February 28, 2005

Winds of Love

One blog I never fail to read is Winds of Change.  Joe Katzman, the solo founder of what is now a group blo, pens his own tale of true love, blogging, and happy endings and a circle come 'round in the shape of his grandmother's ring.

As his wonderful grandmother would say, May you and your beloved make your own happiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:52 PM | Permalink

Happiest Workers

For some time now, I've been toying with the idea that young people should consider learning a trade before going to college.  As more and more "knowledge work" is being outsourced, knowledge workers are finding that their college degrees don't insure them jobs.  At the same time, work that requires a physical nexus - like plumbing, electrician, hairdressing - can never be outsourced.    Trade work is often the basis of a very solid small business, so I was not surprised to learn how many are the Millionaire Next Door

Now we have the results of a poll in the U.K that show they may well be the happiest workers.

TOP FIVE HAPPIEST PROFESSIONS*
Hairdressers (40%)
Clergy (24%)
Chefs/cooks (23%)
Beauticians (22%)
Plumbers (20%
)
*% who rated their level of happiness as 10 out of 10 in brackets.

FIVE MOST UNHAPPY PROFESSIONS*
Social Workers (2%)
Architects (2%)
Civil Servants (3%)
Estate Agents (4%)
Secretaries (5%)

*% who rated their level of happiness as 10 out of 10 in brackets.

Michael Osbaldeston of City & Guilds said there were plenty of reasons why hairdressers should be happy.

"It is the relationship they have with their client which makes the job what it is," he said. "They are appreciated. They make people feel good and look good. Many of them have the opportunity to be their own bosses and that also seems to be something that is quite important in people's happiness."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:28 PM | Permalink

Tim Russert's Rule of Life.

Via the Anchoress, this from Tim Russert

Russert said. "Who are our children? How do we get into their hearts and minds," Russert asked, "to get them to see the value of our values?"    In dealing with his own son, Luke, Russert added that he tells him, "You are always, always loved, but you are never entitled."

You are always loved, but you are never entitled.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 AM | Permalink

February 26, 2005

Aging Brings Increased Capacity for Love

Everyone wants to live a long life, few want to age; but the only way to live a long life is to grow older.
So what is it like this growing older?  Let me commend a series of interviews that Ronni Bennett has begun at Time Goes By.    The first interviewee is Hugh Downs. Here is Part 1 and Part 2.
Some selected excerpts:

When I was young, I thought getting old would entail a lot of sorrow that I could no longer do things I thought were important to do. This proved to be false simply because of a change in what I thought was important to do....
I am most different from my youthful days in being much more in control of my comfort and having a vastly increased capacity for the appreciation of everything. Esthetic experiences are much deeper, the intensity of interest in interesting things.  The ability to love has increased beyond anything I could have imagined….
The biggest surprise I found on getting to my mid-eighties is why I still feel like I am thirty-five….
I think unsuccessful aging happens in two ways: bad luck, where a person has the misfortune to grow old without maturing (in the way a piece of fruit can start to rot without ripening) and/or develop the improper attitude that age is something to be regarded with dread, in which case it can become dreadful….
The best part of getting older is the unending potential for increasing the knack of enjoying, of relishing, of reminiscing and loving that more than offsets the decline in physical strength, the curtailment of faculties and the necessity to face mortality.  The worst part is the sad social attitudes we have that result in making elders the target of discrimination and neglect.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:24 PM | Permalink

February 25, 2005

Anxiety at the End of Life

Nearly half of the relatives whose loved ones died of cancer wish that hospice care had started earlier. They wanted palliative care - treating the physical, spiritual, and psychological needs of a patient at the end of life sooner.

No doubt they saw the acute anxiety that afflicts some people as they realize the end is near, making their last days more difficult than they need be.    Harvard University recognizes that such anxiety is often treated with sedatives that leaves the dying  disconnected from reality at a time when most want to connect more deeply and lovingly with their family and friends.  The Boston Globe reports Harvard seeks to test ecstasy drug on the dying.

Harvard researchers are preparing for the first time in three decades to conduct human experiments using a psychedelic drug, a study that would seek to harness the mind-altering effects of the drug ecstasy to help ease the crushing psychic burdens faced by dying cancer patients.

In the experiment, 12 terminal cancer patients would be given MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, to determine whether the drug helps alleviate their anxiety. If the results are positive, the Harvard scientists said, they will push forward with large-scale tests that could make end-of-life ecstasy treatments generally available to terminally-ill patients.

