May 30, 2004

Mom Returns to Work

We're starting to experience a shortage in the labor force when major US companies, like GE and Goldman Sachs, join together in a task force and discuss strategies of creating on-ramps for women seeking to get back into the labor force. "There is this whole body of high-potential women out there ... that are unrealized assets," says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founder of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York nonprofit group that is sponsoring the task force.

This development and the burgeoning industry springing up around mothers returning to work is the subject of today's Work & Family column in the Wall St Journal entitled Mom for Hire

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:00 PM | Permalink

May 24, 2004

Preventing Medical Errors Before you go to the Hospital

Did you know that hospital errors are the eighth leading cause of death in America? As many as 98,000 patients die each year in the more than 5000 US hospitals because of medical errors, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine study in 1999. That's more than motor vehicle deaths, breast cancer deaths or AIDS.

Later studies by the Commonwealth Fund indicate that one in five Americans report that they or a family member experienced a medical error of some kind, that's almost 23 million people. Of those, 10 percent reported that they or their family member got sicker and half of those said the medical mistake was very serious. That means about 8 million households reported a medical mistake that was very serious.

Take charge of your own health care. Get the staff on your side. Treat them with respect and get to know their names. Here's some more tips

These pointers come from Dr.Isidore Rosenfield, Health Editor of >Parade Magazine

1. Plan ahead. Check with your doctor to find out what hospital he would send you. Then check with a nurse.
2. Know what medication you are on. Have a list of your current medications on your computer. Make copies for your wallet and for the inside of your bathroom or kitchen cabinet.
3. Make sure your doctor washes his hands before he examines you.
4. Learn about your condition. Use the Internet. Explore options. Get second opinions.
5. If you're having surgery, make sure the right area has been tagged.
6. If you develop any problems during a procedure, let the doctor or technician know.

I would add
7. Have a signed HIPAA authorization form to allow release of your records to family members you trust.
8. Have an executed Health Care Proxy or Health Care Durable Power of Attorney

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:49 PM | Permalink

May 20, 2004

Men who do housework are sexier and have better kids.

Is this good news or what

From a study by Sociologists Scott Coltrane and Michele Adams of the University of California, Riverside who have examined national survey data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a national sample of 3,563 children and their parents. They found that

    school-aged children who do housework with their fathers are more likely to get along with their peers and have more friends. What’s more, they are less likely than other kids to disobey teachers or make trouble at school and are less depressed or withdrawn.

    When men perform domestic service for others, it teaches children cooperation and democratic family values,” said Coltrane, who studies the changing role of fathers in families. “It used to be that men assumed that their wives would do all the housework and parenting, but now that women are nearly equal participants in the labor force, men are assuming more of the tasks that it takes to run a home and raise children.

via Boing Boing

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:16 PM | Permalink

May 18, 2004

Have a Cuppa

Nothing beats that first cup of coffee in the morning. But maybe you want to have a cuppa for those mid-afternoon lows to boost your body’s immune system. Scientists have found that tea does strengthen your immune system but coffee doesn't.

    A new study finds that tea boosts the body's defenses against infection and contains a substance that might be turned into a drug to protect against disease, researchers say. Coffee does not have the same effect, they say.

    A component in tea was found in laboratory experiments to prime the immune system to attack invading bacteria, viruses and fungi, according to a study in the Proceedings National Academy of Sciences

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:30 PM | Permalink

May 17, 2004

Many Marriages today

Today is the first day gays and lesbians can be legally married in Massachusetts. Here are wedding tips from John Scalzi's Whatever that are useful for any wedding gay or straight.

    Even if you've written your own vows, you'll barely remember what you say. So don't sweat most of the words. It's the "I do" that counts.

    Speaking of which, I think it's always better to say "I do" than "I will." You're going to be married in the future, but you're getting married now.

    But remember, it's your wedding. Anyone else's opinion about what the two of you should do or say during the ceremony is strictly advisory.

    When you're told to kiss your spouse, do it like you mean it.

    When you plan your wedding, try to cover all contingencies. When the one thing you forgot could go wrong does go wrong during the wedding itself, accept it and keep going. Weddings are often imperfect, like the people in them. It doesn't mean they're not still absolutely wonderful (like the people within them).

    Before the ceremony, pee early and often. I know. But look, you want to be up there with a full bladder? You'll be nervous enough.

    Some people don't think you should invite your exes to the wedding. But I think it's not such a bad thing to have one person in the crowd slightly depressed that they let you get away. They'll get over it at the reception. Trust me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:05 AM | Permalink

May 13, 2004

Be Prepared for What?

