Leaving your teen alone overnight.

I was planning on going away for the night. I asked my fifteen year old daughter if she could make some arrangements to find a place she could go. She thought about it for a couple of days and came to me and asked if she and one of her best girlfriends could spend the night at home. She said all they planned on doing was eating popcorn, and watching some movies. Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it.

Sometimes I wonder if we have forgotten what it's like to be a teenager. Mine has never shown any inclination to do anything I wouldn't approve of. Still, I don't think you can expect a teenager to think as rationally as a 50+ year old adult. I think teenagers think more emotionally than logically, and of course that's natural for their age. They are also subject to a lot more peer pressure, than adults are. This is evident by the clothes they wear, their hair styles, and even right down to the catch-phrases they all spout. At this age, you have to fit in, to be considered part of the "in" crowd.

So when she asked me if she could spend the night at home with her friend, I wasn't quite sure what to say. Yes, I want to be able to trust her. But this can be an awful temptation; perhaps a situation where she hasn't quite matured enough to deal with. Even if she promised she wouldn't tell anyone I wasn't home, I'm sure the word would get leaked out somehow. Let's play along and see what might happen.

So word gets leaked out, and a girlfriend (who wasn't supposed to know) shows up in the early evening. She's part of the "in crowd, and even though she smells a little like alcohol, the daughter, not wanting to be rude invites her in, just as two older boys, who were obviously with the girl, step around from the side of the house into the light. My daughter would protest saying that Dad explicitly said there weren't to be any boys, but they are a little bit older and more mature (so the girls think) and nobody is going to know anyway.

A little while later, the music gets cranked up. A few cans of beer appear. Maybe the boys start wrestling a little bit to show their prowess in front of the girls and the next thing you know, some lamps get knocked over, one of the boys gets pushed partly through the wall, and a couple of cans of full beer are rolling across the carpet spraying beer throughout the living room.

Of course it could be argued that these things would only be played out in an extreme scenario, but it really could happen; 'though I would hope that it wouldn't. I decided I wouldn't put her in a situation where she would have to make a responsible decision at her age. I would prefer to think of it as good parenting, rather than a lack of trust in my teen.

Something of interest here; I did not arrive at this decision on my own.  Just the same as it was a business, I ran the idea past some trusted family advisors. I was pre-dispositioned  not to approve of it, but I understand this could be based on my own biasness . Two out of three of those I asked opinions from suggested it wasn't a good idea to leave her overnight. Of course with the way I was feeling about it --  made it three out of four. For any of you who don't have "trusted advisors" and may be living alone without a partner, there are plenty of books you can buy ranging in price from 99 cents to $20 on Amazon. Click here if you would like to see the Amazon search I've done for you.

As one would expect, my teenager was furious about the decision . She really wanted the answer to be yes. I understand her concerns. But I can't help but think this is the same girl whose school grades I had to continually monitor last year. There are projects that wouldn't have been passed in, and grades that would have been failed if I hadn't taken the initiative to watch her progress closely. I also have to demand she cleans her room, puts her clothes away, and keeps her garbage out of the living room. If I had to -- I could conclude that these are signs telling me she is not yet ready to take full responsibility for her actions.

Of course I could be wrong! What age do you think it's safe to leave your teenager home for a night? Leave your comments below.

Click here to get a free copy of How To Survive Being A Single ParentThe author is a father of five children and has had his hand in the raising of many other kids in the family and even with friends. He says, "Raising kids these days is hard enough, but as a single parent sometimes this task can be harder and sometimes it can become overwhelming." I can certainly agree with that.

This really isn't a book, it's more like a quick report of 15 pages with some parenting tips. But it's free and it won't take you long to read.


