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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Snow, Rain and All that Jazz

I've been walking the dog in this blasted white stuff for a month now. She LOVES it. I... well, less than love it. Unfortunately I don't have a pair of winter boots anymore. Mine wore out a few years ago, and the winters have been so mild I've just pushed the need for new boots aside. Paying for that procrastination now. However, we are getting a bit of a break in the weather today, and its so warm snow is melting fast. Maybe instead of snow boots I should get a pair of kamik rain boots, and be prepared for the floods all this snow is going to create. I feel sorry for the town we live near. Every time something like this happens they flood badly. Our home is high enough and out in the country that we don't have those types of problems, but the ground gets soggy enough. Hopefully all that water won't freeze up again--we'll have a skating rink outside if it does.

Landlocked Blues

I miss my boat. It's sitting out in the driveway covered in snow, and looks so out of place. Last winter when we first brought it home, it looked great sitting in the driveway, but now, after having had it in the water all summer, and getting used to playing on it, seeing it landlocked is sort of sad. I'm feeling a little guilty too, and hope I don't end up paying for it in the long run. We did everything right as far as winterizing, so that's not a problem, but I haven't had a chance to get in it since we got it here just before the really bad weather hit, so all the canvas and plastic is still inside. It's protected inside the cabin, the the cold is bad for it. If I have to replace all new canvas for the new season it will end up being a very costly mistake.

New Baby Danger

A friend of mine recently had a baby, and I got the sweetest baby thank you cards in the mail for the gifts I sent for her. She is the cutest little thing, and each card came with a photo of her in her hospital 'garb'. I can't wait to watch her grow up. My friend doesn't live closeby, so although I have to miss on the wonderful feeling of holding a little newborn, and playing with a baby, at least I won't be tempted, and get the baby-blues from that "new baby smell." There's something contagious about newborns, and at this stage of my life, that could be dangerous.

How Clean is Your Soil?

One doesn't often think about "washing" or treating soil unless disaster strikes. There are many reasons to need the services of a soil treatment facility, and they are usually quite serious: contamination of the soil occurs after oil spills, hazardous chemical spills, waste water that leeches into the surrounding soil. Bad soil is more than just unproductive, it is dangerous to wildlife and people alike. A soil treatment facility gets rid of the harmful elements and restores the soil.

Arsenic Removal Plant

The US Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) operated a treatment facility in Vineland, NJ from 2004 until 2007. The plant was erected to clean the soil surrounding a former herbicide plant that contaminated local soil around the facility and neighboring communities with arsenic. The soil was conveyed on belts through a complex washing system that first screens all debris and particles out of the soil, then filtered and leeched through sand to get rid of all traces of the poison and distributed onto clean pads. The arsenic was collected and sealed in drums. In total, the plant that was constructed by ART Engineering, LLC, cleaned 410,000 tons of earth that allowed it to be returned in its natural, healthy state. ART Engineering, LLC specializes in creating treatment plants where large areas of earth must be cleaned of various harmful chemicals or waste. Other projects include a facility to treat crude oil contamination at Rocky Mountain House oil pits in Alberta, Canada, Uranium extraction in Ashtabula, Ohio for the U.S. Department of Energy, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon cleanup on the Monsanto site in Massachusetts and radium eradication in New Jersey.

Waste Material Removal

KleenSoil is a plant designed to remove waste material from the soil in the Palmetto, Florida area. The factory can has 127,000 square feet of processing and storage space in an enclosed facility. It uses a fire kiln oven process to heat soil up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit in order to destroy contaminants. One of the biggest issues that KleenSoil combats is oil contamination, and it has processed over a million tons of petroleum contaminated soil since 1992 that have been brought to them from thousands of sites in the Florida area.

Canadian Contaminated Soil Treatment

Biogenie operates several treatment plants in Canada. With locations in Montreal, Paris and Manchester it is set up to handle workloads from all areas where contamination exists, and allows communities to recover contaminated soil and recycle it instead of clogging landfills, or risking dangerous exposure.

Singing along with Karaoke

I've had my grandkids home for the holidays now for a week. They'll be leaving sometime today, and the house sure will be quiet. Maybe I should get a karaoke machine and learn to sing. If I'd had one this past week, it would have really been interesting. The kids love to sing. Just like they're mother and I, however, they don't sing particularly well. With a Karaoke machine, at least we could all sing badly to music. It would have been a lot of fun. The good thing is, they're moving, this week was sort of a transition period as much as a holiday. They came in for the Christmas and New Year's break, but they are also moving up from southern Illinois in the process. It's great! They'll be close to home again. Maybe now really is the time to think about that machine.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Life is WONDERFUL

It doesn't matter how often I see it, "It's a Wonderful Life" makes me cry every time. I have it on DVD but I can't help but watch it whenever it comes on TV.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Wedding Rings wiht all the Bells and Whistles

After almost 28 years of marriage I'm looking around to replace my engagement and wedding rings. The original set got lost a while back. Doing farm work wasn't very conducive to keeping jewelry in good condition. Since I am not doing that type of work now, I'd like to have a nice wedding set to wear. My taste is a bit more elaborate than my pocketbook, however. My hubby suggested buying a new set for Christmas, and that would be wonderful. I've been looking at cubic zirconia rings because I can get what I like without going broke in the process. Cubic zirconia has come a long way in the past few decades, and rings and other jewelry look beautiful. They're hard to tell apart from diamonds unless you're a professional jeweler, and even then, only if you are specifically looking with the right equipment. I'm looking at a lovely 2.0 carat solitaire with white gold band. Then a simple thick white gold band for the wedding ring will round it off perfectly.

Mind Archives

Don't you wish your brain was like a computer? A lot of young people won't remember a time when they didn't have computers, online journals, Google to look up past events, but those of us born before 1980 remember well a time before the Internet, personal computers and search engines. Those of us born before 1980 also know what it is to try and remember people, events, or likes and dislikes from the past and draw a blank... it can be very difficult to dig up information from the past if you can't remember it. That's most true for personal information such as who you went to school with, who you liked, didn't like, etc... It would be nice to be able to "view archives" in the mind.

Starting Over

I don't understand my body anymore. That's a kind of a sad comment that someone can make after almost 50 years living with a body. You'd think that by this time I'd have a pretty good handle on how it works. I did too, up until about two years ago. Suddenly things started working different, or not working, or being obstinate. The most notable of these problems was in the weight loss category. I had a real good handle on what worked, and what didn't up until about the age of 47. I'd heard it said that once you get over 30 it is hard to lose weight, but I didn't find that to be true. In fact, I had no problems at all... until 47. After that I found myself looking for whatever alternative I could find. Fat burners, calorie cutting tricks, weight loss products like Lipofuze, and others. All attempts to get back on track and find out how to control my obstinate body again. With the help of products like Lipofuze I have a better grasp on my metabolism again. It took a little time to find out how it worked best for me, but I don't feel so alien in my own body anymore... which is a big relief. I'm too old to start all over again.

Burning Up Again

For several seasons "Burn Notice" has been a favorite of mine, but the last season started to feel really old, boring, and I watched sort of with one eye while doing other things. Finally, this new season that just started a few weeks ago is burning again. It's hot. I thoroughly enjoyed last night's episode "Brotherly Love" even though at first I didn't understand Maddy's anger and attack on Michael. It got clearer at the end of the episode, but still was a little out of character for her. The rest of the gang is back on track again, though, and I hope that Nate, the brother, keeps making appearances, although it seems like he was a one-spot appearance here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Modern Metal

Moving out to the country sixteen years ago brought a whole new insight into modern barns, sheds, and out buildings. In the suburbs, buildings that were in addition to houses on a property were usually constructed of the same wood frame construction as the actual house. Of course, the most common type structure was a garage. Out here, there are so many types of additional buildings, we ourselves have three: a second two-car garage, an eight stall barn, and a full-sided car port "boat shed". The garage is about the same age as the house, and back in the 1960/1970s out buildings, including barns and garages were still built in the common wood frame structure rather than the more modern metal building style seen now. The barn and car port are both metal sided buildings. The barn has a wood frame with metal covering, commonly used in heavy-duty, full structure buildings. The car port has a metal frame with metal siding attached. It is strong, but not as sturdy as the barn. Another very common metal siding use in homes out here, is metal roofing. It sounds like it would be inefficient, like a mobile home, but modern technology, proper insulation, and the fact that home wood structures are still in place, just covered with the metal sheeting instead of less sturdy shingles makes it very durable and effective. In the next year we are going to be replacing the roof on the house here, and I am hoping to use metal roofing in place of the shingle system currently in place.

Boat's Home

The boat is home!

We brought the boat home last weekend. It finally feels normal. When the boat was at the marina, even though the boat shed we put up to house the boat was empty, it felt okay because the boat was in 'its home' for the summer and we had a 'home away from home'. But when we took the boat out of the water for the winter, suddenly the boat house seemed empty, and the boat was somewhere in limbo (the service shop to get winterized and checked out).

Maybe it was because we weren't sure how the bottom would inspect out. We'd found that to be a big problem last spring when we took it to be inspected and 'summerized', and had to spend a lot of money to get it 'fixed' and the shop guys weren't able to promise it wouldn't get just as bad once it was in the water again. Because we had just bought the boat, we, nor they, knew what exactly had caused the damage in the first place. It could have been innocently caused by sitting in water without bottom paint and sealer. Or, it could have been a more sinister 'bad foundation' that would continue to reoccur no matter what we did.

