Food for Healthy Nails

Nails are a protective horn at the end of our most sensitive extremities: fingers and

toes. They can often become injured from accidents or crushing weight such as

heavy walking or running. They can also become infected from bacterial or fungal

infections as well as separated from the nail bed or chipped from harsh weather.

The nails are often a reflection of our overall health or nutritional deficiencies. Some

ways to listen to what your nails are trying to tell you are:

o Iron/Protein/Calcium Deficiency = brittle, concave, ridged, white half moons

o Too much salt = external fibrous growths

o Nervousness / hyper thyroid = separation of the nail bed

o Respiratory Difficulties = bluish discoloration

o Bronchial Difficulties = yellowish discoloration

o Anemia = pale nail beds

o Vitamin A Deficiency = peeling nails

o Zinc Deficiency = poor nail growth

o Vegetable Quality Oils Deficiency = thin, brittle nails

o Consumption Extremes in Diet (especially meats and refined foods) = washboard


What we eat actually does affect the appearance of these external parts of our

bodies. Start paying attention to your hands (and feet!) and feeding your body right.

The food we put IN the body affects the health of our nails, but that doesn’t mean to

completely ignore the food we put ON the body either. Contrary to many fabulously

smart marketing campaigns you don’t need to spend a lot of money on chemically

enhanced products to experience strength and beauty on your outside.

Natural oils are an excellent way to treat the external condition of the finger and

toenails. Different oils affect the body differently. A great way to determine what oil

would suit your body best is to examine your heritage and connect to the

predominant oil in that part of the world.

Once you have determined which is best for your particular body’s need use some

time in the evening to take a “nail bath” (remember … the skin is our most

absorbent organ …)

1. Allow your nails to soak in a small bowl of oil or gently rub the oil into the nails

2. Cover with cotton gloves, cotton socks

3. Sleep

Top Three Oils to Treat Your Nails Right

1. Coconut Oil: one of the few significant plant sources of lauric acid. This medium

chain fatty acid, which is also found in human milk, enhances brain function and the

immune system.

2. Palm Kernel: when unrefined, this high saturation oil is the one of the most stable

of oils providing strength and ultimate saturation to the skin.

3. Olive Oil: the most stable vegetable oil, high in vitamin E, provides support to the

liver and gallbladder (yes, no matter how you take it into the body).

Now, take a minute and think about how those chemically enhanced skin and nail

products are affecting your body …

To your energy and success, Heather

Bryopsis Algae Problem in Saltwater Aquariums – A Solution That Actually Works

As far as algae problems go in saltwater aquariums (primarily reef aquariums), none is as nightmarish as bryopsis. It just doesn’t go away with normal efforts the work on fighting most other algae outbreaks. But here I am going to give you a solution that actually works, and believe it or not, it works pretty fast too.

There are many types of algae outbreaks, such as hair algae, cyanobacteria (i.e. red/green slime algae), diatoms, bubble algae, etc.. But when it comes solving the algae outbreak, bryopsis is in a class all by itself. In most cases, you can manage your way out of the problem, by reducing nitrates and phosphates, elevating pH (8.4-8.5), increasing water movement, adding a diverse army of grazers (tangs, emerald crabs, hermit crabs, sea hares, urchins, snails, etc.), and removing detritus from the system, as well as other steps.

But bryopsis algae does just fine even after you add an army of inverts to graze, because few will eat it. Also, it can still thrive even when phosphates and nitrates are at zero (or undetectable). And even if you have a refugium attached to your saltwater aquarium or reef aquarium, the bryopsis algae just keeps on keeping on. It does not need much in the way of nutrients to sustain itself, unlike cyanobacteria (i.e. red/green slime algae), which can easily be reduced with phosphate removing media, increased water movement and detritus removal (not to mention a product called Chemi-Clean, which nukes it instantly, but does not deal with the cause).

And manual removal of bryopsis is an exercise in futility. It will actually help it reproduce via asexual fragmentation.

So by now your wondering “alright already – give me this elusive solution”. OK here it is.

The solution to nuking, wiping out, a bryopsis outbreak (no matter how massive the outbreak), is to raise the magnesium levels to 1600ppm (normal levels ~1300ppm) and keep it there for 3 months. Do not raise it faster than by 100ppm per day. Once you have your magnesium levels at 1600ppm, there may be a slight increase in algal growth (at first), and then the bryopsis algae will shut down and begin to fade and die off, whereby your grazers (snails, hermits, emerald crabs, tangs, etc.) will eat it. Once successful, lower Magnesium levels to 1300ppm and keep it there long term.

Once the Bryopsis reaches its threshold for binding Magnesium, the Magnesium will then function as an enzyme inhibitor and cause the Bryopsis to shutdown and die off.

To raise your magnesium levels, there are many different products you can use, such as:

  • Kent Tech M
  • Magnesium chloride
  • SeaChem Reef Advantage

And once you have the problem licked, it is vitally important to focus on prevention. This means maximizing high water circulation in your aquarium, continual removal of detritus, efficient protein skimming, keep pH at 8.4, use several forms of removing phosphates and preventing their addition to your saltwater aquarium:

  • use phosphate removing media such as Rowaphos or Puraphos;
  • employ use of chaetomorpha and gracilaria algae in a refugium;
  • use calcium hydroxide (a.k.a. kalkwasser) to precipitate out phosphate so that the protein skimmer can remove it; it also elevates the pH and contributes to calcium and alkalinity;
  • filter tap water with RO/DI (reverse osmosis with deionization post filters) as it removes phosphates from tapwater;
  • thaw out and rinse all frozen foods prior to feeding them to your saltwater aquarium, as just looking at the thaw water will show you there is a lot of unwanted nutrients that would otherwise end up in your tank and contribute to algae problems;
  • service your protein skimmer at least once a week and keep it functioning at peak efficiency

Here’s to your success in staying ahead of the game and to preventing such nasty problems as a bryopsis algae outbreak. Remember to keep an eye out for bryopsis attached to new coral additions or live rock. Now that you have the solution, we’d love to hear your feedback, by commenting on our blog, which can be found in the author resource box below this article.

