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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
My boyfriend's daughter has been acting out recently . After my boyfriend spoke to her, she admitted she feels alone because she does not have a mother . Her mother has been removed from the family for many years and my boyfriend's daughter is legally protected from her . Now that I am her father's partner, I would like to bond with her and help her have an older female figure in her life . I do not want to overstep my boundaries , but I want her to know that the girly experience that she cannot have with her mother , she can have with me . how do I broach this topic ? I do not want to seem insensitive or over eager , but I want her to know she can rely on me .
Treading Lightly
Dear Treading Lightly ,
First , evaluate your relationship with your boyfriend . Do you feel this going to be a long-lasting union ? If not, you probably don't want to form too close a bond with his daughter, only to end it some time soon and hurt her .
 Next , get your boyfriend 's blessing to strike up a closer relationship with his daughter . You definitely want and also need his agreement that this is a good idea . If all is a go, start slowly and gently to initiate experiences that you can share with this young lady . The range of activities you can consider is broad .
Ask her what she would like to do . "Girly" activities range from going to the nail salon to going shopping. Depending on her age, she might like to create arts and crafts with you or participate in sports . How about watching chick flicks together with a bowl of popcorn, or even just sitting around talking ?  Find out what interests her, with the object of  getting to know her better and forging a bond . Also let her know you would like to be a friend and you will be there for her if ever she needs one.

Dear Maxy , 
I belong to a strict yacht and country club where there are many rules . Although the rules are not clearly stated , they are meant to be universally known .
One of the most awkward rules to explain to my guests is that there is a no-texting rule when one is at the club. I need to maintain a good reputation but with my teenage children and their guests, I am not always heard . I do not want to have to reprimand others' children , but I feel so embarrassed when I look over to see teenagers eating and staring at their laps . What should I do ?
Club Rules
 Dear  Club Rules ,
When in Rome, right ? Prep your guests well in advance of arriving at the club . Inform them about proper attire and behavior, as required by club rules
As  far as the cellphones go, if one of the teen guests breaks the ban on texting, after being told the regulations, ask them if you may hold their cell for them for the duration of their visit . This will force them to interact with each other and allow you to follow the protocol of the club . I am sure you would only have to do that once to get the message across.

Dear Maxy ,
Why do some people insist on arriving late for family dinners ? My husband and I are great-grandparents with the only home large enough to set up and cook and I set the time that seems most convenient for our family members .
When there is a football game in the evening, I set the time for noon . When there is early morning rain, I set time for late afternoon . When asked if we can set a specific hour, I always agree . On Memorial Day I told everyone to be here at 1 p.m. Ten people were here waiting , and the last two came in 45 minutes later. 
We didn't sit down to eat until after 2 . This is awkward for everone, but especially the young children, who are hungry, seniors who haven't eaten since early morning, and one family member who is diabetic and needs to time her insulin .
Why is it no longer polite to be punctual ?
Late Arrival
Dear Late ,
It  is still polite to be punctual, but some folks are simply inconsiderate . If there is only one couple that does this regularly, feel free to tell them that the festivities start an hour earlier than you tell everyone else . Otherwise, here's how to treat chronically late family members : Set the time and when that time arrives, sit down and start eating . Those who show up late can be told to find leftovers in the  kitchen or join you for dessert . They will either accommodate themselves or make a greater effort to show up on time  at the next family event . Either way, the rest of you should not be held hostage to their bad manners .

Dear Maxy ,
My wife and I are lucky to live near the friendliest, most helpful neighbors we could ask for . They are a middle-aged European couple who moved to the states two years ago .
Here's the problem . They have a swimming pool in their backyard, and when they use it , they do not wear swimsuits . I assume they are just doing what's normal in their native country .
When I am outside, I simply try to look the other way and ignore them . However  when they see me or my wife , they almost always call out to say hello and to start a conversation. My wife is not bothered by it , and will go over and talk to them .
However, I'm not so comfortable . Generally, I wave and go back into the house until they are out of the pool.
My wife says I am overreacting , but I don't think I should feel uncomfortable in my own back yard . 
My wife does not want to put up a fence, as she thinks it would be unsightly and unwelcoming . Can you help ?
Neighbors of Lord and Lady Godiva
Dear Neighbors ,
You cannot stop the folks next door  from sunbathing nude unless their are restrictions in your town . Some European countries are indeed more liberal about nudity. However, you should definitely not have to feel reluctant  to use your own yard when the neighbors are out .
The solution, truly, is a fence ( there are some very attractive designs out there these days) or perhaps some type of shrubbery that would allow each of you to have more privacy . There is nothing unwelcoming or unsightly about nice trees, bushes and plants. Your neighbors will get the benefit of them too. 
I think your wife will understand your discomfort if your upbringing was more conservative. Apparently, she has adapted very well; perhaps she even envies your neighbors' freedom.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A new study, co-authored by DSF's Dr. Faisal Moola and published today in the journal Nature, shows that adding just 10 street trees to an urban block can residents with perceived health benefits equivalent to being seven years younger, according to 30,000+ Torontonians surveyed.
Read about the paper here:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Food for Thought : Happy Banana Lovers Day!

Have you had a banana today? Today is Banana Lovers Day. Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world; the average person eats about 25-30 pounds of bananas per year. Bananas are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are low in fat and sodium, and make a simple 100 calorie snack. Here are a few tips to enjoy bananas in a healthful way:

1 .  Bananas are a great snack and mid-day pick-you-up. Pack a banana in your lunch bag to have for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. They contain B vitamins that can help you with energy.

