The Dance Of Relationships

I created a new blog called The Relationship Dance. I named it such because relationships traditionally involve two or more units (be they human or otherwise), and those units seem to dance with each other, reacting to each other; moving together, then apart; liking or loving each other, in what seem like dance moves. There seems to be a musicality, a rhythm to their interactions. Those rhythms can be harmonious or jarring, fluid or jagged.

One aspect of relationships is communication. In the 4You section of our local paper on January 8, 2011, there is a column by Jackie Silver on “The Art of Communication — Music to Your Ears,” in which she gives some pointers on the finer art of “verbal” communication. I put that word in quotation marks because she precedes her discourse by invoking the book by Albert Mehrabian, “Nonverbal Communication” (Aldine Transaction), where he discusses that communication comes in many forms, where words (verbal communication) have been found to be only 7% effective in communicating the message; tone of voice was 38% effective, and nonverbal cues are an astounding 55% effective. She then proceeds to list a few ways to improve one’s verbal communication. I would like to expound on her treatise by exploring the other forms of communication, specifically, the nonverbal kind.

As many of my friends know, I have been married to a Japanese man for the past 20 years. When we met in Kobe, Japan, he spoke almost no English, and I spoke even less Japanese. Yet somehow, we were successful at communicating our nonnegotiable standards, our values and dreams for our life together. More surprisingly, we didn’t court in the traditional sense, since at the time of our meeting, he was living in Japan and I in the United States. We did not even go on an online dating sites such as Everything was happened extraordinarily and non-conventional. I know that our differences in culture, location and language would be a big barrier for us to push through with our relationship. But with patience, understanding and love, we’re able to overcome them. We spoke by phone every day, each one of us buried in our respective dictionaries. We met several times during our strange courtship, the first time in San Francisco, next in Hawaii, I then joined him in Japan over Valentine’s Day, and he came to visit me in Miami twice before I rejoined him again in Japan for our first wedding (we married again in Miami for my side of the family). All told, we spent 34 days together over that year before our wedding.

The most remarkable thing about our relationship is that I have never felt any kind of cultural difference between us; rather, we have always acknowledged that we relate to each other as human to human. Surely, there are cultural differences between a Japanese man and an Occidental woman, but those differences are negligible when considered in the totality of a relationship. One difference I can relate is his level of demonstrativeness as compared to what I would enjoy: he is more restrained. But within our everyday life, our plans, our daily dealings with the exigencies of life, our interactions are smooth and compatible. We do not grate on each other; we do not contradict each other; we do not object to each other; and we generally live harmoniously.

When we planned to meet in Hawaii over the Christmas/New Year holiday, I remember feeling quite anxious about my then boyfriend. It was to have been a two-week holiday, and I very much wanted to see how he behaved during a time of vacation: Would he drink to excess? Did he like to dance into the wee hours of the morning, and then sleep until noon? In short, did he behave in ways which would not be compatible with my own life flow. I was delightfully surprised to see that his rhythm seemed to match my own — he drank to moderation, did not stay up late just for its own sake, and generally had similar tastes when it came to recreational activities. We seemed to be compatible, all without speaking excessively.

And over the past 20 years, our life has followed a similar rhythm, where the ebb and flow seems to follow its own path, without resisting, and where we seem to know what each of us is thinking and feeling.

Which brings me to nonverbal communication. We have had our disagreements. More to the point, we have had our moments of not feeling right with each other. In other words, a tiff. I hesitate to call them disagreements, because we either see eye to eye on important matters, or simply do not bother to disagree when the subject is not earth shattering. When we do have a tiff, it is usually over something so trivial and insignificant as to not merit discussion. The only thing I would like to talk about is “what happened?” This is where our cultural differences come into the picture: He is not comfortable dissecting and rehashing what happened, while I am, especially with my background in psychology and my own exposure to American media that espouses hashing and rehashing and talking about what’s troubling us. That is my own background, but not his. Within this difference in our respective approach to a tiff, I have tried to understand his reluctance to talk things out, and frustrating as it may be, my conclusion has become that talking things out is overrated, because when you think about it, you already know what’s wrong; you already know what ticked him off; you already know why you feel irritated.

The column by Jackie Silver where she expounds on some points of verbal communication, which supposedly accounts for only 7% of effective communication, she suggests several “how-tos” that might improve your message: Refine the message, in other words, be clear on what your message is, rather than ramble on about irrelevancies; start with a positive tone, where you would say something positive about the person or situation; ask for feedback, to ensure that your message is understood; stop and listen, so you are not the only talking “at” your partner; try not to go away angry, by summing up both sides of the conversation. She suggests that one start such a conversation with a smile, to make you look warm; that you maintain eye contact; that you consider your posture, so as not to invade your partner’s space, or not seem aloof; and relax. All lofty suggestions.

