A Day Devoted to Your Daddy

Every dad deserves a special day all of their own and Fathers Day offers the perfect opportunity! A good dad can be an easy person to take for granted; they can help you out a lot financially, give you really meaningful advice and help to pick you up when you’re feeling down.

Most dads have a really easy going nature and an effortless sense of humour. They’re practical, kind and supportive and Father’s Day is the perfect time of the year to show them how much you care about them.

Imagining Fatherhood

Put yourself in your father’s shoes for a few moments. Imagine yourself as a child. He picked you up and hugged you, maybe he gave you piggy backs, perhaps he helped to you learn to ride your bike, to play football, to learn to swim or to ascend the tree at the bottom of the garden. He was and is a tower of strength and integrity and he works hard and knows what helps him to relax.

Key in to his way of thinking and you’ll soon be inspired and come up with plenty of very personal ways to spend Fathers Day with your daddy. Does he love gardening? Is he mad about footie? Does he cook a mean curry?

Pick out a few things which you know your dad adores, think back to times that have made him laugh or seemed to really move him. For Fathers Day you can draw from a whole lifetime of experience and it will help you to plan a party, pick a pub (or restaurant) and most importantly choose his Father’s Day gifts.

Picking Perfect Presents

Choose gifts which say something to your dad on Father’s Day, not just useful things or boring old standards. Men do certainly prefer useful things such as tools or new golf clubs but you can add heartfelt messages to them too.

For example, you could write something special in a Father’s Day card to go with a pair of new secateurs or get him a personalised football shirt or special print. The more original your gift the more impressed he’ll be, so try to stay away from generic Father’s Day stuff like cigars and chocolates. You can get him something far more thoughtful than that!

If he loves beer, for example, you could get him a really nicely engraved tankard with a message from you. Or if he is mad about science fiction films you could get him a sci-fi wall calendar. Think about him as a person, how he spends his free time and what makes him smile.

Create Lasting Bonds

Father’s Day is but once a year, however, throughout the rest of the year you should still make time and room in your life for your dad so here are some ideas of things you could do together regularly or do for him to help him out. These are activities you could do any day of the year not just Father’s Day and if you make them a regular date you’ll get to see your daddy and benefit from his wisdom more often.

You could offer to:

Mow his lawn on a sunny day and share a cider or beer with him when the job is done

Play his favourite game, be it golf, football, chess, bowling or anything else

Take him for a pub lunch or dinner once a week (or fortnightly) to catch up

Buy tickets to a concert for a band that you both love now or you loved growing up

Help out around his house with the DIY or do a spot of painting and decorating

Offer to read the same book as him so you can have a mini book club together

Go and see his favourite genre of film with him at the cinema or a play at the theatre

Join a cool club with him such as a real ale, sailing or vintage car club

These are just some ideas of ways to spend quality time with your dad all year round. If you did just one of these or something similar each week then you’d probably be just as close as you were growing up! Some of these also make good ideas for Fathers Day but can be part of your lifestyle easily. Furthermore, if there’s something he has been ‘meaning to get around to’ like paint a shed or fill some cracks you could help him to do it as part of his Father’s Day present.

Naturist Holidays at Port Leucate, France

Have you ever had a slightly disturbing dream that you found yourself nude in a public place, such as in a street, on a bicycle, in a shop or on public transport? If so, what happened in your dream? Did you wonder how you got yourself in that situation, were you embarrassed or did you think that it’s only a dream so it doesn’t matter?

If you have had such dreams, and you haven’t already practised naturism, perhaps it would appeal to you.

Every year, thousands of families spend their holidays between April and October in one of the naturist villages which lie between the ancient Mediterranean town of Leucate and the seaside resort and yacht harbour of Port Leucate.

The villages are mostly traffic free, but you can walk around or cycle like everyone else completely naked. There is a small shopping centre with a very good baker where you can buy fresh croissants, bread etc., you can shop in the supermarket, buy from the butcher, wine shop or newspaper shop and have a drink or a meal in one of the small restaurants, all while staying nude.

