My Blog List

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

 Happy New Year  to all our readers  and followers .

Maxy ,  'The Genie  , Witchy , Poppa

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I got the most baffling birthday party invitation . My friend , in an effort to reclaim her youth , has decided to throw herself a 45th birthday --- at a strip club ! I had no idea this was an option , let alone an appealing one for a birthday party , I am conflicted about whether to attend . I didn't expect the invitation to have the entire printed schedule , but just noting that we are celebrating youth at a strip club brought up some questions for me . Will we be dancing to reclaim our youth ? Is the entire club rented out for this party , or will there be gentlemen at this gentlemen's club as well ? Part of me wants to go to see the spectacle , but part of me worries this will be harmful to my reputation . Am I over reacting ? Is it rude of me to ask questions of the host about the activities ? I have never been invited to a party of this sort before , or been aware they exsist .
Not Dancing , Jackson Mississippi
Dear Not Dancing ,
Your friend is getting sassy, eh? Good for her . Having fun and celebrating your birthday is a healthy outlet. And it's perfectly  fine for you  to feel  apprehensive about it if you are un-used to this kind of entertainment. Of course you should  ask her about the details of going to this club . You can probably look it up online, too . Some strip clubs are set up  to have large group parties and are largely harmless  events  with a bit of  sexy dancing by the employees and tossing of dollar bills by the patrons . It's only at seedier  locations  that more lewd behavior occurs .
Ultimately, you  have to decide  your own level of comfort . If you choose not to attend, try not to pass judgement on those who do, when you decline  the invitation. Simply tell your friend  that you feel uneasy  about  a strip club .

Dear Maxy ,
My co-worker received a bouquet of flowers at work from her fiance a month ago . These flowers are long gone rotten, and I don't think she realizes the difference between "rotten" and "dried." The flowers are turning black and the stems are shriveling up and causing an eyesore for the company and our clients . I have considered getting her a new arrangement of flowers myself , but this won't be cherished like the flowers from her fiance . Usually , people are allowed to decorate their desks as they please and no one comments , but you can tell from puzzled glances that these rotting flowers are drawing negative attention . I love to garden , so I was thinking of suggesting I use them as fertilizer or offer to teach her how to dry flowers so future flowers do not rot . Am I sticking my nose where it dosen't belong ? 
Rotten Flowers 
Dear Rotten Flowers ,
Go to your co-worker  privately, and tell her   that her  bouquet  has gone bad  and is now an eyesore . Suggest  that she throw it away, but  hold onto the memory . If  she balks, tell you believe the rotten flowers are bad for business  and you know she wouldn't want that .

Dear Maxy ,
After my dad died , my mom went to live out of state with my brother and his wife . My brother took control of everything . He convinced her that she was incapable of making her own decisions and had her open joint bank accounts that he had full access to .
Recently , Mom confided that she has no idea why she can never get over a certain amount of savings in her account . She knows she should have more money put away, but fully trusts my brother and will not confront him about it . My brother has also pushed me out of Mom's life . He will not let me visit her or allow her to come to my home . I am lucky if I get to speak to her once a day on the phone .
My children miss their grandmother and don't understand why there is such a drastic change in her behavior . Family is just not family anymore and the holidays seem sad . I don't know what to do . My brother and his wife want nothing to do with their niece and nephew . 
Please Help --- Missing Mom 
Dear Please Help ,
While it's possible  that your mother  simply  doesn't remember  what money is being put into her account , it is more likely  that your  brother  is taking advantage of her  account --- especially  if he  will not  permit  you to visit or communicate with her . This is very worrisome . If you  believe your brother  is being abusive toward your mother, either  by stealing  her money  or preventing  others from   from checking on her well being , please contact Adult Protective  Services  in the city  where she lives or get  information  on local state  resources  through the National Center on Elder Abuse  at  (
This is putting a heavy responsibility on you but who else will protect her?