....''We're trying to avoid sedating people, to allow them to maintain a good quality of life so they can enjoy the time they have with family and friends," said Shuster, who will select patients from Lahey for the experiment.

Typically, dying patients are given drugs such as valium, which can cloud their minds, or antipsychotics that leave them edgy. In any of these states, said cancer specialists, it becomes difficult to resolve family issues, arrange financial matters, or approach death with a sense of peace and understanding.

....Ethics boards at McLean and the Lahey Clinic, which will provide the patients, have already approved the experiment, as has the US Food and Drug Administration. The Drug Enforcement Agency still must approve the experiment, and Harvard officials said they expected to hear from the agency within weeks.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:48 PM | Permalink

Annuities for IRAs?

If your broker or financial advisor recommends that you put your IRA in a variable annuity.
Don't do it.  Or at least get a second opinion.  And read what Jeff Voudrie, President of the Legacy Planning Group has to say about it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:21 PM | Permalink

ReadAway for financial postings

If you're one of those people who research and trade stocks online, you might be interested to know you can go to one place to read postings from all the financial message board communities.

So now searching for rumors, ideas, opinions, stock research, insider trading information and company financials can be quicker and faster. It's call ReadAway, an all-in-one financial message boards search.  Readaway at Board Central

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:15 PM | Permalink

One Day Free

On March 4, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors are offering free financial advice to help people jump start their retirement planning.  The number to call is 1-888-919-2345.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:03 PM | Permalink

Mom in Texas

Passalong lessons learned from a Mom in Texas.

Things I have learned from my boys (honest and not kidding):

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.) A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6.) The window panes (even double-panes) do not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it is already too late.

8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9.) A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

10.) Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old Boy.

12.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15). VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18.) You probably do NOT want to know what that odor is.

19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens (and vice versa).

21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22.) It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24.) Most  of the men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

25.) Almost all of the  women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:06 PM | Permalink

February 24, 2005

Marijuana & Nicotine for Alzheimer's

Boomers will like this.  Marijuana may help stem Alzheimer's Disease.  From a study appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience.   

Nicotine  also 'reduces Alzheimer's symptoms'.  A by-product may help prevent the plaques linked to Alzheimer's disease from forming according to researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California.

Here's a scientific challenge worthy of the name.  Isolate the effective compounds and put them in a form that won't damage our lungs. 

Who knows some day they may even find bacon is good for you and  Woody Allen's vision of the future in Sleeper was, in virtually all respects, true.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:05 AM | Permalink

February 23, 2005

School Nurses Want More Terror Preparation

School nurses nationwide say they need to be more prepared for emergencies such as terrorist attacks.

Many are trying to work around tight school budgets and a lack of respect as front-line responders to get the training needed to prepare for the worst.

"Because of 9/11, so many things have changed," said Kathy Steffey, a nurse at Lakeview High School in Cortland. "We have to be prepared for almost anything." 

Nearly half the nurses who responded to a National Association of School Nurses survey listed emergency preparedness as their highest priority.  Schools were recognized as potential terrorist targets long before the seizure of a Russian school in September in which 330 hostages were killed.

"There's a great unmet need for training and additional security," said Julie Underwood, general counsel for the National School Boards Association.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:51 PM | Permalink

February 22, 2005

Children with Mental Illness

Paul Raeburn, was once a senior writer and editor at BusinessWeek where he covered science and medicine for seven years and has written a harrowing book Acquainted with The Night about the mental illness of two of his children.  One suffered from bipolar disorder and the other from depression and the quest to find them proper treatment laid waste his marriage and his sense of himself.  One Amazon reader called it "the best book I've ever read about mental illness."

You don't get through life without suffering and often, it's the only way you grow up, but the suffering of one's children seems particularly hard.  Children with mental illness seem to suffer especially from our health system and very few get good counseling or therapy.  That is not how we should be treating our future which children are.

This book was non-put-downable  because Raeburn is such a marvelous and honest writer, even when it comes to his own many faults.  Still, because of his relentless love and advocacy, I'm happy to say both children survived, got through some very bad patches and seem to be living decent lives.  The  unsettling message:  If you have a child with a mental illness, no one will really know what's wrong or how to treat it.  You do the best you can and hope they outgrow it like Raeburn's children.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:29 PM | Permalink

Migraines, wine and diabetes

While researchers are reluctant to say there is a cause-and-effect, migraine sufferers seems to have higher  heart disease risks, especially if they experience auras. 

