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Friday, May 31, 2013

Orange-Glazed Strawberry Cupcakes


                                                       Makes 12 servings

1-2/3              cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4              teaspoons baking powder
1/4                 teaspoon salt
8                    tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3                 cup sugar
1                    large egg plus 1 large egg white
8                    tablespoons (1/2 cup) orange juice 
1/2                 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries 
1                    cup confectioners' sugar  Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.

1 .         Cream butter and sugar with a mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and egg white until well combined. With mixer on low, beat in half of flour mixture. Beat in 6 Tbsp. orange juice, then add remaining flour mixture and beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gently fold in chopped strawberries.
2 .         Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each until almost full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
3 .         Make glaze: In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. orange juice until smooth. If glaze is too thick, stir in additional juice, making sure to add only 1 tsp. at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Glaze should be loose enough to spread easily on cupcakes, but not so thin that it drips.
4 .      Remove cupcakes from pan and top evenly with glaze. Let cool completely on rack, about 1 hour. Garnish each cupcake with a strawberry half, if desired.
TIP :
Top strawberry-filled cupcakes with a sweet orange juice glaze and top with a fresh strawberry for brighr and cheery springtime dessert.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Great recipe


Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I have three wonderful young adult children . The oldest 2  girls both recently graduated  from college  and are living at home  working and saving money .
The girls were not particularly interested  in dating  until recently .
The oldest met a guy  at work  and has fallen hard . She's always been family oriented , but for the pass three months  , all she wants  to do is be with this guy 24/7 . She spends  most nights  at his place  and we don't see her at all on the weekends .
This behavior does not sit well with me . I don't think it's a good idea to spend the night with your boyfriend  so early in the relationship . I also don't like she ddisregards her family , especially her younger sister  with whom she had a special relationship .
My position is , if she's still living at home , she should come home to sleep . She can run round with this guy the rest of the day .
I understand I may have some old fashioned values  , but allowing my daughter  to live  with her boyfriend  on a part-time basis shows no respect  for my position  and is hard for me  to swallow . I normally have a great relationship with her , but I haven't seen or spoken to her in more that three weeks .
I'm concerned  that if I ask her to have dinner  with us  more often  and spend time wirh rhen family on weekends  , she will resent it and it willl make  matters worse .Am I out of line ?
Concerned Dad
Dear Dad,
be careful , Dad . Your daughter is now a grown woman . The lack of prior dating could be one reason why she is so over the moon  for the new boyfriend .You apparently don't object to her having sex . You simply miss the girl  she used to be .
It's OK for you to say you don't wish to subsidize  her living  with her boyfriend  , but I hope you will do so in a loving way , letting her know  you miss her at dinnertime . But I also recommend  you invite the boyfriend to join  you for meals  and weekend activities . This will not only encourange  your daughter's participation , but it will not only  encourange your daughter's participation , but it will allow  you to get to know the man who may become your son-in-law .
Maxy

Dear Maxy,
My oldest sister is very selfish . She has three children  but never wants to spend time with them . My sister is in her early forties  and acts as if she is 16 . She is only concerned  with herself  and what others can do for her .
She and her husband  are always going out  and foisting their children on everyone else . When we don't watch her  kids , she gets angry and then tells the kids we don't love them . Unfortunately , my sister  lives in the same town as my parents . I'll like to visit my folks , but I'll like to avoid my sister . Is that wrong ?
Helpless Sibling
Dear  Sibling ,
I know it will be difficult  , but I urge you to remain civil  to your sister  for the sake of her children . They need you . Since you don't live nearby , her selfishness  should be manageable  in small does  on rare occasions . Please try .
Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I am in an inter-racial relationship . I date  a black woman  with kids . We've been together for almost two years  and my family doesn't agree with the relationship .
They think we should break up . We really love each other  and her family seems to like me  and is accepting  of the relationship . My family doesn't feel the same way  and wishes things was different . I don't know what to do . Any suggestions ?
Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken,
It is embarrassing  to learn that peiople  in our country  continue  to have discriminatory thoughts  and feeling  about people of other  races . I can only imagine how challenging  this is for you .
Because  it is your family  that is against your relationship , I can see  how tough it must be  for you to build  your relationship and have peace .
You need to figure out what you want . If you believe that you  , your girlfriend  and her children  have a future  together , claim that  and let your family know .
Maxy

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Health Store Supplements Not All They're Cracked Up to Be


 

There’s a tendency to divide the world of pills in two: evil pharmaceuticals and nice supplements. When we’re looking at the outrageous claims on the labels of supplements—that they’ll help us lose weight, clear-up acne, live long lives—we somehow forgot that the natural-health business is a business like any other, and that in Canada, while there are loose regulations around these products, they are not necessarily safe or effective.

Unlike pharmaceuticals—which admittedly have their own evidence problems—”natural” pills don’t undergo rigorous testing before they reach the market. So some of the claims about them are simply lies or not based in good science. As Dr. Edzard Ernst, one of the world’s foremost experts on the evidence for alternative complementary medicine said, “It is a myth to assume that the supplement industry behaves any differently from any other industry. It is about making money, and all too often people are less than responsible in the pursuit of this aim.”

The good news is that there is strong evidence to either back or refute some common notions about supplements.  Research was carried out to identify indications for capsules that have compelling science behind them. Here’s an abbreviated guide to supplements:

Antioxidants for preventative health
Don’t mean to be alarmist here but the evidence suggests antioxidant supplements (beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium) may actually kill you quicker.

Vitamin C for colds
This is a myth. As Science-ish has explained in the past, this regularly updated Cochrane review on vitamin C and the common cold shows that popping these pills every day does nothing to prevent colds and only maybe shortens their duration.

