July 15, 2004

Rules of the Living Room

Ian Frazier is one of the funniest writers around. Yet, I had missed reading his Laws Concerning Food and Drink which I just happened to find serendipitously via Rebecca's pocket

    Ofthe beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room. Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

    But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

His Complaints and Lamentations

    O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout "stupid-head" and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, "Can I come out?" and I reply, "No, you may not come out." And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

    Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know.

    For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:57 PM | Permalink

How to Help Your Family When Relocating for Your Job

More and more people are resisting corporate transfers because they are concerned about the effect on their families. Family resistance to corporate transfers is at a four year high, some 83% of employees who decline corporate transfers cite family reasons, up from 79% in 2002 according to an Atlas Van Survey of 300 employees. As the economy improves, so does corporate transfers (up 10-15% from a year ago according to Chris Collie from the Worldwide ERC, a nonprofit Washington DC relocation industry group). "Families almost universally underestimate how difficult it can be to relocate," writes Sue Shellenbarger in her Work & Family column for the WSJ, today Being Forced to Move for Your Job


So if you're asked to transfer, make sure to ask your employer for all the support, soft and hard, you will need. That includes


    1. additional time off
    2. counseling and job-finding help for the trailing spouse
    3. More househunting trips
    4. help with elder care, especially if you are also moving an elderly relative
    5. finding the right schools for kids.

Here are some helpful sites Sue has found
Schoolmatch the best source of school by school test scores, student-teacher ratios and per pupil spending
USconsumerconnection a new site that offers free schoolmatch data and real-estate price information and trends. Users must register with an email address
Sperling's best places free city comparisons on climate, transportation, crime, public services, taxes and demographics.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:41 PM | Permalink

More women now adopting their husband's surname

In a reversal of a three decade long trend, more married women are taking their husband's surnames according to a Harvard University study. Personally, I think it's because of the frustrating logistical problems two-last-named married couples especially with children encounter everywhere. See
I Take Thee --And Thy Name, Too

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:39 AM | Permalink

July 12, 2004

Doctors recognize Faith's role in recovery

The loss of a child has to be one of the most wrenching of human experiences. Doctors and nurses who work at neonatal intensive care units face daily the inexplicable loss of tiny babies and the devastating impact on their parents. Dr. Robert White of Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, realized that caring for the families of premature infants included matters of the sprit.
White heads a group of Memorial doctors who encourage physicians to recognize the spiritual needs of patients both in the hospital and in their private offices. They are now championing what they see as a legitimate spiritual dimension to modern medicine as David Rumbach writes in "Doctors recognize faith's role in recovery" in Science and Theology.

The reaction to the soft sell approach of the Spirituality Committee's efforts has been quite positive. Says Dr Ferguson, an obstetrician and president of Memorial's staff of 580 physicians says, "I've been pleasantly surprised. It's not like we're pushing this on people and saying you have to do this."

    Another reason for the lack of resistance might be that medicine’s traditionally strict wall of separation between body and mind has been eroding steadily. Ironically, the change has been driven by scientific evidence.

    In a 2002 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Harold G. Koenig, of Duke University and editor-in-chief of Science & Theology News, said 724 studies have been conducted on religious coping this century, and about two-thirds have shown a positive association between religious activity and better mental health, greater social support and less substance abuse.

    White said the mountain of studies not only justifies physicians in paying attention to spirituality, but also compels them to do it.

    “Even if you’re a totally nonreligious physician, this means you have to pay attention to spirituality because it’s going to help your patients get better,” he said.


The reaction to the soft sell approach of the Spirituality Committee's efforts has been quite positive. Says Dr Ferguson, an obstetrician and president of Memorial's staff of 580 physicians says, "I've been pleasantly surprised. It's not like we're pushing this on people and saying you have to do this."

    Another reason for the lack of resistance might be that medicine’s traditionally strict wall of separation between body and mind has been eroding steadily. Ironically, the change has been driven by scientific evidence.

    In a 2002 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Harold G. Koenig, of Duke University and editor-in-chief of Science & Theology News, said 724 studies have been conducted on religious coping this century, and about two-thirds have shown a positive association between religious activity and better mental health, greater social support and less substance abuse.