Dear Maxy ,
I read the letter from "lonely Not Lust," the 67-year-old woman who went on a date with a man who seemeed nice , but who grabbed her breast ahen saying goodnight . It reminded me of the comments that my doctors always made after my exams .
I am in my 60s and single . Both doctors always ask if I'm sexually active . Then they warn me to make sure that my partner has been to his doctor and tested for STDs . This is the age of viagra and a large percentage of their practice is devoted to men with STDs , especially those living in assisted living and senior residences where the women outnumber the men . The men I have been with lately think the women are all waiting for them to ravish us . How stupid can they be ? Please consider educating people on this subject .
Dear N .
According  to the CDC, the incidence of syphilis  among seniors  is up by 52 percent , and the number of chlamydia  cases has risen  32 percent  since 2007, many of these  cases  in retirement  communities  . The increase  is attributed  to living  longer, healthier  lives, along with  the accessibility of erectile  dysfunction  drugs . Many seniors  seem to believe  that if pregnancy  is not an issue, condom  use is unimportant  . But as we get older, our immune systems weaken, making seniors  much more  susceptible  to becoming infected  by STDs.
I commend  your  doctors  for discussing STDs with you . Medicare offers free STDs screening for seniors  and low cost  treatment  for those who need it .

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Diabetes : Exercise is not Optional: Your Life Depends on It!

By Linda B. White, MD

If regular physical activity didn’t make your list of New Year’s resolutions, add it now. Your life depends upon it.

Sedentary lifestyles count as a major risk factor for chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis (brittle bones). A 2010 study found that, compared to women who spent fewer than three hours a day sitting, those who sat six hours or more were 34 percent more likely to die.

The remedy is simple: Move. The benefits are plentiful.

Muscles increase in size, gaining strength and endurance. You have the energy to enjoy dancing, hiking, cycling, skating, and sledding with friends.

Body weight is easier to maintain. Because muscle uses lots of fuel, the rate at which you burn calories increases.
Bones thicken under the influence of weight-bearing and resistance exercises (working against weights, bands, or your own body weight), which reduces the risk of osteoporosis. To stimulate bone, do weight-bearing and resistance exercises
Joints become more flexible when moved through their full range of motion. Strengthening the muscles around joints protects them and eases arthritis symptoms.

The health of heart, lungs, and blood vessels improves with aerobic exercise—the type that uses big muscles and increases your pulse and respiratory rate to the point you can talk but not sing.

Exercise protects against stroke and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and heart attacks. It lowers LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol and elevates HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

The nervous system functions more optimally. Mood, attention, learning, and memory improve. Aerobic exercise seems to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
Exercise relieves stress and anxiety and aids recovery from depression.

Moderate daily exercise improves nighttime sleep and reduces fatigue, even in energy-zapping conditions such as cancer.
The immune system benefits with moderate exercise.
Exercise increases tissue sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that ushers blood sugar inside cells. For that reason, the risk of type 2 diabetes declines.
Exercise also increases growth hormone, which stimulates growth, cellular reproduction and regeneration, and maintenance of muscle and bone.

The digestive system perks along better. Constipation becomes less likely.  Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome improve.
Exercise has benefits for your sex life. Working out makes you feel better about yourself, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which is involved in sexual arousal, and protects arterial health, thereby reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction. A study in women found that a bout of exercise counteracted the libido-dampening effect of antidepressants.
Exercise reduces the risk of some cancers.

Lastly, regular physical activity extends your life. Research has shown that people who follow federal guidelines for physical activity reduce their risk of dying by 25 to 35 percent.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas  from the PICs