Vitamin D for a range of indicationsFrom combating chronic pain to staving off cancer, this celebrated supplement seems to be recommended for everything. Unfortunately, the evidence for most vitamin D-related claims is weak. It doesn’t help reduce the risk of a range of cancers. There’s little evidence that these pills can alleviate chronic pain. As well, no link has been found between vitamin D and reductions in blood pressure, improved cardiovascular outcomes, and the prevention of fractures in older women. People whom vitamin D can help: those who have tested positive for a deficiency.

Evening primrose oil for a range of indications
In a word: useless.  Useless for menopausal symptoms,  eczema, and premenstrual syndrome.

Glucosamine for osteoarthritis
According to high-quality studies, these supplements appear to help manage pain and improve physical function in people suffering with this joint disorder.

Melatonin for jet lagMelatonin supplements are the closest thing we have to a cure for jet lag. As a 2009 systematic review pointed out, “Melatonin is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet lag, and occasional short-term use appears to be safe.” What’s more, melatonin may also be effective for treating a number of sleeping problems, as well as cluster headaches.

Probiotics for gut health
For some very specific indications—managing diarrhea in hospital settings or antibiotic-induced diarrhea—probiotics seem to be helpful. But despite their popularity for improving gut health, the jury is still out.

St. John’s wort for depression
The use of this stuff to manage depression is actually backed by strong evidence. A synthesis of 29 studies in over 5,000 patients from several countries found that those who took the plant extract in the trials “were superior to placebo, similarly effective as standard antidepressants, and had fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.”

Weight loss supplements
Lies, damned lies. Raspberry ketones, green coffee beans: don’t waste your money! If there was a tablet that could help with weight loss, we would not be in the midst of an obesity epidemic. In fact, Science-ish has yet to come across claims about a weight-loss supplement that are backed by good evidence. As a general rule, when a study about one of these “fat busters” suggests it’s effective, that’s probably because the experiment was poorly designed or it was done in animals or cells but not in people.

Your supplement of choice isn’t listed here?
Check out this user-friendly, science-based website for more information about a range of supplements.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Superman comic 'found in wall' could fetch record price

Image of Action Comic #1

Copies of Action Comic #1 are extremely rare

A 1938 comic book featuring the debut of Superman that was discovered in the wall of an abandoned house could set a new auction record, a dealer has said. Action Comics #1, currently bid at $137,000 , had been packed in the insulation of a house in Minnesota.

But David Gonzales, the home remodeler who discovered it, said its back cover was subsequently torn in an argument with his wife's relatives.

Dealer Vincent Zurzolo told the BBC the damage decreased its value by $75,000.
'Virgin copy'
The comic has already attracted 35 bids and was likely to exceed its estimated value of $150,000, said Mr Zurzolo, chief operating officer of ComicConnect.com, which is listing the comic.
"We call this one 'the grail in the wall'," he said. "It has been in that house for 75 years. This is a virgin copy."

It could even set a record price for comics in its condition grade of 1.5 out of 10 because collectors enjoy the unusual story of its discovery, Mr Zurzolo added.
"Of course people really love the collectible itself, but often it's the story behind it that gets them even more," he said

The most expensive Action #1 comic ever sold had a grade of nine and fetched more than $2.1m.
Mr Gonzales purchased an abandoned house that he planned to renovate and live in with his four children, Mr Zurzolo said. While tearing down a wall, Mr Gonzales found newspapers from the 1930s used as insulation. Then he came across the comic.

Bidding continues on ComicConnect.com until 11 June.

10 Secrets to Lose 25 Pounds Now

 
Want to lose 25 pounds now?  Sure, it’s a tall order. But if you follow these 10 steps, it doesn’t have to feel like a mission impossible.
You can shed weight quickly, depending on how much you have to lose and how focused you remain. Oftentimes, simple, easy changes can help you see results right away. That said, patience is an important part of the successful weight-loss formula. The pounds didn’t get packed on overnight; it’s going to take some time to establish healthy eating and exercise habits, and shed the not-so-healthy ones.

1. Do some detective work. Take some time to identify the most likely culprits of the unwanted weight. Are fried or sugary foods too tough to resist? Is it hard to avoid noshing whenever free food is within arm’s reach? Are you too tired and busy to shop and cook healthy meals? Or do emotions—like boredom, anxiety, nervousness, depression, and joy—send you straight to the fridge? For most people, a wide variety of factors lead them to pack on unwanted pounds. The answers can lead you to your best first steps. If intense emotions are driving you to eat, identify alternate routes that will offer relief without derailing your weight-loss goals. You might reach out to a friend, get more sleep, sink into the distraction of a good book or movie.

2. Get moving. It’s difficult to lose weight by just cutting calories. Research shows that reducing calorie intake through diet and exercise is the most effective way to shed unwanted pounds and keep them off. It’s ideal to develop a regular exercise routine of three to four times a week. Get into the habit of regular exercise with four days of walking and stick with it.  But also try to incorporate more activity whenever you can. Take the long way to the restroom, take the stairs rather than the elevator, park your car as far as you can from the front door. Set a timer to chime every hour so that you get up from your seat. Even standing rather than sitting at your desk will help. Studies have shown that standing at your desk during an eight-hour workday will burn 163 more calories than if you were sitting.
         
3. Plan Ahead.  Everyone has their weak moments—situations where they find it tough to make healthy choices. Make a list of those occasions and settings where your diet tends to take a detour. No healthy lunch options at work? Pack your own. Devour everything in the fridge in the 10 anxious minutes after you walk in from work? Snack on the way home, and have a pre-cooked dinner that you can reheat right when you get home. If you go off the rails late at night, once the kids are in bed and you have a chance to decompress, think of another activity far from the kitchen that helps you relax. Try a book, a shower, a call to a friend, a hot bath, a fun movie. Hate to cook or don’t have time for it? Get a book or order premade foods or convenient healthy foods.

