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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have been married for six months  and am crazy for my hubby. He has back problems and some sexual issues  that keep us from being intimate . At least, those are the excuses  he uses  for the fact  that we don't touch like we used to .
I recently came across some love notes to an ex-girlfriend  saying how they are going to be happy growing old together  and how much he loves her. I pay his child support  and love his kids  like my own . He says he love me, but I have doubts  that he is being honest . He is constantly  texting  and emailing  and never puts his phone down . He acts like he's afraid I will look at it .
I've been hurt  before  by lies  and don't want  to go through it  again. What do I do ?
Scared and Lonely
Dear Scared ,
Were these recent love letters  or old  ones  that you happened  to find? If they are old  try to ignore  them . He married you, not his ex-girlfriend .
If they are recent, however, it could be serious, especially  when combined with constant and secretive  texting, calling  and emailing .
Married partners  owe it to each other  to be open  and honest . Talk  to your husband . If his answers  don't reassure  you, the next  step is counseling .
Dear Maxy ,
I recieved  a last-minute  phone call  on New Years Eve from a female  friend, saying she wanted  to be my date  to celebrate the new year . I was slow to answer  her request  because she just broke up with her boyfriend of three years .
I finally  answered her  by saying I was invited  to a friend's house for a private New Year's party . I felt kind of bad because I could have, easily, asked my friend  if I could bring a date  for the evening but I didn't . Do you think  I was wrong  for saying no ?
Dear Happy ,
In a word, no . It would be one thing  if your friend's call  had not come at the last minute . The fact that she reached  out to you  so late for such a major occasion means that she knew there was a good chance  you wouldn't be able to do it . She took a chance in asking you. It's good  you responed  to her, if only  to say that it wouldn't work out .
If you would like to support  her during  this tender  time after  her breakup, reach out  to her now  and invite her for coffee or something similar . But  there is no need  to rehash New Year's Eve. That is in the past .
Dear Maxy ,
How do you deal with an absentee father? I cannot believe this man forgot his son's third birthday . There was no phone call, no text  and no email from this man . I was fortunate enough to have my family around  and we had a good time .
My son's father  finally called me  to say he forgot the birthday . This is the second year in a row that he was not around . How do I express my displeasure .
Mama Drama
Dear Mama Drama ,
Especially since your son's father is not  in your son's life everyday, it's important  for you to support  and nurture  their relationship .
You can call and let him know  that you were terribly disappointed  that he forgot . But don't beat him up about it . Instead, tell him that you  will help him remember next year. In this way, he won't feel as if you're constantly testing him . Also do your best  to make him feel included . Tell him what you will be doing  for the birthday  and invite  him to participate . This should help him choose to pay closer attention .

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World faces global wine shortage - report

Employees in a vineyard in Zenevredo, northern Italy (16 September 2013)

Global wine production peaked in 2004, and is continuing to fall, the report says

The world is facing a wine shortage, with global consumer demand already significantly outstripping supply, a report has warned. The research by America's Morgan Stanley financial services firm says demand for wine "exceeded supply by 300m cases in 2012". It describes this as "the deepest shortfall in over 40 years of records".

Last year, production also dropped to its lowest levels in more than four decades. Global production has been steadily declining since its peak in 2004, when supply outweighed demand by about 600m cases.

World's largest wine consumers

Stacked wine bottles

  • France, US - both 12%
  • Italy, China - both 9%
  • Germany - 8%
  • UK, Russia - both 5%
  • Spain, Argentina - both 4%
  • Source: Morgan Stanley

The report by Morgan Stanley's analysts Tom Kierath and Crystal Wang says global wine consumption has been rising since 1996 (except a drop in 2008-09), and presently stands at about 3bn cases per year. At the same time, there are currently more than one million wine producers worldwide, making some 2.8bn cases each year.

The authors predict that - in the short term - "inventories will likely be reduced as current consumption continues to be predominantly supplied by previous vintages"  And as consumption then inevitably turns to the 2012 vintage, the authors say they "expect the current production shortfall to culminate in a significant increase in export demand, and higher prices for exports globally".

They say this could be partly explained by "plummeting production" in Europe due to "ongoing vine pull and poor weather". Total production across the continent fell by about 10% last year, and by 25% since its peak in 2004.

Bottles of aged wine in Tokaj, Hungary (October 2013)
In recent years, production across Europe has fallen

At the same time, production in the "new world" countries - the US, Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand - has been steadily rising.
"With tightening conditions in Europe, the major new world exporters stand to benefit most from increasing demand on global export markets."

