How to Date a Leo

1.Give Leos the respect they deserve and they'll notice you right off the bat. Leos are the royalty of the zodiac. Behave accordingly.
2.Let your Leo be the center of attention. They're dramatic beings and will love it - karaoke, anyone?
3.Take your Leo to the opera. She'll enjoy dressing to the nines and making a grand entrance. Leos like glamour, but won't get lost in it.
4.Keep in mind that recognition and praise are greatly appreciated. Leos tend to be generous souls, emotionally and otherwise. Acknowledge them.
5.Be careful. If you insult or offend your Leo, he may never feel the same about you. But Leos are warm and friendly people, and if you are in their inner circle, you'll be treated very well.
6.Throw a dinner party in your Leo's honor. 
Your date is a Leo if he or she was born between July 23 and August 22.
Remember, we're all unique individuals, and there is a lot more to a person's astrological makeup than a sun sign.
Getting to know another person takes time. Pay attention, and if you're unsure about what your date wants, ask. Consideration, reliability and kindness count for a lot.
If you know your date's ascendant, or rising sign, read the How for that sign as well.   

How to Work With a Builder

1.Check out any builder or contractor before you sign any contracts. Ask for references and contact them on your own, without the builder present.
2.Make sure the builder is completely familiar with the building site as well as the house plans before the final price is quoted.
3.Retain an attorney experienced in reviewing building contracts to thoroughly review the contract before you sign.
4.Check the project's progress frequently and discuss anything that seems incorrect. Unless any problems are quickly and easily resolved, send your comments to the builder in writing via certified mail. Note that this is to maintain proper records only, and these comments should be written in a pleasant and not argumentative tone.
5.Make sure any changes are recorded in writing, including full details and costs involved. Do this even if you discuss it with the builder and he or she says "no problem."
6.Make sure that after the project is complete you provide written notice of items requiring repair or correction. 
Try to make your selections (tile, cabinets, and so forth) as far in advance as possible to avoid unwanted delays.
Try to make as few changes as possible during construction. Change orders entail significant overhead for the builder and they will add considerably to your costs. 
Though you will probably not be able to retain an experienced builder without paying some type of deposit, always attempt to minimize the amount you have to pay ahead of work being complete.
If you have any serious disputes with your builder, consult your attorney immediately. Do not take any action on your own - your contract may set forth a specific procedure. Do not risk breaching the contract yourself through ill-advised actions.   Steps:
1.Ask your loan agent if the loan she has recommended for you has a prepayment penalty.
2.Ask if you can buy out the prepayment penalty. Usually, if you pay an additional point or two, the lender will allow you to buy out or buy down the prepayment penalty. (A point is 1 percent of the amount of the loan.)
3.Ask the lender if there are any other programs you qualify for that don't require a prepayment penalty.
4.Choose the loan with the shortest prepayment penalty term. Consider your future and decide how long you plan to live in your home. 
If You Already Have a Loan With a Prepayment Penalty and Want to Get Out of It

5.Read your loan note. This document will tell you the exact terms and length of your prepayment period.
6.Consider your reason for wanting to get rid of your prepayment penalty. Do you want to refinance to get a lower rate? Are you moving? If you are moving, are you being transferred or is it a voluntary move?
7.Contact your current lender. If you want to refinance, consider using some negotiating tactics; they won't always work, but it can't hurt to try. Tell your lender that you have a loan that has a prepayment penalty and you would like to refinance, but don't want to get stuck with paying the penalty. Remind the lender that, since it currently holds your mortgage, you would like to give it the opportunity to keep the loan. (If it does refinance for you, make sure you get a loan without a prepayment penalty.)
8.Contact your employer if you are being transferred. Employers often offer a moving package that will pay for most or all of your moving and sale costs, and sometimes includes the payment of any prepayment penalties. 
Overall Tips:
If you do have to pay the prepayment penalty, remember that the additional interest paid is deductible as standard mortgage interest.
Adjustable-rate mortgages typically have a prepayment penalty; fixed-rate loans usually do not.
Paying additional monies toward your principal usually does not trigger the prepayment penalty unless you pay more than 20 percent (or whatever percentage your lender states) at any one time.   