'The Genie'  &  Witchy

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I am a 51-year-old attractive professional , divorced twice and currently engaged to a 58-year-old man who is also twice divorced . We met online and hit it off pretty quickly . He has a magnetic personality , and sex is great between us . He moved in and I am supporting him financially until he gets his business in order . He has has four DUIs and recently spent some time in jail . I have stood by him through this .
He has always been upfront that he likes to view porn a lot and wants to experiment sexually . This doesn't bother me . But he posted an ad online asking another woman to join us for sex . While we may fantasize about this in the bedroom , he wants to make it real and this makes me uncomfortable . But he gets angry if I say so . (He also doesn't like when I mention money issues between us .)
I have been through a lot over the years , including getting out of an abusive marriage . I also have a young daughter at home . Am I being unreasonable about a threesome or should I rethink this situation ?
Dear Confused ,
This guy is unreliable financially and emotionally . He wants you to support  him while he indulges himself. His sexual interests  do not coincide  with yours . He is manipulating  and pushing  you do do something  you don't  want to do . Worse, when you  express  yourself, he becomes angry .
Based on your history, you might  not recognize  an unhealthy relationship, so please allow me to point  it out: This guy is not partner material . He is not going to be a positive influence on you or your daughter and there is great potential for abuse . The sex may be great, at the moment, but it's not enough  to make up for his shortcomings .  He will continue  to pressure you until it escalates into emotional abuse. And he will continue to be a drain on you financially. He has no intention of working while you support his lifestyle. It's quite possible he has done this sort of thing before, with other women. 
I urge you to get away from this  guy, if not for yourself, do it for your daughter. This guy is completely lacking in principles and you don't want him being a big influence in her life. Neither would you want her to see you being verbally abused. I am sure you both suffered enough in your previous marriage.

Dear Maxy ,
I used to think there was a social etiquette regarding headphones . Specifically that if someone had his headphones on , he did not want to spoken to unless it was absolutely necessary . I guess I must have made that up , because my girlfriend will speak to me regardless of what I am doing at home and expect me to listen . It's been driving me nuts ; I like to have my personal time , but if she wants to tell a story or speak to me for whatever reason , she will say it from across the apartment and get peeved that I didn't listen . I didn't even hear her speaking ! I told her I'd like to have some quiet time when I have my headphones in , but she insists her stories and questions are quick and important . I have wanted to bring up the fack that it is unspoken social etiquette not to bother someone when he has headphones on .
Am I in the wrong , or is my girlfriend in the wrong ?
Quiet Time 
Dear Quiet Time ,
In order to have peaceful quiet time, you and your girlfriend  need to talk about boundaries, expectations and ways of living  together that are agreeable for both of you.
A relationship requires compromise from both partners if it has a hope of succeeding. As much as people may love each other, learning to live together requires a lot of work and give and take. 
Schedule a time when the two of you can sit down together and discuss your needs, desires, your likes and dislikes, habits and preferences. And be prepared to listen to hers and make compromises.  She should do the same. Find that middle zone where you are both comfortable . You are right in as much as everyone needs some space and private time, but not to such an extent that you are excluding or offending your partner.

Dear Maxy ,
My wife's niece has a 3-year-old child whom we love dearly . We help take care of this child and pay for a great deal of the baby's care . 
The problem is , my wife frequently offers advice to her niece . The niece cusses her out and my wife ends up in tears . But my wife insists she has to to keep doing this in order to help the baby.
I disagree with her logic . I told her simply repeating the same pattern over and over , setting herself up for misery . This niece is not a nice person . She treats her own mother (my wife's sister) poorly .
Her crying is disturbing to me . My wife is a social worker and says that she helps strangers , so why can't she help her own family ?
Stop Already
Dear Stop ,
 She can't help her own family because she is too involved and cannot be objective enough . She also believes her background in social work will somehow  give  her more authority or influence over her niece , when it obviously does not .
She is meeting with such resistance from her niece it is plain to see that avenue is a dead end. And if she persists, you may lose access to the child you both love and the child will lose the love and care of extended family, that she plainly needs.
Your wife seems like a very concerned and caring person but my best advice is that she give the constant advice a rest, and simply transfer  her professional skills toward the care of the little girl, who will benefit  from being loved by someone who has a great deal to give .