4. Fill up on fruits and veggies. You can eat large portions without loading up on calories—as long as you’re eating fruits and vegetables. Compared with other foods, produce is low in calories and high on nutrients, fiber, and water, all of which will help you lose weight without being hungry. Fill half your plate at every meal with fruits and vegetables. Fill the other half with whole grains and lean protein—lean cuts of meat, beans, tofu, or low-fat dairy—to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

5. Don’t drink your calories. Stick to calorie-free beverages like water or hot tea. A 20-ounce soda can pack 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar. Even a grande hot chocolate with fat-free milk has 360 calories. Add whipped cream, and you have an entire meal’s worth of calories before you’ve taken your first bite. If you love specialty drinks, choose a smaller size with fat-free or low-fat milk and skip the whipped cream and syrups.

6. Don’t do anything drastic. It’s hard to feel bad about your body or have a burning desire to be thinner. Everyone wants to get thin now. But crash diets that promise to help you do that—by limiting you to a small group of foods, drastically reducing your calorie intake, or requiring you to buy certain engineered foods, won’t work. Even if you lose weight fast, you’ll likely regain the weight and then some. If you want the weight loss to last for life, you need to make changes that you can sustain for life.

7. Set smart calorie targets. Eating three meals each day keeps your metabolism revved, keeps you burning calories, and prevents you from getting so ravenously hungry that you eventually eat everything that’s not tied down. If you restrict your meals to less than three per day, you’ll be more likely to go overboard as soon as anything edible is within arm’s reach.
  • Women: Aim for 300 to 500 calories a meal.
  • Men: Aim for 400 to 600 calories a meal.
  • Women and men: Aim for a 100- to 200-calorie snack
8. Keep track. Studies show that people who track the calories they consume lose weight and keep it off more than those who don’t. And there’s good reason. When you have to track your calories, you see the sources of empty calories that are low on nutrients. In order to accurately track calories, you have to measure out portions—another practice that’s proven to aid weight loss. Read this article on how to keep a food diary.

9. Do not make weight the only measure of success. Even as you get fitter, you may not see results on the scale. Keep in mind: muscle weighs more than fat, and hydration, hormones, time of day, and other factors can all have an impact on the numbers on the scale. Don’t measure success with the scale alone. Are your pants getting looser? Are you getting more compliments? Do you have more energy? What about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other markers of chronic disease: Which way are they moving?

10.  Just practice; don’t try to be perfect. Realize that it’s okay to indulge on occasion; one extra treat will not doom your dieting efforts. Everyone goes overboard from time to time. When you do, try not to wallow in guilt or anxiety about it. You can’t control the past, all you can control is the choice you can make right now. Work in enough foods that feel like rewards on a regular basis so that you don’t feel deprived and primed to binge on a regular basis. Remember, it takes time, effort, and practice to form new healthy eating habits.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Things to look for at flea Markets or little country antique shops

 Summer is here and that's antiquing season so forgo new (and expensive) furniture and accessories in lieu of these quality finds with vintage appeal. Flea Markets, country antique shops and even yard sales can deliver treasures and the fun is in the search.
 
Vintage Hungarian pickling jars
These large clear or green glass containers are perfect for everything from floral displays to terraniums to collections of sea shells or rocks. Group two or three of them together for maximum effect. They even look beautiful just left empty on a console table or on open kitchen shelves.
 
sap buckets and vintage coffee tins, planter
Keep your eye out for galvanized sap buckets and colorful vintage coffee tins. These containers make the perfect plant holder for everything from fresh cut flowers to succulents to potted ferns. You can often pick them up for a just a few dollars each!
 mirrors wall art
 
If you’re looking for a way to decorate a wall, and a piece of art isn’t in your budget, consider filling the space with antique mirrors. You can either look for pieces that all work together, or paint them out in a matching hue. To make arranging the mirrors a snap, trace out each mirror onto craft paper and then tape up the paper shapes until you find an arrangement you like. (Oh and look at what that plant is placed on — an antique capital!)
 
Vintage console table
 
Architectural remnants like corbels and capitals from old buildings and houses are often easy to find at antique fairs. Corbels can be used to support a shelf in an entryway or attached to a door threshold to create interest. Capitals make interesting plant stands or can be used as a base for a coffee table.
 
wood-hutch-cabinet-dining-room
 
Antique Wood Hutches
 
Wood hutches have a multitude of uses throughout a home. In the kitchen, they can be used for storing plates and glasses; in the living room, for hiding a television set; or in a bedroom, for stashing clothes or linens. Depending on your style, you can either refinish the wood then paint it or stain it new, or you can leave the old patina for a shabby chic, country cottage look. You can even use them to display your vintage milk glass collection — one more thing to be on the lookout for this antique season.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Viagra for women ....Being Tested

 

Researchers may be one step closer to a Viagra for women, given the results of a British study released Tuesday. Attempts to treat female sexual dysfunction with Pfizer's erectile dysfunction drug Viagra have for the most part failed, but a new prototype from the company offers hope for a female-specific treatment for those with female sexual arousal disorder, FSAD.
 
The drug, which the researchers tested on rabbits, acts by increasing blood flow specifically to the genitalia, enhancing and extending the duration of arousal. The drug would not help all types of female sexual arousal disorder, however, as blood flow is only one of many reasons that women experience sexual dysfunction.
"This is the closest thing out there to Viagra for women," says Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of the division of behavioral medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, "but the problem is that a Viagra-like effect will not solve the majority of sexual dysfunction cases in women.
"In contrast to men in whom erections have played a huge role in sexual health, for women arousal is not the key problem, desire is," she said. But for the approximately 5 percent of women who have diagnosable arousal disorders related to blood flow, Kingsberg said, this treatment could be "the right option" and, fortunately, likely a safe one.
 
