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Super hero latest hearing aid : Affordable and Quality

As we grow older, there is a high tendency that we lose our sense of hearing. It is considered as one of the most common conditions that affect older people and even elderly adults. Based on studies, about 1 in 3 people in the US aged from 65 and 75 have hearing loss or having […]

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Learning to Balance Work and Fun

Rach, the “teen”

I moved into college about two weeks ago. So far things are going well: I have lots of new friends in my hall, my classes all seem superbly interesting and I’ve been applying for some pretty cool campus jobs.

My dilemma this week is: how can I learn to manage to work and play without losing my mind. That is, how can a teen living entirely independently for the first time learn to deal with studying and partying without getting overwhelmed by either?

My HA (hall advisor) says it’s best to plan out entire days, have scheduled time for “fun” – but that’s not how fun works. Spontaneity is half the fun of, well, fun. I’m really worried that I won’t leave enough time for just hanging around, or that I’ll burn out and not get any of my work done. What did you do, and how can I get my parents to help me out with this?

Mary, the “mom”

Wow, Rach! Great question and one that I wish I knew the answer to. I tend to be the kind of (uptight) person who has trouble having fun when there’s work hanging over my head. Don’t get me wrong, I like to kick back and relax and I like to have fun, but I like to get the work done first. Somehow I just can’t relax and enjoy when I know there something I should be doing. Or, in the case of a long term project, I need to know that I’m on track with it. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly when this kicked in. I think it was when I went to college and was terrified of letting my work slip.

So, I guess my answer would be: do the work, and then go have fun or at least plan a set time to do the work before you go have fun. It doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous. It just means that when some fun opportunity interrupts your work, you need to decide whether you will have time to do the work later. Sometimes, the answer will be no and if that’s the case you should probably turn down the fun opportunity.

Learning this balancing act is at the heart of my concerns about letting my son manage his own workload versus me keeping on top of him about it. He’s got to learn to make these decisions on his own before he gets to college. On the other hand, the objective right now is to get him there.

Forging an Identity

Mary “the mom”

The older of my two daughters just turned thirteen last week and I had been feeling pretty good about how we’d been getting along lately. I knew it was probably the “calm before the storm,” but I’d hoped that wasn’t true. Then I watched High School Confidential.

High School Confidential (on WE tv) tracks 12 girls through the high school years. This week’s episode dealt with Sara and Caitlin, both of whom expressed some pretty conservative views upon entering high school. Sara’s parents are immigrants and her Persian culture is important to her. Caitlin describes herself as a devout Catholic for whom religion is one of the most important things in her life. Both of these girls appear to have a good relationship with their parents at this point. Then each of them meets a boy with whom they develop a serious relationship. By the time they graduate from high school, Sara is getting married to her boyfriend, much to her parents’ dismay, and Caitlin has fallen away from the church. As the girls progress through high school, their relationships with their parents deteriorate somewhat over the years.

This really concerned me – if this is the pattern then I am definitely in the “calm before the storm with my daughter!” But, what struck me was that, as the freshman, these girls were parroting their parents’ pretty conservative values and, as they matured, they started to form their own values which weren’t always in sync with their parents. That obviously caused friction.

I could relate to this because it was my experience growing up. But, I’d like to think that I am pretty open-minded and that I’ve established a solid pattern of open and honest discussion with my children about the various big issues of life. It seems to have worked so far with my son – he is 16 and we haven’t hit any real storms, yet. I’d like to think that whatever choices my daughter makes, whatever identity she forges, we can still have a good relationship. Although, if she told me she wanted to get married at 18, I wouldn’t be so open-minded!

I discussed this episode with my daughter, including the idea that perhaps Sara got married so young because she wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. If my daughter was in a committed relationship, I’d rather she had protected sex than get married at 18, and, she knows it. I hope that by being realistic and open-minded, we can survive this high school journey with our relationship in tact, the new identity and all!

On a lighter note, can we like please like teach our kids to like stop saying “like” every like another word? Sara drove me crazy with the “likes”!

Rach, the “teen”

“Mom”, what you are going through is very much the calm before the storm. My parents and I went through it, except, it only seemed like calm to them. It was still storming for me; I just started leaving things out.