Women with diabetes definitely have a higher heart risk disease

If you've had a heart attack or heart surgery, and you're a woman, you're far better off drinking wine that  beer or spirits to keep your heart on a healthy beat.  

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:45 PM | Permalink

February 21, 2005

Gleanings from the Carnival

Some interesting posts over at the Carnival of the Capitalists. 

Take a look at Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends e.g. Religion and Entrepreneurism

Owning your own small business is not about worshipping the almighty dollar. It's about being self-sufficient: taking charge of your destiny, earning a living, and providing a living for others.

much like the fishermen who followed Jesus and the monks who support themselves selling jams, fruitcake or ,like Lasermonks, ink cartridges for printers. 

Matt Fisher at Financial Planning 101 tells you how sales incentives offered at brokerage houses often result in a conflict of interest.  Brokers and financial advisors are encouraged to sell their in-house mutual funds with their less than average performance because they get a commission.  What's in the customer's best interests gets lost.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 PM | Permalink

February 19, 2005

Invisible dryer film

Did you know that those dryer sheets like Bounce leave an invisible film on your lint filter that you can't see and could cause the heating unit in your dryer to burn out?

Neither did I until Snopes investigated and brought us this important news.

I'll be back after I scrub my lint filter with hot, soapy water.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:54 PM | Permalink

Status of Currrent Stem Cell Research

If you're confused over the debate on stem cell research, you're not alone. The pace of discoveries and reports is breakneck.  Too few make the distinction between the use of embryonic stem cells and the use of other stem cells, yet such a distinction is crucial in both ethical policy decisions on where to spend scarce resource dollars.    Joel has summarized the recent research as reported from the Stem Cell Research Foundation and put it  into a stunning well-organized and graphically beautiful chart.

Here's the tail-end of his chart and  synopsis.

  3 Stem

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:17 PM | Permalink

February 18, 2005

Because I said so, that's why

With all the moaning and groaning by the women in the Newsweek cover story on Mommy Madness, all  trying to be perfect Moms, it's a cold, clear drink of refreshing thought to read Rachel Balducci at Testosterhome, mother of four young boys

It is absolutely painful for me to watch when parents let their children run the show. One saving grace for Paul and I is that, when Ethan was very little, my sister-in-law told us about putting the baby down when he was still awake so he could learn to fall asleep on his own. She was the Queen of the 7 p.m. bedtime (and didn't get a lot of support from her friends, some of whom thought it cruel). I have seen families whose entire lives are up-ended for years because a child cannot fall asleep on his own. By taking that first step of control (Bedtime!), so many other things fell into place ("Because I said so, that's why!").
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:39 PM | Permalink

A Flood of Light

The near death experience has been described by many as total bliss accompanied by a flood of light.  This mystical joy is what saints and yogis have experienced using prayer and meditation to close down the mind and still the senses.  Stephen Ruppenthal has lots more at "Spiritual Awakening and the Near-Death Experience,"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:03 PM | Permalink

"Frank" dead

Here's a great story via Jeff Brokaw's Notes & Musings about a brave young boy who named his tumor "Frank", short for Frankenstein. 

His mother employed the power of the Internet to save her son's life.

She found a surgeon who used an alternative procedure to the traditional craniotomy, the cutting through her son's face and skull that in any event would be too risky given the location of 'Frank'

She printed up "Frank Must Die" on bumper stickers and sold them on ebay to cover the costs of the surgery.

The tumor was shrunk, then removed through the boy's nose without cutting his face.

The surgeon did not charge for the procedure.

The mother donated the money raised to a charity to help other children with cancer.

The tumor was no longer cancerous according to the biopsy.

The boy is alive, happy and celebrated his 10th birthday.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:19 PM | Permalink

Marital Discord and Your Heart

So what effect does marital discord have on your health? 

Well, if you're a woman, keeping quiet to avoid conflict with your husband and to preserve the relationship means you are four times more likely to die from all causes during the next ten years.

If you're a man who keep quiet during marital conflict, you will not suffer any health effects

If you're a man and your wife comes home upset about work, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease.

All this according to a recent study presented at the Second International Conference on Women, Heart Disease and Stroke.

Looks like women should speak up and men pipe down.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:54 PM | Permalink

Making It Up As We Go

Here's a blog many of us can relate to - What Retirement? Approaching yet another generational frontier, making it up as we go. 

I find I need a brand new category that I'm sure will fill up quickly as the social security debate goes on.  What to do?  Frankly I don't know.  I do believe that global aging is a far bigger threat than global warming - the demographics are incontrovertible and the science is not.

