mindful that the most common things can be hazardous to a baby or small child. You can obtain a checklist of things to look for when baby-proofing your home. Window blinds cords should be shortened and outlets should be covered. Look at your home and car through your baby's eyes, you might be surprised at hazards you miss when you are looking from adult height.

Sump Pump Installation for Do-It-Yourselfers

According to recent surveys, over 85% of all homes with basements will experience some form of wet basement problems in their lifetime. Installing a sump pump in the basement can be a great benefit, even if it’s only to keep the water from getting deep or to act as a floor drain.

What To Buy

Sump pumps are generally sold according to the horsepower rating of the pump motor. You will see ¼ horsepower, 1/3 horsepower and ½ horsepower pumps available. Although the horsepower of the pump is a good “yardstick” to use in judging which size pump to buy, a more accurate way is to look at the GPH or, Gallons Per Hour that the unit is capable of pumping. For instance, you will find ½ horsepower sump pumps that can pump 3,000 gallons per hour and you will also see other ½ horsepower pumps that are capable of pumping over 7,500 gallons per hour. As you can see, horsepower ratings are not very accurate in judging which size pump to buy. Generally, I like to buy a larger pump than necessary because it will usually last a lot longer because it doesn’t have to work so hard.

Choose a pump with a reliable switch. The switch is very important because it tells the pump when to turn on and when to turn off. There are several types of switches available on pumps. Some of the different types of switches you will find are called; “2 pole switch”, “mercury switch” and “diaphragm switch”. I only buy pumps that have a 2 pole switch. They have proven to be the most reliable over time. After all, what good is a sump pump if it won’t turn on?

Sump Wells

A sump well is the container below floor level in which the pump is installed. You will be able to buy a 20 gallon to 30 gallon sump well at you local home improvement store, in the plumbing section. Many people opt for a smaller 5 gallon bucket; don’t do it! Your pump will burn out very quickly because it is turning on and off too much, because it can only pump out small quantities of water each time it runs.

Installation

You will need to rent an electric jackhammer to break a hole in your basement concrete floor. Ask for a shovel bit when you rent the jackhammer. The shovel bit will make quick work of digging out the hole in which you will install your sump well. The lip of the well that holds the sump well lid should be installed slightly lower than the basement floor surface. This will allow your sump well and pump to act as a very good floor drain in case of a broken water pipe, leaky hot water tank, etc. You will need to buy a bag of sand mix cement to re-cement the floor area around the sump well and the broken concrete.

Most pumps come with a 1 ¼”threaded connection for PVC pipe. Get an adapter that converts it to 1 ½” schedule 40 pipe. 1 ½” schedule 40 pipe is more universal and a lot easier to find fittings for. Next, you’ll want to attach a check valve to your piping. The check valve prevents water already pumped up through the plumbing from draining back down into the sump well when the pump shuts off. These are easily attached with a rubber boots and a screw driver.

Make sure to use pipe cleaner before gluing your pipe fittings together. The pipe cleaner actually softens the plastic and allows the pipe glue to bond better. Check with the instructions on the glue can about how long to wait before pumping water through the newly glued connections.

Plug your sump pump directly into a grounded electrical outlet. Don’t use an extension cord because it will shorten the life of your pump. The electrical outlet should be on a breaker which is the proper size for your pump. Your electrical outlet should also be on it’s own dedicated circuit breaker to prevent other electrical connections from overloading your breaker.

Summary

Installation of a sump pump can be a pretty easy do-it-yourself project with some great benefits. By doing it yourself, you can save a lot of money and provide some great protection for your basement and its contents.

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12 Week Personal Training Programme – Functional Resistance Training

Moving on to the intermediate level of resistance and the exercises begin to get a little more challenging for your core, proprioception, balance and stability. This is intentional, not only does it fire up your nervous system but it also helps carry over the benefits into our daily lives.

Week 7: Resistance Intermediate (Strength & Stability)

It’s time to get functional

We all have goals that we are aiming to achieve when we embark on an exercise programme, for most of us it is the losing weight and looking good that is most important. However, very little thought is usually taken over exactly how our exercises will transfer over into daily life. How many times have you attended a gym or health club and been show how to use all the machines, then had a programme designed by a, so called, fitness professional that has you moving from one machine to the next. In our daily life, do we sit down and perform these unusual movements? No, we stand and bend and twist as we balance our way through daily life. Our exercise programmes must be based on function, not only because the movements are more natural but because they are far more successful at achieving your overall goals in the first place.

Functional exercise is by far the most productive form of exercise prescription whether it be for daily living, sports specific like golf, or for rehabilitation after injury. If you want help or advice on a functional exercise programme to suit you then you can contact me directly but for a few basic rules on whether a routine is functional or not you can ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does the movement follow a natural path or is it forced? Most machines have fixed hand positions that do not mimic our natural range of movement and can be bad for our joints.

