Fireplace Safety Tips

Proper fireplace safety is extremely important. Even if you have been using your fireplace for years, it is important to brush up on your fire safety rules.

Here are some fireplace safety rules for both wood burning and gas fireplaces:

· Open the damper before starting a wood burning fire

· Leave flue open, even if fire is only smoldering

· Teach children about dangers of fire

· Use a chimney cap

· Do not use lighter fluid to start a fire

· Use long matches

· For gas fireplaces, light as soon as gas is turned on

· Have your chimney inspected annually

· Keep decorations and flammables away from the fire

· Never leave a wood burning fire burning while you are not there to watch after it

· Use a mesh screen with your wood burning fire, and leave glass doors open

· Do not burn trash in your fireplace

· Keep the top of your chimney and roof clear of debris like pine needles and even low hanging branches.

· Realize that artificial logs are not the same as real wood – make sure you read the instructions on an artificial log before you use it, and do not add one to a wood fire already burning.

· When done with a wood burning fire, and once the ashes have cooled, clean them out in preparation for the next fire.

· Do not use charcoal in your fireplace – doing so puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

· If you have children, make sure that you have a guard around your gas fireplace – children can get burned not just by the fire but by the glass and metal doors surrounding the fire.

· If you have a gas fireplace, make sure that you have at least two places in which you can turn off the flow of gas, just in case one of them malfunctions for some reason.

· With a gas fireplace, you should stay aware of any unusual smells or flames – they could be a sign that your fireplace is not working properly.

Again, realize that fireplace safety is extremely important. Realize that not properly following fireplace safety guidelines could end with harm to all that you hold most dear – yourself, your children, your possessions, your home, etc.

It is most definitely worth brushing up on your fireplace safety.

Effective Team Building Part 1 – Another Brick in the Wall!

The first in a series of articles giving a slightly different viewpoint on effective team building, condensed from an original seminar presented by the author, John Roberts. John is a Freelance Training Consultant and director of JayrConsulting Ltd. Part 1 deals with selecting and building the initial team. The ideas expressed are personal opinions built up from many years of experience in the Electronics/Aerospace industry, the Armed Forces, the Telecoms industry and the Training industry. There is no suggestion of this being a 100% solution applicable to or workable in all situations, but it is aimed at getting people to think outside of the norm and question the ‘normal’ way of doing things.

1. Analogy – The bricks in the wall

Most people have been on some form of ‘team building’ course. They vary according to contemporary fashion from things like ‘learning how to work together, to build bridges out of sheets of paper’, to the more active residential courses, where people build rafts out of rope and washing up liquid bottles, to ‘cross a crocodile filled’ ravine! They all have two things in common:

(a) They tend to be very expensive in terms of cost per delegate to the participants.

(b) They are actually not very effective in building effective teams when people return to their real life situation.

Teams are about individual PEOPLE and the INDIVIDUAL skills that they bring to the team and how these should be selected and put together to form an effective and lasting entity. All that is needed can be covered in a 1-day seminar/discussion with a group of delegates with no more props than a white board and marker pen. If it is delivered in such a way that the delegates can be coerced to look at themselves and their teams HONESTLY, it can provide effective change in team culture, creating belief and ‘buy in’ from delegates and without imposing high expenses on clients.

The analogy that I use to explain the basic ideas is that of building a wall, and I use two types of wall to explain the contemporary team building model and the alternative one. The contemporary model is likened to a ‘standard’ brick wall and the alternative model is likened to a ‘dry stone’ wall, of the type found in northern fields!

2. The contemporary model and it’s shortcomings!

Visualise a contemporary brick wall: Bricks all the same size, weight and shape. In order to stand up the bricks have to be ‘glued’ together with mortar. Bricks must be aligned exactly in rows vertically and horizontally or the wall will fall down. The mortar has to be replaced periodically, or the wall falls down. If a brick is not exactly the same size as all the others it has to be padded out with extra mortar, or – the wall falls down! The bricklayer has to keep tending the wall – replacing mortar etc. – or the wall falls down! Life of wall is fairly limited due to wearing out of materials, so eventually – the wall falls down! Bricklayer is competent enough, as long as the bricks match and he has an ongoing supply of mortar and the time to effect repairs.


Bricks = Individuals and their skills

Mortar = support from Team Leader and Human resources (competencies, assessments etc)

Bricklayer = Team leader

Problems often start at the recruitment stage. The recruiter ( Team leader or manager ) tends to put together an all-encompassing job description, instead of isolating specific individual EXPERT skills that are required for the project and are very unlikely to all be expert skills for one person. You only have to look at the average recruitment advert to see the types of skill lists that people ask for from one delegate!

Human resources then compile a list of required competencies based on this information that ALL delegates have to fit into – and we are well on the way to selecting our almost identical bricks.

What tends to happen now is that you have a team of good ‘all rounders’ but few people with exciting expert skills in any one thing. So what you get is a team that is competent but not outstanding and this has become the normal model that people tend to have become used to. This type of team conforms to all of the standard corporate ‘norms’ and is much easier to deal with for a ‘team leader’ that is also possibly not a truly expert and exciting ‘leader’.

Remember – ‘if you do what you have always done – you get what you have always got!’

Over the years I have experienced too many of these types of teams ( and team leaders ) and I know it can be done much better!

The problem is then compounded by the fashion for ‘competencies’ and ‘Annual assessments’. Managers and team leaders are told to assess their team members annually and to concentrate on improving their ‘weaknesses’! WHY?

Firstly – any team leader that waits a year to point out a problem to one of their team should not be doing the job! Communication and feedback between the leader and all team members should be continuous and open at all times.

Next – why concentrate on improving their weaknesses – all you are going to do is end up with a collection of ‘cloned’ bricks again! What you should be doing is emphasising the team members’ positives and constantly improving their strengths – the very skills you hired them for in the first place. If you have someone who is a brilliant programmer, then you want to help them be an even better programmer for the sake of the project and the team – someone else in the team probably has good report writing skills or whatever.