2 .  If your bananas are green and you would like them to ripen faster, put the bananas in a paper bag with an uncut apple, pear or tomato. The ethylene gas produced by the fruits will be trapped inside the bag and this will accelerate the ripening process.

3 .  Bananas are great additions to peanut butter sandwiches. Or crush graham crackers in a plastic sandwich bag. Cut bananas into half-inch slices. Place banana slices in bag and shake until coated. These make a great crunchy and sweet snack.

4 .   If your bananas are too ripe to eat, put them in the freezer, whole and uncut. They can be used later for baking or making smoothies.
                            Homemade  Banana Pudding
1½     cup granulated sugar
2        tablespoons all purpose flour
⅛       teaspoon salt
⅛       teaspoon baking powder
2        cups whole milk
4        large eggs, beaten
2        teaspoons vanilla
6-8     ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1        12 oz. box of vanilla wafers
For whipped topping (optional):
1        cup heavy whipping cream
2        tablespoons powdered sugar

1 .   In a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder.

2 .   Mix in the milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Combine well and cook, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until thick, about 10-15 minutes. Let pudding cool.
3 .   In a casserole dish, or individual dessert dishes, starting with wafers on the bottom, repeat layers of wafers, bananas and pudding until all ingredients are used.

If desired top with whipped cream.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Words of Wisdom :

Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting.

I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.

A proud grand-poppa               G.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have been in a new job for about a year . Prior to that, I was out of work for more than two years . It has been a really rough time for my family and me . The other day one of the companies I had interviewed with contacted me about coming to work for them . The salary would be almost twice my current salary . I really like the company that has offered me this job, but I feel bad leaving the job I am in . I don't want to make a bad or hasty decision . What should I do ? 
Considering an Offer
 Dear Considering an Offer ,
Wow! Considering the current economy, most job seekers would love to have this problem. But it's not always just about money.
You need to sit down and write a pros and cons list. Take two sheets of paper and on one sheet make two columns. In column 1 write all the pros or benefits of your present job. Beside each benefit ... rate it's importance to you on a scale from 1 to 10. In the second column write down all the cons or negative aspects of your job and rate each negative from 1 to 10 according to it's importance to you. Add up the scores. On the second sheet rate the job you are being offered in the same way and add up the scores. For each job subtract the negatives total from the positives total. The job with the larger remainder will emerge as your best choice.
 Now you need to consider the growth and promotion  potential of your present job compared to the job you are being offered.  If you still have some confusion, perhaps a second interview might help so you can ask any unanswered questions. Finally trust your gut to tell you which job you would like more and be more comfortable in. Share all the information with your spouse. Discussion can often clarify a situation even more.

Dear Maxy ,
School is out , and with it my family is in a conundrum . My son's teacher suggested that it would be good for him to get support with his reading and math . She did not say he had to go to summer school . She recommended a few options, everything from a tutor to some of the group programs like Kumon . I'm all for it , but my son feels like he shouldn't have to do any of it since it wasn't mandated . I have tried to to tell him that getting academic support is common for students --- including students who are very good at subjects and those who can use a bit of a boost . I have signed him up for class  but his attitude is horrible.
How can I get him to embrace this process so he can learn and flourish ?
Helping My Kid 
Dear Helping My Kid ,
Since your child hasn't attained the goals you and his teacher set for him or has struggled somewhat with math and reading, you have to do what is best for him, in this case, tutoring. Tell him that a little help now will make next year a breeze with no stress or strain. Add that your job as a parent is to help him when he needs a little boost, and this program is designed to do just that . 
You don't want the child to believe he or she is being "punished" for not achieving more, so make sure that you also set aside "fun" times. Ask the tutor to work with you on this and keep the tutoring paced and consistent. Take a calendar and mark days for specific events or trips. It can be inexpensive outings like a weekend camping trip or swimming at a lake and letting him bring along friends. Spread these out over the summer so that your child can look at the calendar and have those outings to look forward to. Incentives and rewards help too.
 If your child plays sports, arrange tutoring time around the sports. Physical activity is an excellent outlet and can rebuild self-esteem that may have been battered by bad grades. Never take an activity away that the child excels in.
Remember, you may have made straight A's in school, but always accept your child's best ( whatever it is ) and congratulate him on it. The goal of tutoring - or any teaching experience, for that matter - is to help children be all that they can be, so always show your enthusiasm for your child's progress.  His attitude will change gradually. Don't expect an overnight miracle.

Dear Maxy ,
My wife and I have been married for 40 years . When we first started dating , my future wife unexpectedly set me aside to explore the possibilities of seeing another man .
It was a difficult time for me . The other man was a mutual acquaintance , for whom I didn't much care , which intensified my hurt .

Within two months they stopped seeing one another, and in due time , we started dating again , fell in love and married . Sounds good ---and it has been . But I have one mental demon with which I struggle .
About three decades ago , when casually chatting about our previous romantic interests my wife revealed that when seeing the aforementioned man , they had sex .

Since being made aware made aware of it , I can't let it go . All off those painful memories were revived by her disclosure.

