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Adult Child-Parent
IconThere is only one "First Love" in each of our lives. Do you remember yours? Although it may be far in the past, most of us can still feel the excitement of that first crush. We can even feel butterflies in our stomach just thinking about that special puppy love? We usually smile when thinking about it, even though it ended, because it wasn't "real" love. More >>

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IconWhen was the last time that you really thought about the true meaning of what you were saying? If you have ever taken a foreign language, you may have heard from your instructor that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn because of all of the rules and exceptions, in addition to the many situations when there are no rules. More >>

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IconIn terms of emotional oversimplification, children rarely learn to look below the surface of the most salient emotions to understand how emotions such as anger, sarcasm, or arrogance may be triggered by other emotions. More simply, they are not taught to do this. More >>

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IconKnow your role.  With political correctness, the line between adult and child has blurred: everyone is "equal," and no one should be offended. But political correctness doesn't work in the parent-child relationship. More >>

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IconHow often is that we see people in our extended families and our community that believe that their family gets along just fine and doesn't have any problems, only to find that screaming, yelling, name calling, and physical aggressiveness is almost the norm? More >>

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IconMy mother, who shall we say loves to complain and make all problems revolve around her and focus on how they affect her, called me...Her dilemma - her ex-husband who is back together with her after leaving her for a 5 year shack up honey is back in her life. More >>

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In Praise Of B.S. -It's Not All Bad For 'Ya
By Cliff Ennico

As a longtime fan of comedianGeorge Carlin, I was recently delighted to find in my local video storea DVD of an HBO special performance Carlin gave in Los Angeles only afew months before his death in June 2008.
The special, entitled "It's Bad for 'Ya", was the usual blend ofCarlin's spot-on social and political satire.

My only problem with his routine came in the title skit - a long rantagainst certain ritual and other symbolic behaviors we perform ineveryday life (for example, placing your hand on a Bible or othersacred text when swearing an oath). After describing each ritualand showing how meaningless it is, Carlin added the tag line "it'sB.S., and it's bad for 'ya." At one memorable point in hismonologue, Carlin wonders out loud "how many millions of dead soldiersin military cemeteries around the Globe marched off to war because theyfelt they were fighting for something that was nothing more than B.S.?"

A veteran of the social and political upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s,Carlin believed, as did many of his generation (listen closely to thelyrics of John Lennon's song "Imagine"), that a world without B.S. is aworld of perfect beauty, peace and freedom, in which there is nothingto kill or die for, and we can finally achieve "a brotherhood of man".

With all respect for an artist who can no longer defend himself, and(full disclosure) as a member of that generation myself, I would saythat I agree with Carlin . . . but only halfway.

It's hard to argue that most ritual behavior is B.S., in the sense thatit has no extrinsic meaning. Quite a few social rituals that usedto have real meaning no longer do - in the 1500s, shaking someone'shand in greeting was a way of saying you had no intention to draw yoursword on that person.

But that is just the point: ritual behavior is not meant to havereal meaning. It is symbolic, a shorthand way of communicatingsomething that cannot be put in words or is too complex for the humanmind to grasp in full. Putting your hand on a sacred text whenswearing an oath is a way for society to signal that "what you areabout to say is extremely important, just as important as the words inthis text you're holding, and we as a society intend to hold youaccountable for every word."

Ritual behavior lies at the heart of every human organization, be it afamily, a company (we commonly speak of "corporate culture"), a tribe,a religion, a political party, or a nation. Participating inritual is a way for people to say "yes, we are all different as humanbeings, but we are willing to sacrifice some of our individuality, ourpersonality, our disagreements and our uniqueness to be members of acertain community that identifies itself by these rituals."

The rituals themselves are B.S., and easily ridiculed. But - andhere is where I part company with Carlin - not all B.S. is bad for'ya.

Would you really want to live in a world without B.S.? A world inwhich each individual is truly unique, different and perfect inhimself, without any shorthand or symbols to show his fellow humanitywith others? Frankly, I think it would be boring as Hell - inmuch the same way that guys with shaved heads and goatees (er, excuseme, "soul patches") look exactly the same.

