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Trust Your Heart
By The Love Goddess

Dear Love Goddess: I keep going outwith men who look great, have good jobs, etc., but who are really,really strange once they're in a relationship. I KNOW this is nottrue of all men, but of the men I'm choosing#133;.but is there a way ofspotting these guys? -Miserable Earth Girl

A. Dear Miserable Earth Girl: Spotting men unfit for human consumptionfrom afar by just looking at them? No. They do not, unfortunately, wearsigns saying, "I'm a loser and a creep." They can look reallygood. They can sound really good. They often, in fact, look and soundbetter than the really terrific guys do, because they've madeincredible adjustments to the fact that they ARE losers and creeps (andthey do know it; they've been told by untold numbers of women) and knowthey have something to hide. So they make an extra effort to look good,sound good, come on to you politely#151;and often aggressively-- seemincredibly interested, promise a good time, and so forth...all thethings they hope will ensure that you'll go out with them. But despitetheir camouflage, there are two sure ways to tell which men are likelyto turn out, as you put it, "really, really strange."

First, you really must trust your instincts. How do you feel whenyou're with him? Do you feel good#133;.or anxious? Do you have the sensethat you're really connecting#133;.or that you really want to butaren't? Does he seem too aggressive, too sure that you're the oneand only, too pushy about making a date? Pay attention to yourgut....it is inevitably right. Then, if you make a date, does he alwaysshow up late, leaving you a little miffed? Does he always expect you tocook? Does he bring wine, or offer to cook or take you out? Do you feela little on edge, or like a drag? Do you find yourself constantlywishing you (or he) were in a better mood?

Next, how do you feel between dates with him? Does he check in to sayhe had a nice time; to see when you'll meet again, or does he kind ofdisappear for days or weeks? Does it feel as if the relationship isgetting traction#133;.or do you a have the sense, each time you see him,that you're starting from square one? Does he disappear? Is his life asecret? Does he seem to want what you want in this relationship or doyou have the sense that you're always trying either to make him comecloser or to get him to back off somewhat? Does he seem to behaving trouble being involved with you#133;.as if it's not something thathe truly enjoys; not something he can keep up without being giveninstructions? Do you have the sense that he's peddling something ("I really want marriage and a family with a woman like you") that hecan't deliver ("I think I'm going to spend next year in Alaska"). Hashe been in a long-term relationship?
I know you can't answer all these questions, and my aim is not to haveyou drill him. I just know that the hardest thing to learn is to trustyour gut about someone. So listen to your inner voice, and then to goby what a man DOES, not what he says. It's so hard to resist thecompelling urge to make him become someone you want him to be when thesigns point to the fact that he never was and never will be. Thesigns, I believe, are inevitably there. But they're not visible on hisperson; they're telegraphed subtly, and can only be felt by you by yourown senses, your own heart.

Dalma Heyn, M.S.W., Founder of The Love Goddess, is the author ofseveral bestselling books on marriage and relationships. Dalma is awidely read columnist and sought-after speaker. She hasappeare--without her wings--on national talk shows including Oprah, The View, Charlie Rose, GoodMorning America, and Larry King Live. For more information visitwww.thelovegoddess.com or www.dalmaheyn.net. Permission granted foruse onDrLaura.com

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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelativesValues

Ditch the Negative Drama
By Winn Claybaugh

Years ago, a lovely woman who works for me made it almost a dailyritual to tell me all the negative drama and complaints from people atmy business. She truly believed she was doing me a favor, and I thinkshe thought it was a compliment that people brought her their problemsand complaints.

One day I asked her, "Why are you so available for this information?Why do so many people want to dump their negative drama onto you?"After a long conversation and a reminder about our company's veryeffective and positive system for expressing grievances, she finallyrealized she was not helpingthe individuals work out their problems, she was not bringing me information I coulduse, and she was instead bringing stress and bitterness upon herselfand her coworkers. This lovely woman is now no longer available fornegative gossip and drama.

To eliminate stress from your workplace, try these four ideas forreplacing stress-producing drama with fun, positive activities.

1. Create a "Caught Ya" board.Whenever a staff member sees a coworker doing something wonderful,they're encouraged to "write them up." A "Caught Ya!" message couldread something like, "To Derrick: Thanks for surprising me by cleaningup the stockroom." Keep preprinted "Caught Ya" cards near your boardand display it in the lunch area or break room where the "spoons"usually hang out-people who are back there stirring things up.