The report says the French are still the world's largest consumers of wine (12%). But it adds that the US (also 12%) is now only marginally second.

It also states that the US together with China - the world's fifth-largest market - are seen as "the main drivers of consumption globally". I wonder if this report will spark a trend of wine hoarding among consumers. I know for sure it will drive the price of a bottle of wine up. It just makes it harder for us middle-class wine tipplers to drown our sorrows.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The teenager who saved a man at a Ku Klux Klan Rally

Keshia Thomas protecting the man

In 1996, a black teenager protected a white man from an angry mob who thought he supported the  Ku Klux Klan. It was an act of extraordinary courage and kindness - and is still inspiring people today.

Keshia Thomas was 18 when the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization, held a rally in her home town in Michigan. Liberal, progressive and multicultural, Ann Arbor was an unusual place for the KKK to choose, and hundreds of people gathered to show them they were not welcome.

The atmosphere was tense, but controlled. Police dressed in riot gear and armed with tear gas protected a small group of Klansmen in white robes and conical hoods. Thomas was with a group of anti-KKK demonstrators on the other side of a specially-erected fence. Then a woman with a megaphone shouted, "There's a Klansman in the crowd." They turned around to see a white, middle-aged man wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt. He tried to walk away from them, but the protesters, including Thomas, followed, "just to chase him out".

Man being chased by anti-KKK demonstrators

It was unclear whether the man was a Ku Klux Klan supporter, but to the anti-KKK protesters, his clothes and tattoos represented exactly what they had come to resist. The Confederate flag he wore was for them a symbol of hatred and racism, while the SS tattoo on his arm pointed to a belief in white supremacy, or worse.

There were shouts of "Kill the Nazi" and the man began to run - but he was knocked to the ground. A group surrounded him, kicking him and hitting him with the wooden sticks of their placards. Mob mentality had taken over. "It became barbaric," says Thomas.
"When people are in a crowd they are more likely to do things they would never do as an individual. Someone had to step out of the pack and say, 'This isn't right.'" So the teenager, then still at high school, threw herself on top of a man she did not know and shielded him from the blows.
"When they dropped him to the ground, it felt like two angels had lifted my body up and laid me down."

For Mark Brunner, a student photographer who witnessed the episode, it was who she saved that made Thomas' actions so remarkable.
"She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her," he says. "Who does that in this world?"

Keshia Thomas protecting the man

Keshia Thomas protecting the man

Keshia Thomas protecting the man

So what gave Thomas the impetus to help a man whose views it appeared were so different from her own? Her religious beliefs played a part. But her own experience of violence was a factor, too.
"I knew what it was like to be hurt," she says. "The many times that that happened, I wish someone would have stood up for me."
The circumstances - which she does not want to describe - were different. "But violence is violence - nobody deserves to be hurt, especially not for an idea."

Thomas has never heard from the man she saved, but she did once meet a member of his family. Months later, someone came up to her in a coffee shop and said thanks. "What for?" she asked. "That was my dad," the young man replied. For Thomas, the fact that the man had a son gave her actions even greater significance - she had potentially prevented further violence.
"For the most part, people who hurt... they come from hurt. It is a cycle. Let's say they had killed him or hurt him really bad. How does the son feel? Does he carry on the violence?"

Keshia Thomas protecting the man
"That some in Ann Arbor have been heard grumbling that she should have left the man to his fate, only speaks of how far they have drifted from their own humanity. And of the crying need to get it back. Keshia's choice was to affirm what they have lost. Keshia's choice was hope."
By Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator Leonard Pitts Jr. The Miami Herald, 29 June 1996

Thomas, now in her 30s and living in Houston, Texas, prefers to concentrate on what more she can do in future, rather than what she has achieved in the past.
"I don't want to think that this is the best I could ever be. In life you are always striving to do better."

Thomas says she tries to do something to break down racial stereotypes every day. No grand gestures - she thinks that small, regular acts of kindness are more important.
"The biggest thing you can do is just be kind to another human being. It can come down to eye contact, or a smile. It doesn't have to be a huge monumental act."

'I am kinder thanks to her'

Teri Gunderson
Teri Gunderson, who now lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, speaks about her respect for Keshia Thomas.
"Her courage so touched me that I keep a copy of the picture and often think of her in situations.
"The voice in my head says something like this, 'If she could protect a man [like that], I can show kindness to this person.' And with that encouragement, I do act with more kindness. I don't know her, but since then I am more kind."