My wife has been a wonderful friend , partner and parent and does not deserve my periodic fixation on something that was a tiny moment in time .
Why can't I as she requests , just forget about it ? How can I reconcile myself to it and downsize its larger-than-life status in my consciousness ? 
Living in the '70s
Dear Living ,
It is not unusual to remember something disturbing and periodically think about it . Men do have difficulty dealing with another man touching someone they love. But if you are doing this frequently and becoming fixated on it to the point where it is affecting your marriage and other areas of  of your life, you likely need professional help to put it aside .
You've been holding in your resentment, jealousy and fears for 40 years and they are eating away at you . The problem here is, you haven't truly forgiven her.  She set you aside, probably because she was not convinced you were the man she wanted to commit to for the rest of her life. She was a free, young woman, testing the depth of her feelings for you.  The experience taught her that she loved you....You win.
The answer is in your letter, ( My wife has been a wonderful friend, partner and parent and does not deserve my periodic fixation on something that was a tiny moment in time .) If you do not want to lose that wonderful relationship please talk to a counselor so you can express your feelings to someone other than your wife and get help managing them . Your family doctor can refer you .

Monday, July 20, 2015

Young Mother Arrested for Abandoning Children in Mall

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A mother was charged with abandonment after seating her children 30 feet away in a mall food court while she had a job interview.
Laura Browder said that her children – a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy – were always in her line of sight during the interview.
Having just moved to Houston, Browder said she didn’t have enough time to line up child care, so she took her kids with her. But when the interview was over and she returned to her children, there was a police officer on site waiting to arrest her. Someone at the mall had called the officials saying that the children were left in the food court crying.
“It was very unfortunate what happened,” Browder said in a statement. “I had an interview with a very great company with lots of career growth.”
The arrest came just moments after she had been offered the job and accepted it, leaving her unsure about whether it would affect her new opportunity. Browder, who is a college student and a mother of two, said that she would never put her children, her name, or her background in harm’s way intentionally.
“A judge released my children to me knowing that I was a good mother who just made a not so smart decision,” she said in a statement.
“I have a promising future ahead of me regardless of what the media tries to portray me as,” Browder said. “This too will pass and I am not concerned with [what] outsiders have to say or what they think.”
Child Protective Services are currently investigating the case, but say that they could offer services to help the young mother find suitable daycare.

So, what do you think? Did she do wrong? Did she deserve to be arrested?

Black Officer Helps KKK White Supremacist

Officer Leroy Smith helps a man wearing neo-Nazi attire during a KKK rally in Columbia, S.C., July 18, 2015. (Rob Godfrey via AP)

Yahoo News - Officer Leroy Smith helps a man wearing neo-Nazi attire during a KKK rally in Columbia, S.C., July 18, 2015. (Rob Godfrey via AP)
White-supremacist groups and African-American demonstrators clashed in Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, resulting in at least five arrests and seven people taken to hospitals as tensions — and temperatures — flared following the recent decision to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.
But it was the powerful image of a black police officer assisting a man wearing a black T-shirt bearing a swastika and struggling in the heat that resonated online.
In the photo, the officer, Leroy Smith, is seen holding the arm of the unidentified protester as he helped him up the stairs and out of the sun. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Columbia hit a high of 98 degrees Saturday.
The image was uploaded to Twitter by Rob Godfrey, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s deputy chief of staff. And it quickly went viral.
“Not an uncommon example of humanity in SC,” Godfrey wrote. “Leroy Smith helps white supremacist to shelter & water as heat bears down.” The photo has been retweeted nearly 3,000 times.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Food for Thought : July is National Watermelon Month

Watermelon is what most of us consider the official fruit of summer . No summer gathering is complete without one of these juicy and tasty fruits .
Watermelon is quite healthy food . It is a good source of vitamins A and C . They also cohntain lycopene , fiber and potassium . They also mostly water , about 90 percent , so they can help you stay hydrated on hot summer days . Here are a few tips to help you enjoy watermelon this month .

1 .  Start with a good one :
Pick it up . It should feel heavy  for it's size . They should have a creamy yellow spot from where they rested on the ground . When it is ripe it will be creamy yellow . Also , give it a thump . It sould have a deep hollow sound ,

2 .  Think outside the box when preparing watermelonn :
Use watermelon in fruit salads or pair with shrimp on a skewer. Use watermelon juice for glaze for meats .

3 .  Cook watermelons in different ways :
Caramelize watermelon slices on the grill .Then drizzle with honey ,lemon ,lime and a pinch of salt . Blend up watermelon with some ice for a drink after summer exercise.

Watermelon-Strawberry Agua Fresca 
TOTAL TIME: 25 MINUTES     SERVINGS: Makes 8 drinks 

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 mint sprigs, plus more for garnish
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Pinch of salt
2 cups seedless watermelon cubes
2 cups hulled strawberries
Ice and chilled sparkling water, for serving

1 .  In a small saucepan, combine the water with the sugar. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the 2 mint sprigs, ginger and salt and let stand for 10 minutes. 
2 .  Strain the syrup into a blender. Add the watermelon and strawberries and puree until smooth. 
3 .  Fill 8 glasses with ice. Pour the agua fresca into the glasses and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve. 

Words of Wisdom

We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.

A home with a loving and loyal husband and wife is the supreme setting in which children can be reared in love and righteousness and in which the spiritual and physical needs of children can be met.