Grilled Fish Recipes – Tequila Lime Tacos

Today is a special day because I am going to talk food which is dear to my heart. And that is grilled fish recipes for Mexican food. In other words, let’s do fish tacos. There is that southern Calif. influence coming out. Now I could eat fish tacos everyday because one, not only do I love them, but, two, if you do them right they are very healthy for you. Here is just one example: Sit down and eat bbq tri-tip and you, well, maybe not you, but I am eating half of it at one sitting. Red meat. That is not all that healthy for you in excess. Notice I said excess, I don’t want anyonne saying that I am telling everyone that red meat is unhealthy. No, that would be bad for the bbq business.

What I am saying is that we need to be wise in our choices. And you cannot get much wiser than grilled fish recipes like fish tacos. Shoot, you could eat six of them and still not come up to a half a pound of meat. And depending upon the selection of fish which you choose, this could turn out very healthy indeed. Thus, tequila  lime  fish tacos. Don’t worry, the alcohol burns off.


* 4 tilapia fillets (about 1 pound)

* 4 tablespoons oil

* 2 tablespoons  lime  juice

* zest of 2  limes 

* 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

* 2 teaspoons tequila

* salt and pepper to taste


Now even though I did not mention it, with tacos and anytime I do grilled fish recipes on the grill I always grill up some onion rings, or sliced onions and put them in my tacos. Now you can combine all ingredients except for the tilapia fillets in a resealable plastic bag. Turn to mix and add tilapia fillets. Seal and refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat grill. Pour marinade into a saucepan. Bring marinade to a low boil and remove from heat. Grill tilapia fillets for about 3 minutes per side over a high heat. When fish turns opaque remove from grill and slice them up into thin strips.

Then take these and place them in some grilled corn tortillas, add some of those grilled onions, thinly sliced cabbage and maybe top of with either (or both) a little of that marinade and some hot sauce. Or you can take some sour cream and mix it with some of the marinade and hot sauce and then just top it off with that.

Now that is some healthy grilled fish recipes. Like I said you can really eat a lot of those and it won’t be that bad for you… least in my eyes. And then for more of those fish taco recipes you can always find some in our free newsletter.

Bar Codes

Norman Woodland, a 27-year-old graduate student at Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia developed the first code system that automatically read product information during checkout. Woodland and his friend Silver were awarded a patent for their application titled Classifying Apparatus and Method on October 7, 1952. Many experts are of the view that the Woodland and Silver  bar  code was the basis of what would soon become a global phenomenon.

In the beginning, barcodes were developed to store data in the spacing of printed parallel lines. The idea was to help grocery stores speed up the checkout process and keep better track of the inventory. However, the system soon picked up and became a success story.

Barcodes form the basis of identification in almost all types of businesses in the modern world. Barcodes are variously called as Universal Product Codes or UPCs. These are machine-readable codes and come in strips, generally comprising of a series of short black lines of varied thickness. These codes are read by optical scanners called barcode readers or scanned from an image by special software. A laser reader or scanner can translate the barcodes into the corresponding alpha-numeric digits, which are used to uniquely identify a piece of property. Barcodes are used world over to implement Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) systems that improve the speed and accuracy of computer data entry.

At present, we have codes in several patterns of dots, concentric circles and hidden in images. Barcodes are provided by a body called Uniform Code Council (UCC). A manufacturer has to apply to the UCC for permission to enter the UPC system. An annual fee is charged for the service. In return, the UCC issues the manufacturer a six-digit manufacturer identification number. The manufacturer identification number is part of a standard 12-digit  bar  code.

 Bar  coding standards have brought about great precision, technical refinement and uniformity in the way business is conducted in the world. Throughout the world, most of the data entry is done much more quickly. All data is collected in real time.  Bar  codes have also led to the elimination of manual data entry and retrieval system. The coding has completely streamlined products, making the most effective use of human and physical resources.

Men’s Sex Toys – Are They Any Good?

Men are straight forward beings. They know what they enjoy and what they favor. To them, sex toys for men are simply a means with which they ease any intimate frustrations and tensions that they may have, or merely pleasure themselves. Virtually all male sex toys are created with this in mind. Some of the sex toys for men, though, are aimed to heighten confidence and comfort of the men.

So what’s the most popular or common of men’s sex toys? Well firstly, are the male masturbators. You can acquire these in a selection of shapes and sizes. In short, they are long and tubular in contour and created out of silicone or latex to mimic a woman’s private parts. They are designed to give the user the sense and friction he would have felt throughout sexual intercourse. The male masturbators, in general, are safe and easy to use. These come in beguiling poses so as to enable the user to fantasise on their favourite person.

If however, you would also like to get some confidence at the same time, cock rings and penis extenders or stretchers are ideal products. They will either enhance an erection or advance penis length and girth. Penis extenders tend to be made from silicone or rubber to imitate the sensation of a woman while it is being worn. A cock ring however, can be made from many different materials. Silicone tends to be the most popular, but we have also seen leather and even some metal variations too. These male sex toys have been additionally enhanced by extras such as vibration features. Caution should be observed as continued use or tight versions of these might result in rupture of blood vessels in the penis.