I'm going to just sit and listen for a while while I contemplate this chart from Agewave

   Change In Population Growth

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:13 AM | Permalink

Are You Shortchanged on Your Interest?

If you have a cash sweep account at one of the major brokerage houses, you just might want to check your interest rate.  Seems as if some brokerage firms are steering clients to accounts that deliver sub-par rates (less than money market fund rate) according to the Wall St Journal today (subscription only) - some $350 billion in fact.

The NYSE has issued a warning to those firms to improve their disclosure practices or face new rules and possible enforcement actions.

"As we became more familiar with the practices, we became more concerned that customer interests may not be properly accounted for here," says Grace Vogel, executive vice president of member-firm regulation at the NYSE

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:31 AM | Permalink

February 16, 2005

Grandparents raising grandchildren

According to the website, raisingyourgrandchildren.com, more than six million children, approximately 1 in 12, are living in households headed by grandchildren (4.5 million children) or other relatives (1.5 million children). That's a lot of grandparents suddenly facing new challenges -financial, legal and emotional, the business of life.

When grandparents or kinship caregivers raise children, it is for various reasons. It may be because there was the death of a parent or a parent is away in the military, but more often than not, there is a correlation between alcohol and drug abuse and neglect. The parent/s may be mentally ill, incarcerated, or simply and unfortunately incapable of caring for their children.

According to the U.S. 2000 Census, there were close to 2 1/2 million households with grandparents raising their grandchildren. This figure does not even count kinship caregivers such as people raising their brother or sister's children or, even yet, raising their niece or nephew's children. Fifty-seven percent of grandparents raising their grandchildren are still in the work force and 17% are living in poverty.

As grandparents we may have had no mental, emotional, or financial preparation when we began raising our grandchildren. It can be more than overwhelming. Everything, from needing diapers and formula, an appropriate car seat for the toddler, to dealing with a drug-addicted teenager, may need to be immediately addressed.
.

Karen Anderson, who began the website, is also writing a blog.  My hat off to her and her husband and all the other grandparents who are doing such important work saving children from shattered families.
Thanks too to David St. Lawrence at Ripples for letting me know.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:57 PM | Permalink

Catch Artery Defect Before It Kills

If you are a man, love a man or happen to know one that ever smoked cigarettes and they are between 65-75, they should be screened for aortic aneurysms. 

That's the recommendation of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) who estimate they will save one life for every 500 men screened. 

"You can die from an aneurysm in five minutes," says Dr. Allen Hamdan, a vascular surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center.  Each year, 9000 US adults do die from the condition.

The US Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:49 PM | Permalink

February 15, 2005

Stressed Out and Sick About It

According to the American Psychological Association, Americans are too stressed out.

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
It's time to meditate, relax and get more sleep. Try yoga or books on tape for a stressful commute. Every little bit helps and saves wear and tear on your immune system.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 PM | Permalink

I Love You, You're Just Like Me

One more February study that I missed, this one from the University of Iowa, I Love You, You're Just Like Me.

The study found that people first of all tend to select romantic partners who have similar attitudes, religious beliefs and values. Over the long term, however, it's similarities in personality that appear to be the most important factor in a happy marriage, the researchers conclude.

…Though it has long been a staple plot in Hollywood romantic comedies, the researchers found no evidence at all that opposites attract.

…."Once people are in a committed relationship, it is primarily personality similarity that influences marital happiness," the researchers write, "because being in a committed relationship entails regular interaction and requires extensive coordination in dealing with tasks, issues and problems of daily living."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 PM | Permalink

Drinker's Check-Up

In these days where more people are becoming more self reliant when it comes to their health and their wealth, a study reports that the Internet is becoming an "increasingly rich source of effective help for problem drinkers trying to stay sober, according to experts".  This might be important information for someone you know.

More and more alcoholics, and people concerned about their level of drinking, are turning to online tools modeled on what counselors call "in-person brief motivational interventions" (BMIs), according to reports gathered at a recent symposium of the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Examples of these online interventions include the "Drinker's Check-Up."  In a prepared statement, Reid Hester, director of the Research Division at Behavior Therapy Associates in Albuquerque, N.M., described the Drinker's Check-Up program as "the Internet equivalent of two to three face-to-face sessions with a counselor."

Other Web-based interventions focus on college-age drinkers concerned about their level of consumption. They include e-CHUG, which helps students gauge whether or not their drinking falls within healthy norms, and MyStudentBody.com, which provides college kids with information and help on a number of health concerns, including problem drinking.

