How to Plan an Irish Wedding

1.Select a date for the wedding. The last day of the year is considered an especially lucky time for an Irish marriage.
2.Choose claddagh rings for your wedding bands. These traditional Irish rings, when worn on the ring finger of the left hand with the heart facing in, tell the world your heart is taken forever.
3.Hire a piper to play at your ceremony. Contact your local St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee for help in finding one.
4.Ask a child to present a satin horseshoe to the bride at the conclusion of the ceremony. This represents good luck. Insert the horseshoe open end up (so the luck won't run out) into the bridal bouquet.
5.Honor the person who introduced you to each other with a special toast at the wedding. This tradition stems from the days when a matchmaker had that role.
6.Serve a traditional Irish wedding cake, which is a fruit cake filled with almonds, raisins, cherries and spice, and laced with brandy or bourbon. You can order this or make it yourself.
7.Sign up for ceilidh (dance) lessons for the bride and bridal party prior to the wedding to learn some Irish dances to perform at the ceremony.
8.Hire a band that can play popular Irish songs, such as "The Irish Wedding Song," "Oh Danny Boy," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and "My Favorite Irish Rose."
9.Include a song or dance that reflects your family's specific heritage.
1..Tie harvest knots out of straw and decorate them with small flowers or bells to give to guests as favors. Attach a scroll explaining the significance, which is that young Irish men traditionally gave these to their girls to show their devotion.
1..Suggest your florist weave tiny harvest knots into your bouquet. 
Save the horseshoe from the wedding as a family heirloom to pass on to your children.
Remember the Irish tradition that a sunny day is lucky, and a rainy one is not. Hope for sun on your wedding day!   

How to Play Horseshoes

1.See related How: "Set Up a Horseshoe Court" for setup instructions.
2.Divide players into two even teams, and give each team two horseshoes.
3.Flip a coin to decide which team will pitch first.
4.Have the first player from the first team pitch both horseshoes (one at a time) from anywhere behind the foul line.
5.Let the first player from the opposing team do the same, pitching toward the same stake.
6.Award 1 point for a shoe within 6 inches of the stake, or for a shoe touching the stake(often called a "leaner"); a shoe encircling the stake (a "ringer") earns 3 points. Often, amateurs choose to award 2 points for leaners.
7.Let the next two players (one from each team) pitch the shoes from the opposite side of the court back toward your side. Add their points to the first scores.
8.Alternate pitching from one end of the court to the other until all players have pitched. This constitutes an "inning."
9.Play until one team has at least 40 points at the end of an inning (for a point-limit game) or until 40 shoes have been pitched (for a shoe-limit game, in which the team with the highest score wins).
1..Play extra innings in the event of a tie. 
For adult males, the foul line is 37 feet from the target stake. For female, junior and elderly players, the foul line is 27 feet from the target stake.
A shoe is considered a ringer if a straight edge touching the two ends of the shoe clears (but doesn't touch) the stake. A shoe that's more than 6 inches away from the stake is worth no points.
There are many variations of the rules in non-professional play.    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 Talk to Your Child About Drugs

1.Be absolutely clear with your kids that you don't want them using drugs. Ever. Anywhere. Don't leave room for interpretation.
2.Talk often about the dangers and results of drug and alcohol abuse. Once or twice per year won't do it.
3.Be a better listener. Ask questions and encourage them. Paraphrase what your child says to you. Ask for your children's input about family decisions.
4.Give honest answers. Some parents who used drugs in the past choose to lie about it, but they risk losing their credibility if their children discover the truth. This does not mean that you need to recount every moment of your experience - some details should remain private.
5.Ask clarifying questions to make sure you understand exactly what your child is asking, and why, before answering questions about your past drug use, and limit your response to that information.
6.Use TV reports, antidrug commercials, news or school discussions about drugs to help you introduce the subject in a natural, unforced way.
7.Don't react in a way that will cut off further discussion. If your child makes statements that challenge or shock you, turn them into a calm discussion of why your child thinks people use drugs, or whether the effect is worth the risk.
8.Role-play with your child and practice ways to refuse drugs and alcohol in different situations. Acknowledge how tough these moments can be. 
It's never too early to show that you take your kids seriously; the questions will come as soon as they learn to talk.
Showing your willingness to listen will make your child feel more comfortable about opening up to you.
Although virtually all parents in America (98 percent) say they've talked with their children about drugs, only 27 percent of teens - roughly one in four - say they're learning a lot at home about the risks of drugs.   

