Believe it or not, lava rock comes in all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. The lava takes on these characteristics due to its mineral content, and by the rate at which the magma cooled. This is one reason why lava rock lends itself so generously to landscape and design. Lava rock colors range from rust, to grey, to black, and considering the variety of shapes and sizes available, the landscape applications of this medium are endless.
Lava rock can be used strictly as a decorative measure in the yard, or it can be dual-purpose, such as using it for a walkway or decorative ground cover. Many outdoor patios today feature an outdoor in-ground fire pit; they use the lava rock as a bed of coals over the gas line. As the lava rock heats up, it resembles burning embers. This creates a wonderful evening setting the whole family can enjoy.
Lava rock also works wonderfully in a flower, herb, or cactus garden. The rust or the black colored lava rock create a wonderful backdrop for a variety of plants. In more arid climates such as Arizona and New Mexico, lava rock is used abundantly in yards due to its low-cost at purchase and low maintenance upkeep.
The larger specimens of lava rock can also be purchased and displayed as ornamental lawn art. Another popular use for the larger lava rocks is to place them in and around a Japanese sand garden. The visual effect can be quite appealing. I’ve seen homes where they’ve placed a large lava rock at the side of the walkways approaching front doors and it looks amazing!
Another factor that makes lava rock so attractive to homeowners is its general low cost and affordability, not to mention its low long-term maintenance cost (lava rock doesn’t need to be mowed or watered). Although they do have different grades and the prices vary, you can’t go wrong with lava in your landscape. It looks amazing, lasts forever, and it makes a good conversation piece too – Call Moreno Landscaping Today and Get your free quote.
Lava Rock and Landscape Design
Neurological Acupuncture? Can Cerebral Acupuncture Help Neurological Illnesses?
Cerebral acupuncture, thought to be first practiced by Dr. Hunag Xue-Long in 1934 in China, does not use acupoints like traditional acupuncture. Instead, the head is divided into zones which correlate with certain parts of the body. It can be performed with traditional acupuncture needles or with non-invasive mechanical or electrical stimulation, and even with a laser! Apparently cerebral acupuncture can relieve the symptoms of neurological illnesses.
The Zones of the Head
The patients’ head is divided up into 14 zones, starting from the middle of the skull from the top of the right ear to the top of the left ear. Zones are divided from before and behind that middle line. Such zones include motor, sensory, hearing, speech, thorax, reproductive, visual, and equilibrium areas. Symptoms of neurological illness can be treated by stimulating the zones. Tremor from Parkinson’s disease, pain from sciatica, and even vertigo from Meniere’s syndrome can possibly be alleviated.
According to a chiropractor, non-invasive treatment involves stimulating the opposite side (left side of the head for right-sided affliction), but Chinese practitioners tend to stimulate bilaterally. The zone is stimulated for about 20-30 seconds with the instrument of choice. Acupuncturists will use needles for this procedure, but it has been said that a novice can stimulate the skull area with something as simple as a comb. Individual results vary, but trying alternative treatments for neurological illnesses just might prove effective. For more information, seek a local acupuncturist.
Neurological Acupuncture? Can Cerebral Acupuncture Help Neurological Illnesses?
Planning to tackle a home remodel project that includes removing wallpaper? Here are 5 Steps to help easily remove wall paper.
Step 1: Cover and remove anything that is in the area. When you pull off wall paper it is a messy job. If you intend to keep the floor, cover it with a water resistant tarp cloth that is taped to the baseboard or the edge of the floor where it meets teh wall so it doesn’t slip and slide or move. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of time cleaning up after yourself.
Step 2: Get your working materials ready. You will want to use a big sponge, a bucket with warm water and depending upon the wallpaper’s application, a wall paper scraper, a five in one tool, and if the paper was stuck on with glue, you are going to need several green scrubbies and a lot of elbow grease.
Step 3: Score the paper with a five in one or a wall paper scoring tool you can buy at your local hardware store.
Step 4: With traditional paper, create a mixture of two parts warm water to one part vinegar and using your sponge, completely saturate the wall and let it sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the moisture to seep through the paper. With modern papers, you may need to purchase a solution that will break down the glues and follow the same process.
