Benefits of Installing LED Flood Light Fixtures

If you are looking to lighten up your outdoor space or lawn area, you should definitely consider installing LED flood lights. LED flood lights offer an aesthetic lighting experience with environmentally friendly features.

Before describing the various benefits of LED flood lights, let us tell you what LED is. LED (Light Emitting Diode) is made up of semiconductor diodes that emit light. These solid state devices do not have moving parts or fragile glass components. They don’t even have any mercury, toxic gases or filaments that are being used in fluorescent bulbs. So, there is nothing to break, shatter or leak that can harm you or your environment.

Now, we come to the various benefits of LED flood light fixtures. The foremost advantage of using LED flood lights is their energy efficiency. They consume much less electricity than the incandescent bulbs leading to lower electricity bills. Secondly, it offers a long lifespan that is approximately 11 years for 12 hours a day. You may consider 50 incandescent bulbs for one LED approximately. Hence, lower replacement costs and lesser e-waste to be dumped into landfills.

Another benefit of LED lights is low heat production that is ultimately good for the environment and your plants, if LED lights are installed in the garden area.

Apart from the energy conservation and environmental benefits, a major advantage of using LED lights is the aesthetic appeal it adds to your property. Implanting right style of flood light at the right place, you can make your outdoor area look as magnificent and beautiful as possible.

LED lights are also being used inside the buildings in the form of LED tube lights. They are best to use in the bathroom, drawing room and living room where you need to create a soothing ambiance and do not require bright light to do eye-intensive work.

Other benefits include lower maintenance cost, easy and flexible installation and ultra high efficiency. Also, LED flood lights do not cause eye fatigue and helps protect eye health.

There are many vendors who supply various types of LED lights at reasonable prices. LED flood lights are available in various designs with generally 10W, 20W and 30W power specification while in the case of LED tube lights, T8 tube light is more popular. While there are many design options available in the market, you need to choose the one that suits your needs and budget.

At last, we can say that LED lighting is a great way to add creativity and flavor to the outdoor space. Plus, the energy savings make it an attractive option for the same.

Psychometry, Also Known As, Psychic Touch

Psychometry is the ability to read the energy of an object by utilizing touch. It is one of the most basic skills and the most easiest skill to learn in the shortest amount of time.

In as little as a few hours to a few days of practice, one can easily become proficient in their ability to read objects by simply understanding the following:

  • All objects only appear to be a solidity. They are actually atoms vibrating at high rates of speed and slamming together being held in place by an unseen force which gives the appearance of solid mass.
  • All things absorb energy from things that are around them. For example, one can easily feel the warning coming from a person or animal. This is referred to as heat energy. A glass holding ice water will absorb the cold. Thus these two examples easily establish that all thing absorb the energies of the things around them.
  • All objects are composed of the same things–atomic particles, which project several types of energies (magnetic, heat, cold, electrical, and the body’s natural aura or force field)

In Psychometry the hands are used for the detective work and the body is the detector. Each hand serves a purpose. If you are right handed typically the right hand projects and the left hand absorbs. Reverse this if you are left handed but it is best to experiment to see which role which hand plays. However for informational purposes the left hand is connected to the right brain. The right brain is where creative imaging resides. Again you may have to experiment to see which hand is dominant and most sensitive. Once you have determined which hand is dominant, you should never pick up any object with the dominant hand when you are using pschometry skill because that hand will actually imprint your energy onto the object.

You can try this experiment to determine which hand is the dominant hand so you never use it during psychometry.

  • Hold your left hand up at chest level and facing your right side as if you are going to pray.
  • Place your right hand up facing your left hand holding your hands between 6 to 8 inches apart.
  • Bend the fingertips of your right hand and face them towards the palm of your left hand. Move your fingers back and forth slowly and see if you feel a current. Closing your eyes may help you feel the current more easily.
  • If you feel absolutely no current. Try this process again but this time bend the fingertips of your left hand and repeat the process.

Whichever hand you feel the current, that is your dominant hand (the projector) and you should never use that hand to hold an object or touch and object for psychometry purposes. If you do, you run the risk of imprinting your energy. Always pick up objects or touch objects with your receptor hand. This is the hand that absorbs the energy from the object.

How to hold an object:

There are no right or wrong ways to hold or touch an object. It is up to the individual to determine what works best for them. You can lightly place your fingertips on an object, put an object between your thumb and index finger, lay an object in your palm, or wrap your hand like a fist around the object. Practicing with the various ways will help you determine which process creates the most sensitivity to the energy of the object you are reading for you.

Typically these are the various ways that works best, but again it is your preference.

  • Photos – placing your whole palm on the back of the photo.
  • Small Objects – closed fist.
  • Larger Objects – finger tips.

When you are just beginning to learn this skill, vary the methods you use and experiment. You can even use other body parts. Some people the back of the hand is super sensitive or the neck. Don’t be afraid to try different things. There are no wrong ways to do things here.

What is some of the information that can be received from utilizing Psychometry?

  • Past
  • Future
  • Events
  • Past ownership
  • Color
  • History
  • Images

Experiments you can do using Psychometry using simple things around your house.

A deck of playing cards, tablet, and pencil. Only deal 3 cards at a time.

First take a red suited card and turn it over facing down. Cup your receiving hand over the card and feel the energy of the red card. Notice does it feel warm? It should the color red usually feels warm. Do the same thing for a black suited card. Once you established what it feels like for each suit color red or black, shuffle the deck. Place a card on the table face down. Place your receiving hand cupped over the card. Feel the energy. Again Red suits the card should feel warm and Black suits, the card should feel cool. Ask yourself does the energy feel hot or cold. If it feels cold on your tablet write Card #1 – Black. Continue this for 2 more cards until you have information written down for 3 cards. Do this 3 more times. Then score yourself. Each entry is worth 1 point. 3 or more is a good score. A score of 7 is considered extremely high. Continuing practicing this test until you feel confident on your skill.

You can move on next with the card experiment and now use closed eye imagery to determine if it is red and diamond or hearts or black and spades or clubs. You will be using your minds eye to “see”. Experiment which works best for you, cupped palm over card or just fingertips.

If you are not adept at imagery in order to stimulate your minds eye in order to gain information from an object, close your eyes and try to imagine first something you have, like your car, your spouse, a child. Next imagine a sunflower. See the yellow petals and the brown center. If you were able to see that image of the daisy, move on to a rose, specifically a red rose. Red is the easiest color to create in your mind’s eye. Next visualize that the rose has changed to another color. If you were successful, continue on and try different colors.

Practicing and using closed eye imagery will help you in the future because it gives you a better opportunity to learn. With much practice in the future you will not have to close your eyes. You will be able to see images with your eyes open.

The key to becoming adept at pscyhometry or any skill is to practice daily. For the card experiment even just practicing a few moments before bed, will keep you in the habit of repeating which is key for learning. The brain learns by repetition.

8 Useful Tips on Growing Thompson Seedless Grapes

Growing Thompson seedless grapes could be very tricky if preparations, planting and maintenance are not done properly. The Thompson seedless grapes variety is from the family of Vitaceae with grown size of height: 10 to 20 ft and width of 0 to 0 ft. This variety of vine needs high maintenance to meet excellent outcomes during production season. The foliage characteristics of this plant is deciduous, foliage colour is green with flowers of green as well. The vine is by standard bloom by mid spring to mid spring. The soil preference is sandy loam to clay loam. Water supply preference is normal and must not be too wet.

Simple Tricks for Success in Growing Thompson Seedless Grape

By following the simple tricks and ways written below, growing Thompson seedless grapes will be likely to succeed.

Thompson seedless grapes are a well known grapes variety grown and produced in the hot climates in the western United States of America. Thompson grapes are famous for their sweet and luscious taste. The ripening season is early fall. The size of the fruit is smaller than average and they are either eaten fresh or dried into raisins. After threats of frost are over in the spring, it is timely to plant small rooted cuttings. For better fruit results, plant vines with leaves that are present after May 30.

Easy steps to follow in growing Thompson seedless grapes

Step 1 location must be full sunlight and the space for the intended rows to run north-south. Take into consideration a location with much drainage system to prevent root rot and diseases.

Step 2 There is an available soil test kit on the market to test the pH content of the intended location. The pH preference must be 7.0 to 8.0. To help increase the pH content add limestone to the soil if and only when necessary. 

Step 3 Till the soil with depth of 8 to10 inches. To increase water drainage and to add the value of nutrients, mix compost in the soil; to optimize the goodness of the soil for healthy crops. 

Step 4 In rows, plant the vines with a distance of 5 ft apart. To help the stability of the plant and to hold into place, gently pack the soil around the newly planted vines.

Step 5 When planting is done; water the vines fully for the roots to be stimulated for fast growth. Do not forget to water the vines at ground level during the hot season to prevent the vines from drying and eventually dying. The standard water supply need for a mature plant is 7 gallons each day during fruit production season. In places where it dries quickly consider watering more often.

Step 6 Fertilizing: All young plants need extra nutrient like phosphorous to stimulate growth and develop its roots fully. During the first growing season, it is recommended to apply phosphorous rich fertilizer to the soil as per how much the label suggests. It is best advised to avoid fertilizing late during growing season. Late applications might cause excessive vegetative growth that will not have the chance to mature and harden off before frost or cold weather sets. Heavy fertilization is not required especially in places where nutrients are very much present into the soil. Put compost around the vines in springtime. 

Step 7 It is important to thin the grape clusters by removing several clusters on each vine. This system or process promotes or encourages berry growth on the remaining clusters.

Step 8 Pruning requires 75 to 90% percent removal of past seasons growth. Pruning is during winter dormant season. If the vines are not pruned, they will turn into woody vines. Remember that fruit production occurs on one year old vines.

