Examples of Lean Manufacturing in Practice

The lean certification process has been in place for several years. Lean certification is similar to six sigma certification in that employees are trained through step-by-step learning procedures where one step must be completed before moving on to the next. Lean training has been implemented in many manufacturing situations and there are many measurable success stories. In lean training, the company looks for ways to create efficiencies, and goes through a process before implementing changes. In this manner, there is an opportunity to achieve the desire goal with cost savings as one of the main criteria.

One example of successfully implementing the lean training is with a company which makes wood veneers. The company wanted to expand to meet high demand, and they were ready to make a large capital purchase of huge machinery on their production lines. Before proceeding, they hired a lean certified consulting group to investigate their need. The lean process involved analyzing the veneer production process. It also took into account the high demand, and the cost of lost opportunity. The result was that the lean certified group recommended smaller, mobile manufacturing units to be installed, as opposed to larger equipment. The difference resulted in an increased ability to adjust to market demand, by moving equipment around to locations where demand was the highest. Also, the capital outlay was less, initially, than the amount would have been for the larger equipment. Once the smaller-sized equipment was purchased and put into manufacturing use, the company was better able to evaluate the need for more units. There was less wasted money, less downtime, and more flexibility as a result of the lean training put into place.

Another example of using lean training is in a large manufacturer of airplanes. The company wanted to expand production of one of the models of their airplanes, at a very high cost to the company. Before proceeding they also hired a group with lean certification. The group was trained in using information from all aspects of the business. Data was gathered from the business units of the company, as well as from procurement, and other integral business units. They even visited parts of the company that were making different models of airplanes that were not expanding. This way, they had a comprehensive view of the way the company engaged in manufacturing.

The result was that the company was able to expand one part of their business by integrating shipping with other non-expanding parts of their business. Efficiencies were created as a result of one department’s expansion that benefitted the company, as a whole, and therefore saved the company money instead of costing them money.

The Stack & Tilt Golf Swing – A Revolutionary Change

Stack and Tilt definitely helps inconsistent players. This swing instructs us to keep the body axis centered over the ball and to rotate about the same axis. It basically aims in shifting your entire body weight forward towards your front leg throughout the swing.

Quite a number of tour pros were so impressed by this innovative method to start adopting this strategy themselves. One among them is Aaron Baddeley who won twice after switching to Stack and Tilt swing. Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer did some research and finally came out with this impressive swing. The swing was noted for being the only technique that effectively goes against the fundamentals of golf itself.

Actually the differences between this new swing and the old basic methodology are very subtle but significant enough to induce a player to make changes. Earlier practice was to stack their whole body weight on their back leg at the top of the swing. But the new Stack and Tilt method is exactly opposite to the orthodox which aims at stacking almost 80% of the weight on the front leg when you lean towards the shot.

The basic swing has the trailing side of the torso exactly perpendicular to the ground when the back leg is flexed at the knee. But this new swing involves straightening of the back leg whereas your torso leans forward towards the ball when the club is lifted back to the top of the swing. Your shoulders will be stacked over your hips and your spine will be vertical over the ball. Your weight should not be transferred over the back leg. The power you gain is from the torque when you rotate.

The Stack and Tilt swing can be touted as a revolutionary swing because only a lesser part of the weight shifts towards the back leg which provides greater control over the ball when the shot is on. This has a greater advantage for average players who may not be so experienced enabling them to have a precise hit on the ball.

Great range of shots can be achieved even by the average player because as the weight is more concentrated on the front leg, providing a steeper movement rather than a shallow swing. This swing is a bit rotational and flat which involves pelvis thrust technique. It is difficult for a beginner to learn quickly requiring a lot of practice with proper guidance. Many have accepted that this technique increased their ball striking, accuracy, and distance to a greater extent.

Women’s Dress in Vietnam

The simple answer to the question, ‘What do women wear in Vietnam?’ might be, ‘Everything except the burka.’ Today, on the streets of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, one might see every type and style of western dress. Only in some of the biggest department stores or in the offices of the national airline will one see the traditional women’s dress, the ao dai (pronounced Ow Zai), a full-length figure-hugging sheath of brightly coloured silk with a high side slit, that is the epitome of sensuality: revealing all by concealing all. But if the ao dais are now hidden, they still represent a female nature that combines a surface shyness with an underlying desire for self-expression.

