Sunday, September 10, 2006

Cute Twins

Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)
Cute Twins (Photo)

Interesting Facts about American States

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Prohibition of Coke and Pepsi

The selling of Coca Cola and Pepsi has been prohibited in the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Center, which hosts 1.5 million people annually.

The first Turkish prohibition for Coca Cola and Pepsi, which had been previously prohibited in Latvia, India and a university in England based on the claim that they contained some hazardous materials, came from a civil society in Turkey. Mustafa Ozbey, who changed the name of "My Showland "to" the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Center, prohibited the sales of the popular soft drinks in his show center stemming from the desire to be a good role model and protect Turks from pollutants.

Ozbey stressed that the health of Turkish people was at least as important as the health of a Hindu or Latvian and added there would not be Coca Cola or Pepsi in any part of the convention center, which begins its next season in September. Ozbey said all of the canteens and kiosks around the center belonged to them, and added, "Even if we hire them out, we will assert our conditions in this frame." Ozbey said the Istanbul Convention & Exhibition Center was the second biggest convention center in the world and the biggest in Europe, and added: "About 30-40 percent of our visitors drink Coca Cola or Pepsi every year and, in fact, we earn a lot from these sales. Even if we only took advertisements from Coca Cola we could earn more; however, the health of Turkish people is more important for us."

Ozbey said great amounts of money leave Turkey due to the cola and cigarette industry, and added: "None of these kinds of goods will be available in our convention center until it is proven that they do not harm people's health."

Al-Azhar University Advises Against Colas

Leading Egyptian University al-Azhar advised against drinking Coca Cola and Pepsi, which have been prohibited in some countries recently. Vice Rector of al-Azhar Abduldaim Nasir relayed the news issued al-Medina Daily in Saudi Arabia that both of these colas included materials produced fro m pork. One of the leading intellectuals in the Islam world, Professor Abdulhalim Uveys, noted that Muslim intellectuals had previously released fatwas that the drinks produced by these trademarks were forbidden according to Islamic food regulations. Uveys said he also thought in the same way, and added: "Coca Cola has some alcohol ingredients and Pepsi has some pork ingredients. Also, the soft drinks produced by these two companies should not be drunk because, first of all, they harm people, as alcohol and cigarettes do; and secondly, drinking them can be considered unnecessary because there are no health benefits. And maybe the most important thing here is that both of these companies support Israel."

Monday, September 04, 2006

Learning Mother Love

It's a shiny bright apple of a day in San Francisco and the three of us--me, my husband, Jeff, and our one-year-old son, Max--are at a concert. He's in red corduroy overalls and a striped shirt, his hair long and golden as the day ahead of us. The concert's been going on for an hour already, and the whole time Max has been content to sit on his father's lap, enthralled by the music. Already, a woman has come over to compliment us on our well-behaved baby. "What a love!" she coos, chucking Max under the chin. Someone else crouches and snaps his picture. And then Jeff says quietly, "I have to pee."

We both know what that means. He lifts Max up and sets him on my lap. Startled, Max looks around wildly. Jeff hastens to the bathroom, and Max begins to scream.

He wails when I try to rock him. He tries to peel himself off my body when I croon. And when I stand, trying to dance with him, he flails his hands. "Is he okay?" the person next to us asks with great concern, and I nod. "Colic," I lie, my mouth quivering. "A little stomach bug."

I walk with Max, trying to get away from the concerned stares, and then suddenly there's Jeff. He takes Max, and all the crying stops. We sit back down. I feel everyone's eyes upon me--even though no one may even be looking. I keep my head down, blinking hard, biting on the edge of my lip so I won't cry. My own son screams when I try to hold him. What kind of mother am I?

I halfheartedly hand Max a pacifier and he swats it out of my grasp. "Fine," I snap. "Do without:'

Jeff blinks at me. "He's a baby," he whispers. "You know better."

I did know better. I knew that for the first three months of Max's life, I was critically ill in a hospital, so all the bonding we were supposed to do just never happened. I knew that for the next three months I was still too sick to hold him, to feed him, to do more than talk to him. Babies can recognize their moms by scent. But this particular baby was more likely to recognize his blanket than he was me, simply because he had had more contact with it. The truth was, I didn't really know him. He didn't really know me. And what's more, he didn't seem to like me and I hadn't a clue what to do about it other than to sometimes, to my great shame and bewilderment, not like him back.

