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Vines Intertwined

A number of friends and clients recently shared with me that, after learning that my partner and I go out on regular date nights, they began making date night part of their schedules as well. What a happy occurrence! It makes me smile to know that these couples are out chatting over dinner and enjoying each other instigated by my partner and I enjoying a regular date night.

With that said, I thought it worthy of taking this opportunity to share some food for thought about why fun habits like date night are not an indulgence, but a necessity.

Before we hone in on our personal experience as partners, a broad sociological perspective sheds some light on the state of committed partnerships as a whole. We regularly hear such phrases as the “decline of marriage” or “soaring divorce rates” on the news and in popular culture. As a coach, I am less interested in the institutional or political concerns and more interested in the individual’s experience of happiness and fulfillment in her or his chosen partnership. However, some studies do bear sharing.

According to a study published in 1998, only one-third of marriages were rated “happy” by the partners and intact after 16 years. Other longitudinal studies demonstrate that generally the longer we are married, the less happy we are in our marriage. Research on other types of committed partnerships beyond heterosexual marriage is sparse, but other sociological research, including that of Dr. Helen Fisher, points to a phenomenon of waning attraction between partners as time goes on. With the research about the happiness of individuals in long-term committed partnerships indicating a bleak future for those of us who are partnered or looking to be partnered long-term, what is a happiness-seeking, fun-loving dyad to do!?

At least part of the answer may be as simple as a regular date night. I can’t avoid saying it: “Couples who play together, stay together.” Who hasn’t yet heard this pop culture mantra? After a collective eye roll in response to the painful word crafting of said cliché, let’s take some time and explore why the phenomenon exists, the truth of the concept, and, if it does indeed exist, what keeps us from employing this ultimately fun strategy for keeping our relationship fresh?

For the factual foundation to this phenomenon and proposed solution, I again highlight Dr. Helen Fisher’s research. In her book, Why We Love, Dr. Fisher demonstrates the phenomenon that early in relationships we produce increased neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine. This happy biochemical occurrence leads us to feel increased motivation along with a boost to our mood and libido. Over time, the level of production decreases and lends to the phenomenon of “settling down” comfortably into a rut.

Research shows, and continues to show, that couples that engage in active and new experiences together are happier over the long-term. It seems as though combating the urge to settle down and resisting falling into that rut are wise moves on the part of the motivated couple.

Now, let me be clear, that doesn’t mean that date night should be at the same restaurant, at the same time every week, ordering the same things and talking about the same subjects. The research suggests that we schedule time to enjoy activities as a couple that are new, novel, active and fun. This includes activities that you may each deem a bit risky. Risky in the sense that they land you out of your comfort zone into the place of growth. Activities that push your edge. Now I am not suggesting that you run right out and schedule your first skydiving tour, but you should explore some activities that broaden each of your horizons.

I propose the concept of collaborative evolution. Collaborative evolution has many facets and playing together addresses a number of them. As I have shared before, we are all constantly changing and evolving personally. With clients, I enjoy regularly singing the praises of curiosity and the importance of regularly looking within.

Collaborative evolution is the idea that we take each other along on our journeys of personal evolution. This doesn’t mean you have to do all the same things and love all of the same activities, but it does mean you are open to different experiences, especially the ones your partner is passionate about! As we remain curious about one another, we maximize the opportunity to grow together, to evolve collaboratively, like vines each growing separately yet intertwined.

You don’t have to call it anything special. You just have to do it! The reality is most of us don’t do it for the most avoidable reasons: lack of planning, the excuse of being overscheduled, simply not making your relationship a priority. Well, research has shown us a fun solution to increasing our happiness as couples, now it is up to you to make it happen!

Here are some practical tips:

Agree with your partner that regular dates are a priority.

Set at least three dates immediately.

Keep up with scheduling. Always have a date to anticipate!

Vary your activities. Perhaps you alternate between each other’s suggested activities.

Keep in mind there is no need to break the bank! Be creative. There are many activities that don’t cost a cent.

Visit Chicago life coaches and get a session in with one of the best life coaches around and transform your life and your partner’s life.

Be open-minded and have fun with it!