Women’s wear is largely dictated by the practical needs of everyday life. For most women this means riding her motorcycle to take herself to work or her children to school. Jeans and T shirt are by far the chosen attire for this function as most motorcycles require an astride sitting position. Those fortunate enough to have the motor scooter type of machine, with a shielded platform for the feet in front of the saddle, can exercise greater choice in what they wear, and some are seen in dresses and skirts. However, the young ladies going out with their boyfriends in the evenings, adorned in a party dress of any length, will be seen riding side-saddle on the back of the motorcycle with their arms clamped firmly around the waist of the driver.

Riding a motorcycle involves wearing a crash helmet, and although the law is not universally observed, most women struggle to find a way to comply while preserving the quality of their hairstyle. High levels of air pollution in Hanoi persuade many women to wear face-masks, and on rainy days the whole person is enveloped in a translucent plastic garment that completes the total concealment.

When walking in the rain most women carry an umbrella, and when the sun is shining the same implement serves as a sunshade. To perform this dual purpose the umbrellas are made in feminine styles, small, light and elegant and usually brightly-coloured. Vietnamese women fear the effect of the sun in darkening their skin and so the sun brings out almost as many umbrellas as the rain.

Fear of the sun also inhibits activities on the summer holiday by the sea. From this phobia, as well as from natural modesty, most women prefer a one-piece swimsuit, although according to swimwear stores in Hanoi, two-piece swimsuits are gradually gaining popularity with the young. However, once out of the water it’s back under the sunshade. Vietnamese women have no interest in sunbathing and a tan is something they want to avoid.

On the whole, Vietnamese women are relaxed about their clothes and many prefer a casual look. On the younger generation, all the world’s T shirts can be seen, most of them made in Vietnam and some with slogans in English that the wearer might be embarrassed to hear translated. But when she chooses to dress up, the Vietnamese woman, young and not-so-young, can compete with her sisters anywhere, and for that very special occasion she can always put on an oa dai.

The Violin – How To Set Up The Bridge

I recently had a friend call me saying that he had bought his daughter a violin, and it had arrived through the post with the bridge not set-up. He had looked on the web, but the information was a bit confused and he was still not sure how to do it. This post deals with a seemingly easy topic, but as you will agree, something that is essential for the novice violinist.

Here are the steps to follow to set up your bridge.

If you already have strings on the violin, loosen them so they don’t have any tension, and are slack enough for the bridge to fit under. Pull the strings into the centre of the finger board and check that there is enough space to fit the bridge. The violin has two “F” holes and if you look carefully at them you will see a small notch cut into each one. The bridge should sit between these two notches to give it the perfect distance for optimum sound. Please note that the bridge of your violin does the same as the bridge of most other stringed instruments such as the guitar or cello; It raises the strings from the resonating chamber and also transfers the energy of the strings to give you the sound. If you bow the violin close to the bridge, it will give you a different sound to what you will get if you bow further away.

The bridge has two distinct sides to it. It has a straight side, and a side with a slight curve to it. The straight side must be facing the tailpiece, and the curved side facing the finger board.

Place the bridge flat against the surface of the violin, making sure that the bottom is aligned with the “F” Hole notches, and that the curved side is face down on the wood.

Very gently lift the bridge up until it is vertical. Adjust the position so that it is straight and exactly between the two notches.

You will notice that at the curved top of the bridge there are four notches, and you must now place the loosened strings into each of the four notches.

Very gently begin to tighten the strings. Do not fully tighten one, but put a little tension on each, until your bridge is held in place by the tension with the strings. Tighten again each string until you are close to being in tune, and then if you have fine tuners, use them to complete the task.

Your violin is set-up, and ready to play.

4 Essential Tools for Furniture Assembly

Finding the perfect furniture piece for your living room, dining room, or bedroom can be quite a challenge. After all, you want to find a piece that is comfortable and functional while also reflecting your personality. In addition, the furniture you purchase needs to look attractive within the room it is placed.

If you plan to assemble your own furniture, there are four tools you will need to have on hand: a drill, a screwdriver, a hammer, and an Allen wrench. Depending upon the furniture and how it is to be assembled, all of these tools may not be necessary. In fact, some pieces require only an Allen wrench, which will be included with the purchase of the furniture.

1. Drill

In some cases, all necessary holes are pre-drilled in the flat pack furniture. This is not always the case, however, so you may need to drill holes in the furniture on your own. Drilling is usually necessary in order to individualize the pieces of furniture to suit your personal needs.