Whenever you make any sort of general statement about something, it isB.S. because it is too simplistic. Whenever you tell a story toillustrate a moral, it is B.S. because it is fiction. Wheneveryou create a theory or model to explain to someone how something in theworld works, it is B.S. because every rule has exceptions, and theworld is too complicated for any theory to explain perfectly. Whenever you accept something as an article of faith, you use B.S. todeal with questions that cannot be answered by rational or scientificanalysis (for example, what happens to us after we die, why bad thingshappen to good people). According to some 20th century Europeanphilosophers, even language itself is B.S. because words are meresymbols that cannot communicate the "thing in itself" - we love poetrybecause by listening closely to the words we hear, and sometimes feel,an image of what is being spoken about.

In many ways, B.S. is the lubricant that makes learning, communication,understanding and all other aspects of human society possible. B.S. is what gets us emotionally and psychologically through life,gives us our sense of personal identity, and what gives us hope thatmaybe there is something in the Universe that is bigger than we are andof which we are a part.

Cynicism can be a good thing, if taken in moderation. But someonewho spends too much time removing B.S. from his life, and pointing outto others why B.S. isn't real, sooner or later ends up not believing inanything. George Carlin had a successful career, achieving wealthand fame making millions laugh at the B.S. in their lives, but Isometimes wonder if he died happy. He didn't look happy in thatHBO special. Of course, he probably knew he had only a few monthsto live.

People should be free to choose which B.S. they believe in, of course -B.S. should never be forced on anyone. People should also beeducated enough not to confuse B.S. with reality. But give upB.S. altogether? If anything, the more we learn about the cold,hostile, unforgiving world around us, the more B.S. we need to keepfrom going crazy. And yes, some B.S. is worth fighting and dyingfor.

As you engage in your holiday rituals, customs and traditions, whateverthey may be, try not to think too hard about them. Studysomething too closely, and you kill the beauty, the magic and themystery.

Cliff Ennico ( a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS televisionseries "Money Hunt." This column is no substitute for legal, tax orfinancial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualifiedprofessional licensed in your state. To find out more about CliffEnnico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit ourWeb page at COPYRIGHT2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM. Permissiongranted foruse

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Landscaping Tips forWinter
By John Irwin

The colder weather is coming and that often means freezing temperaturesand frost. There is no need to panic however, when it comes toprotecting your plants. Below are six strategies to help your plantssurvive the winter.

Cold temperatures
Plunging temperatures make every homeowner worry about the safety oftheir plants. Choosing plants properly that can withstand the cold isthe first and most important step. Place plants more vulnerable to thecold in protected areas. If you have plants that don't like the coldtemperatures, then take extra steps to protect them, such as layingdown extra mulch, or covering plants with sheets or cloth.

A 4-inch layer of winter mulch placed after the ground freezes twoinches deep will protect your more vulnerable plants. Mulch root areaof larger plants. Cover or wrap plants and shrubs with cloth toinsulate them. Don't use plastic as it suffocates the plants and willraise and lower their temperatures too quickly.

Salt Damage
Salt damage occurs when salt is used to melt ice and snow on drivewaysand walkways. It is also caused when salt is used on your streets, andthen tossed onto plants by snowplows. To prevent damage from salt, usealternatives such as sand, kitty litter or an environmentally friendlysalt mixture to de-ice walkways and driveways. Place only extra hardyplants in your snowplow zone, and avoid those varieties that are highlysusceptible to salts.

Strong winds can cause plants to lose moisture in the winter. To avoidmoisture loss, mulch around roots and cover or wrap plants with cloth.You should still water plants occasionally to prevent moisture loss.

Winter Pests
The biggest issue during the winter attends to be animals nibbling ontrees and shrubs. There are a number of ways to prevent damage frompests, such as using environmentally safe products that repel pests,wrapping tree trunks with protective materials and placing fencingaround valuable plants. You can also try leaving out food for theanimals so they won't be tempted to eat your plants.