2.What's on your bulletin board? Take down anything negative andpost stories of hope and inspiration for everyone to see.

3.Devote time to a favorite charity. Doing something good forsomeone else brings your company together as a team and helpsindividuals step outside their own drama.

4.Give people something to laugh about! It's a medical fact thatstress can lead to ulcers and other unfavorable physical calamities.When people laugh and have fun, their bodies release endorphins-the ultimate "naturalhigh." Give your team a daily dose of healthfulness by making yourworkplace fun.

As a leader, you have choices in life. You can spend your day lookingfor problems, and guess what you'll find? Or you can spend your daylooking for reasons to celebrate your fellow team members. At the endof the day, you can go home feeling drained, exhausted, and bitterbecause of all the problems you discovered, or you can go home feelingenergized and grateful because you spent your day focusing on thingsthat empower both yourself and your team. The second choice makes you avisionary leader. Which type would you rather be?

Winn Claybaugh is the author ofBe Nice (Or Else!) and "one ofthe best motivational speakers in the country," according to CNN'sLarry King. A business owner for over 25 years with over 8,000 peoplein his organization, Winn is the co-owner of hair care giant PaulMitchell's school division. Winn has helped thousands of businessesbuild their brands and create successful working cultures. His clientsinclude Southwest Airlines, the Irvine Company, Vidal Sassoon,Entertainment Tonight, Mattel, ForRent magazine, Structure/Limited/Express, and others. Winn is afrequent guest on national radio and a regular contributor to onlinepublications. Visit
www.BeNiceOrElse.com to sign up for his free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) newsletter. Permission granted for use onDrLaura.com.

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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelativesValues

TheGraduation Speech Your Kids Really Need To Hear
By Cliff Ennico

Members of the Class of 2009:

I was sorry to hear that the children's TV show hostwho was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out atthe last minute due to an attack of terminal cuteness. I wasdelighted, however, when the Trustees called me about an hour ago andasked me to fill in.

Now, I've never done this before, and I wasn't givena whole lot of guidance, except that I was told to tell you to "followyour dreams" and "reach for the stars", since there's a federal lawrequiring those statements to be included in all graduation speeches[pause for laughter].

While I know some of you already have jobs and some,OK most of you, do not, I know that all of you are wondering today whatyour lives are going to be like. I know I did when I sat in oneof these chairs back in 1975. Let me tell you something it'sgoing to be a lot different than you think it will be. As JohnLennon once said, "life is what happens to you when you're making otherplans."

I have two pieces of news for you, and neither ofthem are fun to talk about, but I feel they must be said, and no bettertime than today. First, whatever dreams most of you hope toaccomplish in your lives, you won't be able to achieve them until youhave achieved some measure of financial security for yourself and yourloved ones. Like many generations before you, unless you wereborn wealthy (and sometimes even then), finding and keeping thatfinancial security will be the primary, if not the only, thing you willspend time on for the next 50 years.

It gets worse. The second thing is that it hasnever been a more difficult time to make a decent living inAmerica. I'm not just talking about the collapsing banks,bankrupt auto companies, or global warming. I'm talking aboutsome mega-changes in our economy.

Many of the career paths your parents andgrandparents enjoyed working for large corporations are no longerthere. Oh, many of the corporations are still there, but they'vegot a different outlook than they did in my day. To them, peoplecost money, and you have to keep your costs as low as possible to stayalive. So if you can buy computers to do the work of lots ofpeople, you buy the computers and fire the people. If you musthire people to do a job, because no computer is good enough, you hirethe cheapest people you can in Asia and Latin America. And if youreally must hire Americans, you "outsource" them as independentcontractors rather than employees. That way you don't have to paytheir health insurance.

The Government won't be there to bail you outeither. Social Security, Medicare and other government programsthat helped your parents and grandparents either won't be there whenyou are ready for them, or they will be so scaled back that only themost poverty-stricken Americans will qualify for them. Hopefullythat won't include any of you [pause for murmuring/dodge vegetables].

And if you think you can scale back yourexpectations and work in a small, simple business, there's a massivewave of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only toowilling to take the jobs we Americans are too proud to take.