Hallelujah, the bottom looked 'better than I expected' the shop guy said. Woohoo! It did look good when we pulled it out, but I hadn't dared to hope that I was seeing it right.

Whatever the reason, the boat came home, and is all snuggled in for a winter nap. The only downside is that it took awhile for them to finish up and for us to get it home, so I didn't get a chance to wash and wax it before the cold weather. So it will have to wait until spring and it's really dirty. It's going to be a real arm killer in the spring.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Work From Home Successfully

There's nothing like working from home. I do it and I can tell you that the commute is a dream, weather never makes travel a hassle, and I can dress any way I like. There are some things that make working from home more successful than others. Learning successful home based business tips is a never-ending endeavor. Most people who work from home are aware of the entrepreneurial atmosphere that is a little unstable. You are your own boss, that is a definite plus, but the flow of income and work can be unstable, and that is a minus. The people who work from home and are the most successful learn how to balance out the positives and negatives, and keep things moving steady.

Pretty Little Papillon

Watched the National Dog Show today on TV. The little papillon was adorable, but really made me wish Batty was more accommodating with other people, enjoyed being groomed (or even allowed it without a fight) because she'd make a very good show dog. I really think she is much prettier than the one at the show today. Maybe I'm prejudice, but she is very nicely put together. Alas, it makes no difference because she's a PIA when it comes to grooming.

Dealing With Eczema

Eczema, and any condition that deals with the skin is disfiguring and causes embarrassment and low self-esteem. Modern advances in skin care for problems like acne are helpful in dealing with problems most people deal with, but there are also products such as cream for eczema that help those with more serious, long-lasting problems. The trouble with eczema is that there are many causes and types of eczema. Some allergies cause an breakout reaction, babies frequently get flaking skin, itching areas, and other types of eczema conditions, and then there are diseases such as psoriasis that cause eczema. Whatever the reason for it, getting relief from the symptoms is first and foremost on the sufferer's mind. When dealing with eczema avoid foods that trigger common allergies, dust, and even stress. These are just a few of the things that can make eczema worse and treating it harder.

Tips for Landscaping in Small Spaces

You can make the most out of even limited garden spaces by incorporating some simple tricks to enhance the areas. Small gardens are cozy little getaways that give you, your family and friends a place to relax and enjoy nature. You can create an inviting outdoor space even if you only have a terrace or a small yard.

Avoid Straight Lines

Use curves to create islands and winding paths through your small garden landscape. Curved paths create depth in a small area where a straight path enhances the limited space.

Containers

Small garden plots do not have to limit your planting abilities. Bring more planting surfaces into your landscape by adding containers and planting boxes on sills, railings or shelves.

Focal Point

Choose a single focal point for your small patio or garden to draw attention to the area. Simple designs are best in small spaces, and too many focal items will make your garden look cluttered, but one carefully selected item such as a fountain or spectacular plant is a good way to draw attention away from spots you don’t want visitors to dwell on such as an alley or garage.

Furnishings

Keep it simple, and limit the amount of furniture you place in a small garden space. However, using some very judicious placements of comfortable chairs, a hammock, or a small eating nook provides visitors to your small garden a place to enjoy the surroundings.

Color and Space

Mirrors create the illusion of a larger space. Cover a wall that has a protective overhang with mirrors and place colorful plants around it to give a feeling of greater depth. Light colors painted on surrounding walls that aren’t protected will give a feeling of larger space.

Shade and Light

Small spaces are often light challenged. Surrounding buildings block sunlight and make lighting for plants difficult. You can attack the light issue in a couple ways. The first way is to embrace the shade and create more by planting a few large trees. Use rock, wood chips or patio slabs to cover the ground and create a place to relax in the cool shade. Incorporate a few shade loving plants to breathe life into the area. The second way of dealing with shaded areas is to eliminate further shade elements such as trees and add artificial lighting where necessary. Build up stepped sections that draw the eyes up to the sky and allow spaces for sun-loving plants to grow.

Acne is Acne

When I think of acne, I usually think about facial blemishes, but there are other forms of acne. Or rather, acne shows up in other places besides the face. Commonly called body acne, it is caused by the same situations that cause facial acne, and treated the same. People tend to overlook instances of body acne because it is usually in areas covered by clothing: the shoulders, back and upper chest. Covering it up may work okay in the winter, although it's not the best way to deal with acne, it makes warm weather months a hassle. The best way to deal with body acne is the same way you deal with facial acne, quickly and with the products that will cure the cause not just cover up the result.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Add Ambiance To Your Boat With Lights

There are many ways you can add accent lights to your boat, both inside and outside. LED strip lighting is easy to install and adds to the ambiance of your boat as well as adding practical qualities. Lights in an anchor locker make it easier to set anchor for an evening on the water, accent lights along stairs leading onto the boat from a swim platform, or down into the cabin provide more visibility and safety. Sometimes they’re just fun to look at in places like the bow rail, or add a pleasant atmosphere making the deck a more hospitable place to sit at night and enjoy your boat. LED strip lighting is available in many colors to give your boat the look you prefer or to match existing color schemes. They are easy to install and one person can run lights anywhere in their boat.

Steps

Select the location for your accent lighting. Look for ledges, lips, panel edges or recessed openings to hide the strips behind. It isn’t necessary to place the light strips out of sight, but doing so adds to the overall ambiance of the lights.

Clean the surface of the area you wish to mount the lights with alcohol pads. Let dry completely.

Remove the backing from one side of the 3M double-sided tape and place where you will run the lights. Hold firmly until the tape adheres to the boat.

Connect the LED light strip tubing together to create the desired length of lights for the area you are mounting them to. Strip the wire from the end of each tube to be connected. Wrap together, and crimp with a wire crimper. Wrap each connection in heat shrinkable insulation and heat with a heat gun or hair dryer to protect them from water or the elements.

Cut the end of an LED light strip with a utility knife and wire cutters if necessary to conform to a specific area. Place a section of heat shrinkable tubing on each wire from the cut end. Heat with heat gun or blow dryer to seal them.

Remove the exposed backing on the top of the 3M tape. Press LED light strip tubing against the 3M double-sided tape. Hold for about 10 seconds until set. Continue along the path of the location for your lights until it is all taped in location.

Secure the wiring from the lights to the inside wall at the end of your lighting installation. Connect the LED light wiring to the 2 conductor 22-guage wire and run the 22-guage wire to where you wish to have the toggle switch to turn the lights on or off. Several choices are the instrument panel on the cockpit, the circuit breaker panel in the cabin of a cruiser, or near the battery box.

Disconnect all power sources to the boat including all batteries and shore power if applicable. Connect red wire to positive ‘on’ position on the switch. Connect the black wire to the negative ‘off’ position of the switch. A section of 22-guage wire to the boat’s power source (circuit breaker, or battery) and connect positive to the positive port and negative to the negative port.

Reconnect the boat batteries and test the on/off switch. Tie all lose wires in place with plastic ties. Let the lights bond to the 3M double-sided tape for at least 72 hours before exposing to the weather or water.

Warnings

Wear protective safety glasses when soldering wires or doing electrical connection work.

Installing LED lights with 3M Tape requires the outside temperatures be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper curing.

Traditional Black

There are few days in the year that start shoppaholic's mouths to watering. Black Friday is all about the kick-off of a grand shopping season counting down to Christmas, and starts the day after Thanksgiving. Traditionally it is a day when stores host huge sales and the post-stuffed-turkey crowd heads out and cleans out all the local stores. The Internet creates an even larger allure, and the Black Friday concept hasn't escaped the online stores. As good as the sales can be online, there's something about the physical event of going to a traditional brick and mortar store and pushing and shoving through the milieu. It's an annual event, it's fun and for most people it's tradition. I remember my first "Black Friday" shopping excursion. I was all of five years old and went downtown to Chicago with my Grandmother. It was an event to remember, and set the tone for a lifetime of day after Thanksgiving Day sales to come.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not A Good Day

I have bad days like anyone else. Today, though, has to be marked as one of the very worst days of my life. I woke up hurting. My arthritis is really making itself heard even though the last few weeks have been very pain free. I don't know if it's a weather change, or just that I'm due for a flair up. Either way, it wasn't a good way to start the day. Then my puppy is going through one of her monthly I forgot everything you taught me and doing her business without warning wherever she wants. This, among other things has lead to one of our biggest confrontations since the day I got her. We had a big ole row and now she isn't liking me and she's lucky I don't feel good enough to take her to the pound. I'm sure it will pass, but it's just a day I wish I could wipe off the calendar. I feel bad, too because I've been a little short with my son, and it's his birthday. Luckily he's 25 and old enough to create his own birthday fun.

Get Your Flaxseed

Flaxseed is a big part of the health food industry, and is growing in popularity as people discover the benefits of flax seed in their diet. Flaxseed is easy to incorporate into a daily menu. It can be sprinkled on any food, added to juices, even stirred into oatmeal or other cereals. Flaxseed has been around since 3000 BC, even back then considered a powerful medicine. King Charlemagne even made his people use flaxseed in their diet. Now, of course, medical science is more accurate and we know why such a tiny seed is so powerful. It helps your body reduce the risk of many of the most severe diseases: cancer, stroke, heart disease and even diabetes.