Things you’ll need when planning to grow Thompson seedless grapes:

1 Limestone

2 Tiller

3 Shovel

4 Hand pruner

5 Soil pH kit

6 Compost

There you go, if all of the above have been prepared and done, you are by all means, with some work on your way to achieving success growing seedless Thompson grapes.

The Pros and Cons of Weight Training For Teenagers

If you’re a teenager or a parent of a teenager that looks for facts and things to learn about weight training for teenagers then you’re reading the right article. The tips and advice mentioned below will give you an overview of the many things that surrounds strength training for teens such as answers to the questions “Is it normal to let a teenager lift weights?” or “Does the teenager need to orally take supplements?” or “What foods are allowed in weight training for teenagers?”.

It is normal when kids want to perform a weight training program. It’s even recommended for weight loss by doctors especially if the young adult is on the verge of obesity. The sad thing about weight lifting exercise and workout is that others start doing the routines when they’re already older or when their bodies turn to jiggle a lot because of too much fat. In physical exercises, the earlier the better is the key. Teenagers need to know how to take care of their health and body appearance as early as possible. Strength training for teenagers can do a lot of wonders in the child’s lifestyle.

There are a lot of benefits and advantages on weight training for beginners. Probably the most important of them are the benefits that clearly affect their health. Listed below are the health benefits of weight training exercises to teenagers:

  • The muscle building training strengthen the teenager’s body particularly his or her muscles and bones. This will help reduce any forms of osteoporosis or any lower back pains in the future.
  • Lifting weights can boost the metabolism of the teenager.
  • Strength training activities are great to fix or to improve the coordination or balance problem of a teenager.
  • The activity can definitely tone the muscles of the teenager. It will not just boost their energy; it will also boost their self confidence.
  • Workouts and exercise routines can keep the teenager occupied so there’s just a small window of opportunity for bad elements like drugs and too much alcohol to worry about.

The following are some tips and tricks for a teenager or a teenager’s parent to do and follow for a safer routine for the children.

  • Consult the doctor. If you’re a teenager who wishes to start weight lifting programs, you should ask your parents or guardians to accompany you to the doctor. Consultation is important to avoid any health risks in the future. Of course if you have a heart ailment, the doctors can advice you on what types of routines can both benefit your heart and will keep it away from heart strains.
  • Research about bodybuilding. Teenagers are eager and impulsive by nature. And though, these qualities are adorable, it can also create harm. If the teenager decided to enroll in the gym for fitness training then you need to do a research about it. You have to know what types of routines your body can handle. Make sure to know your strengths and weaknesses so you’ll have an idea what to improve and what to enhance. You also need to research the variety of nutrition that you need to take.
  • As much as possible, say no to supplements. Try to exercise without any help from pills and drugs to avoid health complications in the future.

Office Etiquette for Every Employee

Today, many businesses are utilizing the open floor plan where the majority of employees work in cubicles set up in the middle of the workplace, surrounded by offices along the perimeter. In such close quarters, employees working side-by-side in cubicles need to remember one word – EMPATHY. It means to vicariously experience or understand the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others. Simply put, treat people the same way you want them to treat you. Do not talk loudly while a coworker is on the phone or gossip about coworkers if you wouldn’t want the same done to you.

When referring to relationships between coworkers, Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of EtiquetteExpert.com said, “It’s like a marriage. It’s the little things that get under your skin and mount up after awhile.” Avoid getting under your coworkers skin and the ensuing conflict by considering others and follow these general office etiquette guidelines:

· Be on time to work and scheduled meetings; do not sneak out early – people are depending on you to get a job done in a pre-determined set of hours

· Adhere to the organization’s dress code; do not wear revealing or tattered clothing or flip flops – it’s important to appear professional because as an employee, you not only represent yourself, but the organization

· Use perfume and cologne sparingly – coworkers may have allergies or sensitive noses

· Be respectful and friendly to everyone – good rule to follow in general

· Do not tell offensive or dirty jokes – you will end up in HR

· Hold the door and the elevator for others – another good rule to follow in general

· Use your manners – knock before entering an office, do not interrupt conversations, and say please and thank you

· Use your indoor voice – talking loudly in open areas may disturb coworkers on the phone, in a meeting, or trying to concentrate

· Use a tissue and wash your hands immediately after coughing or sneezing – this is the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs

· Avoid chewing gum and popping bubbles – eat a mint instead

· Eat lunch in the designated eating areas and not at your desk – keep your desk free of crumbs and keep smelly food out of the main office area

· Clean your own dishes and do not leave food in the refrigerator – the office cleaning service is not responsible for kitchen maintenance

· Put your cell phone on vibrate – it’s distracting to hear various ringtones throughout the office

· Do not use your personal social media accounts – it’s an unproductive use of valuable time

· Do not gossip about or criticize coworkers – no one likes to be talked about behind their back and it’s just not nice

· Take responsibility for your mistakes – apologize to all parties involved and correct the mistakes immediately

· Do not whistle or sing while walking through the office – it’s distracting to coworkers

· Keep your radio to a minimum – your favorite station may not be your coworkers’ favorite station

· Respect your coworkers’ privacy – do not listen to phone conversations

· Keep your work area neat and tidy – treat the office as if it were your home

Do you have a story to share about an inconsiderate coworker? Do you have any office etiquette guidelines to add? We would love to hear from you!

History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Ham Soup Recipes – 5 Delicious Ways To Use That Hambone

Do you have a ham bone in your freezer but you’re not sure what to do with it? Here’s a fun assortment of five recipes with crock pot and stovetop instructions. These range from the traditional split pea to the creative wild rice and ham chowder.

Lentil Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: see below

Pams-hams bone

½ pound dried lentils

6 cups water

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small can V8 juice

¼ cup oil

1 t. basil (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse lentils thoroughly. Combine all ingredients.

In crock pot, cook on low 8-10 hours, Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

On stove top: Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

Split Pea Soup or Navy Bean Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: see below

Pams-hams bone

2 cups dried split peas or dried navy beans

6 cups water

2 chopped carrots

1 large onion, chopped

1 t. thyme (optional)

1 t. basil (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse peas thoroughly. Combine all ingredients

Recommended: In crock pot, cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup.

On stove top:

Soak beans overnight with ¼ t. baking soda if possible.

Combine ingredients and bring to a boil.

Then cover and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender.

Remove bone from soup.

Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

Mixed Bean Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: see below

Pams-hams bone

1 pound dried mixed beans

1 can crushed tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of water

2 stalks celery – chopped

2 carrots – chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 t. basil (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Rinse beans thoroughly. Combine all ingredients

Recommended: In crock pot, cook on low 8-10 hours. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup.

On stove top: Soak beans overnight with ¼ t. baking soda if possible. Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 2 hours or until beans are tender. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

Broccoli cheese soup

Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes

Pams-hams bone

1 bunch broccoli, chopped (I use tops mainly)

1 – ½ cup milk

1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth

1 cup water

1 lb. Shredded cheddar cheese or Velveeta

5 T. butter

4 T. flour

salt and pepper to taste

Steam the broccoli in the microwave.
(1/2 inch of water in casserole dish, cook about 3 minutes or until you just start to smell it)

In large soup pot, melt butter and stir in flour. Slowly add remaining ingredients, stirring constantly. Add ham bone last. Cook on low 30 minutes or more. If it is thicker than your desired consistency, add more milk. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

Wild Rice and Ham Chowder

Pre Time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes

A. 1 ½ cups water, ¾ cup wild rice

B. ¼ cup butter or margarine, ½ cup chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, minced, ½ cup flour, 4 cups of water and 4 chicken bouillon cubes

C. 1 ½ cup peeled, cubed potatoes, ½ cup chopped carrots, ½ t. thyme, ½ t. nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste

D. 1 (17 oz.) can whole kernel corn, undrained, 2 cups half n half (or milk), pams-hams bone

Cook A. Set aside. B. Combine butter, onion and garlic. Cook until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in the flour. Cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Add water and bouillon.

Add C. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-30 minutes. Add D and simmer 20 more minutes. Remove bone from soup. Cut up ham, return chopped ham to soup

For more of my recipes and cooking tips, go to [http://www.pams-hams.com]. An inviting place for sugar and honey glazed baked ham, dinners, gifts and clever conversation.

Make Your Own Hot Stone Massage Kit

A massage is a treat that we usually only experience on special occasions. Most of us can only afford to have a massage a few times a year or maybe you’re lucky enough to get a gift of a massage session. If you’re anything like me, you could probably use a massage a lot more often! And even though there are several types of massage, if you have ever been exposed to the benefits of a hot stone massage, then you are probably hooked on this relaxing, stress relieving form of massage. Well don’t despair! The good news is that it is not that hard to create you own hot stone massage kit.

Of course, there are kits available online, and from certain natural health and healing stores, but do you really want to pay a premium for what essentially boils down to rocks and a crock-pot? Many of the online kits feature dozens of stone sizes for every possible body need. The truth is you can get the job done with far fewer stones.

Start by visiting a local quarry, a landscape company, or even your local riverbed. Kit rocks look polished and uniform, but any river rock works just as well. They are worn naturally smooth from years of running water. Choose stones that are flat and smooth and fit well in your hand. You’ll need two larger oval stones for the back and stomach that are about eight inches by six inches. Next, you’ll need about a dozen stones that are easy to fit in your hand. Try to select darker stones. They tend to hold heat better and more consistently than lighter colored stones.

Next, you will need something to warm your stones in. A crock-pot or slow cooker works well as they can hold a consistent heat during the massage. You could also use a large pot with a lid on a hot plate. The warmer should be of a substantial size so it can hold all of the stones at once. Don’t ever use a microwave to heat your stones; they stones will heat unevenly and may cause burns.