Step 5: Use a wall paper scraper, or a 5-in-1 blade, and set the blade beneath one of the scores and pull it against the wall. The paper should curl up in a small ringlets and drop to the floor. If it is resistant, soak a green scrubby and then use some muscle by scrubbing through the paper and glue to the wall on the other side.
Any blemishes that on on the wall will show through whether you are planning to paint or wallpaper. The only exception would be if you are planning on paneling.
Note: Even the most professional painters will occasionally gouge the underlying wall with their blades. Be prepared to allow enough time to fix the blemishes in the wall with spackle or wall compound. You will need to sand the area with a fine grit sand paper; leaving the wall baby smooth, prior to either repapering or painting the area.
Tip: Removing Wall paper can be laborious work. While painting a room might take a few hours, removing the old wall paper may take days. Be sure to allow yourself ample time for this labor intensive phase of your project.
Removing Wallpaper During a Remodel? Here Are the 5 Steps
In one town there may be several handymen & lawn care workers all competing for the same job. Each one may be an excellent choice but the extraordinary choice is the one that stands out and wins customers. To be that extraordinary choice there would have to be something to draw in the customers, something enticing that singles them out. To do this they would have to offer something extra that the other guys didn’t and it’s those little extras, which could put them on the map.
Advertisements are the start of putting them on the map. Where they advertise could make a difference in fending off competitors. A really great place to advertise would be in a phone book. A local phone book is the place that locals in the area will usually go first for a service that pertains to their house or lawn care.
Low rates & coupons are great for luring customers. Everyone loves to feel like their getting a good deal.
Longer hours & the hour’s in-between will bring in customers. Some handyman & lawn care services have set hours. They won’t work past a certain time frame. This is where the longer hours & hour’s in-between will win over customers. Working just a couple of hours longer then what the other guys do is for instance, where they close at 5 p.m. but you stay open till 7 p.m. The hour’s in-between times for example is when the other guys are taking a lunch break you work or you go in earlier hours such as you go in at 7 a.m. when they go in at 9 a.m.
Having a completion time frame of, won’t leave till it’s done, if at all possible will make customers happy who have plans for the next day.
Own tools & ride are a couple of things that not everyone in the handyman & lawn care business has. If it is an individual seeking work in either profession and are just getting started they may have neither and while they may be cheap the customer may have to supply the tools and give them a ride both to and from their home just to get anything done.
Hard to find spare parts can be a big deal when it comes to repairs on older machinery, tools or any hardware necessary to completing a job. Besides keeping the necessary replacement parts around to repair your own equipment a variety of spare parts can come in handy in doing odd jobs for customers such as washers for older faucets.
Having a Competitive Edge in Handyman & Lawn Care
Ideas for Remodeling a Small Bathroom
Bathroom remodeling can be a big challenge especially if you have a small bathroom. Many homes have an average sized bathroom of 5 by 8 feet which is an out of date standard size. It is possible to update your small bathroom to look roomier and make it more functional by utilizing these three things: Stretching the space visually, adding storage, and bringing in efficiency.
Visually-Keep the room a neutral solid color, patterns or darker colors will make the room seem smaller. You can add texture instead of a pattern for a custom look. A large mirror will add extra visual space as well, but keep mirrors to a minimum and all on the same wall or they will play tricks on your eyes. Have glass doors on your shower or bath, sliding doors take up less space. Glass doors work well on vanities and other storage cabinets too, these can be customized with etching while still giving the room a larger feel.
Corner cabinets work well for storage in a spot that is out of the way and usually unused. Adding lighting to the cabinets is also a good way to add space and make the room more inviting.
Bringing in green- The newer more efficient toilets come in tankless models. where the tank is installed inside the wall freeing up a good chunk of space. These come in many modern looking models as seen here http://www.us.kohler.com/onlinecatalog/detail.jsp?item=9676302 and can also save you money on your water bill. Lighting can also be made more efficient. Energy Star rated light fixtures come in hundreds of designs some seen here http://www.shopbathroomlighting.com/energy+efficient-type/search.htm and are good for the environment and your energy bill.
