Friday, October 29, 2010

How Many 10s?

There are certain milestones in life that deserve recognition. Anniversaries are such milestones. Marriage is an institution that has undergone many renovations of convention over the centuries. Lately, it seems many find it somewhat disposable, so finding couples that have managed to find true love, and made it last, because it is work, is a refreshing scenario. This is true in real life and in our fiction that mirrors life pretty well. Read the fiction of an era to find out what they think about marriage, how they work it, and what the general atmosphere of the society morale is. For those, like myself, who have been married more than twenty years, it sometimes becomes something you take for granted, and that is not acceptable in any atmosphere. You should never take love and the longevity of a relationship for granted.

Whether you choose something romantic, or cute, 10th anniversary gifts let your partner know you aren't taking their commitment to your relationship for granted. It doesn't stop, or start for that matter, at ten, however. Start at one and keep on going... and there is no limit to how many 10s you celebrate. I'm moving in on 30 years, and the third 10 is as big a celebration as the first two.

I like to add humor with a anniversary gift. After all, anyone who has been married a long time knows it takes a good sense of humor to get through some of life's trials. Cute items like the anniversary toilet paper is a great way to give your lover a little lift.
Some people like to use the anniversary year gift suggestions. Some of those can be a little tough (or silly) like the 44th anniversary being the 'groceries' anniversary. Most, thankfully are much easier to buy for and still remain romantic. The 20th is china, and of course, the 50th is gold. You can buy your wedding anniversary gifts by year or just play it by ear and choose a gift based on personal likes and hobbies. Whatever you use to chose the right gift for your anniversary, never take it for granted.

Keeping it Ethical

A company’s code of ethics can give you a glimpse inside of their desire to serve their customers. The tone and language of the ethics statement is a good way to judge how in tune with your own ethical outlook a business may be. A company’s code of ethics also establishes how the business will handle acts of misconduct, or grievances with consumers. It is an often overlooked document that should be a first step in any decision to do business with another company, or use their services and products. Code of ethics documents contain a lot of language that can be confusing. There are steps anyone can take to help determine if a company’s policies are fair and upfront.

Check for easy to understand language. Statements of a code of ethics that is obscure or difficult to understand may imply an attempt to sidestep important information about how they will handle issues with clients, customers or the public. Using difficult language may also be an attempt to make a code of ethics difficult to determine if a company is just being political, or if it really means to stand by its services or products.

Check for inconsistencies in actual practice as opposed to the company’s proposed code of ethics. One of the biggest drawbacks to such a statement of purpose is there is no real policing body to govern how companies actually adhere to their ethical practices. A code of ethics policy is only as good as the company’s desire to follow through with it.

Look for inconsistencies between other statements of business such as a “Mission Statement,” or “Terms of Service” to see if other documents of policy agree with the code of ethics and each other.

See if the steps in the code of ethics make logical sense in coming to a conclusion on how to deal with discrepancies in service, breakdown of communication or behavior. A good code of ethics should have a clear and reasonable declaration of process to report bad service, product or behavior, and a reference of who to contact to make a report.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wii Fun

One of the first game consoles we ever had was a Nintendo. I think it was a Nintendo 64 way back in the 90s. The Nintendo line of games started our love of video games, and no computer games can really compete with the types of games available on game consoles like the modern day wii

Nintendo wii is even more interesting than the old games because of the interactive qualities. I haven't had a wii yet, but my kids both have them, and I've played with them as often as I can make an excuse to visit... oh yeah, and there's the grand kids, those are good reasons too.

Some of my favorite wii games are: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for Nintendo WII, and Big Beach Sports. Now I just have to get one of the kids to get some wii accessories like a steering wheel for racing games!
Watching "My Sister's Keeper" on HBO. I have it on DVD, but whenever I see a favorite on TV I still have to watch it. We laugh sometimes at tuning in to the middle of a movie, or watching one on commercial TV when we have the DVD. The other night we stopped watching a commercial TV movie and put the DVD in. Sometimes, though, for some reason it's nice to watch it on TV, at least on the movie channels where there are no commercials.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Avoid the Headaches of SSDI Applications

Only a few people will ever know what a Medicare part D plan is. Most people are more familiar with straight Medicare Parts A and B. Prescription plans and other extras are also a regular part of the vocabulary of many seniors. However, if you have a disability and need SSDI, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Benefits you might find yourself in a big fight. The paperwork is a hassle, and a lot of people who truly deserve to get the benefits are turned down when they apply on their own. My sister-in-law has been disabled for twenty years, and receives benefits, but it was a big fight to get her the coverage she deserved. Even with doctor's records, and every reasonable request met, she was turned down several times until she got help. Don't mess around if you need, and deserve SSDI coverage. Find help from companies like Allsup who will file the paperwork for you. Their experience gives them a very high success rate. Over 98% of their applications are approved with no hassle, and you can avoid the pain and headaches of dealing with government agencies.