2) Is it isolated (sacrifice function) or integrated (cause chain reaction throughout body)? Movements should be compound (Multi-joint). They burn more calories, are more natural and require more stability. If you think about any daily activity it never involves just one muscle, muscles have no functional individuality so why train them this way?

3) Are you challenging your balance and stabilisation like you do in daily life? We rarely spend time symmetrically on both feet, whether walking, running, bending, reaching etc. we are always transferring weight from one side of our body to the other.

4) Are you exercising 3-dimensional, are we moving in all 3 planes of movement, Sagittal (forward facing), frontal (to the side), transverse (twisting). We live in a 3D world, so we must train that way.

The following exercises show a good progression from week 3’s basic resistance programme into functional training. Most of the exercises demonstrate a good functional movement for improving daily life activities. If training for a particular goal or sport like golf or tennis then the introduction of equipment may be necessary eg. stability balls, medicine balls, bands etc. but for basic function these exercises are a good starting point. Perform each exercise 10-20 times depending on ability and try to improve each workout. Complete this resistance program 3 times a week with a gentle 5 min walk before and afterwards, complete the stretching routine after that. Allow a days rest in between to recover.

A Cautionary Note

No exercise program should be painful, there is a difference between being tired and in pain. If you feel pain at any time then stop and consult a doctor. Pain indicates either incorrect technique or a medical problem. If you have any doubts about your current state of health then consult a medical professional before embarking on any fitness program.

Summary

Weeks 1-2 (3 x week)

5 Min Walk Warm up

2 x Complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

5 Min Walk Cool Down

Stretching routine particularly those tight muscles.

Weeks 3-4 (3 x week)

As above but 3 x complete circuits 10-20 x per exercise

Next week: Nutrition

1 Leg Balance and reach

Great exercise to fire up the nervous system, improve balance, stability, flexibility and the core.

a) Stand tall on one leg arms above and shoulder width apart

b) Reach over to the side keeping your back straight as far as your flexibility will allow, if your balance fails try again but don’t reach as far over.

c) Also try reaching forward, overhead and twisting to reach behind.

d) Swap legs, if one is weaker then spend more time on that side.

1 Leg Squat and Reach

This is a natural progression from the regular squat from week 3. It’s very functional as we spend time bending and picking things up off the ground. It also challenges balance, core stability and works the quads and glutes intensely.

a) Standing on one leg gently lower yourself down, breathing in deeply and chest high, ensuring you keep your heel in contact with the floor. Try to get your thigh down to horizontal before reaching forward to touch the floor in front. Maintain a balanced pelvis throughout.

b) Exhale and push up using your leg.

c) This exercise takes time to perfect and I like to use an object to pick up and put down again for focus.

d) Try touching down in various areas in front to improve functionality.

Isometric prone up and down

This is a functional progression from week 3’s prone position. It’s dynamic and improves shoulder strength as well as overall core stability.

a) Lie face down on the ground. Place elbows and forearms underneath your chest.

b) Prop yourself up to form a bridge, using your toes and forearms; make sure your shoulders are directly over your elbows.

c) Maintain a flat back and don’t allow your hips to sag towards the ground.

d) Now one hand at a time push up into a press up position, hold for a few seconds and return back to the original position. Photo shows transitional stage from elbows up to hands.

e) If you find this too difficult then try it off your knees.

Multi Directional Lunge

The lunge strengthens the legs, glutes, and improves balance and flexibility and sculpts the lower body. By making the lunge multi directional it mimics our daily movements.

a) Stand with your feet together with hand by your sides.

b) Take a step forward, inhaling on the way, descend slowly by bending at the hips, knee and ankle. Keep your lead foot flat on the floor.

c) Exhale and push back using the lead leg, returning to the start position.

d) Now repeat to the side at various angles and also behind by stepping backwards.

e) Keep torso upright, as leaning forward can cause injury.

Bridge one legged

Stimulates the glutes (bum), tightens up the backs of the legs and strengths the pelvic floor.

a) Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight out inline with the other thigh, heel in contact with the ground. Rest your arms by your side, palms downwards. Take a deep breath.

b) Exhale slowly, lifting your hips off the floor, squeezing your glutes until there’s a straight line between shoulders, hips and knees. Don’t force hips up further as it causes the back muscles to overwork.

c) Hold at the top of the movement for a second, squeezing the glutes tight, then lower the pelvis back towards the floor, inhaling on the way, not letting your backside touch the ground, then repeat.

d) Keep the one leg extended throughout the exercise and change legs half way through eg. 5 one leg and change.

