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My preventive mastectomy: Staying alive for my kids

By Allison Gilbert 

Allison Gilbert and her mother, Lynn, in 1995 on the day Gilbert got engaged. Her mother died two months later from ovarian cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Author Allison Gilbert shares why she chose to undergo a double mastectomy after testing positive for the breast cancer gene.

I’m not a helicopter parent and my children would tell you I don’t bake cupcakes for their birthday parties. But I’d readily cut off my breasts for them — and recently, I did.

Removing breast tissue uncompromised by cancer is relatively easy. It took the breast surgeon about two hours to slice through my chest and complete the double mastectomy seven weeks ago.

The time-consuming part was left to the plastic surgeon who created new breasts out of my own belly fat so I could avoid getting implants. Total operating time: 11.5 hours. And I don’t regret a second.

The decision to have surgery without having cancer wasn’t easy, but it seemed logical to me. My mother, aunt and grandmother have all died from breast or ovarian cancer, and I tested positive for the breast cancer gene.

Being BRCA positive means a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer is substantially elevated.

“Patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have 50%-85% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and up to approximately 60% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer,” according to Karen Brown, director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Gilbert at age 5 or 6 with her mother on a ferryboat.

By comparison, the lifetime risk of breast cancer for the general population is 13% and 1.7% for ovarian cancer.

CNN iReport: Tested for the breast cancer gene?

At my gynecologist’s urging, I tackled the threat of ovarian cancer first. Because the disease is hard to detect and so often fatal, my ovaries were removed in 2007, a few years after my husband and I decided we were done having kids.

The most difficult part of the operation came in the months that followed: I was thrust into menopause at 37. Despite age-inappropriate night sweats and hot flashes, I was relieved to have the surgery behind me and wrote about it in my book, “Parentless Parents: How the Loss of Our Mothers and Fathers Impacts the Way We Raise Our Children.”

The emotional release was short-lived. Less than a year later, my mother’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and died within four months.

Aunt Ronnie’s death set me on a preventive mastectomy warpath. I had already been under high-risk surveillance for more than a decade — being examined annually by a leading breast specialist and alternating between mammograms, breast MRIs and sonograms every three months — but suddenly being on watch didn’t seem enough, and I began researching surgical options.

Gilbert, her husband, Mark, and their children, Jake and Lexi, at a birthday celebration.

Regardless of my family history and BRCA status, I still went back and forth on having a mastectomy. I vacillated between feeling smug and insane.

Over the years, I’d read too many stories like the one in the Wall Street Journal last week, on doctors who make fatal mistakes (up to 98,000 people die every year in the United States because of medical errors, according to the Institute of Medicine). I was anxious about choosing a bad surgeon and a bad hospital.

The stakes felt even higher after I decided to go an unconventional route to reconstruction. Implants generally offer a quicker surgery and recovery, but they’re also known to leak, shift out of place, and feel hard to the touch and uncomfortable.

I would also likely have to replace them every 10 years — not an unimportant consideration, since I’m 42.

Ultimately, on August 7, I underwent double mastectomy with DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap reconstruction. The benefits would be that my new breasts would be permanent, made from my own skin and flesh, and I’d be getting rid of my childbearing belly fat in the process.

Gilbert and her husband, Mark, near their home in Westchester County, New York.

I had multiple consultations with surgeons who explained every reason not to have the procedure. They warned me that I’d be under anesthesia unnecessarily long and I’d be opening myself up to needless complications.

While every concern was valid, it wasn’t until I was six doctors into my investigation that I realized the likely reason why I was getting such push-back. The plastic surgeons I was consulting, despite their shining pedigrees and swanky offices, couldn’t perform a DIEP. The procedure requires highly skilled microsurgery and not every plastic surgeon, I learned, is a microsurgeon.

It also requires a great deal of stamina. The doctors I interviewed who perform DIEP flaps were generally younger and fitter than those who didn’t. On average, a double mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction takes 10-12 hours, while reconstruction using implants can take as little as three.