"A number of studies show that people tend to respond best to certain kinds of interventions, those that provide feedback, are empathetic and nonjudgmental, emphasize personal responsibility, and give people several options for how they would like to go about changing their drinking," symposium organizer Scott Walters, an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

"Interventions that have these elements are more likely to reduce drinking," he added. "In fact, many drinkers seem to prefer this format. It's a way to save face, and drinkers can begin to look at their drinking in a private and nonjudgmental way."

Web-based aids also have the advantage of being cheaper and more convenient than most 'bricks and mortar' interventions, Hester said. "[They] provide anonymity, convenience -- they can be done anytime, day or night -- and getting feedback that is objective and not influenced by counselor bias."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:09 PM | Permalink

Regenerated Hearts

I became used to news about tax cheats going to jail to start appearing in mid-March, but this is the first year I've noticed so many heart-related scientific studies published around Valentine's Day.  Just as we've all become experts in the movie biz, noting not just the new movies, but their box office appeal, science publications have noted when they will get the biggest play for their surveys.

Here,  Love Beats Depression for Women, Not Men.  in the American Journal of Psychiatry

Supportive, loving relationships offer women protection against major depression but don't seem to play a role in male depression, say researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.

It wasn't that long ago that everyone believed that the brain didn't generate any new cells after birth.  Now we know not only that brain cells can regenerate, but that they probably sprout new cells throughout life. 

Today, there's the very good news of the discovery that there are heart cells that can create new muscle cells and with it the hope that damaged hearts can regenerate healthy new cells.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:59 AM | Permalink

February 14, 2005

Two Valentine pictures

To all my readers, to show my deep appreciation for those who stop by and read, here are two great Valentine pictures from Yahoo.

  Tropical Kissing Fish

  Heart Swans

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:34 PM | Permalink

Valentine sacrifices

From the Saint of the Day, I learned

Valentine was a priest in Rome during the 3rd century, at a time when the Emperor Claudius II forbade the practice of Christianity and executed any who disobeyed him.  But Valentine ignored the law, and he comforted persecuted martyrs and may even have married Christian couples.

Arrested, he was brought before Claudius, who demanded Valentine renounce his father and accept the pagan gods of Rome. Valentine refused to comply.

It is said that Claudius had him imprisoned by a magistrate, whose daughter happened to be blind. Valentine cured her, converting the magistrate and his entire family to Christianity.

Enraged, Claudius had Valentine beaten, stoned and beheaded.

Legend tells us that he sent the girl a farewell note, signing it "from your Valentine".

Most of the Valentine stories you read are about passion and romance.  Here's one about devotion

Woman wakes from coma after husband's bedside vigil.
A woman has awoken from a coma in China after her devoted husband stayed by her hospital bedside for four-and-a-half years. 

Li Zhongqiu has lived in a Shanghai hospital and cared for his wife Jin Meihua since she suffered brain injuries after falling from her bicycle.  Doctors held out little hope of recovery but retired soldier Li, who married Jin in 1967, refused to leave her side.....He once refused treatment for burns when he scalded his foot carrying boiling water because he did not want to spend a night away from her.
Li's devotion was rewarded when his wife eventually woke and smiled and nodded at her husband, . She can now move the left side of her body and communicates by nodding.
Li said he never gave up hope: "After serving in the army for 29 years, I was able to stick to what I believed in," he told South China Morning Post
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:25 AM | Permalink

February 11, 2005

Audrey Hepburn's beauty tips were her rules of life

Audrey Hepburn’s favorite beauty tips that she often quoted in public were actually written by the humorist Sam Levenson.  Contrary to email passalongs, they were not read at her funeral.  She lived them in her life.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. 

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.

The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

When asked in January 1992 if she had any personal beauty secrets besides Levinson's philosophical tips, she said, "If I had them, I'd make a fortune. But I know what helps — health, lots of sleep, lots of fresh air, and a lot of help from Estee Lauder.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:29 PM | Permalink

February 10, 2005

Those in between

I've never forgotten a certain quote by Nelson Mandela because it wraps up the whole of the human world, the coming, the going and the working. 

Let us take care of the children for they have a long way to go.
Let us take care of the elders for they have come a long way.
Let us take care of those in between for they are doing all the work.

I've lost the original source but maybe one of you know.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:23 PM | Permalink

Eat to Fight Free Radicals

Too many free radicals wandering around your body can cause cellular damage and contribute to degenerative diseases like atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and cancer.    Eating food rich in anti-oxidants will do more to keep you healthy by slowing down the molecular mechanism behind aging than the most expensive lotions and supplements.