    White said the mountain of studies not only justifies physicians in paying attention to spirituality, but also compels them to do it.

    “Even if you’re a totally nonreligious physician, this means you have to pay attention to spirituality because it’s going to help your patients get better,” he said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:45 PM | Permalink

July 11, 2004

Some of the Best and most often overlooked health sites


Tara Parker-Pope in the Wall Street Journal. writes a terrific column called Health Journal about health issues that directly impact on our daily lives. Since nearly one-third of all visits to the Internet are for medical help and news on health issues, her listing of some of the Internet's best - and overlooked -health sites is particularly valuable. You probably know about WebMd and the Mayo Clinic, but do you know about these?

The first stop in any Internet health search she thinks should be Medline. Sponsored by the National Institute of Health and its National Library of Medicine, the largest medical library in the world, Medline has interactive tutorials on over 165 topics and links to listings of nearly 11,000 clinical trials, privately-funded as well as government-funded.

Your disease risk is a cool site where you can find out your risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. Calling itself the source on prevention, the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention has expanded to offer more interactive questionnaires where you can get your personal risk assessment, see how you rate against the average in colorful graphics and get some personalized tips for prevention.

If you're a parent,Dr Greene may be the next best thing to your own pediatrician, maybe even better.
Recognized as one of the top 25 most influential forces in health care, Dr Greene is on the Clinical Faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine, Founder and CEO of DrGreene.com, and President of Hi-Ethics (Health Internet Ethics), This is a terrific website about Caring for the Next Generation, - easy to navigate with lots of good information, almost daily chats with the doctor, a daily dose of practical advice and a community of parents who trade advice and no ads.

ACOR is website of the Association of Cancer Online Resources and indispensable for navigating cancer information on the Web. Lots of links and more than 70 online cancer information and support groups which, in my mind, are an example of the Web's great gifts. You can tap into the vast knowledge of other cancer patients and survivors to get answers to your questions and tips from people who really understand what it's like.

HealthWeb a one-stop shop to find noncommercial health Web sites that have been evaluated by medical librarians from university medical schools. Sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, you can find what sites on alternative medicine, dentistry or psychiatry to name a few have passed a good screen.

Fertility Friend has many useful tools -ovulation calculators and fertility charts and more. No medical advice, but good support groups

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:32 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2004

Starbucks for Health Food?

A complex beverage with an exquisite aroma when brewed right, coffee is much more than caffeine.
"More and more studies have linked coffee consumption to a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones, colon cancer and potentially heart disease" writes Janet Helm in the Chicago Tribune


    "Coffee has much more in it than caffeine," said Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts medical research on coffee and is funded by a grant from a consortium of coffee-producing countries. "It's a very complex beverage that contains hundreds of compounds, including many with antioxidant effects."

    Though the tea industry has been touting its antioxidants, turns out coffee may contain even more--specifically polyphenols. One of the most potent antioxidants in coffee is called chlorogenic acid, which is partially responsible for the coffee flavor. Some reports estimate that more than 850 compounds are packed inside the humble bean.

    Martin said that the roasting process appears to change the structure of the compounds in coffee--boosting the potential disease-fighting benefits. Martin, who is also a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Vanderbilt, is looking at the potential use of coffee compounds to treat addiction and depression. Past studies indicate that coffee may help lift moods, reduce anxiety and depression, and even reduce the risk of suicide.

    Some of the strongest and latest research may be the connection between coffee drinking and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, a growing health epidemic that is closely linked to the rising rates of obesity.

Load up on the sweeteners and whipped cream though and you're packing on calories that you don't need.

Hat tip Daniel Drezner

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:03 PM | Permalink

Diabetes connected to Alzheimer's?

Diabetics face a 65% increased risk of developing Alzheimer's, according to a study of 824 Roman Catholic nuns, priests and brothers published in the Archives of Neurology and led by researchers at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

Dr. George King of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston called the research "quite important in light of the fact that diabetes is exploding," with some 18 million Americans affected and the numbers expected to double by 2050.