In total, I met with 10 surgeons before choosing my team, and while I am now thrilled with the outcome, all the years of research and worry took a toll on me.

The worst moment came one night when my husband and I were in bed. I began to cry uncontrollably and wished I could talk with my mother and aunt about which procedure to have, which doctor I should choose, and whether I should even have the surgery.

Gilbert's Aunt Ronnie and Gilbert's daughter, Lexi. Her aunt died from breast cancer in 2008, four months after the diagnosis.

Then a moment of bittersweet grace clarified what I needed to do. It struck me that the reason I couldn’t speak to my mother and aunt is exactly the reason I had to have the surgery.

Undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy was a great decision for me. It’s clearly not a choice every woman would make, but I’m convinced without it I would have been one of the estimated 226,000 women the American Cancer Society says is diagnosed with invasive breast cancer every year.

I could have tried to eat my way to a cancer-free life, but even Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of the popular vegetables-are-key-to-health book “The China Study” admits diet may not be enough to protect BRCA patients from cancer.

Gilbert and her husband, Mark, at a basketball game.

“We need more research,” Campbell told me. “Conservatively, I’d say go ahead and have the surgery, and eat a plant-based diet after.”

I also could have waited for a vaccine, a pill or some other medical advance to come my way that would have made such a radical decision avoidable.

Perhaps MD Anderson Cancer Center’s newly announced war on cancer will produce positive results for patients who are susceptible to triple negative breast cancer, the type of aggressive disease likely to afflict BRCA1 patients and the kind my aunt most likely died from.

Gilbert's children, Jake and Lexi, in Tikal, Guatemala -- the last family vacation before Gilbert's surgery.

But every surgery substitute seemed locked in hope, not statistics. And as I’ve told my husband and children, I wasn’t willing to wait. I love them more than my chest.

My preventive mastectomy: Staying alive for my kids

Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

Nicki Minaj got the headlines for saying she’d be “voting for Mitt Romney,” but another track on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 ridicules the GOP candidate, too. “Nigga call me Mitch Romney!”

By Michael Hastings

Nicki Minaj made headlines when she sort of endorsed Mitt Romney in a remix of the hit song “Mercy” on Lil Wayne’s new album Dedication 4, released earlier this month.

But another song on the album — called “Cashed Out” — also mocks Romney, taking shots at the GOP candidates strategy of stashing his money in off-shore bank accounts in Bermuda, the Caymans, and Switzerland, to name a few.

The song begins:

As another election year upon us. This last four years has been good to me. A couple of dollars in a couple different bank acccounts. Some here, some off shore. Nigga call me Mitch Romney!

In recent days, questions have been raised about whether the hip-hop community still supports Obama. The answer appears to be: yes.

President Obama with Jay-Z and Beyonce at a recent New York fundraiser.

Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

All Music Blog News – All Music Blog News Read the latest breaking music news

British singles spend more than £168 million looking for love online

Nearly 30% of all relationships are formed online in 2012

The Brits have crossed a milestone in the online dating sector, according to the annual study published by industry experts “LeadingDatingSites.co.uk”. In 2011, people from the UK spent more than £9.6 million more than in the previous year on online dating. The industry is also a hit in Europe: nearly a third of people who meet each other for love now do so online.

The British online dating market grew a full 6% on the previous year – in 2011, turnover stood at £168.5 million. This huge increase is due largely to aggressive advertising on the part of leading online dating sites. “Premium-priced quality platforms which have well-honed audiences and good customer service are the ones who get ahead in all sectors”, says Danielle Baker from LeadingDatingSites, summarizing the survey. “Single customers are willing to pay more for better service”.

Online dating is a booming industry around the world, and European singles have caught on, becoming the sector’s largest audience. In 2012, nearly thirty percent of all relationships in the EU are formed online, and the British are holding the fort. Every month, around 6.2 million users log on to dating sites, and a further 2.7 million take part in ‘casual dating’, looking for erotic encounters. At the same time, Britain hosts about 50 online dating sites which have now crossed the 100,000 member mark.