These villages, which include Aphrodite and Oasis, were established following a tourist commission set up by President Charles de Gaulle in the 1960’s. The government were looking for a way to entice thousands of holiday makers to stay in France rather than heading down into Spain looking for a beach holiday destination.

The old town of Leucate lies between the Mediterranean Sea and a large saltwater lagoon. South of the town there is a narrow strip of land several kilometres long between the sea and the lagoon. Six kilometres to the south was an old settlement and it was here that the commission proposed establishing a new development called Port Leucate with a yacht harbour, shopping centre and holiday accommodation. Work started in the mid 1960’s and de Gaulle visited the work in progress in 1967. Following his visit, the commission was asked to address the future of the beautiful stretch of beach just to the north of the new resort of Port Leucate.

At that time there was a growing practice and tolerance for naturism in France and there were already various naturist destinations including a large naturist holiday complex at Montalivet on the Atlantic coast north of Bordeaux.

The strip of beach being studied has the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Leucate lagoon on the other and is virtually an island as there are two channels to the north and south linking the sea with the lagoon. It was therefore decided that this would be an ideal location to develop a naturist beach resort with access restricted to the residents and holiday makers.

Rather than create just a camp site with mobile homes and camping spots, it was decided to create a real village with houses, apartments, tennis courts, swimming pools and a shopping centre. Plans were drawn up and work started in 1973. The years have passed and development has continued and today there are a total of 8 small villages, all next to each other, which border either the beach or the lagoon. Many properties have permanent residents but most are made available by the owners for naturist holiday lettings. Most areas are pedestrian only so children can play, run around or cycle without danger.

At certain times of the year quite strong winds blow through the area and so the area has developed as one of the most popular areas for wind and kite surfing.

One of the advantages of the area, which makes it perfect for family holidays, is the range of other activities within a short distance of the naturist villages. Less than 10 minutes away by car there is a large aquatic centre with several swimming pools and giant slides. There is also an adventure centre in a nearby pine forest where people of all ages can climb and slide through the trees. Also nearby is a casino and new cinema complex. The Pyrenees can be seen from the village and from the autumn to spring snow can be seen on the highest peaks. Being on the doorstep of the Pyrenees, there are of course walks through magnificent countryside to undertake.

About 35 minutes drive away there is the large Sigean African reserve, fascinating for both adults and children. One part can only be visited by car as there are many animals in their natural surroundings, including lions. Then there is another part which can be visited on foot which includes much bird life, monkeys, antelope, elephant and many other types of creatures.

This area is one of the sunniest in France so of course one of the most popular activities is just relaxing on the beach right next to the holiday apartments and perhaps having a little siesta dreaming about being naked in public.

If you want to know more about the naturist villages go to http://www.naturistholidays.fr

Movie Review of Dolphin Tale

It’s a wonderful thing, albeit rare, when Hollywood decides to make a movie that takes a real life event and turns it into 113 minutes of entertainment for the whole family. Knowing ahead of time how much my daughter and I both love dolphins, and how much of a sucker I am for a “makes you cry-but in a GOOD way” type of film, I had high hopes for this one. Let me tell you what they got right—and where they should have stepped away.

THE GOOD: The movie is based on a true story of ‘Winter’, a young dolphin who becomes tangled in a fishing net, causing irreversible damage to her tail. On his way to school, Sawyer (played by Nathan Gamble) sees her stranded on the shore and with his help, frees her from the ropes and assists with the local marine hospital in coming to her rescue. Sawyer is a shy and directionless kid whose father has run off, and Sawyer’s mom Lorraine (Ashley Judd) is the single mom trying to make ends meet and feeling helpless that her son seems to be floundering. But when Sawyer’s involvement with this Dolphin rescue comes to light, she begins to notice something in her son that she had given up hope of ever seeing—happiness and purpose.