2. Screwdriver

You may also need to use a screwdriver in order to assemble your furniture. Depending upon the types of screws that are included with the furniture pack, you might need a Phillips screwdriver or a flathead screwdriver. A Phillips screwdriver is used with a screw with an indented cross in its head while a flathead screwdriver is used with screws that have a simple indented line. For the convenience of consumers, many screw heads offer an indentation that can accept both the Phillips and the flathead screwdriver. In this case, either type of screwdriver can be used, though you will still need to select one that is the appropriate size.

3. Hammer

A hammer might also be necessary to help with assembling your flat pack furniture. While you won’t be hammering in nails, you might need to use the hammer to pound in pegs or other pieces that need to be pushed together tightly. Care must be taken when using a hammer, however, because it is easy to accidentally dent a furniture piece or to otherwise cause damage to occur.

4. Allen Wrench

The Allen wrench, which is also called a hex key, is a simple tool that looks like a bent piece of metal. Despite its simplicity, this tool is often the only tool necessary for assembling flat pack furniture because it is light, easy to use, and quite effective.

Regardless of the tools that are necessary for assembling flat pack furniture, it is important to gather them all ahead of time. By having all of the tools gathered in your work area, you can be certain you will have the tools you need and you will be capable of assembling the furniture quickly and properly.

Candlestick Charting and Reversal Patterns – The Hammer Candle

The popularity of candlestick charting has soared in recent years. But many traders still have questions about candlestick theory and practice. In this second of a series of articles on candlestick charting and reversal patterns we will examine the hammer. The hammer can come in a few different variations and their implications can be both bullish and bearish depending on where the hammer forms. The bearish version of the hammer is called a “hanging man” and we will look at this candle as well in this article.

The hammer and hanging man look exactly alike, but have different implications based on the preceding price action. We look for the hammer to form at the bottom of a downtrend, signaling bullish price action, possibly leading to a change in price direction. The hanging man forms at the top of an uptrend, signaling a bearish selling day letting us know that the uptrend is losing steam and may possibly turn and head south.

Hammer candlesticks form when a security moves significantly lower after the open, but rallies to close well above the intraday low. The hammer gets its name by the shape of the candle which looks like a square lollipop. The body of the hammer may be clear or filled, with the clear body being a bit more bullish. Hammers are most consistent when they occur at support in an uptrend or sideways trends. If a hammer forms near support levels, then the likelihood of a strong bullish reversal is high. The hammer must come after a prolonged downtrend. Like all candle lines, the hammer is equally potent on weekly charts, or any other time frame.

The inverted hammer appears in a market that opens at or near its low, creating a candle with a small real body. The price then moves higher in the trading day giving the inverted hammer its shadow (handle) and then comes back to close near its low. The inverted hammer is simply an upside-down hammer. What happens on the next day after the Inverted Hammer pattern is what gives traders an idea as to whether or not prices will go higher or lower. Look for confirmation, either bullish or bearish; to determine the likely direction the trend may take.

The hanging man is a bearish reversal pattern that can also mark a top or resistance level. The hanging man is a hammer that forms after an uptrend and gets its name from the way it looks on the chart…hanging at the top of a trend. Look for the hanging man to form at points of resistance on the price chart to further enhance the bearishness of the formation.

All hammer candle variations as well as the hanging man require confirmation of the next day’s candle. While these are powerful candles, many times they may only signal the weakening of the previous trend and not the actual bottom or top.

Glass and Stone Mosaic Tile

Success with glass and stone tile involves practical as well as aesthetic appeal. The latest trend for kitchen backsplashes and shower walls have been the combination of glass and stone mosaics.

The GlassStone Series has a soft and delicate look. The travertine stone used in this Series is in its most natural stage with small spaces and unfilled divots. The old-world stone is combined with the sleek multi-dimensional look of glass which breathes spaciousness. It provides a feeling of simple beauty with a casual formalness.

Selecting the right color or combination of Glass and Stone mosaic tile for any job requires asking the following questions:

Whether your project is small or large, wether you design it or hire a professional, and whether you install it yourself or rely on a tile setter. Make sure you do not rush into something that may not be the proper material you need.

Where and how do I plan to use the Glass and Stone Mosaics. If the mosaic tile is a common design or popular color combination, it is likely to be warehoused within the United States and can be shipped normally within 5 – 7 business days.

When you are ready to buy your mosaic tiles, it is essential that you purchase the right amount of field tile. Pricing for the GlassStone mosaic tile cover a broad spectrum.