Less pricey, but somewhat more superficial sites for 18-30 year olds have become available to those looking for casual dates and a distraction from the Facebook environment. They are also available as Smartphone Apps and offer features such as location-based real-time search functions for spontaneous encounters.

Download the study as a PDF
http://www.leadingdatingsites.co.uk/press/online-dating-market-2011-2012-uk.pdf

Online Dating UK infographic available here as a JPG
http://www.leadingdatingsites.co.uk/press/infographic-online-dating-2012-uk.jpg

Full press release as PDF download
http://www.leadingdatingsites.co.uk/press/pr-online-dating-market-2011-2012-uk.pdf

About www.leadingdatingsites.co.uk

“UK’s Leading Dating Sites” is an independent observer of the British online dating industry. Those looking for love online will find results pointing them to leading singles’ portals and tips for online flirting. “LeadingDatingSites.co.uk“ is part of the German Metaflake network, which operates from Cologne in 12 different countries.
Dating For Love – Guide To The Best Dating Sites On The Internet, Cupid At Work

When Your Sister Listens To Her Mister More Than You

By 

A few months ago, while on the coattails of summer’s craziness, I lived through a strange experience of friendship that left me to the tendency of some friends to take, take, take… and take. Call them what you may, I like to think of these types of relationships as “convenience friendships.” This particular story involves a man – a player – that came between a sister and me.

It all began when a series of events led me to introduce two single friends, each from a separate corner of the lonely-hearts club. She, a dynamic sister with a bright future glazing in her horizon, sociable, a people-pleaser, ever-so insecure, met him, an attractive, slightly pretentious man, whose confidence, self-righteousness and charm could blow anyone’s pants off.

I went along with the venture, trying my best to facilitate what was an unlikely combination. She had returned from abroad at the beginning of the year and was detached from the life she left behind. But I, like others in our friendship group, was excited to hear about her stories, supposing that her brilliant mind was ticking over with exciting plans and was full of stories about new people and far-away lands.

On the other side of the equation, he and I had begun seeing each other quite often on the weekends, having a crazy time between us and with other frivolous friends. He spoke about his desire to calm down a little, to find someone with the prospect of longevity. So, when circumstances led them to meet, there was clear and open interest on both sides.

As the weeks went by I stood on the sidelines answering the questions of one about the other and tried my best to bridge some of the obvious differences between them. But it appeared that nothing was going to work between them. He had told me that he had been sleeping around, and even took another sister home on an evening in which she had called me to chase information about where he was. This came in his relationship disclaimer, that so as long as there was no future between them, and the attempts to make something work had reached an expiry date, he was free to do as he wished and with whomever he pleased.

She on the other hand was reappearing in my life quite sporadically to gain information about what he was doing, where he was and what I knew about him. It was strange because, aside from staying at my place when she first returned from abroad, I would only hear from her when she wanted something. It reached the point where I gathered that even she was aware of this, telling me one day “Let’s catch up soon, girl. I feel like I haven’t seen you at all.” I was not too concerned at this point; I was busy.

But, it was all to boil over after one wild evening when he and I shared a kiss at a club. Having been told that nothing was going on between them, I fell to his charms and was one of two women to be swooned that evening with his kiss. I realized that what I had done was foul when I turned to see him with that another sister. Indignant, I left the club. The next day I spoke with him to clear the air, only to discover that he and my friend, she, were seeing each other that evening for round two.

At this point my anger about having been used as a go-between-girl between two unmatched people had reached its climax. After months of being there for both of them, I was eventually pushed to redundancy, the friendships began to end and my interactions with both faded. I also can’t overlook the notion that I was slightly jealous. Two friends, who I had known for 2 years on separate grounds, had run off together and were leaving me behind.