Of course we all know that dolphin’s would be hard pressed to swim without their tails, and since Winter’s tail has to be surgically removed due to the damage, this leaves the main storyline in full focus—how to build a prosthetic tail for a dolphin. To the rescue is Dr. Cameron McCarthy (played by Morgan Freeman) who is gainfully employed at a Veteran’s hospital making artificial limbs for wounded soldiers, but is soon convinced by young Sawyer that Winter needs a second chance at life as well. The complications of making a tail that Winter won’t reject, along with the impending doom of the faltering marine hospital which is in overwhelming debt, with the likelihood of being purchased by a multimillionaire looking to tear it down to build a hotel—all combine to present enormous obstacles. You feel frustrated at the failed attempts and silently cheer for the light which begins to appear at the proverbial end of the tunnel. Coupled with a sweet, if somewhat over the top, performance from newcomer Cozi Zuehlsdorff who plays Sawyer’s young friend Hazel and the daughter of Dr. Clay Haskell (played by Harry Connick Jr.), the marine biologist who is fighting to keep Winter alive-and his hospital in the black—the film is charming and teaches a nice lesson about overcoming difficulties in our lives, and not being afraid to give something your all, even if the odds are against you. There is also a weird seagull named Roofus that follows people around and adds some comical relief…don’t be surprised if that is one of the main things your kids remember about the movie. But it is Winter (played by Winter herself) that steals the show. If you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for dolphins, I just can’t help you-you’ve somehow been born without a sensitive side. I’m a dog lover at heart, but if there was a way to have a dolphin lounge on the couch with my basset hound, I would adopt one in a heartbeat.

THE BAD: As previously mentioned, I enjoy a good cathartic cry, and I fully expected to shed some tears during this movie. The problem I found was that the filmmakers seemed to try just a little TOO hard to rip those tears out of you….and it felt forced. Yes, there were a few moments where I felt genuinely misty, but for the majority of the time, it seemed as though every line and every element of the story was being calculated to push you to whimper a little. In this particular case, less is more…..and I think some of the side storylines were added just to evoke even more emotion (Sawyer’s dad being a deadbeat, Sawyer’s cousin going off to war, Sawyer’s classmates not liking him, ad nauseum). Maybe it was because they didn’t think they had enough material to make a full length movie out of the story itself, or making they just thought that it just wasn’t a real movie about a dolphin unless people were sobbing in the aisles—in either case, they were mistaken. Another misstep was also the fact that, despite the talented actors they had on board, no one, with the exception of maybe Morgan Freeman, gave a great performance. The acting was bordering on cheesy, and felt almost as if you were watching a made for tv afterschool special. That being said, my 9 year old daughter loved it and never once turned to me and said “I wish the characters would more fully develop their personas and give me something I could USE!” Kids are funny like that….give them a cute dolphin, a weird bird and a box of candy, and it’s pretty much the best night of their lives.

THE UGLY: I noted earlier that one of the obstacles in the story featured a multimillionaire (played by Tom Nowicki) looking to purchase the failing hospital and the land it sits on, in order to build a luxury hotel. When he finally shows his face, I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open as I thought to myself “THIS is the guy they picked to play a rich real estate tycoon?! With all that money, he has teeth like THAT?!!” I’m sure I missed the point of the whole storyline, but really. They have people that can fix that for you. Take one less luxury cruise to the Mediterranean, and make an appointment.

Dolphin Tale is a sweet family movie that kids will enjoy and parents, at the very least, won’t regret going to. Don’t waste your time and money seeing it in 3D….it’s my opinion that there weren’t enough moments during the film where 3D would have made that much of an impact. DO however, stay for the last 5 minutes or so, where actual film footage of Winter’s rescue and rehabilitation is shown—for me, that was where the actual tears happened as I watched children and adults with missing limbs spending time with Winter and being inspired by her will to overcome.

The trophy wife gives this movie 3 trophies.

Dolphin Tale is rated PG for some thematic elements.

Fun Activities For Your Child’s Party

It’s your child’s first birthday party and, naturally, you want his or her first to start with a bang. It’s every parent’s dream to be able to give his or her child the best first birthday party ever, because first birthdays set a milestone in a person’s life. This is why most people do not hesitate to go all out with this event.

No children’s birthday party would be complete without the entertainment. This is what the child and his young visitors look forward to in a party. Never mind spending too much effort and energy on what food you’re going to serve. Place much of your attention to the games and activities that will make your child’s party the most memorable.