Sugarcane varieties

Sugarcane is a large scale commercial crop for tropical countries. It is used in products from sweetened drinks to cardboard. There are more than 30 varieties, and thousands of hybrids of sugarcane generally categorized by a letter/number system rather than actual names, although some have common names as well as scientific labels.

Commercial

Commercial sugar canes can be divided into three main varieties: crystal, syrup and chewing cane. Crystal sugarcane is the basic variety used to make granulated sugars. Syrup sugarcane boils into a liquid easily. The reduced sucrose in the syrup sugarcane keeps it from crystallizing during processing or storage. Syrup sugarcane is found primarily in juices, soft drinks and molasses. The syrup sugarcane performs double duty by providing a good source of material to form cardboard products from the used husks. Chewing sugarcane isn’t as popular in the USA as it is in other parts of the world. In India it is a common product in markets. The chewing cane can be chewed for its savory sugary flavor and then spit out. Chewing cane is also suitable for boiling into syrup.

Ornamental

There are a few ornamental varieties of sugarcane that make attractive plants if you live in the right climate for their survival. All sugarcane is cold sensitive and does better in zones 8, 9 and 10. Purple sugarcane (Saccharum Officinarum) is a beautiful bamboo grass variety that has large leaves and dark black/purple canes with white horizontal stripes. It grows very fast in full sun to a height of six to eight feet in zones 8 or warmer. In zones 9 or 10 it can get as much as 20 feet tall. In either zone it can be grown in up to 40% shade, but it will reduce the speed of growth, although it still grows fast. The canes produce a delicious chewing cane that is harvested in the fall.

New Varieties

Diversity is important to commercial sugarcane growers to keep the crops resistant to common sugarcane pests and diseases. LSU Ag Center reports that farmers in Louisiana are hoping to improve their crops with two newly developed sugarcane varieties L 97-128 developed by LSU at the St. Gabriel research facility, and Ho 95-988 created and chosen by the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture at their Houma facility. L 97-128 improves growth to maturity rates and has a percent increase in available sugar content. Ho 95-988 is a cross between several wild plants and a Hawaiian sugarcane variety. It is not related to the new L 97-128 plant making it a good possibility for cross pollination and further strengthening of the sugarcane genes. On the downside, both of the new varieties remain susceptible to sugarcane borer, a common sugarcane pest.

Extending the Season

I have been trying to think of ways to make my backyard patio more usable. One thing that will help a lot is adding outdoor lighting so that it is a place to relax in the evenings as well as during the day. It can extend the outdoor season into the fall, especially since those of us in daylight savings time areas lose a lot of daylight when the clocks get moved back. It is already dark at 4:30 pm here now. Having lights on the patio will help by letting us still enjoy entertaining, or just cooking outdoors, with the weather remaining mild, or adding a fire pit can even make it last into cooler weather.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Papillon Playing Fetch



This is a video of me playing with Batty in the living room. I just adore how she gets so worked up and excited about fetch.

Clearing Up Skin Problems

Well, I thought I was through dealing with teenage acne, but it seems life has come full circle. Now it is my grandchildren who are starting to deal with the angst of young adulthood. It is important not to mess around with skin problems unless you know how to treat acne. There are so many products available now, however, that it is much easier than it was when I was young, or even when my own children were young. So far, none of the young people in our family have had problems with adult acne, but you never know when the new generation will be the first, and there are additional concerns when dealing with acne as an adult, or if the acne goes beyond the facial area. Thankfully, along with extended product lines, there is a lot of information on line to help individuals like me learn what to do about acne and how to help those they love handle the problems of skin blemishes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wind

Wow, and see, I don't usually post as much about weather as I have here the past couple days, but that's because the weather has been so extreme it bears talking about. I just saw on the news that the horrendous wind we have had all day and was tornado strength this morning, that I posed about earlier, broke off a tree branch and sent is sailing through a car window and impaled a woman while she was driving. That's some WIND.

Blanket Savings

I have often considered looking for new car insurance. It is such an expensive item, and you can't legally do without it, but the one thing I like about our insurance is we can combine all of our cars, plus our boat, and even our house with one company and get great discounts because of it. Others are like that too, and the best way to find out if I can do better rate wise, would be to get a blanket quote from as many of them as possible. One of the problems is that since we got all of our stuff at different times, the policies, even though all with one company, all come due at different times. It would be like starting from point zero and just insuring the cars, then the house, then the boat, etc as they came due. If it was a substantial savings it would be worth it though.

Doggone Difficult

Poor little 6 pound Batty is having some difficulty with the wind this last week, and especially the big winds today. It's pretty tough for a little dog to go outside to potty when the wind is so strong it practically blows you off you're little paws. I feel for her, but it's a little exasperating. I mean, there's nothing I can do about it. I am trying to warn her to appreciate what she has, winter is coming, and if she thinks wind is bad, wait until she tries to squat in 2 feet of snow.

Paths of Life

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I'd chosen a different path. A different career choice when I was younger, something like chef work since I love to cook. I think about other choices, and how they may have changed the course of my current path if I'd made different ones. I think everyone wonders about that type of thing from time to time, maybe mostly when things are a little rocky. I think the career choice differences intrigue me most of all. I don't have much time for regretting the choices along the current path, but sometimes I think about totally different paths. Would the choices have been the same? Is there such a thing as fate? Would it have mattered in the long run if I'd made different choices? If there is such a thing as fate, or divine intervention, it probably doesn't. Still, it would have be interesting to have done other things.

Tornado Winds

Well, the weather reports were right. It is WINDY out here. Apparently the tornado sirens went off in town early this morning. Bob heard about it on the radio. We didn't hear a think out here. If we ever really have a tornado touch down in the area, we won't know anything about it until it is too late.

I do remember laying in bed this morning, about 4 am, and listening to the howling wind. It sounded like a rushing train going by the house, and I remembered seeing somewhere that a tornado sounds like a train. I think the description was a freight train, more heavy than what I heard maybe... I don't know since I've never actually heard a tornado, but I do know I prayed this morning. Just a quick, forgive my sins, I'm cool if this is it, type of thing.

Woke up later and there weren't any signs of damage or passing tornadoes. Didn't know about the area spottings of funnel clouds in Donovan and nearby Sheldon until much later when Bob called. Maybe that was it... maybe not. Still didn't hear any sirens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Keeping Toasty Warm

Well, it's official, winter is on its way. At the very least it can be said, summer is over. I had to break out thelast week, because it got so cold at night. I'm not good with cold. Even with the heater on in the house, I need more to sleep comfortably. The blanket keeps me nice and toasty, but I only need it in the fall and winter seasons. The rest of the year I'm fine with a big blanket, although I'm probably the only person anywhere who sleeps with a big, heavy comforter in the summer. Even on the boat this year I curled up in a blanket when the night temps were in the 70s and 80s.

Big Blow

Living on an open prairie I'm used to feeling like I am in a road show of the play "Oklahoma." I can't even count how often I break out into the theme song from that show. The wind comes 'sweeping down the plain' on a regular basis. In fact, the last week or so has been very windy around here. Now, I find out that tomorrow there is a wind advisory that is posted for two days (until Wednesday night). Winds up to 50 miles per hour are expected to whip through sporatically, and 30 to 40 miles per hour consistently. That's a lot of wind. Batten down the hatches, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Growing Vegies in Water

Gardening is a great way to get fresh food. I love gardening and always try to have at least a small plot every year. Some years I've had quite elaborate setups and as much as two acres dedicated to various vegetables. One thing I've never tried but may now that my barn is not being used for animals is hydroponics. With a few systems you can grow many types of vegetables all year round, and without worrying about bad soil. I have sandy soil that is difficult to keep in good condition every year for growing vegetables. Gardens leech the soil more meaning I have to go to even greater lengths to develop a solid foundation for the next year. Hydroponics could solve that problem.

Puppy Power

I have to laugh at our puppy. She's six month old that acts like a true toddler child. She works me and Bob like a child would work one parent against the other to get what she wants. Bob isn't around here much, so when he is here for a day she takes total advantage of it to get the maximum amount of play time. She goes between him and I, and it's most noticeable when we are in different rooms. Today Bob was in the office area and I was in the living room and the dog ran back and forth playing fetch with one, then going to the other when the first person got tired of the game, and back and forth all afternoon like that. She's crazy and fun. She can be very exasperating, but funny all at the same time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Who's Who

When going to a big event, I always hope the participants and guests are given name badges. It is a great idea that alleviates all stress from having to try and remember who is who, and embarrassment if you can't recall a name, or connect names to faces. There are a lot of types of gatherings where name badges, or name tags come in handy. Of course, if you see the same people every day they aren't necessary, eventually you'll remember names, but any big event where you haven't seen the people involved in over a year, like weddings, reunions or even family reunions name badges can be life savers. I really thing name badges should be mandatory at any event where you're likely to have never met most of the other people. That makes talking to new people easier. I like to approach new people, and have no trouble talking to strangers, but knowing their name, or keeping it in the front of your mind as you talk is easier if you have a helpful tag to remind you.