I tried, but I wasn't always a good mother. I didn't look the part, my hair falling out, my skin gray, bloated from the steroids I had to take for my illness, a postpartum condition that kept my blood from clotting. To bond with my baby, I began to care for him, changing his diapers when he'd let me, giving him his bottle because I was too sick to breast-feed. One day, I was leaning over him, tickling him with my hair trying to get him to laugh, when a hank of it slid off my head, dusting his belly. Horrified, I grabbed for the hair the same time Max did. I jerked it out of his hand so hard, he whimpered. Within minutes, we both were weeping.

Jeff soothed me. My friends soothed me. "Mothering is exhausting," a friend told me. "One day I was so tired, I put Sammy in the laundry hamper and left him there" She quickly added, "But I took him right out. Don't be so hard on yourself."

How could I be any less?

It was Jeff who pushed us together, who made himself scarce. Max, of course, was not happy, which, in turn, made me tense. But I was determined. I tried to do all the right things: to read to him, to splash him in his bath, to keep a smile on my face. One day, when I was reading to him, we both fell asleep on the bed together, and when we woke, we were gazing into each other's eyes and I felt the shock of connection. He lifted his small hand, like a starfish, and laid it against my cheek. He snuggled against me, and though I wasn't sleepy anymore, you couldn't have moved me with a forklift.

The great myth is that mother love comes instantly, as natural as breathing. Oh, maybe it does, for the lucky ones. All I know is that, as they say, "we wuz robbed," Max and me. We were robbed of parts of each other we needed, of that early, magic thrill of getting to know each other right from the start. Maybe bonding isn't easy or natural for anyone, but we never even got the chance. I missed out on the first few months, the plans I had had to read to him, to talk with him, the time I had arranged to be no one's but his. And he missed out, too. He had the adoration of his Dad and his grandmothers and a devoted baby nurse. But he didn't have me. And when we finally got to have each other, we both found a stranger in our midst. We both had to grapple with a person you get to know, you come to love.

Max is eight now. We spend almost all our time together, and I take nothing for granted. We're the love of each other's lives. I know the struggle it took to get there, I know what it cost both of us, and maybe that's what makes it all the more sweet. I listen to him. I make him laugh, and every time he calls for me or seeks me out or takes my hand, I feel undone by my happiness.

By: Leavitt, Caroline, Psychology Today, Aug2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Make Your Diet Healthier - Overnight

Easy tweaks that can transform your eating habits from so-so to super-healthy in just 24 hours

By now, you've heard the same advice a thousand times: Eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Don't skip breakfast. Seems so easy, right? Yes, in a perfect world, but life is complicated -and hectic! Even the healthiest women stray from their eat-right resolutions when they get caught up in day-to-day details. "One of the major reasons women don't follow their good intentions is because making the right choices can seem too overwhelming and time-consuming when you're busy," says Molly Kimball, R.D., nutritionist at Ochsner Health System's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans. We at Shape know this all too well — which is why we broke down the most important healthy eating rules into the easiest possible steps. They're so simple, in fact, that you can transform your diet in no time.


Prepare a quick smoothie. Sure, you'd love to sit down with a bowl of oatmeal — but you're already late for that 9 a.m. meeting. You still need to eat because a morning meal provides energy and keeps you from overindulging throughout the day. What to do? Whip up this on-the-go breakfast: Toss fruit, yogurt, ice and milk into a blender and zap until frothy. (If you like, mix in a tablespoon of peanut butter for more protein and a teaspoon of honey for sweetness.) For those times you're running really late, store some energy bars (for our picks, see "Best of the Bars," page 154) in your desk drawer.
Pop your multi while you eat Taking one ensures you cover all your vitamin bases — no matter how crazy your day gets. Plus, your body absorbs vitamins better with food, so swallow it with breakfast (even if it's a smoothie).
Order tea or coffee, straight up. Then flavor it yourself with a little bit of sweetener, a splash of skim milk and cinnamon. Barista-made beverages are often high in fat and sugar, which can eat up a big chunk of your daily calorie budget. For instance, a medium café mocha can have up to 400 calories. In fact, 21 percent of our calories come from beverages most of which don't offer much nutrition, reveals a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That's not good news for weight-conscious women because liquids don't satisfy your appetite as well as food. If you had a 300-calorie snack, chances are you'd eat less at your next meal. But have a 300-calorie drink and you're likely to eat just as much. "When given the choice, have something to eat instead of a beverage," says Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., R.D., owner of Nutronics, a nutrition consulting company based in Altoona, Pa.