The terrible truth about your future, ladies andgentlemen, is that there is only one person you can rely on to help youbuild your future and success, and that is you. Sooner or later,you will find yourself running your own business, and you had betterstart preparing for that day now. It may happen next year, it maynot happen until you turn 50. It may be a part-time business,

Many of you, I'm sorry to say, are totallyunprepared for the challenge. While the American educationalsystem is still, for my money, the best in the world, the sad truth isthat most of you are totally clueless about what business isabout. Far, far too many of you, including even a few Phi BetaKappas and Rhodes Scholars, don't know the difference between revenueand profits, can't balance your checkbook, and couldn't tell thedifference between a balance sheet and an income statement if your lifedepended on it. To be successful in this brave new world, youwill have to learn how business really works on the job, with lots ofself-study, practical experience, and by making a few mistakes.

Now before you business students start thinking youhave a leg up over your liberal arts classmates, let me tell you thatyour education has been grossly deficient as well. You know a lotabout numbers and spreadsheets, but you don't know diddly about thehuman heart. Make no mistake to be a success in business, youmust be a keen observer of human nature above all else. To knowwhich customers are more willing to buy than others, and whenperceptions of your products and services are changing, is a lot morevaluable to a business than knowing the difference between "accountingprofit" and "economic profit".

What is probably worst of all, many of the best andbrightest of you have a dim view of business, period. Like manybefore you, you think you are too good for a business career, or thatone has to be unethical, greedy and unscrupulous to be a success. Sadly, it's hard to blame you for that, given all of the recentfinancial scandals, grossly overpaid executives and business' totaldisregard for the environment. But let me assure you that youdon't have to be ruthless, obnoxious, devious or even Republican tosucceed in business [pause for laughter/applause/murmuring/vegetables].

For those of you who think a business career isn'tchallenging, let me remind you that any activity that generates incomefor you and your family, is a business. If you are a collegeprofessor, getting published and being granted tenure is yourbusiness. If you work for a corporation, staying employed andimpressing the right people every day is your business. If youare an artist, creating works that you know will sell quickly (andpreferably have been paid for in advance) is your business. Whileit's admirable to look at what you do as a calling, if you neglect the"business side" of what you do, you are taking the first baby steps tofailure and ruin.

I have had the pleasure of working with over 15,000business owners in my career, and they are a more diverse group eventhan you are. They come from all walks of life andbackgrounds, and their personalities are all over the map. Contrary to what you may believe now, there is no such thing as a"success type". The beauty of this wonderful country ofours is that anyone - I mean anyone - can succeed in business with theright training, the right outlook on life, and the determination to dowhat others are too squeamish or hesitant to accomplish.

So by all means reach for the stars and follow yourdreams, for without faith, hope and passion your business will neversucceed, even if you're as smart as Einstein.

Just whatever you do, don't run out of money.

Cliff Ennico (cennico@legalcareer.com)is 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 www.creators.com.COPYRIGHT 2009 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE,INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesValues

Simple Avocado MangoSalad
By Cheryl Tallman


1 avocado, cubed
1/2 mango, cubed
1 graham cracker, crushed

Honey-Lime Dressing:
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
Salad: Arrange avocado and mango cubes on a plate or bowl. Drizzle withdressing. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Serve.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of theaward-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade BabyFood in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips andSimple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at
www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMen's Point of ViewMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelativesValuesWomen's Point of View

Protect Your Medical Information
By John Sileo

Medical records are one-stop shopping for identity thieves. There is no need to slowly gather bits and pieces of someone's personal information - it's all packaged together: Social Security number, name, address, phone number, even payment accounts.

Crooks have received everything from medication to a liver transplant using a stolen identity. And that's only the tip of the iceberg! More than just medical treatment is at stake. Once a thief's medical information is entered into your records, it's extremely difficult to get rid of that information. It's conceivable, for example, that at a later date, you'll need a Type A blood transfusion but be given the thief's Type B with dire consequences.

Identity theft of medical records has more than doubled since 2008, as stated in Javelin's 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report. It's not difficult to imagine the misery that a million Americans have suffered during the past two years when their identities were stolen. And the Poneman Institute, in their National Study on Medical Identity Theft, states that another half million people loaned their insurance cards to uninsured family members and friends. The unsavvy lenders have incurred huge medical bills in this "friendly fraud."