If you have perennials in containers or pots, you should move them intothe garage or a shed during the winter. If the plants are not move, thesoil can freeze and kill the plants. If you don't have a garage, add alayer of mulch around and over containers to protect plants, or movethem indoors when temperatures are severe.

Winter is not generally a problem for roses if you have the rightvariety#151;especially if they were grown from their own roots. Manyantique and climbing roses are very hardy and don't require specialattention. However in some climates with severe winters, roses need tobe buried in a trench to survive the winter. Tree roses are verysusceptible to cold, so they may need to be covered or buried. When in doubt, it is best to consult your local horticulturist orgarden center to know what is best for protecting plants in yourclimate.

John Irwin is a professional landscaper in the Sacramento area and hasbeen in business for more than 18 years. For more tips and strategieson creating the yard of your dreams visit Permission granted for use

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Toddler Treat: Cranberries
By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

Toddlers love to play with their food. Dipping sauces make foods taste good and provide your child with an activity that makes meals and snacks more fun. Here are two recipes for yummy dipping sauces - one for fruits and another for veggies, tofu and meats.

Creamy Cranberry Dipping Sauce

frac34; cup 100 percent cranberry raspberry (or grape) juice
frac12; cup sour cream
frac12; cup vanilla yogurt

Place juice into a small saucepan. Boil until reduced to a syrup (about 3 tablespoons). Allow to cool. Add syrup to remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Chill and serve with a variety of fresh fruit slices.

Cranberry Mustard Dipping Sauce

frac12;cup jellied cranberry sauce
1 frac12; tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions: Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisking until smooth. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serve with raw/blanched veggies, baked tofu, chicken fingers or fish sticks.

All about cranberries

The cranberry is a Native American fruit that grows on trailing vines like a strawberry, and thrives in wetland areas, called bogs. Cranberries are harvested in September and October. The most common technique for harvesting is known as a "wet" harvest, which involves flooding the bogs with water to float the fruit for easy collection. During the winter the frozen water insulates and protects the vines.

The North American cranberry has a distinguished history. Native Americans used cranberries as food, in ceremonies, and medicinally. Revolutionary War veteran Henry Hall planted the first commercial cranberry beds in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Today they are farmed on approximately 40,000 acres across the northern United States and Canada.

Cranberries are available in a variety of product forms including: fresh, juice, dried and sauce. Cranberries are considered a healthy fruit. They contain no cholesterol and virtually no fat, and are low in sodium. In addition, they contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer, aging and other diseases. Cranberries also contain bacteria-blocking compounds that are helpful in preventing urinary tract infections, and possibly ulcers and gum disease.

Age to introduce: Over 12 months (cooked/juice/sauce). Over 18 months (dried).

Cranberries for the family
Cranberry up your Thanksgiving meal by trying some of these tasty and simple ideas.
  1. Football snack: Add dried cranberries to any nut mixture.

  2. Salad: Sprinkle dried cranberries on mixed green or spinach salad. The sweetness of the cranberries is terrific with any vinaigrette dressing and is a great compliment to crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese.

  3. Side dish: Add dried cranberries to your favorite stuffing, wild rice, or couscous recipe.

  4. Veggie: Sauteacute; onions, diced zucchini and dried cranberries in olive oil. Season with a dash of turmeric, cinnamon, and rep pepper flakes. Great taste and awesome color!

  5. All American apple pie: Add frac12; cup of fresh cranberries to your favorite apple recipe.

  6. Treat the whole family to fresh cranberry sauce. Here is a simple recipe that can be made ahead of time.
Easy Cranberry Sauce:

16 ounces fresh cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
frac12; cup cranberry juice
frac12; cup fresh orange juice or water

Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open (about 10 minutes). Skim the foam off the surface with a metal spoon and discard. Cool to room temperature.

Storage: Refrigerate, covered, for up to three months.