A proud grand-poppa        G.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dear Maxy,
A friend of mind has informed me she has stage four cancer . She shared some details about her situation , and we discussed the possibility of alternative treatments because she is not interested in chemotherapy treatments . (she believes she will die). I told my friend that I would help her in any way possible to find an alternative treatment . However , I would like to gether a few friends together and try persuading her to do chemo treatments . The cancer is spreading and I am afraid we may lose her if she does not treat her condition as soon as possible .
Being A Friend ,Shreveport
Dear Being a Friend ,
Stage 4 means that the cancer has already metastasized in your friend's body . Without aggressive treatment , she very well may die . I'm sure the doctors have told her this , but it may be very difficult  to accept or even understand . I have experienced several friends who faced stage-4 cancer and really could not wrap their heads around it . In some cases my friends survived with treatment but they ultimately died .
What you can do is support your friend by being a good listener, showing up to help with whatever she needs and understanding her choices . Ask her what her doctors are recommending . As far as alternative treatments, she still needs medical care to support that . Find out if her doctor can make some suggestions . 
Look for a homeopathic doctor in your area . Ask friends to help and support your friend . Rather than pressuring her to take chemo, ask her to talk about what she wants and what she hopes for her future . She has to decide .

Dear Maxy ,
I saw an old friend recently , and it was so nice to reconnect with her . It was also a little uncomfortable . I'm pretty sure we stopped being friends because of me . We were trying to do business together , and I didn't like the way she was going about our project . Rather than being direct about it , I retreated. Eventually , we talked about it a little , but I left the situation with messy loose ends . How can I mend the fence ? Do I let it go since it happened a long time ago ?
Making Amends
Dear Making Amends ,
Chances are that since you have  such strong feeling about what happened between you and your old friend , she has some of her own . Even if you are the only one feeling remorse, it is definitely worth it for you to say something to clear the air . This might encourage your friend to open up about her feelings also.You can write a note, invite her to tea to talk or pick up the phone . It is always better to start with a clean slate so that there is no lingering cloud over your friendship.

Dear Maxy ,
I've seen all those commercials about erectile dysfunctionn, but , I didn't understand what it meant until the other day when my husband couldn't perform . He and I hadn't been intimate in a really long time . When we tried this time , it didn't quite work . I felt so bad , but I didn't say anything .Should I bring it up ? If so ,how ?
Unknown Territory
Dear Unknown Territory ,
Given that you say that you and your husband have not engaged intimately for a long time, it is not unusual that he did not respond  as expected. There is an old saying which states, 'if you don't use it, you lose it'. Perhaps you just need to get back into the routine. I would not mention it to him at the present time.
If you are ready to pursue intimacy with your husband again, take it slowly, no pressure. Start by holding hands more frequently . Offer to give him a back rub, and  give him more physical contact and affection. Ease into intimacy over time . Perhaps he will be able to perform in the future . If not, after a suitable length of time ( according to your judgement ) you should talk to him about seeing your physician . If the problem is physical, there are many ways a doctor can help .

Dear Maxy ,
I visited a good friend this weekend . She looked beautiful , but she had serious pits . Her underarms reeked ! I was shocked , given how meticulous I know her to be . She is married and I can't believe her husband didn't say anything . When I mentioned it to my husband , he suggested that they both may have a compromised sense of smell . I want to tell my friend , but not sure how . What do you suggest ?
Hygiene Challenged , Shreveport ,Louisiana
Dear Hygiene Challenge ,
I surely would want to know if I had body odor . This can happen sometimes if people do not like to use deodorant or take a chemical reaction to it. Or, more seriously, if they have one of several  medical conditions which affect the body's chemistry .  What you eat can also alter your body's chemistry and odor. Since you consider your friend to be particularly careful about her hygiene, there is a good chance that her body odor is an indication of a bigger issue.
By all means, speak to her, if you are a close, intimate friend. Make sure you two are together in private . You can start by saying you have something very sensitive you want to share with her . Ask her permission to bring it up and be sure to say it is because you care and are concerned about her. Tell her that sometimes she has an odor which could indicate a health problem. Putting it that way will help to ease an awkward situation. Tell her you felt it was important to mention it for her own well being and also so she can avoid social embarrassment.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Roving Reporter : A Christian convert, Jindal aims to convert America next---WTF!

                                  Governor  Bobby Jindal
              These two ladies says it all, do you not think so ?
On paper, Bobby Jindal has the tools to be a serious contender in the 2016 election. He's a minority, and a Republican. He has the potential to appeal to Indian-Americans who typically vote Democrat, and still garner votes from the GOP base. But the once the rising star is tied for last in the polls in a crowded Republican field. It seems that Jindal is fighting an uphill battle as he tries to convince Americans to make him their next president, but he's personally familiar with unlikely conversions.

I announced I'm running for President. Today I’m asking for your support. You in?
Today Jindal is a proud Christian, who calls himself an "evangelical Catholic," but he didn't begin life in the church. Before he was a Rhodes Scholar and a Brown University graduate at 20, he was the child of Hindu, Indian immigrants, born in Baton Rouge just a few months after his parents arrived. As a child, Jindal requested to go by "Bobby" instead of his given name "Piyush" -- and as a teenager, he also began studying the Bible.

Jindal's story of conversion is almost unheard of. Few Hindus leave their religion, and fewer leave for Catholicism. According to a Pew study, 80 percent of Americans raised as Hindus identify as Hindus in adulthood -- the highest retention rate of any major religion. In fact, in out of the more than 35,000 Americans who participated in that particular survey, none converted from Hinduism to Catholicism.

That's not Jindal's only unique quality. He's also the first Indian-American to become a governor. But as an evangelical Catholic he's in good company, as a whopping 45 percent of Americans call themselves "evangelical" or "Catholic," according to another Pew study.