Penis pumps are another set of men’s sex toys that are proving quite popular. These pumps are believed to be able to augment penile size and performance. The penis is inserted into the tube or shaft of the penis pump and a vacuum is created aiming to help the penis expand as the vacuum is created. These may not be supported by huge scientific certification but have the positive feedback of many men. Again, as with cock rings you need to show some caution. Too much vacuum pressure on the penis could rupture the vessels in it. Moderation!

There are some sex toys that can be packed away in an overnight back or rucksack making them perfect for if you are away from your partner. These toys are better referred to as blow-up dolls. These are dolls, blown up by air, their texture similar to a human female with all relevant parts, for the intimate delight of the man. Buy at the top end and a lot of these dolls even have vibrating extras for added sexual stimulation Some men get into the spirit and the mood by also kitting themselves out with clothing too. Leather and latex role play clothing can be found and purchased online really easily. In fact, you will be amazed at the choice that you have.

Some men could prefer something a little different that suits and stimulates them in a way that they might prefer. There are quiet vibrators that only the wearer would be aware they were using and prostate massagers that are two great options. There are many different ways to inject fun and play into sex and love making safely. We’ve touched on a few, but don’t be boring – go and find some more!

Domestic Plumbing And Plumbing Engineers

The quality of a houses plumbing is essential for the comfort of the family. When the plumbing is working as it should, water runs from the taps, the family can wash and the radiators can heat up when needed. Once the plumbing malfunctions, there are real problems. That could result in the plumber being called out, and can usually prove expensive. Plumbing is a job for the experts. Unless there is someone in the household who is competent at plumbing, it is best calling in a plumber for any work that needs doing. So it is worth having a contact number for a competent plumber handy. However, there are some plumbing jobs the amateur may deal with, so long as he or she first knows how to do them.

Before embarking on most plumbing jobs it is usually best to switch off the water supply. It is not a difficult thing to do.  If the taps are connected to the mains then it is just a case of turning off the indoor stop valve, with a spanner if it is stiff. Once the valve has been turned off, the taps should be opened to make sure the remaining water in the pipes is drained off. For taps that feed off the cistern, the mini-stopcock or gate valve that should be turned off. These sit alongside the cold water tank. Then it is important to remember to leave the taps on to drain off the water in the pipes. If you need to drain the cistern you need to switch it off at the mains, or place a plank across the tank and tie the ball valve to it. This will stop water filling up the cistern. Then turn on the bath taps to drain the surplus water.

You may need to switch off your water supply at the outside stopcock. Of course, you will need to know where the stopcock is. If you are not sure, contact your water company to find out where it is situated. It is then just a matter of removing the cover, inserting the stopcock key and turning it clockwise. Disabling the water supply is important  if there is a leak in your property. If you have the skill to fix the leak yourself, then go ahead. If not then contact a plumber without delay. There are insurances available to meet plumbing costs and it is well worth taking one out to cover for those inevitable emergencies that will crop up every now and again.

Temporary HDPE Pipe Repair Solution

You must have heard the term High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Generally the term is associated with pipes or pipe linings. A normal polyethylene pipe has low density. High density polyethylene pipes or HDPE pipes are more durable. A significant number of people have already started using HDPE pipes at home and office. A normal pipe when exposed to the atmospheric constituents can bring about several unnecessary troubles. A normal pipe is actually a low density polyethylene pipe.

At any point of time your pipe can leak due to corrosion. So, I will tell you some temporary pipe repair remedy while you call a plumber.

Method 1 – HDPE Pipe Repair

Before you try out anything to cease the flow of water, turn off the water at the main source or the valve. Locate the bleed valves or the faucets to release the water around the leakage. After draining the water, look for a piece of rubber that will cover the leak and the surrounding area. Fasten the rubber around the leakage tightly. Only tightening the rubber might fail to give you an effective solution. Arrange for a hose clamp on the rubber. If you do not have a hose clamp then just tighten the clamp with screw driver or wrench. A C clamp also will serve the purpose. After all, all we want is to secure the rubber on the leakage.

Method 2 – HDPE Pipe Repair

You will find water activated fiber glass resin in pipe repair shops or bathroom accessory shops. Soak some of it depending on the leakage type. After turning off the water flow at the main valve, put some of it on the leakage. Wear gloves to spread it evenly on the surface and let it dry. Do not turn on the main valve before the fiber glass resin dry.

Method 3 – HDPE Pipe Repair

If the leakage is around fittings, as aforesaid, drain the existing water in the pipe after turning off the main valve. First of all let the area dry. Take two parts of epoxy putty and mix it well. Apply it and smoothen it on the targeted area. Allow sometime for drying and follow the instruction before restoring the water flow.

Equip Yourself To Tackle Leakage Problem

You can come across leakage problem anytime so better be well equipped in advance to restore the normal flow. There are few items required to be prepared to face the problem bravely:

A rubber sheet can help you get rid off a leakage issue. Though a temporary remedy but an effective way to cease the water flow, while you run to the plumber for fixing both polyethylene pipe and HDPE pipe.

C-clamp, hose clamp etc will be useful for securing or holding the rubber sheet intact in the targeted area.

Epoxy Putty is somewhat like fiber glass resin though different in composition. Fiber glass resin requires to be soaked in water before application.

Disposal gloves should be kept handy. Before applying the fixing materials like epoxy putty and fiber glass resin wear the glass to avoid direct contact with skin.

Wrench and screw drivers are usually common and generally they are available at home.