Bathroom Remodeling- How to Install a Toilet, Do it Yourself

Since the housing boom has slowed down and home appraisals have declined, many homeowners are investing in home improvements instead of buying a new house. A large portion of the baby boomer generation have accumulated a good amount of equity in their home and can afford to pay for home improvements either with cash, an equity loan or simply spend their income tax refund on items they want for their home. Kitchen and bathroom remodeling is the most popular type of home improvement and there are ways to stretch your dollar without completely renovating these areas. Some handy homeowners simply paint or wallpaper a bathroom to freshen the look of the room. Experienced do it yourselfers may tackle larger projects like replacing the vanity base, sink, faucet and toilet to give the room a new look without having to disturb the existing walls or tile finishes.

If the rest of the room is in good shape there may be no need to replace the shower area, bathtub and flooring. If you do want to replace the bathtub or shower, you will most likely have to replace the wall tile around the tub or wall surround, floor tile, shower diverter and tub faucet and this may be more work than a do it yourselfer can do. Doing a complete bathroom remodeling project will cost more, require more planning and will take longer than just replacing the vanity and toilet.

Replacing a toilet or sink is a job many do it yourselfers can do and is relatively easy to do if you have some mechanical ability and know a little bit about plumbing. Depending on the age and condition of the existing bathroom will determine how much work will be involved in replacing your toilet. In newer homes installing a new toilet is relatively easy and will require very little prep work.

In older homes you may have a leaking toilet or discover floor damage to the floor tile or ceramic tile and beneath the flooring you may find the sub floor is water damaged or deteriorating. It may be hard to determine the extent of the damage beyond this and only when you remove the old toilet will you be able to tell. There may also be signs of leaks in the rooms below the toilet or shower area. If you suspect beforehand that there is subfloor damage you may want to include in your budget the replacement cost of the subflooring before starting this project.

If your bathroom will be out of service for duration of the remodeling, plan how your family will share another bathroom while the work is being done. If there is only one bathroom in your house, leave the old toilet in place as long as possible and do the surrounding work first. When it is time to do the flooring of repair the plumbing then take out the toilet but keep in mind that you may have to repeatedly temporarily connect and disconnect the toilet during the phases of the remodeling. I would suggest using the old toilet while under construction and wait until the new flooring is completed to install the new toilet only once permanently.

Before purchasing a new toilet check all measurements of the existing space and the center of toilet drain from the back wall which should be 12″. Most toilets have a 12″ rough-in center. To find the center of the drain while the old toilet is in place, remove the bolt down covers at the base of the toilet and measure from the back wall to the center of bolt, this can vary up to ½” more or less than 12″.

Tools Needed– 2 pair of disposable latex gloves, old rags, channel lock pliers, adjustable wrench, utility knife, wide putty knife or scraper, screwdriver, small pry bar, caulking gun, and hacksaw.

Materials– toilet mounting bolts (brass), 2 toilet wax rings with extender- 1 regular and 1 extra thick in case needed, new flexible water supply line, 1 tube of caulking to match toilet color, toilet and toilet seat.

Preparation – the first thing to do is unpack and check the new toilet for chips, cracks or damage. Check inside the tank for any missing parts. Clean the bottom of the new toilet. Clear the bathroom area of any floor mats or items in the room and lay down a drop cloth to protect the existing flooring. Have some rags handy to cleanup any dripping water.

Turn Off Water-supply valve to the toilet and exercise the valve a couple of times to remove any deposit build up inside of the valve seat. Next remove the tank lid then flush the toilet until the tank reservoir is empty.

Disconnect Toilet– Now disconnect the water supply tubing between the wall valve and the toilet tank.

Remove the Tank– if it is a 2 piece toilet look in the bottom of the tank and find 2 or 4 bolts at the bottom that go thru the tank and connect to the toilet base. Remove these bolts and lift the water tank off and discard.

Remove Toilet Hold Down Bolts– Cut out the old caulking around the base of the toilet where it meets the floor, using a utility or putty knife. The bolts are on the bottom exterior sides of the toilet on the left and right side. Remove the bolt covers and unscrew the nuts. If they are corroded, cut the bolt off below the nut with a hacksaw.

Remove Toilet- tip the toilet from side to side slightly to break seal or loosen with a pry bar for ease of lifting. Straddle the toilet and lift directly upwards above the bolts and move to the side, get a firm grip on the toilet and carry upright to discard. Avoid tipping as there is still water in the trap and it will spill out if tilted.