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Our Groceries are Poisoned

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are in 60-80 percent of our processed foods and some of these are  clinically documented to cause depression, fatigue, infections, brain fog, nausea... even cancer. Name brand products you buy right off the shelf at the grocery store are poisoning you, and the large corporations behind these products are funnelling millions of dollars into a disinformation campaign to try to defeat ballot measure 37, the "GMO labeling" initiative in California.1 These are companies like:

  • Kashi (owned by Kellogg, which has contributed $612,000 to defeat Proposition 37) - Kashi cereals contain GMOs!
  • Larabar (owned by General Mills, which has contributed $520,000 to defeat proposition 37)
  • Santa Cruz Organic (also owned by Smucker, which has contributed $387,000 to defeat proposition 37)

Here in Canada, the government is not interested in letting us know exactly what is in our food by warning us with any labels about GMOs. Labelling is mandatory if there is a health or safety issue with food, which might be mitigated through labelling. For example, if the nutritional value or composition of the food has been changed, or if there is an allergen present in the food, the food must be labelled as such. This is why you will often see warnings such as "this product may contain peanuts", or other such warnings of allergens.

In Canada, a free vote in Parliament on Oct. 17, 2001, defeated a bill by Liberal MP Charles Caccia. His private member's bill, C-287, would have required mandatory labelling of genetically altered foods.

CBC News Online issued a report on May 11, 2004 titled Genetically Modified Foods: a primer. Unfortunately most of the report is now missing except for this one page I was able to find. Don't we have a right to know what products are being used in the foods we eat?

An organization called EcoLomics International  has published a paper, The Labeling Of Gmo Products Pursuant To International Trade Rules. Their purpose  is to make a contribution toward an improved balance between inter-generational ecological objectives and more short-term economic priorities. You can click here to download (pdf) the paper. It says:

There are several arguments cited in opposition to GMO labeling, almost all of which have an underlying business or trade policy rationale. First of all, certain business interests, particularly those in the agriculture and processed food industries, fear that labeling will increase consumer suspicion, thereby making GMO products less attractive, or even stigmatizing them.

A second argument made by labeling opponents involves the expenses, both direct and indirect, of GMO labeling and the cost implications for non-GMO products that may result from the labeling of highly successful GMO products such as soy.

Lastly, many trade specialists and business leaders oppose GMO labeling because of its perceived implications for the international trading system.

In Europe, a shopper walking into a supermarket can tell which foods have been genetically modified. Yet as seen in this report  (video below) from CBC's Marketplace, no such labelling law exists in Canada despite numerous surveys indicating up to 90 per cent of Canadians want mandatory labelling of GM food. Canada's leading national consumer group does not support mandatory labelling. Instead, the Consumers' Association of Canada (CAC) supports voluntary labelling, backing the stance of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

In a book, Seeds of Deception, Jeffrey Smith tells about researchers and scientists who have been harassed, humiliated and even fired from the positions for trying to bring about the truth of GMO foods.  In the book you can read the actual internal memos by FDA scientists, warning of toxins, allergies, and new diseases—all ignored by their superiors, including a former attorney for Monsanto. Learn why the FDA withheld information from Congress after a genetically modified supplement killed nearly a hundred people and disabled thousands.

In their tests they discovered "Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller livers, hearts, testicles and brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more vulnerable to infection and disease compared to other rats fed non-GMO potatoes. It got worse. Thymus and spleen damage showed up; enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines; and there were cases of liver atrophy as well as significant proliferation of stomach and intestines cells that could be a sign of greater future risk of cancer. Equally alarming, results showed up after 10 days of testing, and they persisted after 110 days that's the human equivalent of 10 years."

Genetically engineered or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are created by taking genes from organisms such as bacteria, viruses or animals and inserting them into other, often unrelated, species. Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new organisms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks.

What can you do right now to avoid GMO food?

Greenpeace International opposes the release of genetically engineered (GE) crops and animals into the environment based on the precautionary principle.  They have put together a shopper's guide  to help you avoid GMO contaminated food and it lists many of the products on our grocery shelves. It gives you the actual name of the brand and product. Most of them you are already familiar with. KELLOGG’S cereals Raisin Bran, Smacks, Corn Flakes, Honey Crunch are only a sample of the ones listed that have been manufactured with GMO's.

This report is free and can be downloaded here, or preview it below. It's well worth printing off and keeping it handy.

If you like this article, and would like to keep updated on all of the news here on 50alone.com, add your email to the list in the box on the top right-hand side of the blog. These articles will get delivered to your inbox, and you won't have to worry about missing another one.