Some good places to find ideas for your bathroom are local home improvement centers and catalogs. Looking in the showrooms and at pictures of finished bathrooms can give you inspiration to get your project started. Having a good plan of exactly what you want will make the process of remodeling much quicker than figuring it out as you go along. Another thing to keep in mind is that the bathroom is the most used room in your home, so it is important to remember that with any remodeling project that it can take time. If it is your only bathroom you might want to stay somewhere else with working facilities while the remodel is taking place.
Source: At RG Stone Countertops, we custom stone work for Kitchens, Bathrooms, Fireplaces, Bars and more!
Ideas for Remodeling a Small Bathroom
RV Basics: What Can You Tow?
You’re thinking you’d like to get into some kind of camper trailer, but you’re not sure what you can tow with your vehicle, and you don’t want to go out a buy a different one. This is one of the most difficult problems confronting potential RV buyers. After all, who wants to go buy a $40,000 truck that will just sit in the driveway ninety percent of the time? The most optimistic among you will probably be surprised at how little your vehicle is able to tow. The pessimistic will likely be surprised at how much trailer you can get at lower weights with today’s lightweight construction techniques.
The nostalgic will remember those great camping trips as a kid when your parents’ family truckwagon would pull your trailer down the road to the Black Hills or Yosemite. But you’ve forgotten a couple details in your sentimental fog. First, when you sat in the back of such a vehicle with the window down, the exhaust would suffocate you as you rolled on down the highway. That doesn’t have anything to do with trailer towing. Second, and more relevant, every component of that car was made of steel, which didn’t much matter because the engine was probably something like thirteen liters.
The reality is that most of today’s family sedans and even small crossovers are designed for fuel efficiency, not towing capacity. So instead of six miles per gallon, you’ll get twenty-seven, but when it comes to RVs, you’ll only be able to tow about 2,000 pounds, leaving you with fold-down campers as your only real option.
But what if you have an SUV or a truck already? Then what can you tow? This can be really easy to find if your owner’s manual is specific to your vehicle and you can find it in that book. Your local truck dealer may also be able to help out.
If you have lost your manual and bought your vehicle privately (or just want to do this on your own), the process gets much more complicated. Many things affect tow rating, but most important are the engine, the transmission, the kind of cab and bed of the truck and the truck’s axle ratio. With these four variables, there are seventy-one variations of the 2009 Ford F-150, with towing capacities ranging from 5,100 to 11,300 pounds (“Towing Guide”).
To help you figure out where your vehicle falls, there are a couple of websites that can help. Trailer Life magazine compiles and publishes a towing guide every year. Use the link to get you to their on-line content. One of the most helpful sites on the internet comes from a site devoted to boating. Trailerboats.com has developed a search engine that allows you to input the model and year of a vehicle and then scroll through the different possibilities for towing capacities based on engine, axle ration etc. That link is provided here as well.
So now you know how much weight your vehicle can handle. What does it mean? Many people mistake length for weight, believing that a longer trailer means more weight. This is logical, but it isn’t true. In most cases, construction methods and materials mean far more than length when it comes to determining weight. As an example, according to promotional literature provided by the company, Keystone’s thirty-foot, two-slide Passport 300BH travel trailer weighs 600 pounds less than the same manufacturer’s twenty-four foot, single-slide Sprinter 242RKS. What this means is that your first discussion with a salesperson should include a discussion of how much weight you should pull with your vehicle, but that may not limit you in terms of trailer size in the way you might have believed.
If you’re on your own and trying to figure out how much a specific trailer weighs, you’re going to have to wade through some alphabet soup. Every trailer will have a sticker or plate near the front, usually on the off-door side, which includes its GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). Do not confuse this number with the weight of the trailer. The GVWR is the total amount that the axles and hitch can handle. It includes the current weight plus the weight of potential cargo. Unless you plan to haul drywall or landscaping rock with your trailer, you’ll almost certainly never have to tow that much.
The most important number for you will be a little harder to find. Most units (it is required by law, but not until recently) will have a sticker near the front door or inside one of the kitchen cabinets that identifies the UVW, the Unloaded Vehicle Weight. This should be the weight of the trailer with nothing in it. Sometimes it is called the Dry Weight, because the water in your tanks can add significant weight, and this number assumes no water in the unit.