Dear Maxy ,
I keep reading letters from women who are concerned that their husbands of many years look at porn , go to strip clibs or have affairs . That sounds awful . But guess what can happen after 25 years of marriage ? Husbands look forward to the last 25 years of their lives with their loving wives , and all of a sudden , the wives act as though they don't like their husbands anymore . All affection stops and some wives even announce that there will be no more sex ever .
We men wonder what is going on and then realize that this is menopause . So now , the last 25 years are not going to be nearly as good as anticipated .
More than half of my male friends got divorced when their wives were in their late 50s and sometime the wife initiated the divorce . I have not had sex with my wife in years . Please don't advice counseling or hormones . The women don't believe anything is wrong , and they are justifiably reluctant to take drugs that have serious side affects .
So , ladies , decide which is better : Men viewing porn and masturbating (which the medical community agrees is healthy for men who aren't having sex with their partners) or getting a divorce because the husbands are starved for affection or sex . There are two sides to every story .
 Dear S.
You have made a valid point  that a lot of  women will not  like . But several things can cause the loss of libido in women: childbirth, menopause and recently researchers have discovered that drops in a woman's testosterone level cause a drop in libido. Contrary to common belief, testosterone is not just a male hormone. It is testosterone that influences sex drive in women as well as men.
Testosterone levels fall as people age.  By the time a woman is 45 she has lost around fifty percent of the hormone.  Nature designed her that way because she is past child bearing years and no longer needs to feel that drive. Some women experience a more dramatic loss than others. It is not something she chooses to do, it just happens. Interest  in sex just doesn't exist any more. And with the loss of testosterone and estrogen, in many cases, intercourse can become uncomfortable.
But everyone needs intimacy, affection, the comfort of touching and most women continue to enjoy that side of marital sex if is has been nurtured and demonstrated over the years. And she should be as sensitive to her husband's needs as he should be to hers. I understand why a guy can be bewildered by this turn of events, but you also have to ask yourself  if you played a part in this situation too. How did you handle it ? Did you become resentful ?
Have you really sought a healing solution or too readily turned to other means of gratification? Both  husbands and wives  need to be  educated  about these  changes and understand  how to best  handle them. As you say, there are two sides to every story.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Can Cinnamon Help Treat Diabetes?Several studies have investigated the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar, but the results are mixed.

There are medications available to help manage type 2 diabetes and lower blood sugar levels. A diabetes-friendly diet and regular exercise can also help to keep type 2 diabetes under control. But some researchers suspect that there could be a more natural source of blood sugar control to help manage diabetes: cinnamon.

Some studies have investigated the effect of cinnamon on blood sugar levels, but there aren't enough of them or enough carefully compiled results — or consistency in those results — to draw hard and fast conclusions yet. "There's not very much research on it," explains Philip A. Kern, MD, an endocrinologist and director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Center at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington. But there is potential.

The studies that have tried to measure the effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes have been small and not well controlled. In general, a reliable study is one that is large (at least 500 to 1000 patients), has patients randomly assigned to different groups, and is double blind — meaning neither the researchers nor the subjects know who is getting the treatment. That type of detailed and careful research just hasn't been done on the subject of cinnamon’s role in diabetes, says Dr. Kern, adding that the results of the small studies that have been conducted "are all over the place."

"Some say that the cinnamon does lower blood sugar or improves some other measure — some studies report a benefit, and some studies don't report a benefit," says Kern. His initial reaction was dubious, he admits, but after studying what little research is available, the effects of cinnamon are "probably something deserving of a larger study."

Get to Know What Psoriatic Arthritis Is:
For instance, one study suggests that cinnamon may be effective in lowering blood sugar levels because it has a similar effect on the body as insulin, the hormone that people with type 2 diabetes produce in insufficient amounts.

Cinnamon: A Dash or a Dollop?
The amount of cinnamon needed to produce a positive effect is unclear. In some of the clinical trials, diabetic patients were given about 1 gram of cinnamon in a capsule — that amount of pure cinnamon is about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger.

Swallowing that much cinnamon powder would be downright painful (and probably not taste very good), so Kern says you shouldn't try to ingest cinnamon on your own in an effort to lower blood sugar. You also shouldn't chow down on a big cinnamon bun or sip a cinnamon latte, thinking you're getting a health benefit — even if additional research concludes that cinnamon is of benefit in lowering blood sugar and managing diabetes, Kern says you're still not getting a free pass for the sugar and calories.