So one evening, I directed a comment to him, amongst friends, that questioned the worth of his friendship. Given how proactive he was in broadcasting to the world a sense of moral superiority and excellence in friendship, he took my criticism poorly and defensively. I considered him a dirty rat, so I didn’t care about how he reacted.

But then, the following day, I received a phone call from her questioning me about the evening in which he and I had kissed. He had obviously told her to spite me and I imagined this was accompanied with the usual dialogue of “she must love me,” which he regularly uses to justify burnt bridges with women (those he burns with men are because they are jealous of his style and charm.) Cornered, I asked to meet with her the next day during my lunch break. She accepted but brought along a mutual friend so to avoid any conversation about what had happened. This was a clear indication she was not interested in hearing what I knew. I told her anyway.

A week later, having boiled over in self-reflection, I sent her an SMS with a stern warning her to watch her mouth with other people. She had fragrantly spread the word amongst mutual friends that I was the saboteur between them as they went about sewing the seeds of their rock-sold connection. I doubted, at this point, that she believed me when I told her about him sleeping around. This sickened me in my self-righteousness because I knew they were having unprotected sex, for which he would take no responsibility. A typical player – selfish and irresponsible.

The entire scenario left me feeling foolish and ashamed. Aside from considering him a friend of mine – an arrogant man with little no consideration of other people’s dignity – I had also fallen victim to subtle ways of a sister’s convenience friendship.

In all of this, I did things I was not at all proud of. I was very wrong to have kissed him without appreciating fully that she still may have had feelings for him by virtue of not knowing he was sleeping around and meeting new women. Her interaction with me was so sporadic, and always so focused on her needs with him, that I was never given the opportunity to know that she was still pursuing him at that point. But, as they began seeing each other again, with talk of them moving in together, a common enemy for them both has been the best method to cover up their obvious differences. Ultimately, my former sister got what she wanted – to fill a void in her life with a charming man. My services to her have dried up and so too has the friendship.

I scratch my head occasionally and wonder whether or not I should still care about her. But then I realize that it was a lesson learned for me and that so too will it be a lesson for her when she finally gets burned.

And that is how one friendship of convenience reached its inevitable end.

When Your Sister Listens To Her Mister More Than You

Chad Johnson Refusing to Sign Divorce Papers?

*TMZ is reporting that Chad Johnson has no intention of divorcing his estranged wife Evelyn Lozada. According to sources close to the couple, he’s refusing to sign any of the divorce documents.

Lozada, star of VH1’s “Basketball Wives,” filed for divorce three days after Johnson allegedly head-butted her during an argument. The incident that led to his arrest and Evelyn receiving stitches.

Sources close to Chad tell TMZ that he won’t sign the docs or participate in any divorce proceedings because he doesn’t want to get a divorce. Chad, according to the sources, still believes he can win Evelyn back, as evidenced by the fact he recently tattooed her face on his leg.

But Chad’s plan isn’t exactly bulletproof  — under Florida law (where Evelyn filed the docs) the divorce can still be finalized with a judge’s approval.

Sources tell TMZ Evelyn is hellbent on making this divorce happen and nothing Chad does will get her back. According to sources, she’s ready to move on and rebuild her life.
Chad Johnson Refusing to Sign Divorce Papers? 

 

6 Other Types of Life Insurance Every Policyholder Should Know About

life insurance

Knowing about the basic types of insurance out there is a great start towards finding the perfect solution. Usually, an insurance agent will talk at length with any new customer to discover their particular needs so they can suggest a policy that makes the best fit.

There are a few other types of life insurance out there that provide specific solutions. In certain cases, it just makes sense to go with these prepackaged plans.

Here are 6 special-need types of life insurance everyone should know about before making an insurance decision.

1. Mortgage Life Insurance

One of the main concerns of insured people is what the loss of an income stream can mean for their family in the event of their passing. This is particularly true if they have costly bills to worry about, and for most that means the mortgage.