Biggest Loser Purpose

I still like watching the Biggest Loser on TV. I know that it's true what many say that it isn't realistic. It certainly isn't likely to be able to exercise six hours a day, and eat less than 1200 calories a day at home, be so totally committed. I mean you have to work, take care of the house, feed others who are not on a diet, and do all of that mundane stuff while trying to fit in some 'me' time. However, I still think the episodes are inspiring with one exception. I hate the game play. I don't think players should be 'voted' off. It's too political, and it's too out of context with the actual premise of the show. Players should be eliminated based on one thing, and one thing only, failure to lose weight.

They did come up with some differences earlier this year where a group of players fell below the yellow line and then had to fight in a competition to regain their spot on campus. That makes sense, and is fine, but then they still left two to be voted out... why? Do away with the voting and make it all about the weight loss and at least it will be true to the purpose of the show.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hypothyroid Causes Common Problems

Hypothyroidism causes a lot of problems and needs medical attention. It isn't something you can deal with on your own. It is possible to walk around with a thyroid problem and not know it. It can disguise itself and seem like something completely different. A good place in Texas for hypothyroid treatment austin is the place to start searching. The are clinics there that specialize in the treatment of the disease. If you are experiencing fatigue, have course hair for no known reason, your skin is pale or rough, you get muscle cramps and aches, and you can't take the cold, those are just a few of the many signs of a possible hypothyroid condition that you can solve with the proper medical attention.

Everything old is New Again

Today is old movie day it seems. We've been watching movies, mostly from the 80s and 90s. One from this decade did sneak in. 2005's Constantine with Keanu Reeves. It's fun seeing old movies, many with actors from today when they were just beginning. It is the reverse of the 'shock' of seeing an old favorite from way back, appearing in a recent show or movie and seeing how old they've gotten. That kind of hurts because it makes you feel old too. LOL

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What is Creatine?

There are so many diet aids and other health products on the market today, and sometimes it seems you have to have a degree in science to understand the benefits and needs of certain things. Knowing if a product is something that will benefit you also means you need to know what they are to start with. Products like Creatine often leave you wondering "what the heck is creatine in anyway?"

Those types of questions are very important. You have to know what a product is, not only to decide if you should look for it, but to know what makes it work and what doesn't. Websites that determine the best creatine powder products are a great help. They also should have helpful articles to tell you things like how creatine helps you regulate blood sugar levels, very often an important need for obese individuals. Learn all you can about the many products available to help you lose weight. In today's massive technological and medical environment of advancement, there's no reason to try and go it alone, but find the best information you can and decide what makes the most sense for you.

Blogger is Great

I haven't posted about this, even though it happened a few weeks ago. I really like the new Blogger additions to their design and development area. Considering the fact that the platform is free to use, they really provide a great amount of services that are comparable to such heavy-weights as WordPress for blogging. In fact, along with WP, I really think Blogger is the only real competition and that those two are the best available, free or otherwise. It helps that both are free to use. The difference is that WordPress, in order to get the most flexibility and the ability to sell or monetize you have to host on your own servers. I have several and they're great, and extremely versatile, but Blogger allows you all that, with maybe a little less flexibility and less add-ons, but no cost whatsoever in the form of hosting services.

Sleep Relief

Anyone who has ever had a sleepless night because they couldn't sleep knows what a great benefit natural sleeping aids really are. The natural part is an important element, because they imply, and in fact deliver, a sense of safety and less harsh ingredients for your body, while at the same time giving you the blessed relief of sleep. Nothing is much worse for the body that sleep deprivation. It keeps you from concentrating, thinking straight, making good decisions, and leaves you feeling drained and fatigued all the time.