Confederate flag

 The Confederate flag wasn't a major symbol until the Civil Rights movement began to take shape in the 1950s, says Bill Ferris, from the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. It had been relegated to history, but the Ku Klux Klan and others who resisted desegregation turned to the flag as a symbol, he says.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The toilet system turning human waste into energy

Researchers at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have been working on ways to make towns and cities more sustainable by taking waste from houses and turning it into energy.
The team created a new type of toilet system which turns human waste into biogas - which can be used for cooking and generating electricity - and biodiesel. This toilet could make our towns and cities more sustainable.

Texas judge blocks abortion restrictions

Protesters line the floors of the rotunda at the State Capitol building during a protest before the start of a special session of the Legislature in Austin, Texas 1 July 2013

Both advocates for and against the new restrictions packed the Texas state capitol in July as the bill was passed

A Texas judge has said abortion restrictions passed by the state's legislature are unconstitutional.
District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the new regulations violated doctors' rights and unreasonably restricted women's access to abortion clinics.

Judge Yeakel's order means the law will not come into effect on Tuesday. The bill was signed into law in July despite an 11-hour delaying speech by state senator Wendy Davis, who is running to become Texas governor. The law was among the most restrictive in the US, banning abortions at the 20th week of pregnancy and requiring doctors to perform abortions at special surgical facilities.

The office for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has argued that the law protects women and the life of the foetus by improving healthcare. Mr Abbott, Ms Davis' likely opponent for the state's top job, is expected to file an emergency appeal to the federal regional appeals court in New Orleans.

Ms Davis' marathon speech, known as a filibuster, prevented Republicans in the legislature from passing the bill during the end of a June legislative session. Governor Rick Perry ordered a new session in July, in which the bill was passed.

The subsequent lawsuit was brought by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in the state.
They argued that the law's requirement for doctors to have an admissions agreement with a local hospital within 30 miles (48km) of their clinic would force the closure of many providers.

In a trial before Judge Yeakel's decision, one set of clinics said they had applied for admitting privileges at 32 hospitals, with only 15 accepting the applications and zero announcing a decision.
Tuesday's ruling provides a immediate reprieve for those providers expecting to be shut down on Tuesday.

In his ruling, Judge Yeakel said the provision "places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable foetus and is thus an undue burden to her". A similar law is working its way through the federal court system in Mississippi.

A federal judge temporarily blocked the measure as a trial on the law's constitutionality is scheduled to take place in March, and an appeals court declined the Mississippi attorney general's request to lift the injunction. Democracy in action is very interesting to watch. Has anyone asked women what they need as far as abortion legislation is concerned? I doubt that very much. It's another instance of men  making decisions for us without any regard for our rights. Kudos to the judge and Ms Davis.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Times Editor says 'Charles not so eager to be king as portrayed'

The popular notion that Prince Charles just can't wait to be king is refuted in a Time magazine profile of the heir to the throne published this week.
"Much of what you think you know about the Prince is wrong," writes Time editor at large Catherine Mayer in an online essay with the piece. She goes on to say that over more than 50 interviews with Charles and those who know him, she discovered that while the 64-year-old prince is often portrayed as eager to ascend the throne, his focus is really fixed on philanthropy.
He supports efforts to combat climate change, an issue he often speaks about publicly, and he has founded the Prince's Trust and the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, which contribute to a wide range of causes including youth employment and responsible business.
 "I found a man not, as caricatured, itching to ascend the throne, but impatient to get as much done as possible before, in the words of one member of his household, 'the prison shades' close," Mayer wrote.
That phrasing, with its comparison of becoming king to entering a prison, created a scramble on Friday after British news interpreted the comment as anxiety from the prince.
"Prince Charles fears becoming king will condemn him to 'imprisonment,' the Daily Mail wrote.
Mayer said that interpretation was completely incorrect, saying that Charles would not suggest the throne was a prison, and it wasn't him who made that comment. The royal family hurried to quell the rumour in statements to the media.
The Time profile of Prince Charles touches on his reputation, his views about the environment, and the elements of his daily life.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Official Christening Photos

Royal Christening
Queen Elizabeth with three generations of heirs: Prince Charles, Prince William and three-month-old Prince George. This is the first time a reigning monarch has been photographed with three generations since 1894.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coffee v smoothies: Which is better for you?

 Smoothies, Obama + coffee

One is made of fruit. The other is caffeinated. So a smoothie is a healthier option than a coffee, right? Don't be so sure, says Michael Mosley (journalist), as he weighs the evidence. Which is healthier - coffee or smoothies?

