Sunday, July 20, 2008


As a mother of three and an educator, I have been personally and professionally acquainted with the umbrella terms of ADHD and ADD for many years. I have always been concerned about the environmental aspects of this supposed disease: additives in food, television and computer exposure, etc.

The most recent book I have read on the subject by Thom Hartmann called The Edison Gene focuses on the positive aspects of ADHD and challenges the use of term 'disorder'. He maintains that it is the schools' inability to adapt and individualize pedagogy to channel the inherent energy and creativity in these students that causes the rift between student and teacher and not a disorder per se.

Additionally, he looks to other factors such as loss of nutrient rich soil in today's corporate farming world and how foods are deficient in brain-powerful fuel, as a contributing factor to many children's lessening ability to focus.

And I just ran across this blurb about food colorants in food the reconfirms fears of mine that I have simply been too sidetracked to address with my own family. It looks like Europe may be more ready to objectively deal with the situation of public health than the US:

Europe Manages Risk: USA Pretends It Doesn't Exist.
There's a pattern here. European Union nations phase out the more hazardous of the pthalate plasticizers: USA lobbies against it and resists it in the US. Europe tests animals for Mad Cow disease: USA makes it illegal to test them. Europe takes climate action: USA resists. There are plenty more where these come from. You get the idea: when it comes to protecting children from dye marketed mainly to children, Europe leads.

Now, synthetic dyes are getting a second run. New research indicates the chemicals can disrupt some children's behavior, and activists and consumer groups are asking for bans or limits on the dyes. A prestigious British medical journal recommended that doctors use dye-free diets as a first-line treatment for some behavior disorders; British regulators are pressuring companies to stop using the dyes, and some are complying.

The issue has generated much less attention on this side of the Atlantic. The FDA says the dyes are safe, and has no plans to limit their use.

We know FDA won't act. Administratively Disordered Hypoactive Dysfunction (ADHD) has taken over.

Sounds like a foolish wish, but maybe Wal-Mart will take the lead. These days corporate mavericks can show more common sense than the agencies set up to manage consumer risk.
Via::Balitmore Sun, Color Me Concerned, Activists ask FDA to ban artificial food dyes after research supports possible link to ADHD Image credit::Balitmore Sun, by Algerina Perna

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Men Should Know

I cam across this and thought it was good. I don't know if this really translates well for all of our Arab husbands married to American women, but heck, even American men don't get it! Read and learn men.

Also, I would be interested to know if there were Arabic equivalents to these terms?

You may want to read carefully, and keep handy for a quick review in tense situations with your loved one.

1.) “Fine”: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up. A shrewd but effective psychological tactic.

2.) “Five Minutes”: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house. It may be that women are able to fold the space time continuum to achieve this.

3.) “Nothing”: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes for at least the next 72hrs, if not longer. Arguments that begin with “nothing” usually end in “fine”.

4.) “Go Ahead”: According to all experts on the topic this is considered a dare, and not permission. Don’t Do It!

5.) A Loud Sigh: This is not actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and further discussion is pointless because she is right in this discussion about nothing important. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of “nothing”.)

6.) “That’s Okay”: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake. A 72hr waiting period doesn’t apply, this goes on your permanent record.

7.) “Thanks”: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you’re welcome and back away slowly.

8.) “Whatever”: Is a woman’s way of saying “bite me”.

9.) “Don’t worry about it, I got it”: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What’s wrong?” For the woman’s response refer to #3. Pray that you don’t receive a “that’s ok”.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Satire or Mind Control?

I have to say it... I know the New Yorker is a sophisticated publication, but the supposed attempt at 'satire' is sadly, perhaps *paranoidly*, suspicious to me.

I think it is condescending for their response to the response of offended people to be, "You just didn't get it. It is satire!"
And I do think that there might have been a more sinister attempt at subliminal stimulation: If we place these images in front of people they will subconsciously start to associate Obama with Muslim, anti-American, terrorism, etc. And we can just say, "Hey, man it's satire...come on!"

Now, the real question is why. Why would a magazine that has historically been liberal and Democrat-leaning do this to the Democrat candidate. Well, I won't spell it out, but some group out there is really nervous about getting someone in office who just might not cotton to the status quo.

Comorbid with the insidious political aim is the damage and the deep offense that the New Yorker seems to pay no heed to that they inflict upon the 7 plus million Muslims in the US alone. Do you think that if it were any other religion depicted in such a negative light that people would remain silent?

Really, I hope there is no emotional, hysterical response to this cartoon, rather a well-thought out manifestation of the true, peaceful and beautiful Islam.