Different people are good at different things – use it, don’t suppress it!

3. The alternative model – not new but it works!

Visualise a ‘dry stone wall’ of the type often used for field boundaries. Stones are all different shapes and sizes – they are selected from what is available, in the right order so that they overlap and fit with each other perfectly to provide a solid fit.

This means that no stone is the ‘wrong’ size as long as you find others to fit around it. It doesn’t matter if all the stones are perfectly aligned as long as they all mesh together to give the wall stability.

There is no mortar used in the wall, it’s all down to the skill of the bricklayer selecting the correct stones in the first place so that the individual stones all support each other in the complete wall. The wall doesn’t fall down for centuries!

The wall doesn’t look as uniform and pretty as the brick wall on the surface but actually performs its’ task far better. The bricklayer has to have a real skill in selecting the right shaped stones to make sure they all fit together well in the first place, but once he has done that, maintenance is minimal!


Stones = Individuals and their skills

Mortar = support from Team Leader and Human resources (competencies, assessments etc)

Bricklayer = Team leader

The first thing that is needed before you can recruit and build a team for you project is an expert ‘brick layer’ or REAL Team LEADER! ( Not a manager/coordinator or facilitator). This doesn’t mean someone who happens to have been in the company the longest and is thought due for promotion. It doesn’t mean someone who can write good reports and do all the administration properly – it means someone who can LEAD PEOPLE! This is someone who can control, cajole, coerce and do anything necessary to get people to perform at their own best whenever it is required, at the same time gaining respect from those around them that they have to deal with. They don’t bully, shout or ‘use their position’ to get things done, people respond to them naturally and TRUST them. It’s NOT a promotion, it’s another type of skill and you should look for this type of person in all levels of the organisation.

You can teach anyone to play the piano, but not everyone can be a top concert pianist – it is just a skill that some people have and not others. Leadership is exactly the same – you can send someone on a ‘Team Leaders’ course and they will be able to go through the motions of team leading, but what you should look for is a ‘natural’ – someone who has the ability to really LEAD people.

If no one of your present employees stands out as having this ability – look outside for someone. It is not worth compromising on this all important position – remember you need someone to put that wall together effectively to get the best results!

The team leader should then be tasked with putting together the team – selecting the strengths that are needed from individual people and making sure that their weaknesses are covered by other people in the team, so that you are putting together the ‘stone wall’ with all the members supporting each other. As the team is growing, all of the team members should take part in the recruitment and interviewing process – after all they will have a feel for how someone will fit in with the rest of them. Giving everybody some responsibility for how the team is put together gives them all a stake in its success.

From the start there should be honest and open communication between all of the team members and the team leader. There should be no need for ‘Annual assessments’. The Team leader should be aware at all times how their team members are performing in various areas, and in an honest and open environment the team members themselves should be aware of any shortcomings and work towards solving them. A good team actually need very little maintenance input from the Team Leader and should very quickly become self-supporting, just like the stone wall.


So, if you are considering building a new team, try approaching it in a different light. Think of the people, the skills you want individuals to have – not the skills they don’t have, the overall skills that you want the whole team to have and how they all fit together to give you a solid foundation. Choose a proper ‘Team LEADER’ to maintain it and put contemporary ideas of ‘assessments’ and ‘competencies’ behind you!

(Don’t tell your HR manager this, unless they are lying down in a darkened room!)

Team Building part 2 – Honesty is the Key! Will focus on the running of the team once it is built and will be published shortly


Adapted from an original article by John Roberts, freelance training consultant, Director of JayrConsulting Ltd. This article may be freely reproduced / modified and used in any way, providing this acknowledgement is left in its entirety.

How Can Interior Design Firm Assist?

What Can Interior Designers Do?

If you have only heard of interior design Chicago, and you do not fully understand what they can offer, there may be some things that could surprise you. First of all, when you contact an interior design Chicago agent, that professional will give you a thorough overview of what they can perform for you. Most of these designers will be able to give you very inexpensive estimates.

Therefore, it's a good idea to get some of these contacts so that you can find an interior design Chicago firm who will work well with you and with your space and your available budget.

After you have decided on who you want to do your interior design Chicago, you should know that they have a wide array of services that they can offer you. The professional designer will study the space that you would like designed. The next step is for them to draw up a plan that will, in effect, meet your needs when it comes to the space you are looking at, as well as the style and theme that you would like to be used through.

Most of the interior design Chicago agents are very adept at integrating the person's style into the design. This is why some of them tend to be very personalized in the way that they approach every room and every space that they design.

In addition to designing the room or the different spaces for you, your interior design Chicago agent will effectively coordinate the jobs that it will take to actually get the project completed. You are bound to be pleased at how little you will have to do after you have contacted an Interior Design Chicago firm to complete your home interior design.

Your job is to sit back and watch your home be converted into the design that you've always dreamed of. And you'll not have to do any of the work yourself. Except to pay the bill, that is. It is a great idea! And one you should seriously consider.

Become More Detached

Rule Number One of The Tao of Steve is to eliminate your desire or as simplified, "We pursue that which retreats from us". Think about that for a moment, gentleman … WE PURSUE THAT WHICH RETREATS FROM US. It sounds so simple and it's even simpler to implement.

But, why would you want to eliminate your desire in a practical sense?

If you're completely free of all desire then in the hell can you ever be upset over a rejection? How can one pull your mouse-card and dangle the cheese to get what they want out of you?

Always remain detached from the results of your potential contract. There is no reason to be so full of desire that formulating a game-plan is not even a possibility.

Logic is your tool gentleman. If you happen to forget or ignore all that you've read in this article, always remember this everyone is out for their best interest. If you can really liberate yourself from mind-clowing desire there is nothing you have to lose.