These petty matters can be resolved instantly but some deep intermittent problem can be a real headache. Therefore HDPE pipes are generously used by many.

Home of the Free

Love is action! That’s what my friend Jess taught me. So last week I put my money where my mouth is and woke up at the crack of dawn to drive downtown to witness one of my besties, getting sworn in to become a US Citizen. I assumed I would be witnessing a hundred people or so, and call it a day. When we arrived and saw the millions of people (well, 3061 to be exact; 18 million over the last 10 years) that had come here so they could officially call the US of A their home, I experienced a moment’s panic. I mistakenly thought I would have to sit here while each person’s name was read aloud. Now that would be torture.

I am   riveted  by how many American flags I see waving around and even more plowed over by how many stories there are swirling around in this United Nations of a room. I’ve always had a strong negative reaction to American flags, but seeing everyone carrying theirs with such pride, it strikes me just how much I’ve taken for granted. The stories behind what it must mean for some to leave their native land: volumes and volumes of persecution; endless chapters where voices can’t be heard without risking prison and death; millions of pages of longing for better opportunities. I am in the presence of a serious initiation ceremony, one that catches me by utter surprise. No longer torture, but rather deeply touching…

I am taught that for ceremony to be meaningful, each person needs to make some kind of offering – something that considers either the person or situation being offered to. What is the offering that each of these individuals have made? Perhaps it’s the hardship that many have endured in order to seek freedom and make this country their home; a reality I don’t know. The judge eloquently tells us that the exchange (the offering) for becoming a citizen is “to be active and engaged and take action to give back.” In other words, pay it forward.

I imagine millions of people all over the world wanting this right to freedom, the chance to pay it forward.

This question of freedom was all around last week. We celebrated Passover with my daughter’s 3rd grade class. The meaning behind Passover, historically has been difficult for me to retain. Egypt, Pharaoh, the Red Sea parting… just a little out of my wheelhouse in terms of relatability. But at this Seder, the kids (and I) are taught that Passover is about celebrating the exodus from bondage – literally and metaphorically. In other words, the bondage of our own minds can imprison us, and if we don’t master our thoughts, they will master us. You could call it taming the mind to stay present.

I meditate because I want to tame my mind. I want more freedom in me so I can be there to help others in all kinds of difficult situations. One of the principle teachings of the Buddha was that he said, “I teach only two things. Suffering and the end of suffering.” This doesn’t mean physical pain. It doesn’t mean outer circumstances being unpleasant. It means what we do with these day to day things that happen. What we do when the S— hits the fan.

But what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Outer or inner? There’s a Buddhist analogy I love… You’re barefooted and walking across blazing-hot sand, or across cut glass. Or, you’re in a field with thorns. And you say, “It’s really hurting, it’s terrible, it’s too sharp, it’s too painful, it’s too hot.” Oh, I have a great idea! I am just going to cover the whole ground, everywhere I go, I’m going to cover it with leather. And then it won’t hurt my feet anymore.” It’s like saying, “I’m going to leave him because he chews too loud, and shut down when she doesn’t pick up her clothes, and make sure he speaks to me with the right tone (we have the tone police in our house). And I’m going to ban people altogether who don’t agree with my views. I’m going to make sure the smells are okay; there will be no farting around me anymore. Bye bye to all pop music; only Chants from here on in. And, if you don’t have humility, you’re out. There will be nothing that bothers me anywhere, including mosquitoes. Ahh, now I will be a very happy person!”

You may be smiling, but this is what we all do. We think, if my husband or child could just behave the way I think they should (cover the ground with leather), the pain would go away. Then my feet wouldn’t hurt anymore. So the Buddha said, “But if you simply wrap the leather around your feet” (in other words, shoes), then you could walk across the boiling sand and the cut glass and the thorns, and it wouldn’t bother you. The analogy being, if we work with our minds, instead of trying to change everything on the outside, that’s how we can free ourselves up and remain calm. Mandela is an exquisite example of this. He showed the world that a person could rise above his conditions and elevate his mind toward freedom. He found his pair of leather shoes.

This journey we take to free ourselves, to come home – not so easy. But well worth the ride. When we are freed up, the cup is half full, connection is more fluid, and gratitude recognizable. Whether you’ve migrated from another land to get here, or whether you’re traveling the vast landscapes of your emotional terrain. Or both. And whether it’s in the good ole US of A, or the home in the center of our hearts, every one of us wants to be free.

Fencing Strategy and Tactics II – Elements

In fencing the terms strategy and tactics are not well defined, and are often used interchangeably. Discussions of fencing tactics in the current literature address how actions are chosen and delivered in specific situations. The tactical tree (Szabo 1977, Barth and Beck 2005), the 4 or 6 category tactical wheels (Szabo 1977, Bradford, Thompson 2007), and various rules of thumb help the fencer make decisions about how to fight the next touch. However, these are not a well integrated, systemic view of how to fight the continuum of a bout, a tournament, and a season.

If we examine the elements of fencing, we can identify three different levels of activity: individual actions, bouts, and everything outside the bout.

(1) Offensive, defensive, counteroffensive, preparatory, etc. activities, typically termed actions or techniques or strokes. These are:

… recognized as single actions or combinations of actions within a fencing phrase,

… taught as individual techniques,

… executed in the moment,

… happen multiple times in a bout, and

… are the building blocks of phrases which have a start and ending.