Researchers tested the drug by simulating arousal in female rabbits and then administering the drug to the animals. As hoped, the prototype mimicked the human body's natural processes in bolstering arousal. By specifically blocking the enzyme in the body that checks blood flow to this region, the drug could allow for greater blood flow and greater physiological arousal, said Chris Wayman, the lead researcher on the project. The drug would not create arousal out of nowhere, however, but would boost blood flow when accompanied by desire and sexual stimulation, Wayman said.\
 
Why is blood flow so important? When a woman becomes sexually aroused, emotional and physical cues in the brain tell the body to increase blood flow to the genitals; this relaxes the vagina, improves lubrication and increases sensation, Wayman said. When there isn't enough blood flow to this area, sex can become painful and unpleasurable, and libido can drop. In other words, blood flow acts as the biological catalyst for successful sexual experiences.
 
But increasing blood flow throughout the body to solve the problem would be "like a shot of adrenalin" Kingsberg pointed out, so the fact that this drug is "vagina-specific" makes it more likely to be safe. Though the prototype itself is unlikely to become a drug, Wayman said that testing the drug has helped to defog the mystery behind FSAD.

Also, the desire to have sex, otherwise known as libido, is not the same as the ability to become aroused, experts pointed out, and for the majority of women with sexual problems, desire is the culprit, not arousal. While all these components are necessary in both women and men, boosting the arousal portion of the equation has proved successful in treating men, said Kingsberg. By increasing blood flow to the penis with drugs like Viagra, erectile dysfunction becomes treatable, but it does not offer the same cure-all for women.
 
Desire is multifactorial -- both biological and psychological for women. But if a little blood flow to the right places will help....I am sure I speak for all women who are sexually active....I AM ALL FOR IT!



Photo of President Obama Headed for Highschool Prom



 
It was 1979 and Barry Obama, a smiling high school student wearing a white sport coat, was posing for pictures with his high school prom date. He poses with a lei draped around his neck and his date, Megan Hughes, at his side. Next to the future president stand his friends Kelli Allman and Greg Orme.
Allman provided the pictures, along with a note from Obama written in her high school year book.
Kelli,
It has been so nice getting to know you this year. You are extremely sweet and foxy, I don't know why Greg would want to spend any time with me at all! You really deserve better than clowns like us; you even laugh at my jokes!
The note is signed "Barry Obama." Allman said the group had a great time at the prom.

Flash forward to the future and you'll find the president plagued by a scandal with the Internal Revenue Service, another due to the seizure of phone records from the Associated Press and yet more controversy surrounding response to last year's terrorist attack in Benghazi.
But the young Obama of this 1979 photo, with his smile frozen in time, looks like he's ready for a night out on the town in Honolulu.

Thanx to Yahoo

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Abigail and Brittany Hensel..Two People Sharing One Body


 


Although they are two completely separate people, these accomplished teens share a body and have just two arms and legs between them.

Born in 1990, the girls have been brought up in a small, tightly knit community in Minnesota, almost completely protected from prying eyes and inquisitive stares. To their friends and family, they are distinct people with very different personalities, needs, tastes and desires. But to the outside world they are a medical mystery -- particularly given the fact that they can do virtually all the same things as their friends, including playing the piano, riding a bike, swimming and playing softball "Their personalities make them inspirational," says their mother Patty. "They never give up; anything they want to do, they go out and do it."

The medical world is keen to find out how two separate brains and nervous systems can work in such a perfectly co-ordinated way, but the twins and their family have always resisted non-essential medical tests. "The family want to treat them as though they are just like everyone else," says Joy Westerdahl, the girls' doctor, who admits that it is a mystery how their unique physiology functions.

As they enter adulthood, the twins are likely to leave the haven of their home town and face the wider world. In preparation for that time, they have taken part in this intimate documentary to show the world what it is like to be joined for life.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Never Be Scared 2 Ask

It started as an online plea on YouTube, with Coral Gables (Fla.) Archbishop Carroll High senior Nicole Muxo recording an elaborate video asking Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade to take her to the prom.
 

 
 
Wade never officially responded, and the media, general public and Muxo herself assumed that the plea had fallen on deaf ears. As it turns out, it hadn’t, and Muxo and her surprising date stole the show at the Archbishop Carroll senior prom.

Apparently, Wade had dragged out his response because he wanted to see how the Heat’s playoffs were progressing before committing to spend an evening not competing in the middle of a game. After Miami knocked off Chicago with the Knicks and Pacers still locked in a tense series, Wade decided he could spare part of an evening to surprise a well-deserving teen.

As reported by the Miami Herald and CBS Miami, Wade made his appearance with plenty of fitting flair, as well. The former NBA Finals MVP called Muxo to send her happy wishes for her prom -- which she had agreed to attend with fellow Archbishop Carroll student Laurent Chaumin in Wade’s stead -- but then walked through the door 10 minutes later to surprise her.

You can see video of Wade’s surprise appearance above. Fittingly, Muxo was starstruck, as was the rest of the Archbishop Carroll contingent. In fact, Chaumin appeared just as thrilled as Muxo, telling the Herald “At least we both know how to dress,” and posing for plenty of pictures with his date and Wade.

That left the superstar happily tweeting that he was a “third wheel” and “both of their dates,” though he was apparently glad just to make a difference for a group of Miami teens, particularly the one who mustered up the courage to ask him to show up. He made that much clear on his Twitter feed shortly after leaving the event.
“I had a blast at Prom. Never be scared 2 ask.”