Once you secure the stones and how to warm them you can focus on the accessories. You will need a strainer, slotted spoon or tongs to get the stones out of the warmer. If the warmer you are going with doesn’t have a temperature gage you will also need a food thermometer. The optimal temperature for the water is between 120 – 150 degrees. You should also have a few sheets, light towels or pillowcases available during the massage. Finally, to complete the relaxing experience it is nice to have soothing music, candlelight and some kind of aroma like lavender in the room.

That’s it. That’s your hot stone massage kit. There are a number of resources online that can direct you on the technique of giving a hot stone massage. With the hectic and stressful lives most of us lead having an outlet where we can unwind and rejuvenate is an extremely welcomed change of pace.

Timber and Its Use in Commercial Truck Construction

Many types of timber are used in commercial truck bodywork today, and it is used in a variety of different forms ranging from sections for framing, chipboard for partitions, to faced plywood for decorative panels. Manufactured timber panels are also used in conjunction with other materials such as aluminum and plastics to produce panels for special purposes which include heat and sound insulation and to improve resistance to general wear and the weather.

Some timbers are more suitable for vehicle bodywork than others because of their superior strength, resistance to wear, decay and fire, or appearance.

Although timber is used in many forms, it is all obtained from either soft wood trees or temperate or tropical hardwoods.

Softwoods.

There are a large number of softwood trees, which include many varieties of pine, fur, and spruce which make up about 90 per cent of all timbers used generally in the U.S.A and Europe. These trees are normally found in the northern hemisphere; most of them are cone bearing and evergreen, but there are some exceptions. In fact some types of softwoods are harder than hardwoods.

There is a good supply of softwoods and since less time is required to mature and they are easier to work they are generally cheaper than hardwoods. Softwoods are uses for the sides and floors of mineral carrying vehicles, since it is cheaper and easier to replace. It is also used for manufactured panels for other commercial vehicle bodies.

Hardwoods.

These are obtained from broad leaf trees, and there are over 2000 varieties including such well known types as oak, ash, teak and mahogany. All basal wood, which is much softer than softwoods, is in fact a hardwood, since it is the structure that decides the group not the texture.

Because the hardwoods take much longer to mature, are more difficult to obtain and work, and take much longer to season they are considerably more expensive. However, they are generally much stronger, more durable and have far more uses than softwoods.

Hardwoods are divided into two groups:-

1. Tropical. These are from trees found in Central Africa, India and South America and include the many different types of teak, mahogany and ebony.

2. Temperate. The varieties found in this group are oak, walnut, and ash are some of the temperate hardwoods found in U.S.A, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Hardwoods are used for framing and in some forms of veneer on panels for interior finishing. Also hardwoods such as ash are very suitable for curved framing members.

Manufactured Panels.

Plywood, block-board, chipboard, MDF and hardboard panels are often used instead of solid timber panels, and have many advantages. They can be obtained in larger sizes, are often stronger and are more stable, which means labor costs can be reduced when compared with other methods of covering large areas with equivalent tongue and groove jointed timber.

Plywood.

Plywood is made by gluing layers of veneer together at right angles to each other. This prevents splitting and greatly increases the strength of the panel. Curved members can also be produced by laying the veneers on a suitable mold or form before gluing.

Birch, ash, pine and fir are used in the manufacture of plywood but many other varieties are used for the face side of decorative panels. Plywood is obtainable in several thicknesses and sizes from which vehicle body floors can be made in one piece.

Block board.

There are a number of manufactured boards making use of solid timber core stock. One of these is block board and this consists of softwood glued together and faced with veneers of timber such as birch and mahogany. Large panels up to about 2 inches in thickness are produced and used in flooring and partitions.

Chipboard.

Chipboard is made from graded wood chips which are bonded together under pressure with synthetic resins and adhesives to form large strong panels 0.5 inch to 1 inch thick. These can be faced with many different materials to give painted, plastic or veneered surfaces. It has replaced solid timber for many purposes and because of the sizes manufactured it is a useful vehicle building material.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).

MDF is manufactured by bonding wooden fibers together using glue, heat and pressure. It is a very adaptable material, but can only be used for interior bodywork. It must be sealed / painted as it gradually emits urea formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen and eye, throat and lung irritant. Proper safety procedures should always be used when working with this material in any way.

Hardboard.

This is another useful material which, because of its smaller thicknesses is very suitable for interior paneling. It is made from compressed timber fibers and usually has a smooth side with the reverse side having a rough or mesh finish.

Identification of timbers.

Since many types of timber are used in vehicle body work, it is possible to identify the more common ones such as oak and teak. Most types have distinct features and properties, and when samples are carefully examined it is often possible to identify a particular type. The following features should be considered:-

1. The general appearance.

  • i) Color – red, brown, yellow, white.
  • ii) Grain – close or open, straight or twisted.
  • iii) Texture – hard or soft, rough or smooth.
  • iv) Figure – shape of grain

2. Weight.

Weighing a sample is not a reliable test since the weight will depend on the moisture content and even the weights of samples may vary.

3. Use a hand lens.

Examination of the surface and end grain may reveal distinctive features.

4. Use a microscope.

The use of a microscope will enable a much closer examination of a thin section.

5. Dissolving a sample.

This will allow a microscopic examination of the shape and size of cells and fibers.

It should be remembered that features and color may be affected by the origin, rate of growth, and treatment since felling and many other factors.

Timber Defects.

One of the main disadvantages with timber is that defects may be present or may develop later. Some of these can be treated satisfactorily but others may require the component to be replaced. Some defects can be avoided completely by careful felling, conversion and seasoning, but a knowledge of the defects will enable you to make the best possible use of the timber that may be somewhat inferior.

Knots.

These are not always a serious defect since in many cases timber is covered with paint, panels or other disguises and in timbers such as knotty pine they are treated so as to improve the appearance. On the other hand knots should not be present in framing timbers, some decorative panels or other situations where strength or appearance may be affected. Knots are nearly always present and timber is often graded by the distribution and number of knots present. Some timbers have more than others, so careful selection is usually worthwhile.

Splits and shakes.

Shakes appear in various forms and are not always apparent until the tree is felled and sawn into logs. Heart and cup shakes may not present much of a problem but other types such as the ring and star shakes can result in valuable timber being unusable. During the drying out or seasoning the moisture leaves the timber more quickly from the ends than the sides. If this is too rapid other splits may occur.

Woodworm.

Many types of timber are affected by various insects, and chemical treatment may be effective. The alternative is to remove and burn the infected part and fit a new piece.

Dry rot.

Timber, which is stored in conditions which are damp or lack ventilation will lose its strength and become soft and spongy. If this happens timbers should be destroyed.

Warping.

This is a common defect and is caused by uneven shrinkage during seasoning. Softwoods are more prone to this, since softwoods contain more moisture than hardwoods. Warping can be reduced by sawing the logs radially instead of tangently. If you examine the end grain of planks it is possible to decide which way they have been cut from the log.

Causes of timber defects.

  • i) Storm damage.
  • ii) Exposed growing conditions.
  • iii) Inexperienced felling.
  • iv) Incorrect conversion.
  • v) Poor seasoning.
  • vi) Bad storage conditions.
  • vii) Careless selection and use.

Seasoning timbers.

Living trees may have a moisture content of between 50% and 100% and since this is too high the trees, when felled have to be seasoned or dried until the moisture content is reduced. Timber for vehicle body work should have a moisture content of 12 %- 15%. If the moisture content is too high the timber will dry out further and shrink after use. If it is too low the timber will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and possibly swell. To find the moisture content a sample of timber is weighed in its normal condition and then weighed again after it has been carefully dried out. The moisture content is then calculated as follows:-

The moisture Content of the timber (M.C. %) is calculated by taking the wet weight, subtracting the dry weight, and dividing the answer by the dry weight and multiplying by one hundred.

The method of drying out a piece of timber to obtain its moisture content is unnecessary in practice, because electrical instruments are used to give instant readings There are a number of reasons why timber should be properly treated (seasoned):-

  • I) It is much stronger than unseasoned timber.
  • II) There is less risk of decay and attack by insects.
  • III) Painting, staining and other finishing processes can be carried out successfully on seasoned timber.

We should remember that the cells in a piece of timber are like wooden buckets. Large amounts of water in the cavities and the walls, so it is essential for timber to be properly seasoned. After the trees have been felled, the logs are taken to the saw mill where they are converted or sawn into planks or other sections. Since this exposes a greater surface area to the atmosphere seasoning time is reduced. The method used to saw or convert the logs will also affect the shrinkage, warping or other timber defects discussed previously.

Air Drying.

The sawn timber is piled in stacks with sticks or wooden strips separating each layer. This allows the air to circulate freely around each piece. The top of the stack should be protected from the sun and the rain, and since moisture will dry out more quickly from the ends of the planks, these are sometimes protected to prevent end splits. The air drying method is cheap and often leads to better quality timber, but it is a slow method, taking up to several years. The timber is liable to staining and insect attack and the moisture content is very rarely less than the surrounding area.

Kiln Drying.

This is a much quicker method, which results in timber with a more closely controlled moisture content. The timber is placed on trolleys and put in a kiln where the temperature and humidity are controlled. Air circulation may be by natural draft or forced by electric fans. Artificially seasoned timbers may be more brittle and other defects may occur, but the reduced time required is big advantage. Some timbers are air dried for a period before being kiln dried.

Timber Storage.

Seasoning timber processes may take several years and the timber may be stored for a further period before it is used. In order to keep it in good condition certain precautions must be observed:-

  • i) To prevent staining the timber should be protected from chemicals and other foreign matter, e.g. soot.
  • ii) Excessive rain and heat should be avoided and if stored indoors sufficient ventilation should be provided.
  • iii) It should be stacked in a proper manner to prevent boards becoming twisted or warped. The supporting blocks should be directly under each other otherwise the timber will begin to bend.