The GlassStone Series is a combination of glass and natural stone. Variations in color, shade and sizes are inherent in all fired glass products. Stone is a natural product. No two pieces are exactly alike. This variation is what gives natural stone products their distinctive appearance. Final selection should be made from color reproductions. If all else please order a sample of the material to see actual colors in person.

What is Mesh Backed Pebble Tile For Backsplashes? Quick Review!

Redesigning backsplashes with mesh backed pebble tile is quit simple and can easily make a change in any living quarter’s inner decoration. The term backsplash is related to the wall surface that is usually located upper and behind kitchen and bathroom countertops, sinks, cooking corners, fireplaces, and shower walls.

Backsplashes provide three main benefits:

1) Protecting walls from possible damages of water and other liquids

2) Provide modern decorative look and feel to any covered surface

3) They are easy to clean surface

Backsplashes can dramatically change the look of any bathroom or kitchen interior, even without changing anything.

Using these wall coverings can easily change any wall design as you can easily search for a full mixture of mesh backed pebble tile panels in numerous colors, shapes and designs that make them an easy solution for almost any wall or flooring remodeling. These fantastic natural panels come in a varying height and thickness depending on your specifications and preferences.

Installation process is considered an easy task as no special professional or technical skills are required. The installation process is identical to installing conventional ceramics; however it is important to verify that the grout color matches the tiles. Actually, there’s no need to hire a professional or become one, all you need for a quick installation are some basic inexpensive tools and materials such as epoxy cement, a trowel, a sponge, and grout.

Remodeling backsplashes with mesh backed pebble tile stones is becoming something of an art form these days and they are considered a great solution when you look for an idea that’ll make your interior decorations exclusive and distinctive. These stones are undoubtedly among top wall covering choices gettable, since they are so versatile, easy to use and available in a selection of different designs, textures and hues.

French Symbolist Painter, Graphic Artist, & Printmaker – Odilon Redon

‘Symbolist’ painter, graphic artist, and printmaker, Bertrand Jean Redon or Odilon Redon, was born on April 20, 1840 in Bordeaux, France. He was born in the wealthy family of Bertrand Redon, a French colonist, and Marie Guerin. Odilon spent his early childhood at his uncle’s estate in Peyrelebade. In 1880, he married Camille Falte, who later on acted as his spokesperson, dealing with the media and the buyers of his works.

In 1855, Redon began studying drawing at school under Stanislas Gorin and won various prizes. However, his father persuaded him to choose architecture as a career. Odilon was unsuccessful in clearing the entrance exam of École des Beaux-Arts, Paris and gave up the idea of being an architect. In the year 1860, Odilon participated in exhibitions highlighting water-colored landscapes, influenced by the work of Stanislas Gorin, his art teacher. Redon’s first publicly recognized work, “Roland à Roncevaux,” created in 1862, was exhibited at the Salon (1867) and 19th Show of Arts (1870).

At Bordeaux, the artist devoted his time mastering sculpturing, and under the guidance of Rodolphe Bresdin, he learnt the techniques of etching, and lithography. In 1864, Redon moved to Paris to join the Beaux-Arts School. In 1865, he started working on a series of eleven ‘eaux-fortes’ (form of ‘etchings’) at Delâtre that characterized a noticeable impact of Delacroix and Dauzat. Odilon had to serve in the army during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870-71, putting his art career on the back burner for the time being.

After the war, he migrated to Paris. In 1878, he made first of his many trips to Holland and Belgium, where he studied the work of Rembrandt in greater depth. Redon achieved fame with his work “Guardian Spirit of the Waters (1878).” He went on to produce numerous lithographic albums starting with, “In the Dream (1879),” followed by “For Edgar Allan Poe (1882),” “The Origins (1883),” “Homage to Goya (1885),” and “The Night (1886).” During all these years, Redon’s works were focused merely on lithography and charcoal. 1884 became the banner year for the artist, when he gained recognition, in the avant-garde circle of literary figures, by Joris-Karl Huysman’s novel titled, ‘À rebours (Against Nature).’ The very year, Odilon’s works were put to display at the first ‘Salon des Indépendants.’ In 1886, he displayed his works in Paris, with the ‘Impressionists’ and in Brussels, with ‘The Twenty.’

1890s saw Redon switching over to pastels and oils. He produced a series of lithographic canvasses that began with “Dreams (1891)” and ended with “Revelation of St. John (1899).” The beginning of 20th century, however, saw him drift away from lithographic and morbid themes towards flowers, as reflected in his “Flowers in a Vase (1905),” and “Vase with Anemones (1914).” He once commented, “My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined.” He won the Legion of Honor in 1903, and overshadowed every other artist at the famed Armory Show (1913) in the New York City. Odilon died on July 6, 1916 in Paris, leaving behind an unfinished oil canvas titled, “The Virgin.”