Entertainment mainly refers to games. Thus, you have to have several activities planned to keep the birthday celebrator and his or her guests out of boredom. At a children’s party, nothing is more terrible than having the kids complain that they want to go home early during the event because nothing’s happening. You have to have activities that will hold their attentions for the duration of the event.

What types of games can you use? Pin the tail on the donkey (or any other character or object) is a staple in most parties. It has been a tried and tested entertainer and it never fails to keep the kids happy.

Another activity you can have is Hit the Pinata. It’s easy to make a pinata. You just need a paper grocery bag filled with all sorts of goodies and little toys and decorate it with colorful paper and stickers. Just make sure that there is an adult who will supervise this activity because the kids might accidentally hit one another with the stick.

Aside from games, another child’s birthday party activity you can have is a magic or puppet show. Scan the local yellow pages or surf the Internet to see who offers these services in your area. Most of the people who offer magic and puppet shows often also offer clowning, mascots, balloon art, face painting, story telling sessions, and other kiddie entertainment.

If you want to tickle your little partygoers’ visual faculties, you might want to set up a projector inside a closed room to simulate a theater experience and show cartoons and other children’s shows. This will help keep the children preoccupied and still for about an hour and half or so. Pixar and Disney animated films are favorites.

There are many activities possible for children’s parties. If you have no idea what these can be, try asking friends who have already thrown parties for their children. Or you can do your research on the Web. If you’re a first-time parent, this will be an exciting experience for you. For those planning a party for the second or third, etc., child, this will still be interesting as you will likely try to trump the last birthday party you held.

Planning birthday parties is tedious, but it can also be very enjoyable. How can it not be? All the preparations and thinking you will be making will all be for your child’s benefit and happiness. So why not go all out?

Think About Taking Your Child To A Hunting Preserve When Introducing Them To The Sport

Our children and grandchildren hold the future of hunting in their hands. I am sure that you have heard this before and it has never been truer than it is today. The youngsters of this day and age are stuck inside – targeted by corporations whose non-stop attack against them includes TV shows, movies, games and internet programing. All of these distractions have our kids stuck inside doing nothing other than blankly staring into an LED lit screen.

If we hunters are going to successfully compete against these distractions for time with our own kids then we need to give it our best shot. Children today get instantaneous gratification from the devices they play with and watch. If there is something in particular that they want to see… with the click of a mouse button or the tap of a finger it’s instantly in front of them on demand! If they cannot get it right now most feel it’s not worth getting in the first place.

All of this takes me back to the topic at hand. Consider a hunting preserve when introducing a youngster to the sport of hunting. We as hunters need to get our kids out of the house and back into nature. We need to get them hooked on hunting from the word go.

The youth of today are programmed for video game type action where BAM… from the second it’s turned on the action starts. Here me out here, I’m not saying a bunch of killing and gunfire has to take place for this to be a fun time for your child. What I am saying though is that there needs to be lots of action. Spotting lots of game animals all throughout a hunt. This is where I see that a Hunting Preserve holds an advantage over other types of hunting land set-ups, especially for a first time outing.

Hunting Preserves – because it’s their business always have huge wildlife populations, cozy hunting boxes and awesome hunting action. “ACTION” is the keyword in that last sentence. That is what kids of this day and age are used to and we really should try to give it to them for their first real trip.

Obviously before your child is ready to go out into the woods and harvest an animal there are several preparations to be made and skills that must be mastered and learned. Hunter safety, firearm handling, outdoorsman skills along with others need to be passed on from adult to child before a hunt can happen. Make it part of your plan from the start that once these skills are mastered the reward is the first hunting trip.

I know that I did that right and I did it big with my son for his first hunting experience. I’m sure he will never forget it. He was hooked from the start and I know he still is today. I now have my best friend, my son, as my life-long hunting partner because of the way I introduced him to this sport. He started successfully as a child and now at 14 yrs. old he is a very accomplished hunter who has taken several deer all by himself.