Figure that you’ll have about 300-400 pounds of pots, pans, canned goods, blankets and clothes in your camper, then add 400-600 pounds for water and sewage (unless you plan to dump your tanks before traveling all the time). Add that to your UVW to get the likely weight that you’ll be pulling, and make sure that your total is below the towing capacity of your vehicle.
You also need to recognize that there’s a difference between pulling a unit twenty miles on flat highway to the county park and pulling one 2000 miles over the Rocky Mountains. Experience, confidence and comfort towing are also factors that can’t be counted on paper, but might dramatically change what you can do. And, of course, you’ll need the right hitch equipment to do this, but that’s the subject for another RV Basics article.
Preventative Counseling: Learning Communication Before Trouble Starts
Communication is key in relationships of every type. Human beings are capable of verbal and non-verbal communication and by five months of age are typically capable of reacting to sounds and vocalizing pleasure and displeasure. Throughout childhood we are taught to give and share as well as receive but how well does this prepare us for a committed relationship in adulthood?
When a child is brought up under perceived normal conditions and learns values, morals, and ethics, will that child automatically be ready to forge blindly into the world making friends and communicating effectively with partners and others? What if the child does not grow up under perceived normal circumstances but instead is abused, neglected, or perhaps is an only child, or placed in foster care at a crucial age?
When I see troubled teenagers who have been placed into the system I unfairly judge them as having weak characters. I expect little out of them in society. If one teenage girl reaches age 21 with no children and no jail time under her belt I see her as a success story.
If she manages to keep even a part-time job she has achieved greatness in my eyes. I do not even consider that this same girl will find a healthy relationship with a partner. I expect only abusive exploitative men to seek her company and she, knowing no better, will revel in theirs. I am not a bigot; I simply see situations for what they are.
Though the above example may be extreme, children and young adults are not fully prepared to communicate with people they will be forming relationships with and my opinion is that more could be done before the trouble ever arises.
We are offered courses for communicating effectively at work, classes for communicating with each other prior to marriage, therapy for communicating with a spouse once marital troubles have been identified, and seminars to learn effective nonverbal communication to advance successfully. What about the neglected group of young adults ages 18-25 who are seeking something meaningful in the dating world and failing time after time?
High school health class may be a good starting point. Mental health and healthy relationships are rarely if ever mentioned in health class. Simple biological functions and food selections are instead the focus. Perhaps an advanced Health 102 could be offered which would include preparing the healthy mind for communication in relationships. Before the premarital counseling, where is the pre-relationship counseling?
I for one could have greatly benefited from some type of counseling in the area of communication, an area I was not even aware I was lacking in before getting married. I was an only child, placed into residence with my elderly grandparents due to extreme abuse and neglect by my mother and step-father. I always felt I was able to communicate fine.
After all, I always knew exactly what I was thinking and feeling. My family did not talk about feelings, nor did they show them. I grew up very much inside my own head. When it came to relationships as I grew older, I often wondered why the boyfriends didn’t know what I was thinking. I couldn’t imagine that it was because I didn’t tell them. They should just know, shouldn’t they?
My plea is to counselors in high schools and colleges, health and psychology teachers, to consider this deficit and provide a curriculum to those less capable of communicating effectively. This is not an instinctual skill. Without a role model or teacher it may be too late before so many of us realize we even had a problem.
Preventative Counseling: Learning Communication Before Trouble Starts
Acupuncture & Crohn’s
When you tell your gastroenterologist that your next stop is to see an acupuncturist, don’t expect to see him or her turning cartwheels.
You’re much more likely to get raised eyebrows or no reaction at all.
In my 25 years of experience volunteering to help my fellow patients with Crohn’s disease, I have found they seek out acupuncture practitioners for two reasons. One group hopes that acupuncture will somehow zap their disease – perhaps by calming the patient down. This idea of acupuncture curing Crohn’s disease or even putting it temporarily into remission is a misconception. While the art of acupuncture relieves stress and sometimes proves very helpful to sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition brought on to some degree by stress, it seldom has a dramatic effect on Crohn’s disease activity.