Wood preservatives suitable for use prior to painting.

This type of preservative is usually of a low viscosity and can normally be used prior to the application of coach or decorative enamels and their painting process. It can be applied by brush, spray or dipping and is normally allowed overnight to dry before application of the above mentioned paint systems. This promotes good adhesion and helps to reduce the problems of timber disease and rot.

Before using this type of product it is essential to make sure that it does not contain any waxes or silicone additives.

Priming of timbers.

Before the priming of any timber it is important to check that the timber is clean, dry and free from any oil residues. The timber should be thoroughly flatted with a suitable grade of glass paper and degreased with a ‘lint-free’ cloth which has been dampened with white spirits or a suitable solvent.

Priming should then be carried out using a suitable primer. It is essential when priming that all areas are adequately primed. This includes timber ends and tongue and grooves, where areas are to be covered with metal fitments or body sections. The reason for this is to prevent the ingress of moisture which would result in paint flaking.

Timbers containing knots should be treated in the following manner, prior to priming:-

I) The knots should be burnt with a blowtorch to extract surplus resin.

II) The timber should be thoroughly rubbed down and degreased as above.

III) Each knot should be treated with one or two coats of shellac, and allowed sufficient time to dry.

IV) Prime the timber as above.

Wood finishes.

These are non-pigmented finishes. Among those available are wax polishes, sealer coats, long and short oil varnishes, alkyd varnishes, yacht varnishes, single pack polyurethanes and teak oil. All these are suitable for brush application. For spray application only, use the following – cellulose lacquers, two pack polyurethanes, two pack catalyzed lacquers and single and two pack epoxies. The requirements of a wood finish are:-

  • i) Color flexibility.
  • ii) Build.
  • iii) Life expectancies.
  • iv) Acid or alkali resistance.

Sealers and wax polishes.

Sealers – These are cellulose based.

Waxes – These are petroleum based. One example is chilled wax which is fairly quick drying, gives little discoloration to the wood, and produces a good average finish.

Waxes – Silicone based. These waxes are very quick drying and produce a hard waterproof finish. The wood needs to be sealed before use, and it tends to give it a cloudy appearance.

Waxes – Beeswax. This is a natural product from honeycomb which has been rendered down with white spirits. It can be applied by brush or rag and produces a good finish that can be re-polished.

Long oil varnishes.

These contain more oil than resin in its formulation. The resin used is usually an alkyd or fossil resin. Long oil varnishes are flexible, due to the amount of oil and have good durability, making it ideal for exterior usage. It also has a fairly clear finish. Polyurethanes are used for wood which is left in exposed conditions, but tends to be rather soft for interior use. The life expectancy is two to two and a half years, and a four coat system is recommended, i.e. apply one very thin (diluted) coat followed by three full coats.

Short oil Varnishes.

These varnishes are quick drying but tend to be rather brittle. They dry to a hard finish and are more suitable for interior use, as they do not have the flexibility for exterior use.

Alkyd varnishes.

These are clear quick drying varnishes which are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. They are popular as a varnish for vehicle bodies, and are also applied as a four-coat system.

Teak oil.

This oil is easy to apply, but liberal coatings are required to restore the natural color of the timber.

French polishing.

This is based on shellac and methylated spirits. It is quick drying and causes the timber to darken. It is applied using a pad, made of a packed piece of wool or gauze, covered by a piece of cotton cloth. It is however, brittle and easily damaged by water and white spirits. It is mainly used in antique furniture.

Nitrocellulose lacquers.

These lacquers come in two types, the pre-catalyzed and the nitro-urethanes. These contain amino and polyurethane resins respectively.

Conclusion.

There is no doubt of the advantages of using timber in commercial truck bodywork today. Certainly other materials have and will come along to try and replace it, but for its versatility and availability it is still unrivalled and will be for a long time to come.

Knowing your timbers and how to look after them will ensure the maximum life expectancy from your truck or commercial vehicle.

Should I Buy 3 Ply Real Wood Flooring or Multiply Engineered Wood Flooring?

Customers often ask me “When buying wood flooring should I get 3 ply or multiply engineered wood flooring?” The answer comes down to 3 things.

1. The difference in cost

The cost of wood flooring has many variables. So for an example, lets say that both wood boards are oak, of the same length and width, and have the same finish. Roughly speaking the wider the board with a longer length is more expensive because it wastes more wood in the manufacturing process.

Then it comes down to the thickness of the boards. Those that are made for economy tend to be 15mm thick with a 3mm thick top veneer of oak. The first ply is the veneer, the second ply is a block board making up the bulk of the product, the third ply is a thin layer of wood on the base. A 3 ply board can come up to 20mm in thickness, with the veneer making up 6mm of the board. Buying a thicker board adds to the rigidity of the floor and prevents twisting and warping prior to installing.

A 3 ply board should be about 20% cheaper than its multiply counterpart. If you are installing this type of floor, in a straight forward room, with a dry level surface, then you can be confident to use an economy board.

2. Ease of fitting and stability of setting

Multiply engineered wood boards are normally 20 mm thick. The top veneer of oak is 6 mm. The other 14 mm is made up of 1mm layers of wood, with the grain of the wood placed at a 90 degree angle to the next layer. This makes the boards more stable when affected by a change of temperature or moisture levels. As the center of 3 ply is block board, the tongue is often rough and uneven, where as multiply is sanded and regular throughout the whole length of the board, making it quicker and easier to fit to the next plank.

3. Under Floor Heating

Real wood floors are a natural product and therefore can be affected by a change of temperature. In winter, because of the dryer conditions created by central heating, the wood contracts. In summer, windows are opened letting a good flow of air through a building, increasing humidity and a real wood floor starts to expand again.

This expansion and contraction is made greater when using underfloor heating, as the wood flooring has to deal with greater temperature and larger amounts of moisture loss. This is why I would recommend a multiply engineered board when choosing real wood floors to go over under floor heating Because of its stability and ease of fitting.

So to summarise

If you are fitting in a straight forward room to fit, that covers an existing flat wood floor, I wood recommend 3 ply engineered wood flooring.

If you are fitting over a concrete floor, under floor heating or rooms with a lot of temperature variation throughout the year, for its stability and easy of fitting, I would recommend multiply engineered wood flooring.

Turn Any Problem Into An Action Plan In 4 Easy Steps

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. – Og Mandino

I’d love to be always determined as well, you know!

I’ve been analyzing the past few years of my life and I came to the conclusion that my productivity and my success were always going hand in had with my daily motivation. I’m a disciplined person overall and I can force myself to work long hours every day. In fact that’s what I’ve been doing for the past years since I’ve got my first paid job.

Life goes on and so do our goals. I always wanted to become an independent professional, but I could never find the inner strength to sit down after work and dedicate some hours to develop my own business. The temptation to lay on my couch and relax while watching my favorite TV show was too big. My social environment wasn’t helping either: everyone was in the same situation as me and they called it a “normal life”. Which is not wrong, if you ask me. Having a stable, well-paid job is a privilege nowadays. But we always want more.

I’d lie if I’d say that I wasn’t doing ANYTHING in order to achieve my dream. I was trying to find the strength to work on my goals after work whenever I could. That wasn’t bringing any results though, except that it made me ask myself several important questions. In fact, that was the first important thing I’ve learned about procrastination:

1. The first step is about accepting that there’s an actual problem

It was Monday night. I’ve decided to accept my friend’s offer to write an article for his newspaper. He said that it could be a good starter for me – if I succeed, I could reach thousands of people. It was a topic I knew pretty well and the whole deal was about doing a little additional research and compiling my knowledge on a easy-to read and engaging way. The only problem was that I was feeling tired and empty inside. I was simply sitting in front of my PC screen, checking my cell phone from time to time. Not that I was waiting for someone specific to message me, it’s just I wasn’t feeling like I was focused or inspired enough to start writing.

After a hour of wasted time, I’ve realized that I’m waiting for a miracle. I’m waiting for the inspiration to come in out of nowhere and do the job for me. And that’s not how success comes to people’s lives. That’s not how motivation comes. So the first step to overcome procrastination was to reveal the problem. There are many ways to do that; I’ve used the simplest one (in my opinion) which was about being honest with myself and writing down the problems I was facing:

a. I’m feeling down and tired.

b. I don’t feel too excited about the things I need to do.

2. You can only start fixing something after you’ve figured out the cause of the problem

Now that these problems were finally revealed, the time came to look for their roots. Why? Because knowing that I’m not motivated wasn’t pointing me to a solution. I’ve stated that I have problem and that was a big step ahead. That wasn’t enough, though. I’ve associated the problem with someone else, while the main reason was in me.

Therefore the step #2 was made when I’ve assumed the responsibility for the problems I was facing. I’ve decided that the main issue wasn’t in my time-consuming job, my lack of creativity or the rain, pattering against the window of my apartment. I’ve tried to re-write the two statements in a way they’d bring a solution, and I came up with this:

a. I don’t know how to stay motivated.

b. I don’t know how to start feeling excited about the things I need to do.

3. You’ll find the answer once the question was asked

As soon as I did that, all of the sudden, I felt like something changed in me.

It wasn’t a “miracle” or a revelation, but suddenly I felt way more awake and motivated. The “I don’t know” part sounded like something which can be solved. It means that there IS a solution, it’s just I don’t know about it yet. For example, we cannot change the day/night cycle, but we can learn how to keep our homes illuminated at any time of the day.

The next step, therefore, was to replace the passive statements with active questions:

a. How do I stay motivated?

b. How do I start feeling excited about the things I need to do?