How to Be a Better Listener

1.Position yourself so that you can be engaged with your spouse and the conversation: Face your spouse and make eye contact. If you are doing something else (for example, typing or reading the paper), stop.
2.Close the door to minimize interruptions and let your partner know you’re willing to listen.
3.Pay attention to your spouse’s words. Stop daydreaming and letting your mind wander elsewhere.
4.Pay attention to nonverbal cues: Notice pitch, tone and inflection. Observe facial expressions and posture. Is your partner slouched, turned away from you, or sitting with his arms crossed? These postures may indicate that he is upset - try to find out why.
5.Be conscious of your spouse’s personality - and your history together - when you’re evaluating her words.
6.Try to determine what your spouse wants from you, even if it’s not explicitly stated. Sympathy? Advice?
7.Try to rid yourself of biases or preconceptions that can distort what you hear or your understanding of it.
8.Avoid interrupting the speaker before he is done talking. You might be thought rude, but more important, you might misinterpret what your partner is saying if you don’t let him finish.
9.Respond appropriately. Encourage your partner with an understanding nod or say “I see” or “That makes sense.”
1..Ask questions to clarify what you don’t understand and to demonstrate your interest. Open-ended questions (such as “How did that make you feel?”) promote further discussion. 
Your questions and comments reflect how closely you have been listening. Good listeners might incorporate bits of what the speaker has said, sometimes much earlier in the discussion, into their questions.
Keep an open mind and avoid jumping to conclusions. 
Avoid turning the focus of the conversation onto you. For example, if your spouse is trying to confide a personal problem, avoid saying “That’s just like the time I ...” and digressing into unhelpful stories about yourself or your own problems.
Avoid trying to plan your next comment while the other person is talking - this can detract from listening and hearing.
Don’t let your emotions cloud what the other person is saying.   

How to Eat Before a Marathon

1.Stick with a high-carbohydrate diet. This includes breads, pasta, cereals, and fruits and vegetables.
2.Watch fat consumption. Excessively fatty foods fill the stomach and the fat cells, but leave the muscles less fueled.
3.Don't stuff yourself. You will be training less and eating the same. This way, the calories you would normally expend during training can be used to fuel your muscles.
4.Eat a familiar breakfast one to three hours before the start of the race.
5.Drink plenty of fluids on marathon morning. Drink several glasses up to two hours before the marathon, then tank up again 5 to 15 minutes before the starting gun.
6.Have a cup of coffee if that is your habit, but watch caffeine consumption. Keep in mind that caffeine contributes to water loss. 
Expect a little weight gain the week before the race. Three or four pounds should not cause panic. This weight gain reflects water weight, and is a sign your muscles are well-saturated with carbohydrates.
Abstain from wine, beer and alcoholic beverages the night before the race, because they have a dehydrating effect.
Eat a little too much rather than too little the evening before the race. It is better to err with too much. You will learn the right balance with practice.   
Overall Warnings: If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. 

How to Be a Valentine's Day Romantic in a Politically Correct World

For Personages of the Male Gender
1.Make your own bed. Throw on some decorative pillows.
2.Leave her a Valentine on top of the toilet seat so that she knows you remembered where that seat belongs.
3.Pen discreet meditations as love notes may not be apropos.
4.Think carefully before you give her a card bearing the words "Babe" or "Chick" anywhere.
5.Refrain from being a conversational minimalist. Say you love her.
6.Ask to be allowed to express your inner chivalry by offering her a gift.
7.Offer to cook her dinner. Warn her if the dinner is microwave-compatible.
8.Be careful of committing fragrance abuse. Too much cologne is inappropriate.
9.Reconsider candy as a gift. She may be a metabolic underachiever.
1..Forget the toupee. Michael Jordan and Patrick Stewart know women go for men who are follicularly challenged.
1..Ask for directions before you take her to a romantic restaurant. Valentine's Day is not the right time to seek out a sequence of alternative destinations. 
For Personages of the Female Gender