"Be prepared for what?" someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the Founder of the Boy Scouts.

"Why, for any old thing," he replied.

Baden Powell's idea was to prepare boys to handle emergencies and to prepare them for life. He wanted his Scouts to be prepared body and mind for any struggle, and to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges might lie ahead.

He understood that knowing you had done your best enabled you to live more happily and without regret.

More than 38 million copies of the Boy Scout Handbook have been printed. Who knows how many millions have become Scouts at one time or another.

It's all the fashion to scoff at Scouting now. Some can't get past the prohibition against homosexuality -no openly gay scouts or openly gay scout leaders. Some think that it is too Christian, others that's its too old-fashioned.

But I don't know of any other youth organization that comes close to instilling the sense that developing your character is the key to a happy life. I like their slogan "Do a good turn every day". I like the scout law and think we could all benefit if more people followed it.

UPDATE: For some reason, I thought the Boy Scouts were Christian, maybe I've confused them with the YMCA.
Anyway, The Mudville Gazette has set me straight, not just with the current controversy over the Pentagon's support of the Boy Scouts, but with a picture of the various medals a boy scout has to choose from.Boy Scout medals

    They’re Boy Scout Religious Emblems. From left to right, Baptist, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Roman Catholic, and Zoroastrian – the Scouts require faith from their members, but not in a specific God. That distinction doesn’t appear in the media coverage of the issue though, does it?

    The Scout Law declares a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

    They don't claim a monopoly on any of those.

    To the best of my knowledge, other than the reverent part the ACLU has no problem with the Scouts. Odd isn't it? Why isn't the ACLU going to bat for those who refuse to bathe? Why not attack the Scouts for excluding the deceitful, backstabbing, troublesome, mean, rude, unruly, morose, extravagant, cowardly, and dirty Baptists or Hindus that are denied membership too?

    Further explanation of 'reverent' from the Scouts home page: "A Scout is reverent. He is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion."

    Yea, I can see where that's offensive.

But I don't know of any other youth organization that comes close to instilling the sense that developing your character is the key to a happy life. I like their slogan "Do a good turn every day". I like the scout law and think we could all benefit if more people followed it.

    TRUSTWORTHY A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.

    A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.

    A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.

    A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.

    A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.

    A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.

    A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.

    A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.

    A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.

    A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.

    A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.

    A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:38 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2004

What can you learn from Brain Tumors, Cancer, Suicide and Success

Debbie's Gisonni's real life story.

    Death is never easy. It brings your life into focus. Over a period of four years, I lost my mother, father, younger sister and a close aunt. My high tech career afforded me a six-figure income. I had the prestige of being one of the youngest women in Silicon Valley to run a top trade magazine. Yet, at the peak of my career, I decided to walk away. The deaths in my family brought me to a new realization; I had do something more meaningful for myself and for others.

    What emerged was Vita's Will: Real Life Lessons about Life, Death & Moving On, a book about this experience and the important life lessons I learned from brain tumors, cancer, suicide and success. Named after my mother, Vita, which means life in Italian. I've taken the real life lessons from the book and condensed them down to ten mega lessons.

Not only a author, columnist and public speaker, Debbie invites real life stories at her website reallifelessons. What people go through and how they survive and thrive never ceases to amaze me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 AM | Permalink

The Occupational Adventure

A blog for job hunters and career changers The Occupational Adventure

Curt Rosengren is a "passion catalyst" helping people find the pull of passion that will lead them to more satisfying jobs.

    That passion can be a powerfully compelling force, pulling you forward. That pull keeps you focused, and gives you the energy to achieve more with it than you ever thought possible. It also helps you make it through the challenging parts of the journey.

    With 50% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, Rosengren helps people explore their passion, identify a new direction and take action to create a career that leaves you energized and excited.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:42 AM | Permalink

May 4, 2004

Finding Meaning in Your Work

Two Wall Street Journal veterans - Anita Sharpe and Kevin Salwen with four decades of financial journalism experience and a Pulitzer Prize between them – have created WORTHWHILE, now a blog soon to be a magazine with ads if I read the tea leaves right. With a belief that without meaningful work, a meaningful life is impossible, WORTHWHILE offers a roadmap for business success that is more personally fulfulling and socially responsible.

A virtual team of writers offer news, insights and stories on passionate work, business, life and right livelihood. Read the comments and understand what terrific discussions and conversations are begun in the blogging environment

Here's Anita Sharpe on Finding Your Voice

    If you ever took Latin, you know that voice and vocation share the same root. Your voice -- or who you are at your essence -- sometimes screams and sometimes whispers, but it always tells you what you should do...That was obvious when we were eight years old; what we wanted to be when we grew up was what we most loved to do or think about. But as years passed, other voices drowned out our own.