Happy Birthday Spice

Took a new picture today of my 2 year old cockatiel, Spice. I call today his birthday, but really I'm not sure exactly when he was born. It's as close as I can come. I know his breeder, but haven't talked  to her in a while now. Dates and I have never been great friends, I am lousy at remembering specific dates. I used to have a girl with him, but she stayed with a friend and now he's much more attention seeking. He was always friendly, but now he whistles, calls, chirps more, and likes being picked up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Call To Action

Do you know what two of the most powerful words in the English language are? They are simple words: click here. Those two words hold such a power of suggestion that very often nothing else is required to get someone to click through on an advertisement, or link. Those words imply a result, a destination of choice, a desired outcome, and they provide a great incentive for the neuro-receptors of the brain. Click here, is even better than an actual name, or site name, but the concept is actually very new. Prior to the Internet, of course, the words click here meant very little, if anything at all. That is an indication of how powerful the Internet has become, that simple phrases can cause such a powerful reaction in the mind that they lead to action more than any written call to action of any other kind.

Escape in Louisana

Louisiana seems to have some sort of curse when it comes to escaped convicts. Not too long ago six escapees were eventually recaptured, but now, according to a friend in the state, there are two more on the loose today. I can't imagine the tension and stress of knowing there are escape inmates possibly in the area. You don't want to leave your children outside to play, you're afraid to go out and even answer a door. Sure they're just people, but they're both people with a history of criminal endeavors, AND they're people on the defense.

Learn the Facts and Ignore the Gossip

One of the more powerful products on the market today in the health industry is HGH. There are a lot of pros and cons to using human growth hormones, and before anyone chooses them, they should know as much about the human growth hormone facts as possible. HGHs are used by many as a way of fighting the effects of aging, muscle strength, and to increase energy, among other things. For every benefit there are equal and alarming dangers. However, that is no different from any medication or drug, some that people take regularly and are available over-the-counter. Just like those medications, knowing what the benefits of a product is, and judging the risks against the benefits along with knowing how to best use the product to reduce the risks is important. No product is evil on its own, but the misuse of such products are what often lead to their bad publicity. Many times the negativity spawns gossip that builds the negative into a mountain of horror. Learn from the best resources available what products you can use and if they are right for you before making a decision based on hearsay and gossip.

Installing a Livewell in a Fishing Boat

Boats made specifically for fishing often have containers called “livewells” built in to them. Livewells can be used for two purposes, depending on your desire, or if your boat has two, you can use one for each purpose: holding caught fish in an environment that keeps them alive and fresh until you can process and store them, or holding bait fish to take to the fishing spots and use live. Some boats are not designed specifically as fishing boats, and do not have livewells built in. You can build your own livewell to get the most out of your fishing experience.

Select an insulated container to use as your livewell. Use an insulated bucket, or a ice cooler. The insulated walls provide a more comfortable temperature inside the unit in all weather, and also make it more sturdy. Size isn’t as important as being able to fit your chosen spot in the boat, but use the largest container you can comfortably fit.

Drill two 3/4-inch holes in the sidewall of your boat next to where you want the containment system to sit. One hole must be below the waterline on the hull, the other should be above the waterline.

Apply a generous amount of marine sealant to the above waterline thru-hull fitting and insert into the hole above the waterline. Apply an equally generous amount of marine sealant to the below the waterline thru-hull fitting and insert into the hole below the waterline. Screw both into place with a screwdriver.

Apply sealant to one end of a section of hose and fit over the inside end of each thru-hull. Fit a hose clamp over the end of the hose and use a screwdriver to tighten.

Drill a 3/4-inch hole into the side of the livewell container just below the top edge of the lid. Insert a thru-hull coated with sealant. Screw into place with a screwdriver. Drill a second hole at the bottom of the container side. Insert a second thru-hull fitting coated with sealant into the bottom opening and screw into place with a screwdriver.

Place the insulated container inside the boat where you want it positioned.

Attach the hose leading to the above the waterline thru-hull fitting to the top opening on the livewell with sealant, and a hose clamp. Tighten with a screwdriver.

Attach the intake valve of the water pump to the hose to the below the waterline thru-hull opening with sealant and a hose clamp. Tight with a screwdriver.

Attach another section of hose to the out value of the water pump with sealant and a hose clamp. Place the other end of that hose on the lower opening of the holding container and seal with sealant and a hose clamp. Tighten both ends of the hose with a screwdriver.

Attach water pump to a 12-volt battery, or boat’s on-board battery system. Having the livewell pump attached directly to the battery insures it will always be on during your fishing time. If you prefer to be able to turn it on and off, include an on/off switch between the water pump and battery.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Great Gloves for All Work

Neither my husband, nor I are mechanics, but we do a lot of personal mechanical work on cars, trucks, tractors and now the boat. These are big mechanical items that mean putting our hands into dangerous places. Mechanix gloves come in several styles to protect hands from the dangerous areas mechanics have to put them all the time. They have non-slip versions, safety versions, industrial versions that even have safety tape reflective tape to conform to OSHA standards. These are great for professional mechanics, factory workers, packers, but they also have wonderful uses for the backyard mechanic who needs to protect his (or her) hands. Not only do they come in styles to fit any work or home mechanic needs, they also have great garden gloves to protect your hands from the tools and natural dangers that come with digging in the dirt.

Thumbs Up to Blogger

I haven't uploaded a picture on here in several weeks. I was really surprised just now to see the new platform for uploading pictures. It's nice. I like the way it works much better than the old method. I have to give Blogger big props. In fact, I was a little worried when Google took it over. I thought it would get lost in the behemoth company and lose its edge. It didn't, though. It remains a very solid platform for blogging, and even gets better. The Blogger platform underwent some big additions to its development and design areas making it much better and easier to create unique looking blogs. Thumbs up, Blogger!

Getting To the Right Product

It's a little difficult to determine at the beginning if a diet product will work. Even if someone you know swears by it, that doesn't mean it will work well for you. Finding a colon cleanse that works is often a matter of trial and error. However, you can use what others say about products to get an idea of their general usefulness, and good website reviews and guides are very helpful too. That way you can narrow down the good products and choose the ones you think will work best for you. You may still have to do some sampling, but you create much better odds and get to the ones that work for you faster.

Still Batty

Our puppy is just about to turn six months old. She's pretty well housebroken, but still present some other challenges. Mostly it's just a matter of she's different than any other dog I've had. She's not as cuddly, and she's definitely crazier... but at the same time she's loving and fun. Here's her 6 month picture... still a baby in many ways, but she won't get any bigger. Most of her coat is growing in nicely, but will get a little longer.

Blu is the New Way to Go

Blu ray has taken over the market of video sales. There are a lot of reasons why blu ray is so much better than DVD. Better clarity and more space on the disc are just a couple. However, unlike other takeovers of the past, when you buy a blu ray player, and buy movies for it that doesn't make your old DVDs worthless. You can still play your DVDs on a blu ray player. I tip my hat to the creators of blu ray for that. All other inventors seem to have worked hard to keep their 'competition' down, and make it hard for anyone who wants to change over because they then have to re-invent their collections from the past.

1973 FlashBack to the Belmont

Here's some fantastic coverage of the 1973 Belmont that Secretariat took by an amazing 31 lengths. It was posted on YouTube, and is a great watch along with the commentaries and reactions to this amazing horse's win.

Glass is Great For Decoration Too

There are several types of tile that make good counter tops, flooring, or wall tiles for bathrooms and kitchens. The one I like best is glass tile. It has a wider selection of colors and is more affordable than some of the others. It is easy to use, although requires the same kinds of equipment to install such as tile cutters, and mortar. Glass tile comes in many shapes and sizes, too. I love the idea of using glass tiles to create a mosaic pattern. The crystal look of the tiles makes it a beautiful tile for mixing and matching and creating unique patterns along with mixing sizes.

Big Red

I haven't been able to see it yet, but I have to go see the new movie "Secretariat." I grew up watching that magnificent horse running in races on TV. It was back in the early 70s, and in 1973 the Triple Crown was all his, and not by a short amount either. He took down all around him with his massive stride and powerful thrust. He blew everybody away, and came from behind like a freight train on crack to pull ahead of the pack. He was nearly unbeatable, but he was not without his upsets: what great legend ever is? Legend his is though, and I can't wait to see the movie, and the story behind not only the greatest race horse of this century, but of his owner, the unique Penny Tweedy, a housewife turned mega-horse owner.

IPods Everywhere and Anywhere

As a music lover I have come to understand that IPods are an item I just can't live without. I can carry my entire music library on one little palm-sized unit and play it where ever I go. If I have the right ipod accessories I can listen to it on the speakers of my car, through my boat's stereo, through my room stereo in my office, or just by plugging in the headphones. With the right accessories I can recharge my IPod anywhere. Other accessories make it easy to carry even if I don't have my purse, or if I don't want to hold on to it. I won't ever do without an IPod again.