So what's the take-away message? Kern believes it's not so much that people with diabetes should eat more cinnamon, but that "maybe [it] has a property that might be beneficial." He adds, "If you could figure out exactly what it is about cinnamon, you could design a drug that would target that beneficial property.”

So,  if anything does come of cinnamon as a blood sugar-lowering agent, the recommendations for patients with diabetes will be in the form of a new medication that has captured the properties of cinnamon, not necessarily dietary changes.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Food for Thought :Holiday dinners provide memories that last for years

       Cherished memories are the ties that bind us to our families and  friends. A holiday dinner party is a time for rekindling fond memories, for reuniting with dear friends and neighbors. There are also delicious recollections of classic evenings that we reserve for special days and special people.
        For a delicious hos d'oeuvre, serve guests our favoriate  slow cooker crab party dip, along with perhaps a tray of canapés which will satisfy appetites until dinner is ready. An over abundance of appetizers is not recommended for a sit-down dinner. The last thing you want are overstuffed guests that merely pick at their meal. 
         Our eye-catching zucchini salad was created  by my daughter's brother  Chris has a knack for preparing not only scrumptious dishes (you should have tasted his salmon , all his sisters , wife , and sister-in-laws are great cooks!) but beautifully presented ones as well. This delicious salad is definitely not run-of-the-mill!
        At Thanksgiving we always have turkey because it is tradition, but at Christmas, we have either Crown Pork Roast with stuffing or standing rib roast each year. Today, to give you a choice, I feature both the Crown Pork Roast and the standing rib roast , we had  both roasts and the turkey  Thanksgiving , lot of out-of town  close relatives  was here  and still is (laughing my butt off). 
         My daughter said  she discovered the treasured Crown Pork Roast in a Southern Living cookbook many years ago and, after some adjusting on her  part, she  adopted it into our Christmas menu. The stuffing, which can be made a day ahead, is divine. If you’re planning on serving this cut of roast, call your butcher and order it at least a week ahead. He can advise you on the size of roast you will need to accommodate your guests. Garnished with spiced fruit, this elegant entree is guaranteed to take first prize.
         Another perfect entrée for a sit-down dinner is my  daughter's  Standing Rib Roast, which is not only a delectable entrée, but a beautifully presented one as well served on a large  platter. The simple preparation, as well as the lovely presentation, is what makes this roast so special for a dinner party.
        The preparation of this standing rib roast is very simple. It is removed from the refrigerator two hours before cooking, then seasoned and placed in a very hot oven. My husband Ed believes that good quality beef doesn’t require gravy or sauces that disguise the luscious, bold flavor of the meat. She serve it with plain horseradish or a sour cream-horseradish sauce on the side.
          When you taste our asparagus with tarragon lemon sauce, you'll think you're in heaven! This gourmet dish lends itself beautifully to both the crown pork roast and the standing rib roast. 
         Who doesn't love carrot cake? This delicious version is yet another family favorite of the family , especially my son  who do not slice  a piece , he cuts  at least  a hunk of cake .
In closing, I'd like to offer a reminder that the giving of Christmas, the happiness of Christmas, and the hope for peace on earth for Christmas is not just about one day. The spirit of Christmas is about gratitude, warmth, kindness, love, and most of all, peace. The spirit of Christmas is every day of the year.       Merry Christmas!
     Slow Cooker Crab Party Dip :
3    (8-ounces) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2    (6-ounces) cans lump crab meat, drained
1    (6-ounces) can broken shrimp, drained
6    tablespoons  chopped onion
1     teaspoon horseradishcchin
1/2   cup toasted almonds (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker; cover. Cook on low for 2 hours. Serve with toast points or melba toast.