How to Write a Letter to an Anti-Gay Legislator

1.Understand that the chances of the lawmaker actually reading your letter are very small, but someone on staff will probably at least glance at it. And your letter will likely be included in a count of letter writers and their positions.
2.Decide if you want to send your letter through the mail or by e-mail. While e-mail is quicker and cheaper, a paper letter can have more impact.
3.Type your letter in most cases, but don't be afraid to handwrite it if you're telling a brief personal story. Handwritten letters sometimes get more attention.
4.Say whether you are one of the legislator's constituents or not.
5.Mention the specific bill or issue and your position, as clearly as possible, early in the letter.
6.Make your position extremely clear, and specifically say that you oppose the lawmaker's position, if that's the case. It's not uncommon for writers to get back the wrong form letter in response, meaning their letters were counted as supporting something they don't really support.
7.Be clear about your sexual orientation, particularly if you are straight. Straight people who side with gays and lesbians can be more persuasive than gays - but you should be honest about your orientation in all cases.
8.Tell a personal story related to the issue, if you have one, but keep it short. A personal story can be very compelling, but no one will read the letter if it goes on forever.
9.Thank the reader for her time, but again, be brief. A simple, "Thanks for taking time to hear my comments," should be just fine.
1..Stick to less than one typewritten page. Ideally, there should be at least a couple of inches of space left at the bottom of the page.
1..Resist the temptation to rant and rave, even if you're angry. Angry letters say more to readers about your state of mind than about the issue itself, and that's not what you want.
1..Expect a response. Lawmakers work for their constituents, and you should expect at least a form letter in response. If you don't get one, send a brief note with a copy of the original letter letting the office know you're paying attention. 
Watch the newspaper and TV news for information about how legislators are voting and what they're saying, then write letters to the ones who get your attention - in either a positive or negative way.
Keep a file of your letters and their responses so you can document your efforts. It's easy to get discouraged if your favorite letter target never changes opinions, but at least your records of letters sent document the fact that you've tried as hard as you can to do your part.
Consider rewriting your letter a bit and sending it to a newspaper as a letter to the editor. 

How to Research Salary Ranges and Benefits for a Flight Attendant

1.Accept that the annual median salary for flight attendants is $12,800 for beginners, $19,000 for six-year veterans and $40,000 for senior attendants. Pay is for flight time only, not time spent working on the ground.
2.Conduct online research for possible differences in salaries, schedules and benefits among several airlines.
3.Be prepared for frequent assignments away from your home base. Your lodging and meals will be covered by the airline. Bring along phone cards to keep in touch with family and friends.
4.Set aside money to buy your uniforms. You will be given an allowance for dry cleaning.
5.Choose a medical benefits package carefully. You will be expected to contribute to the premium via payroll deductions. 
Tips: Remember that you will receive extra pay if you travel at night or on international flights.  
Warnings: Expect to work on some major holidays.   

How to Defend Against a Two-Handed Chest Grab

1.Lower your left hand to protect your groin from a kick.
2.Hold your palm facing down with the thumb side toward you.
3.Lift the same hand after a brief pause and grab the outside of the attacker's left forearm, just below the elbow.
4.Push down to lock it.
5.Make a fist with your right hand, and swing your right elbow around quickly to strike the attacker in the face.
6.Run away as your attacker struggles to recover. 
Tips: Always try to avoid a conflict if at all possible. If you can't avoid a conflict, escape at the first opportunity. 
Warnings: Self-defense techniques can cause severe injury. Be cautious when you practice with a partner. If confronted by an attacker, always try to escape first. 