The reasons to be desire-less are numerous. Another reason to remain detached is that it allows you to step back and view yourself completely in an unbiased light. Detachment itself is key if your goal is to be in the game of life as a player instead of riding the pines watching all of the action you crave move right past you.

Once again if you can play without desire, victory is already yours, bro. You've already won because by being impressed by nothing, you're above everything and then, everything is in your reach if you so choose to go for it.

Now, get out there and re-enter the game as a man completely free and grab life by its sharp horns.

See ya at the top.

Insulated Garage Doors

Many of the houses which were built in the past several decades have attached garages (depending on what part of the country we are talking about) and therefore the garage is a complex part of the structure of the house in addition to being part of the kitchen or living room, usually through a standard doorway. Because the garage is soonless a part of the house; it is important to have the door insulated against the wind, rain, snow and other elements in order to keep utility bills under control. Some of the insulated garage doors come with a bottom weather strip which not only helps to keep weather out, but also work together with the doors overall insulation to keep noises of the street from entering your home.

Insulated garage doors are usually built of durable and heavy duty insulation such as polyurethane sandwiched between two pieces of steel or other metals to give the garage door its insulated feature.

Another reason for having insulated doors is because it will help to keep the car or other items warmer in winter months. Often times, people with a two car garage will park their car on one side and use the other side for storage, a workout area or workshop. A nice small space heater in the winter would be all that is needed if a garage has an insulated garage door and opening the door in the summer months would help to keep the cooler air circulating in the warmer months.

Additionally, there is no reason to forego style for comfort of insulation. Many of the insulated garage doors are stylish and will complement any style home from Ranch style to Split-levels. And the insulated garage doors can be painted or stained – if they are wood – to match any color aluminum or steel siding.

Most common doors are made of steel plus the insulation. Some of the steel doors contain an insulation that is covered with a vinyl material for extra thermal insulation property and quiet operation. The insulated wood doors are made of beautiful natural wood and a thick layer of environmentally friendly polystyrene and then have a backing of heavy duty outer grade plywood – on the inside – for added insulation properties. Many of the insulated doors have R-Values ​​in the range of 7.6 (average), which is the rating given to many insulation product by the construction industry regarding their ability to retain or resist heat.

The styles of insulated garage doors could be traditional, carriage, steel, fiberglass or wood.

There is another incentive to purchase insulated garage doors and that is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This program gives a tax credit to homeowners for receiving home improvements that are energy efficient up to $ 1,500. A tax credit is a better value than an equivalent deduction because a deduction only decreases the amount of income that is taxed while a tax credit reduces taxes dollar-for-dollar.

Alcohol and Your Health and Fitness Goals

We have all hear health organizations and fitness trainers give cautionary warnings about the effects of alcohol on our health and fitness. If your goal is weight loss then alcohol is counter-productive to your goal. I may be striking the obvious here but it is worth remembering everyone that alcohol can literally sabotage all of your healthy eating efforts to strike out all that you are doing well with your training and clean eating.

Things you need to know about alcohol and your fitness goals.

  1. Alcohol is high in calories compared to protein and carbohydrates. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram where as protein and carbohydrates contain 5 calories per gram.
  2. Calories from alcohol do not provide nutrition, and will not satisfy your hunger. This is the reason why it is easy to keep drinking once you are on a roll. It's easy to get carried away with a drinking session once you start.
  3. Alcohol slows your fat burning. Putting it in layman's terms your body will burn off all the alcohol you've consumed before it then turns to carbohydrates and fat.
  4. There is a direct correlation between higher Body Mass Index (BMI) results and excess alcohol consumption. A recent study has shown that those with the lowest BMIs drank 3 to 7 times a week but only had on average 1 drink per drinking session. Those with higher BMIs drank less on average but had more drinks per session. (Ie Binge drinking)
  5. Beer and wine contain a lot of carbohydrates in the way of sugar., Which can lead
  6. to cravings and bloating. Mixed drinks are the worst of
  7. the lot, as they contain all sorts of added sugar and
  8. calories.
  9. Just like so called low-fat foods, "low-carb" or "zero-carb" alcoholic drinks are very much a gimmick targeted towards a health conscious market. Keep reading below for better choices for alcohol consumption.

Better choices for alcohol:

  1. Distilled liquor is technically a straight liquor and contain no carbohydrates. Where this option typically falls down is the mixer which tends to be a high sugar soda drink or high sugar juice option. If possible find a low sugar option to mix in with your spirits.
  2. Sipping wine instead of beer and high sugar cocktails has been shown to be the best option if you are wanting to partake in alcoholic drinks while on a diet or ongoing nutrition plan.

Alcohol is a big part of our culture and society. When consumed in moderation it helps us to relax and adds to a great social atmosphere with friends. I have personally seen people make the decision to switch to drinking a glass of wine instead of beer and mixed drinks with really good results as far as weight loss results go.

If you are determined to drop some weight from your body it is a really good idea to abstain from alcohol for period of time. Once you have trimmed down and are training harder, then re-introducing alcohol in moderation (Ie a glass of wine a few times a week) should not be a problem.

Menopause: Cessation of Menstrual Cycle

The anatomy as well as physiology of the female reproductive system is quite complex when compared with the male reproductive system. Menopause is a very prominant stage in the life cycle of all females. It can be simply defined as the absence of the menstrual cycle for at least 12 months. The transition of the menopause starts with varying menstrual cycle length and finally terminates into menstrual period. The menopausal transitional period is often referred to as perimenopause phase although it is not a medical term but is often used while dealing a layman. Postmenopuase period is known to wake after the last menstrual period. Menopause can also be described as a phase of the female's life when the function of ovaries terminates. Ovaries are the female reproductive organisms, located in the pelvis, one of each side of the uterus. Each ovary resembles an almond in its shape and size. They are known to produce ova as well as the female hormone estrogen.