1..Remember, all men are not monogamy-challenged. Some are willing to make a commitment.
1..Pick prospective companions carefully, avoiding motivationally deficient or sexually focused, chronologically enhanced individuals. Who needs lazy bums or dirty old men?
1..Feel free to ask him intimate questions like, "What are you thinking about?," "Do I look fat?," "Am I the prettiest woman you've ever been with?"
1..Invite him to Valentine's supper at a sports bar.
1..Give in to outdated social pressures and undergo a temporary stubble reduction on your lower limbs.
1..Be patient even if you are experiencing rebellious-follicle syndrome. He won't notice you're having a bad hair day.
1..Remember, males often inadvertently reschedule arrival time, but they are rarely late.
1..Order his dinner for him without asking what he prefers. Quiche is always appropriate.
2..Be prepared to pay for the meal. Your companion may be an involuntarily leisured, negative saver.  
Overall Tips:
If he's a contractor, tell him you're interested in housing starts.
If she's a banker, say she raises your interest.
If he's an architect, say you like his plans.
If she's an attorney, tell her you like her motions.
If he's a pharmacist, ask him to fill your prescription.
If she's a computer programmer, tell her you like her software.   
Overall Warnings: Extremists have made political correctness a joke, but every person deserves respect as an individual. Valentine's Day is no excuse to engage in sexist behavior. 

How to Pack for an International Backpacking Trip

1.Choose your backpack carefully, and plan to pack only as much as you can comfortably carry on your own within one pack.
2.Consider purchasing a large duffel bag in which to put your backpack when checking it on flights or carrying it on public transport. This will protect your bag and straps from damage, as well as deter against theft.
3.Consult Web sites and guidebooks for suggested packing lists tailored to the country you will be visiting and the activities you will be participating in.
4.Talk to your physician or a travel doctor for a suggested list of medications and first-aid items.
5.Make your own packing list after doing your research and stick with it.
6.Pack clothing that is essential and avoid items that you may need only once or are bringing "just in case." Choose fabrics that can be washed by hand easily and be dried on a line; don't bring items that require dry cleaning or ironing.
7.Bring items that are in good condition and are of good enough quality to withstand many washings and wearings. Choose colors that can be mixed and matched, preferably colors that won't show stains.
8.Plan on layering clothing if you will need to dress for warmth, rather than packing bulky warm items. Try out your layering system before making final packing decisions and make certain you can easily fit items over one another.
9.Roll your clothing into tight tubes to use packing space most efficiently and to keep clothes from wrinkling.
1..Separate your clothing and other items into different-colored stuff sacks by categories such as "socks and underwear," "pants," "warm layers," "gifts." This will make it easier to locate items without having to unpack everything.
1..Use airtight freezer bags for anything that may leak or spill. Anything liquid or gel-like will most likely end up oozing out during your flight. 
Tips: Bring only two or three paperbacks for pleasure reading because you can always swap with other backpackers along the way. If traveling with people you know, consult with them before the trip so that you don't carry duplicate books. 