(2) Bouts, whether 1 touch (modern pentathlon and classical epee), 5 touch (pool), 10 touch (veteran direct elimination), 11 or 15 touch (three weapon individual and team), best of 3 bouts (youth direct elimination), 15 touch (direct elimination), or relay (in team competition), are:

… a defined period of fencing, in time, space, and number of hits,

… a period in which the fencer must operate autonomously, with little outside advice,

… with problems that are highly dynamic in speed, timing, distance, line, and technique,

… in which the fencer must operate with his or her own capabilities, analysis of the situation, and choices of actions to defeat an opponent who is doing the same

… with time for analysis and decision making limited, forcing changes within the action or between phrases, while under psychological pressure, and

… constant pressure to perform at a level higher than the opponent with immediate consequences for incorrect choices

(3) Everything outside the bout – the pool, tournament, competition cycle, season, career period (high school, college, senior, veteran), career, differ in that:

… outside advice from a coach is available,

… pressure is relaxed, even if only briefly,

… more information can be analyzed and decisions made after more thorough analysis,

… time is available to change direction (between bouts), technique (between tournaments), physical performance, and even major objectives, and

… this period requires prolonged concentration and dedication.

If this analysis is essentially correct these three major arenas are those which the fencer operates – the action or technique level, the bout, and a long term (everything beyond the bout), Each level’s characteristics call for a different approach, approaches that can be defined by three key terms – actions, tactics, and strategy.

Tea Tray Bouts For Classical Fencing

In the 1800s some fencing masters were reputed to teach lessons with their students standing in a tea tray. This unusual practice was designed to force disciplined blade work and eliminate reliance on the retreat as a defense. It comes from an era in which fencing was becoming increasingly distant from the realities of the dueling ground, and in which conventional conduct ruled the sport. For example, many fencers believed that it was impossible, or at least unmannerly, to start a phrase from an absence of blade. Anything other than engagement meant that you were doing something very strange with your foil, something that certainly was not fencing. And in some circles there was general agreement that a retreat to avoid an attack was a sign of bad manners, at the least, or outright cowardice, at the worst.

In this environment, the tea tray actually makes sense. It forces engagement out of simple self-protection and it eliminates both the opportunity to retreat and the need to advance. So the classical fencers in my salle (fencing school) decided to see whether it is possible to fence a bout with both fencers figuratively standing in tea trays.

First the rules:

(1) Fencers come on guard at medium distance. If there is an appreciable difference in the lunge length of the two fencers, the distance is set by the lunge length of the fencer whose lunge is shorter.

(2) Fencers start from engagement in either 6th or 4th. Sixth is a more modern choice, dating from the 1890s or later. Fourth is an older choice, being commonly preferred by some masters at least until the 1880s.

(3) All blade actions in the classical lexicon may be used – which includes all techniques you will find in any fencing textbook, excluding the flick.

(4) The only footwork permitted is the lunge and the backward recovery from the lunge. Retreat or advance is penalized with 1 hit.

(5) In keeping with practice of the period the fencers may fence for a set number of hits with no time limit, or for a time limit with no set number of hits.

The outcome was very interesting. The classical fencers really enjoyed the format. It is challenging; we rarely stop to assess how much of our fencing depends on movement and how little a role the blade actually plays. Eliminate the movement, and you have a different game. With no movement except the lunge very few simple attacks work. The emphasis now is on complex blade actions with multipart compound attacks, compound actions prepared by attacks on the blade, and chains of actions using taking the blade. Tactical preparation through well conceived linkages between phrases becomes critical. Eyes open fencing becomes the norm for the successful fencer.

If you are a classical fencer, consider adding the tea tray format to your bouting. I think you will enjoy the challenge.

10 Frugal Living Tips That I’ll Bet You Didn’t Know

Clip coupons,

buy sale items,

pack your lunch…

These are all common money saving tips, but here are 10 frugal living tips that I’ll bet you didn’t know!

  1. Half Price Rotisserie Chickens – Just last week I was in the grocery, and the lady in front of me was buying 7 rotisserie chickens! Being nosy, I asked her what she was going to do with all that chicken! Her answer? Rotisserie chickens are half price after 7:30, so it’s the perfect time to stock-up, chop-up & freeze!
  2. Make Your Own Teeth Whitening Rinse – Mix your mouthwash with peroxide (50/50) for an inexpensive teeth whitening rinse!
  3. Discounted Gift Cards for Everyday Purchases – I love buying discounted gift cards, but I’ve never thought about buying them for everyday purchases like groceries and gas! Well, that’s exactly what Ashley did in a recent challenge, and she saved $206.29 in March by living on nothing but discount gift cards. The average savings was 10% per merchant, across 23 merchants and 40 cards that covered restaurants, groceries, entertainment, gas and more. If you’re a frugal shopper looking for new ways to cut costs without making major lifestyle or spending changes, try discounted gift cards!
  4. Musty Smelling Towels? – If your towels have a musty smell, don’t throw them away…simply add 1 cup of vinegar to your next load along with your regular laundry detergent. I promise, they won’t smell like vinegar…they’ll smell fresh and clean!
  5. E-bates – This is likely the easiest way to save money! Whenever you’re shopping on line, search for your store through the E-bates site, make your purchase and earn cash back! I just went to Ebates and bought a pair of shoes from Nordstrom, I received a coupon code for free shipping plus 3% cash back on my purchase! Ebates really does seem to good to be true, but they are simply sharing a portion of the commission they receive from the retailers for sending them customers.
  6. Slow Down, Save Gas – I’ll admit, we’ve all heard this one, but do you realize how much gas you can save? Driving 65 m.p.h. uses 15% more gas than driving 55 m.p.h…that’s like paying 40¢ more per gallon!
  7. Save on Prescriptions – Avoid medications known as “Combo Pills.” These medications combine more than one medication into a single pill. For example, Lotrel is a blood pressure combo pill that costs $70 a month (generic). However, if you get a prescription for each component, you’ll save a huge amount of money. The 30-day prescriptions of the two elements that make up Lotreal – Amlodipine and Benazepril – are $6 each, which is a cost of $12 total.
  8. Affordable Travel – If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to give up your vacations, consider joining a hospitality exchange club. Members of these clubs are willing to open their homes to travelers to accommodate their lodging needs. In return, members will also receive lodging accommodations when it’s time for their vacation. It’s a guilt-free way to continue to enjoy travel!
  9. Search and Ye Shall Find – Find your inner do-it-yourselfer! The internet is an amazing resource, and there’s a video tutorial out there that will teach you just about anything! Want to save money by fixing your own toilet…there’s a You Tube video for that!
  10. Repurpose – This is a relatively new word in my vocabulary! Repurpose simply means finding a new use for something! I recently learned to repurpose an old picture frame and window screen into a great earring display for my daughter. Total cost: $0. It was as simple as using a staple gun to attach window screen to the frame.