A single egg or ovum is produced from either the right or the left ovary during each menstrual cycle. The egg then enters the Fallopian tube and finally reaches the uterus. The female hormones secreted by the ovarians participate in the development of secondary sexual characters in the female like development of breasts, body shape and body hair. These hormones also participate in the regulation of menstruation and pregnancy. Estrogens are also known to provide protection to the bones and osteoporosis develop in a female if ovaries fail to produce adequate amount of estrogen. Perimenopause is different for each woman and researchers are still under dilemma about the factors governing this phase, so study is under execution.

Commencement of menopause

In general menopause is known to enter a female's life at the age of 51 but no one can predict that when a female is going to enter menopause. The age at which menstrual cycle starts in the life of a female is also not correlated with the sunset of menopause. Majority of the females are known to enter menopause between the ages of 45-55 but menopause can also occur at the age of 30, 40 or 60 years. Perimenopause is characterized by irregularities in the menstrual cycle followed by typical symptoms of early menopause and can commence 10 years prior to last menstrual period.

Conditions affecting menopause

Certain surgical as well as medical conditions are known to cast their spell on the timing of menopause. These conditions will be eliminated one by one.

1. Surgical removal of ovaries

Surgical removal of ovaries from an ovulating female is known as oophorectomy and it results in immediate menopause and the condition is sometimes also described as surgical or induced menopause. In this condition there is no perimenopause and the female automatically experiences the signs and symptoms of menopause. The ovaries can often be removed along with the uterus and this procedure is known as hysterectomy. If uterus is removed without removal of ovaries then they function normally and produce female hormones but such a female is not able to menstruate. In this situation symptoms of menopause occur naturally. The woman can experience other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood swings. These symptoms can not be correlated with the cessation of menstruation. Such a female isiable to get affected with premature ovarian failure before priorment of menopause within 1-2 years after hysterectomy. If this condition arises then the female will not experience the symptoms of menopause.

2. Cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Cancer is also known to affect ovarian function. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given to a female depending upon the type and location of cancer. If these treatments are given to an ovulating woman then they result in cessation of menstruation and symptoms of menopause come into play. The symptoms may arise during or after treatment.

3. Premature ovarian failure

This condition can be defined by the appearance of menopause before the age of 40. This condition is common among 1% woman population. The exact reason behind premature ovarian failure is despite unknown but it is believed that autoimmune diseases and genetic factors are associated with it.

Symptoms associated with menopause

Each woman experiences a different set of symptoms. Some women experience few or no symptoms of menopause while some experience a wide variety of physical as well as physiological symptoms. The major symptoms are:

1. Irregular vaginal bleeding

Vaginal bleeding may become irregular at the onset of menopause. Some females have little problems with abnormal bleeding during perimenopause while others have excessive bleeding. Menstrual periods may occur very frequently within short intervals or may get farther and farther apart before terminating completely. There is no usual pattern of bleeding during perimenopause but it may vary from individual to individual. If a female is experiencing irregular menses then she must consult the doctor as either the problem is due to perimenopause or some other clinical condition is associated. The abnormalities associated with the menstrual cycle during the perimenopause are also responsible for the reduction of the female fertility as egg production in the ovaries also becomes irregular. However, a female under the perimenopausal state can become pregnant and should take contraceptives if she is not interested to become pregnant.

2. Hot flashes and night sweats

Hot flashes are very frequent in the females under menopause. A hot flash may be defined as a feeling of warmth spreading through the body but is more intense on the head and chest region of the body. It is sometimes associated with flushing as well as perspiration. They may last from 30 seconds to few minutes. The exact cause of hot flash is although not known but it is believed that is the result of a combined action of hormonal and biochemical fluctuations thought about by the declining estrogen levels. One can not predict when hot flashes will arise and for how long they will appear. Hot flashes are known to occur in 40% of females under the age group of 40 having normal menstrual cycles. So hot flashes can appear even before menopause. Hot flashes end up within 5 years in 80% of the females entering menopause and sometimes they can run for about 10 years. Sometimes hot flashes are coupled with night sweats resulting in awakening, difficulty in falling sleep again resulting in daytime tiredness.

3. Urinary symptoms

Urethral lining also undergoes changes just like the tissues of the vagina and becomes drier, thinner, loses elasticity due to reduction of the estrogen levels. These changes increase the risk of urinary tract infections as well as urinary leakage. Urination may also occur suddenly with coughing, laughing and lifting of heavy objects.

4. Vaginal symptoms

The vaginal tissues also become thinner, drier and lose elasticity as the estrogen levels fall. The symptoms include vaginal dryness, itching or pain during intercourse. The vaginal changes also increase the risk of vaginal infections.

5. Emotional and cognitive symptoms

Women entering perimenopause experience a variety of emotional symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, memory problems and rapid mood changes. It is difficult to explain which behavioral symptom is directly associated with the hormonal changes. Emotional and cognitive symptoms are very common among women so sometimes it becomes difficult to determine whether these changes are due to menopause or not. Night sweats during menopause can also result in fatigue and irritation.

6. Other physical changes

Weight gain is very common among women during menopause. The distribution of fat may also undergo change and may get deposited more in the waist and abdominal areas rather than the hips and thighs. Wrinkles may also appear on the skin. As the body continues to produce small levels of male hormone, testosterone, some females may develop some hairs on the chin, upper lip, chest or abdomen.

Complications associated with menopause

1. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is very common among the females under menopause. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of quality and quantity of bone resulting in increased risk of fracture. However, the density of bone tends to decline normally in the females during the fourth decade of life but it Declines rapidly during the menopause. Age and hormonal changes during menopause act together resulting in osteoporosis. The process can occur slowly for many years. Women may remain unaware of these changes without and until she encounters a painful fraction. The treatment of osteoporosis includes slowing down the rate of bone loss as well increasing bone density and strength. The treatment includes lifestyle changes like cessation of smoking and drinking alcohol, regular exercise with adequate intake of balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. calcium and vitamin D supplements are prescribed for those females who do not take a diet rich in these nutrients. Medications responsible for preventing bone loss include alendronate, risedronate, ibandronate and teriparatide.