    Writer Ray Bradbury tells a story about loving Buck Rogers more than anything when we was in the fourth grade -- until other kids teased him out of his passion. "He was gone, and suddenly life simply wasn't worth living," he writes in Zen in the Art of Writing. But unlike many of us, Bradbury at age nine chose his passion over the opinions of his peers. "My life has been happy ever since. For that was the beginning of my writing science fiction."

    Similarly, cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, speaking at a college graduation, gave the graduates this advice: "When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything."

Dave Weinberger on What I Miss About the Office

    I've been working at home for almost exactly ten years now, and I love it. But every now and then I spend time at a client's office and get wistful... I miss bumping into people I like. Getting an email...

Tom Peters on Health Clubs and Meat Market Madness

    Reject: "It's 18-44, Stupid!"
    Embrace: "18-44 is Stupid, Stupid!"
    "We" are getting older. LOTS OF US. Populations in the industrialized world are aging, FAST. And the meaning of "older" and "aging" is changing. RADICALLY.

    This trend is big. So must be our response to it.

One comment had this amazing statistic According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, health club memberships for those 55 and older rose from 1.9 million in 1990 to 7.4 million in 2000....

and lastly, one of my favorite bloggers Halley Suitt on It's Raining Men

    he rainy weather hardly dampened the spirits of a very noisy crowd last night at The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. Up on the second floor there was a spillover mob at The Entrepreneurial Forum sponsored by General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm based in Cambridge, MA.

    It was packed. The crowd was so enthusiastic. The conversation was deafening. The food was excellent. The speaker, Millard Drexler, the CEO of J.Crew was certainly gung-ho. The partners from GCP were eloquent and inspirational. It's obviously the hot VC shop in town.----
    But ... it was practically 95% men.
    I have never seen so many men.
    It was raining outside.
    And it was raining inside -- it was raining men.

    If you've read any of my writing, you know I LOVE MEN. And I've organized events in the high-tech arena and it's simply difficult to even get women to attend, much less speak, but still I wish there were more of us there.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:24 PM | Permalink

May 3, 2004

Chocolate or Yoga

exercise releases feel-good chemical

It doesn't mean that you can eat chocolate instead of exercising. Well, actually you can. I mean I feel just as good eating chocolate as doing yoga. It just doesn't help lose weight

    The anti-depressant effects of exercise could be down to a feel-good chemical also found in chocolate, say UK researchers. Their study of 20 young men suggests that phenylethylamine, which has a chemical structure very similar to amphetamine, may play a key role in the "runner's high".

    Several previous studies have identified exercise as a potent anti-depressant. In April 2001, the UK government recommended that doctors consider prescribing exercise sessions as an alternative to drug treatment for patients with mild depression. But how exercise achieves its effect has not been clear, says Ellen Billet of Nottingham Trent University.

    Phenylethylamine was an obvious chemical to investigate, she says. "An earlier study found that 60 to 70 per cent of people with depression had lower than normal levels. It has also been used as a drug, and has been effective at treating some patients with depression," she says. "But no one has looked at levels during exercise before."

    Billet's team found that levels of a metabolite of phenylethylamine - an indicator of levels of phenylethylamine in the brain - rocketed after exercise.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:59 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2004

Your Medical Pedigree

Geneticists call your family health history your pedigree
As baby boomers age, more and more are gathering data to fill out their pedigrees. Groups of genes can predispose a person to ailments such as heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes.

Kelly Greene in Aging Well in the WSJ interviews Carol Daus
who remarked, "We keep better track of when we change the oil in our cars. But this information is so vital, and it's so scattered in most people's minds."

Daus is the author of Past Imperfect: How Tracing Your Family Medical History Can Save Your Life,

Most family history can be gathered by talking to relatives and tracing at least 3 generations of your family - Your "first degree" relatives: parents, siblings and children and "second degree" relatives: grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Greene says

Some diseases for which family history increases the risk are:
stroke Twice the risk if a first degree relative is affected.
colorectal cancer There's double the risk if you have at least one relative with the disease.
Type 2 diabetesThe risk increases with earlier age of oneset in relatives and the number affected
Cancer Look for the links among types that involve the same gene mutations, such as breast, ovarian and prostrate. And don't overlook the breast cancer risk on the paternal side of your family

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:35 PM | Permalink