Effective Tips In Purchasing Second-Hand Chandeliers

Hanging lighting fixtures such as chandeliers add a resplendent and unique glow to any room. While once reserved to the dining halls or ballrooms of palaces and estates of the wealthy in Europe, consumers can find these fixtures today in many home décor and lighting shops across the United States.

These ornate and elegant lighting pieces are currently making a comeback, and are offering consumers with a wider variety of designs, styles, finishes. The most popular chandelier designs today include elegant crystal chandeliers for dining rooms, traditional brass chandeliers with candlestick lights, which are good for foyers, country-style antler chandeliers with leather shades for offices or dens, and wrought iron chandeliers .

A chandelier’s many dazzling lights add a distinctive feel and look that will grateful enhance and complement any room where it is hung. Whether these fixtures are candlestick lights, hand molded crystal shades or Tiffany-type pendant shades, the fixture’s lights need to be well-crafted and durable.

Where To Find Second-Hand Chandeliers

For those who are looking to purchase second-hand, or previously-owned chandeliers, you could find a lot of these in antique shops; second-hand shops as well as specialty shops. Sometimes, you could get good finds and much cheaper designs at garage sales, junkyards and markets.

Buyers of these lighting fixtures today have a much wider appreciation for authentic designs, as well as keen attention to detail in both the construction and finish of a lighting fixture. Makers of these chandeliers ensure that they maintain a high-quality of construction, by ensuring meticulous quality-control processes and testing, to fashion out a fixture that meets customer satisfaction levels, and stays in good shape for years.

Choosing Good-Quality Second-Hand Lighting Fixtures

When checking out the condition of a chandelier’s lights, whether these be hand-molded crystals, candlestick lights or pendant shades, a lighting fixture’s lights should be made of durable and long-lasting materials.

In verifying a lighting fixture’s finish, brushed metal finishes and painted finishes have been popular lately and currently rank as top-sellers. Buyers of second-hand lighting fixtures need to check for any slight chips, bubble, imperfections or scratches that may indicate lesser attention to detail, and poor craftsmanship.

Also, chandeliers that have crystal parts need to be assessed for their quality. The crystals used in these elegant lighting pieces may be hand-cut, gem-cut or molded. The crystal’s high lead content may not represent good quality, as lead is often included as a softener to properly facilitate the crystal’s cutting and polishing. Good-quality lighting crystals generally contain little or absolutely no lead.

In addition, you need to determine whether a second-hand lighting piece utilizes specialty bulbs or standard bulbs, as specialty bulbs may be quite hard to find and are somehow costly. If possible, consult with a Certified Lighting Specialist first, who could assist you with both the style and functionality of a second-hand lighting fixture.

Lastly, you need to remember that a chandelier, whether a new or previously-owned one, is a potential dust magnet, and that any dust settling on its parts, or crystal pieces can be seen when light passes through them. You need to check potential second-hand chandelier purchases for ease of cleaning, and take note that buying simpler designs are good, because it would be much easier to clean them.

http://goldenageusa.com – Golden Age USA

Spaying Or Neutering Your Maine Coon Cat

In many cases, when you purchase a Maine Coon kitten from a breeder or a shelter, you will be required to sign an agreement. That agreement may cover a great deal of territory, but one area is almost always covered – spaying and neutering. The breeder or shelter may require that you have the cat altered by the time it reaches a certain age.

Kittens can be spayed after they have reached four months of age, but your veterinarian may prefer to wait until it is six months old. Many Maine Coon breeders do their own spaying and neutering, before the kitten is adopted, and often suggest spaying and neutering at around fourteen weeks of age.

The reason that veterinarians have postponed neutering and spaying is that anesthesia is used, and in the past, using anesthesia on kittens was tricky. Today, there has been a great deal more research done on this and the practice has been perfected – enabling veterinarians and breeders to spay kittens earlier in life.

This practice cuts down on the possibility of someone adopting a kitten, and failing to get it spayed or neutered later. Maine Coon breeders worry about this especially, since they want the breed kept pure, and they do not want any unplanned litters. This is also an effort to prevent inbreeding between siblings at an early age. This is the only benefit of early neutering.