2. Cardiovascular disease

Females before menopause are at risk of cardiovascular diseases when compared with men but the frequency generally increases as they approach menopause. The incidence of heart diseases is very high both men and women in the United States. Coronary heart diseases are two-three times higher in the women reaching menopause. This may be due to the decreasing levels of estrogen and the women in post menopausal stage are advised not to undergo hormone therapy in order to avoid the risk of heart attacks.

Treatments available for menopause

Menopause is a normal part of life that can not be combined with a disease. However, the treatment of related symptoms is possible so can be taken into consideration.

1. Hormone therapy (Estrogen and progesterone therapy)

Hormone Therapy (HT) or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HPT) or Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy (PHT) is a treatment that administers doses of both estrogens and progesterone. It is administered in order to prevent the symptoms associated with reduction of estrogen levels like hot flashes and vaginal dryness and is still the most effective treatment available but studies have indicated that the women receiving HT have increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks. Women receiving only estrogen therapy also have higher risk of endometrial cancer. Hormone therapy is available in the form of oral pills and transdermal forms. Transdermal hormone products are already in the active form so they do not have to get converted into activated form in the liver. As these products have no effect on the liver they are prescribed for majority of the females. There has been an emerging interest among the researchers for the use of a bio-identical hormone for the perimenopausal women. These hormones have the same chemical compositions like those produced naturally inside the body. These products are prepared in the laboratory from the naturally derived plant products and are approved by the USFDA so are in market. They are also used transdermal in the form of creams or gels. The use of hormone therapy is based on the decision of both the patient and the doctor.

2. Oral contraceptive pills

Oral contraceptive pills are other forms of hormone therapy that is prescribed to the females undergoing perimenopause in order to treat irregular vaginal bleeding. Before prescribing these pills the doctor must check that either the irregular vaginal bleeding is due to perimenopause or some other factors are associated with it. These do not provide relief from hot flashes but prevent a female from becoming pregnant.

3. Local hormone and non-hormone treatments

Vaginal estrogen deficiency is also treated with the local hormonal treatments. These include vaginal estrogen ring, vaginal estrogen cream or vaginal estrogen tablets. Local and oral estrogen treatments are sometimes combined. Vaginal moisturizing creams or gels or use of lubricating agents during intercourse are non-hormonal agents used to prevent vaginal dryness. Application of Betadine topically on the outer vaginal area or soaking in a bath or warm water may also relive the symptoms of vaginal pain or burning sensation after sexual intervention.

4. Antidepressant medications

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of drugs most frequently used to control the symptoms of hot flashes and have given positive results in 60% of the women. The common examples of these drugs include venlafaxine, citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine and sertraline. However, antidepressants are associated with some side effects like sexual dysfunction.

5. Plant estrogens or phytoestrogens or isoflavones

Isoflavones are chemical compounds present in soy and are plant derived estrogens. The structure of these plant estrogens is exactly similar to those produced in the body but their effectiveness is somewhat lower in comparison to the body estrogens. Their estrogen potency is estimated to be about 1 / 1,000 to 1 / 100,000 of that of natural estrogen. Two types of isoflavones namely, genistein and daidzein have been derived from soybeans, chickpeas and lentils that are considered to be the most potent phytoestrogens. Some studies have shown that these compounds help in relieving hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Women suffering from breast cancer are also prescribed these phytoestrogens if they do not want to undergo hormone therapy (HT) during menopause transition. Some researchers have even shown that excessive intake of these plant derived estrogens result in over-growth of the tissues lining the uterus which can result in the development of cancer.

6. Vitamin E

Some women have reported that intake of vitamin E supplements can also help in relieving hot flashes but this fact lacks scientific support. Taking a dose of greater than 400 IU of vitamin E is not safe as it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

7. Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is an herbal preparation popular in Europe often prescribed against hot flashes. The North American Menopause Society does not support the short term use of this herbal preparation

8. Non-pharmaceutical therapies

Survivors of breast cancer or females not interested to take oral or vaginal estrogens are prescribed vaginal lubricants however, they are not very effective.
So it can be concluded that menopause is a natural state of body and the symptoms can be controlled by the medications mentioned above.

My Best Paleo Caveman Collard Greens Recipe

What's a collard green? Most likely the green part of a collard? What's a collard? The part that's not green?

Being Paleo, I do not eat dairy products. Being a human being, I know that I need calcium to keep my bones looking like bones. Collard greens are a good source of calcium. It turns out that they allegedly also have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. In addition to this they are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C and a bunch of other useful nutrients.

So, what are collard greens? They are a member of the cage family. Basically they are like a cabbage without a head. (The word "collard" means "headless cage" in some language.

Now that we know how good they are for you, and sort of what they are, how do you cook them? It takes about an hour and, when done right, they are very tasty.

Here is what you need:

  • About 2 pounds of collard greens
  • 6 slices of bacon (fried until crispy, also save the bacon grease)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced ​​or chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • About a quarter of water (enough to cover the greens by about 2 or 3 inches)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • A large pot with a lid

Here is what you do:

First, wash each leaf on both sides to remove any individual sand or grit. Remove the stems and the ribs in each leaf. Some people soak the greens in a little salted water for an hour before cooking. (I've tried it both ways and can not tell the difference.)

Put the greens, cooked bacon and the bacon grease, chopped onion, crushed red pepper and salt in a large covered pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about an hour. If the greens do not seem tender cook a little longer. If you look at the old collard green recipes it just says to cook them for "a very long time". Mine seem to turn out pretty good after about an hour to an hour and a half.

This dish is traditionally served with cornbread and they dip the bread in the left over juice or "liquor". Because this is a Paleo recipe, I'm not going to suggest that. However, the juice is really good and is also nutrient dense. If you can find something to soak it up with you will enjoy it.