How to Organize the Layout of a Web Page

1.Sum up the main focus of your Web site in one brief, descriptive sentence. (For example, "Provide simple yet complete how-to information on a wide variety of subjects.")
2.Use this focus sentence to determine the site design and features. If something doesn't support the site's goals, question its necessity. (That animation may be very cool, but is it relevant?)
3.Lay out the Web site pages using the advertiser’s standby: storyboards. Gather several sheets of blank paper.
4.Write "Home Page" in large letters on top of the first sheet. Sketch or write the images and text you wish to appear on this page.
5.Create a sheet for each Web page in your site. Use headings such as Products, Contact Information and Related Links.
6.Use the same general layout and theme for each page. Keeping the background, colors and button styles the same makes your site easy to navigate for viewers.
7.Evaluate whether or not you need certain pages. (Do your visitors really need to know the biographies of all your company's senior staff?) More pages on your Web site mean visitors can get lost more easily; try to limit yourself to only the pages you need.
8.Consolidate as much information as you can; use target links (links within a site) if necessary. Don’t overload a page with information, but don’t force viewers to jump from page to page.
9.Add a navigation bar to each page. The navigation bar, or buttons, should allow the user to access the home page and other important pages from any of your Web pages.
1..Use a single sheet of paper to flowchart your planned pages. At the top of the page, draw a box representing the home page.
1..Add boxes to represent the remaining pages and make sure each page connects to the other in some way. Each box (or page) should link back to the home page. 
Tips: Remember that many Web surfers still use 28.8 bps modems. Organize and design your site so that each page downloads quickly for all users.    

How to Buy a Bow

1.Determine for what purpose you are going to be using the bow. Will you be target shooting? Hunting? Maybe both? Target bows are generally longer with lighter draw weights, since you may be shooting many shots in a short time and the strength of the shot is not critical. Hunting bows are shorter with heavy draw weights, as you may only shoot one or two shots a day, but the power of those shots is very important. If you plan to do both, you will have to make some compromises.
2.Consider the size, age and strength of the archer.
3.Check the draw length of the bows. This is the distance the string pulls back. Completely drawn, the string should reach to just behind your jawbone. Some compound bows have adjustable draw lengths. Ask at the store.
4.Check the draw weight of the bow. Choose a bow that you find fairly easy to pull back. Realize that after several shots, your arms will begin to get tired.
5.Realize that bow length is important, even though is has very little to do with draw weight or draw length. On a target bow, length matters very little, but if you are hunting, a long bow can be cumbersome to carry through the woods.
6.Check out the many different types of bows. Compound bows have mechanical pulleys that make it harder to pull back initially, but then pull back easier once fully drawn. These are the most popular type of bows today, as they are the easiest to aim and are the most versatile. However, most archery competitions do not allow compound bows. Recurve and reflex bows are more traditional and usually a lot less expensive than compound bows. The further you pull back a recurve, the harder it gets. Recurves are better for beginning target shooters. 
Try out a couple different bows at an archery range before you purchase one. Ask a lot of questions before you buy your bow.
Be sure to pull back the bow several times before you make your purchase, to be certain the fit is right. 
Warnings: Shoot your bow only at a designated archery range.   

How to Tell if Your Cat Needs Medical Care

1.Watch your cat closely. Become familiar with his normal habits and patterns of activity. The slightest variation may indicate the beginning of illness or disease.
2.Read books and magazines about cat care. Learn what is normal cat behavior.
3.Learn to monitor your cat's heart rate and respiratory rate and to take his temperature. Normal is 101.5 degrees F.
4.Listen to his chest with a stethoscope placed on his rib cage, behind the front leg, noting his normal resting heart rate of 100 to 200 beats per minute.
5.Observe his normal respiration at rest: 20 to 60 breaths per minute. Cats rarely pant unless they are in extreme heat, overly excited, unduly stressed or in pain.
6.Groom him daily (cats love this), checking for masses, swellings and sensitive areas.
7.Take note if your cat refuses food or water, is lethargic or seems reluctant to play. These are often the first symptoms of illness. Sick cats become dehydrated quickly, so a prompt response is essential.
8.Take your cat's temperature if he seems listless. Even the slightest elevation in temperature can account for a change in behavior.
9.Call your veterinarian for advice if you notice symptoms such as sneezing, runny eyes or nose or labored breathing, which can indicate a respiratory illness.
1..Be alert to coughing or hacking. These symptoms could mean just a hairball, but if they persist, call your veterinarian.
1..See a veterinarian immediately if your cat is straining to urinate or defecate. Urinary tract infections are painful. They are often accompanied by deep vocalization or howling and licking at the genital area. 
Cats are finicky eaters, so refusal to eat a new food may not indicate illness.
Ask the kids. They often observe things that busy adults overlook.
Call your veterinarian as soon as you think your cat is sick. Delaying the call often leads to greater risk, prolonged recovery time and increased expense. 
Use caution when handling a sick cat. He may react suddenly and bite or scratch when he normally would not do so.
Violent retching, attempting to vomit and panting are symptoms of serious illness or pain in cats, so call your veterinarian immediately.
Urinary obstruction in male cats is life threatening and should be treated as a true medical emergency.   