These girls’ relationships with their parents did seem to diminish as time went on. And I think that’s pretty normal. As teens gain independence, they stop letting their parents run their lives. What’s so sad about Sara and Caitlin (and me, and most of the teens I know) is that we stop letting our parents in. Over the past few years I’ve become more distant, because hey, my parents don’t really need to know about how I had that super hard physics test today, or how a girl I know might be pregnant.

Teens change really quickly as we grow into adults. And it’s hard to talk about our lives with the people who still see us as “daddy’s little girl.”

I agree with you. I would rather have my kids in a committed relationship having sex than be getting married and making such a huge life decision so early. At least, I don’t think I’d be ready to get married this young.

I have something in common with Sara. My parents got married really young (and would disown me if I wanted to get married before 20). I’m also in a steady relationship. In fact, my boyfriend and I watched this episode together. We talked about their relationship portrayed on the show, how they seemed like they were both in it out of loneliness, not love.

All in all, this episode left me wondering what was left out. I couldn’t portray my senior year in an hour-long show, let alone the most important four years of my life so far.

Brad “the dad”

Sara and Caitlin didn’t really defy their parents or openly, actively reject their upbringing; they just drifted away, step at a time. No big blow-out with Mom or Dad; they simply stopped including them in their day-to-day lives. That’s exactly how it’s happening for me; the question is what gets lost in the spaces that are created by this new, disturbing independence (You know: that independence we’ve been training them for and urging them to embrace since they were babies.)

Rachel’s right: one hour, two kids, four years – that’s not nearly enough time to get a feel for why Sara and Caitlin did what they did. But that same sense of distance, of not knowing the whole story – that’s a big part of being the parent of a teenager. The dominant cliché that rules our lives is, “Well, we’ve spent all these years preparing her/him for the Real World; it’s time to let go and trust them to do the right thing,” while at the same time the other part of us is screaming, “What are you, insane? She’s not ready! He doesn’t know how to handle this! They’re making life-altering decisions and THEY NEED YOU!”

So you look for points of contact. You look for shared moments. And you try not to be as rigid or as clueless as these parents sometimes appeared to be – unfairly, I suspect, given the tiny window we were looking through. But ultimately, yes, you have to accept the cliché as truth and – urgh – trust them.

Teaching Computer Store Sales Staff Their Job

If you are reading this article there are a few simple assumptions I can make. First, you are online therefore you have an internet connection and a computer. Second, you like were involved at some point in the purchase of the computer or have purchased some extra gadget for the computer sometime in the past. Third, because you have purchased something to do with a computer you likely have set foot in a computer store of some kind, at some point.

With that unnecessary background, on with my rant.

I hate computer stores. Ok, maybe hate is a strong word, but I dislike dealing with the sales staff at most computer stores (or electronics stores with computer departments) such as CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy, etc. The problem is I can never get a knowledgeable answer from the staff when I need it. Fact is I know more than they do.

I know that may sound pompous and arrogant, but frankly, your dog may know more about the products being sold there than the staff does.

Being in a technical field, I try to keep myself fairly well read on current technology. I dare say I read more about technology than I do about current events. I actually consider that a fault when I write that, but facts are facts. When I am considering purchasing something, I take research to the extreme. I read online, I ask around and I talk to people about my conclusions and ask them to weigh in. I am fairly sure that I annoy the heck out of people in this process, but in the end, I rarely end up with buyers remorse after my purchase after such long deliberations.

With that in mind, when I end up in a store I usually have a decent idea of what I want. My time in the store often amounts in racing to the point where I know the product is, grabbing it and making my way through checkout. Sure, I may check out what else is on an unadvertised special, but when that staff member comes wandering my way I usually quickly make my evasive moves and get out of there.

The staff does scare me, really; I just hate being engaged in idle chit chat by someone that is really just trying to talk you into a warranty upgrade on whatever you end up buying.

On the occasions I have had to drop in for a purchase where I am not prepared with details and a specific model in mind, I am typically disappointed with the results. Recently we purchased a color laser printer for work at CompUSA. I had done enough quick research to see their pricing was competitive enough compared to online options that we headed in to see what might fit our needs. While browsing through the options with a business sales rep (supposedly more knowledgeable and specialized for businesses) in tow, we requested to see samples from the three printers we were considering. For the one with the “demo” kit attached he had no problem. The second printer he struggled with, and the third he just had no idea. Not that I am a printer expert, but most have a menu system or key combination you can push to get your demo. Relieving him of his dilemma, I figured out getting the samples with a few simple attempts.