Forbes has a slide-show  of the best age-defying foods - ranked in order of their ability to wipe out free radicals by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

1. small red beans
2. blueberries
3. red kidney beans
4. pinto beans
5. cranberries
6. artichoke hearts
7. blackberries
8. dried prunes
9. raspberries
10. strawberries
11. red delicious apples
12. granny smith apples
13. pecans
14. sweet cherries

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 PM | Permalink

Just in time for Valentines

Lovesickness can be a genuine mental trauma according to a British psychological study  published by the British Psychological Society just in time for Valentine's Day.

Many people are referred for help who cannot cope with the intensity of love, have been destabilised by falling in love, or who suffer on account of their love being unrequited."

Symptoms can include mania, such as elevated moods and inflated self-esteem, depression, or obsessive compulsive disorder, such as repeatedly checking for e-mails. The most serious cases could lead to suicide. 

Meanwhile, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that you can die of a broken heart.


A traumatic breakup, the death of a loved one or even the shock of a surprise party can unleash a flood of stress hormones that can stun the heart, causing sudden, life-threatening heart spasms in otherwise healthy people, researchers reported yesterday.  It's stress again and again women are more vulnerable.

UPDATE: Here's a nifty graphic from the AP

   Broken Heart

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:53 AM | Permalink

February 9, 2005

Walking a Labyrinth

Today is Ash Wednesday and via the Anchoress is this Lenten Labyrinth in a java applet allowing you to experience walking a labyrinth.  Labyrinths are symbolic of the path of life and the spiritual journey.  The most famous is the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France

Unlike mazes which are designed to confuse, a labyrinth has only one path.  The way in is the way out.

Sometimes called a path of grace, A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates  to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but  purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out  into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

Often thought of as a purely Christian symbol, labyrinths are found in many cultures.  The Hopis call it the Medicine Wheel, the Celts describe it as the Never Ending Circle and in mystical Judaism, it's called the Kabala.  At Grace Cathedral, there is a multitude of labyrinth articles and links and multi-media presentations. 

To me, a labyrinth looks a whole brain.  The walking of a labyrinth integrates both right and left sides of the brain as you quiet your mind and go with the flow to the center of yourself.

When you are in San Francisco, visit Grace Cathedral and experience this walking meditation either on their outdoor labyrinth made of terrazzo stone or inside on their wool tapestry labyrinth which is modeled after the labyrinth at Charles.  Otherwise, allow yourself the time to quiet your mind while viewing the Lenten Labyrinth, one of Leo Wong's amazing applets.  Others in his series include Circles of Om, Circles of Ankhs

   Grace Labyrinth

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:26 PM | Permalink

February 8, 2005

Another reason to floss

Gum disease seems to clog arteries and can trigger or exacerbate atherosclerosis according to a study at the Columbia University Medical Center, published in the February 8 issue of Circulation.

Gum disease is a chronic infection that seems to spur a gradual thickening of artery walls throughout the body.

I have a fuzzy memory of a quote about flossing that struck me very much at the time but apparently nobody else because I can't find it anywhere on the web.  Some years ago, a union leader said, - I think it was Walter Reuther  - -  "If I knew I was going to live so long, I would have flossed more."

Being old with gum disease and clogger arteries is worse than being old.  You are going to live longer than you think, so you may as well be in good shape to enjoy it.  Think of flossing as putting money in the bank for your old age.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:03 PM | Permalink

Can Someone in a Coma Hear?

I've always been told that one of the last senses to go is hearing.  When my husband lay dying for the longest 24 hours of my life, I talked and cried and swore and talked some more as I rubbed his growing colder feet.  I could only hope that he heard how much I loved him

Today, brain imaging technology can show that some people in comas respond to their loved ones speaking recalling shared experiences much as healthy people do.  From The New York Times, Signs of Awareness Seen in Brain-Injured Patients.

Thousands of brain-damaged people who are treated as if they are almost completely unaware may in fact hear and register what is going on around them but be unable to respond, a new brain-imaging study suggests. 

....."This study gave me goose bumps, because it shows this possibility of this profound isolation, that these people are there, that they've been there all along, even though we've been treating them as if they're not," said Dr. Joseph Fins, chief of the medical ethics division of New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:14 PM | Permalink

Mid-Life Depression

If you're middle-aged and feeling more than a tad depressed, you'll be cheered to know that DHEA, an over-the-counter hormone may help according to a recent study at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:38 PM | Permalink

February 7, 2005

Save yourself grief with wallet cards

Would you know what to do if your mom or dad has a medical emergency?  What if they were unconscious or delirious, and the emergency room or hospital called you for essential information they need.  Would you have their vital information?  Would you know the names of their doctors, the medication they are taking, the surgeries they’ve had? 