How to Replace Spark Plugs

Removing the Old Spark Plugs
1.Pull the hood release lever located under the dashboard.
2.Walk around to the front of the car, reach under the hood, find the latch and squeeze it. Open the hood.
3.Find the spark plugs, located in a row along one side of the engine (on an in-line four-cylinder engine) and attached to thick wires, called spark plug wires. Cars with V-shaped engines (which can have four, six or eight cylinders) will have spark plugs and spark plug wires on both sides of the engine. Image a.)
4.Change one spark plug at a time, always putting the plug wire back on before changing the next spark plug (see warning below).
5.Pull off one spark plug wire where it attaches to the plug. There is a little rubber boot at the plug end of the wire; pull on this part. Pulling higher up on the wire can damage the spark plug wire and cause it to separate. Image b.)
6.Blow or wipe away any dirt or debris around the spark plug. You do not want anything to fall into the cylinder while the spark plug is out.
7.With the spark plug socket and a ratchet, remove the spark plug by turning it in a counterclockwise direction. You may need an extension for your ratchet if the spark plugs are deep-set or not directly accessible. Ratchets with flexible heads are especially helpful for hard-to-reach spark plugs. Image c.)
8.Check the spark plug to make sure it needs replacing. A good spark plug should be lightly coated with greyish brown deposits. If heavy deposits are present, if the spark plug is black or if the electrode or core nose are damaged, the plug needs to be replaced. click photos to enlarge  
Your socket set should have a "spark plug socket" (usually with a little padding/grip inside it) just for spark plugs.
Make sure the car is off and let the engine cool before changing the spark plugs. 
Warnings: Change one spark plug at a time, putting the wire back on after you're done. If you pull all the wires off at once, you may put them back on the wrong spark plugs; this changes the firing order, and your car will run badly or not at all. If you must take all the wires off at once, label them with white correction fluid or with masking tape and a marker. 
Gapping the New Spark Plugs

9.Find the chart listing the proper "gap" for your plugs in your car's repair manual. The spark plug gap may also be on the sticker on the inside of the car's hood. The parts store can provide you with this specification as well. Image a.)
1..Insert the spark plug gapping tool in the gap between the metal center electrode and the metal side electrode of the plug's tip. Image b.)
1..Look at the tool's ruled edge and find the gap's measurement. If it is too big, bend the spark plug's end with the tool to widen the gap. To make the gap smaller, push the side electrode (the metal part at the very top) against a hard service. Image c.)
1..After adjusting, measure again. Repeat this procedure until the gap matches the specification listed in your car's manual.
1..Repeat with each plug. click photos to enlarge  
Tips: Spark plug gap specifications are listed in inches and/or millimeters. The gapper will have inches on one side and millimeters on the other. 
Warnings: Make sure you buy the right spark plugs for your car based on its model, make and year.  
Installing the New Spark Plugs

1..Hand-tighten each spark plug in place. If you feel any resistance, stop and start over to prevent cross-threading. Image b.)
1..Tighten the plugs with a socket wrench until snug. Do not overtighten. Image c.)
1..Replace the spark plug wires. Usually, you will hear a soft pop when the plug wire snaps onto the plug.
1..Start the engine. Listen. If the engine runs roughly or doesn't start, make sure the wires are pushed all the way onto the new plugs. click photos to enlarge  
Tips: Improperly gapped plugs will make your car run roughly, start poorly and have bad gas mileage.