How to Find a Hindu Mate Online

1.Do a keyword search online to find sites that post Hindu marriage classifieds. Try different combinations of words, such as marriage, matrimonial, Hindu, Indian, mate, match, and so forth, until you find what you are looking for.
2.Check out the range of options that exist by browsing through a number of sites. Look for the ads that interest you most. Realize that some sites are more geared toward matrimony, while others are designed primarily for simply meeting people.
3.Look for special free offers. Many online Hindu matchmaking services will let you try them at no cost.
4.E-mail a few of the people who have posted advertisements that you like. Be polite in your message, but don't be afraid to express your own personality.
5.Take out your own advertisement on the site of your choice.
6.Participate in discussion forums on the sites to share your views about issues you care about and to meet other participants online.
7.Take advantage of the flexibility that the Internet offers to visit the Web sites according to your own schedule.
8.Set up a screening process for yourself to weed out people who don't interest you and to hone in on those whom you would like to get to know better.
9.Arrange a phone or in-person date with someone you've exchanged e-mails with a few times to find out if you are compatible. 
The Internet is generally a more informal way to meet people than newspaper classifieds.
Many people like the anonymity of e-mailing other singles.
Internet services offer Hindu men and women the option of choosing their own mates rather than having their parents select someone for them. 
Warnings: Remember to always be cautious when giving out personal information on the Internet or meeting someone new.   

How to Play With a 2-Month-Old Baby

1.Place a rattle in her hand. She will learn to recognize that the rattle is there, and sometimes she'll shake it or bring it to her mouth. Make sure to give each of her hands a turn.
2.Attach an activity center over her crib. Change the objects on it from time to time. Keep in mind that a 2-month-old likes bright colors, interesting shapes and things that move easily.
3.Let her splash her hands and feet in her warm bathwater. Pat her dry afterward so she can learn about her world through her sense of touch.
4.Gently place her on a beach ball, with her tummy resting on the ball. Lace your hands on her hips and rock her back and forth; most babies will find this soothing.
5.Move a hand puppet up and down, back and forth, and in a circle within her line of vision. This will help to develop her visual skills.
6.Put a puppet on your finger and let her watch it dance. The sillier looking the puppet, the more she's likely to enjoy it. 
Respect your baby's cues. If a particular activity seems to stress her out or frustrate her, stop and give it a try another day.
Remember that all babies develop at different speeds, usually with spurts and plateaus. 
Warnings: Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's development.   Steps:
1.Put him on his tummy on the floor. Roll a ball about 2 feet in front of him. With a little practice he'll be able to coordinate his eye and hand movements and reach toward the ball.
2.Ring a bell while he's watching, and then ring it again just out of his line of vision. See if he'll turn and search for the bell with his eyes.
3.Play music with a strong rhythm. Try a variety songs - fast, slow, loud, soft - and soon your baby will learn to recognize the difference.
4.Bring your baby outside. Place him under a tree, and he'll enjoy listening to the leaves, watching light and shadow, and seeing birds and airplanes go by.
5.Sew a bell securely into a wristband and put it on his wrist or leg. Noticing the sound it makes when he moves will help him develop body awareness and eye-hand coordination. 
Respect your baby's cues. If a particular activity seems stressful or frustrating, stop and give it a try another day.
Remember that all babies develop at different speeds, usually with spurts and plateaus. 
Warnings: Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's development.   Steps:
1.Give your baby two squeak toys, one for each hand. Watch to see if she looks at the hand that's doing the squeaking. When she's older, she'll be able to squeeze both at the same time.
2.Play peekaboo: Put a blanket over your head and come out with a "boo." Or try placing your hands over your baby's eyes, and then lift them off with a smile.
3.Build a cardboard hill and roll a wheeled toy down the ramp. After a while, she'll begin to anticipate the crash as the toy slides down the hill.
4.Play with a rattle: Hold it so she can reach for it with one hand, and then the other. Move it closer and farther away, higher and lower, so she can work on her reaching and grasping.
5.Take off her clothes and let her move about on a firm, flat surface wearing only a diaper. Free from the restrictions of clothing and covers, she'll be able to perform her finest gymnastics.
6.Tape-record her babbling and then play it back for her. See how she reacts to her own voice. Try recording your voice, and watch her response when your voice comes from the tape recorder and not your mouth.
7.Blow some bubbles: She'll enjoy watching them float through the air. 
Let your baby be your guide when selecting activities: What new skills is she working on? What sorts of toys engage her attention? What makes her smile?
If a particular activity seems stressful or frustrating, stop and give it a try another day.
Remember that all babies develop at different speeds, usually with spurts and plateaus. 
Warnings: Consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's development.   