I  suspect the answer is no.  Most older parents don't think to share this information with their adult children.  Then there's an emergency and their adult children don't have the necessary information.  Result: slower treatment and adult children veering between panic,  confusion and guilt. 

The more you know about your parents' health, the more quickly they can be treated in an emergency.  Not only should you have an emergency card for yourself and your children, you should have one for your parents.    I think if you told your parents you were filling out an emergency wallet card for yourself and your children and you wanted to do the same for them, they would be very happy to give you the information you need. 

Save yourself grief.  Be prepared.  Have the information you will need when you will need it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, below, in order of importance,  is the most critical information  you should know about your parents' health.

1.  Names of doctors. If you don't know anything else, this is probably the most important piece of information. Why? Chances are good that your parents' doctors can provide much of the rest of the information needed as well as more details about your parents' specific health histories.
2. Birth date. Often medical records and insurance information are cataloged according to birth date. This can improve communication in an emergency or a crisis.
3. List of allergies. This is especially important if one of your parents is allergic to medication — penicillin, for example.
4. Advance directives.An advance directive is a legal document that outlines a person's decisions about his or her health care, such as whether or not resuscitation efforts should be made and the use of life-support machines.
5. Major medical problems.This includes such diseases as diabetes or heart disease.
6. List of medications. It's especially important that a doctor know if your parent uses blood thinners.
7.  Religious beliefs.This is particularly important in case blood transfusions are needed.
8. Insurance information. Know the name of your parents' health insurance provider and their policy numbers.
9. Prior surgery. List past medical procedures, such as cardiac bypass surgery.
10. Lifestyle information. Do your parents drink alcohol or use tobacco?

As for those wallet cards,  everyone should have one.  You should have one for yourself, each of your children and your parents.  Each card  should have the necessary information for emergency contacts and emergency treatment.  The cards should be  to duplicate and revise. 

I've done a mock-up of what a wallet card should look like.  I did it in Microsoft Word.  First, I made rectangles the size of a  business card. Then I put in the necessary information in small type.  I used two rectangles for the  front and  back.  It fits nicely behind my driver's license.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Example Wallet Card Book-1

The virtue of making such a template is that you can have all the necessary information on one page for yourself and your loved ones, you can easily make revisions, you can print out as many copies as you need.

It's a good idea to double check the information at least twice a year.  I suggest spring and fall when the time changes, the same time you check on the batteries for your smoke detectors.  Both wallet cards and smoke detectors can save lives.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:07 PM | Permalink

Iraqi Statue of Liberty

I just loved this photo so much I wanted to share it.

        Iraqi Statue Of Liberty
She could be the model for the Iraqi Statue of Liberty.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:39 PM | Permalink

February 4, 2005

Every Woman Should Have

Consider this a Business of Life™ "passalong", especially for women.  It was passed along to me by a friend and very like one I received last year.  The definition of "passalong" is from Beliefnet:  -A story or email that's been forwarded so often, no one knows its origin or veracity.  This particular passalong came with distinctive  formatting that's very girly, or better "womanly"  or as Yvonne would say, "lipstickingly. "  Every single woman  over 40 that I know would subscribe to this  100%.

It's being in control, knowing what to do, wanting the best, taking care of and loving one's self, family and friends.  It's the Business of Life™ with Heart.

A Woman Should Have

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill

and a black lace bra....

A Woman Should Have

one friend who always makes her laugh....

and one who lets her cry

A Woman Should Have

a good piece of furniture

not previously owned by anyone else in her family

A Woman Should Have

eight matching plates,

wineglasses with stems,

and a recipe that will make her guests feel honored.

A Woman Should Have

a feeling of control over her destiny.

A Woman Should Know

how to fall in love without losing herself...

Every Woman Should Know

HOW TO QUIT A JOB

BREAK UP WITH A LOVER

AND CONFRONT A FRIEND WITHOUT RUINING THE FRIENDSHIP

Every Woman Should Know

when to try harder......... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY

Every Woman Should Know

that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.

Every Woman Should Know

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

Every Woman Should Know

how to live alone...even if she doesn't like it...

Every Woman Should Know

whom she can trust, whom she can't and why she shouldn't take it personally.