Monday, May 20, 2013

What do We take Away From This Sad Story of Captivity and Pain?




The wickedness of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland, Ohio man who kidnapped and held three young women captive for a decade is fairly well established by now. Since the dramatic escape of the women on May 6, troubling details about what they endured have trickled out.

Jubilation at the fact that Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight are now free from further harm, however, is mixed with a peculiar and occasionally perverse interest in hearing exactly what they endured at the hands of Castro during their captivity.

But what purpose does such knowledge of evil ultimately serve? It’s a question recently considered by New Yorker writer Sasha Weiss. In an extremely thoughtful article, Weiss contemplates the significance of revealing the grim details of this story and others like it — along with the Cleveland story she mentions Jaycee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart.

For Weiss, the question thus becomes: ‘whether there’s inherent value in telling stories about evil’.
Certainly we tell a lot of these kinds of stories. But do we learn anything from intimate knowledge of sadism, cruelty and depravity? Or do we in fact further exploit the victims when we choose to share their private horrors one week and then move on to the next, abysmal example of human wretchedness the following week. Wouldn’t it be wiser to linger on the more profound questions these stories ask us to consider rather than gorge on the details and look for more.

It’s a question that both readers and journalists need to consider. Perhaps if we drew more salient lessons from these stories rather than dwell on the darkness they reveal we’d all be better served. Because after the details about whips and chains and heinous acts are run through we’re still left with the problem of how to best protect young women from predators, how we can be more vigilant neighbours, guardians and friends to one another, and how to prevent the creation and flourishing of another Ariel Castro.

 We have responsibility here. Castro was part of our society. How did he get to be who he was ? And how did he get away with it all?  He was not stopped and dealt with properly when he was abusing his wife and breaking her bones. The authorities should track people like that. And the police failed again when a  neighbor complained they heard screaming in Castro's house and saw a naked woman crawling in the yard. They did not investigate further than knocking at the door.

Perhaps we should prepare our daughters better to face a new, harsher world and teach them to avoid all strangers and run like hell or scream like hell if they are approached. We may end  up wiring our children with alarm systems and tracking devices or letting them carry guns. Any better ideas?  I wonder what the world will be like in twenty years.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
Since my husband discovered that his parents are first cousins , he's been having an emotinal crisis . I was the one that uncovered  the secret when I was doing research for a genealogy study to be presented as a gift .
I have given my in-laws  many opportunities  to absolve  themselves  of their deception  , but I must  have been too subtle  to make myself clear .I don't expect an answer from you  because I've tried  to contact numerous others concerning  this subject , and it appears to be taboo .
Need Help
Dear Need Help ,
Your in-laws may have done nothing  that requires  "absolving." Marriage beween first cousins  are legal in 20 states  and is permitted  in 6 others  depending on the circumstances . In biblical times , marriage between first cousins was commonplace.
Instead of sweeping this under the rug  and watching  your husband freak out  , please talk to your in-laws directly . Say you found  this information  while researching  the family tree . Let them discuss  it frankly  so their son  can learn  to accept  what's already happened  and put it behind him . There's no reason  for this to become a major crisis . If you are planning to have children , you might consider genetic counseling now  that you have a complete family history .
Maxy

Dear Maxy,
My adult son  has a large dark , textured birthmark on his right cheek . We believe it has caused him to lose out on job opportunities . He has  been trying  without success to get a job for four years . He is a hard worker  , punctual and trustworthy .
He has pounded  the pavement  looking for work  and gone online  and applied  for more than 200 jobs .
A friend of my son's said privately that he would hire him  but looking at "that thing" on his face makes him sick . My question to you is ; Are ther plastic surgeons  out there  who would help my son by removing  this birtmark at a very low cost ? He has no income  and we are not in a position  right now  to help him financially .
Grateful Mom
Dear Grateful Mom,
Your son may qualify for medicaid , in which  case  a plastic surgeon may be able to remove  the skin growth at no cost if it's potentially malignant.
Check at medicaid.gov to see whether yor son is covered in his state . He also  should check  his local hospitals  and medical schools . Some surgeons  and hospitals have been know  to generously donate  their skills  and facilities for low-income patients.
In the meantime  , I suggest he visit his local pharmacy ot department  store  and ask about cosmetics  that will cover  the birtmark . IOr he could try two products  we have recommended  in the past ; Dermablend (dermablend.com) and Covermark (covermark.com) .
Maxy

Dear Maxy,
What do you do when you're in a relationship but you want  to start dating  again? I met this man on Facedbook , and  I would like to take him out for his birthday.
He is handsome  and he is someone  whom I can see myself having a relationship .
We started to coorrespond  via email  for a few weeks until we exchange phone numbers . Talking on the phone is just easier . My male friend liked  the idea of going out for his birthday .
During one of out numerous conversations . I told my male friend I was married  and that my husband  and I have been separated  for 15 years . To my surprise  , he was taken aback  by the statement . He told me he didn't want a woman who is married . I really like this guy and I want to see what develops from our friendship . What is a woman to do ?
Till Death Do Us Part
Dear Till Death Do Us Part,
I think it is a good thing that a man does not want to date a woman who is married . That you are separated  is different from married  and you admit  that you are not planning  to get divorced  anytime soon .
Why is that ? Are you benefiting  in some way from  being married  to your husband  even though you have not been together for years ?
You are living in that space  of having your cake and eating it too . You are lonely  and want companionship  , but you are not legally  available  to receive it . You may want  to thank this suiter  for making  your dilemma  so obvious . Do yourself a favor . Take care of first things first . Clear the way  to have  a healthy new relationshil .
Maxy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Retirement is Harmful to Health



Pensioners 
Retirement can affect your mental health and physical health, the study suggests
 
 
Retirement has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, a new study has found. The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank, found that retirement results in a "drastic decline in health" in the medium and long term. The IEA said the study suggests people should work for longer for health as well as economic reasons.