Zucchini Salad :
2    medium zucchinis
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1    young leek, white and light green parts only,
well washed and sliced into paper-thin rings
1/4    cup each chopped dill and chives
1       cup Ricotta cheese
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Slice zucchini into paper thin rounds; place on a platter in a single overlapping layer. Dust with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Place in refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to penetrate zucchini. When ready to serve, sprinkle leeks on top of zucchini, then sprinkle with the herbs. Garnish top with the Ricotta cheese and mint leaves.
                                                Crown Pork Roast With Stuffing :
1     crown pork roast
Salt and pepper to taste
2     (8 ounses) pkgs. seasoned bread stuffing
2     tablespoons grated lemon rind
½    cup finely chopped onion
2     tablespoons dried parsley
2      sticks melted butter
3     tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½   cups chicken broth
½     cup sauterne wine
                     Gravy (see below) :
Trim excess fat from roast and season with salt and pepper. Place in a greased open roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Place stuffing in center of roast. To remaining stuffing, add about 3 tablespoons chicken broth and place in a greased baking dish; set aside. Bake roast in a 350-degree oven about 20 minutes per pound or until meat is tender. After one hour of cooking, place foil loosely over stuffing to prevent drying. Baste with dry white wine several times during cooking to prevent dryness. Forty-five minutes before serving, place reserved stuffing in oven and bake until hot and bubbly.
For gravy: Drain off fat and add 1 cup chicken broth to drippings; simmer 5 minutes. To thicken, stir in cornstarch that has been mixed with cool water. Serve with meat.
Garnish roast with spiced apples or peaches. Top the rib crowns with boots or cherry tomatoes.
                                                                                            Standing Rib Roast :
1      (5-6 pound) standing rib roast
Salt and pepper, to taste
4-5   squirts of Worcestershire
Remove roast from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking. When ready to bake, salt and pepper roast heavily and squirt with Worcestershire. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and place uncovered in a preheated 500-degree oven. Immediately turn oven down to 325-degrees and bake roast 20 minutes per pound. Serve with horseradish.
Yield: 12 servings

Asparagus with Tarragon Lemon Sauce :
2       pounds  medium asparagus trimmed and peeled
½     cup mayonnaise
½     cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1      tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or ½ teaspoon dried
2      teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
1      teaspoons  finely grated lemon zest
½     teaspoon  Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and return to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until tender (about 3 minutes). Drain, cool under cold running water and drain again thoroughly. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream or yogurt, tarragon, lemon juice, lemon zest and mustard. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small serving bowl. This recipe can be prepared to this point up to 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate the sauce and set aside the asparagus at room temperature. Arrange the asparagus on a platter and serve with lemon sauce for dipping.
                                                                                                                   Carrot Cake:
2        cups flour
2        teaspoons  baking powder
1 ½    teaspoons baking soda
2 ½   teaspoons  cinnamon
1       teaspoon  salt
4      eggs, beaten
1 ½   cups canola oil
2     cups sugar
1      (12 ounces) can crushed pineapple, drained
2      cups grated carrots, packed
1      (8 ounces) pkg. cream cheese
½     cup butter
1      box powdered sugar
1      teaspoon  vanilla
Pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and mix in oil, sugar, pineapple and carrots. Add flour mixture and mix well. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9”cake pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then frost as a 3-layer cake. Frosting: Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla slowly to cream cheese mixture and beat until well blended.
TIP : If desired, 1 cup of chopped nuts can be added to the frosting.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas  and a happy New Year .
Taking  a few weeks off to enjoy  the holidays  with family and  Friends .  A proud grand-poppa          G.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I was expecting a package for a while and eventually got it delivered, by my sheepish neighbor, who had opened it ! What ? I was not here when he dropped it off on my porch , but he left a note saying , "Sorry  I thought it was for me . ---Dave." I was so confused and I couldn't believe he had opened my mail . Did he want to know what I was ordering ? Was he so excited to get a package that he didn't look at 'MY' name plastered on it ? I am not one for confrontation , but I am definitely fuming . I want to march right over there , but I do not want to accuse him of anything . Maybe he did make a mistake, but my mail has the right to remain private ! I'm worried about this happening again . Should I just leave a note with a response on the back of his door ? I want to tell him to check his mail , and I will check mine , too .
Mail Bandit 
Dear Mail Bandit ,
Take a few deep breaths and calm down before you do anything . Understand that your neighbor could have opened your box, been embarrassed, and kept it without ever telling  you of his error . Illegal, but it happens all the time .  At least he returned your package and apologized.
Take your neighbor at his word unless it happens again. 
You have to live next door to this guy. Bad relations with a neighbor are very hard to live with and always tend to escalate, making you uncomfortable in your own backyard. The next time you see him, thank him for returning the box and for the note. If this is a one time offence, you'll be glad you didn't lose your cool. If it does occur again, then you will have speak to him and tell him to please read the label before he tears a package open next time. In fact, offer up that you both should be more mindful  before opening the mail .