It seems obvious that the answer must be a smoothie. After all, drinking coffee is a necessary evil while having a smoothie, made from fruit, is part of your five-a-day. But when you look into the scientific studies they reveal something much more surprising. Let's start with coffee.

There have been numerous claims down the years that drinking coffee will increase your risk of a whole range of terrible things from heart disease to cancer. These claims have been largely based on case control studies, where you take a group of people who drink coffee and compare them with another matched group who don't. The problem with this approach is that coffee drinkers are more likely than non-coffee drinkers to have other "bad" habits, like drinking alcohol or smoking, so it is hard to tease apart what is really doing the harm.

A more reliable way to get at the truth is to do what is called a prospective cohort study. You take a group of disease-free individuals, collect data about them, then follow them for a large number of years to see what happens. When scientists collected data on the coffee drinking habits of 130,000 men and women and then followed them for over 20 years they found that coffee is rather a good thing (The Relationship of Coffee Consumption with Mortality, Annals of Internal Medicine, June 2008). They crunched the numbers and concluded that "regular coffee consumption was not associated with an increased mortality rate in either men or women".

In fact, data from this study suggests that moderate coffee consumption is mildly protective, leading to slightly lower all-cause mortality in coffee drinkers than non-coffee drinkers. Based on this and other studies the most effective "dose" is two to five cups a day. More than that and any benefits drop off. There are hundreds of different substances in coffee, including many different flavonoids (compounds widely found in plants that have antioxidant effects). Which of these ingredients is beneficial, we simply don't know.

When it comes to the brain, however, the answer seems to be "caffeine". In research recently published in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry (July 2013) they found that people who drank two-four cups of caffeinated coffee a day were half as likely to commit suicide as those who either drank decaff or less than two cups a day. This research pulled together data from three studies that had followed more than 200,000 people for more than 14 years, so it's pretty reliable. It is also supported by a number of other studies, which makes this claim even more plausible.

One reason why caffeine may be a mild anti-depressant is that as well as making you more alert, it increases levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, that are known to improve mood. The researchers don't recommend going overboard, noting that "there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups".

One note of caution is that these trials began many years ago so the sort of coffee consumption being tested is almost certainly good, old-fashioned coffee. A simple mug of coffee delivers somewhere between zero and 60 calories, depending on whether it is black, white or white with one sugar. Cappuccinos, lattes and mochas contain coffee but they also contain a lot of calories, anything between 100 and 600 calories, so when it comes to fancy coffees,  limit yourself  to the occasional tall skinny cappuccino (70 calories).

But what about fruit smoothies? They may consist of pure fruit but by the time you've got rid of the peel and mashed the fibre then you have already lost many of the potential health benefits. What you are mainly left with is a sugary drink. In a survey published in early 2013, researchers found that out of 52 commercial smoothies, 41 had more sugar than Coca Cola (a 12oz can contains the equivalent of about nine teaspoons), and all had more calories.

Fruit smoothies are acidic and the bits cling to your teeth, so dentists are not enthusiastic. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but not when it's been peeled, blended, mashed and packaged.

Cup of coffee

In a study published in August 2013 in the British Medical Journal they found that while eating fruit cuts your risk of developing diabetes, drinking it appears to increase the risk.

This was another big study involving lots of people followed for many years. An interesting finding was that different fruits gave different levels of benefit. Three servings of blueberries, for example, cut the risk of diabetes by 26%, while eating apples, pears, bananas and grapefruits also had a positive, albeit much smaller, effect. Overall those who ate fruit cut their risk of developing diabetes by 2%, while those who drank it (more than 3 glasses of fruit juice a week) increased their risk by 8%.

More bad news for fruit juice drinkers comes from a case-controlled study done in Western Australia which examined the daily diets of more than 2,000 people. They found that eating some types of fruit and vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and apples) cuts your risk of colorectal cancer, while drinking fruit juice was associated with an increased risk of rectal cancer. Sugary drinks lead to raised levels of the hormone insulin and persistently high levels of insulin are associated with increased risk of some cancers. The researchers point out that many things that protect against bowel cancer, such as antioxidants and fibre, are lost or diminished during the juicing process.

Strawberry smoothie

None of these studies specifically looked at the health benefits or otherwise of fruit smoothies, which are a relatively recent phenomenon, nor did they look at the impact of different types of juice, for instance whether it was freshly squeezed or from concentrate, home-made or shop-bought. I would assume, for example, that drinking a home-made vegetable smoothie is going to be a lot better for you than a commercial fruit smoothie.