Biscuit Joinery

Biscuit joinery and dowel joinery are two easy ways to connect two boards together. These techniques are particularly useful when constructing cabinets, shelving or joining boards together to produce a flat surface, such as a table top. They are most popular when joining flat woods, such as plywood, particle board, or MDF (medium density fiberboard). You may want to join two boards together to make a custom width board for shelves or other projects. Here we will discuss a few tips for making your doweling or biscuit joining job a success.

First, we'll discuss what a biscuit is. A biscuit is almost like a flat piece of dowel. It is usually two to four inches long and is shaped like a football. A slot is cut into a piece of wood, the biscuit is inserted with glue, and then joined with a corresponding slot in the opposition piece of wood. The two pieces are clamped together and allowed to bond. Be careful not to squeeze out all of the glue when you use clamps.

Most woodworkers prefer to use a plate joiner tool to drill the holes for biscuits. You can use a router, but many people consider using a router more dangerous. Using a plate joiner keeps the blade encased behind a blade guard so that you can not cut yourself. Make sure that you study the safety rules and follow the usage instructions that come with your plate joiner, exactly.

To use the plate joiner, start by making your marks. Put your two pieces together and make a pencil mark where you want your biscuit to go. Remember that the biscuit will be hidden, so there is some play room with the placement. Simply set the depth of the blade to where you want it and line up the guide with your marks. You can set the bevel angle if you are not making a simple right angle cut. The motor should be running at full speed before you begin your cut.

You will notice that the cuts are slightly longer than the biscuit itself. This gives you a little extra room for error and makes a space for the glue to set. Simply position your boards together and line them up before you clamp them down to dry. Once dry, the joints will be almost as strong as a dowel joint.

Using dowels for joinery is a little trickier, as lining them up must be precise, but it is still the preferred method for many woodworkers. Once you master biscuit joinery and doweling, you can move on up to learning mortise and tenon joints.

Global Warming – Causes That Contribute

Increasing temperature, rising sea level and increasing the number of diseases are some of the effects of global warming. But do you know the causes that are leading towards these situations? Here we are going to discuss some of the causes that lead to these situations.

Emission of greenhouse gases is considered to be the main reason of climate warming. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides, and some engineered chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons are the greenhouse gases. Most of these gases occur in the atmosphere naturally, but due to the widespread burning of fossil fuels by growing human populations, the level of greenhouse gases emission has increased a lot. In order to reduce the effects of global warming, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has become a primary focus of environmental programs around the world.

Smog and poor air quality is a burning environmental problem, especially in large metropolitan cities. The primary constituent of Smog is the ground level ozone which is formed by a chemical reaction of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and heat from sunlight. Pollutants that contribute to smog come from a lot of sources, such as smoke emissions, vehicle emissions, paints, and solvents. The reaction to create smog needs heat and smog problems are the worst in the summer.

Moreover, the pollutant releases from the industrial sector and electric utilities contribute greatly to environmental problems and lead to many environmental issues. Emissions from vehicles also contribute to smog, low visibility, and various greenhouse gas emissions in the environmental atmosphere and thus, contributing towards the global warming.

Joan of Arc, Prophetic Liberator

France had fallen

Under foreign control

The British had invaded Orleans

On the fate of which

Hung the entire kingdom

Royal factions did intensify

Rumors about affairs did petrify

The Hundred Years War

For Aquitaine

Was fought with much pain

The rich land in the southwest

For which England lusteth

They did for some time rule

In the 12th century

Though this would not

Forever be

As for the French army

They had won no major victory

For a generation

Nevertheless their prayers were heard

By God above

Who shined upon Joan

With mercy and love

Visiting her with repeated visions

Hearing God’s voice

Speak to her ever so clearly

Joan surrendered to

The heavenly

And embraced the divine call


She obtained an interview

With the commander at Vancoulers

Tirelessly pushing through the doubters

It was then that she

Finally explained her mission

France’s regime was in desperation

Thus Joan was sent

Fervently she went

Dressed in soldier’s clothes

To Charles VII

Miraculously and prophetically

Joan revealed to him secrets

That were known

Only by Charles and God

Hence Charles gave Joan

A suit of white armor

Though with God’s hand

Fully upon her

She was already clothed

With honor and splendor

Joan like a Bible Seer

Instructed her attendants

Where to go to fetch her sword

Seeing by the Spirit

Speaking forth the word

She gave the location

With certainty and no hesitation

Behind the altar of St. Catherine’s Church

Although Joan had never been there before

Such divine inspiration

Opened the door

Releasing a spirit of faith

A force from on high

By which she courageously

Inspired her soldiers to battle

To bravely persevere

To recover her homeland

From English domination

To victoriously bring about

King Charles VII’s coronation

The English however were clever

And had nearly achieved their goal

Of a dual monarchy

Under their control

Nevertheless loyal to the French crown

Joan and company

Did valiantly

Proceed to fight the enemy

Though surrounded

Their love for their country abounded

Joan made the journey


Through Burgundian territory

As a man in disguise

Her relentless leadership

One cannot despise

Though but a 17 year old peasant girl

She had fire in her eyes

Uneducated but learned in heart

From such a vigorous passion

No soldier can depart

Thus she was given permission

To travel with the army

Wear the equipment of a knight

Though wounded

She did continue to fight

Motivating her troops

Day and night

Uplifting her standard

Above her sword

This woman

Was no coward

Demoralized and discredited

After years of humiliating defeat

One after another

France had found in Joan

A spiritual mother

To fortify its spirit

Arouse its will power

Before their hope in God

Departed and went sour

Joan aggressively arose

Beseeching the king of England

To settle his debt

To the king of Heaven

Return to His maiden

His French envoy

The keys to all the towns

He had taken and violated

For such hostility

Would no longer

Be tolerated

Joan also defied the French

Despite their cautious strategy

Joan went forth offensively

A skilled orator and tactician

A successful strategist

The lioness rode out

To capture the fortress

Of Saint Augustins

Marched through towns

Near Paris

Assaulting the English stronghold

The army becoming increasingly bold

Pulling an arrow from her shoulder

Though wounded

Joan returned ever bolder

Indefatigably leading the charge

Chasing the English out

Bringing about a triumphant route

Accepting more peaceful surrenders

Continually gaining more supporters

Ready to honorably make peace

Expressing the gentleness

Of the king of France

Yet cautiously examining every truce

Lest it merely be a trap and noose

Enduring accusations

About her character being loose

On what grounds?