Stuff a rag in the drain pipe flange to keep debris from falling in the pipe and to stop sewer gases from entering the room.

Remove old wax seal around the drain flange and clean surface of flange with a putty knife or scraper and completely remove old caulking on the flooring. *If you are going to paint the bathroom now is a good time to paint behind the toilet before the new one is installed.

If the old water supply valve is leaking around the stem, tighten the valve retainer nut. If this doesn’t work then replace it now with either a solder on or compression fitting shut off valve. Check the toilet mounting flange for damage and if needed change it now also.

Install the hold down bolts in the slots of the flange and set to 12″ center from back wall. To help hold the bolts in place, put some wax from the old ring between the bolts and flange so the bolts stand up straight while you lower the toilet in place. Install the new wax ring centered on the pipe flange. Carry the new toilet near where it will be installed, clean the bottom of the fixture to remove any dirt and clean the floor area that will be under the toilet.

Install the New Toilet Base– Pick up the bowl of the toilet and straddle the drain pipe and line up the hold down bolts with the hole in the toilet base. Slowly lower the toilet keeping bolts centered as you lay it down on the wax ring and check that it is parallel to the back wall. Put some down pressure on the bowl until the base is flat on the finished floor. Install the washer and retaining ring for bolt covers and hand tighten the nuts snug to the toilet base. Now, with a wrench slowly tighten the nuts alternating from one side to the other, to keep the equal amount of pressure on each side until the toilet is secured. Check that the toilet is solid and doesn’t rock from side to side, if it is secure don’t tighten any further as the toilet base can easily crack from too much tightening.

Installing Tank– For two piece toilets prepare to install the tank now. Install the large rubber ring gasket in the toilet fill hole, install the tank bolt down rubber gasket and install the two brass bolts through the holes as the manufacturer’s instructions from inside the toilet tank thru toilet base toilet tank to toilet base. Tighten slowly until tank is fully seated. The toilet is now installed.

Hook Up Water the supply to the inlet at the bottom of the toilet tank and install the other end to the water supply valve. Inside the water tank check the rubber flapper for proper seal and connect flush arm with chain.

Turn on Water– as the tank is filling check for any leaks around bolts and around the valve. Let tank fill up to required level which is a little below the overflow tube. If there are any leaks, slowly tighten connections until there are no drips. Check the toilet hold down bolts and tighten ¼ turn if possible.

Install trim caps and caulk the toilet bowl base to the finished floor, test toilet by flushing a few times checking for leaks. Lastly install the toilet seat, this usually has nylon bolts and nuts and fastens to the toilet base. Lay a newspaper on the floor under the water supply valve and leave it there overnight to see if there are any leaks.

Congratulations, check out GRANITE COUNTERTOPS – We have the perfect granite countertop for your project whether your countertop needs are for your kitchen, bathroom, or another surface.

Flat Bed Towing Los Angeles – Los Angeles Towing

Flatbed towing

Everyone knows the scene in Forrest Gump where he’s running and steps on a pile of dog poop and tells his fan It happens. It’s the truth, especially when it comes to driving around the city of Los Angeles, and while you’re driving around Los Angeles you’re probably going to need some kind of road side assistance at some point in your years of travelling around this city, so that’s when it’s important to know that a towing company is here for you and can offer a reliable service that will make you and the rest of the road you are sharing much safer. When it comes down to it flatbed towing is a business, but it’s also a business that is oriented around safety, to a certain extent.

What sometimes happens around Los Angeles is that people park their vehicles in places where they aren’t supposed to be parked, and sometimes this results in their car being towed away by a flatbed towing company. The flatbed tow trucks are the ones that are really large trucks with a large flat bed that can carry one or several different cars, it really can vary dramatically on the amount of cars these towing companies can carry simultaneously. But if you find yourself in a situation in which you really need some sort of flatbed towing, then don’t start freaking out and worrying about everything and just call the Los Angeles Towing Company and have them come rescue your day back into your control.

Next Post : Top Chicago Towing Companies

Counseling a Minority Family in Grief

With many American families continuing to experience growth, through birth and immigration, mental health professionals must recognize that, even within a family unit, the cultural difference may be significant. For this reason, when counseling immigrant families, or families of minority status, the mental health professional must be well versed in the dynamics of the minority culture.