And I very much doubt that the occasional fruit juice or fruit smoothie is going to do any harm. Nonetheless I've personally given up buying them and we rarely have them in the house. I eat whole fruit and when it comes to soft drinks I'm sticking to water, tea and, of course, coffee.

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I am married  to a wonderful guy  who has a daughter by his ex-girlfriend  . I have not met my stepdaughter  . Her mother has full custody  and won't allow  my husband access.
I am older than my husband  by three years . I want to have a child  . Before we married, my husband and I talked about  having kids . We talked about it last December  and we agreed  that it was time to start  a family .
Here's the problem : He has  now decided  he's not ready  . I work in  the maternity ward of a local hosiptal, and I see complications  older women  can have  with pregnancy and delivery . I am getting  close to that age  . I want to have a healthy  pregnancy and child, but the longer we wait  the harder it will be . My feeling  is that one  is never "really" for kids, but you make  the sacrifices  to have something  so amazing in your life .
I have asked my husband  why the sudden change  in attitude , his only response  is "I don't know." I'm getting  tired of that but when I say so, he replies,"I feel ya ." I don't want to force him to have a baby but I want a family  and am getting tired of his excuses  . I love my husband but this is driving me crazy . How can  I find out  what is really bothering  him and get  him on  the same page again ?
Dear Marcia,
Whether or not  to have children  is one of those non-negotiable issues  that can break  up a marriage  . Your husband  is being evasive  and seems uninterested  in the idea  of children . I wonder why he hasn't  fought harder  to be a part of his daughter's life . If having a child is crucial to you, your husband needs to know  that you are willing  to leave  the marriage in order  to find  a more cooperative  partner  . Frankly , I'm not sure  he will make an effort to stop you .

Dear Maxy ,
I have worked in the restaurant industry  all of my life  . Our place is near a clinic . It is one thing to leave  gum under tables  , but I'm amazed  at the number  of people who leave  their used bandages  , cotton and surgical tape . They just put it on their plate and expect us  to dispose  of it . YUCK.
I understand  that these people are coming  to eat after  having procedures done and I  am grateful for their business . But would it be to much  to ask that  they dispose  of these medical bandages  in the bathroom  garbage ? It's pretty  disgusting  to have these things  on the table .
A Waitress
Dear Waitress ,
We agree . Since  you get a lot  of clinic customers you can ask the management  about posting a sign  asking  people to dispose  of post-procedure  bandages  in a specially  designated  "hazardous waste" container  in the bathroom . But some people will leave them on the table regardless . It might be wise  to talk to management  about having a box of disposable gloves that can be  worn  when clearing the tables .

Dear Maxy ,
A superior  sent me a rude  email this week . Her request  was reasonable  but the way  she phrased the email  was unnecessarily  rude and harsh . I'm not sure  if I should  bring it up  with other superiors  or if it would  put them  in an uncomfortable  position . What should I do ?
Dear Offended
If you can drum up the courage, speak directly  to the woman  who wrote the email . Request  a meeting . Acknowledge the tasks  that she requested . If you  have completed them state that fact . Otherwise, tell her  when you expect to be finished . Then add  that the note  was a bit disconcerting  for you because  it was so harshly delivered . State that you want  to do a good job  and fulfill her expectations  and that it will be easier  to do  if she was not so harsh .
Your superior  may not respond  favorably to your  request but I think it would be best  to go to her first  before  reporting  her to others . If you do not feel that you have been  heard or acknowledged after  talking  with her, go to Human Resources for support .

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Prince George Christened in London



Britain's three-month-old future monarch, Prince George, was christened on Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (Oct. 23)