I can state from personal experience that those suggestions, albeit valid, are nonetheless threatening. When one is upset, no amount of smiling will convey a message of warmth. The smile will come across as phony and insincere, “oily” and manipulative, especially if followed by a complaint. As for that complaint, I have rarely been able to sugarcoat a complaint, a point of contention. My own style is to maintain eye contact, but when I am upset, eye contact is about the last thing I want. As for finding that positive note before hammering with my “real” message, again, that smacks of manipulation. My husband has many positive traits, traits that I find admirable and lovable; traits which make me giddy with delight; traits which make me glad that he is my husband. And I have told him repeatedly how much I love them. But when it comes time to tell him verbally that I am displeased about something, bringing up his positive traits simply will not cut it. It will not be believable. For the most part, when he becomes upset with me, I may get my feathers in an uproar, but if I sit wtih myself long enough and try not to respond and react wtih my own litany of irritated behaviors, I am usually able to link back to the offending item. And he has done the same repeatedly over the years.

In the final analysis, the hardest thing of all in the effort to untangle a misunderstanding or a tiff is to just be quiet long enough for things to settle down. Not with slamming doors; not with harsh talk; and certainly not through retaliation. It is when things calm down and are back to “normal” that we have had our best success in either bursting out laughing at the silliness of it all, or exploring more in depth what was the cause of our irritation. In our case, and I suspect that is true of most people, talking things out should really be reserved for those rare occasions when there is something definite to resolve.

A Complete Grooming Kit is Essential for Your Horse’s Health and Beauty

A horse’s grooming kit can be very elaborate or just contain the basic necessities. If you are a casual horse owner who just enjoys horses and rides at home, you can follow this list for help with compiling an awesome grooming kit for your house. Whether you have one horse or many, this grooming kit will meet your everyday horse grooming needs!

You don’t need a separate grooming kit for each horse, however if you feel you want a personal bucket for every horse you own, you can easily create 4-5 kits. The upside of creating a personal grooming kit for each horse is you will not be transmitting any microorganisms from horse to horse directly. You cannot however, prevent the spread of these organisms from horse to horse throughout your farm. I would suggest making one everyday grooming kit for general use for every 3 horses you own, and a “sick horse” grooming kit for any horse that you feel may be ill. This second grooming kit could also double as a travel grooming kit.

The first thing you want to start out with to make your kit is the container. I have found the Rubbermaid buckets that are specifically made for cleaning chemical containers to be perfect for use as a grooming kit. These buckets have a handle in the middle and two sections, one on each side. I like the two sections to use one for combs and brushes and the other side for first aid type components. They do make special grooming kit buckets that may be found at a tack store, however they are quite expensive and almost identical to the cleaning buckets you find at your nearest general store. Some people also choose to use a tool bag or box for their grooming kit. These also work very well and it is nice to be able to close and latch. If you travel a lot with your horse, this may be the best option. A tool box or bag with a lid and latch or zipper prevents the contents from spilling out while in the trailer, arena or at the campsite.

After you have the bucket you feel will work best, you can begin filling it! Start with the basic brushes you will need to groom your horse. You will need a curry brush. A curry brush is a round or oval comb-like brush that has hard dull stubs that brush away the hard mud that may become coated on your horse’s coat. Curry combs come in rubber and metal. I would suggest purchasing one of each for your kit, but if you only want to buy one the rubber one is essential for everyday grooming. A metal curry comb is also very nice to have for times when your horse is very dirty. Most metal curry combs also pull apart and can double as a mane or tail comb.

The next brush you need is a hard bristled flick brush. The flick brush is used following the curry comb and will flick away any small particles of dirt. Following the hard bristled flick brush will come the soft flick brush. The soft flick brush will soften your horses coat and remove the remaining small particles of dirt or sand in your horse’s coat.

One more essential part of your horse’s grooming kit is a mane and t ail comb. They make special combs that have wide teeth for a horse’s thick mane and tail hair. These combs come in metal and plastic. I have always found the plastic ones to be sufficient and they are inexpensive so you can toss them as they wear out. The teeth do break quite often as you comb your horse’s hair, but that is ok. When there are more missing teeth that teeth left, I toss the comb and use a new one.

You will also need a hoof pick in your horse’s grooming kit. This is one of the most important tools, and if you only buy one piece of grooming equipment, this is the one to buy. Cleaning your horse’s feet is so important to their health, and a hoof pick will do the trick perfectly. These small picks are often metal and usually have a small, very hard bristled brush on the opposite end of the pick. This little brush works very well to brush the base of the hoof clean after you have cleaned it. You can also have tgis in a bearded dragon kits. This kit contains all the necessary tools and materials you need in taking good care of your pet. 

You will also want to purchase some horse mane and tail shampoo at some point to keep in or near your grooming kit. This shampoo rinses very quickly and removes grease and dirt well. You should also purchase some hoof moisturizer to keep handy for times that your horse’s hooves become dry. I like to keep a container of peroxide and iodine in my grooming kit as well as some cotton applicators. These come in handy for treating small cuts and scrapes.