4. Once the question was asked, let yourself find the answer

What I did helped me to realize that the problem wasn’t in my environment or my personal traits. It was merely in my lack of knowledge. The solution was clear: “Alex, stop forcing yourself to do the things you don’t want to do. Stop feeling down about your inability to do things the right way.”

I didn’t have a problem anymore. Instead, I had an action plan:

1. Go to the library and study related materials;

2. Contact the most productive people from my environment and ask them specific questions about the tools they use to stay motivated.

3. Go to bed early and do the writing tomorrow morning before work.

What about you? What methods do you use to turn your problems into action plans?

Verdi Vent – Top of My List of Unique Costa Blanca Restaurants

If you are Iooking for a special but typically unique “olde worlde” Spanish restaurant in a fantastic location read on. So many Spanish restaurants have now lost what everyone expects of a typical Spanish country restaurant – but not Verdi Vent.

It took the husband and wife team of Loretta and Stephane (who are German and Belgique respectively) to recognise this some 11 years ago and who turned a 300 year old semi derelict Spanish farmhouse into probably the most successful and memorable dining experience to be found anywhere on the Costa Blanca – and it doesn’t cost a fortune!

So come with me on one of the prettiest journeys of the Valencian Region to the Jalon Valley and the small typically Spanish town of Jalon/Xalo (yes like many towns in the Valencia area the town has 2 names – normal Spanish and the other Valenciano). From here take the scenically stunning twisty road in the direction of the Bernia and its mountain range. The scenery is quite breathtaking and the drop to one side a little scary (if you choose to look over the edge!). After about 7 kilometers we arrive at the small hamlet of Maserof with just a few very old properties – the first of which is now a country museum (whose history is a fascinating story in its own right – perhaps I will tell you about it another day). This area is rural with a capital R. No mains water or electricity. But don’t be put off!

Almost next door you might pass this building by without a second look as apart from a small insignificant sign saying “Verd i Vent” it looks a bit like a very old not very inviting farmhouse. Park in front of the building avoiding the rocks and climb the steep steps with a chain hand rail and enter through a rather flimsy doorway. You are immediately transported back in time. This converted goat farmhouse retains many of its original features. Once your eyes become accustomed to the gloom there are barrels of wine; exposed stone walls; barrels supported on beams sticking out of the wall presumably in time gone by for storing wine and olive oil; hooks in the old walls for tethering animals; an open log fire in the cooler months with a small cauldron of warm potato and herb salad; original hand made terracotta stone floors; a minstrel’s gallery where the farmer and his family slept. It takes you back decades and you wonder how life was then…

Having been warmly welcomed by Loretta and shown to your table in one of the several distinctly individual dining rooms you will find there is no menu as such – just an interesting 5 course meal which follows much the same format every day with slight variations. The only choice is with the main course where you can have local shoulder or leg of lamb usually with herbs and honey from the surrounding mountains cooked in the oven or the choice of one other excellent main course dish which changes regularly. On your table will be a bowel of peanuts in their shell plus large carafe/s of local Jalon red wine which get automatically filled up by the attentive staff as they empties – all included in the set price.

Without wishing to spoil the enjoyment of experiencing this great value meal a typical meal would be warm potato and herb salad with local rustic bread; a large terrine of superb home made vegetable soup for you to serve yourself as many times as you wish; an interesting mixed salad and dressing which changes regularly; roast shoulder of lamb in herbs with vegetables; crepe with a marmalade sauce and of course as much red wine as you want. To finish off there is a complimentary glass of sweet Muscatel dessert wine also local. Coffee and mineral water extra. This excellent meal will cost you just about 17€ a head – really good value by anyone’s standards.

But before we leave another lovely touch that adds to the atmosphere – an excellent Spanish singing guitar duo originating from Colombia who wander the restaurant playing and singing a wide range of Spanish music (and taking requests).

If you are looking for a plush, swish, modern restaurant, then this is not for you. However if what you what is excellent, quality rustic food and wine in surroundings that will take you back a century or two then this is the place of you.

Home made produce is for sale and local artists display their works of art for sale.

Open all year just for lunch times. Closed Tuesdays. This year they are also for the first time opening some evenings in July and August.

Verdi Vent is just inland of Javea, Moraira, Calpe and Denia. The area is excellent for walking or just taking in the views; an interesting donkey sanctuary is nearby with many rare donkey breeds; the Country Museum is almost next door; on Saturdays the famous rastro market is spread along the river bank at nearby Jalon down below.

This restaurant is a must for anyone visiting this part.

Costs for the all inclusive meal around €17. Book early to reserve a table (and only have a small breakfast before going!).

Telephone number (+34) 96 597 3413.

Sealing Your Patio Pavers – 11 Keys to Successfully Sealing Your Patio

When my neighbor first decided to install a paver-block patio behind his home, he chose paver stones for several good reasons. He thought they would last longer than other materials like wood, or poured concrete, he thought they had a really “rich” elegant look to them and most of all, he thought that they would be maintenance free. Well, he almost had it right. They do look great and they’re incredibly durable, but it wasn’t long before he learned that they aren’t completely maintenance free.

After several seasons of rain, snow and sun, the patio just didn’t look as good as it first did when he had it installed. The sun was beginning to fade the color in some areas, the sand between the stones had been washed away by the rains and weeds had started growing in the gaps between the pavers. He even began to see ant colonies beginning to form using his precious paver sand as their new home.

Well, the solution to his problem was fairly simple. It was time to clean the patio up and seal it for protection. And though he was somewhat reluctant at first to attempt this project on his own, once I began to walk him through the various steps, he decided it didn’t sound that tough and he ought to be able to seal his patio himself.

I concurred. “Just observe these simple 11 keys”, I told him, “and when you’re done your patio will look like it was done by the Pros!”

1. First, take your time

With every project that I undertake, I can’t stress this point enough. From the beginning to the end, with every step in between, take your time. When you rush a project through you make mistakes, and mistakes are what the pros are able to avoid. Sometimes it’s just a matter of cleaning the surface a little better, or rinsing things off a little more. Maybe it’s allowing a little more time between coats for your sealer to dry or waiting a few more hours before re-installing your patio furniture. With every step of the process, take your time. The chances are much better that when the work is all done and the tools have been stored, you’ll look at the finished result and be satisfied that it turned out just as you had hoped it would.

2. Acids can be great cleaners

Often times when you inspect the patio, prior to washing you’ll notice stains. Leaves that have remained on the patio can leave tannin stains. Iron furniture that sits on the patio will most likely leave rust stains. Whatever stains you find need to be removed prior to sealing or they will be sealed in and become permanent, so now is the time to work on them. The simplest way to get the stains out is by using an acid cleaner. Conventional muriatic acid works well and it’s cheap, but I hate it. If you get it on your skin it burns and the vapors from it are just terrible. Instead, I use a “safer” cleaner, such as Defy Safer Masonry Cleaner. For severe stains, I simply pour a little cleaner at full strength on the stain and give it a few minutes to work before rinsing. If the whole patio is fairly dirty, dilute the cleaner 4:1 (four parts water to one part cleaner) and using a garden-type pump up sprayer, spray the entire surface with cleaner. Allow the cleaner to remain wet on the surface for 5 minutes or so, and then begin the rinsing process using a power washer.

3. Clean, clean and then clean some more

In regard to the prep work, sealing you patio isn’t much different than staining your deck or painting your house. Much of the quality of the job comes down to how well you prepare the surface.

Patios that have weathered will often times have mildew, moss and algae growing on the stones and in the sand between the joints. Weeds that have begun to grow as well as any other foreign debris need to be removed, and for a patio that means a good cleaning. The easiest way to clean things off is with a power washer.

Make certain that you select a washer with enough power to do the job. I try to never use anything rated less than 2400 p.s.i. Select a tip that will fan the water out slightly, 15° or so. Also, always work in sections.

Patios should be constructed so that water runs away from the home. So begin working near the house or the high side of the slope of the patio. Rinse debris down the patio’s natural flow, away from the house. You’ll loose some of the sand between the joints during the cleaning process and that’s ok. We’ll replace the sand once the patio is cleaned up. Just be careful not to blow out more sand than is necessary while doing your cleaning.

4. Now this one’s on the “level”

With the patio now cleaned, look around and inspect the condition of the pavers. Over time, paver stones can settle or shift, making them unlevel. If you have some bricks that are out of place, using a screwdriver and a stiff putty knife, pry the uneven stones out. Once removed, you can add a little sand, smooth it out with the blade of your putty knife, and re-install the bricks. A couple of taps with a rubber mallet to make things perfect and voila’, the bricks are level once again.

5. It’s time to fill this joint

The last remaining step in getting the patio ready to seal is to re-grout the joints between the stones with fresh sand. This step isn’t hard, but it does take a little time so be patient. To do this, I use a fine grade of run-of-the-mill play box sand. Pour a small amount on the patio and begin sweeping it into the joints using a push-broom. Sweep in both directions; back-to-front and left-to-right to insure the joints get completely filled. As the sand gets used up by filling the joints pour a little more onto the patio and keep sweeping.

6. Break time

This is the part you’re going to love. Go take a break! Remember when we started I said to take your time? Well now it’s very important that you take your time. After all of the cleaning that we did, the ground under those pavers is soaking wet and needs to dry out. Give the patio a couple of good, hot sunny days to dry out before applying any sealer. If you don’t, you could end up trapping moisture under the sealer and the whole project will turn a milky-white color…yuck!

7. Take a look at Waterborne Sealers

It’s time to pick out your sealer now and the choices are solvent-based products or water-based products. I hate solvents! “Why?” you ask. Here’s why:

  1. They’re bad for our environment.
  2. If they get on my grass or flowers, they kill them.
  3. They smell terrible.
  4. Everything has to be cleaned up with messy solvents.