The length of her hair

The clothes she did wear

Her faith in God

By which she did dare

To hear His voice and obey

Much more than

The slothful priests of her day

Others did say

She was a heretic

Some claimed a witch

Not so, it was they

Who were bewitched

By the devil himself

And his hellish envoys

Who employed

A political ploy

By which to overtake France

Overturn justice

Appear religious

Though they were slanderous

As for Joan

She feared Christ

Wholeheartedly gave Him

Her precious young life

Upheld her calling and testimony

Even while in prison

Where she was threatened greatly

Though martyrdom drew near

Joan held to her cause

And never did fear

Joan remained a pure virgin

Even unto execution

Though the British soldiers

Sought to molest her

Subject and rape her

This holy woman

Born of the Spirit

Who they called illiterate

Spoke eloquently

Truthfully and wisely

Baffling the scholarly

While remaining in God’s grace

Yet not uplifting her face

Not seeking self-exaltation

Nor desiring self-preservation

Preferring to fulfill

Her God-given mission

Telling whosoever would hear it

As for the ecclesiastical and political

They made assumptions and errs doctrinal

Proved themselves to be incorrigible

Disregarding the 10 Commandments


“Thou shalt not kill”

Preferring to major on the minors

With Pharisaical skill

Split theological hairs

Concern themselves

With the length of Joan’s hair

As for her divine mandate

They did not care

Such insincere and evil men

Were very unfair


Truth did eventually prevail

The executioner

Who burned Joan to the stake

Later stated

That he greatly feared

The damnation of hellfire

For burning a holy woman

Yet today

She burns on!

Her spirit

Is alive and well

Her mission she accomplished

Freeing France triumphant

Spiritually glorious

Giving hope to us

That God still speaks

To whosoever will

That He anoints sons and daughters

To hear and see

To arise and move prophetically

There is no male or female

In Christ our Lord

Performance over dress

By obedience to the call

We are blessed

Joan you successfully destroyed

Gender bias

Proving yourself pious

The pope himself

Later recanted

Overturning her excommunication

Declaring Joan of Arc a saint

A liberator

That did not faint

A revolutionary

Of the highest quality

A burning light

To every generation

Joan you received

Your vindication

Your fight against

Foreign occupation

Brought your beloved France


Today you remain to all

A source of inspiration.

Sinus Drainage Bad Breath

Cleanliness, perfection, and fragrance are the embodiment of a modern, civilized person. Bad breath – or halitosis, in medical terminology – can hinder that image you are trying to project. Not only that, but it can also seriously hamper you from forming social relations with other individuals as you might be too embarrassed to talk to anyone or others are turned off by the offensive odor.

How to solve this problem?

Well, the only way to really solve this problem is to identify the cause. There are many possible causes of bad breath from the foods that you eat to improper oral hygiene (or lack thereof) and certain underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, periodontal disease (gum disease), among others.

But perhaps second only to foods and hygiene, the most common factor associated with bad breath is the sinus drainage. Experts say that 85 to 90 % of people with bad breath have this stench coming from their mouths. Rarely do you see cases where bad breath comes out of the nose. When they do, this condition is actually caused by sinus drainage bad breath.

What is Sinus Drainage Bad Breath?

Sinus drainage bad breath is little more than a symptom of sinusitis, a condition where in the sinuses become infected or inflamed. It can be due to a viral infection, as in the case of colds, or to allergens, as in the case of allergies. Sometimes, sinusitis may even be related to asthma attacks. Whatever the cause, sinusitis more often than not leads to sinus drainage bad breath.

How Sinus Drainage Bad Breath Occurs

Whenever a person gets sinusitis, the mucus lining of the sinuses become irritated and start to produce excessive amounts of mucus. A normal person regularly produces mucus to keep the nasal passages clean and clear. However, when these mucus linings are irritated, they go on overdrive and produce too much mucus, causing a common sinusitis symptom called postnasal drip, which in turn could lead to sinus drainage bad breath.

Furthermore, the infection causing sinusitis may also cause inflammation of the nasal passages. These nasal passages connect with the nose through your sinuses to let air into the lungs. When these nasal passages are inflamed, the channel is narrowed as a result of congestion, thus adding to the whole problem by blocking the normal drainage of mucus. As a result, the mucus gets trapped within these nasal passages and starts to attract bacteria, which thrive on dark, damp places.

These bacteria will proliferate and excrete waste products that contain noxious sulfur compounds causing sinus drainage bad breath.


In order to treat sinus drainage bad breath, you may consider medications usually taken to treat the symptoms of sinusitis. Over the counter nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants work by relieving inflammation and congestion and drying excess mucus.

Acrow Props – Using Them Safely in Construction

There may come a time when you want to undertake a structural alteration to your home, to perhaps make better use of your living space, or maybe to make a window larger for example. Before carrying out an alteration, you will need to ensure that any part of the structure you are taking away, does not require support. If it does, then using acrow props will be required.

Acrow props are strong steel tubular like instruments that consist of a 4 part system; A male section, female section, a winding collar and a small stout pin. The way acrow props essentially work is by the female section accepting the male, allowing the 2 sections to be fully adjustable to a suitable height. The sections have holes in them so that the stout pin can be inserted to keep them fixed at your chosen height. The props can then further be adjusted by turning the winding collar.

At each end of the male and female sections will be a steel plate which is usually about 150 mm x 150 mm. The plate is there to help the acrow props find a suitable bearing on both the ground and the force to be supported.