Jindal often talks about his adopted faith, but he has gone out of his way to avoid acknowledging his old one -- and his status as a minority. He rejects the idea of what he calls "hyphenated Americans," like "Indian-American" and "African-Americans."

He has shown in Louisiana that being a South Asian former Hindu is no barrier to support among conservative white Republicans, but he doesn't poll as well with other racial minorities. Some experts worry that may hurt his chances in the general election.
"The Indian-American community may be dispensable, but I don't think he can really write off all minorities. He can't write off blacks and Hispanics," Shikha Dalmia, a senior analyst at Reason Foundation said. "[His behavior] signals to minorities that what it takes to be a part of the GOP is giving up who you are."

Mr. Humble if you please :

There's something about a presidential candidate in a country built on the principal of church and state separation apparently seeking to convert large numbers of the population to a specific religion that seems troubling to
Jindal has a right to worship or believe in whatever he wants; I will defend that. But, I object to him wanting to force his beliefs on me! He appears to be too extreme in his beliefs and in his policies to govern. Personally, I do not think he has a chance at winning. Thank God!the religious right is just as bad as radical muslims. Both want to force people to believe the way they believe. both are in for a shock when they learn that God is a woman  (smiling) .

From my standpoint, he doesn't have a chance. He hasn't even solved any problems in Louisiana, how is he going to solve any national problems? It will make him a millionaire, but a valid candidate, now way.
Church and state must remain separate so that the laws of our great land support equality for all people. 

Here you see another candidate with a personal agenda for the 2 percent of wealth that supports the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer and the middle class becoming extinct and pushed down to the poor. 

Glad we the people of this great nation have a choice it is called a VOTE. I have a hard time supporting some one that trashed President Obama because of race and ethnic back ground and now thinks we should support a Hindu converted Christian coached by the Duck Dynasty followers. Nah, I don't believe so save your tax payer's money.

The Roving Reporter            G .

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Food for Thought : July marks the second half of the year .

Technology , such as fitness trackers , can help you track all aspects of your health 

Are you half way to completing your  Ne Year's Resolution? Take a good look back at the goals you set for your health and wellness for 2015 and evaluate how you are doing .It is important to remember the path to any wellness goals is usually not straight line . Many times the path is full of challenges and obstacles that we must figure out a way to overcome The important thing to remember is not to give up and do better today than you did yesterday.
   Here are a few tips to help you get back on track with your health and wellness goals .

1 . Be realistic with your time and resources :
 If you know it's normally takes you one hour to plan your family's meals , then schedule a full hour to do so . Thinking you can quickly plan meals in the parking lot of the grocery store is not realistic .You will feel rushed and most likely end up with less-healthful and more costly foods.

2 .  Find a partner :
Having someone who knows and shares your wellness goals can be just the motivation and accountability you need  to get going . When friends who know you are trying to eat more healthfully or get more exercise , they will be more likely to suggest options for social gatherings that fit your goals.

3 .  Look for help in the form of technology :
There are many websites , applications and programs that help you track all aspects of your health . Some devices track steps and heart-rate , some help you with tracking food intake and others can help you plan meals on a budget . Many of these are free or offer trail versions.  

Pimento Cheese Fritters with Green Tomato Jam
Makes about 2 dozen fritters

                          Green Tomato Jam: 
3 large green tomatoes, cored, seeded, and diced 
Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup cider vinegar 
1/4 cup honey 
1-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
Salt to taste 
1/2 sheet gelatin 

2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese 
2 cups grated sharp yellow cheddar cheese 
1 cup cream cheese 
Heaping 1/3 cup jarred pimento peppers, seeded and finely diced 
1/4 cup sour cream 
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 teaspoon onion powder 
Salt and white pepper to taste 
1 cup flour, seasoned with onion powder, salt, and pepper 
1 cup milk 
1 cup panko bread crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper 
Peanut oil for frying 
This dish contains: Dairy, Eggs, Wheat

1 . Make the green tomato jam: combine the green tomatoes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, honey, crushed red pepper, and salt in a heavy sauce pot over low heat. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
While the jam cools, add the gelatin to a bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes.

2 . Transfer the jam to a blender and purée until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Remove the gelatin from the bowl and squeeze gently to remove excess water. Add to the puréed jam and whisk to dissolve. Refrigerate until needed. (Can be made a day ahead.)

3.  Make the fritters: combine the white cheddar, yellow cheddar, cream cheese, pimento peppers, sour cream, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and white pepper. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls.

4 .  Dip a ball in the seasoned flour, then dip in the milk. Roll in panko bread crumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining balls. Freeze the fritters for at least an hour.

5 .  Pour 3 inches of oil into a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Heat to 350ºF. Working in batches, fry the fritters until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. (Be sure that the temperature of the oil returns to 350ºF before frying a new batch.)
Serve the fritters warm, with green tomato jam on the side for dipping. 

Words of Wisdom :

“Healing is more about accepting the pain and finding a way to peacefully co-exist with it. In the sea of life, pain is a tide that will ebb and weave, continually.
We need to learn how to let it wash over us, without drowning in it. Our life doesn't have to end where the pain begins, but rather, it is where we start to mend.” 

“Your life is a movie. You are the main character. You say your scripts and act to your lines. Of course you do your lines in each scene. There is a hidden camera and a director who you can ask for help anytime up above.” 

“Words themselves aren't that important. Even if somebody says words that shock you, or make you want to kill them, or make you tremble with emotion, the words themselves you tend to forget in time. Words are just tools we use to express or communicate something.” 