Footnote:
1Natural News Natural brands betray consumers over GMO labeling


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Hangout with friends and family… online!

Wouldn't it be kinda' cool to hang out with your friends and family, even though they are 4000+ miles away? For that matter,  how about getting all of the family together for a video chat? You know, you can surf the web together, watch some videos -- just whatever you want.

Or... what if you run a business and want to get your website visitors to watch a webinar, but can't  get all of the presenters in one place to do it?

Mashable, is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. Mashable’s 20 million monthly unique visitors and 4 million social media followers have become one of the most engaged online news communities.  And just recently they decided to hangout  with Daria Musk.  You don't know who she is? From one of her posts, she says:

I’m a girl, a singer/songwriter who has been living in the woods in Connecticut, USA. I’ve been singing for trees, driving an hour to New York City to pour my heart out in noisy bars and rock clubs, grateful for every chance to pick up my guitar and play for someone… And dreaming that maybe if I worked very hard and got very very lucky, maybe one day I could sing for people all over the world.

In three days Google+ changed my life, my heart and my career overnight and turned my dreams into virtual reality.

All-right! Let's not get overly excited here. If you're  50+ and alone, you probably aren't going to rocketed to international stardom overnight. If course, I don't know you, so I could be wrong about this.

But what happened to Daria, is that Google Hangouts made it possible for interviewers from Mashable to interview and listen to Daria, although everyone lives  countless miles apart. And then after the video, it was automatically posted to Mashable's YouTube account, so all of their followers could view it. The interview lasts for about 45 minutes, during which time, Daria sings a couple of her songs. If you're interested in watching it, you don't have to go too far. Click here to watch it now, if you want to.

So what exactly is a Google Hangout and why would you care?

If you watched the video above, you would see that besides Daria, there were numerous other people in the video. With this program you can:

  • Invite friends to a free video chat, anytime, anywhere.
  • Catch up with the whole family -- whether you’re on your computer, phone or tablet device.
  • Host virtual meetings.
  • Up to 10 people can join a hangout, and it’s easy to invite specific friends or circles.

Watch the video below with instructions on how to get started:

And... team collaboration gets better when you’re face to face. Hangouts offers a suite of productivity apps that let you share what’s on your screen, collaborate in Google Docs, view presentations and diagram together. To access these, simply click the “Add app” button inside your hangout to browse and add new apps. If a team member can’t join the hangout, you can also dial the person in by clicking on the “Invite” button and then the “+telephone” link. Calls to the US and Canada are free, and international calling rates are very low.

When you start a hangout, check “Enable Hangouts On Air” to stream your live hangout publicly on your Google+ profile, your YouTube channel and your website. During the broadcast, you can look inside the Hangout to see how many viewers are watching live. Once you’re off the air, we’ll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel and to your original Google+ post, so it’s easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it’s over.

Want to get started with Google hangouts? Click here to install the plugin.

Once you get it mastered, considering sharing what you have learned with any seniors you might know. It will help them feel connected. I was reading an article published by Carefect, which is a private home care services company dedicated to supporting the needs of the elderly, seniors and people with a disability or illness and families requiring a helping hand. From their experience they say:

Many seniors complain of feeling alone and left out of the world. The internet is a great way for seniors to communicate with their friends and family, without ever having to leave their homes. That means that, even seniors who cannot travel and have limited mobility can keep up with the happenings in the world around them. The internet can allow them access to tons of information and can also help them to stay connected with friends and family. It also gives them a creative outlet as they can find others who share similar interests without having to leave the home. It is also a great way for seniors to stay abreast of what is happening in the community and the world.

One thing I forgot to mention.... this new Google service really works best if everyone connected has a high speed Internet connection. Those that don't will find it hard to keep up as the video transmissions will lag a bit.


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Cayenne Peppers Cures — free today only

Cayenne Peppers has been known to cure 17 big diseases. It can stop a heart attack, sharpen your vision, expand your arteries, cure arthritis, unclog your kidneys and your sinuses.  It was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers. Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers." Have a look at the video below:

And in an article by the BBC, it said:

It was tested on cultures of human lung cancer cells and on pancreatic cancers.