More Considerations

This is a marina we're considering. Although we do like the one we're at, there are a couple of things such as parking so far from the boat, very steep ramps, and some things that don't work that keep us considering other places. I sure wish there were some closer to us though. I did find one that is a lot (LOT) closer, a lot (LOT)cheaper, but very restricted as far as amenities, and actual cruising space. It's a very small 'pool' on a local river. This one in the video, however, is a very nice marina not far from where we're at now on the Illinois River with lots to offer.

Changing Scenes

It's almost that time of year... sweaters should be coming out of the closet. It's time to get new ones to replace old faithful worn ones. While daytime temperatures still waver in the warm zone of the high 60's and low 70's here, the evenings get quite chilly, and mornings are positively frigid. I have begun dragging the sweater bags out and looking through the old sweaters, deciding which are still good and what ones I need to replace. Shorts are already a thing of the past, and sweat pants, jeans, and slacks are back in. The landscape is still pretty, with changing leaves and pretty autumn colors, but I know that too will be changing soon and the lawn will be white with... ick, snow.

Early Days on the Boardwalk

Boardwalk Empire is still a program I'm trying to love. With it's mega-star cast it should be fantastic acting wise, and it is. The storyline should be on par with the Sopranos... ehhh, not quite. It moves a little slow for my taste. I want to love this show. I like the premise of showing the beginning of the mafia power on the East and as it spreads to the Midwest via a young, soon-to-be boss -- Al Capone. I like all of the characters, and they're well played, but somehow the show still falls flat. I can't really pinpoint where I'd move it along better, I just know that it's living on borrowed time right now on my T'Vo and if it doesn't pick up soon it will be deleted.

Protect Your Mortgage Payments

If you have a mortgage, the most important protection you can have is mortgage protection life insurance. Before we paid off our mortgage we had it. Mortgage protection insurance isn't the same as home owner's insurance. Home owner's insurance protects you by replacing damaged elements of your home, or against injury claims from visitors and guests. Mortgage insurance protects you against problems that prevent you from paying the mortgage. If you lose your job, if you get hurt, or reasons like that where you can't afford to pay your mortgage, you won't lose your home. Bottom line, you won't lose your home, is the most important kind of protection you can give yourself.

Pulling Out

Well, tomorrow's the day. The day we officially end our boating season. We're going out to the marina for the final time this season to pull the boat out of the water. Being the first time, it's a little scary. We've never driven the boat up onto the trailer before. I'm sure it will end up being no big thing, just like backing it off the trailer into the water the first time wasn't a big deal after we did it that first time last spring. It was a fun, expensive, and busy summer. I'm sorry to see it end, but at the same time, kind of looking forward to a good rest. I'll try to get some pictures of us pulling it out of the water for the blog.

Water Bottles to Match Your Style

Using water bottles saves you a lot of money. Filling up the same bottle every time from a water filter, or even a large bottle of water vs buying individual bottles of water is cheaper, but it also takes a lot of the stress off of landfills. Water is good for you, but the plastic bottles it is sold in for individual use is not good for the planet.

Personal water bottles are more convenient too. You're not likely to run out like you could with single serving water bottles. However, the regular plastic water bottles are a little bland. Now you can get water bottles created to match your individual style. You can use as advertisement for your business, or to show your affiliation with work organizations, charities, or other fun companies.

All you have to do is create a fun splash of color and picture combination to make a water bottle your own individual creation that you'd be proud to carry. I love the idea. I have always used refillable water bottles to carry my water when I go out, and even just around the house. The idea of matching them to my pastimes such as for the boat, or just making cool looking artwork for some is a lot of fun.

Soil Minerals for Good Vegetables

Nutrients are the food source of all plant life that comes from the soil. Ground that lacks these elements is infertile, or produces poorly. Rich, fertile ground contains just the right levels of the three main minerals to feed plants without burning them. Plants may grow to some extent in poorer soil, but grains and vegetables will lack flavor and be less abundant. There is nothing that can replace the vital minerals in poor soil, except those minerals, so choose carefully what you use to improve your ground for a garden.

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the familiar NPK on a fertilizer label: the big three are listed prominently on commercial fertilizer packaging. The reason these three elements are so touted by the packages is that they are the primary source of growth and they encourage large, robust plants. These are important as primary nutrients because before a plant can produce delicious vegetables or grains, they must first exist, and be healthy and large. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium do not have much of an impact on the taste of the foods produced, however. In a flower garden that may not make much difference, but in a vegetable garden it is an important point.

Copper and Zinc

Copper and zinc are the two most common names in the minerals considered “micronutrients” in a garden soil composition. They are vital to the development and all around health of the plant, but used in much smaller quantities than the traditional N-P-K nutrients that form the bulk of the plant nutrition needs. Cooper enhances root development. While plants do not need a lot, without it, they do not get the foothold needed to be firm and hold the weight of large plants above ground. Lack of copper also creates dead, curled or wilted leaves in mature plants. Zinc is also a root nutrient, but rather than promoting growth, zinc prevents rot, an element that is vital in the moist ground of a garden soil.

Iron and Manganese

Iron is an important element in plant growth, but not overly abundant in commercial, or homemade, fertilizers because the Earth’s crust has a great deal of iron naturally occurring, and there are few areas that do not have any iron available. Whether they are in a form that is useable to the plants is another story. Iron is absolutely essential in the plant’s ability to draw nutrition and energy from the light it receives. A soil test should produce soil with iron in a 50 – 200 part per million (ppm) range. Scientists are not completely sure how manganese works with iron, but they do know the two work in conjunction with each other, and that manganese is the element that charges the energy iron produces. Too much manganese is a problem, however, and careful application in areas lacking in this mineral are required to produce the desired results. This is especially true in wet areas where pH levels are low. A soil test should produce a manganese level below 50 ppm.

Boron

Boron is another of the mysterious elements that scientists know calcium requires for proper function in plant and animal life, but are not sure why or how it is used. Boron is a member of the trace element category that should be present between 2 and 75 ppm. More than 75 ppm can destroy plants and/or kill seeds. A suggested application level for boron is 1 part boron to 1000 parts of calcium.

Fire is Soothing

Certain elements in a room always create the same type of ambiance, no matter what decor surrounds them, or what design they employ. Fireplaces are like that. No matter what materials are used to create them, what room decor surrounds them, or where they are in the house, they provide a calming atmosphere of relaxation. I always wanted one in my house, and when we moved to this house, we finally got one. Now, whenever I want to bring an element of charm, or comfort to a scene I use a fireplace to create it. You can too. In your books or in your home.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Make Your Car Biodiesel Ready

With the high cost of gasoline, and even gas station diesel fuel, along with ecological safety campaigns, bio-diesel is becoming the fuel of choice for many consumers. It requires a little extra work to make the fuel, but just about anyone can do it in their own backyard. If you have, or buy, the right car, it isn’t even difficult to get started using bio-diesel fuel to save yourself a great deal of money between fill-ups.

Start with a diesel engine car. These are the only vehicles compatible with bio-diesel, conversion or no conversion. Some models do not even require conversions because companies have created specific abilities to use bio-diesel in their pre-sold cars. Car companies that make a bio-diesel compatible model care are Audi, Chevrolet, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Land Rover, Isuzu, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Toyota, Volkswagen, Saab, Nissan, Mazda and Volvo.

Remove any rubber engine/fuel line parts from a diesel car not already compatible with bio-diesel if it is a model earlier than the mid-1990. Diesel vehicles after that time were made with rubber parts that are more resistant to rot and degeneration. The raw oil, and alcohol levels in bio-diesel eat rubber and can destroy hoses, gaskets and o-rings.

Run engine cleaner through the system before using bio-diesel. Change fuel filters and keep an extra one on hand because bio-diesel tends to be dirtier.

Don’t panic if the check engine light comes on when running. Bio-diesel can dilute engine oil making it act like it needs an oil change. Change oil more frequently when using bio-diesel and the light should stay off.

Know the difference between SVO and bio-diesel. Both are made with used (or new) oil, but SVO, which stands for Straight Vegetable Oil, is not distilled and burns differently than bio-diesel. To use SVO you will need to install a converter even on a diesel vehicle. SVO also requires the use of a switch to toggle between straight diesel fuel and SVO because the engine requires diesel fuel to start and shut down properly. The switch is thrown once the car is underway and then the straight vegetable oil is used until shut down. SVO is even more likely to require heating than straight diesel, or bio-diesel.

Install a fuel heating system for your SVO vehicle, or even in a bio-diesel vehicle if you operate the automobile in cold weather that routinely drops below freezing levels. Diesel oil congeals in cold weather and gums up inside the engine and fuel lines. The vehicle will stop dead until the fuel warms up again.

Peace of Mind and Protection

There are several good reasons for having working cabinet locks on your home and/or office cabinets. A few that I can think of, and are personally reasons for me to want my cabinets to have locks are to child/pet proof the lower cabinets. Bathroom and kitchen cabinets often have deadly chemicals that we take for granted as being staples of our cleaning supplies. We need them to keep our bathrooms and kitchens clean and germ free, but somehow they always end up in the lowest, most attainable cabinets. Those types of cabinets are also extremely easy to open, even for less than nimble fingers, or clumsy paws. Always have working cabinet locks on reachable cabinets when there are small children or pets in the house. The next is security. Even if you live alone, having important personal information locked away in an office drawer, or file cabinet is a good idea. No one wants to think about someone possibly breaking in and getting a hold of personal things, but don't make it easy for someone to get your financial or personal info. It may be a 1 in a million thing, but it only takes once, and a cabinet lock is a small price to pay for peace of mind and protection

Wanna Fish For Crab and Lobster Like the "Deadliest Catch" Guys?