This is but a small example of course for many situations where I have instructed the sales staff on the finer points of products vs them informing me of things I don’t know. No, don’t get this picture of me acting like a Cliff Claven and spouting off all my knowledge and generally making a fool of myself. But, when a staff tries to read off the box on the sly the features and act like they already knew it, I just can’t help but know they really are not capable of helping me. I can read the box on my own, thank you very much.

The other day, before purchasing my new Canon 40D upgrade to my 20D, I happened to be at Circuit City for a purchased and made my way through the camera department. I was ogling the 5D they had on display when I managed to get accosted by the guy assigned to that department. He had a 30D around his neck and a big goofy smile on his face. After the pleasantries, he dove right in trying to expound on his vast knowledge of photography and revel me with his enthusiasm.

Now I love talking to fellow photogs and learning from their experiences and skills, but this guy just didn’t have it. What he lacked in actual knowledge he tried to cover with eagerness, and it only managed to come across at pushy and annoying. Without trying to one-up him with my experiences I simply let him know I was planning on purchasing a different camera, was simply browsing and moved on.

In the end, I typically purchase most of my gadgetry online both for the typical cost savings and to not deal with undertrained, poorly paid sales staff. At least online I can read specifications and reviews without interruption and without pressure to pick up that worthless three-year warranty.

Taking Responsibility For Your Own Actions

If I could sum up the problems in modern society, it would be this: people, in general, do not take responsibility for their own actions. This is one of my all-time biggest pet peeves. We have created the problem over the course of generations, and with each subsequent generation, we are making it worse. If people would simply own up to their own mistakes and take responsibility for their own betterment and that of their kids, we would be living in an entirely different world. Let’s explore this for a minute and see if you agree with my conclusion.

I have wanted to write about this for some time, but what has brought the subject fresh in my mind again these days is my 7 turning 8-year-old son. Lately, he has entered a strong faze of needing to find someone to blame for everything he views as wrong in his little world. He has a strong view of the way things should be in his mind, and whenever something doesn’t fit that view he has a bit of a meltdown. I realize it is a phase for him that he has to work through, but I’m telling you that if he doesn’t work through it soon I may strangle him. Not literally of course, but he is definitely trying the little bit of patience I am capable of.

His level of placing blame knows no bounds. He stubbed his toe the other day and started screaming about how his sister was to blame because she left out a toy that he was avoiding and therefore kicked the couch. My wife packed his school backpack and that ruined his morning; the next she didn’t pack it for him and that equally ruined his day. Getting picked from a weekend after school program my wife went into the classroom to get him – a big no-no that embarrassed him – left him screaming how his life was now ruined. Of course, there is the ever-popular not being able to find an article of clothing because his room had been cleaned when he was way (egads!) and that just can’t happen. The list of examples could go on and on these days, but you get the picture. Completely unreasonable, and completely something you deal with when raising kids.

Problem is, some people never grow out of this stage of needing to place blame on someone else for their own created situations. I think our overloaded civil court system is a direct result of this problem. Sure, there are legitimate claims that need to be handled in a legal arena to force others to be responsible for their actions, but they’re so many frivolous lawsuits of people trying to find others to be found responsible for something that it is hard often to know the difference.

Take for example the now infamous hot coffee lawsuits where someone spilled their beverage obtained through the (McDonald’s) drive-through, was burned and now was using said establishment for untold millions of dollars because the coffee was too hot. Uh, let’s see, aren’t you purchasing this beverage with the expectation that it would be hot? Wouldn’t any reasonable person expect if they spilled such a drink on them that it would, in fact, burn you? Why would your lack of coordination become the liability of the restaurant who sold you the product? Why does this lawsuit even get allowed in the system?

Finding a person or entity to blame and make financially responsible for damage done is perhaps the most abused aspect of our court system. There is money to be made, often through settlements simply to avoid the time, expense and potential negative publicity associated with a full lawsuit. People know this, and unfortunately, a lot of people knowingly use the system to their advantage for this very reason. There are many, though, that simply go through such a routine simply because they don’t want to admit that their own actions or perhaps stupidity had led to their, unfortunately, circumstances, so they go to any lengths to get the blame placed somewhere else.