Water-base sealers are a much better choice. Besides being both easy to use and easy on the environment, they offer another amazing advantage. They “stabilize” the sand. When cured, water-based sealers such as Defy’s Epoxy Fortified Paver Sealer, will harden the joint sand and lock it into place. This prevents it from washing out during future rains.

8. Read the can, follow directions

Every manufacturer’s product can be little different so always read the directions. It only takes a few minutes but it will ensure that you have all the right information before you get started. Pay attention to details such as how many coats of sealer to apply, how long to wait between coats, how to properly apply the product and how to clean it up. There are any number of variations to these questions and more. Read the label first and you’ll be likely to get it right the first time.

9. This sprayin’ stuff is easy

Now the fun stuff begins…applying the sealer. To do this, I love to use a garden-type pump up sprayer but I’ll warn you in advance, don’t buy a cheap one! The better sprayers (they usually cost over $50 bucks) have a metal fan-style spray tip and do a much better job than the inexpensive weed sprayers. When you’re looking for a sprayer, the key here is to look for a “fan-style tip”.

The patio edges can be cut-in using a 4″ nylon brush and then you’re ready to start spraying. Water-based sealers normally require two coats to be applied. Once you’ve cut-in the edges, spray the entire patio with the first coat. Then wait for the sealer to dry enough that it can walked on, and do the same thing all over again…two coats! If you get things on too heavy and the sealer starts to puddle, use the brush to get rid of the puddling by simply brushing it out.

If you want to see what this process looks like, you can visit defyinfo.com where you can find a streaming video detailing each of the steps that we’ve taken.

10. MORE is definitely NOT better

Ok, if a little is good then a lot must be better, right? No! Remember, we’re sealing concrete paver stones and these stones are sitting on a bed of sand. When the sand gets wet and then the sun comes out, these pavers need to breathe, meaning they need to let any water vapors pass through them. When too much sealer is applied, the water vapor can no longer pass through, which results in a white “blushing” effect or even potentially peeling.

Don’t be fooled, I know how great this stuff can look if you really lay it on, how cool that high gloss finish is. But it will blush and peel. Limit your application to two coats and you won’t have a problem.

11. How about a little maintenance

Ok, great job, now just one more thing. How about a little maintenance? Blow the leaves off when they fall to keep them from staining. Rinse the dirt and debris that seems to just show up over time. And as the weather begins to dull down the finish and the patio loses its luster, simply rinse it off and apply a light maintenance coat. Catch it before the patio gets too weathered and it’s really that simply.

So that’s it. That’s everything. Eleven keys to sealing your patio. Go ahead and try these eleven keys for yourself. See what the results are when you set out on your next project to do it like a pro. You might just surprise yourself!

F35 Error Code

OK… You have a Whirlpool Duet, Kenmore Elite or Maytag Epic front load washer and you are now experiencing the F35 and SUD error codes. Take a deep breath, relax and read along because I will explain how you can determine if the CCU (control unit) or the analog pressure switch (APS) is causing your issue so you can prevent an expensive service call.

Let’s learn what happens when you start your washer. First, after some checks and dispenser adjustments the CCU will open the water valve(s) and let a known amount of water in and then stop. It is the APS’s function to give a voltage signal that represents the water level in your washer. For example, with the tub empty the W10415587 APS will output about .38 VDC and after the first fill it will output about .7 VDC with no clothes in the washer. Note: If you have clothes in there the output voltage will be less because the clothes will absorb some of the water so this also gives the washer an idea of how large your “load” is.

There is a hose that originates on the bottom of the large tub that goes up to the APS and when the water level rises it pushes air up the hose and into the pressure sensor IC inside the APS. The pressure sensor IC then senses the pressure and outputs a representative voltage that the CCU can measure to determine the water level. Note: Earlier washer models used a simple pressure switch which had only one or two snap over points. The advantage of the APS is that it gives an accurate output based on the water level.

So… If the APS is outputting a lower voltage (or higher) than what the CCU expects then it will turn on the F35 and SUD errors and the machine will attempt to pump out any remaining water. From my experience… early on you will be able to “reset” machine by unplugging it for 20 seconds. Plug it back in and try again. The errors will probably become more frequent and eventually your smelly clothes pile will grow because you will not be able to start the machine!

There are videos available to help you determine if the CCU or the APS is causing you grief. If it is the CCU then there is a repair kit with step by step DVD that works 99% of the time where you replace some components on the CCU circuit board.

One video shows how to check the APS output voltage while in the machine and see what the voltage signal is using a volt meter where another helpful video shows how to test the APS with a 5 VDC power supply on a bench. If you determine that your W10415587 APS has failed there is a repair kit with DVD for that, too!

I recommend that you get started watching the videos so you can determine if the CCU or the APS is the culprit and get your machine back up and running!

The Development of Old Age and Related Issues

In traditional Chinese and other Asian cultures the aged were highly respected and cared for. The Igabo tribesmen of Eastern Nigeria value dependency in their aged and involve them in care of children and the administration of tribal affairs (Shelton, A. in Kalish R. Uni Michigan 1969).

In Eskimo culture the grandmother was pushed out into the ice-flow to die as soon as she became useless.

Western societies today usually resemble to some degree the Eskimo culture, only the “ice-flows” have names such a “Sunset Vista” and the like. Younger generations no longer assign status to the aged and their abandonment

is always in danger of becoming the social norm.

There has been a tendency to remove the aged from their homes and put them  in custodial care. To some degree the government provides domiciliary care services to prevent or delay this, but the motivation probably has more

to do with expense than humanity.

In Canada and some parts of the USA old people are being utilised as foster-grandparents in child care agencies.

SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS

What is Aging?

Aging: Aging is a natural phenomenon that refers to changes occurring throughout the life span and result in differences in structure and function between the youthful and elder generation.

Gerontology: Gerontology is the study of aging and includes science, psychology and sociology.

Geriatrics: A relatively new field of medicine specialising in the health problems of advanced age.

Social aging: Refers to the social habits and roles of individuals with respect to their culture and society. As social aging increases individual usually experience a decrease in meaningful social interactions.

Biological aging: Refers to the physical changes in the body systems during the later decades of life. It may begin long before the individual  reaches chronological age 65.

Cognitive aging: Refers to decreasing ability to assimilate new information and learn new behaviours and skills.

GENERAL PROBLEMS OF AGING

Eric Erikson (Youth and the life cycle. Children. 7:43-49 Mch/April 1960) developed an “ages and stages” theory of human

development that involved 8 stages after birth each of which involved a basic dichotomy representing best case and worst case outcomes. Below are the dichotomies and their developmental relevance:

Prenatal stage – conception to birth.

1. Infancy. Birth to 2 years – basic trust vs. basic distrust. Hope.

2. Early childhood, 3 to 4 years – autonomy vs. self doubt/shame. Will.

3. Play age, 5 to 8 years – initiative vs. guilt. Purpose.

4. School age, 9to 12 – industry vs. inferiority. Competence.

5. Adolescence, 13 to 19 – identity vs. identity confusion. Fidelity.

6. Young adulthood – intimacy vs. isolation. Love.

7. Adulthood, generativity vs. self absorption. Care.

8. Mature age- Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Wisdom.

This stage of older adulthood, i.e. stage 8, begins about the time of retirement and continues throughout one’s life. Achieving ego integrity  is a sign of maturity while failing to reach this stage is an indication of poor development in prior stages through the life course.

Ego integrity: This means coming to accept one’s whole life and reflecting on it in a positive manner. According to Erikson, achieving

integrity means fully accepting one’ self and coming to terms with death. Accepting responsibility for one’s life and being able to review

the past with satisfaction is essential. The inability to do this leads to despair and the individual will begin to fear death. If a favourable balance is achieved during this stage, then wisdom is developed.

Psychological and personality aspects:

Aging has psychological implications. Next to dying our recognition that we are aging may be one of the most profound shocks we ever receive. Once we pass the invisible line of 65 our years are bench marked for the remainder of the game of life. We are no longer “mature age” we are instead classified as “old”, or “senior citizens”. How we cope with the changes we face and stresses of altered status depends on our basic personality. Here are 3 basic personality types that have been identified. It may be a oversimplification but it makes the point about personality effectively:

a. The autonomous – people who seem to have the resources for self-renewal. They may be dedicated to a goal or idea and committed to continuing productivity. This appears to protect them somewhat even against physiological aging.

b.The adjusted – people who are rigid and lacking in adaptability but are supported by their power, prestige or well structured routine. But if their situation changes drastically they become psychiatric casualties.

c.The anomic. These are people who do not have clear inner values or a protective life vision. Such people have been described as prematurely resigned and they may deteriorate rapidly.

Summary of stresses of old age.

a. Retirement and reduced income. Most people rely on work for self worth, identity and social interaction. Forced retirement can be demoralising.

b. Fear of invalidism and death. The increased probability of falling prey to illness from which there is no recovery is a continual

source of anxiety. When one has a heart attack or stroke the stress becomes much worse.

Some persons face death with equanimity, often psychologically supported by a religion or philosophy. Others may welcome death as an end to suffering or insoluble problems and with little concern for life or human existence. Still others face impending death with suffering of great stress against which they have no ego defenses.

c. Isolation and loneliness. Older people face inevitable loss of loved ones, friends and contemporaries. The loss of a spouse whom one has depended on for companionship and moral support is particularly distressing. Children grow up, marry and become preoccupied or move away. Failing memory, visual and aural impairment may all work to make social interaction difficult. And if this

then leads to a souring of outlook and rigidity of attitude then social interaction becomes further lessened and the individual may not even utilise the avenues for social activity that are still available.

d. Reduction in sexual function and physical attractiveness. Kinsey et al, in their Sexual behaviour in the human male,

(Phil., Saunders, 1948) found that there is a gradual decrease in sexual activity with advancing age and that reasonably gratifying patterns of sexual activity can continue into extreme old age. The aging person also has to adapt to loss of sexual attractiveness in a society which puts extreme emphasis on sexual attractiveness. The adjustment in self image and self concept that are required can be very hard to make.

e. Forces tending to self devaluation. Often the experience of the older generation has little perceived relevance to the problems of the young and the older person becomes deprived of participation in decision making both in occupational and family settings. Many parents are seen as unwanted burdens and their children may secretly wish they would die so they can be free of the burden and experience some financial relief or benefit. Senior citizens may be pushed into the role of being an old person with all this implies in terms of self devaluation.