Quadruped one arm one leg

Great for coordination, balance and transverse (twisting) core stability.

a) Begin on all fours, in neutral spine, with abdomen drawn in and chin tucked

b) Slowly raise one arm (thumb up) and the opposite leg, toe pointed away (triple extension).

c) Keep both arm and leg straight while lifting to body height.

d) Hold and return both arm and leg slowly to the ground, maintaining optimal alignment and repeat alternating sides

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You’re Fired!

We must be cautious though. I believe in what I have dreamed and pondered, but I am just a dumb human, therefore, something is wrong with what I have presented. What is it? I do not know. I cannot see the future and something this profound has never been realized. I have some ideas of how the AVDEV could be corrupted and abused and I am sure that some of you will be able to present more ideas on the blogs and forums. The more people think about this cause, the more ideas and the better the end result manifests for the good of Joe.

I could potentially see groups of Lobby agents and Party attempting to hold rallies asking Joe’s to bring their AVDEV with them and hold a vote in concert, attempting to influence the masses using propaganda to protect Machine. We must stay away from that scenario. If that situation were ever to arise, we will know beforehand and know to stay away. If someone asks or lures to such rallies or voting parties, you will know Machine is behind the facade.

I also could see Lobby actually lobby Joe. Yep, that means you and me. Hey, pay me. I don’t have to vote for what Lobby wants, they have nothing to offer me anyway. Plus if they wish to pay big bucks, Joe’s will be making money. But a single Joe’s vote is too hard to target and not worth the effort. That’s why I think it will be attempted on a massive scale; targeting like-minded voter Joe’s.

The best defense is just to vote how YOU WANT TO. If we implement the ideas I have concocted, I believe that we may be above temptation because we will be financially stable and informed, not such easy targets any longer.

To become Lobby is our goal. As that large a voting block and real-time results of AVDEV polling we have all the cards, because we have the vote.

CAUTION: If for some reason this whole system I have been spewing about is realized and used and somehow it is censored or destroyed or tinkered with, we will then move the real enemies out from the shadows. This way we will see just how deep this goes. I don’t know what the future holds, but the ancient sages have told us that 2012 is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the age of revelation and enlightenment; they believed that this age would bring a wave about the masses and people will become informed and united to further human causes and efforts. It is going to be the end of the world: the world as we know it. I see a new age of human society, liberated from Machine, in possession of human rights and equality for all citizens of Earth; a globe of free countries warring, sovereign in governance, and driven to succeed as the human race.

Kira Is My Dog

Kira is my dog. An Alaskan Malamute. When I say she is my dog I really mean that she has decided to share her brief life with me and accepts me as I am as I do her. If you have ever owned a dog, especially an Alaskan Malamute you know what I mean. They are willful, independent, loving, loyal and exasperating. They are headstrong and do just whatever it is they want to do most of the time. They are skillful in making you believe that you wanted them to do just what they did even if, initially, you did not. Kira is all of these things. Kira is also dying.

She was diagnosed with cancer about 4 months ago and the effects are now showing. The cancer is inoperable and the vet was of the opinion that we could try to operate but the chances of success were almost negligible. He stated the best thing to do for her instead of her spending the last 6 months or so of her life recovering from intensive and extensive surgery was to make her comfortable, let her enjoy the last few months of her life and see her to her end.

I’m doing that and she is happy right now but showing signs the cancer is winning. I won’t go into detail but she receives drugs 3 times a day and pain medication when she needs it. If any of you have ever gone though this with a pet you know what’s happening right now and how heart wrenching it is. She has been a great companion. We have had wonderful times and I will miss her greatly when she is gone. I am doing my utmost to make sure her last days are happy and pain free ones.

I’m not writing this to elicit your sympathy. I’m not writing this to have you feel sorry for Kira. She’s happy and I’m delighted I know she has a limited amount of time and I can do something to make that remaining time meaningful for her. The reason I’m writing is to share this with you so you can understand this does not apply only to beloved pets. We all will die. That’s an ironic truth of life. It eventually ends for all of us. Some of us know when that time comes because we are told of our condition like I was told of Kira’s. Others of us have no idea. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to know Kira’s time is limited.

My challenge to you today is to look around you and find those important to you. It may be a parent, it may be a pet, it may be a spouse or a child. What if they were gone tomorrow? Would you feel that you had done everything you could do to indicate to them they were special to you? I admit that for years I have taken Kira for granted. She was there when I came home from work; she was there when I howled with rage with issues at work or simply sat and watched a movie. At those times I did not show her how special she was to me. I suspect I’m not unique and many of you do the same thing. We lead busy lives and have many responsibilities. I understand that. But how long does it take to tell or show someone they are special to you? How much effort does it take really?

I’m fortunate that I know Kira will be leaving me soon. Most of you are not as fortunate when a loved on leaves you. Just like seeing the beauty around you or taking in the scents that make up our world take the time to identify those that are most special to you and make sure they know it. You life will be richer for doing so and so will theirs.