Reality Isn't All Bad

Watching "The Biggest Loser" I had to giggle a little as I realized how much my opinion has changed in the past ten years. I remember when reality TV started and how much I hated it. I still kind of do. What I should say now is that I prefer story lines and fiction to reality TV, but I don't despise reality programing any more. In fact, I've been a devoted Biggest Loser fan for about five years now, and even enjoy a few others. I still have some I dislike a lot, such as Big Brother, or Survivor, but to be fair, the same is true of fictional stories, some I adore and am a big fan of such as the new "Hawaii Five-O" or "Burn Notice," "White Collar," "Hot in Cleveland" and others. So reality TV held on, turned out not to be a 'fad' and some aren't all that bad after all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finding the Right Diet Pills

I've decided to try something I've never done before. I usually go all out when I diet and shoot for high numbers and losing it all at once. That strategy isn't working for me now. I don't know if it's the not smoking anymore, or the early years of menopause, but that just doesn't work anymore. Nothing works quite the same way anymore. So, I find myself looking for the best diet pills to support my efforts, and looking toward manageable weight loss. Small steps. A pound a week, or every two weeks instead of a pound a day. Focusing on ten pounds at a time instead of all I have to lose. I don't know if it will work, but the past year has shown that former methods definitely do not. Getting the information necessary to help select the right diet pills to get the job done is invaluable. Using online resources helps me pick the pill that will work best for me. Since we're all different that can be different for me than for others.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cleaning a Salt Water Pool, a Softer Solution to Pool Chemicals

Unlike chlorine and other chemicals used to regulate swimming pool sanitation, salt stays in the water and does not need to be replaced. The only time you need to replace salt is when your add or change water. There are steps to take to make sure you maintain the proper levels of salt to keep your pool clean. Most adjustments are made at the start of the season, or the end of the season. Salt water pools save their owners a lot of money in constant chemical additions throughout the swimming season.

Keep your pool free of visible dirt. Use a skimmer, net, and pool vacuum regularly to remove dead insects, leaves, dirt and other debris.

Test for sale and stabilizer levels at least once a week. Salt should be 2500 to 3000 ppm (parts per million) in concentration. That is a very small amount of salt, and salt water pools are still considered fresh water. If your salt levels tend to drop too low frequently, add rock salt to a skimmer to slowly dissolve in the water. The stabilizer should be 60 to 80 ppm to protect the water from sunlight that burns up salt chlorine. Run these tests with the proper testing kits whether your salt water chlorination system lights are indicating low or not.

Adjust the pool filter timer to run longer if the salt dissipates too quickly. It may not be running long enough to send the proper amounts of salt back into the system. The pool filter should always run during the hottest part of the day when sunlight is its most concentrated. Keep the system on from 10 am until 6 pm during the swimming season.

Keep a good pool shock treatment on hand for unforeseen events, or unusual circumstances. Even with a salt water system if your pool is overcome due to unusually heavy use from parties, heavy rain or other unusual circumstances it may need extra help. Adding extra rock salt will improve the salt levels, but it takes the pool time to produce chlorine from the salt so if you want to use the pool right away at safe levels of sanitation you will need to supplement the chlorination with pool shock treatment.

Check the salt cells in the chlorination system if your indicator lights remain on even after adding salt. Soak the cell to remove scale buildup on the plates using an acid preparation made for the specific purpose.

Drain 20 to 25 percent of the pool’s water if there are white flakes floating in the water. The white flakes are calcium deposits and will not harm you. Add fresh water. Retest with salt water test kit. Add the appropriate amount of rock salt. Check cells for calcium or scale buildup. Soak cells in acid preparation if required.

Display Your Life With Passion

One of the most interesting and fun technological advances that has come from digital technology are digital frame picture displays. Not only can pictures be displayed in a more vibrant mode than a faded photograph, but the frames are often programmable to keep a slide show moving across them, display a number of pictures in a collage or other display method. Digital frames are like having a moving exhibit on your office desk, bedroom wall, or living room.

Another great use for digital frames is to display artwork. The same concepts used for displaying photos can be used to produce a slide show of art. Digital frames come in many styles and sizes to make elaborate displays or simple show your pride and passion for the people and places in your life.

What's a Name?

I can't take it anymore: I'm in pseudonym hell. Not even MY pseudonyms. I tried using a pseudonym once. Then realized that if I felt so ashamed of something I've written that I need to hide behind a different name, I should not have written it to start with. The thing is, so much conventional wisdom has authors using pen names to one degree or another, for several reasons:

1) the obvious, shame: Writing in a genre that is sensational or pornographic. Writing in a genre that is tacky. Writing solely for money - selling out. Okay, I have dabbled in the first, and used a pen name, that's when I decided that if it shamed me that much I shouldn't write it. I have also been accused of the later, and still won't use a pen name, although I know MANY (double, even triple emphasis on 'many') writers of both fiction and non-fiction who write the same stuff under a pseudonym, but will look down on others who openly do it.