4 Major Categories of Problems or Needs:

Health.

Housing.

Income maintenance.

Interpersonal relations.

BIOLOGICAL CHANGES

Physiological Changes: Catabolism (the breakdown of protoplasm) overtakes anabolism (the build-up of protoplasm). All body systems are affected and repair systems become slowed. The aging process occurs at different rates in different individuals.

Physical appearance and other changes:

Loss of subcutaneous fat and less elastic skin gives rise to wrinkled appearance, sagging and loss of smoothness of body contours. Joints stiffen and become painful and range of joint movement becomes restricted, general

mobility lessened.

Respiratory changes:

Increase of fibrous tissue in chest walls and lungs leads restricts respiratory movement and less oxygen is consumed. Older people more likelyto have lower respiratory infections whereas young people have upper respiratory infections.

Nutritive changes:

Tooth decay and loss of teeth can detract from ease and enjoyment in eating. Atrophy of the taste buds means food is inclined to be tasteless and this should be taken into account by carers. Digestive changes occur from lack of exercise (stimulating intestines) and decrease in digestive juice production. Constipation and indigestion are likely to follow as a result. Financial problems can lead to the elderly eating an excess of cheap carbohydrates rather than the more expensive protein and vegetable foods and this exacerbates the problem, leading to reduced vitamin intake and such problems as anemia and increased susceptibility to infection.

Adaptation to stress:

All of us face stress at all ages. Adaptation to stress requires the consumption of energy. The 3 main phases of stress are:

1. Initial alarm reaction. 2. Resistance. 3. Exhaustion

and if stress continues tissue damage or aging occurs. Older persons have had a lifetime of dealing with stresses. Energy reserves are depleted and the older person succumbs to stress earlier than the younger person. Stress is cumulative over a lifetime. Research results, including experiments with animals suggests that each stress leaves us more vulnerable to the next and that although we might think we’ve “bounced back” 100% in fact each stress leaves it scar. Further, stress is psycho-biological meaning

the kind of stress is irrelevant. A physical stress may leave one more vulnerable to psychological stress and vice versa. Rest does not completely restore one after a stressor. Care workers need to be mindful of this and cognizant of the kinds of things that can produce stress for aged persons.

COGNITIVE CHANGE Habitual Behaviour:

Sigmund Freud noted that after the age of 50, treatment of neuroses via psychoanalysis was difficult because the opinions and reactions of older people were relatively fixed and hard to shift.

Over-learned behaviour: This is behaviour that has been learned so well and repeated so often that it has become automatic, like for example typing or running down stairs. Over-learned behaviour is hard to change. If one has lived a long time one is likely to have fixed opinions and ritualised behaviour patterns or habits.

Compulsive behaviour: Habits and attitudes that have been learned in the course of finding ways to overcome frustration and difficulty are very hard to break. Tension reducing habits such as nail biting, incessant humming, smoking or drinking alcohol are especially hard to change at any age and particularly hard for persons who have been practising them over a life time.

The psychology of over-learned and compulsive behaviours has severe implications for older persons who find they have to live in what for them is a new and alien environment with new rules and power relations.

Information acquisition:

Older people have a continual background of neural noise making it more difficult for them to sort out and interpret complex sensory

input. In talking to an older person one should turn off the TV, eliminate as many noises and distractions as possible, talk slowly

and relate to one message or idea at a time.

Memories from the distant past are stronger than more recent memories. New memories are the first to fade and last to return.

Time patterns also can get mixed – old and new may get mixed.

Intelligence.

Intelligence reaches a peak and can stay high with little deterioration if there is no neurological damage. People who have unusually high intelligence to begin with seem to suffer the least decline. Education and stimulation also seem to play a role in maintaining intelligence.

Intellectual impairment. Two diseases of old age causing cognitive decline are Alzheimer’s syndrome and Pick’s syndrome. In Pick’s syndrome there is inability to concentrate and learn and also affective responses are impaired.

Degenerative Diseases: Slow progressive physical degeneration of cells in the nervous system. Genetics appear to be an important factor. Usually start after age 40 (but can occur as early as 20s).

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE Degeneration of all areas of cortex but particularly frontal and temporal lobes. The affected cells actually die. Early symptoms resemble neurotic disorders: Anxiety, depression, restlessness sleep difficulties.

Progressive deterioration of all intellectual faculties (memory deficiency being the most well known and obvious). Total mass of the brain decreases, ventricles become larger. No established treatment.

PICK’S DISEASE Rare degenerative disease. Similar to Alzheimer’s in terms of onset, symptomatology and possible genetic

aetiology. However it affects circumscribed areas of the brain, particularly the frontal areas which leads to a loss of normal affect.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE Neuropathology: Loss of neurons in the basal ganglia.

Symptoms: Movement abnormalities: rhythmical alternating tremor of extremities, eyelids and tongue along with rigidity of the muscles and slowness of movement (akinesia).

It was once thought that Parkinson’s disease was not associated with intellectual deterioration, but it is now known that there is an association between global intellectual impairment and Parkinson’s where it occurs late in life.

The cells lost in Parkinson’s are associated with the neuro-chemical Dopamine and the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s are associated the dopamine deficiency. Treatment involves administration of dopamine precursor L-dopa which can alleviate symptoms including intellectual impairment. Research suggests it may possibly bring to the fore emotional effects in patients who have had

psychiatric illness at some prior stage in their lives.

AFFECTIVE DOMAIN In old age our self concept gets its final revision. We make a final assessment of the value of our lives and our balance of success and failures.

How well a person adapts to old age may be predicated by how well the person adapted to earlier significant changes. If the person suffered an emotional crisis each time a significant change was needed then adaptation to the exigencies of old age may also be difficult. Factors such as economic security, geographic location and physical health are important to the adaptive process.

Need Fulfilment: For all of us, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, we are not free to pursue the higher needs of self actualisation unless the basic needs are secured. When one considers that many, perhaps most, old people are living in poverty and continually concerned with basic survival needs, they are not likely to be happily satisfying needs related to prestige, achievement and beauty.

Maslow’s Hierarchy

Physiological

Safety

Belonging, love, identification

Esteem: Achievement, prestige, success, self respect

Self actualisation: Expressing one’s interests and talents to the full.

Note: Old people who have secured their basic needs may be motivated to work on tasks of the highest levels in the hierarchy – activities concerned with aesthetics, creativity and altruistic matters, as compensation for loss of sexual attractiveness and athleticism. Aged care workers fixated on getting old people to focus on social activities may only succeed in frustrating and irritating them if their basic survival concerns are not secured to their satisfaction.

DISENGAGEMENT

Social aging according to Cumming, E. and Henry, W. (Growing old: the aging process of disengagement, NY, Basic 1961) follows a well defined pattern:

1. Change in role. Change in occupation and productivity. Possibly change

in attitude to work.

2. Loss of role, e.g. retirement or death of a husband.

3. Reduced social interaction. With loss of role social interactions are

diminished, eccentric adjustment can further reduce social interaction, damage

to self concept, depression.

4. Awareness of scarcity of remaining time. This produces further curtailment of

activity in interest of saving time.

Havighurst, R. et al (in B. Neugarten (ed.) Middle age and aging, U. of Chicago, 1968) and others have suggested that disengagement is not an inevitable process. They believe the needs of the old are essentially the same as in middle age and the activities of middle age should be extended as long as possible. Havighurst points out the decrease in social interaction of the aged is often largely the

result of society withdrawing from the individual as much as the reverse. To combat this he believes the individual must vigorously resist the limitations of his social world.

DEATH The fear of the dead amongst tribal societies is well established. Persons who had ministered to the dead were taboo and required observe various rituals including seclusion for varying periods of time. In some societies from South America to Australia it is taboo for certain persons to utter the name of the dead. Widows and widowers are expected to observe rituals in respect for the dead.

Widows in the Highlands of New Guinea around Goroka chop of one of their own fingers. The dead continue their existence as spirits and upsetting them can bring dire consequences.

Wahl, C in “The fear of death”, 1959 noted that the fear of death occurs as early as the 3rd year of life. When a child loses a pet or grandparent fears reside in the unspoken questions: Did I cause it? Will happen to you (parent) soon? Will this happen to me? The child in such situations needs to re-assure that the departure is not a censure, and that the parent is not likely to depart soon. Love, grief, guilt, anger are a mix of conflicting emotions that are experienced.

CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDES TO DEATH

Our culture places high value on youth, beauty, high status occupations, social class and anticipated future activities and achievement. Aging and dying are denied and avoided in this system. The death of each person reminds us of our own mortality.

The death of the elderly is less disturbing to members of Western society because the aged are not especially valued. Surveys have established that nurses for example attach more importance to saving a young life than an old life. In Western society there is a pattern of avoiding dealing with the aged and dying aged patient.

Stages of dying. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has specialised in working with dying patients and in her “On death and dying”, NY, Macmillan, 1969, summarised 5 stages in dying.

1. Denial and isolation. “No, not me”.

2. Anger. “I’ve lived a good life so why me?”

3. Bargaining. Secret deals are struck with God. “If I can live until…I promise to…”

4. Depression. (In general the greatest psychological problem of the aged is depression). Depression results from real and threatened loss.