The remaining patients hope to find a way to relieve the cramping and pain associated with inflammatory bowel disease. Some are also searching for relief from constipation or diarrhea, nervousness or anxiety or the insomnia caused by Crohn’s night sweats. Acupuncture provides relief for some of them.
The art is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The body has around 2,000 acupuncture points. All of them are connected by 20 pathways called meridians. These paths connect body energy known as Qi from the internal organs to the surface of the body.
TCM practitioners believe that Qi has a diverse effect on each acupuncture point through which it passes and helps keep a balance within both the body and the mind. They also believe that intestinal illnesses such as Crohn’s disease represent a disruption of the spleen and liver, as well as, insufficient kidney support. As a result, they focus on the acupuncture points linked to those organs to try to lessen symptoms. Stimulate the right meridian via acupuncture points, and you will balance the body and the mind.
Western medicine has a different take on why acupuncture brings relief to some patients. Many medical practitioners believe that the application of the needles somehow stimulates the nervous system to block pain messages from arriving at the brain.
Another popular assumption is that the practice of acupuncture releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. A third holds that the needles, when used properly, might release opiods into the body to reduce discomfort.
Crohn’s patients in China commonly receive acupuncture treatments to treat their disease. My attempts to take advantage of the practice came about because of the unremitting pain and high temperature I had experienced for several months, which made it hard to go to work each day.
During the first session, I answered many questions about my illness and lifestyle. The practitioner concentrated on making me feel at ease and used only a few needles to target the “imbalance” in my abdomen.
The second appointment was much more intense. I found it very difficult to cope with the pain of needles in my hand and did not return for any additional treatments. Aside from feeling more relaxed overall during my first meeting with the acupuncturist, I did not appear to reap any benefits from the needles.
In general, the practitioner inserts hair thin needles one at a time into particular points to stimulate the flow of Qi after targeting the appropriate meridians. The needles are solid and do not go as deep as hypodermic needles. They should not draw blood, as they are designed only to penetrate the meridian surface.
Some acupuncturists twist or twirl the needles or hook them up to an electrical current to stimulate the meridian. On occasion, they might utilize certain herbs or oils with the needles to treat a condition and relieve specific symptoms. Each appointment normally lasts between 20 minutes to an hour.
Most patients report a slight tingling, aching or numbing once the needles have been applied. Although acupuncture is not supposed to cause pain when the needles are properly inserted, I utilized a highly recommended practitioner and felt so much pain, I feared I was going to fly off the table.
Some acupuncturists actually specialize in the treatment of IBD. How do you find them? The most effective way is by word of mouth among the other Crohn’s patients in your area.
Acupuncture & Crohn’s
Go Green – Environmentally Friendly Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
The home should be a safe place for the family in all respects, including environmentally. Indoor pollution is the result of toxic chemicals that are in fabrics, flooring, walls and cleaning products. Keeping the house clean without using harsh, toxic chemicals can be a challenge, but it is possible.
Green Cleaning Products
While shopping for cleaning products, look at the list of ingredients on the label. Most people are surprised to see toxic chemicals that may be harmful to the family. Phosphates, chlorine bleach and formaldehyde are a few of the toxic ingredients that may cause or provoke cancer and respiratory diseases.
Healthier ingredients can do just as good of a job as the toxic products. Some of the cleaning products manufacturers have created non-toxic, green cleaners that are available in grocery and discount stories. With some of the basic ingredients that are already found in many homes, it isn’t difficult to make cleaning products at home, and they’ll save money.
Inexpensive homemade household cleaners:
Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can clean and deodorize sinks, bathtubs and toilets. Used in the clothes washing machine, it helps soften fabric.
Borax is a deodorizer as well as stain and mildew remover.
Vinegar is effective in cleaning windows and deodorizing carpet.
Olive oil and mineral oil are good for polishing furniture. For a fresh scent, add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Heavy Duty Household Cleaning Products
Some areas are more difficult to clean, including the oven, clogged sinks and toilets that have been neglected. The chemicals in commercial products designed to clean those items is even more toxic than other cleaning products. Before reaching for toxic compounds, try using natural and organic cleansers first.