It would be my dream if all the readers of this article who are hunters would consider taking a kid, providing them with training and then reward them with an exciting and eventful first time hunting experience. If that first time experience means a pay hunt at a game rich preserve or just a dove shoot at the farm, just make it full of ACTION and fun. By doing so we will be successful in keeping the next generation of hunters involved in the sport and this will ensure that hunting stays strong and grows well into the future.

Insurable and Non-Insurable Risks

When we talk of insurance, we are referring to risks in all forms. Hence, having for an insurance policy is just a way of sharing our risks with other people with similar risks.

However, while some risks can be insured (i.e. insurable risks), some cannot be insured according to their nature (i.e. non-insurable risks).

Insurable Risks

Insurable risks are the type of risks in which the insurer makes provision for or insures against because it is possible to collect, calculate and estimate the likely future losses. Insurable risks have previous statistics which are used as a basis for estimating the premium. It holds out the prospect of loss but not gain. The risks can be forecast and measured e.g. motor insurance, marine insurance, life insurance etc.

This type of risk is the one in which the chance of occurrence can be deduced, from the available information on the frequency of similar past occurrence. Examples of what an insurable risk is as explained:

Example1: The probability (or chance) that a certain vehicle will be involved in an accident in year 2011 (out of the total vehicle insured that year 2011) can be determined from the number of vehicles that were involved in accidents in each of some previous years (out of the total vehicle insured those years).

Example2: The probability (or chance) that a man (or woman) of a certain age will die in the ensuring year can be estimated by the fraction of people of that age that died in each of some previous years.

Non-insurable Risks

Non-insurable risks are type of risks which the insurer is not ready to insure against simply because the likely future losses cannot be estimated and calculated. It holds the prospect of gain as well as loss. The risk cannot be forecast and measured.

Example1: The chance that the demand for a commodity will fall next year due to a change in consumers’ taste will be difficult to estimate as previous statistics needed for it may not be available.

Example 2: The chance that a present production technique will become obsolete or out-of-date by next year as a result of technological advancement.

Other examples of non-insurable risks are:

1. Acts of God: All risks involving natural disasters referred to as acts of God such as

a. Earthquake

b. War

c. Flood

It should be noted that any building, property or life insured but lost during an occurrence of any act of God (listed above) cannot be compensated by an insurer. Also, this non-insurability is being extended to those in connection with radioactive contamination.

2. Gambling: You cannot insure your chances of losing a gambling game.

3. Loss of profit through competition: You cannot insure your chances of winning or losing in a competition.

4. Launching of new product: A manufacturer launching a new product cannot insure the chances of acceptability of the new product since it has not been market-tested.

5. Loss incurred as a result of bad/inefficient management: The ability to successfully manage an organization depends on many factors and the profit/loss depends on the judicious utilization of these factors, one of which is efficient management capability. The expected loss in an organization as a result of inefficiency cannot be insured.

6. Poor location of a business: A person situating a business in a poor location must know that the probability of its success is slim. Insuring such business is a sure way of duping an insurer.

7. Loss of profit as a result of fall in demand: The demand for any product varies with time and other factors. An insurer will never insure based on expected loss due to decrease in demand.

8. Speculation: This is the engagement in a venture offering the chance of considerable gain but the possibility of loss. A typical example is the action or practice of investing in stocks, property, etc., in the hope of profit from a rise or fall in market value but with the possibility of a loss. This cannot be insured because it is considered as a non-insurable risk.

9. Opening of a new shop/office: The opening of a new shop is considered a non-insurable risk. You don’t know what to expect in the operation of the new shop; it is illogical for an insurer to accept in insuring a new shop for you.

10. Change in fashion: Fashion is a trend which cannot be predicted. Any expected change in fashion cannot be insured. A fashion house cannot be insured because the components of the fashion house may become outdated at any point in time.

11. Motoring offenses: You cannot obtain an insurance policy against expected fines for offenses committed while on wheels.

However, it should be noted that there is no clear distinction between insurable and non-insurable risks. Theoretically, an insurance company should be ready to insure anything if a sufficiently high premium would be paid. Nevertheless, the distinction is useful for practical purposes.