A proud grand-poppa    G.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I was hanging out with a group of friends last weekend when I heard a kind of distrubing thing . As we were going around the room telling things about ourselves, it became apparent that one of our friends is in trouble . 
She is so bitter . Each of us was saying how long we had been married and when we got to her, she said the number  but with disdain . She then uttered under her breath that it probably wasn't going to last . That one comment blossomed into a long list of things that are wrong with her husband and her marriage . It was awkward since he was definitely within earshot . I tried to calm her down, in part by suggesting that we talk about it privately later . But now, I really don't know what to do . I have no idea what to say to her about her marriage . I know couples go through all kinds of stuff over the years, but I can't advice her . Should I back out of our get together ? If not , what should I say to her ?
No Advice Here
Dear No Advice Here ,
If your friend follows up on the get together with you, she may very well regret spouting off the way she did on the weekend and if she is like most of us, when we commit a social faux pas, she will be embarrassed. 
She was obviously angry with her husband, and in the heat of the moment, gave vent to too much personal information ... 
information a social gathering of friends would not want dumped on them . 
When you meet with her, and before the conversation gets cooking, say upfront that you are there merely for support and have no experience as a marriage counselor. 
If you are a good friend, be a good listener, and if she asks you for advice, suggest she go to a professional .  Most marriages can be helped if both spouses are willing to work on it  together. Don't get  caught up in her drama and side with her against her husband. That could be harmful to an already damaged relationship. Tell her you have learned that it's important not to put yourself in the middle of people's marriages.
Just listen and be compassionate . Tell her to consider her options very carefully and not make hasty decisions. As the old maxim says, "Act in haste...repent at leisure". 
She should take the first positive step by talking with a counselor by herself, before she involves her husband. This will  organize her chaotic thoughts, calm her negative emotions and give her a starting point.  She will be grateful that you care about her and isn't that what friends are for ?

Dear Maxy ,
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of two years . I had been having doubts for a few months and one night he took me out for a surprise picnic .  I thought he was going to propose and the only thought I had was : How do I tell him no? 
We had a great relationship , but I'm not sure he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with . I miss him and feel lonely , but I recognize those feelings don't really mean I'm totally in love with him .
My friends say he took the breakup really hard and has been doing poorly since . I feel horrible about it , but I want be sure I marry the "right one" .
We have talked since the breakup and he wants to get back together, but I'm not convinced. I am only 31 and want to experience being myself . He says we can do them together.
Did I make the right choices ? Should I go back to him.
Dear Confused ,
I can't tell you if " he's the one." Most relationships aren't that clearly defined, right off the bat.
However, I can see that you aren't ready to get married . You are aware that you are young and that you want to experience life on your own before you make a lifelong commitment to someone. It is a very healthy, normal thing to want to enjoy just being yourself, and play the field a bit more to test your feelings about other men. Then, when you are ready to marry, you will be sure it is the right decision. I commend you for recognizing that you need more time .
 You may discover, down the road, that your ex-boyfriend really is the guy for you  and (if he is still available) you will be able to commit to him with confidence. If he proves not to be the right one, you'll be very glad you made the choice to wait.

Dear Maxy ,
My husband retired 10 months ago after 45 years of hard work and a great deal of traveling away from home .
Since his retirement , my in-laws have been hounding him to do their home maintenance projects for free .
Visiting them is a four-hour drive , and he'd have find a place to stay because his parents don't have any extra room. He also has to pay for his own meals.
He really doesn't want to do this. The last project he did for them took twice as long as it was supposed to because they kept interrupting him to talk about their dogs and grandchildren . My husband has his own projects that he wants to complete.
So now his parents keep leaving messages about what they wants done. 
Please Help
Dear Please Help ,
First of all , this is your husband's problem to fix, not yours. Don't try to run interference  for him or reinforce the idea that his parents are taking advantage . It seems to me that his parents want his company, as much as his expertise. How often does he visit without their prompting? This could be their way of ensuring his presence .
If he chooses to continue helping, please be supportive. And should he decide not to do so, he needs to be the one to tell them.
Your best bet is to stay neutral . But you might suggest he look into hiring someone to work on these projects and it might be worthwhile to help finance them .
The answer was in your own letter ( they kept interrupting him to talk about their dogs and grandchildren).  What they really  wanted was to spend time with him. One thing you can do to help the situation is to make sure he visits his parents regularly, without them having to invent projects to get him there.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Roving Reporter : Homeless piano prodigy stunned by his remarkable makeover

By Inside Edition

Donald Gould sat down at a piano at a public arts exhibit in Sarasota, Florida, and played. The images of him with his scraggly beard, unwashed hair, and dirty clothes making magic at the keyboard were seen around the world.
Within two days the video received more than two million views.

Now, Gould has a chance for a new beginning.

In an INSIDE EDITION exclusive, we're giving this homeless man, who is a former Marine, the break he deserves -- Donald Gould is going to get cleaned up.
First, a new wardrobe for him at Sarasota's Island Pursuit. Gould tried on an outfit in a dressing room.
When he came out of the dressing room, he said: "People won't recognize me."

Next stop: The Gent Essential Barber Spa. It'll be his first haircut and shave in 18 months.
He saw his new look revealed in the mirror for the first time. After his haircut and shave and after it all came off, he said: "No more caveman!"
What a remarkable change!
There was another stop to make: Gould performed for the first time before a paying crowd thanks to the good folks at Michael's On East.
At the venue, the emcee said: "We are so very happy to enjoy the company of a very new and exciting celebrity here in Sarasota."