Once you have completed your purchases, you can pack them all into your grooming bucket and you are ready for your next grooming session! Horses love to be groomed and the time spent combing and brushing your horse will be cherished by both parties. It is important to groom your horse before and after each ride and at least once a week if you didn’t have a chance to ride.

How to Avoid Gum Disease the Natural Way

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, approximately 80% of the adults in America have some form of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease; however, it will still cause red, swollen and tender gums. Even though this is the mildest form of periodontal disease, if left untreated gingivitis can lead to severe gum disease and even bone loss. Typical gingivitis treatment includes getting regular dental cleanings, using dental floss and bushing teeth daily. Some individuals with severe gingivitis can use electric toothbrushes and mouthwash designed to reduce plaque to help reduce the risk of gingivitis.

However, these gingivitis treatments are sometimes not enough to remove plaque and prevent or treat gingivitis. For those individuals, seeking alternative medicine for gingivitis is an option. Below are several natural treatments for gingivitis that relieve the swelling and pain associated with gum disease. They also may help reduce plaque to reduce the risk of damage from gum disease. If a person wants to loss the weight, then the consumption of the pills at site will be beneficial. The results will be as per the requirement of the person. 

Baking soda is an excellent ingredient in toothpaste for maintaining good oral hygiene. Using baking soda as a natural treatment for gingivitis can help reduce painful inflammation. Make a paste with water and baking soda, rub on gums and allow to sit for several minutes before gently rinsing. Repeat every day for best results.

Saltwater is a natural healing agent and is good for treating the symptoms of gingivitis. Use mild, warm water to dissolve table salt and gently rinse mouth several times. Repeat once a day as needed to help heal sore, inflamed gums.

Essential oils are known for their healing and antiseptic properties; therefore, they make an excellent alternative medicine for gingivitis. Myrrh, tea tree oil and thyme are all excellent choices for their antiseptic and fungicidal properties. Mix a few drops of any or all of the oils with warm water and use as a mouth rinse at least once each day.

Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to gum disease and gingivitis. This can be corrected by increasing your intake of vitamin C by eating more foods that are rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, red peppers, mango, strawberries and broccoli. You may also use vitamin C supplements but avoid chewable supplements as the acid can harm tooth enamel.

Another vitamin important for good oral health is vitamin D. Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of gum disease. Though exposure to the sun is a common source of vitamin D, the risk of skin damage makes vitamin D supplements and foods high in vitamin D good alternatives for increasing vitamin D for good oral health.

Real Estate Investing: Casey Serin And The Story Of A Flipper Gone Wrong

A few months ago I came across the blog of Casey Serin, a 24-year-old real estate flipper. It was great. Here was a guy who got approved for $2.2 million by allegedly committing mortgage fraud. Casey Serin got in at the height of the bubble, acquired at least eight properties. Apparently he was forced to sell three of them either at a small gain or loss and the other five were foreclosed upon. The best part about it was that he started a blog to tell everyone how he became a flipper, including how he was approved for the loans!

Not surprisingly, Casey Serin is no longer blogging. He sold his site, to raise a little bit of money. The new site owner put up a history of Casey Serin’s situation before shutting the blog down. Keeping all this in mind, it is really important that you pay attention to your investments when it comes to real estate. For that, you can take help from which has some of the best advice that you can get straight from real estate professionals around the globe.

The amazing thing is that Casey Serin became a bit of a celebrity. He appeared on the Suze Orman show and talked about his situation on Robert Kiyosaki’s show. Casey Serin’s career as a flipper got profiled by a lot of newspapers, including USA Today. And he became known as the world’s most hated blogger.

I love this story for a lot of reasons. Casey Serin’s the epitome of stupidity. It really is amazing how quickly he got in over his head. It’s also amazing how easy it was for him to get $2.2 million of loans with virtually no income in order to be a flipper. He had the potential to make a ton of money if only he would have found some decent properties. This is a great example of how being naïve and inexperienced can either make you or break you. For Casey Serin, he was stupid enough to try to get the loans, got them, and then was many times more stupid on what properties he purchased and when. What if, as a flipper, he would have found some properties that were undervalued, though? There are a lot of them around now that can be turned around. What if he would have been stupid enough to get the loans, but smart enough not to waste the money? That may be asking too much, but I’ve still got to give Casey Serin credit for having the balls to go after it. Yeah, he committed crimes along the way as a flipper and he is one reason why there is a huge mess right now, but the lenders are probably more culpable than him. Mark my words, this kid is going to be rich one day… somehow. Of course, he’ll probably be in jail someday too.

So friends, while I don’t condone making everyone hate you as Casey Serin did, bloggers can still be like Hollywood celebrities. Bad publicity can be good publicity… and can be great for the bottom line.