How to Time Your Trip to Seattle

General Considerations
1.Travel here in the months of July and August and you might catch the dry season. Seattle summers are warm, often sunny and always variable. Because of its proximity to the Pacific, Seattle's yearly climate is temperate and misty, but it receives less rainfall than its reputation suggests.
2.Keep in mind that the average July high is 75 degrees F and the average January low is 35 degrees F.
3.Pick up a copy of the morning-edition Seattle Post-Intelligencer or the evening-edition Seattle Times. The best entertainment listings are found in The Seattle Weekly.
4.Take care of your flight, transportation and accommodations (see Related Hows).
5.Check Seattle's weather forecast shortly before leaving - but always pack your rainy-weather gear. 
Seasonal Events and Attractions

6.Glide into Seattle's Museum of Flight, just south of the city. This is the largest air and space museum next to the one in Washington, DC. Seattle is also home to Boeing Aircraft and the Space Needle - the dominant feature in the city's famous skyline.
7.Wander around Capitol Hill, with its great selection of clubs, restaurants and boutiques.
8.Take in some of Seattle's abundant natural beauty at the aptly named Discovery Park, a 500-acre paradise of cliffs, woods and wildlife.
9.Motor in to the Fish Expo, held every November. This is an enormous convention for the commercial marine industry, with equipment sure to catch more than your eye.
1..Aim to spend a day at the Bumbershoot Festival (Sept 1-4, 2000), in the downtown Seattle Center. This is a 30-year tradition of visual, literary, culinary and musical arts.
1..Experience the Seafair Festival, which has been making summers on Seattle's Puget Sound a blast for more than 50 years. Expect air shows, food fairs, dancing and all kinds of boat races - including the impressive hydroplanes.
1..Peruse the Pike Place Market at First Avenue and Pike Street, a very unusual strip of fishmongers, bakeries, street entertainers and craft vendors. The highly addictive Dungeness crabs are a must.
1..Take a ferry to one of the many islands and ports in the Puget Sound. The coast off Seattle is host to some of the most beautiful landscapes in America, complete with rain forests, old pioneer towns, and shimmering rock faces. 
Check out the baseball Mariners in their new state-of-the-art digs, Safeco Field.
Seattle still boasts streetcars, but it has a manageable downtown, so bring your raincoat and walk around. 
Warnings: Don't ride public transportation late at night. It's inefficient and can be dangerous if you don't know where you're going. Take a cab if you're alone.   

How to Use Mental Focus in Your Marathon Training

1."Be truly motivated to train for a marathon," says marathon legend Grete Waitz. "Do it for yourself, not on a bet or because 'everyone else does'."
2.Use your mind. Even though your body does the work of running, your mind can help the training go better.
3.Stay relaxed. Do this by self-talk and mental tricks, such as breaking up the distance into smaller segments. For example, tell yourself, "Take it five miles at a time." Focus on each segment separately.
4.Keep up the pace. Mark off a mile segment that you can use to check your time at the beginning, middle, or near the end of your training run.
5.Coach yourself with comments like, "relax and flow" and "keep it steady." On uphill climbs, for example, remind yourself to "shorten your stride, lift those knees."
6.Use imagery. Visualize yourself in the actual marathon, running strongly and successfully.
7.Concentrate. It's okay to let your mind wander at times, but practice bringing it into the here and now. Focus on your pace, your breathing, or the weather. 
Use these techniques in all practice runs - even recovery runs - and eventually they'll be automatic.
Acknowledge your fears and nervousness. This is part of the challenge. After you accept them, try to release them.
Practice drinking and eating in training in preparation for the marathon.
Train with a group or a friend for inspiration and support. 
Overall Warnings: If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.