Gould walked on and played his first some, The Beatles classic "Let it Be," and the crowd loved it.
After the performance he said: "Before, they look at me with the scruffy face, they're like, 'Who is the raggedy homeless looking man?' But here, I just walk in like a pro. And no flak whatsoever."
It's more than just a new look. Gould says this day has gone a long way in restoring his sense of worth. "I got a lot of new respect out here today. I feel pretty confident I can do it. As long as I keep myself together."

People in restaurant shook his hand and hugged him. One person said: "That was wonderful."
One woman told him: "I am just learning to play the piano. You are amazing."
Now, just maybe, Donald Gould hopes to be in line for the greatest gift of all -- a reunion with his son, who he hasn't seen in 15 years.
"After this, now maybe he'll get in touch with me," he said.
Before, he was too embarrassed to reach out to his son. Now, after his transformation, hopefully things are different.
The City of Sarasota is trying to acquire housing for people like Gould and make sure they get access to social services to help them get back into life. If you're interested in helping, you can send contributions to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

 Homeless Piano Prodigy: 'I Lost It' After Wife Committed Suicide.

Your Roving Reporter :         G .

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Food for Thought : 4th of July

Friends and visitors this post will be a tad different from my others, bare with me and let your hair down and stay awhile .[ENJOY]

The Fourth of July is a time for enjoying get-together with friends and family, and dining outdoors is the greatest pleasure of the day. If you haven't planned a gathering, you still have time to pull together a fun party with a minimal amount of work. It just takes a little help from friends and an exciting menu.

The grill plays a big part when it comes to outdoor casual entertaining. While guests visit and sip, have your featured Louisiana grilled sausage smoking on the pit. These zesty pork links are seasoned with brown sugar, orange juice, mustard and vinegar. Encourage guests to bring a favorite outdoor appetizer to go along with the sausage.

Another  main meat of the day — another grill favorite — is tequila lime chicken. These breasts are juicy and tasty — just be sure not to leave them on the grill too long, and baste often with the zesty marinade. Chicken can dry out very quickly.

For a cool sure-fire winner, the  featured wild rice shrimp salad blends perfectly with the tequila chicken. This delicious dish provides a different slant on the usual potatoes and baked beans July 4th fare. The addition of shrimp is optional. It's delicious with or without it.

Marinated Tomato Salad is a refreshing complement to your menu and will add a colorful addition to the table. With the brilliant red and yellow tomatoes, mozzarella, calamata olives and green lettuce, the presentation has pizzazz. The baby yellow tomatoes, shaped like pears, are not always available, but I'll bet you could find them at the Farmers Market.

For a cool dessert everyone will love, serve our new Summer Light Sprite Zero Cake. The only sugar in this delicious Bundt cake is the natural sugar in the crushed pineapple used in the icing. My slim and trim daughter Nanette  shared this recipe recently (she do not cook, laughing my butt off) and the whole family gave it a big thumbs up. As for ease in preparing, it doesn't get any simpler than this.

On this anniversary of our freedom, let's all pause to say thanks for our beloved country, remembering that every generation has had its worries and concerns since the beginning of time. As we proudly fly Old Glory on July 4th, let's recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi: "When I despair, I remember that through history the way of truth has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it always."
Let's hear it for the red, white and blue!

                              Marinated Tomato Salad:
4              large fresh red tomatoes
1/2           pound baby yellow tomatoes
12-14       seedless calamata olives
1              cup fresh Mozzarella, cut in cubes
1              bunch Romaine lettuce
5              stalks coarsely chopped green onions
1/2           cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese for topping, optional
                        Dressing ingredients:
2             tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1             cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4          teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1             tablespoon crushed garlic
1             tablespoon minced parsley
1             teaspoon sugar
1             teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste
1            head Romaine or curly lettuce
Cut each red tomato into six chunks; in a large bowl, toss red and yellow tomatoes with olives and Mozzarella cubes. For dressing: Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over tomato mixture; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator for 3-4 hours. To serve: Arrange Romaine lettuce on platter and place marinated veggies on lettuce; sprinkle with chopped green onions and Italian parsley. Sprinkle center with shaved Parmesan cheese, if desired. Makes 8-10 servings.

                                Louisiana Grilled Sausage:
1             cup brown sugar
1             teaspoon flour
1/4          cup orange juice concentrate
2             tablespoons prepared mustard
1             tablespoon cider vinegar
1             pound smoke sausage links
Combine first five ingredients; blend well. Add sausage links and coat well. Place on a medium-hot grill and smoke for about 20 minutes until done. To serve, cut into slices and place on a plate with gourmet mustard for dipping.

                                  Tequila Lime Chicken:
1               cup fresh lime juice
1/2           cup tequila
2              tablespoons brown sugar
1/4           cup chopped fresh cilantro
2              tablespoons minced seeded jalapenos
1              tablespoon chili powder
1              teaspoon salt
3/4           teaspoon ground black pepper
6              boneless skinless chicken breasts
Mix first eight ingredients in a bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for about 8 hours. Prepare grill – medium heat. Brush grill rack with oil and grill chicken until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
                          Basic Basil/Lime Marinade:
1          cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3       cup chopped fresh basil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 limes
Mix all ingredients and use as marinade or basting sauce for shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and vegetables. The seafood, meat and veggies can be threaded on skewers for a colorful dish.