Heavy duty natural cleaning:
Oven – Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Coat the inside of the oven with the paste and leave overnight. The next morning, wipe it down. Repeat if necessary. In the future, prevent oven spills by placing a cookie sheet beneath whatever you are baking to catch the spills.
Clogged sinks – Pour a half cup of baking soda into the clogged sink and follow it with one cup of white vinegar. The bubbling action should work to loosen some of the clog. Follow up by plunging or using a snake to remove the clog.
Toilets – Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl. Leave it for a half hour then use a toilet brush to scrub it clean.
Environmentally Friendly Air Fresheners
Heavily scented perfumes and air fresheners can cause respiratory distress for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. Prevent health problems by opening the windows and allowing fresh air in. Replace the filters on air conditioners and heaters frequently. For gentle fragrance, use natural potpourri made from fresh herbs, dried flowers, wood chips and citrus.
Avoid using toxic chemicals around the house for cleaning. Natural, green cleaning products and air fresheners are just as effective as those with harmful chemicals, and they are much better for the environment.
Go Green – Environmentally Friendly Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Intuition: You Know It but You Can’t Say How
I have always been fascinated by the idea of intuition. As a child, “I have a hunch” was the phrase we used when we were accessing our intuition. It seemed almost magical to me when I had a hunch about something and it happened as I expected. My fascination with intuition stemmed from the idea that there could be ways of “knowing” things that just couldn’t be explained. Back then, I gave up on it after seeing too many TV shows where psychics knew everything about everyone in the audience. I knew that couldn’t happen…
You have “intuitive hits” all the time as you go through your daily life. There are little bits of information being processed by your brain all the time that never reach your consciousness. This is the basis of what we call intuition.
I remember meeting my friend Laurie for the first time years ago. We both belonged to the same racquetball club and were put together as practice partners because we had about the same skill level. The first day we were to play, I walked into the club and realized within the first minute of meeting her that Laurie and I would be great friends. On this occasion, my intuition was correct. It would be impossible to say how I knew immediately that we would be friends, but something about her hit me. I believe that my brain saw in her traits that were very much like my own and other friends I have had and enjoyed.
Science has confirmed what we all know intuitively about intuition. There are two ways of knowing things. The first is being conscious of something – this is knowing in a deliberate and controlled way. You can know the color of your shirt or what time it is. The second way of knowing is through your unconscious; this way is automatic and unintentional. You can know what time it is without a clock or you know how that shirt on the rack would look on you without trying it on.
As you go through your days, your brain is collecting millions of pieces of information about everything and everyone you encounter. Only a small portion of this is conscious because each person only thinks about one thing at a time. The rest becomes part of your unconscious and influences your thinking, memory and attitudes without your even noticing the process happening.
Having a hunch, or intuition, is when information from your subconscious influences your consciousness. Intuition plays a large part of all your decision making because there is no way to shut off the brain’s connection to that vast subconscious storage area. It is amazing to think that perhaps 80% or more of your thinking is done without your awareness.
Intuition is often wrong. This is because our brain attempts to make patterns where none may exist – there is really no other way to process the loads of information that the brain receives and so intuition is inherently flawed. Being wrong with your intuition does not mean it is useless. It means that you can best treat your intuitive hits with some healthy skepticism. Exactly what I was doing as a kid when I doubted the TV psychics.
When you bring intuitive ideas into your conscious awareness, you can start to apply some conscious thinking to them to see if they make sense for you to follow or not. For example, on a recent vacation I ordered a chicken dish that turned out to be bright red. My intuition said “don’t eat that funny looking chicken”, but I didn’t really pay attention, I ate it and I ended up being very sick. I don’t think the red color was the problem, but I do think that if I had given that intuition more attention, I might have decided I just didn’t want to eat funny looking chicken and spared myself the illness. In this case my intuition was right. Noticing when your intuition calls and using it in a conscious decision making process can give you the power of both kinds of knowing things.
How often do you notice what your intuition is saying to you? How accurate do you feel you are intuitively? Let me know your thoughts on intuition by leaving a comment below and If you know someone who is looking for some inspiration in their lives, make sure you let them know about our sponsor the Chicago life coaches, these guys can improve any one intuition.