Putting The Acrow Props To Use

There are a number of ways to use acrow props but probably the most common methods are by using them in conjunction with either timber needles or strongboys. Needles in construction are short stout timber beams, and an acrow prop would be placed towards each end, where the load being supported is in the middle. Strongboys are a more modern method where only 1 prop is needed to fix to the strongboy, which in turn would then be placed in position to support the load.


If you need to support a wall and you have chosen to use needles, then the method would be to knock a couple of bricks through the wall large enough to put the needles through, and then at each end an acrow prop would be placed and tightened up until it is tight between the brick and ground level. This is a two man job and can be very trick to get the needles to balance whist setting them correctly in place.


Using strongboys is a far easier method as it is usually only a case of hacking out a mortar joint where the load is to be supported, and then inserting the long, thin arm of the strongboy in. As with the needles method, the acrow props are them tightened up securely. The benefits of using strongboys with the acrow props however, is that the load only needs to be supported by putting the props at one side of the wall.

You will also need to check the ground that you are placing the props on to ensure it is strong enough to take the additional loads you will be placing on it. If the ground is a timber suspended floor for example, then you would need to spread the load by placing stout board/s at right angles to the floor joists. This is assuming that the floor joists are sound themselves. Where the ground level is concrete and sound, the props can be placed directly onto the concrete, however, I feel it is always good practice to use a stout board to place them on.

Supporting any load bearing structure should only be undertaken by competent persons and should never be done without the advice and guidance of a structural engineer, professional builder and the local building officer.

The Price of Reclaimed Wooden Flooring

Reclaimed lumber, like many things of real beauty and value, does come with a price. You're looking at buying the Mercedes of floors here, after all, not the Yugo. The costs to recover and prepare the reclaimed lumber are generally not cheap for the suppliers, and these costs are always passed down to the customer in the cost of their wooden flooring. When harvested from old buildings such as homes or barns, the buildings must be meticulously de-constructed in a manner that will preserve the reclaimed wood and protect it from damage. Once these old buildings are de-constructed, the reclaimed wood begins a long journey of being prepared, transported, and transformed before it ends up in your home as wooden flooring. You can see where, compared to traditional wooden flooring, reclaimed wooden floors, while great for the environment in comparison, certainly take a lot more work than cutting down the tree and running it through a saw mill.

Embedded materials such as nails, rocks, and building hardware from the lumber's previous home have to be very carefully identified and removed in the initial steps so as not to damage the saws and other equipment that will be used in shaping the reclaimed wood. This is a tedious process, and although it addresses some of the character marks that make reclaimed wood so bought after as they embody the timelessness that is so endearing about reclaimed wooden flooring, there is often a limit to just how much character any piece of lumber should have before it's just plain trash. Sometimes this limit is obvious, but sometimes there is a system of grading where the customer has set a particular limit on how many flaws the lumber should have. When buying reclaimed lumber, suppliers will often focus on grain quality and species, which means that obtaining the highest possible yield from each batch of reclaimed wood is an absolute necessity. As much as 50% of reclaimed wood might go to waste in the production of high quality reclaimed wood products. Half is a lot, to be sure, but as technology and demand increases, this number should improve. Also consider that half of something is a lot more than nothing at all.

Wood is everywhere. It's in the forests and parks, obviously, but it's also cradling our books, computers, and even our selves when we sit in our sofas and chairs. The world economy, however, is based on high speed delivery and mass production, which, in the end, dictates the prices of everything, even something like reclaimed lumber that is obviously better with time. Like organic food and other sustainable lifestyle items, reclaimed wooden flooring and other products made from recycled antique wood will cost you a little more. Mass production does tend to drive the final price down, and that's obviously not an option when it comes to reclaiming our or nature's wasted building materials. However, to many it is worth it as you're gaining not only an awesome wooden floor, but one made of material durable enough to justify its cost. While reclaimed wooden flooring is not for everyone, it would behoove you to at least give it a look, especially if you're planning to build or rebuild an environmentally friendly home with wooden floors .

Heidegger – Language is the House of Being

Language is the house of Being. In its home man dwells. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home.” – Martin Heidegger, German philosopher, Letter on Humanism, 1947.

The philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset once said that man had no nature, only history. While I respect this opinion, I think that man’s real human nature is language. Just as the lesser god Prometheus handed fire to man, a major God handed a major boon to mankind: language.

After years of pondering whatever Martin Heidegger meant by “Language is the House of Being,” it finally dawned on me (as I watched catatrophic news on TV) that Heidegger meant language is not only a construct, a shelter, an edifice, an abode, but the soul of humanity–container of infinity.

Through language we search heaven and earth; through language we accept or reject God; through language we accept or reject the absolutes that guide the human race.

And yes, it is only through language that we experience aesthetic bliss–and love. Although bliss and love are more akin to the emotional life, the viscera, the central nervous system, the body can only partially express bliss and love. Language is indispensable, or if not, then try to tell that to painters, poets, and writers.

Take Trollope (in History of Pendennis):”It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.” And Trollope went on to fill library shelves with language and love.

We think and we feel by using words. Though words are more adept and adequate to thinking than to feeling, we still recognize that even our deepest emotions must be converted into words to express what we feel. When we immerse ourselves in a good book we feel with and for the characters: with Don Quijote and Sancho we experience the real meaning of friendship; with Anna Karenina and Aschenbach we feel the exquisite pangs of deeply tormented souls; with Remedios The Beauty we ascend to heaven.

Can we build science without language? Isn’t language the vessel of patterns, axioms, equations, paradigms, and formulas? Is wisdom achievable without language?

Even the most recalcitrant nihilist or atheist needs language to refute the existence of God; the same God that gave him the gift of language.

When humans master a language, they are never homeless. Even when their houses burn–as we watched the flames destroy thousands of houses in San Diego, California–their spirit, their humanity survives in the House of Being–Infinity.