New ways to save money are always popping up in the frugal living world, and I promise to continue to share any new discoveries!


Sharing = SAVING!

Please click on the title of this article to share your favorite little known frugal living tip!

"One For the Gipper" – The Original Story

President Ronald Reagan is tagged fondly as “The Gipper” as the result of his movie portrayal of Notre Dames’ legendary football player. The nickname is so firmly attached to the president that the real Gipper is nearly forgotten.

The true story is clouded by the mist of time. His hometown of Laurium, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, maintains a website devoted to their local hero. This much is certain: he was born Feb. 18, 1895 to Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Gipp.

He attended the Calumet public schools, but he never played high school football. However, he was an all-around athlete. He participated in track, hockey, sandlot football and organized baseball. The Laurium baseball team was the champion of the Upper Peninsula in 19l5, with George playing center field.

Gipp had not given any thought of going to college. He was, however, proficient in baseball, table pool, poker and dice. His greatest achievement was winning a gold watch for ballroom dancing.

The husky six-foot, 180-pound Gipp at age 21 was persuaded by a Notre Dame grad that he could have a baseball scholarship for the asking.

Beyond these statistics, we must rely on sports historians.

A colorful account of Gipp’s spectacular career is rendered by James A. Cox. It begins one autumn afternoon in 1916 with two freshmen playing baseball catch on the playing field of a Midwestern university.

Without warning, a football sails over the fence from a nearby gridiron where the school’s varsity was practicing. It hits one of the young men. He picks up the errant football and kicks it back over the fence 70 yards away.

On the other side of the field, a coach whistles in awe and races over. “Hey, You! You with the baseball. What’s your name?”

“Gipp,” comes the laconic answer.

“Where you from?


“Play high school football?”


“Well, I think you’ll make a football player,” says the coach. “Come out tomorrow. We’ll suit you up and see what you can do.”

The young man shrugs. “I don’t know,” he says vaguely. “Don’t particularly care for football.”

Thus was the meeting of Gorge Gipp and Knute Rockne. A few days later Gipp shows up for a tryout.

* * *

There was no difficulty in switching scholarships when it was learned he could run 100 yards in ten seconds, throw pin-point passes half the length of the field and kick 60-yard punts with ease. He became an All-American halfback.

Gipp established a reputation in his first out-of-town game with the freshman team against Western Michigan State Normal. Wrote Cox:

“Playing halfback, Gipp piles up yardage. But the score is 7-7 as the fourth quarter grinds down with only a couple of minutes to go.

“The Irish have the ball. The quarterback calls punt formation – kick away and play for a tie.

“Gipp demurs. He wants to try a field goal. The quarterback looks at him as he would at a crazy man. From where the kicker will stand, to the opposing goalpost — which at that time was on the goal line — was more than 60 yards. Nevertheless, the quarterback orders, ‘Punt.’

“The ball is snapped, Gipp drops it end-first to the ground – as was the custom then — gets a perfect rebound and booms the ball through the uprights. It was a 62-yard-field-goal that earned an enduring place in the record book.”

* * *

In the spring of his freshman year, Gipp tried out for the baseball team and made it as an outfielder. He played only one game.

Ignoring a signal to bunt, he blasted the ball over the fence for a home run.

“Why?” the manager demanded. “Don’t you remember the signals?”

“Sure,” replied Gipp, “but it’s too hot to be running around the bases after a bunt.” The next day he turned in his baseball uniform and concentrated on football.

He earned his way by waiting tables in the university dining room for board and   lodging . He picked up cash by playing in nearby semi-pro and industrial baseball leagues.

He also frequented the pool halls and other low joints of South Bend.

A hangout called Hullie & Mikes became his second home. He once said, “I’m the finest free-lance gambler ever to attend Notre Dame.”

His room mate, Arthur (Dutch) Bergman, explained:

“Nobody around South Bend could beat him at faro, shooting pool, billiards, poker or bridge. He studied the percentages in dice rolling and could fade those bones in a way that made professionals dizzy. At three-pocket pool, he was the terror of the parlors.

“He never gambled with other students, though his crap-shooting skills helped pay the way through Notre Dame for more than a few of his friends. I’ve seen him win $500 in a crap game then spend his winnings buying meals for destitute families in South Bend.”

Gipp cut so many classes in 1919 he was kicked out of school. He took a job as a house player at Hullie & Mikes gambling emporium.