Prince William wearing the same Christening gown


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Cobweb Cake

halloween cobweb cake

Cobweb Cake

Weave a tangled web—from melted marshmallows—for this elegantly eerie dessert by Carrie Sellman of
Step 1: Prepare two boxes of cake mix (any flavor) per the package instructions. You'll need two round cake pans: one 4"W x 4"H; the other 7"W x 4"H 
Trace the base of one pan onto parchment; cut out and place in the bottom of that pan. Repeat for the other pan. Coat the inside of both pans, including parchment liners, with cooking spray.
Step 2: Apportion cake batter between pans. In a 350°F oven, bake the smaller cake for 25 to 30 minutes and the larger cake for 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool.
Step 3: Level the top of each cake. Frost the top of the larger cake with white buttercream. Then center the smaller cake atop it. Frost the entire two-tiered cake.
Step 4: Microwave eight ounces of marshmallows in a bowl for 30 seconds, until gooey but still lumpy. Stir until smooth and cool enough to handle. Pinch off a bit of marshmallow; stretch to create a long, thin strand; and drape it onto the cake. Repeat, applying strands until the entire cake is covered in "webbing."
Step 5: To make the spiders, you'll need black fondant ($10.99 for 24 oz.; Use your hands to shape one 1½-inch ball and nine ½-inch ones. Partially flatten the tops of the large ball and one small one; then use a drop of water to attach them, creating the head and body. Roll the remaining balls into long tubes for the legs, bend in the middle, and attach, using a drop of water for each, to the body, as shown. Repeat, using slightly smaller balls, to create a second spider.

The family will love your creation and it is an awesome centerpiece for a Halloween party. You are a genius. And it was so easy.

Pals sing together



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kate Middleton Post-Baby Bump ... Smoking Hot i09

Kate Middleton had a baby 3 months ago ... but there is zero proof of tat in these pics  of the Duchess of Cambridge  flashing  her royal mid-riff all over the volleyball court .
Prince William's wife  showed up for a public appearance  in London  yesterday , sporting  wedge heels  and a banging bod  that made everyone forget she was ever pregnant .
Kate gave  birth on July 22  to Prince George  .... and obviously  hit tie gym July 23 .
Women ... began panting .  Guys ... continue   wishing they were Prince William .

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I feel betrayed by my own husband  and he doesn't see the problem .
We have been married  for 40 years . "Victor" always had a wandering eye  and a problem with being faithful. For whatever reason, I was never enough for him . He has no idea  how much  he has hurt  me over the years . Now he has started  watching pornography when he thinks  I'm asleep . I know he's masturbating , but if I ask  whether he wants to have sex , he says "no," and eventually , I fall asleep .
This makes me  feel as if he's cheating  on me in my own bed . What do you think ?
Dear Betrayed ,
Ask yourself what you want  out of this marriage  after 40 years . Can you make Victor stop having affairs  and watching pornography  ?Not unless he understands  that it is a betrayal  and decides he doesn't want to hurt you anymore . That would require  effort on his part  and likely counseling  to help him  navigate  a new way  to relate  to you . If you think he would be willing , please suggest it .You can get counseling  on your own  and learn what  you are willing  to tolerate  for the sake of  remaining  in the marriage  if you choose to stay .In the meantime. contact Cosa (, a 12-step program for those whose lives  have been affected  by another person's compulsive sexual behavior .

Dear Maxy ,
I took a job at a local bookstore  after my position as a special ED teacher was downsized . Now I have a "special ED" problem at work .
A woman comes in here  once a week  with her son , a mentally challenged  adult . The son is big  and heavy, and his mother is tiny and fragile . Every time they are here the son has a meltdown. Today he threw himself on the floor, blocking the checkout  area  and wouldn't get up .
I'm used to dealing  with special needs  kids  in school , but not adults  in a retail establishment . Would it be wrong to tell his mother  we cannot accommodate  her son in our store  the next time  they show up ? I realize if we bar him, it makes us look mean, but we have a business to run .
a member of our staff suggested to the boss  that we make him leave, but I advised against it . If we can't get him to go voluntarily, we would  have to physically escort him to the sidewalk  and he would probably struggle . If he gets hurt  in the process, we'll be sued  . I also advised against calling the police  because things  could get even more physically rough.
I suggested  to the boss  that we  wait for the next time they come to the store  and politely refuse  entry . Do you have any suggestions  on how  to deal with these adults when they are on an outings .
Store Problem 
Dear Store Problem,
I contacted the medical director of the National Alliance  on Mental Illness (, who said you're commended  for your sensitivity in not letting a meltdown escalate  into a physical confrontation . What's important is to focus on behavior . If customers cannot behave  appropriately, store owners  are within their rights  to use discretion  in asking them  to leave or not come  back in the future .
In this case, the request can be raised gently  with the mother  the next time  she and her son  come into  the store . To aviod discriminating against  a medical condition , the store owner  should state  that they are  welcome  to return when they are able  to properly manage the son's behavior . The mother may  need to talk to her son's doctor  about his treatment  plan in order  to address behavior issues .
It is also possible  that the mother  cannot leave  the son at home alone  and has no one to help her  in caregiving. Although it's not your role  to be a social worker, simple compassion  can go a long way  in helping  the situation, including  asking  whether  they have  anyone  in the neighborhood  or community to help them .