A good diet and a consistent exercise program can dramatically delay diabetes and now probably Alzheimer's for the 10 million Americans at high risk for type 2 diabetes according to the findings of a major clinical trial announced by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson at the National Institutes of Health

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:05 PM | Permalink

July 1, 2004

The Stages of Moving

The Showcase, turns the spotlight on Red Sed, a South African girl living in Baltimore who, in a funny post, compares the stages of moving to the stages of grief.

Denial and Isolation : As soon as you find out that you're going to move, you look around your house and when you realize that all these things that you have mysteriously acquired over the years (seriously, where'd it all come from though?!) will now have to somehow be removed from said house, you go into instant denial.

To enhance that denial factor, you immediately leave the room and the possessions which are causing you such distress, closing the door behind you on your way out, thus placing said objects in isolation. But shutting the door, you find out, isn't doing much to silence the screams of your panicked conscience, so you enlist your voice of (warped?) reason to drown out your conscience by screaming that 24 are indeed a lot of hours, and therefore you still have plenty of time before your eviction move.

Anger. After killing two hours on your coffee break (where'd all that time go?), you cautiously venture back into the house. No, you didn't imagine it, because all the knick-knacks are still very much in your house. And in fact, they seemed to have mysteriously multiplied since you've last looked at them. So at this point you get furious with your sentimental self (see? Anger) for keeping all the crap lovely gifts that anyone has ever given you, and you grab trash bags and decide that from now on, you are going to embrace a simple life and adhere to the principles of Zenlike minimalism.

Bargaining . After ruthlessly and furiously filling up half a trash bag, and just as you're about to send the hot pink doilies from your Aunt Ethel the same way as the forks and plates (minimalism, remember?), you are filled with sudden remorse and so you remove all the plates and forks and doilies from the trashbag, deciding that you can't live without it after all. That is, until you reemerge from delving the last spoon out of the bottom of the trashbag only to see that your rescued possessions are now in a pile stretching as high as the Eiffel Tower. When you realize that you'll simply have to throw some things away, you start to bargain with yourself: You can keep those National Geographics from 1987 if you get rid of the plates. Or if you chuck the 1999 National Geographics (but you can't! They have that article on Meerkats in the one issue with the adorable photos) you can keep all the wrappers of the chocolates given to you by your first love.

Depression . It is around this time, when all your possessions are in piles on the floor, that you are overcome with fatigue and despair. And so you collapse onto the floor, sobbing. Because you are depressed. Very depressed.

Acceptance . Hopefully, you reach this phase with some time left before the moving truck arrives. If so, then you turn into a machine and pack your belongings at a head-spinning pace. If, however, the Prozac-induced acceptance overcomes you too late, then you promptly decide that you are embracing minimalism early and then you burn the whole lot.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:16 PM | Permalink

Caring for Seniors in Their Homes -

Light housekeeping and meal preparation by an outside provider may be all that's needed by many older Americans to stay in their homes instead of retiring to a nursing home. That service is arguably the hottest segment in franchising says Julie Bennett in Caring for Seniors is a Lucrative Franchise

Entrepreneur magazine's most recent annual survey, released in January, found that the seven leading senior-care franchises had grown almost 39%, adding 370 new units between fall 2003 and fall 2002.

President of Home Instead's Paul Hogan says the average franchisee is only 40 and one-third of the system's 463 franchises are owned by men who once held positions such as attorneys, restaurant managers or salesmen.

    For 10 years, Michael Melinger sat at a computer in the Chicago suburb of Skokie and sold tons of cold-rolled steel. These days, he's still in front of a computer in Skokie, but his product is compassion, and his inventory is composed of people -- 75 caregivers he schedules 24/7 to help elderly clients with basic tasks such as light housekeeping and meal preparation.

    One client, a charming 90-year-old woman who lives alone, led a visitor through her sprawling ranch home in a Chicago suburb, filled with her collections of antique porcelains and glassware. "How could I take all this into a senior facility?" she asks. "I'm very independent and could never ask my neighbors to run errands or take me to physical therapy. Thank God there's a well-run business that can help a person like me."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:12 PM | Permalink