Aghast, Notre Dame alumni sports fans deluged the college with complaints. The university gave him a special exam — which he passed – and reinstated him. Thereafter, Gipp came to practice when he chose, doing what he felt like doing. No one complained. Coaches and players knew he was fiercely devoted to winning. The team revolved around him.

The 1920 season established Gipp as “immortal.”

One Saturday afternoon, Notre Dame found itself down 17-14 to Army.

In the locker room, Rockne unleashed one of his famous half-time fight speeches. Gipp seemed bored. Rockne turned to Gipp and challenged him, “I don’t suppose you have any interest in this game.” Gipp responded, “Don’t worry, I have $500 on it, and I don’t intend to blow my money.”

At game’s end, Gipp had piled up 385 yards rushing – more than the entire Army team. He scored one touchdown by running back a kick-off, threw two pin-point passes setting up a touchdown. He almost single handedly led Notre Dame to a 27-17 comeback victory.

Gip paid a price for that day’s performance. He was weary, pale and a little bloody. His distress was so obvious, the West Point crowd stood and watched in awe as he left the field.

There were four games left in the season. A clean sweep would give Notre Dame a shot at the national championship.

Purdue went down 28-0. At Indiana the next week, Gipp suffered a dislocated shoulder that sent him to the bench with bandages. The Hoosiers shot to a 10-0 lead, which they held into the fourth quarter.

The Irish pushed to the 2-yard line but stalled. Gipp jumped from the bench and shouted to Rockne, “I’m going in!”

“Come back!’ roared Rockne.

Gipp ignored the command. On the second play, he crashed through for a touchdown. Then he kicked the extra point, and returned to his bench.

On the next Notre Dame possession, as time was running out, the Irish worked the ball to the 15-yard line. Again, Gipp rushed from the bench to take charge.

He dropped back for a game-tying dropkick to tie the game. The Hoosiers stormed to block him. Calmly Gipp tossed the ball to a receiver on the 1-yard line. On the next play, with the whole Indiana team converging on Gipp, he smashed off tackle with his injured arm tucked close. It was a ruse. The Notre Dame quarterback danced into the end zone with the ball for the winning touchdown.

While the team returned to South Bend, Gipp went to Chicago to teach a prep-school team how to drop kick. Icy wind brought on aches, fever and sore throat. Back at South Bend, Gipp took to his sick bed.

The next Friday, against Northwestern, Rockne kept feverish Gipp on the bench until the fourth quarter. Then, to chants from the crowd -“We want Gipp!” — he allowed his star to participate in a few plays – topped off by a 55-yard touchdown pass to pile up a 33-7 rout. .

* * *

On Thanksgiving Day, Notre Dame trounced Michigan State 25-0 to complete its second successive all-win season, but Gipp wasn’t there. He was in the hospital with pneumonia and strep throat – serious illness before antibiotics.

It was clear that Gipp was doomed. On Dec. 14, 1920, he converted to Catholicism and was given the Last Rites. His mother, brother, sister and Coach Rockne kept vigil by his bedside — while the entire student body knelt in the snow on campus praying for him.

While he was comatose, some one whispered, “It’s tough to go.”

Gipp heard it and roused. “What’s tough about it?” he said scornfully.

Beyond this we have only Rockne’s version.

Gipp turned to Rockne. “I’ve got to go, Rock,” he whispered. “It’s all right. Sometime, when the team is up against it, when things are going wrong and the breaks are beating the boys — tell them to go in there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.”

There is doubt that the usually modest Gipp actually made the dramatic death-bed speech, but Rockne always swore it was true.

It was eight years, however, before Rockne felt it necessary to invoke George Gipp’s last words.

It was at Yankee Stadium, New York City, Nov. 12, 1928. Notre Dame had lost two games. An undefeated Army team held the so-so Fighting Irish to a scoreless tie at halftime. In the locker room, Rockne stood up and addressed his weary players.

“Boys, I want to tell you a story I never thought I’d have to tell.”

Then Rockne related — in serious voice — George Gipp’s final challenge. When he reached the climax – “Go in there and win one for the Gipper” – it is said the players tore the locker room door ajar rushing to the field. The Irish played the second half as if the legend of Notre Dame led the way.

At game’s end the score was Notre Dame 12, Army 6.

The Gipper had scored one last time – from the grave.

4 Exciting New Green Technologies

Green communities and residential buildings are gaining popularity all across the nation. As the green housing movement gains momentum, developers and architects are rolling out exciting new green technologies and features. Below are four communities that are changing the “green” movement for the better.

1. Porous Streets & Sidewalks

Pringle Creek, a 132 home development in Salem, Oregon is being built with entirely porous streets and sidewalks. Porous surfaces allow 90% of rainwater to run back into the surrounding soil. This dramatically cuts down on the negative effects that polluted storm water runoff can have on surrounding river and lake systems. The community also captures excess rain water in storage tanks for use on community gardens.

2. Homes Frames Made From Recycled Steel

Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park, California is taking a whole new approach to building homes. The community will feature an on site solar power facility where home frames are made from recycled steel. Each of the communities 1,900 homes will use the equivalent of 6 SUV’s worth of recycled steel and will save 40 trees.

3. Living Completely Off The Grid

Quay Valley, a 50,000 home community still in the conceptual stages in Kings County, California have laid out an extraordinary plan in regards to power. Quay Valley aims to be the first entirely solar powered development in the world. They hope to accomplish this through the construction of three, 100 acre solar arrays. The developer of the community actually estimates that the panels will produce excess electricity which will be sold back to the neighboring townships.