Lobster and crab fishing are one of the several open sea fishing styles glorified by popular television in the mid 2000’s and on. Shows like the “Deadliest Catch” show how hard life can be on a boat like that, but leave many wondering just how to start out on their own adventures where the risks are high, but the money is even better when it works right.

Buy an appropriate boat. It must be big enough to handle round open water as you must travel further out in the deeper ocean water in the colder months. Trawlers are a favored style of boat for lobster and crab fishing in deep water. Boats must also be large enough, and have the storage capability to carry tens of thousands of pounds of lobster at each outing. Search online at boat sales resources such as yachtworld.com, iboats.com and boats.com have large inventories of sale boats listed. Retiring seamen may have vessels for sale if you know someone who is retiring.

Learn how to operate your boat safely by taking a boater safety course. Check with the local government in the area you plan on setting your traps to find out if you will need a commercial fishing license, or a special boating license for commercial fishing if you plan on reselling the catch.

Prepare to work long hours on a seasonal basis. There is no starting and ending time each day. The day starts as soon as the season opens, and traps are taken out and released. When the traps are ready to bring in you have to be prepared to bring them in regardless of what is going on, and drop them back down again in a continuous process until the season ends in order to maximize your total catch.

Get physically ready for a demanding and strenuous job that includes a lot of running around and heavy lifting in all types of weather.

Know the best places to set traps to get the most in each set to be a captain. It is the captain’s job to understand how much each trap should bring in, and how to calculate the minimum and maximum possible catch, what the breakeven point in order to cover all costs including that of any employee wages. The captain also needs to know how to fully operate all navigate and communication equipment for safety purposes.

Work your way up from a deck hand if you have no experience in the fishing industry. Deck hands, also known as boatswains, will learn everything about maintaining a boat from the bottom up, how to catch and process the type of fish the vessel is on, care for equipment including nets, lines, winches, and traps. How to fish for bait when supplies are low, and can work up to first mate, and then if ready, captain. To be a boatswain or first mate, you do not need to own your own boat, so it is much cheaper to get in, but many captains do not like to hire people with no fishing experience, so learn all you can ahead of time to prove your ability and worthiness.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Male Enhancement Products Without Embarassment

Being a woman, I've never had to shop for, or worry too much about male enhancement. But being married, and getting older makes me wonder if at some point we won't have to look around for something to help produce a more pleasurable response for both of us. Male enhancement products are not something younger people think about often unless they are very, very small. Older people, especially men worry about it all the time. It's not just about size. It's about performance, ability to perform and maintain an erection. These are things that age, stress, health and disease all impact. It is also something nearly impossible to overcome without help and too many men are terrified of asking for the help they need. Being able to research products online helps alleviate the additional stress of admitting there is a problem, and allows men to use the product in the privacy of their own home.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Installing Underwater Transom Lights

There are several reasons for installing underwater lighting on your boat, or marine vehicle. Professional divers like underwater lights to give them a better view when night diving. Boaters who spend a lot of time in shallow waters use lights to enhance visibility of underwater obstacles. Anglers like underwater lights to attract fish in the early morning or late evening fishing hours. Most of the time, underwater lights are used simply to achieve a brilliant display of color when boating. Whatever your reason for installing underwater lights, you can install them quickly, and easily by yourself in a matter of minutes.

Wire Through Hull

Prepare the boat’s work surface. If the boat is in the water, remove it on a trailer or hoist. Clean the transom with warm soapy water. Rinse the area and dry it thoroughly.

Mark the spot on the transom (back wall of the boat) where you want the lights. Place the light against the area and use a pencil to mark where the screw holes will be.

Drill a hole just large enough to pass the lighting wire through. Insert the wire from the light into the hole and feed through to the inside of the hull. Apply a generous coat of marine grade sealant such as 3M 3500 to the last few inches of wire, and the entire back, and the rim of the light fixture and press against the transom.

Apply a generous amount of marine sealant to each stainless steel screw and drill or use a screwdriver to secure the light to the transom with the screws.

Light Through Hull

Begin with the boat out of the water as in the above scenario.

Mark the spot on the transom where you wish to place each light.

Drill a hole large enough to accommodate the through-hull light fixture.

Apply a generous amount of marine grade sealant such as 3M 5200 around the edges of the light, and place through the hull.

Attach locking bolt to the inside of the through-hull insert and secure tightly with wrench.

Attaching Wiring

Connect the wires of either type of lighting system to 18-guage wiring long enough to reach from the transom to the helm of the boat.

Insert an electrician’s snake from the circuit breaker panel through the boat’s sidewalls down to the transom and attach the 18-guage wiring.

Pull the snake back through the side wall of the boat, up to the panel with the wiring attached. Disconnect the wire from the electrician’s snake and attach to a circuit breaker to control the on/off function of the lights.

Tip

Lights can be attached to the circuit breakers on the helm panel, or inside the cabin of a cruiser at the general circuit breaker depending on your desire.

Warning

Always disconnect the battery power to the boat, as well as any external power sources before attempting to connect anything to the circuit breakers or boat’s power source.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Need a Vacation

I'm laughing a little bit because I was reading someone else's post about the mistakes they've made freelancing and one of them was lowering their price for the promise of more work in the future. I had to laugh because I am approached occasionally with just such a proposition and I do my best to diplomatically turn them down. The laughter is because I've made that very mistake in my past as well, and that promise of more work is often empty, or at least, much shorter lived than the client lets on.

Reading about other's foils and missteps as well as having a bit of a trying atmosphere lately myself makes me really think about how much I could use a vacation. I'd love to get a cabin from Carolina Designs and enjoy a relaxing weekend with nothing but the sounds of the ocean and the smell of a cool breeze. There's a lot to do in North Carolina, but I just love water and privacy. You can get a lot of that in North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Corner the Name Market

Well see now I know I've been doing the work at home thing all wrong. What I should do is when a new social media comes out, pick a user name that will be very sought after at some point. I say this because someone just sold their Twitter name @Israel for SIX FIGURES. Considering how easy it is to open multiple accounts, you could corner a market and make a killing!

The Best Acne Control

When I was growing up the best acne cream was usually the only one as well. There weren't many products on the market, and other than going to the doctor you were stuck with hoping it worked. Now there are so many products it is hard to find the one that will work best for your skin and type of acne. It might be tempting to assume that the old days were better. You didn't have a lot to consider you took what you could get and were happy for it. It wasn't though because one product doesn't work for everyone. It isn't a one-size fits all world--especially when it comes to acne control. What is important today though is having a place you can trust to get the information you need for a good choice of acne products. That will give you the ability to buy with confidence and get the results you need.

Tides of Freelancing Change

I love my job. Well, I 'still' love it even though it has been a bit of a drugery lately. Such is the nature of freelancing. I keep reminding myself of the one aspect that is unwavering and makes me grateful for the work is that I work from home. I write for a living. It isn't always subjects I like, and the work isn't always as easy to find, but it's there. I guess right now I'm mostly just feeling a little sorry for myself without reason. I know these things come in waves, but the tide is out a bit right now. One of my major companies is showing signs of dying, although it may just be growing pains (I hope). In the past these things didn't bother me much, I just rolled with the flow, but the past two years have been so good that the downturn is making a much bigger impact. Hopefully it won't last long. It usually doesn't.

Weight Loss Help For Men

Most women have a hard time feeling any compassion for men trying to lose weight. In today's society male obesity is just as common as women's thanks to lifestyles that are much more sedentary, and food that is fast and everywhere. However, history shows men have a much easier time of losing weight. Still, they need help, and at www.fatburnersformen.org overweight men can find information on helpful products for weight loss help. The website has reviews on products giving in depth information regarding safety, effectiveness, customer satisfaction and repeat orders. That information can help men find a fat burner that will work and they can feel comfortable ordering to help them lose weight.

Entourage Blues

When I first watched it last Sunday, I was feeling very positive about the season finale of "Entourage." However, constant rehashing of tag lines from the show, and bad links to wrong videos for it have left me with a slightly less positive feeling. I've liked the show since I started watching it, but last season (not this past one, the one before it) made me feel a little indifferent. The current season just past helped revive my enjoyment of the show and I liked it again. Maybe it was simply slight of hand. I have to now remind myself what I liked about the finale, like Ari on the brink (really this time) of losing everything, Vince on the brink of losing everything, and E on the brink of losing everything... all three for different reasons. In fact, in a comical twist of HBO fate, Drama is the only one who is NOT teetering on the brink of extinction at the moment, and has the promise of a brand new hit show in his hip pocket.

Feel Good About Undereye Creams

There are many types of under eye creams. They promise everything from reduction of wrinkles to elimination of dark circles. It is difficult to know which ones are good, which ones aren't, and what to buy. A website like www.undereyecream.net is a great help, and it's free. They review brands of eye creams based on ingredients, effectiveness, side effects, what customers say about it, and finally, maybe the most telling truth of all: reorder rates. Using a site like this can give you the information you need to make a choice you feel good about.