Dear Maxy ,
One of my good friends , Kate, and I finished working on an island for the summer season . As the season ended , we had a talk about how although we love each other, we could never be in a relationship without everything going up in flames . We are great friends to each other and we keep in touch the whole year . This year ended any hopes that each of us had of being together . It feels like we always used to be each other's backups for life partners , but now that safety net has been cut . It's been a few months since this conversation  and I'm wondering if we had made a mistake . On one hand , we get along well and feel a deep connection to each other ; however , we are very similar and fight often . I don't want to string her along , but I always want to be close with Kate .
Is there any way to do that without falling back into the talks of being in a relationship ?
Summer Love 
Dear Summer Love ,The answer is in the third line of your letter. You both  concluded you could never be in a relationship together.
You have good instincts. You would not have said it if you did not know it to be true. Neither one of you is ready to commit to each other at this time, or perhaps ever. If you were, you would not happily go your separate ways at the end of every summer. If you were deeply in love you could not stand the separation.
So step back and allow a little time and distance to take place and see how you feel. I think most everyone has had a summer romance. It is like a rare orchid, it does not survive well outside of it's rarified environment. Without the excitement of beautiful summer nights by the water and the holiday atmosphere, those love affairs often shrivel and fade away. But they are great memories.
I think you have a awesome friend, maybe even an intimate friend. Enjoy it and treasure it for what it is.
Someday, when you get together with Kate in a different, more every day environment, you may want to explore the relationship again see if you both still feel the same.

Dear Maxy ,
My 35-year-old son "Edgar," has been diagnosed with major depression and is receiving disability . He currently lives in an apartment on my parents property . 
Since Edgar is currently vehicle-less , I've been helping him with grocery shopping , etc . Last week , after a bout of extreme allergy symptoms , his depression escalated and he texted me , saying , "I don't care about anything anymore . My life is worthless ." He claimed he had no food left , but refused to let me bring over groceries . He said he didn't care if he wasted away , although he promised not to kill himself . 
Over the weekend I texted him , but there was no response . By Monday , I was frantic . I reached out to his physician , leaving a message with the assistant , emphatically stating that my son promised he would not harm himself . He just didn't want to eat . I told the assistant that it was crucial that I speak to the doctor before an intervention . Well , this inept nitwit conveyed the wrong information to the doctor , resulting in a call to the police inquiring about a welfare check . And instead of talking to me , the doctor phoned my parents. 
Then Edgar called , ranting that I have totally messed up his life because I told the doctor he was suicidal . I phone the doctor , who apologized profusely for the confusion her assistant had caused and assured me that she would call my son and straighten things out . I waited another day and then sent Edgar a text , wanting to open communication . He replied , "Forget it , the damage is already done. I can't go back to that doctor." He said he was going to move far away where no one could find him . What do I do ?
Dear Drama ,
You need to give Edgar some breathing room . Although he may actually be grateful that you care , this much attention to his health might be overwhelming him . Send a calm text , saying you love him , you're sorry you upset him  and that you hope he will get back in touch soon . I know you are worried , but there is only so much you can do  without his cooperation . 
You can contact the  National Alliance on Mental Illness  at 1-800-950-NAMI  ( ).
You mentioned  Edgar has  some rather serious allergies. If he has been treated for depression with drugs and the medication has not worked well, there is a strong possibility his depression is being caused by allergic reactions. 
Food allergies such as sensitivity to wheat and dairy can cause depression. Exposure to molds can cause depression. A nutritionally poor diet with high sugar content can affect the chemistry of the brain and cause depression. In fact new studies have shown that the body's response to all kinds of inflammation can and often does cause depression. All these things change the chemistry of the body and in turn, the chemicals passing through the brain.
 Do a little reading at the websites below. It gives you another avenue to try. I have a strong hunch Edgar's depression, at least in part, has a biological cause.