There are those who object strongly to EAA, or Early Age Altering. These veterinarians and associations believe that EAA leads to an increased risk of fracture to long bones, obesity, a negative effect on overall growth, changes in behavior, and an increase in disease risk. They also feel that using anesthesia on kittens is too risky.

Spaying and neutering overall is not cruel to the animal, and they actually experience minimal pain. In most cases, they only experience mild soreness for a day or two. Spaying is usually more expensive than neutering. In case you are not aware – and many people are not – females are spayed, and males are neutered.

If you want to breed your Maine Coon kitten at some point, this is something that you will need to discuss with the breeder – often before the kitten is even conceived. The breeder generally charges a much higher fee when breeding rights are given to the new owner. Note, however, that only kittens that come from titled parents have any real monetary value. So, if your kitten doesn’t have titled parents himself, you need to look for a litter that does come from titled parents.

Unless you plan to breed your Maine Coon, it definitely needs to be altered. Otherwise, a male will constantly be ‘spraying’ to mark his territory and a female will keep you up days and nights when she goes into heat. Also note that when you enter shows with your Maine Coon, you must specify that the animal has been altered, and he or she will enter class divisions specifically for altered Maine Coons.

Did You Bring a Shovel?

Did you ever get in a situation that seemed impossible? In such a predicament that you have no idea which thing to do first? Kind of like Lucy in the chocolate factory when the assembly line is moving too fast. Me too.

About 20 years ago, I was in an interesting situation. My sister Clare was still in college and she and I had gone home for the weekend to see our Mom. It was Thanksgiving so we had a few extra days to enjoy the home cooking and company. My Mom lived in Ashland, WI at the time. Ashland is on Lake Superior, it’s where I grew up.

We were supposed to go back to Madison (300 miles south) on Sunday. But it started to snow on Saturday night and by the time we woke up on Sunday, we were in the middle of a blizzard. This was not the first time we were snowed-in during Thanksgiving break, it happened pretty regularly when I was growing up.

My sister had a paper due on Monday and was determined to start out for Madison. So we loaded my pickup truck (small size Ranger) and I began to drive. When I turned the corner to get onto the highway, I realized that we were not going to Madison that day.

The snow in the road was higher than my truck. It was about 9-10 feet deep in the middle of the road. I stopped the truck and put it in park.

And this is where it gets interesting.

My sister, the eternal optimist, turned to me and said “Did you bring a shovel?”

I nodded my head while my mouth was hanging open and she got out and grabbed the shovel and started to dig. At this point we had about 299 miles to go and the snow was 10 feet deep. I sat there stunned as she dug and wondered just how long she would dig before she realized that we weren’t going to Madison. I tuned in the radio and all of the highways that lead in or out of Ashland were closed and there she was digging.

That my friends is optimism. Now you and I both know that there is no possible way we could return to Madison that day. All of the highways were closed and even if my sister is in great shape, you can not dig a 300 mile path for a pickup truck I don’t care who you are.

But this got me thinking. What is it like to go through life to the beat of her drum? What is it that she sees when she looks at this problem? Clearly, she did not see an impossible situation. She saw an opportunity to try something. We didn’t get to Madison that day, but I did learn a thing or two about my sister. She makes my optimism look pretty run of the mill compared to hers. My goal is to reach that level of optimism someday.

Can you imagine what she would think of having AA(adhesive arachnoiditis, chronic back pain)? I know that she hasn’t given up hope that something can help us. She is always giving me suggestions and trying to come up with new ideas for helping me. It is great to have someone in your life with such a positive outlook. She’s a pharmacist and although she hasn’t found it yet, she wants to find a more effective pain treatment or anti-inflammatory that doesn’t have all of the drawbacks but does allow us to regain our lives.

The next time I’m faced with an insurmountable problem, I will ask myself “Did you bring a shovel?” and then I’ll continue on trying to do whatever is possible for me. Instead of automatically giving up, I’ll try and shovel my way out of this disease and back into life. Why don’t you join me? If enough of us grab a shovel, we will take back our lives and then just watch us go.


Elevator Speech: The 90 Second Marketing Tool That Opens Doors

Do you have an elevator speech?

If you have a product or service, an idea, a mission, or a cause, you need an elevator speech. Although his short talk might look simple and unassuming, it may well be one of the most powerful marketing tools known to man. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have one, make sure it’s clean, clear, and up to date.