To ensure the family unit remains intact, in terms of social assimilation, the therapist’s goal is to not only unify and break the differences internally within the family but allow them to see the complexity of their misunderstandings and how it will impact the family unit from a societal standpoint. In many cases, a grieving minority family may be found to place every aspect of life on hold, including work, social networking and even interpersonal relationships, as they each grieve individually, often waiting for a spiritual intervention to set them free to move forward with their lives.

One way in which a therapist assists a grieving minority family through these interpersonal conflicts and suspensions of activity, is by combining two or three family members together as a sort of support network. Realizing no one in the family unit will move forward until permission and consent is given to everyone, creating these small networks within the family will allow the units to become more permissible in the resumption of activity after a death has occurred.

In exchange for the therapy provided to the family members, the therapist must also reach out to the grieving minority family and ask for guidance in how the therapist can serve them best. In doing so, the therapist can allow for the cultural views of the minority group to gauge the progress by which the counseling and grieving will occur and, ultimately, may work to reduce any potential conflicts in therapy recommendations. In other words, through the therapist’s ability to work as a team with the grieving family members, the family members will begin to view the therapist as part of their network and, ultimately, the therapy recommendations may be more receptive. It is important, therefore, to develop a we mentality rather than an I mentality in the therapy of minority groups.

As with any psychotherapy process, the key to successful outcomes lies in the ability of the therapist to remove personal emotions and bias from the needs of the person seeking mental health services. Because of the vast differences in and among immigrant families, providing therapy to these minority groups can be challenging.

The Basics of Acupuncture

A Brief History

Acupuncture has been practiced for over 2000 years. It is one of the oldest medical treatments still being
practiced in the developed world. Despite being associated mainly with China, people all over the world have been using acupuncture for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.


Acupuncture involves placing very thin needles, much smaller than those used for injections, into the skin at specific points on the body. This is thought to correct imbalances in a person’s chi; energy flowing through the body. It is this imbalance that is believed to cause disease. Acupuncture is performed by a trained Acupuncturist who knows what type of treatment will be most beneficial to their patient. The Acupuncturist will decide how many treatments will be needed and where on the body they will take place. Most people do not experience any discomfort during acupuncture treatments because the needles used are so thin. Acupuncture brings immediate pain relief to many people.

Ailments Treated

Acupuncture has been used to treat numerous diseases and conditions. In fact, there is an acupuncture point for almost anything you can think of. There are even acupuncture points to treat addiction, infertility, and obesity. One of the most common uses of acupuncture is to relieve pain caused by anything from headaches, to arthritis, to cancer. It’s pain relieving properties are so powerful that in his book, Acupuncture: It’s Place in Western Medical Science, Dr. George T Lewith says that acupuncture has even been used as anesthesia during cesarean sections in China.

Possible Side Effects

According to the American Journal of Acupuncture, acupuncture is considered to be extremely safe. Most serious side effects occur as a result of an unqualified practitioner.These rare side effects include infection caused by improperly sterilized needles, Puncture of a vital organ, burns from heated needles, accidental abortion, and needles broken off in the skin. Again, these are very rare and not something that would occur with a properly trained acupuncturist. Slightly more common are minor, temporary side effect such as muscle spasms, minor pain at the acupuncture point, and nausea.

Finding an Acupuncturist

It should be relatively easy to find an acupuncturist in any city. In very small towns it may be a bit more difficult. Start by talking to friends or family who have had a positive experience with acupuncture. Your primary care physician may also be able to identify a qualified acupuncturist. Another option is to contact the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Once you find an acupuncturist make sure it is someone you are comfortable talking to about your health and lifestyle. Ask them about their training and experience. Above all, make sure this is someone knowledgeable that you trust. This will put your mind at ease, keep you safe, and most importantly, get you on the road to recovery.

Cleaning Services

It is so hard to get good help these days!

Well, you would not be saying this if you are lucky enough to find reliable cleaning service professionals or contractors to get the cleaning job done for you!

Compared to the days when only a few had access to the Internet and only a number of businesses were utilizing the World Wide Web to promote their products and expertise, it is actually easier to find good help these days!