Dear Maxy ,
At a dinner celebrating my mother's birthday , one of her friends announced her opinion on the current refugee situation . Our opinions ate polar opposites and my mom's friend , Carol , believes no one should be let into the country . I was the youngest at the table and I did not expect to be brought into a conversation with people 2 to 3 times my age . However , Carol turned to me and asked me if I agree with her . I hate debating and political conversations around the dinner table . I did not want to engage her and was a bit surprised I was being brought into the conversation . I blunted out I that I didn't have an opinion . Carol seemed a bit confused , but i'm not sure what else I could've done to avoid a debate . I am not sure if there's a way to tell someone that I do not agree with them and end the conversation without explanations and rebuttals . Did I take the best route out of confrontation with Carol ? I think we all knew that I had an opinion I did not want to share .
Not a Fighter 
Dear Not a Fighter ,
While I tend to prefer testy conversations to occur after dinner . I do not think you should shy away  from expressing  your opinion about hot-button issues . You can do so in a calm manner . But you will have to explain  why you feel a particular way . You can say , "Carol , I respectfully disagree with you because ..." It's best if you have concrete information to back up your thoughts .You don't have  to debate  your point , but stating  it simply is the best thing to do, even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable . You have to consider the thoughts and feelings of others around you in a social situation and respond. 

Dear Maxy ,
I was volunteering at a church sale my church hosts twice a year . It was a slow day and the head of the sale announced to all the volunteers , "Go out and buy something !" I construed this was an invitation to peruse instead of work , so I admired all of the products for the sale and returned to my station . Then the leader looked at me like I was a moron and said , "I told you to buy something . The day is slow !" Eventually , all the volunteers ended up making a purchase and then we was dismissed because it was evident no one else was coming . I feel used . I volunteered my hours and then was coerced into buying something . I did not like this and don't plan on returning to the sale . The purchases were for a good cause , but we were donating our time to the sale . We weren't planning on being forced to spend money . Should I ask the other volunteers if they feel the same way ? I think the head of the sale should be asked to step down .
How Rude 
Dear  How Rude ,
Speak to the head of the church  instead . Explain what happened  and  how you feel about it . That person will then speak to the other volunteers and/or the leader and straighten it out.
 In any volunteer situation, there is no actual boss and no one has the right to demand anything of you. I am amazed you all did what this person told you to.
Don't hold the sale or the charity responsible because of the actions of one ignorant individual. You will be hurting an organization that is trying to do some good . And you will hurt yourself because you will regret not helping your church group.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stunning Views of Iceland Sent by Brian's Brother BoB

Iceland is indeed a spectacular place.  It is the result of a crack in the ocean floor that keeps spewing so much magma that Europe and North America keep drifting away from each other at the rate of about 2 inches per year.

credits: Max Rive

credits: Menno Schaefer

credits: Milko Marchetti

credits: Antony Spencer

credits: Gunnar Gestur

credits: Yves Schüpbach

credits: coolbiere

credits: Skarphedinn Thrainsson

credits: Wim Denijs

credits: Alexandre Deschaumes

credits: Gunnar Gestur

credits: euskadi 69

credits: PeterHammer

credits: Orvar Atli

credits: Alban Henderyckx

credits: Alexander Shchukin

credits: Christian Schweiger

credits: Andre Ermolaev

credits: Manisha Desai


credits: Einar Runar Sigurdsson

credits: Iurie Belegurschi

credits: Felix Röser

credits: Andre Ermolaev

credits: Johnathan Esper

credits: Max Rive'

credits: Ivo De Decker

Image credits:

credits: Max Rive'

credits: Daniel Kaempf