Lead researcher Dr Timothy Bates said: "As these compounds attack the very heart of the tumour cells, we believe that we have in effect discovered a fundamental 'Achilles heel' for all cancers."

Of course the article also said that " The experiments showed that pepper extracts killed cancer cells grown in the laboratory, but these have not yet been tested to see if they are safe and effective in humans." -- according to their study... but there seems to be a lot of other people touting the benefits through numerous online testimonials.

A Dr. Richard Schultz claims to have treated a number of patients with it, all with wonderful results. He's said you need to take it in natural form though, and not to buy it from vendors who have rendered it into capsule form.

Sharon Daniels has written a book about it, and explains why she owes her health to cayenne. Her book is called Cayenne Pepper Cures (Miracle Healers From The Kitchen) and the Kindle version is free for today only. I don't have a lot of time to research this today, but I would suggest you get the book, and before you do anything else, do a little research on it. I can't offer any medical advise; I'm simply passing along new information I've discovered. You're welcome to leave your comments below.
Click here for your free copy


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Remember Everything!

The desktop can only hold so many files at a time and it doesn't take too long before it can gets cluttered up. Depending on how you arrange items, snippets of code, images and text clipping for articles can get lost. Plus it isn't uncommon to be working on more than 2-3 articles at the same time. Evernote adds some organization to your madness and helps you from going completely insane.

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook. Evernote supports a number of operating system platforms (including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and WebOS), and also offers online synchronization and backup services.

So you are never too far away from your notes. You can access them from your iPad, laptop, Android phone, just wherever you might happen to be and the synchronization service automatically syncs all of your devices when you make any changes.

I think I saw one of their slogans as "Evernote Remember everything" -- which is especially handy for those of us who are  50+ and alone. Chances are, if we forget something, there isn't anyone to remind us.

Have a look at the introductory video below to get a better idea of what all it can do.

I know you're thinking it's a desktop application but it's sooooo much more than that. When I spoke about synchronization, this is where the program really shines:

While Evernote is immensely useful as a desktop note-taking application, its true power lies in its ability to synchronize your notes to the Evernote on the Web. This allows you to create and find your memories on virtually any computer, web browser or mobile phone.

This means that you can clip a cornbread recipe from the web on your Mac, read it on your iPhone when you're at the grocery store buying the ingredients and look it up from your friend's Windows PC when you're at his house preparing to bake the cornbread. Evernote on the Web is constantly updating all of your computers and devices with the latest versions of your notes, so you'll always have the right information, wherever you are.

All of the Evernote applications are in regular contact with Evernote on the Web. Whenever a new note is created or edited on any of your Evernote-capable devices, the note is uploaded to the Evernote on the Web where all of your other devices will download it the next time they sync.

There is a paid for version but the free version allows you to use up to 60 MB/per month. That's large enough for my meager needs.  Of course once an article has been published, I can delete all of the notes out of Evernote that I no longer need, and this makes room for your next project.

Evernote isn't hard to get started with either. They have a get started section on the website and a video library full of tutorials if you need it. I must admit, I haven't seen the tutorials. Once I downloaded the program and installed it, I just went straight ahead and started using it. I did discover  a tool called the web clipper which is an add-on for your web browser to make it easier to grab stuff online and save it to your Evernote page. Another handy resource is a the free download of the application from the iTunes store so you can install it on your iPad. They also maintain a blog which is full of tips and tricks.

If you feel you are a bit technically challenged and feel you need a lot more help, there is a book you can buy called Evernote for Dummies. Written in the fun and informative For Dummies style, Evernote For Dummies introduces you to the key features of Evernote, from getting started and opening your own Evernote account to the essentials of capturing information and creating a simple text note. The book shows you how to capture everything—clip a web page, create a voice note, scan a note, even capture a note from a picture.

I must admit though, I won't be buying Evernote for Dummies. I'm fairly technically minded and I'm a man. We all know  men don't read the instructions, just like we don't ask for directions.


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