Dear Maxy,
A family member  recently had a going away party  for their son  two days  before  he was to leave for boot camp . Many of us gave him gifts . The kid decided the night before  leaving  that he had changed his mind and was not leaving  after all . Should he return the gifts  and money ? Most of us think he should, but no one wants to be the one to  tell him .
Dear California ,
Yes, all gifts and money  should be returned  as soon as possible .(The same applies  to canceled wedding  and other gift giving  occasions). While it is not appropriate  to call up  the young man  and insist  that he return  the presents, someone  who is close  to him or his parents  can mention  that it is expected .

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Wanna Create Some Cute Cupcakes for a Party?


baby buggy 

Baby Buggy

Frost three-fourths of each cupcake with pink frosting; frost remaining fourth with white frosting. Attach 2 mini vanilla wafers to bottom of pink frosting for wheels; cut off one-half of a third mini wafer and attach to white frosting for baby's head. Pipe yellow frosting lines for top of buggy; attach white flower-shaped decors for ruffles along buggy top. Pipe white spokes on buggy wheels and attach mini M&M's for hubcaps. Decorate the baby's face.



Fishies in the Sea

Frost cupcake with blue frosting. Attach colored Goldfish crackers to the cupcake. Use chocolate frosting to pipe eyes on fish. Add white candy confetti for bubbles.


Purple Monster

Spoon purple frosting into a decorating bag fitted with a small star tip. Starting at the outer edge of the cupcake, pipe spikes of frosting in concentric circles to completely cover the top. Attach round white candies for eyes and mini M&M's for pupils, small red candy for the nose, and black shoestring  licorice for antennae.
Spotted Puppy
Use white frosting to pipe 1/4-inch beads to cover the top of a cupcake. Use chocolate frosting to pipe ears, spots, and mouth. Attach a small red candy heart for the nose and mini M&M's for eyes. Attach a 2-inch piece of red shoestring licorice for the collar

Using a small star tip and yellow frosting, pipe flower petals around the edge of the cupcake. Pipe chocolate frosting in center; cover with mini chocolate chips. For the ladybug, pipe chocolate frosting on a red M&M for decoration.

 Frost the cupcake with blue frosting; dip the top into blue sugar crystals. Pipe white frosting onto the center of the cupcake into 1 1/2-inch oval for dive mask; attach green M&M's to mask for eyes. Use chocolate frosting to outline the mask and decorate the eyes. Attach a trimmed candy cane for the snorkel and flat white decors for bubbles. Attach a Goldfish cracker and pipe an eye on the fish


L'Inconnue de la Seine...AKA...Resusci Anne

First aid dummy and the death mask

Millions of people around the world have learned CPR on a mannequin known as Resusci Anne. The story of the 19th Century beauty behind the model -  will be told at a symposium in London to mark European Restart a Heart Day.
It Started in Paris
The Lorenzi workshop is a small haven of peace and antiquity in the busy Parisian suburb of Arcueil. And it's the last of its kind. Downstairs the mouleurs, or cast-makers, create figurines, busts and statues, pouring plaster into moulds in much the same way they have since the family business started in the 1870s.

But if you want to be face-to-face with history, pick your way up the dusty wooden stairs to a room above the workshop. It's an unsettling experience. Hanging all around you in the narrow attic are life and death masks of poets and artists, politicians and revolutionaries: Napoleon, Robespierre, Verlaine, Victor Hugo, the robust, impatient face of the living Beethoven and the sallow, diminished features of the composer's death mask.

Yet, surprisingly, of all the visages of the great and the good on display at Lorenzi's, the best-seller is the mask of a young woman. She has a pleasant, attractive face, with the hint of a smile playing on her lips. Her eyes are closed but they look as if they might spring open at any moment. Hers is the one mask that has no name. She's known simply as the Inconnue, the unknown woman of the Seine.

Busts in the Lorenzi workshop

This is how her story goes. Some time in the late 19th Century, the drowned body of a young woman was recovered from the River Seine. As was customary in those days, her body was put on display at the Paris mortuary, in the hope that someone would recognise and identify her. The pathologist on duty became so entranced by the face of the girl with the enigmatic half-smile that he asked a moulder to take a plaster cast of her face.