The study, which was published in conjunction with the Age Endeavour Fellowship, a charity, compared retired people with those who had continued working past retirement age, and took into account possible confounding factors.

Philip Booth, programme director at the IEA, said the government should go further to deregulate labour markets and allow people to work for longer.
"Working longer will not only be an economic necessity, it also helps people live healthier lives," he said.

Edward Datnow, chairman of the Age Endeavour Fellowship, said: "There should be no 'normal' retirement age in future.
"More employers need to consider how they will capitalise on Britain's untapped grey potential and those seeking to retire should think very hard about whether it is their best option."

The study suggests there is a small boost to health immediately after retirement, before a significant decline in the longer term. Retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, while you are 60% more likely to suffer from a physical condition.

The effect is the same for men and women, while the chances of becoming ill appear to increase with the length of time spent in retirement.

Dealing With Abnoxious Neighbors

Woman neighbour looking over fence in backyard, rear view
 













Suzanne Noruse, an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Ottawa, gives us  advice on how to rectify an irksome situation without severing neighbourly relations. She gives solid advice for four specific situations from readers and words of wisdom to keep the peace.

The nosy neighbour
Q: I have a neighbour who asks me about my overnight guests. They want to know who the visitors are whenever they see a car parked in my driveway overnight. I don’t feel comfortable sharing and really, it’s none of their business. How can I respond politely?
A: I suggest the less is more approach. Each time your neighbour asks the same question respond with the same answer, “A friend” and change the topic. “A friend. Isn’t Mrs. McGregor’s magnolia beautiful? Do you think one would grow beside my garage?”. Next time they ask respond, “A friend. Have you heard any more about our request to have the speed limit lowered to 25km on our street?”

The sidewalk-trashing neighbour

Q: We have a neighbour who leaves his blue bin overnight in the driveway. We came out the other morning to find garbage on our sidewalk after some animal had clearly been rummaging during the night. We have a beautiful street and want to keep it that way. How can we appropriately approach our neighbour about this problem?
A: Try picking up the litter once and putting it back in their blue bin. If they see you doing this, it may be enough for them to keep their blue box inside the garage until the morning. If this does not jog them then a friendly chat indicating that the location of the box is drawing unwelcome animals. The emphasis here is on friendly. Keep it light, your tone non-critical, and don’t raise your voice. They might just need a little reminder.
 
The not-accepting-boundaries neighbour

Q: We put up a beautiful wooden fence between our house and our neighbours for privacy. Our neighbour wasn’t happy with it and shoveled snow against it all winter. He is also a smoker and now that the snow is melting we’re finding a lot of his cigarette butts along our fence and also on its ledge. What do we do?
A: I agree, he does not sound happy with your new fence. I suggest starting softly. Pick up the butts — once. If this does not change his behaviour then try a friendly, diplomatic chat. Keep calm and point out that the fence benefits both of you. You both have privacy. He doesn’t have to see your children’s bikes or your snow shovel collection. If he responds aggressively then it is time to contact the authorities.

The neighbour from hell

Q: Upon moving into our new home last July, we were warned that our next door neighbours were troublesome. I was told that prior to their house now, they had caused issues in their last two places, and the police were involved several times, including one incident involving a 911 call for an outdoor fire.
So far they have had one fire that wafted smoke in our house and on another occasion she accused us of stepping on her plants while we were erecting a fence — something we put up to prevent further confrontations. Also, since we’re new to the neighbourhood, I’m worried about what other neighbours think about why we haven’t befriended this couple. I don’t want to out them as bad neighbours, but I don’t want to be friends with them either.
A: It sounds like they will move on once there are enough complaints. This has been their pattern. In the meantime, fires should be taken seriously. Fires of all kinds require a permit. Call the authorities and have them deal with the fire problem.
The fence you have erected should keep you from a lot of face-to-face encounters. A wise move. If there is a direct confrontation don’t raise your voice even if they raise theirs. It only inflames the situation. Pick your battles.
As for the thoughts of your other neighbours, they will find out in short order about the new neighbours if they repeat their pattern of behaviour. If questioned directly indicate that you were warned, which alludes to their problem behaviour without sounding gossipy.

Are you dealing with an annoying neighbour, too? Suzanne Noruse provides tips on how best to approach the subject:

1. Be courteous

“Be courteous, it’s not all about us,” says Nourse. “There are times when we need our neighbours or they need us and if you have alienated them over a stewing compost pile, it can be pretty sad.” Think about how you would want to be treated and apply it to how you approach your neighbour.

2. Be direct

If your neighbour doesn’t pick up on your body language or hints, being honest could help clear the air. It’s hard because your emotions can come to the surface, says Nourse, but try approaching them in a nice manner and directly ask them to stop their annoying behaviour.

3. Know your bylaws

If your neighbour refuses your attempts at a peaceful reconciliation, you might have to see if their bad habits are covered by a bylaw, says Nourse. In most municipalities early morning and late night noise are restricted to certain times and there may also be bylaws about keeping your sidewalks clear of snow.

4. Avoid doing it with a written note

“If you start with a note, they’re very likely going to become defensive,” says Nourse. “They might not have any idea that they’ve been doing anything that’s irritating and suddenly they get this note on their door from you.” When your neighbour reads your note, they can also put their own tone on it, changing your light-hearted intentions into angry complaints.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Have you called your mom..? It's Mother's Day

Have you called your mom to wish her a "Happy Mother's Day"?
Watch this and then give her a call, or better, visit her if you can.
And tell her you love her.
 