Off of the legal side, how about our educational system. I spent a little time working in the public school system, and my mother worked in a school district for a number of years. I can’t tell you how many times I heard parents raging on about how the school system had failed their child and it was their fault their child was an uneducated idiot. Now I won’t remove all blame from teachers as it is their job to try and reach children, but the children have a direct and much larger responsibility in the education process. Parents need to stay on top of the child’s progress (or lack thereof) and be an active participant to ensuring their child gets the education and life skills they need, both in and out of school. Admittedly some kids have the personalities to make this a difficult proposition but don’t look to place blame on the school. I firmly believe that in every school situation a child can get the education they need to be provided they have the motivation and support necessary in the home. All schools are not created equal, but it can be done.

As a teacher, I was fortunate to have some experience going into the situation, so I structured my class in such a way that good records were kept and kids had every opportunity possible to succeed, so failure was only of their own doing. I had a few parents of my failing students lay into me something fierce come mid-term parent-teacher conference about how I was failing their child. The tune changed when I laid out all my careful records of what their child was not doing and could have easily done to have a passing grade. In all situations, the anger of the parent had obviously been created by some crafty storytelling of the child before our meeting, and by the end of the visit had shifted from me back to the child. All but one of them ended up passing by the end of the term.

Don’t even get me started in politics, which is the arena where placing blame for wrongs (often artificially) and taking claim for accomplishments that may not be your own is considered part and parcel to the trade. Ugh, it disgusts me to even think about it.

How about the ever golden excuses when you get pulled over for a traffic infraction? There are entire lines of jokes surrounding the excuses people come up with to explain away or justify their speeding, running a red light, etc. It all roots back to the “my dog ate my homework” period, where are both trying to get away with on one hand and trying to shift blame on the other. “I’m late for a doctor’s appointment” is no excuse for breaking the law, and I think most cops are not only tired of hearing the lame excuses, but likely it makes them feel even more justified in writing you that ticket when you are trying to weasel out of it. My father was the king of conversations with people he had just met, something that always amazed me, especially the few times I had seen him strike up a friendly conversation with a cop that had just pulled him over. On every instance that I was present in person, he was let off of a ticket because he was friendly, respectful and honest. He didn’t try to justify his speeding, he owned up to it. Usually, it was just not paying attention, and he would admit to it.

“Sorry officer, I didn’t even realize I was going over the speed limit until I saw your flashing lights. That really was not very smart of me.”

This may or may not get you off of a ticket, but his sincere and honest approach taught me a much greater lesson than had he tried to lie or manipulate his way out of it. Of course, his added obvious flatter didn’t hurt his cause either: “I sure appreciate you doing your job and bringing this to the attention of people like me.” That part of the lesson wasn’t lost on me either.

One of my favorite songs pertaining to this subject is a song by Oingo Boingo called Only A Lad. I looked the lyrics up so you don’t have to find them. The short version is the song recounts the story of a boy that didn’t terrible things all his life, from a child on up to being an adult with increasing severity. All along the way, there was always some excuse. He’s only a lad, he really couldn’t help it, society made him who he is. In the end, we hear:

Hey there johnny you really dont fool me
You get away with murder
And you think its funny
You dont give a d*** if we live or if we die
Hey there johnny boy
I hope you fry!

Not the most pleasant of songs of course, but the message overall I agree with. You can’t always place your blame on others. Sure, society influences what we become, but society starts in the home. Later in life, it is up to use to continue with our habits and beliefs or make the choice to change. I won’t get into nature vs nurture argument here, but I do believe in a bit of both mold us into who we are. But we are a higher intelligence, so we have the capacity to change.

I heard a quote in the context of a religious speech, but it definitely applies to life in general:

“A second truth about our accountability is to know that we are not the helpless victims of our circumstances. The world tries to tell us that the opposite is true: imperfections in our parents or our faulty genetic inheritance are presented to us as absolving us of personal responsibility. But difficult as circumstances may be, they do not relieve us of accountability for our actions or our inactions.” — Henry B. Eyring

Unfortunately, I don’t see this trend changing any time soon. With the prevailing belief that schools, community or government need to do more for us vs initiating change ourselves, we will continue down the path. But, if you want to see a change within your circle of influence, start with yourself and your family. Start to recognize when something is your own doing and deal with it. Ingrain in your children a sense of personal responsibility. Having a work ethic is another that goes along with this, but I’ll leave that for another day.