Before long the mask began to appear for sale outside the mouleurs' workshops on the Left Bank and soon the young woman's face became a muse for artists, novelists and poets, all eager to weave imagined identities and stories around the mystery woman, this drowned Mona Lisa. Over the years Rilke, Louis Aragon, Man Ray and Vladimir Nabokov successively fell under the Inconnue's spell and at one time no fashionable European drawing room was complete without a mask of the Inconnue on the wall.

One of the first stories featuring her was the 1899 novella The Worshipper of the Image by Richard le Gallienne, who portrays the mask as a malevolent force which bewitches and ultimately destroys a young poet. Other authors have been kinder, many of them telling the story of an innocent young woman from the country who comes to Paris, who's seduced by a rich lover and then abandoned when she falls pregnant. With nobody to turn to, she drowns herself in the waters of the Seine, a modern Ophelia. At the mortuary, her beautiful face, now peaceful in death, is preserved forever with a plaster cast.

It was another drowning - or near-drowning - that ensured the Inconnue a place in medical history.
In 1955 Asmund Laerdal saved the life of his young son, Tore, grabbing the boy's lifeless body from the water just in time and clearing his airways. Laerdal at that time was a successful Norwegian toy manufacturer, specializing in making children's dolls and model cars from the new generation of soft plastics. When he was approached to make a training aid for the newly-invented technique of CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the combination of chest compressions and the kiss of life which can save the life of a patient whose heart has stopped - his son's brush with death a few years earlier made him very receptive.

He developed a torso or whole-body mannequin which simulates an unconscious patient requiring CPR. Asmund wanted his mannequin to have a natural appearance. He also felt that a female doll would seem less threatening to trainees. Remembering a mask on the wall of his grandparents' house many years earlier, he decided that the Inconnue de la Seine would become the face of Resusci Anne. So if you're one of the 300 million people who's been trained in CPR, you've almost certainly had your lips pressed to the Inconnue's.

The Duchess of Cornwall with a Resusci Anne dummy

Through Resusci Anne, students of first aid have for more than 50 years been trying to bring back to life the young woman from the Seine.

Post Script:
Edward Chambre Hardman's photographic studio in Liverpool is the National Trust's perfectly preserved time capsule from the first half of the 20th Century, where anyone who was anyone in Liverpool sat for a portrait with Hardman. The mask of the Inconnue hangs on the wall of his waiting room.

The guide tells the story of two sisters, identical twins, who'd been born in Liverpool more than a century ago. One of them, she said, had embarked on a love affair with a rich suitor and eloped to Paris, never to be seen again. Many years later the other sister had visited Paris on holiday. Walking down a street she was shocked to see the mask of the drowned Inconnue hanging outside the mouleurs' workshops. She had instantly recognized the girl as her long-lost twin, condemned - or blessed - to remain forever young, while her sister grew old. It seems the mystery is solved after all with a Liverpool twist.

CPR training

The shutdown Good Samaritans

Chris Cox

Thousands of workers were sent home, cancer patients denied new drugs and weddings postponed. But the way some individuals have responded to chunks of the US government closing down has lifted the spirits.  The sight of Chris Cox pushing a lawnmower across Washington's National Mall, a chainsaw hanging from it, was one that warmed the heart of many.
"If they shut down our memorials, we're still going to take the trash out, we're going to clean the windows, we're going to cut the grass, we're going to pull the weeds, we're going to do the tree work,'' he told a Washington radio station.

Cox, who made the trip from South Carolina and was carrying the state flag, says his "memorial militia" crusade was non-political, merely an attempt to keep the area between the Lincoln and World War II memorials tidy before thousands of veterans are due to attend an event on Sunday.

His wasn't the only act of altruism to emerge from the wreckage of the partial shutdown. On the same day, the military charity Fisher House announced that it would pay more than $500,000 to cover the death benefits denied to five bereaved families. And a philanthropist billionaire has thrown a lifeline to a pre-school education program called Head Start, to the tune of $10m.

When Adam Brown and Joy Miller learned that their wedding venue in Yosemite National Park was off-limits, a caterer in San Francisco stepped in to supply food while other businesses provided a venue and all the trimmings. "We feel so blessed and honoured that strangers have given so much to make our wedding a reality," Miller told CNN.

People all around the world act more altruistically for the common good in times of emergency, says moral philosopher Peter Singer, in circumstances that range from something like this to war and famine. But philanthropy has a strong tradition in the US and there's something distinctly American about the idea that individuals can take over the functions of government.

"Like the guy mowing the lawn in Washington, the idea that somehow people can step in and you don't really need government, you can do it all with a little charity," he says.