Larry Ponemon says that, on average, it costs $20,000 to resolve a medical identity theft case. Unlike credit card companies,where the banks incur the losses, the victims often have to pay for the fraudulent care and sometimes lose their health insurance or have to pay higher premiums to restore their accounts. Even though there are HIPAA laws to protect your privacy, not all health care organizations have strict safeguards in place.

The risk goes even further: if someone is treated using your identity, your medical records will more than likely be altered and could compromise your treatment and ability to get service. According to Larry Ponemon, "stolen medical records offer a complete dossier to get a passport in a victim's name that could be used for terrorism."

Ways to Protect Yourself:
  • When you receive an Explanation of Benefits from insurers, read it carefully and save - don't throw it away even when it says "this is not a bill"! If a treatment date or doctor's name is not familiar to you, call the insurer and the billing physician to resolve.
  • If your wallet is stolen, contact your insurance company just as you would your credit card company. Don't carry your Medicare card in your wallet. Carry a photocopy and black out the last four digits of the SS#.
  • Urge your health care providers to ask patients for photo ID's.
  • Ask your doctors for copies of everything in your medical files, even if you have to pay for them.
  • Monitor your credit report. If you see medical billing errors, contact your insurer and the three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
  • Avoid Internet and storefront offers of free treatment and supplies.
  • Ask for a list of benefits paid in your name and an "accounting of disclosures" which shows who got your records.
About the author: To further bulletproof yourself and your business, visit John's blog at www.Sileo.com. To book John at your next event, visit www.ThinkLikeaSpy.com. John Sileo became America's leading Identity Theft Speaker Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.

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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues

Purchasing andPreparing Lamb:
The Basics You Need To Know
Provided by theAmerican Lamb Board

The family is coming over for a festive spring dinner but you don'twant to serve yet another casserole#133;How about Lamb? It seems soelegant, but it really is easy, especially if you are armed with thebasics.

What To Look For When Purchasing Lamb:

Lamb is widely available in grocery stores and gourmet food retailersacross the country. When shopping, look for American Lamb as ittypically yields more meat on the bone than imported lamb. Also, mostAmerican lamb is fed mixed grains and grasses giving the meat a milderflavor than its European counterparts. When shopping for a cut, lookfor meat that has a soft pink to red coloring with white marbling.

How to Store/Freeze Lamb:

Fresh lamb should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer immediatelyafter purchasing. Refrigerate fresh lamb at 40 degrees Fahrenheit orbelow. Ground lamb or stew meat should be used within 2 days. Lambchops and roasts should be used within 3 to 5 days. If you plan tofreeze lamb for long periods of time, be sure to wrap the originalpackaging with airtight freezer wrap or place in an airtight freezerbag to prevent freezer burn. To maintain optimum quality, frozen lambshould be used within 3 to 4 months.

How to Thaw Frozen Lamb:
  • In the refrigerator - oncefrozen lamb has thawed in the refrigerator, lamb roasts and chopsshould be used within 3 to 5 days and ground lamb or stew meat shouldbe used within 1 to 2 days.
  • In cold water - leave frozenlamb in its packaging, making sure it is air tight. If not, transfer itto a leak-proof bag. Keep the lamb submerged in cold water, changingthe water every 30 minutes to continue thawing. Cook lamb immediatelyafter thawing. It should not be re-frozen unless cooked first.
  • In the microwave - As withthe cold water method, when frozen lamb is thawed in the microwave, itmust be cooked immediately. It should not be re-frozen unless cookedfirst.
  • For those that don't have alot of experience cooking with lamb, determining when it is done is thebiggest challenge. An overcooked rack of lamb is an expensive mistakeand carving into an undercooked roast can be an embarrassment at adinner party. Don't rely on guesswork - a good meat thermometer willprovide reliable results. DO NOT cut into a roast or chop to checkdoneness. Use an instant read thermometer to give you a quick, accuratereading.
  • Lamb, like any cut of meat,always benefits from rest before serving - the rest allows the meat'sjuices to settle. Give thin cuts like chops five minutes before servingand allow 20 minutes before carving roasts. Keep in mind, as the meatrests, its internal temperature typically rises 5 to 10 degrees. Removelamb from cooking heat when the thermometer reads 5 to 10 degrees lessthan your desired temperature.
  • To ensure lamb remains safethroughout cooking, the USDA makes recommendations for safe cookingtemperatures.
For recipes and approximatecooking times for use in meal planning, visit americanlamb.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com

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