There are oh so many other attributes that need to be acquired, but I believe a sense of personal responsibility for one’s own actions is at the root of it. Sure, we all want world peace, but I’d be happy to start off with more people taking ownership of their own actions. Perhaps a lot of other things would work themselves out.

Always Get Lips Cream With Lipsense In It

Looking after your lips is important and while you can do various things to make your lips look good, one of the best things to do is to invest in the right lips creams that will help to work wonders on your lips. Lipsense happen to be one of the best ingredients that you can look for in a lips cream mainly because this happens to be one cream that can help to treat a number of lips ailments. If you’re looking for creams with lipsense for sale then always go online and check out the various brands that you can invest in. If you want to make sure that you invest in the right brand then make sure to compare the products online. Read reviews to see which creams are the most effective and which ones are the ones that you should not invest in. A good lipsense color chart can help to treat various kinds of lips problems

With the help of lipsense you can also solve the lips darkening problem that a lot of people suffer from. There are a lot of parts on the body where the lips is sensitive. With the help of lipsense you can now ensure that these parts are protected and the lips does not turn dark in these areas. One such area is the underarms. With regular shaving of the underarms the lips becomes weak and it eventually starts turning dark.

With the help of lipsense you will be able to make sure that you no longer have to face any embarrassing situations where you will not be able to wear sleeveless tops in public. With the help of lipsense this problem will be solved forever the lips will be healed permanently from within.

Cooking Vacations in Italy

Italian cooking vacations give travelers a chance to learn how to replicate traditional, authentic Italian recipes in their own home, and an opportunity to discover wineries, olive mills and cheese factories throughout the famous regions of Italy. Italy is home to dozens of cooking schools, and many tour operators based in both the United States and Italy offer a variety of packages and itineraries for anyone interested in learning the art of Italian Mediterranean cooking.

Cucina della Terra
Cucina della Terra cooking school is located in Umbria, Italy, and it offers small class sizes so that students can work directly with the cooking instructor and enjoy a meal with a small circle of friends. The classes here include wine tastings, trips to the market to buy fresh produce and a truffle hunt. Students also learn how to make their own pasta, and they explore several different cooking styles and techniques that are rooted in local traditions.

Cucina della Terra
Castiglione del Lago, Italy
(646) 761-8037

Tuscan Cooking Week by
Gourmet Safari organizes several European cooking vacation itineraries, and the Tuscan Cooking Week is one of the few immersion cooking experiences in the lineup. These vacations give students a chance to stay in Tuscany and attend cooking classes from professional instructors, take excursions to the countryside, and learn the “true” Italian way of eating. The hands-on cooking classes include wine tastings, selecting cheeses and olive tastings.

Gourmet Safari
Tuscan Cooking Week Vacation
(800) 839-5795

Umbria Culinary Tour by
The Umbria Culinary Tour from is a luxury tour that offers students a chance to explore private vineyards, go on a truffle hunt, attend an olive oil tasting at Historic Mill and experience a 3-Michelin starred gourmet dining experience. The cooking vacation involves demonstrations and hands-on cooking experiences, and students travel throughout Umbria to find taste and select the best wines to accompany their meal.

Umbria Culinary Tour
(310) 928-7559

Good Tastes of Tuscany Cooking Classes
The cooking and wine tasting tours with Good Tastes of Tuscany cooking vacations gives students a chance to try the distinct regional cuisine of Italy, and cook traditional recipes that have been passed down through the family. The gallery kitchen is located inside a 13th century building, the Villa Pandolfini, and the menu is different for every group and based on the season.

Good Tastes of Tuscany
Connextions Group Inc.
2825 East Cottonwood Parkway,
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 405-0700

Rome, Assissi and the Wine Roads of Tuscany from Discover Soriano
Discover Soriano vacations offers cooking tours of some of Italy’s most notable regions, and the “Rome, Assisi and The Wine Roads of Tuscany” vacation is an 8-day, 7-night vacation that includes three hands-on cooking classes and several trips to area olive mills, wineries and a ceramics factory. Students learn how to make homemade fettuccine, biscotti, gelato and tiramisu among other regional specialties.

Rome, Assisi and The Wine Roads of Tuscany Vacation, LLC
6785 Arroyo Dr.
Viera, FL 32940
(321) 441-3551

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