4. Maximizing The Sunlight

Enso, a stunning new 19 story condo tower in downtown Seattle, Washington aims to take advantage of natural sunlight. Every unit features floor to ceiling windows with a large “curtain wall”. The window wall is designed to let abundant light into the apartments without overheating them through the use of insulated glass and a retractable curtain. Maximizing sunlight exposure can help to keep units much warmer in the winter months and dramatically cut down on the need for artificial lighting.

Specialized Construction Areas For Industry Builders

A common definition for the word ‘builder’ is a construction worker. As a construction industry builder working primarily in construction sites, this artisan or laborer take part and could possibly specialize in any of the various construction occupations:

  • A bricklayer or alternatively called mason, is a tradesman who sets bricks to assemble brickwork. A colloquial term ‘brickie’ is also used to refer to a bricklayer who utilizes blocks to perform masonry jobs.
  • A carpenter performs a wide range of carpentry tasks and woodworking including construction of buildings, furniture and other objects made from wood. This occupation encompasses majority of manual labors. Different types of a carpenter exist, a finish carpenter, a trim carpenter, a cabinetmaker, a ship’s carpenter, a scenic carpenter, a luthier or a formwork carpenter.
  • The job of a Carpet Layer is all about laying of carpets and floorings.
  • The Concrete Finisher or Cement Mason is a builder who toils with concrete (placement, finishes, protection and repair) in engineering and building projects. Essential tools used by a cement mason are shovels, rakes, masonry trowel, wagon chute, concrete pump, concrete skip and wheelbarrow.
  • Heavy equipment necessary to execute engineering and construction tasks are steered and operated by a Heavy Equipment Operator.
  • A trained laborer who specialize in electrical wiring of buildings or other associated equipment is called an Electrician. Electrical installations of new buildings and infrastructure or repair and maintenance of existing electrical systems are performed by an electrician. This profession is also required in the assembly and production of ships, airplanes and other vehicles.
  • A Fencer is employed in the building of fences.
  • The Laborer basically provides assistance to other builders or construction workers and may perform various tasks such as concreting, paving, piping, drilling, blasting and landscaping. A laborer is known to be efficient in handling or using air tools, hand tools, blasting, small heavy equipment.
  • A Painter and Decorator is usually hired to perform painting projects to make a house or infrastructure look better or to protect them from damage which may be caused by water, rust, corrosion, insects or mould.
  • The Plasterer performs plastering (the process of creating plasterwork). His task is to form a layer of plaster on an interior wall or to create plaster decorative moldings on ceilings or walls.
  • A Plumber’s occupation which started since ancient periods, is about installation and maintenance of respective structures utilized for plumbing, heating, drainage, potable (drinking) water or small-sized industrial process plant piping.
  • A Steamfitter or Pipefitter’s job is to lay out, assemble, fabricate, maintain and repair large sizes of piping systems mainly used for industrial processes. Such systems are generally applied with high pressure and composed of metal materials like carbon steel and stainless steel welded together.
  • The Steel fixer arranges and fastens   reinforcing  bars and meshes to support  concrete  in building.
  • The task performed by a Steel erector is to install the structural steel frames of buildings and infrastructure during construction.
  • A Tiler is the one to call if there are required services on installation and assembly of tiles in people’s homes as well as commercial establishments.
  • A Welder welds materials together such as metals or varieties of plastic and polymer.

4 Easy Steps to Building a Great Model Train Layout

The Proper Size

The best way to determine the proper size for your model train layout is by deciding where it will be placed. Do you have the whole basement of your house available? How about on top of the pool table? Is the only space available a small section of a room in your apartment. Does the train table have to be taken apart and stored after each use. Is there room for expansion? These are the just a few of the many questions that need to be considered.

What is the proper Bench Work?

A model train table can be as simple as a sheet of plywood placed over 2 saw horses or a pool table. It can even be converted from a table tennis table. Some options include bench work that can be dismantled into several sections. Something like this is very suitable for storing under the bed when you are finished using it.

A nice start is with a 3/8″ to 3/4″ thick sheet of 4’x8′ plywood. This can be attached to a frame built from 1″x4″ wood planks. The legs can be attached by screws or carriage bolts with wing nuts for easy disassembly. A nice way of breaking this down even further is to cut the top into 2 4’x4′ sections that can be separated and locked together with pin dowels and a simple hook and eye or table latch.

Picking your Trains.

One of the things that make this hobby so interesting is the many choices of model trains. You have the freight trains, the passenger trains, the steam locomotives, the diesel locomotives, the electric powered locomotives. Then the large variety of each. You can set up your train table to have one, two, or three levels. Each level can be interconnected so the trains can change levels and pass each other on sidings.

Different types of model trains can be purchased at hobby shops, train shows, and the internet. eBay auctions are a great source of obtaining all types of equipment and accessories at a great price.

Setting up your scenery.

During the track and layout planning process, it is a good idea to try and envision what type of scenery you will have. Will you have mountains with a tunnel, how about a farm house, and then a city scene with a train station? Don’t forget about the factories and the freight yard. There are so many possibilities that this can keep you busy and challenged for a long time.

The choice of scenery materials is as varied as the types of trains. You can make the mountains and tunnels from cardboard boxes or chicken wire covered with paper Mache or use layers of Styrofoam. Both when done properly give a very realistic look. All types of paints and materials are used for grass, miniature trees, telephone poles, track ballast, etc. These items add the finishing touch and will make your model train layout realistic, exciting and enjoyable for a long time to come.

Don’t forget it is something that can be shared with children, friends and neighbors. Everyone can get involved in planning and putting together the various aspects. That is one of the reasons this great hobby has been so appealing for so long. You might say it can be a real Family affair.