Leave two pieces of fruit out on your desk. It's a visual reminder that you need to eat every three or four hours to keep your energy up throughout the day, says Roben F. Kushner, M.D., medical director of the Wellness Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and author of Dr. Kuskner's Personality Type Diet (St. Martin's Press, 2003). Hunger can cause you to think less clearly and can interfere with productivity. Protein can power you through the day, Gerbstadt says. For an extra energy boost, spread a little peanut butter on apples.
Take a sip of water every few minutes. Many women don't drink the recommended 8 cups of water a day, leaving them dehydrated — one of the most common reasons for daytime hunger and fatigue. In fact, just a 2 percent dip in hydration levels — right when you start to feel a little thirsty — reduces short-term memory and the ability to do simple math problems, reports a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health. Too often, women mistake this tiredness for hunger, and end up eating when they're really just parched. "You're more likely to drink something if it has a little flavor," says Kimball, who suggests adding a splash of cranberry juice to sparkling water or squeezing a slice of orange or lime into your bottle.


Don't watch the clock. You should eat when you're hungry, not when the clock tells you it's time for lunch. Some days, you'll want lunch at 11:30 a.m.; other days you might not be hungry until 1 p.m. — and that's okay. Heeding your internal hunger cues is essential for weight control, Gerbstadt says. If you're at the mercy of someone else's schedule — let's say you have a business lunch — adjust accordingly. If you're hungry before the meeting, have a 100- to 150-calorie snack to tide you over. If you have no appetite at the lunch, order something light (a salad or a bowl of soup) and plan to eat your real meal later on.
Take an actual lunch break. No matter how swamped you are during the day, step away from your computer and take 20 minutes to eat outside or in the break room. People who dine with distractions consume more than those who eat in peace, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
At a restaurant, order a first course. The average restaurant meal contains 1,0002,000 calories — and that's without appetizers, bread, drinks or dessert, according to a research done by Healthy Dining, a San Diego-based company that helps restaurants slim down their menus. A surefire way to slash that number: Have a bowl of broth-based soup or a low-calorie salad first, so you'll eat less of the highercalorie main meal.
Stick to the two-carb rule. Carbohydrates cause your body to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel drowsy. So earing more than two servings of refined carbs (a cup of white rice or pasta is one serving) in one sitting may leave you feeling sluggish.


Brew a cup of green tea.
Although visiting the coffee cart or soda machine sounds tempting for a quick pick-me-up, the instant boost you get will just leave you feeling even more drained. Green tea contains just enough caffeine to help you feel energized throughout the afternoon. Plus, it contains theanine, an amino acid that has a stress-reducing effect on the brain.
Have a salty-sweet treat. Instead of raiding the office candy jar, stash a bag of semisweet chocolate chips and peanuts in your desk drawer. Portion out 1 tablespoon each of the chips and nuts for a protein-filled snack for just 120 calories and 9 grams of fat. For a healthier treat, indulge in dark chocolate chips — they're higher in heart-healthy antioxidants.


Follow the 2-to-1-to-l dinner ratio. Think of your dinner plate as two parts vegetables, one part starch and one part lean protein. "To maintain a healthy weight, you have to control portions," explains Amy P. Campbell, M.S., R.D., education program manager for the Disease Management Division at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. "This is a simple tool for watching your calories without having to measure anything." Piling on veggies first will leave less room for higher-calorie foods.
Leave the skins on. Rather than peeling your cucumbers and potatoes, or apples and pears for that matter, rinse them thoroughly and toss them into your dish as they are. The peels contain much of the nutritious antioxidants and fiber, Gerbstadt says.
Use quick-cooking grains. "You should get three or more servings of whole grains daily," Campbell advises. "Not just because of the additional fiber — they also contain B vitamins to help your body process food better so it can be used for energy." Fastcooking brown rice, whole-wheat couscous and quinoa take less than 15 minutes to make.

• Sneak in your veggies.
Instead of making a separate side dish, save some time and throw veggies into your main course. Some options: Add chopped broccoli or shredded carrots to a casserole, cook your rice in tomato juice or layer your lasagna with eggplant slices.

Raid your pantry. Too exhausted from your day to make a meal from scratch? In the rime it takes you to order in greasy Chinese takeout, you can throw together a no-fuss healthy meal with some kitchen staples: Toss together pasta, tuna fish, frozen peas, mustard, olive oil and pepper, or mix the pasta with spaghetti sauce and frozen spinach for a simple dinner.
Go ahead, have dessert.
Restrictive diets lead to deprivation, which can start a cycle of bingeing, weight gain and, feelings of guilt and shame, Kushner says. "Dismiss the idea of 'cheating'; there's nothing wrong about having a sliver of chocolate cake," he says. Instead of thinking I shouldn't have eaten that, resolve to eat a tiny bit less or take an extra-long walk during lunch tomorrow, and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Try not to work through lunch. Eating at your desk can cause you to take in extra calories.