                                    Wild Rice Shrimp Salad:
1               box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mix (Original)
2               stalks celery, chopped small
1/2            medium bell pepper
1/2            cup chopped green onion tops
1               pound small-medium shrimp, boiled
1               teaspoon Greek seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2            cup mayonnaise
1/2            cup sour cream
Prepare wild rice by package directions. Fold in next six ingredients. Mix mayonnaise and sour cream, sprinkling a little more Greek seasoning in it. Blend into rice mixture. Served chilled on large lettuce leaves, garnished with grape or cherry tomatoes. Makes 6-8 servings.

                           Summer Light Sprite Zero Cake:
1                Betty Crocker Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix 
12              ounces (1 can) Sprite Zero
1                (8-oz.) Lite Cool Whip, thawed
1                (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
1                 small sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
With an electric mixer, blend together cake mix and Sprite Zero. 
Place in a Bundt pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. 
Bake at 325 degrees (as per instructions on cake mix) for about 40 minutes. When done, let cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. 
                                  For icing: 
Whisk together Lite Cool Whip, pineapple and sugar-free pudding, mixing well; spread icing generously on cooled cake. Keep cake refrigerated. 

A proud grand-poppa         G.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I adore my daughter's boyfriend . He is a year older than my daughter and he is polite , smart and funny . My daughter is going to college hours away, while he is at Florida State University. He plans on transferring out of state, and it upsets me because I always enjoy spending time with him and I will miss  him so much . I want him to stay at Florida State University so at least he and I could see each other when my daughter is away. My daughter finds this "creepy," but I do not want to see both of them leave me . What should I do ?
Dear Florida,
I hate to say this, but your daughter is right . Yes, it can be pretty upsetting to have your child leave home to go to college, even though you know it is going to happen one day .
It is lovely that you have such a positive relationship with your daughter's boyfriend . That being said, it is inappropriate for you to attempt  to keep either of them nearby. Now is the time for them to spread their wings and build their lives as young adults . Your job is to support your daughter as she pursues her education. You should be available to talk to her as she works through whatever challenges come her way . If she and her boyfriend like the fact that you stay in touch him, you can do  so ... but only to a moderate extent, and only as a friend. You must remember he is not your child.

Dear Maxy ,
I have a niece who is smart and dumb at the same time. She has been floundering about for years . She never finished school . She free-loads off all her family members and gets indignant when people question her choices in life . She came and stayed with me for a few weeks some years back , hoping to figure out her life . The visit was a disaster . She had no direction, no discipline and no money . She just asked me if she could come back to stay with me again . I don't think I am up for her . I tried everything I could think of to help her . She didn't listen before . I don't want to be in the middle of it this time , because I really don't think it will help any . What should I do ?
At My Wits End , Orlando , Florida
Dear At My Wits End ,
You have every right to turn her down . This family member is not your responsibility, even though you care for her. I'm sure you want her to be successful, but maybe saying "no" is what she needs to hear for a change. From your description, your niece is definitely floundering and can't figure out what direction to take. She does need help, but not from well meaning relatives.
This is not an uncommon condition among young people these days, drop-outs and graduates alike. They cannot transition to independent adult life. They are afraid of  failure, afraid of the unknown, afraid they will not live up to their parents' expectations and afraid of losing the support system of parents, family and teachers . They expect life to just fall into place for them like the TV shows they have been raised on. But instead they fall into a kind of limbo and can't find the strength to pull themselves out. Sadly, a large percentage of these young adults  become depressed and need  psychological counseling. The condition, however, is treatable. 
 What you may want to do is call her parents and let them know that you are not inviting her to visit you . Suggest to them that they help their daughter to find and heal herself by getting her a good psychological counselor. She would also benefit from a careers counseling service.
 They say ' it takes a village to raise a child ', but whose responsibility is it to teach that child how to be independent ?

Dear Maxy ,
My father-ln-law "Ron" is having an affair . At first I was not sure, but now I have proof and my husband has seen his father with this woman as well . Even my in-laws have told us that they only coexist with one another . I am not sure if my husband's mother knows of the affair . She might .
Since we saw my father-in-law with this woman , things have not been the same between him and my husband . My mother-in-law is not the same , either . One minute she is fine and the next she is not .
We will be leaving soon for a joint family vacation and I am not sure I want to be there . I don't even want to bring my children to their home to visit. My father-in-law has cheated before .
I think my mother-in-law should divorce him and my husband agrees . He said his parents never seemed compatible when he was growing up . It seemed as though they were forced to be together bcause of his sister and him .
I want to tell my mother-in-law and give her my evidence . My husband says to leave it alone. He says he needs his time . But I feel his mother needs to know now , the sooner the better . I don't want to be the one that knew all about his affair and did nothing .
I am Hurting Too
Dear Hurting ,
This is truly not your business, no matter how awful the implications of not-doing anything may seem now. Forcing your mother-in-law to confront her husband's behavior (of which she is undoubtedly aware) may not be in her best interest .
Sometimes a spouse chooses to ignore evidence in order to maintain the status quo . It is not up to you  to decide whether a divorce is better for her .
What you should do is respect their marriage and leave it alone. Absolutely nothing good will come of you getting involved in this. It's hard to watch loved ones make stupid mistakes, but it's very often worse to put yourself in the middle of them. If  the marriage breaks down, be as supportive of your mother-in-law as you can. Until then, stay cool and calm and carry on with your own life. And use your in-laws' marriage as an example of what not to do in your own.