Friday, July 11, 2008


A friend sent this to me, and I think it is great. Given the hustle and bustle of our lives, and in particular dealing with the driving in Kuwait, I think it prudent for all of us to practice being more patient and how not to lose our temper.

A man once asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, to give the man some advise, and the Prophet told him, "Do not get angry" and repeated it three times.

  1. Tally marks. This is the first strategy, if you have real problems with patience: start by simply keeping tally marks on a little sheet of paper every time you lose your patience. This is one of the most effective and important methods for controlling an impulse — by learning to become more aware of it. Once you become aware of your impulses, you can work out an alternative reaction.
  2. Figure out your triggers. As you become more aware of losing your patience, pay close attention to the things that trigger you to lose that patience. Is it when your co-worker does something particularly irritating? When your spouse leaves dirty dishes in the sink? When your child doesn’t clean up her mess? Certain triggers will recur more frequently than others — these are the things you should focus on the most.
  3. Deep breaths. When you first start to lose your patience, take a deep breath, and breathe out slowly. Then take another. And another. These three breaths will often do the trick, as your frustration will slowly melt away.
  4. Count to 10. This one really works. When you feel yourself getting frustrated or angry, stop. Count slowly to 10 (you can do this in your head). When you’re done, most of the initial impulse to yell or do something out of frustation will go away. Combine this with the breathing tip for even more effectiveness.
  5. Start small. Don’t try to become as patient as Job overnight. It won’t happen. Start with something small and manageable. Look for a trigger that only induces a mild impatience within you — not something that gets your blood boiling. Then focus on this, and forget the other triggers for now. Work on controlling your temper for that one trigger. If you can get this one under control, use what you learned to focus on the next small trigger. One at a time, and with practice, you’ll get there.
  6. Take a time out. Often it’s best just to walk away for a few minutes. Take a break from the situation, just for 5-10 minutes, let yourself calm down, plan out your words and actions and solution, and then come back calm as a monk.
  7. Remember what’s important. Sometimes we tend to get upset over little things. In the long run, these things tend not to matter, but in the heat of the moment, we might forget this. Stop yourself, and try to get things in perspective.
  8. Keep practicing. Every time a situation stretches your patience to dangerous thinness, just think of it as an opportunity to practice your patience. Because that’s what it take to become patient — practice, practice, more practice, and even more practice. And then some more. And the more you practice, the better you’ll get. So cherish these wonderful opportunities to practice.
  9. Visualize. This works best if you do it before the frustrating situation comes up. When you’re alone and in a quiet place. Visualize how you want to react the next time your trigger happens. How do you handle the situation? How do you look? What do you say? How does the other person react? How does it help your relationship, your life? Think about all these things, visualize the perfect situation, and then try to actually make that happen when the situation actually comes up.
  10. Remember that things can take time. Nothing good happens right away. If you expect things to happen at the snap of your fingers, you’ll get impatient every time. Instead, realize that things will take time, and this realization can help your patience tremendously.
  11. Teach. This is something that helps me a lot. I remember that no one is perfect, and that everyone has a lot to learn. Be patient, and teach others how to do things — even if you’ve tried before, it might be the 11th time when things click. And remember, none of us learn things on the first try. Find new ways to teach something, and you’re more likely to be successful.
  12. Find healthy ways to relieve frustration. Frustration can build up like steam in a pressure cooker, and if you don’t relieve that steam, you’ll explode. So find ways to relieve that frustration in a healthy way. Punching a pillow, going outside to a place where you’re all alone and yelling, exercise, kickboxing … these are just a few examples. Once you get that frustration out of your system, you usually feel better.
  13. Try meditation. You can’t meditate in the middle of a frustrating situation, usually, but often meditation can help you to learn to find a center of calm within yourself. Once you learn how to go to this calm place, you can go there when you begin to get angry. Meditation can also help you to be in the moment, instead of always wanting to get to the future, or instead of dwelling on the past and getting angry about it.
  14. Just laugh. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that no one is perfect, that we should be enjoying this time with our loved ones, and that life should be fun — and funny. Smile, laugh, be happy. Doesn’t always work, but it’s good to remind yourself of this now and then.
  15. Just love. Instead of reacting with anger, teach yourself to react with love. Your child spills something or has a messy room or breaks your family heirloom? Your spouse yells at you or is cranky after work? React with love. It’s the best solution.

“Genius is eternal patience.” - Michelangelo

Sunday, July 06, 2008


He is amazed.
Life is so close and holds so much wonder.
Pine cones, squirrels, blue jays, the nightly serenade by tree frogs, all draw him in,
begging to be discovered by his new eyes.
What calls his name is not always apparent, but for him, it is compelling.