Sherlock Holmes – The Transcendentalist Bohemian

Whenever someone thinks of Sherlock Holmes, a sort of cliche comes to mind. He is a consummate example of the great detective, more than just an icon, but a template for all detectives in literature. With his trademark deerstalker hat, hooded duster, and smoking pipe, Holmes comes full with a sophisticated elocution and a highly intelligent, though often inarticulate, sidekick. This is a formula that has successfully been emulated time and time again from Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. These characters are very intriguing and well drawn out in their own right, but there is something more to Holmes, as deliciously characterized by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This character is raw, elemental, and, to put it best, strange.

The stories of Sherlock Holmes, whose plots are equally unusual but ingenious, are divulged in the first person by his esteemed partner, Dr. John Watson. It can be assumed that Watson is the person who is most familiar with Holmes. However, he provides little insight into his personality. Indeed, Watson is able to predict much of Holmes’ behavior and can even conjecture his morning routine or his mood, but this ability stems more from the time they’ve spent together and what must be Watson’s personal directive to expect nothing short of abnormal responses from the revered sleuth. Despite knowing how the man will react to situations, Watson continually feigns bewilderment by what exactly is driving him. One thing is clear, to both Watson and to all readers, Sherlock Holmes is definitely driven. When presented with a mystery, Holmes unleashes a beast that will not stop until everything is resolved to his satisfaction.

It is in the solving of a case that we begin to see the peculiarities of Sherlock Holmes and are given a hint of perception into his constitution. Holmes becomes so obsessed with deciphering a mystery that he almost becomes vulnerable. Though his mind must remain a systemized thinking machine, his external world usually turns disorganized. Notes and experiments will be scattered all over his room, his tobacco will be stored in a Persian slipper because it was convenient in the moment. He will forget to nourish himself, maybe even on purpose, when caught in the throes of an investigation.

More hints of his personality are made prominent by the lengths he is willing to go to further his probing. Sherlock Holmes has been known to bend the truth, break the law, lie to police, conceal evidence, and even steal or housebreak if it’s called for. These may not be unusual traits in the stories of private investigators. What is uncommon is the blatant casualness and disregard for authority with which he chooses to act. This is not to say he has a problem with authority. Another attribute of Holmes is his intense patriotism. No, his complex relationships with the many Scotland Yard detectives and law enforcement officers in general is just another aspect of his bohemianism. Other oddities include compulsively using drops of his own blood for chemical research or becoming engaged to be married simply to get information about a case.

His relationship with women is just as mysterious as the way he leads the rest of his life. Although he finds the motives of women ambiguous and seems to only gain joy from them because of the puzzles they bring him, he is drawn to the sultry contralto, Irene Adler. His feelings for her are never completely defined, but there is an attraction we can assume to have more depth than Holmes lets on. He is undoubtedly stimulated by her and the one time she was able to outwit him.

We never come to fully understand Sherlock Holmes, but he remains one of the most intriguing characters in literature who is both fresh and liberating. His eccentricities and erratic behavior continues to compel me to try and figure out what exactly is the force driving him. Did I forget to mention? Holmes occasionally dabs in addictive drugs, including morphine and cocaine, to help him through the drabness of existence when he isn’t vitalized by a mystery needing to be solved. Now that’s charisma, as strange and disturbing as the calmness in the eye of a hurricane.

Independent Repair Shops Can Fix Those Tricky Game Consoles

Microsoft’s recent decision to discontinue repairs for original Xbox’s no longer under warranty is merely a continuation of a trend. In fact, many customers owning Xbox consoles had already taken their business elsewhere, preferring to seek out independent repair shops when their consoles began to fail – even while their units remained under warranty. There are several reasons for this. In the case of the Xbox, customers often ended up dissatisfied with manufacturer repairs, service, or combinations thereof that were performed. This unfortunate situation has become emblematic of an industry that is willing to sacrifice long term customer satisfaction in favor of short term high volume sales of their premium ticket consoles. In fact, many industry insiders argue that game system repairs should properly be delegated to independent repair shops, because maintenance, service, and repair is certain to dangle over a manufacturer’s profits like the proverbial Damocles sword.