About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby ( Raised by parents who love fresh foods and entertaining, their mom, a gourmet cook, ensured that they were well-equipped with extraordinary skills in the kitchen. Both with long track records of business success, they decided to combine their skills in the kitchen with their knowledge of healthy foods and children to create Fresh Baby. Cheryl and Joan put a modern twist on the conventional wisdom that when you make it yourself, you know it's better. Their goal at Fresh Baby is to make the task of raising a healthy eater a little bit easier for all parents. Fresh Baby's breastfeeding accessories and baby food making supplies provide parents with practical knowledge and innovative tools to support them in introducing their children to great tasting, all-natural foods easily and conveniently. Visit them online at and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family's healthy eating habits! Permission granted for use on

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Countdown to Fire Season:
Five Things to Do Now to Prepare

By Larry Koman

The recent fires in Santa Barbara are a stark reminder that the California Fire season is here early. If you escaped damage from the fires, consider yourself lucky. Losing a home to a fire is a life-changing event that no one should experience. Even if you don't live in a rural area, you are not immune to damage from fire. Many people in San Diego would have never expected that they would be affected by brush fires, but many lost their homes anyway.

You should take this time to make sure you are prepared in the event of a fire. Here are five things you can do to be ready.

Have an Evacuation Plan Any plan is better than no plan. Think about what you would do if you were suddenly told to evacuate. Where would you go, what would you do? What about the kids, pets, and the elderly? Have a family meeting. Talk about what to do if you were forced to evacuate. Make sure everyone knows their role, where to go, where to meet, and where to call. Talk about what stays and what goes. Remember that you might not have much time. Write it down, make a checklist. This will take the stress out of the evacuation order and make things easier.

Review your Insurance Coverage This is a good thing to do from time to time. Call or visit your insurance agent and review all of your insurance, especially your fire insurance. If you don't know who your fire insurance company is, find out and write it down and keep it with your important papers. Most Insurance Companies will be happy to review your coverage with you, and many have tools especially designed for this purpose. Make sure you know what is covered. This will give you piece of mind in the event of a fire.

Inventory your belongings Take some time to make a list of what you own. This doesn't take long but will help you remember if it is all gone after a fire. Go from room to room and write down what you see. Make notes about the items like where you got it, how much it cost, etc. Don't forget the obvious, like the furniture, but don't overlook the little things either, like window coverings, pictures, paintings, and special finishes. When you're finished, put the list in an envelope and put it somewhere you can get to it after a fire. Keep it somewhere else; a safety deposit box, an office, or a relative's house. If possible take pictures of every room and keep the pictures or disk with your inventory.

Gather Important Things Together I look around my house and I notice I have important things in a lot of different places. I looked for a copy of a picture a while ago and found that I have a drawer in the kitchen, a drawer in my office, and a drawer in the den, all with pictures. If I had a fire today, I might lose all of them. I also have some important papers in my office and some in the den. You should gather important pictures and files together so they can be gathered up quickly. Placing them in a fire proof safe or cabinet away from the garage or kitchen will help insure that they survive. The hardest thing to replace after a fire is the pictures and important papers. Take this step now and have peace of mind in the event something tragic occurs.

Fireproof your Home Although there is really no such thing as fireproof, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of fire damage to your house. If you have an older home with a shake roof, think about replacing it now with a composition shingle or cement tile roof. Spending a little money now will give you added peace of mind later. Clear debris from around your house, even if you don't live in a rural area. Clearing combustibles from around your house will reduce the threat of fire damage and make it possible for Fire Fighters to maneuver around your house to help defend it.

Whether you live in an area exposed to brush fires or not, taking these steps now will help make your family safer and give you peace of mind. If your home is suddenly destroyed, you're prepared.

Larry Koman is a Certified Property and Casualty Underwriter and a Licensed California General Contractor with more than 20 years experience inspecting and rebuilding homes damaged by fire, earthquake, and other disasters. For more information visit Permission granted for use on

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