Toss some chopped veggies into your casserole or main dish for extra nutrients.

shape shops

eating On the run? Try these 4 favorites

for lunch & snacks
The Wrapables Milano Lunch Tote ($20; is made of insulating neoprene to keep your sandwich and fruit cool till lunchtime.

to stay hydrated
Keep the Camel Bak Bottle ($14; on your desk so you'll sip all day long. The dishwashersafe flip-top bottle holds about 4 cups.

for salads on the go
Fit & Fresh's Salad Shaker ($10; contains an ice pack for keeping lettuce crisp, a compartment for utensils and a dressing cup and dispenser built right into the lid.

to keep smoothies cold
This insulated Raya by Thermos Tumbler ($13; is made of an unbreakable polycarbonate plastic, so it will keep your coffee hot too.

slash your supermarket shopping time
A quick run to the grocery store can easily turn into an hour-long ordeal if you stop to study nutrition labels and figure out which brands are best to buy every time. Use these three healthy-eating guidelines to simplify your next trip to the supermarket.

Fill half of your basket with produce. Not only do fruits and veggies deliver nutrients and heart-healthy phytochemicals, they also help keep you slim. Several studies suggest an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and maintaining a healthy weight. "They have fewer calories per serving than many foods," says Ruth Litchfield, Ph.D., R.D., an assistant professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University in Ames. Plus, their high fiber content promotes a feeling of fullness. Don't forget about the frozen packages: They're just as healthy.
Pick up one new food each trip. "The key to eating healthy every day is not getting bored," advises Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a weight-management specialist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. "So try new and different foods, like star fruit or a pomegranate. Don't know the first thing about fresh artichokes or okra? Throw some into your shopping cart and visit for cooking suggestions. You may wind up with a favorite new dish!
Buy the little packages. Individually wrapped treats, like small bags of cookies or crackers, are pricer, but they're worth it if you're not a stickler about measuring out portions. (We know: It's far too easy to polish off half a box of crackers in one sitting!) For snacks, look for single-serving options that contain 100-150 calories.
Scan the shelves. Don't grab the first product you see. Many food manufacturers pay grocery stores to place their products at eye level, so you'll be more tempted to buy them. Take a few seconds to look around; often the healthier (and less costly) options are on the shelf above or below.

By: Gottesman, Nancy, Shape, Aug2006

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Super Mouse

Super Mouse (Photo)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Japanese Anecdotes


My father was taking a bath when he suddenly shouted, "Good heavens! I have a nosebleed coming from somewhere!"

I wonder, just where on my father could a "nosebleed" have come from...?

On the Hankyu Railway train, a boy of about 3 looked liked he had to pee.

Child: "Mama potty."

Mama: "Why don't you tell me sooner [hayaku]!"

Then the child thought of something and said rapidly [hayaku], "Mamapotty."

On the airplane to Okinawa, my father said pompously, "All of the islands of Okinawa have 'reference fish' [sanshouuo]!"

That should be "coral reef [fish]" [sangoshouuo]!!

On the "If I don't do it, who will?" sign inside a certain factory, the voicing marks on the ga of "who" were shaved off [changing dare ga, "who," to dare ka, "someone"] , making it "If I don't do it, someone will."

And this company's future will be....

The other day my sister was feeling blue because a boy had dumped her, so to comfort her my father meant to say "A person isn't [just] a face" but said "Your face isn't human."

My mother was watching TV when a beautiful female announcer came on. My mother said with a smile, "It'd be nice if someone like that married into our family."

But in my family the only guy is my father. Just who does my mother want a bride for?

At the confectioner's my mother asked for the country-style (crushed) sweet red-bean soup, and I asked for the strained sweet red-bean soup.

When the clerk asked, "Who (dochira) had the country-style (inaka)?" [but possibly "Where (dochira) is your hometown (inaka)?"], my mother answered instantly "Niigata prefecture."

During a marital spat, my father meant to say to my mother "Idiot!" [bakamono] but mistakenly shouted "Ghost!" [bakemono].

The quarrel got much worse.

When my mother gets a headache, she puts ice on her forehead.

Just the other day in the middle of the night, the pain got pretty severe. Through the darkness with her head swimming, she went to the kitchen. From the refrigerator she took out a plastic bag of ice that she'd put there in advance, put it on her forehead, and went back to sleep....

The next morning when she woke up, thawed squid had rolled onto her pillow.

One time when the family was gathered for dinner, my dad, who was mad about something, meant to say "Thanks to whom do you think you're able to eat this meal?!" but shouted "For whose benefit are you eating this meal?!"

My sister and I answered, "For our own benefit."