If so, then independent repair shops seem ready and able to fill any “fix-my-game-please” void. Sooner or later, most of these games, intricate circuitry and quality control or not, break. As for Xbox’s, these contraptions can become booby trapped with DREs, can suddenly freeze up or overheat, begin incessant “call customer service” warnings even prior to any trouble, or suddenly light up with “red light syndrome” – a techno-plague laden with signal error that can mean anything from general hardware failure (one red light) to the cancer of overheating (two red lights) to the cursed “red ring of death” (three red lights) to the flashing of four red lights – which ironically has the simplest solution – tightening or replacing a loose cable. Sony PSP game consoles and PlayStation 2 and 3 repairs are somewhat similar symptomatically, but can show their own quirkiness; such as the mournful grinding wail sometimes heard with a sick PlayStation 2 – a sound more agonizing than a toenail being pulled out. “Fix my game please, it’s broken” is becoming a more common refrain, but fortunately certified independent repair shops are there to keep those game consoles working. When your Nintendo Wii won’t let you load or eject that tricky disc, at least there’s somewhere your game can be taken to — if it’s to become “good as new” again – at least for a while.

Learn How the Barre Helps Develop Great Dancers

For every ballet dancer, the barre is as much of a necessity as their ballet shoes. Used for a multitude of stretching and strengthening exercises, the barre is more than just something to support a ballet dancer through each fluid movement. Ballet dancers use it during their slow and repetitive warm-up routine.

Beginning dancers who are starting on pointework find it useful to help strengthen their ankles while professional dancers use it to limber up. The following barre exercises are meant to build strength over time while aligning the body for correct placement.

Plies

Plies are the first exercise done in a ballet class at the barre. These movements are done to make the joints, muscles, and tendons soft and flexible. Plies are also helpful to develop a sense of balance.

Tendus

Tendus are done to articulate the joints and muscles in the feet and ankles to warm up for the remainder of the class. They also help to force the instep outward and to develop the arches.

Degage

Degages are an extension of tendus and they help further the development of the instep. This exercise also strengthens the toes and improves flexibility of the ankle joint.

Frappe

Frappes strengthen the instep and toes. They also help develop the power of elevation.

Rond de Jambe

Rond de jambe a terre works to turn out the legs from the hips and to loosen the hips. It also forces the toe well back and the heel forward. Rond de jambe en l’air is done to turn the legs out from the hips and to keep control of the core for balance.

Developpe and Fondu

Developpe is a great strengthening exercise for the abdomen, legs, and back muscles. It also improves the ability to sustain an extension of the leg in the air. Fondu works the muscles in the legs needed to improve jumping.

Grand Battement

Grand battement is the last exercise at the barre and is usually done after a stretching exercise. Grand battement limbers and strengthens the legs and hips. It creates a lightness of the legs useful for steps of high elevation. Grand battement also increases the height of leg extensions.

The barre is also a great way to get back in shape after an injury or absence from dance. No matter how you use it as a dancer, the barre is a vital tool in your dance preparation and actual performance.

Meditation – The Key to Success

Meditation is a unique and very simple way of giving rest to the mind in the most natural way. Nowadays, meditation is the most sought after remedy being adopted by one and all. But it is also most misunderstood and misinterpreted method offered by numerous self-styled gurus. Kindly do not be misled by the promotions and preaching of some of these greedy people. Instead please initiate some research on your own in this regard and find out their genuinity. Also, check your suitability before joining any group of people or an organisation.

Every human being has been gifted with a unique mind, great inner strength and energy which unlocks further when he begins meditating. It will guide him naturally on the journey forward. So, start meditating as soon as possible without much delay or waiting for a guru a sect. Practically, there is no need for someone’s help. It is very simple and easy to practice.

How To Meditate:

Sit ideal, without doing anything or thinking about anything, with your eyes closed for a few minutes everyday, preferably after a bath, swim or a workout. The body and mind become fresh and are in a natural rhythm with each other after a good bath. You may either sit on chair, on the floor with your legs crossed over or by standing still. Remember that your backbone should always be straight in any position you happen to meditate.