I don’t know who gave this short verbal description its name, but the title fits. An elevator speech is a short oral talk that describes you, your business, or cause in the time it takes to ride an elevator; about a minute and a half. This short speech is not memorized or read, but should be casual and concise. It is often given in response to a question regarding the nature of your business, the type of job you’re after or the purpose of your organization or charity.

There are many situations which only allow you a minute or two to put out your message. If your words are compelling and interesting, your listener is more likely to engage in a conversation and ask to hear more. Even if your listener has to move on, if you were powerful or intriguing, you will probably be remembered.

Although this short little talk should sound casual, don’t be casual or lazy about creating it. In many cases this may be your best and only chance to introduce yourself. A strong elevator speech acts like a key and will open doors to opportunities. If it’s weak or unclear that door of opportunity can swing the other way or may be deadlocked.

Here are some things to consider when developing your 90 second pitch.

· Be Personal – Infuse a bit of yourself into the message. You can talk about how you got involved in the cause or what attracted you to a particular business or career.

· Be Casual – Do not memorize any particular phrases or sections word for word. Practice will help make your speech sound comfortable and approachable.

· Be Clear – Keep it simple. If you put too many facts or details into the talk, the message will become garbled and confusing.

· Keep it Short – Resist the urge to keep talking or lengthen the speech. Wait for a response or question before you offer more information.

If you have difficulty narrowing down your intro talk, consider seeking out the help of a writer or story-coach. If you look for professional help, look for professionals that specialized in practiced but not memorized speech. Storytellers, story-coaches, branding experts, and some speech writers are good choices. After you develop your elevator speech, practice it a few times and ask for feedback. Once you feel comfortable with it, use it often and watch those doors open.

Replacement of a Termite Damaged Sill Plate

If termites have eaten into the main sill plate of your home it will be important to replace this sill plate. Did you know that until fairly recently builders were not required to use treated wood for a sill plate. If you happen to own a home that does not have a treated sill plate and termites have destroyed it, you will need to replace this damaged piece.

Install a temporary beam in the basement of your home. This beam could be made out of doubled 2×10’s or 8’s. Jack the temporary beam with either screw jacks, hydraulic jacks or just plain doubled-up 2×4’s. You don’t need to lift up more than possibly 1/16 of an inch or just enough to relieve the bearing weight that is on the offending member. This weight may consist of the exterior walls, roof and interior floor joists. If you have any questions on the jacking process it would be wise to consult either a professional contractor or engineer. Keep in mind if your home is brick a different method must be used.

Once the weight is off it will be time to remove the old sill plate. Keep in mind that they are often bolted to the foundation. If this is the case it may be necessary to chisel out small sections at a time. This part of the procedure can be very time consuming, so make sure you don’t get impatient and don’t mind getting dirty. It may be necessary to use a sawzall with a metal cutting blade to cut the nails, just be careful not to let the sawzall blade poke holes in the exterior siding.

Once the old termite damaged parts are removed, measure where the existing foundation bolts are located. Transfer these measurements onto the new plate and cut slots wide enough to allow the installation of it.

Install the new sill plate, slipping it into the location of the old one. After it is in place use oversized fender washers, or washers that the engineer has specified, and properly sized nuts. Tighten up the nuts to snug the new plate into place.

After the new member is installed it will be time to remove the jack system and the temporary beam. Once the weight of the home is back onto the new sill plate, it will be necessary to nail all of the joists into the new sill plate. This procedure can be tough, especially in tight spaces. If you don’t have a nail gun or if the space is to small to fit a nail gun, specialty fasteners may be needed and these can be specified by an engineer.

Not All Slow Cookers are Crock Pots

My family has lived in the same house for the last 25 years. Styles have changed, the furniture rearranged (not my husband’s favorite mode of recreation), walls have gone through the colors of the spectrum – you get the idea. But, there is one thing that has not differed by even a fraction of an inch. And what would that be? My slow cooker, sitting on its ceramic-tiled throne of honor, aka the kitchen counter. Yes, indeed. My Crock Pot® has been the one appliance or piece of kitchenware that has survived the parade of forward-looking technology.

Going back 50 plus years, as the United States was recovering from World War II, Baby Boomers and their families were looking for a way to make their lives happy ones. Dad went to work every morning, leaving home just after breakfast and coming home every afternoon to a loving wife and two children, clamoring for Daddy’s attention. Mom was the epitome of the “Donna Reed” generation, always perfectly groomed and with a big smile for everyone. After all, life is all about family. She sought any way possible to have extra time to be with her children and hubby, instead of being shackled to the stove to make that perfect dinner.