Camped Out

I just saw a commercial that really left me with a strange feeling. It was "Thelma" from the old series "Good Times". Wow, hadn't seen her in ages other than on reruns of the show. She looked good. That was a crazy good feeling knowing she looks good, (actually much better than she did back then when she was Olive Oil thin), and looks healthy (not all that normal for sitcom stars of that day). The strange feeling was her commercial repititon of the theme song as a poem sort of (combined with scenes from the show and the actual theme song). Back then, the 70s, the song was very pertinent, and 'modern' if you will. It meant something. It brought a lump to your throat. Now it's just 'campy'. However, you can watch the show, listen to the song, and knowing its genre and age still get those feelings of appreciation and emotion. But listening to someone NOW reciting campy lyrics with a sort of tongue in cheek feeling makes you wonder if she feels as silly, or uneasy as hearing it made me feel.

Healthy Diet Pills

Today's diet pills are much safer than the diet pills I used to take some 30 years ago. Today's diet pills are herbal weight loss pills. They are made with natural ingredients instead of the sometimes toxic chemicals the old diet pills used to be made with. Combined with a diet vitamin supplement, diet pills can help provide a healthy, well-rounded eating plan to lose weight safely and effectively. Make sure you do the research about any type of diet pill you are interested in and get the proper foods for a healthy lifestyle.

Dog Crazy

I'm not the only one with a crazy dog. I just talked to someone else on Twitter whose dog wouldn't let them alone cause they wanted to play. Then James on Facebook showed a picture of his attempt to feed the family dogs with dog food all over the place. Pets are a big part of our lives. They bring so much to it, and ask so little. Sometimes it is hard to remember all they want is our love when we feel a little taxed by their energy and rambunctiousness. It also reminded me of how much time I spend on Twitter and Facebook. You can get really carried away with the newer social medias. Blogs are easier. When they first started, they were the only real social media around. It as easy enough to keep in contact with readers with one or two posts a day, or even a week. But now with Twitter and FB it is a constant barrage of minute details of everyday life from... well everyone all at once.

Fish Oil and DHA

DHA is an essential oil that includes omega 3 fish oil. DHA is important to include in any diet plan, but even more-so during pregnancy. Make sure you get prenatal vitamins with dha when your doctor prescribes a vitamin for you during pregnancy. Studies show that DHA helps brain, eye and heart development and health.

Prenatal vitamins with DHA are even more important for pregnant women than non-pregnant women, and men too, because women are warned off of eating too much fish during pregnancy because of pollution toxin concerns. That means they may not be getting enough of the omega 3 oils that are so important. DHA replaces that oil so they can get what they need safely.

One Off of Well Off

A recent article says that the median household income in the US in 2008 was about 52k. However, it showed comparative incomes in various cities from 2010 and 52k doesn't cut it. In some it comes close, but in most of the big ones from Chicago to San Francisco to New York it is grossly inadequate. 52 THOUSAND dollars a year is FAR BELOW medium income in those places! 52 THOUSAND... I can't even wrap my head around that. I know I'm old, but when I was growing up, if you made 52k a year you were not just well-off, you were downright rich. I wouldn't expect that to be "rich" level now, but it sure seems like it should still be well-off.

Diet Pills that Work

Do diet pills really work? It can be confusing at times to wade through the massive numbers of available products on a store shelf, or website. If you want to know what you are getting you have to find good reviews and information before you buy so you can make the best decisions. Keeping your expectations in line, and knowing that just about any diet pill will only work if you do too, and getting information on most effective diet pills 10K can help you get the best results from your healthy eating plan and lifestyle.

Batty Growing Up

I got this cute picture of Batty growing up. She's five months now and getting a thick grown up coat, although it's still pretty short. At least she's not bald now. I can't wait to see her long flowing full-grown adult coat.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For Sports Lovers Everywhere

It may be a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but regardless of what holiday it is, or if you have a sports fan in your family with a birthday coming up, a personalized footballs is just a great idea for a gift. Sports fans will love them, they make great bedroom theme accessories, or a desk or den decoration. Give them to your sports fan for an office topic starter, or just to brighten their day. If football isn't there thing, give them a baseball, basketball, frame or any of the many other sports memorabilia you can find at stores like Re Sports, Inc. It's a great concept with an endless amount of uses.

No Rest for the Wicked

I built two new websites in the last two weeks. That is like working overtime and not getting paid for it--yet anyway. It takes time to build websites and have them pay off. I had a lot of the material for both of the sites sitting and waiting to be used. So I just got around to using them. It is still a lot of work to get things working right, however. Normally when I do something as intensive as building a website I give myself time off my 'job' of writing, but right now I have house taxes due in a month, and I just can't afford to take time off. So I really feel like that old saying "there's no rest for the wicked" really is true.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Getting the Best Auto Insurance Deals

Everything costs so much nowadays and driving a car is no different. Between the price of gasoline, the cost of licensing, and the high cost of insurance it is a luxury to be able to drive at all. Therefore, it only makes sense to make sure you get the most affordable insurance. Look for cheap auto insurance online and compare companies for the value. It is important to get a company you trust to be there if you have an accident, are injured, or injure someone else, but you don't want a company that is going to charge you exorbitant amounts to do it. You can check out several companies and compare their services side-by-side online without the pressure of sales people. That makes it easier to make sure you are getting the best deal. Good, affordable car insurance makes it possible to keep costs under control and continue driving.

Captain Batty

Batty getting ready to take over driving on the boat on Labor day 2010

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cyber Monday?

Now, I know I'm a little behind the times when it comes to trends, as a rule, but you'd think that anything to do with "cyber" anything I'd catch on to fast. Apparently in 2005 (yes, that makes me five years slow to the uptake) the National Retail Federation determined that "Black Friday" wasn't enough... now we have Cyber Monday. Traditionally, "Black Friday" the Friday before Thanksgiving has always been the 'kick-off' for Christmas shopping, and one of the biggest shopping days of the brick and mortar retail year. Well, apparently, the Internet spawned a slight deviation of that and buyers flock to online stores on the following Monday looking for specials and extras. So this is also the day when most online retailers create incentives and specials to entice the buying public. For someone who does most, if not all, of their buying online, you'd think I'd know that. Guess I have a new reason to shop now. All hail, Cyber Monday!

Scuba Diving in California

The warm and hospitable Pacific Ocean lines the entire 770 miles of western coastline of California. Scuba diving is one of the many popular water sports in California: it is best enjoyed in the ocean settings where coral reefs, and exotic marine life live in a vast and alien world; a place we can only visit with an air tank on our back. In order to dive you need scuba diving certification to prove you know how to survive in the deep blue sea.

Who Can Get Certified?

Open water certification, meaning the ability to dive unassisted divers must be at least 13 years of age. Younger children from 10 to 13 can get junior scuba certification in order to dive with a parent or instructor. Younger children can begin training at the age of 8 in a pool setting, but not in open water.

Classes

Classes for a scuba diving certification consist of several levels of training starting with passing a written test either online or in person at the diving center of your choice. The next level is pool training where divers where appropriate equipment in a controlled, pool setting. Finally, open ocean diving with instructors.

Length of Training

After written work, the physical water training consists of two or more weekends of physical in the water training depending on the school’s schedule. First water dives take place in a pool with full gear, and students must also prove a proficiency in the water. Later dives occur in open water ocean settings.

Cost

Scuba diving certification courses are expensive due to the very nature of the training. All necessary gear is usually purchased by the students, but tanks are issued for each dive by the school. Open water diving training requires open water boats and a crew to pilot it. Scuba schools in California routinely charge $250 to $500 for a basic course. Some offer extra training for additional fees.

Licenses

Make sure any Californian scuba training company offers licensed instructors. There are several affiliations that train the qualified professional divers who teach the courses. Those professional organizations are PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, for accrediting instructors such as NAUI, National Association of Underwater Instructors, and SSI, Scuba Schools International. Anyone taking an accredited course receives a life-time PADI C-card. There are two levels of licenses, a basic license that gives divers the fundamental approval to dive with an instructor or professional diving coach on hand, and an open water license that means they are capable of diving alone without supervision.

Schools

Near Los Angeles:
Eco Dive Center
4027 Sepulveda Blvd.
West Los Angeles, California 90230
310-398-5759
http://www.ecodivecenter.com/content/scuba-certification-in-los-angeles--padi-open-water-diver--scuba-training-in-los-angeles-ca

Near San Francisco:
Bay Area Scuba Diving
390 Lang Road
Burlingame, CA 94010
650-469-1954
http://www.bayareascuba.com/

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby's Coming?

Some things in life are just fun. Sending out happy types of announcements to relatives such as those for engagements and weddings, anniversaries or even birthdays are joyous and exciting, but none... none can compare to sending out baby announcements. Baby's give their parents 9 months of sheer joy in anticipation, and announcing their expectant family addition. Then after they are born, the fun of letting everyone know about the arrival accompanied by all the vital statistics is a thrill. Whether you write your own, or buy pre-made announcements, or send out fancy emails complete with HTML pictures and frills the announcements end up being an extension of you and your joy that friends and family will cherish as they feel your happiness through the expressions of the announcement.