Every Woman Should Know

where to go....be it to her best friend's kitchen table...or a charming inn in the woods..

when her soul need soothing.

Every Woman Should Know

what she can and can't accomplish in a day..a month...and a year.

Every Woman wants her friends and family to know they are truly loved .
Every Woman wants only the best for her friends and family.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:05 AM | Permalink

February 2, 2005

Guide to Effective Complaining

She ran a consumer complaint handling service called Rent-A-Kvetch.  She had trouble with her Dell computer and after posting to her blog, Dell Computer showed up at her door.  It's B.L.Ochman's Guide to Effective Complaining. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 PM | Permalink

Lessons from a Billionaire

So you get to spend six hours with Warren Buffett whose worth $40 billion and what do you learn?  It was not what Darren Johnson, a 23-year-old entrepreneur expected.  These are his headlines in his post The Wisdom of Warren Buffett, and to get the true flavor you have to read the whole thing

  1. Be Grateful
  2. Be Ethical and Fair
  3. Be Trustworthy
  4. Invest in Your Circle of Competence
  5. Do What You Love

So he came not thinking what a great investor Warren Buffett is,  he came away hoping that he could "mirror the image of humility, charity, intelligence, optimism and justice that Warren Buffett represents." 

That's the impact of a man who understands  that personal and social capital matter more in the end than financial capital.

Update:  Oops. Forgot to give a hat tip to Jason Kottke

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:34 PM | Permalink

February 1, 2005

How Vodka Saved a Democracy

This is just too good not to pass it on and to file  under lessons learned.  How Alcohol Saved a Democracy or  Democracy, Vodka, Sexy?. 

A stone cold brilliant intelligence move.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:22 PM | Permalink

Hospital Infections

About two million patients in U.S. hospitals may develop infections that may lead to nearly 90,000 deaths each year  - a toll greater than those that die from breast cancer or car crashes according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as reported in today's Wall St Journal by Rhona Rundle (link requires subscription).

That's a lot of may's but it's only an estimate because of the complexities involved in determining where infections start or how to count them.  The American Journal of Infection Control said, after a 2002 study, that hospital-acquired infections add about $5 billion a year to the cost of health care in the U.S.

There's a momentum building for hospitals to compile and publish their infection rates and laws have passed in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Florida.  One man Raymond Wagner Jr is leading this crusade because his 13-year-old son was taken to the hospital for a shattered elbow after a sledding accident.  That operation went fine, but the poor little boy had to have six more operations to treat a serious infection that developed in the hospital.

One thing you can do right now to reduce the risk of hospital infections is to insist that the health care professional treating your loved ones wash their hands.  Studies have shown that only about half do so.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:00 PM | Permalink

Fidget more, lose weight

A nervous fidgeter uses an extra 350 calories a day than a calm, placid person.  If you're one of those, learn to fidget and you could lose  10-30 pounds a year without going to the gym.

Obese people are tremendously efficient and don't waste energy.  Time to learn how to waste energy by fidgeting, standing up instead of sitting down, pacing around a room, jumping up to  answer the phone or stretch - all of these small, mundane physical activities add up.
That's what James Levine of the Mayo Clinic said and he led the research study.  He's quoted in the New York Times as saying:

Some may say this is a story of doom and gloom -- that people with obesity have no choice. It's all over. I would argue exactly the opposite," Levine said. "There's a massive beacon of hope here. But it's going to take a massive, top-down approach to change the environment in which we live to get us up and be lean again."

Other researchers agreed, saying the new study, while small, provides powerful new evidence that a major cause of the obesity epidemic is the pattern of desk jobs, car pools, suburban sprawl, and other environmental and lifestyle factors that discourage physical activity. And despite generations of parents' admonitions to the contrary, people should be encouraged to be fidgety.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:15 PM | Permalink

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Both are viruses and the Flu is worse.  Here's a handy chart from the Mass Medical Society.

 

    Cold Or Flu-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:23 PM | Permalink

Homicide Detective

Your chances of getting away with murder are 3 out of 4 according to a real homicide detective in Chicago who deals with 50 or so murders a year.  Fascinating look at a profession we only know from cop shows on TV.

I do love my job. I believe in silly old-fashioned ideas like justice, integrity, and law & order.  No one, no matter what they have done, deserves to be murdered. ... I ended up in this profession quite by accident and I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing. ... Being a homicide detective has had one personal drawback. I have an overwhelming sense of my own mortality. It is mildly depressing.  ....  On a side note; never trust a detective who dresses like one of those TV characters.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:12 PM | Permalink