The whole body should not be tensed but in a relaxed state with the right posture. In the earlier days of practicing and learning meditation, introspection happens on its own. It is a natural phenomenon. Meditation is more effective when carried out in isolation without any noise or activity in the vicinity. Though there are other methods of meditation also, but this is the most effective, less time consuming and the results are far more productive and lifelong.

Meditation and Introspection are interrelated to each other. Introspection means analysis of one’s own thoughts and actions with oneself in the mind on the subconscious level. When meditation is done on daily basis introspection happens for first few minutes only. Saving of useful things and deletion of discarded information happens automatically. That is the magic of our mind.

When the mind becomes clear of its thoughts and worries, it paves the way for a smooth and direct journey into the unknown. This is where deep meditation begins on its own. It is a natural phenomenon. Just keep sitting ideal, without wandering and doing nothing at all. Just keep flowing and drifting away with the flow. Relax and enjoy each and every moment of this newly found bliss. This is the only way of reaching here. It cannot be initiated directly without getting rid of clutter, thoughts, ideas, worries or tensions from the mind.

Meditation is a way of directing the mind on the subconscious level to gradually slow down its working processes related with our mind. By this way, we provide our minds some time to take rest and relaxation. If we can meditate everyday, we can unload unimportant things from our minds on a daily basis. Though the actual duration of relaxation may vary from a few seconds to a few minutes only but still it makes a great difference. It helps in relieving numerous thoughts and worries that were blocking the mental energies to let the mind work more smoothly and efficiently. If you start practising meditation on a daily basis, you will soon feel the positive differences taking place in your life. It could be regarding your clarity in thinking, studying and learning new things. It will also greatly help in remembering and recalling information, analysis and tackling with problems, interpersonal skills and relationships, etc.

There is another method of meditation which is also suggested to people. In this method, you are supposed to meditate with your eyes wide open. All those people who are not able to meditate with their eyes closed, are suggested this method to start meditating with their eyes open. Here, people are directed to focus on a specific object. It could the either a flame of a burning candle or a black dot on the wall. Both of these should be kept at a distance of 2-3 meters which are clearly visible to eyes. There should not be any movement or noise of any kind nearby so that a proper focus can be formed. With a little practice, it becomes easy.

The main idea here is to stop engaging yourself in all other activities, sit still in a specific position and focus on an object. This method appears to be effective but here the mind is still working. Secondly, decluttering of the mind has not taken place. Initially it seems to be working. But gradually people start losing interest as it does not show them positive results even after many days. This is quite natural. Whenever you start noticing positive results from an activity, your mind will be more inclined and motivated in pursuing it further.

There are four steps to complete the meditation process:

First, is to cut the connection of the mind from the daily routine life and activities for a few minutes.

Second, is to declutter and get the mind rid from the discarded things which further unlocks the mental energies from getting wasted.

Third, is to relax the mind and direct the renewed mental energies towards the more useful pursuits.

Fourth, is to gradually cleanse, activate and energise all the seven chakras, the energy centres, of the body.

In this way, the rhythm of both the body and mind start working in totality and synchronization. This further helps to repair the various mental and physical problems developed over the years.

Neurological problems are found to be the most beneficial whose results can be noticed within a few days only.

Since meditation is not any kind o religious activity or a ritual, hence there are no rules or regulations. But there are some simple precautions so that its experience and feelings can be felt in a more positive way.

These are:

Consult your doctor if you are suffering from any physical ailment. Also, if you start feeling any kind of discomfort in sitting or standing in a position for a longer duration. But, remember that your backbone has to be straight during meditation.

Interact with a few people who have been meditating for quite some time. You will get to know its benefits, the insights that you would develop and other avenues that could possibly open up.

Meditation should be done at a Comfortable Place: There should be no foul smell of kind, shouldn’t be too hot, too cold, any unbearable humidity or moisture, should not be too brightly lit or damp dark, etc. In a nutshell, the place chosen for meditation can be a room suitable and comfortable to you. Or even some place outside in a park, nearby a lake, river or a waterfall but without any noise or other distractions.

Avoid Mediation During Discomfort: Proper rest or when whenever there arises an illness, any other discomfort or when the body and mind are extremely tired. A break in such situations proves to be beneficial in the long run.