Decide on the Right Septic System for Your Home

A septic tank is never going to be the focal center of your d├ęcor, set the mood in a room, or make a lovely accent for your yard. It is, however, a vital piece of equipment for your home if you live in an area without sewers. A septic system allows you to control the waste products from your home in a safe and sanitary manner while keeping it all out of view and pleasant. There are some things to know in order to make the best decisions for your selection of a good septic system for your property.

Make sure the zoning in your area allows use of septic systems.

Find out what regulations exist for your land in regard to septic system placement. Besides local restrictions, the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, has regulations regarding where tanks drain or “soakaway,” as well as drainage that is illegal.

Determine what type of leech field is right for you. Most properties are fine with a conventional leech field made of a dug out section of land, bedded with rock for filtering, and lined with perforated piping coming from the septic tank. This allows the liquid waste to filter out into the ground before it gets to the water table below. Another type uses solid piping to move the liquid waste to a designated area before changing to perforated hose. This is useful if your septic tank is too close to the water table, or several shared properties close together all use one main leech field. More advanced strategies may be necessary and require the advice of a professional to perform properly.

Pick the right size septic system for the number of people in the household. Because the solid wastes remain in the tank, separating to the bottom while the water floats out, septic tanks require regular pumping to keep them functioning properly. However, the first step in maintaining proper function without having to pump the tank out more than the suggested bi-annual cleaning, get the right size. Local regulations may determine the minimum size capacity allowed. Other methods of choosing are how much water your household uses per day, or the number of bedrooms in your home. A healthy septic system should be able to hold twice as much water (in any form) as the household puts out per day.

Use the bedroom computation to choose the right size based on the number of people living in the home. One to two bedrooms uses a 750 gallon tank, three bedrooms a 1000 gallon tank, four bedrooms a 1200 gallon tank, and five to six bedrooms a 1500 gallon tank. While 750 gallons would be plenty for a small home, it may not be big enough to meet local minimums so be careful before buying this size tank.

Get a Handle On It

Most of the handles and rails on our boat are industrial style. They are strong, usually u-shaped, or sometimes a crank style handle. The crank style handles are seen a lot on trailer winches, anchor winches or even the umbrella handle that raises and lowers the patio umbrella we have bolted to the dock alongside the boat. The heavy-duty life of marine equipment, and even comfort utility, or toy items mandates the use of strong, easy to grip handles like you get from an industrial handle. You'd think manufacturers would know that, but there are plenty of times I am surprised to see a lesser quality or impractically frilly handle, grip, or crank where strength counts just for the sake of 'pretty.' Pretty is nice, of course, and some industrial handles look nice too, but pretty doesn't beat out functionality. Personally, I wouldn't want to be stuck in the middle of the river with a barge coming at me, unable to lift my anchor because a pretty gadget crank tore apart in my hands... would you?

What States use E10

One of the first states, Minnesota, demanded the use of E10 at the local pumps as early as 2003. In 2010 there are at least 32 states that now implement some E10 regulations on gasoline. While many states use the product, the degree of use and public knowledge is very uneven with some states not even required to tell a customer they are using a product containing ethanol in their tanks.

Legislative Acts

Over the years many policies have attempted to bring ethanol to the consumer fuel supply. These acts were met with varying degrees of success, but they built upon each other to get us to the point where nearly every state in the United States uses some form of ethanol enhanced fuel. These acts were the Alternative Motor Fuels Act, the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy Act and finally, in 2006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.

Leading States

Of the initial states to join in the E10 program for developing an Renewable Fuel Standard Program, RFS, only 37 require labels on the pump to let the public know what they are using. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Montana, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

Labeling

Many of those states that require E10 use only require a label if the percentage of ethanol is more than 1 or 1.5% or higher. Colorado and South Dakota only require a label if the product is 2% or higher. Seven of the states require a label regardless of the amount. The District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio do not require any signage on the pumps regarding ethanol or alcohol gasoline contents.

Fighting Demand

Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana all actively fight RFS, the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Legislation in the past fails to get support or ends up being vetoed by the governor.

Finding Their Own

Some states such as Kansas, Hawaii, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Pennsylvania passed state specific programs to promote RFS. Those states use variations of low-carbon fuel such as cellulosic ethanol in Pennsylvania.

Ethanol Bans

There are some situations where ethanol can’t be used. Aircraft are forbidden to use any ethanol products by the FAA since 1960. Ethanol is not banned in marine engines, but there are some problems introduced by blended fuel especially where fiberglass gasoline storage tanks hold the fuel. Older automobiles, motorcycles or gas-powered motors in non vehicle items will not work properly with E10 or other ethanol blends.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding Top Level Jobs

Jobs are pretty hard to find now. With so many people out of work, worried about losing jobs, the need to find a job is sometimes desperate. Finding a good management jobs is even tricker than a run-of-the-mill job. You have to use all your resources to get a high quality job. The Internet is one of the best resources for anyone job hunting in today's market. Especially for those looking for high-end jobs, looking outside the local is important. That is difficult to do in person, but you can find openings all over the state, and even across the country.

Whale Watching on the East Coast in New York

When you first think of New York, your first thought may not be whales, but according to USA Today Travel, New York is a top destination for whale watchers. The coastal waters lend themselves to the big sea creatures of the deep, and spectators can see the underwater giants using several different methods.

Methods

The simplest method is to stand on the shores of common whale movement areas. The beaches of Long Island are a good place to watch for whales moving between the harbor and the open ocean. There are also whale watching tour companies where guests can ride out into Long Island Sound, or New York Harbor and get up close to the huge ocean mammals.

Species

CRESLI, The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, estimates that somewhere around 25 species of whales congregate in the waters around New York. Some of those species include the humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whales, pilot whales, and fin whales.

Where to Watch

Anywhere along the ocean coastline, or any water connected to the ocean is fair game as a location for spotting whales. New York has no shortage of those types of waterways. The best areas noted by whale watching groups is off of Long Island in the Long Island Sound. Other areas whales inhabit include New York Bight, a spot of shallow water at the juncture of Long Island and New Jersey, Gardiner’s Bay, and Block Island Sound.

Whale Watching Seasons

Whales do not really have a season. The waters are open all year round. However, whales inhabit the area when food will be there, and July through September are prime months for the schools of fish and krill fill the water. The tour schedule by CRESLI offers a good guide to the best times to see whales in their natural habitat. The peak times are in July and August when food is plentiful, and near the surface.

What to Wear

The height of the whale watching season is in the heart of the summer months, so it is likely to be warm. However, ocean air, cool breezes, and rain are common occurrences so dress in layers to accommodate any conditions. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. The sun’s glare on water is much harsher than on land. Wear a hat to prevent sunburn, and bring plenty of sun block.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Agricultural Importance of Big Drainage and Irrigation

Irrigation and drainage to a homeowner usually means a hose and good soil. However, industrial, agricultural, and community irrigation and drainage are much bigger endeavors. They help keep water available and land in useable condition. Much thought, planning and money go into a well-developed large-scale irrigation and drainage system.

Governing Bodies

In the USA, the Agricultural Research Service, or the ARS, governs national research, development, and oversight of water flow issues that affect the private, commercial and agricultural sectors. They are a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Types

Drainage systems include sewers in cities and towns, drain tiles in agricultural fields, and even canals dug out to allow water flow to or away from areas into reservoirs or rivers. There are two basic types of draining systems: surface and subsurface. Surface systems include ditches, rivers, canals and field drains. Subsurface systems include sewers and drain tiles. Irrigation is any system designed to deliver water to a specific area. For a homeowner it might be as simple as a hose and sprinkler, for a farmer on a large agricultural spread it may have acres worth of piping and wheels to roll it across the fields and over crops while shooting water out of perforated piping running across the top. Some farmers use water trucks to shoot high-pressure blasts of water across fields. Other irrigation systems bring water from aqueducts and reservoirs to water plants for delivery to city homes. In rural areas a backyard well and pipe leading into the house brings in water from the underground water table.

Uses

Drainage systems allow governing agencies to prevent flooding of housing areas by diverting flood plains, compensating for above average rainfall, or preventing the flow of rivers. Irrigation gives people the power to keep land hydrated, and water available for use at all times, even during times of no rainfall through water storage, and direction.

Impact

Not providing proper drainage for a flood plain may cause loss of life, or living establishments during an unusually heavy rain accumulation. Snow can also affect the water levels even in the frozen months of winter, as when all the ice or snow melts, the resulting water has nowhere to go. Some aspects of drainage affect the shipping and pleasure sports industry as well. Dams built on rivers to maintain an equal and navigable height allow barges to move large loads of material on the water, and let recreational boaters cruise or enjoy water sports safely by holding water in during low water times, and letting water out when there are floods.

Winterization

On the private side, there is a lot to do in order to winterize an irrigation or drainage system if you live in a cold climate where the weather freezes regularly for long periods. Usually if you expect the temperature to plummet below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours, you should prepare your pipes against possible freezes. While public drain and irrigation systems are typically large enough to avoid the pitfalls of freezing weather, drastic measures are sometimes required to avoid problems. Ice buildups can melt and cause nearby communities to flood, so heavy machinery is often brought in to clear it away before the temperatures rise.