2) Division of genres. What? You mean someone who reads a romance title would blush, scream, and never buy another title of my work if they found out I have also written women's fiction, thrillers, and occult horror? Geesh.

If you, as a writer, can find the time and energy to promote more than one name, more power to you, but I'm just too old, tired, busy... and maybe even stupid to keep it all straight. I simply do not have the desire to run separate 'lives'.

That said, what REALLY started this rant is pseudonyms on message boards. There are two reasons I hate posting under fictitious 'sign on' names:

1) It's hard to know who you're talking to, heck you could even be talking to someone you've had a war with on another forum under a different name, or to someone you like a lot somewhere else.

2) Most of all because people use the fake names to act ways they never would if people knew who they were.

Be yourself.

It's hard in this anonymous world of the Internet to not give in to the fakery and silliness, but rise above it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

No Feet, No Fun

Growing up in the horse industry the saying "no foot, no horse" was a constant truism everyone knew. If you're heading out to engage in some serious outdoor sports you need the right shoes, because another truism is "no foot, no fun." You don't even have to be a professional athlete or competitive walker to get good hiking shoes. The right shoes, boots or sole style can make the difference between an enjoyable time and misery from beginning to end. Take care of your feet and they'll help you enjoy your passions and pastimes.

Make Your Own Backyard Paradise with a Waterfall

A waterfall makes a wonderful focal point for any landscaping project, it also adds excellent audio relaxation with the gurgling sound of rushing water. The layout of your waterfall will determine the level of sound and the type of feel and impact it has on its surroundings. You can build your own waterfall with this step-by-step process and make it unique using the tips here to decide the proper sizes and shapes for the design.

Plan first and create a layout in the area you want your waterfall. Consider the incline for the stream carefully. The distance the water “falls” creates the ambiance of a waterfall, both in looks and in sound. The higher the fall, the louder the water and the stronger the sound. However, a tall fall also produces a more spectacular visual appeal and more opportunities for places to create levels and directional changes using large boulders or slabs or stone.

Use a hose to line the area for the bottom reservoir, the path you want the water to fall, and roughly the area the top of the fall will be. If the area you want your waterfall is already sloped, or even sharply inclined, you have some added benefits, but if it’s perfectly flat, you can still achieve the desired results.

Order ½ ton of ¾ to 2-inch gravel per 10 foot of ‘stream’ area where the fall is. In addition you need 1 to 2 tons for the upper and lower basins. Purchase 6-inch to 2-foot field boulders to line the stream and hold the water in the containment area both in the basins and the stream. Buy ¾ tons for each 10 feet of stream, and an additional 3 to 4 tons for the basins.

Before you dig call! Call your local 811, or your local JULIE utility service and have any underground utilities marked so you know for sure that there is nothing you can hit when digging your waterfall.

Use white (or any light contrasting color) spray paint to outline the area where the hose lays, then remove hose. Dig with the shovel to uncover the area for the stream, and dig out the lower containment basin at least two feet deep. Larger pools make appealing ponds, but are based on your available space, desired water use, and if you will use a weir or not. A weir acts like a containment area inside your basin to hold water specifically to be recycled through the waterfall so you don’t have to use an entire pond and always have the appropriate pressure.

Dig another trench alongside the basin and stream up to the top basin area for the water hose, this will be covered and hidden after the water delivery hose is laid.

Drill a hole into the weir, or other basin side to accommodate the pump and hose. Follow the directions on the pump system you select to attach the water intake hose and attach the hose to the weir, or outer basin.

Run the water hose alongside the stream bed in the trench up to the upper basin area.

Lay plastic pond liner in the stream area, and down into the lower basin. Line with boulders to hold in place. Place other boulders in strategic areas of the stream to create additional levels for the water to flow over. Line the stream and the lower basin with gravel.

Build the upper basin with boulders. Use pond sealant to secure the boulders to the liner below and to each other. Leave a gap to insert the water hose in the rear of the upper basin and seal it so no water can leak out. Provide a lip at the front of the upper basin that is an inch below the waterline so water can spill into the waterfall stream.

Backfill the water hose trench with dirt and cover with sod. Fill the lower basin with water and start the pump.