5. Acceptance of the inevitable.

Kubler Ross’s typology as set out above should, I believe be taken with a grain of salt and not slavishly accepted. Celebrated US Journalist David Rieff who was in June ’08 a guest of the Sydney writer’s festival in relation to his book, “Swimming in a sea of death: a son’s memoir” (Melbourne University Press) expressly denied the validity of the Kubler Ross typology in his Late Night Live interview (Australian ABC radio) with Philip Adams June 9th ’08. He said something to the effect that his mother had regarded her impending death as murder. My own experience with dying persons suggests that the human ego is extraordinarily resilient. I recall visiting a dying colleague in hospital just days before his death. He said, “I’m dying, I don’t like it but there’s nothing I can do about it”, and then went on to chortle about how senior academics at an Adelaide university had told him they were submitting his name for a the Order of Australia (the new “Knighthood” replacement in Australia). Falling in and out of lucid thought with an oxygen tube in his nostrils he was nevertheless still highly interested in the “vain glories of the world”. This observation to me seemed consistent with Rieff’s negative assessment of Kubler Ross’s theories.

THE AGED IN RELATION TO YOUNGER PEOPLE

The aged share with the young the same needs: However, the aged often have fewer or weaker resources to meet those needs. Their need for social interaction may be ignored by family and care workers.

Family should make time to visit their aged members and invite them to their homes. The aged like to visit children and relate to them through games and stories.

Meaningful relationships can be developed via foster-grandparent programs. Some aged are not aware of their income and health entitlements. Family and friends should take the time to explain these. Some aged are too proud to access their entitlements and this problem should be addressed in a kindly way where it occurs.

It is best that the aged be allowed as much choice as possible in matters related to living arrangements, social life and lifestyle.

Communities serving the aged need to provide for the aged via such things as lower curbing, and ramps.

Carers need to examine their own attitude to aging and dying. Denial in the carer is detected by the aged person and it can inhibit the aged person from expressing negative feelings – fear, anger. If the person can express these feelings to someone then that person is less likely to die with a sense of isolation and bitterness.

A METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE

The following notes are my interpretation of a Dr. Depak Chopra lecture entitled, “The New Physics of Healing” which he presented to the 13th Scientific Conference of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Depak Chopra is an endocrinologist and a former Chief of Staff of New England Hospital, Massachusetts. I am deliberately omitting the detail of his explanations of the more abstract, ephemeral and controversial ideas.

Original material from 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

In the lecture Dr. Chopra presents a model of the universe and of all organisms as structures of interacting centres of electromagnetic energy linked to each other in such a way that anything affecting one part of a system or structure has ramifications throughout the entire structure. This model becomes an analogue not only for what happens within the structure or organism itself, but between the organism and both its physical and social environments. In other words there is a correlation between psychological

conditions, health and the aging process. Dr. Chopra in his lecture reconciles ancient Vedic (Hindu) philosophy with modern psychology and quantum physics.

Premature Precognitive Commitment: Dr. Chopra invokes experiments that have shown that flies kept for a long time in a jar do not quickly leave the jar when the top is taken off. Instead they accept the jar as the limit of their universe. He also points out that in India baby elephants are often kept tethered to a small twig or sapling. In adulthood when the elephant is capable of pulling over a medium sized tree it can still be successfully tethered to a twig! As another example he points to experiments in which fish are bred on

2 sides of a fish tank containing a divider between the 2 sides. When the divider is removed the fish are slow to learn that they can now swim throughout the whole tank but rather stay in the section that they accept as their universe. Other experiments have demonstrated that kittens brought up in an environment of vertical stripes and structures, when released in adulthood keep bumping into anything aligned horizontally as if they were unable to see anything that is horizontal. Conversely kittens brought up in an environment of horizontal stripes when released bump into vertical structures, apparently unable to see them.

The whole point of the above experiments is that they demonstrate Premature Precognitive Commitment. The lesson to be learned is that our sensory apparatus develops as a result of initial experience and how we’ve been taught to interpret it.

What is the real look of the world? It doesn’t exist. The way the world looks to us is determined by the sensory receptors we have and our interpretation of that look is determined by our premature precognitive commitments. Dr Chopra makes the point that less than a billionth of the available stimuli make it into our nervous systems. Most of it is screened, and what gets through to us is whatever we are

expecting to find on the basis of our precognitive commitments.

Dr. Chopra also discusses the diseases that are actually caused by mainstream medical interventions, but this material gets too far away from my central intention. Dr. Chopra discusses in lay terms the physics of matter, energy and time by way of establishing the wider context of our existence. He makes the point that our bodies including the bodies of plants are mirrors of cosmic rhythms and exhibit changes correlating even with the tides.

Dr. Chopra cites the experiments of Dr. Herbert Spencer of the US National Institute of Health. He injected mice with Poly-IC, an immuno-stimulant while making the mice repeatedly smell camphor. After the effect of the Poly-IC had worn off he again exposed the mice to the camphor smell. The smell of camphor had the effect of causing the mice’s immune system to automatically strengthen

as if they had been injected with the stimulant. He then took another batch of mice and injected them with cyclophosphamide which tends to destroy the immune system while exposing them to the smell of camphor. Later after being returned to normal just the smell of camphor was enough to cause destruction of their immune system. Dr. Chopra points out that whether or not camphor enhanced or

destroyed the mice’s immune system was entirely determined by an interpretation of the meaning of the smell of camphor. The interpretation is not just in the brain but in each cell of the organism. We are bound to our imagination and our

early experiences.

Chopra cites a study by the Massachusetts Dept of Health Education and Welfare into risk factors for heart disease – family history, cholesterol etc. The 2 most important risk factors were found to be psychological measures – Self  Happiness Rating and Job Satisfaction. They found most people died of heart disease on a Monday!

Chopra says that for every feeling there is a molecule. If you are experiencing tranquillity your body will be producing natural valium. Chemical changes in the brain are reflected by changes in other cells including blood cells. The brain produces neuropeptides and brain structures are chemically tuned to these neuropeptide receptors. Neuropeptides (neurotransmitters) are the chemical concommitants of thought. Chopra points out the white blood cells (a part of the immune system) have neuropeptide receptors and are “eavesdropping” on our thinking. Conversely the immune system produces its own neuropeptides which can influence the nervous system. He goes on to say that cells in all parts of the body including heart and kidneys for example also produce neuropeptides and

neuropeptide sensitivity. Chopra assures us that most neurologists would agree that the nervous system and the immune system are parallel systems.

Other studies in physiology: The blood interlukin-2 levels of medical students decreased as exam time neared and their interlukin receptor capacities also lowered. Chopra says if we are having fun to the point of exhilaration our natural interlukin-2 levels become higher. Interlukin-2 is a powerful and very expensive anti-cancer drug. The body is a printout of consciousness. If we could change the way we look at our bodies at a genuine, profound level then our bodies would actually change.

On the subject of “time” Chopra cites Sir Thomas Gall and Steven Hawkins, stating that our description of the universe as having a past, present, and future are constructed entirely out of our interpretation of change. But in

reality linear time doesn’t exist.

Chopra explains the work of Alexander Leaf a former Harvard Professor of Preventative Medicine who toured the world investigating societies where people  lived beyond 100 years (these included parts of Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Southern Andes). He looked at possible factors including climate, genetics, and diet. Leaf concluded the most important factor was the collective perception of aging in these societies.

Amongst the Tama Humara of the Southern Andes there was a collective belief that the older you got the more physically able you got. They had a tradition of running and the older one became then generally the better at running one got. The best runner was aged 60. Lung capacity and other measures actually improved with age. People were healthy until well into their 100s and died in their sleep. Chopra remarks that things have changed since the introduction of Budweiser (beer) and TV.

[DISCUSSION: How might TV be a factor in changing the former ideal state of things?]

Chopra refers to Dr. Ellen Langor a former Harvard Psychology professor’s work. Langor advertised for 100 volunteers aged over 70 years. She took them to a Monastery outside Boston to play “Let’s Pretend”. They were divided into 2 groups each of which resided in a different part of the building. One group, the control group spent several days talking about the 1950s. The other group, the experimental group had to live as if in the year 1959 and talk about it in the present tense. What appeared on their TV screens were the old newscasts and movies. They read old newspapers and magazines of the period. After 3 days everyone was photographed and the photographs judged by independent judges who knew nothing of the nature of the experiment. The experimental group seemed to

have gotten younger in appearance. Langor then arranged for them to be tested for 100 physiological parameters of aging which included of course blood pressure, near point vision and DHEA levels. After 10 days of living as if in 1959 all parameters had reversed by the equivalent of at least 20 years.

Chopra concludes from Langor’s experiment: “We are the metabolic end product of our sensory experiences. How we interpret them depends on the collective mindset which influences individual biological entropy and aging.”

Can one escape the current collective mindset and reap the benefits in longevity and health? Langor says, society won’t let you escape. There are too many reminders of how most people think linear time is and how it expresses itself in entropy and aging – men are naughty at 40 and on social welfare at 55, women reach menopause at 40 etc. We get to see so many other people aging and dying that it sets the pattern that we follow.

Chopra concludes we are the metabolic product of our sensory experience and our interpretation gets structured in our biology itself. Real change comes from change in the collective consciousness – otherwise it cannot occur within the individual.

Readings

Chopra, D. The New Physics of Healing. 735 Walnut Street, Boulder, Colorado 83002,

Phone. +303 449 6229.

Coleman, J. C. Abnormal psychology and modern life. Scott Foresman & Co.

Lugo, J. and Hershey, L. Human development a multidisciplinary approach to the psychology of individual growth, NY, Macmillan.

Dennis. Psychology of human behaviour for nurses. Lond. W. B.Saunders.