 
 
 


Friday, May 10, 2013

Chuckles

 
 
 


Hot Milk Cake...Old Fashioned Goodness


Hot Milk Cake Recipe

Hot Milk Cake Recipe:    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min. + cooling
Yield: 12-16 Servings

Ingredients
•4 eggs
•2 cups sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
•1-1/4 cups 2% milk
•10 tablespoons butter, cubed

Directions
•In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to batter; beat at low speed until smooth.
• In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter just until butter is melted. Gradually add to batter; beat just until combined.
• Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Maxy,
I am a 57 year-old man with no siblings  and my mother is deceased . My 82-year old father is physically healthy, but he's in the early stages of dementia . He has a few hobbies  to keep him busy, but for some reason, he has become obsessed with me .
Dad has become rather "needy." Sometimes he calls me two three times  a day, even when I'm at work . He insists I go to his house everyday, even if there is no particular  reason .
I know Dad is probably lonely, but still . He doesn't have a lot of friends  due to his attitude  and sharp tongue . He has become demanding, insisting  I do things immediately  rather  than when I have the time . He also has grown very mean-mouthed  and pouts if he doesn't get his way .
This is getting to me  and putting a strain  on my family . What do you suggest ?
Crazy in Kansas
Dear Kansas ,
I think your Dad is frightened  . He knows he is slipping  and finds reassurance  in your constant presence . Dementia also can affect his personality . Call and visit him when you can . When you don't have time to run errands, calmly and repeatedly say that you will get to them on the weekend ( or whenever) and follow through . Ignore  the rants . I also suggest  you go with him to his next doctor's appointment  and discuss your concerns . And please contact the Alzheimer's Association (alz.org) for information on resources  and assistance  because this is likely to get more difficult for you .
Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I have a blended family  with his two girls and my three sons . I was so grateful  that we both took this challenge .
We had some good times  and we had some bad times  and when I say bad I mean horrible . Our children are all adults now, and we are still butting heads  over them, mostly my boys .
He has given up on two of my sons  because he says they don't respect him , not to mention some less than legal activity they decided  to embark on in our home  while we were on vacation .
But Maxy, I feel as if he has never really cared for them . I try to help them with rides  or letting them wash their clothes  at our house  or whatever I can .
People mature at different levels  and maybe I help too much , but they are my kids . At what point am I supposed to turn my back on them ?
My husband says that because I help them against his wishes, it means I love them more than him . That isn't true .
One son is homeless  and has to look for a place to stay every night  . That breaks my heart . My husband found him downstairs sleeping one morning  and told me I better  get him out  or he would call the police . He won't even allow me to let my son shower here .
I realize the boys need to make it on their own, but am I supposed to turn my back on them when they need help ?
At what point  do you give up on your kids  and choose your husband instead ? I feel like such a horrible mom .
Worried
Dear Worried ,
Your husband should not be issuing ultimatums  wherein you must choose  between the man you love  and the children you love .
This is unfair  and creates tremendous reseentment . Your husband may have good cause to want the kids out the house, but it's difficult  to do when they have no place to go . How old are they ?
Do they have jobs? Would you temporarily  assist with their rent  if you got them out your house ? Are there substance-abuse issues  that need treatment ? Try 'Because I Love You' (bily.org), and ask your husband to work with you on this .
Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I walked in on a conversation  that my 9-year-old daughter had with one of her friends . The girls were saying some bad things  about one of their classmates  because she wore the same clothes  just about everyday  of the week . I was disappointed  and shocked . I did not raise her to judge people  by what they wear . I am fortunate enough to have resources  to make sure my children  are properly clothed . I think I may need to teach my children  a lesson  about helping the less fortunate . Do you have any suggestions ?
Mom in Shock
Dear Mom in Shock,
By all means go back to your daughter . Ask her to tell you  what she and her friend  were discussing . Prompt her to be forthcoming  about their conversation and gently nudge her toward revealing more about the other student  and her circumstances .
Next ask her about her life  and the privileges  that she receives . Do these things make her "better than" the other girl ? Chances are she will say "yes" because you have been teaching her otherwise . Point out that making fun of someone less fortunate than you, is cruel . Have your daughter consider how she would feel if someone were speaking  about her in that way . Do some role playing  with her so that the impact  of the unkind  words become real to her . Make it crystal clear  that you do not condone  such behavior  . Instead of criticizing, let her know  you would prefer  that she offer the student some clothing  or other necessities  to help make her life easier .
Maxy

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Kate Middleton's Tiny Purse Collection

 

Kate Middleton has access to all the fashion accessories in the world but her style mainstay is undoubtedly her vast clutch collection. And much like anything Middleton wears, she's pushing tiny purses into the spotlight. According to a story in The Guardian, handbag designer Lulu Guinness credits the Duchess with sparking a new handbag trend. "If she's done anything for the handbag, it's the fact that she wears small clutch bags," Guinness recently said at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design opening party in New York. "Personally, I am making my clutch bags smaller next season, so they're more delicate and ladylike, and that's to do with her, I think." Here are Kate's favorite clutches throughout the years.
Maybe if I carried a tiny purse I'd look more like Kate.....not!
 









 

Vertical Forests...A thing of the Future?

 
The Bosco Verticale is a pair of residential towers being constructed in central Milan whose name translates into "vertical forest." Hundreds of full-size trees and thousands of shrubs and plants will scale the sides of the buildings — filtering dust, absorbing carbon dioxide, reducing urban heat, conserving energy, and generally making the city more environmentally friendly. In renderings, the 250- and 360-foot towers look a little like what you'd get if the game Jenga had a child with a Chia Pet.
 