Voila! The pressure cooker appeared on the scene, promising Mom the leisure time she and her family deserved. Now, dinner could be cooked in just one pot that did not have to be watched with a wary eye on the clock.

As time marched forward, the pressure cooker improved year by year. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, life styles tended to “hang loose” and subscribed to the philosophy of “doing your own thing.” Nobody wanted to be stuck at home, spending many hours at the stove, when they could be out and around. Women had a newfound freedom to take a job away from the house. With the advent of the SLOW COOKER came the opportunity for Mom to assemble the ingredients for dinner, place them in the slow cooker, and drive off to work without worry about dinner. Just one thing less to juggle into your daily schedule. After leaving the food to cook all day in the slow cooker, all Mom had to do when she came home was to set the table (better yet, have the kids do it), call the family to dinner, and sit down with her family, making dinner a quality time experience.

Along came late 1970, and with it came Rival Industries’ acquisition of another company which made a small kitchen appliance called the “Beanery.” This cooking device, in reality a basic bean cooker, was made of white steel, with a glazed brown crock liner, and an aluminum lid.

With experimentation, cooks and chefs determined that the small bean cooker cooked meat better than it did beans. And there bloomed a cheerful relationship between man and machine.

The initial slow cooker from Rival was called the CROCK POT®; because of trademark considerations, only a slow cooker made by Rival was entitled to be called a Crock Pot®. The name Crock Pot® has become so familiar to the American public, many people do not realize that Crock Pot® is not a generic name for all slow cookers. Along the same lines, unless it is a product of Kimberly-Clark, a facial tissue is not a piece of Kleenex®. Not all adhesive bandages are Band-Aids®. That wiggly, translucent gelatin dessert is not necessarily Jell-O®. In the playroom, those small plastic building bricks, deadly to an unshod foot (ouch!), may or may not be Legos®. And, the malleable, multicolored pseudo-clay that children adore, can be homemade or from a can of Play-Doh® from Hasbro.

What Exactly is a Slow Cooker and How Does it Work?

The components of a slow cooker include a round or oval pot of ceramic material, a thermostatically regulated heating element surrounded by a metal housing, and a transparent lid allowing the crock’s contents to be seen without the need to lift the lid and thus losing valuable steam. The ceramic pot does double duty as a cooking container, as well as acting as a heat reservoir. Available in a range of sizes, the capacity of a slow cooker can be as small as 16 oz. and as large as 6 quarts.

The heating element of a slow cooker is on the bottom. Because of the increased heat at the bottom of the crock, it may be occasionally necessary to stir the contents to prevent sticking to the bottom. Generally, the slow cooker has a thermostat that allows a range of cooking temperatures.

The Crock Pot® has its heating element, found around the side of the crock, in a housing made of plastic or an alloy with an aluminum liner. It usually has a crockery insert, also known as the crock. Since the entire Crock Pot® cannot be submerged in water for cleanup, the crock is usually removable for easy washing. The Crock Pot® usually has two heat settings,

high and low.

Both the Crock Pot® and slow cooker work on rather simple principles. Food and a liquid that is mostly water (water, wine, stock, but not oil with water) are put into the crock. Next, put on the lid and switch on the cooker. The heating element, along with the thermostat, will cause the contents of the crockery pot to rise up to a steady cooking temperature of 175º – 200º F (80º – 95º C). Because the lid is non-hermetic (non-sealing), the cooking temperature can never rise above the boiling point of water, as the lid prevents the build up of pressure. Since the low temperature will not allow much production of vapor, the inside of the crock lid gets surrounded by condensed vapor, and the rate of evaporation remains very low. The condensed vapor falls back into the crock, allowing the contents to remain hydrated.

The heat from the pot wall is delivered to the food by means of heat transfer through the liquid in the pot. The lid must remain closed, for every time it is lifted, it will necessitate prolonging the cooking time because of heat loss.

When loading the slow cooker or Crock Pot®, remember to first put your cut-up vegetables in a layer on the bottom and next, along the sides of the pot. Add your meat last. When my husband makes his beef and veggie special in our Crock Pot®, he always sets aside enough vegetables to make a layer atop the meat. That might not be exactly following the “rules” to a T, but they taste mighty fine distributed that way.

What you can cook in a Crock Pot® is only limited by your imagination. Have fun creating a “Mystery Meal for your family to decipher. No matter what foods you put in your slow cooker, there really is no way to make a bad meal.

Look for your inner culinary adventurer and go out there and create.