All you have to do is sit in front of your computer, connect to the Internet and let your fingers get to work, on the keyboard, that is.

Type in “Cleaning Services” on a search engine like Google Search, for instance. You may want to add the name of your country, city or locality so as to narrow down the search. Actually, you may even want to search for “Good Cleaning Services” just to be exact.

Of course, a thousand or more websites or pages enlisted in online directories will probably claim that they are the best cleaning service professionals in your area and you would most definitely be hard up at choosing which provider to hire. So how would you know if they are really what they claim to be?

Thank the heavens for forums! Because there is no limit to what you can post online, some disgruntled customers would most certainly give their feedback regarding unsatisfactory service of a certain provider or contractor at one point or another. Again, use the search engine to find this. Or if it is the other way around, then you could easily search for another site which is dedicated to customer satisfaction regarding the provider or contractor in any search engine as well.

A good cleaning service provider or contractor will also be honest to its customers when asked to cite at least a few of its handled customers in the past. Reputation is a key term in keeping all businesses, including that of cleaning services, alive and kicking.

Ever heard of the term, by word-of-mouth? You get to know about a certain business by word-of-mouth which is equivalent to its reputation. The truth is, it does not really matter if it has a good or a bad reputation because either way, it will be well-talked about.

Of course, will you hire the cleaning service provider if you have heard bad things about it? Actually, if they are indeed professionals and are confident and efficient in performing their services, they will not even wait for you to ask them to cite references. They will promote their business by sharing their experiences with former customers who were satisfied with their service!

Just remember to do at least a little research regarding the cleaning service provider or contractor and the cleaning services that they provide before hiring them to do all the dirty work for you. It will save you money as well as help spare you from regret and dissatisfaction in the long run.

Why should I do Yoga?

There are so many reasons to practice Yoga. Some come for the flexibility, others for the stress relief, still others to find relief from physical pain, and there are many more reasons to unroll your mat and practice. Yoga, which comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” means to yoke, join or unite. This implies joining or integrating all aspects of the individual to lead a balanced and useful life. Most importantly, Yoga teaches us to tune in to our “Self” by peeling off layers of expectations and conditioning. And then, in Yoga, we learn to really listen to ourselves and begin to understand. It is because of this tuning in, this listening, that Yoga can help us to become better communicators. So, maybe you did not come to your mat to become a better communicator, and that’s okay. But as you tune in, it is likely that you will, and here are just a few reasons why, from practical physical reasons to the more philosophical:

Yoga brings awareness to the breath. According to the Bergerac company, when we are nervous, speaking energy becomes trapped in our abdomen, the place most of us instinctively tighten when we feel threatened or under stress. As soon as we tighten the belly, the diaphragm cannot move properly. In our restoring fertility Yoga practice, over time, we intrinsically understand the ebb and flow of the breath, and will have the awareness, as well as many Pranayama techniques to guide us.

Yoga encourages Self acceptance. This acceptance, built over time in our practice, allows us to find equanimity in every situation so that we are confident in our Selves. We will not therefore, be as tempted to say something just to appease someone else, we will be able to use our authentic voice which will lead to more calm, clear and focused communication.

In Yoga, we learn not to judge control, force, coerce, or even expect. As far as how this can enhance your communication, this one speaks for itself!! Think about how much more effectively you can communicate if you let go of the control of every outcome and simply focus on sharing what you have to say and listening.

Yoga encourages you to listen. When you spend time in practice listening to yourself, and that means, really listening to yourself, you begin to understand what it means to be present and listen to what is there, not what you think is there, or what you have always thought . As you become more skilled at listening, this naturally transcends your practice on the mat and you are able to be fully present and listen to others as well.

Yoga encourages peaceful conflict resolution. So you are in class, standing on one foot, and lifting the other leg and wrapping it around your standing leg, and then you are wrapping your arms around each other, right? Sounds like the body is way out of its comfort zone. So what do you do? Become angry? Yell at the teacher? Withdraw and give up? Nope. You BREATHE. Now, if you can simply breathe into this challenge in class, surely you will approach conflicts off the mat with a little more tranquility.

Yoga encourages you to treat yourself with love, kindness and respect. And, thus, you can open to others in the same fashion.

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