Bosco Verticale certainly isn't the only verdant skyscraper out there. A series of six "farmscrapers," each designed as a self-contained ecosystem, is being planned for a province in China. A 70-floor commercial high-rise called the Urban Forest, also planned for China, is meant to reflect the country's mountainous landscape. About half of the surface of the 26-story EDITT Tower in Singapore will be covered in local vegetation.

On paper these plans seem like a winning compromise between the push for urban density and the need for urban sustainability. Their obvious environmental value aside, city trees have a refreshing effect on human attention — to say nothing of their economic benefits and potential impact on crime. They're also on the decline: one recent study found that American cities are losing four million trees a year, a trend that's poised to continue unless officials make tree-planting initiatives a priority.
Writing at his NPR blog, Robert Krulwich is certainly on board with the vertical forests of the world. Krulwich is "enthralled" by the idea that our concrete jungles may one day soon look more like — jungles. While recognizing that the innovation won't be perfect out of the gate, Krulwich nonetheless applauds the architectural designs chasing the green urban dream:
 "They are pioneers, new neighbors being asked to live with us in the sky. They'll take in the CO2 and breathe out oxygen. We'll take in the oxygen and breathe out CO2. We'll water them. They'll aerate us. It's a whole new neighborhood. Yes, we may stumble as we rise, but rise we shall. These towers in Milan will lead the way."

In two posts over at his blog Per Square Mile, however, Tim De Chant makes a pretty strong case that we don't quite want to go where the towers in Milan are leading us. De Chant's first post gives some practical reasons it won't work to have trees growing on the top floors of tall buildings. (None of these structures has been finished yet, according to De Chant, with Bosco Verticale the closest to completion.) If the wind doesn't get them, De Chant fears the extreme temperatures will. Beyond that, he wonders about the logistical concerns of maintaining a small forest outside its natural habitat. The urban tree advocate in him likes the idea, the student of plant physiology in him has many doubts.
(The American in me, meanwhile, wonders who will be liable the first time a tree falls from the side of a building and lands on, let's say, a lawyer's car.)

But let's suppose the designers of Bosco Verticale (and other vertical forests) have accounted for these concerns from the outset. In his second post, De Chant writes that he still finds the idea a bit gimmicky — "a way to make your building feel sustainable without necessarily being so." He calculates that if you took the estimated $4.25 million that it cost to include trees on the vertical forest, you could restore at least 2,125 acres of horizontal forest. In contrast, the Bosco Verticale will host 2.5 acres.

"Here’s an alternate plan," he writes: "Instead of planting trees on buildings, let’s focus on preserving and restoring places that already have, or desperately need, trees."
So the case for skyscraper trees is a little more complicated than the lovely architectural renderings would have us believe. That isn't to say these projects should be stopped — if there's a point of universal agreement here, it's that cities absolutely need more green life — but perhaps some middle ground can be explored in advance. What if some of the premium these developers can charge goes toward local reforestation, or better yet, the creation of public urban parks? Upward and outward, we say.

Courtesy of Yahoo

Grey Hair No More...Scientific Discovery


Coming soon: a treatment for grey hair, no dye required.
According to new findings published in the FASEB Journal, a new drug compound might help restore greying hair to its original shade.
Professor Karin Schallreuter and her team from the University of Bradford in Yorkshire, England and the University of Greifswald in Germany, claim to have come across a treatment that removes the natural accumulation of hydrogen peroxide, known as massive oxidative stress, that robs hair of its natural hue.
So far, Schallreuter's team has tested the treatment on 2,500 patients with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes white patches to develop on the skin. (In 1993, Michael Jackson blamed the skin condition for his pale complexion.)

The researchers found their drug, described as "a topical, UVB-activated compound called PC-KUS [a modified pseudocatalase]," repigmented the skin and eyelashes of the patients.
"Sudden loss of skin and hair colour can affect individuals in many ways," Schallreuter says. "The improvement of quality of life after total and even partially successful repigmentation has been documented."
"For generations, numerous remedies have been concocted to hide grey hair, but now, for the first time, an actual treatment that gets to the root of the problem has been developed," says Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal.
"While this is exciting news, what's even more exciting is that this also works for vitiligo. Developing an effective treatment for this condition has the potential to radically improve many people's lives."
There's no word on when treatment will be available for those of us wishing away the grey.
In 2011, L'Oreal announced it was in the early research stages of developing a pill to prevent grey hair. The company hoped to prevent greying from happening in the first place, but offered no promises of reversing the the process.

Great news ladies...especially for those gals who are prematurely grey. The formula announced in the FACEB journal reverses the process. Plenty of time to go grey years from now.
 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Workout Gear From Coconuts - Would You Wear It?


courtesy of Cocona This may be the best thing to happen to coconuts since pina coladas. It's called Cocona, and it's a Boulder-based company that's doing really cool things with synthetic technical fabrics -- namely, infusing them with coconut husks. But why coconut, you ask?

Apparently, the fruit's husks can be recycled into activated carbon, that is then incorporated into fibers and fabrics. The result is a garment that wicks better, dries faster and stays cooler -- by 30 to 50%, according to industry tests. The active fibers also help absorb odor and release them in the wash, so the clothes don't hold on to stink the way some synthetics can. And they're naturally UV-protective, as well -- crazy, right?

Cocona's been around since the 2000s, but it's likely that you've never heard of them before. That's because the company doesn't make its own label; rather, it licenses its technology to all kinds of big fitness brands, including Adidas, Asics, Eddie Bauer and The North Face, to name a few.

Independent testing proved it's seriously some of the lightest, most effective moisture-wicking material ever sold. Plus, it doesn't smell of body odor when you take it off. The shirt is still technically 100% polyester, "with Cocona natural technology" -- so I was a little disappointed to learn that this isn't as eco-friendly a product as the name may suggest. But as far as synthetics go (ones developed in North America), Cocona is the best in quite a while.