One unique form of insurance offered by life insurance companies, mortgage life insurance, can provide enough to pay off an entire mortgage in the case of the policyholder’s death.

The death benefit is paid directly to the beneficiaries and does not have to be used to pay off the mortgage.

Keep in mind that these policies are form of term insurance. It is not a permanent benefit.

2. Senior Life Insurance

If the policyholder is concerned about a beneficiary’s ability to handle a large cash payout directly after the occurrence of death, senior life insurance might be the answer. Instead of paying the entire death benefit at once, small amounts are released in the early years preceding the policyholder’s death. After a set period has passed, the entire amount is released.

3. Juvenile Life Insurance

For those who want to get their child off on the right foot with their insurance, juvenile life insurance policies are available. This is a way to build up cash value early in a child’s life while leveraging their low risk of death to access a low premium.

This provides a head start for the insured, building up a good deal of interest over those additional years.

4. Family Life Insurance

Losing anyone in the family can be financially devastating – not just the breadwinner. If the insured wants to cover the entire family, including the children, family insurance may be the answer.

This type of insurance is sold in units per person and allows for those who bring in the highest income stream to be insured for the most, reflecting the realities faced by the modern-day family.

5. Family Income Life Insurance

With family income life insurance policies, an income amount is agreed to be paid out for a certain number of years after the insured (usually the breadwinner) passes away, allowing the family time to prepare for a new standard of living.

6. Credit Life Insurance

Most people take on debt for a reason and accept the risks associated with that debt. But there’s one risk no one likes to create – the risk of leaving all debts behind for a grieving family.

Credit life insurance provides an answer. Like mortgage insurance, it pays off the balance of loans, whether they are car loans, education loans, or even credit cards.

Unlike mortgage insurance, however, credit life insurance is purchased through the financial institution orchestrating the loan in the first place. Payouts are made directly to the lender rather than the family of the deceased.

Do any of these life insurance types seem to be the perfect match for what you’re looking for in a policy? Get in touch with a seasoned professional today to discuss more or find out if there is something else you don’t know about.

6 Other Types of Life Insurance Every Policyholder Should Know About

Your Insurance Journal – Get Daily Updates From The Insurance News Authority

FBI arrest Trenton, N.J., mayor on corruption charges

The FBI arrested the mayor of Trenton, N.J., today on corruption chargesThe Times of Trenton reports.

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, his brother, Ralphiel, and convicted sex offender Joseph Giorgianni, are accused of conspiring to obstruct, delay and affect interstate commerce by extortion, the Associated Press reports.

Federal prosecutors allege Mack, 46, agreed to use his influence in connection with a proposed parking garage project.

Trenton, with a population of 85,000, is the capital of New Jersey.

Authorities say the defendants received $54,000 and anticipated accepting another $65,000 from a cooperating witness who purported to be a developer, the AP reports..

READ: The federal complaint

The federal complaint says Mack, who was elected mayor in 2010, is also known as “Napoleon” and “the LIttle Guy.”

According to the document, which says the FBI investigation began two years ago, Giorgianni is heard in wiretapped conversations as saying, “I can be bought” and “I like money so much, I hate the poor.”

Giorgianni is already allegedly recorded saying, “one thing about the Mack administration, when I say that, it’s me and Mack, we’re not greedy. We’re corruptible. We want anybody to make a buck.”

FBI arrest Trenton, N.J., mayor on corruption charges

Islamic Poultry for Latino Tables (Yes, They Have Chilies, Too)

“We were taught what we needed to sell by the customers,” said Ahmed Elrabat, whose father helped found the shop in the 1980s.

By ANA FACIO-KRAJCER

Sebastian Flores walked out of Al Salam Pollería with a free bag of white-feathered chicken heads.

Mr. Flores, 26, an immigrant and a regular customer of Al Salam, a Muslim, family-owned halal poultry shop, was driving home when he developed a craving for the treat. He was planning on sprinkling the chicken heads with poultry seasoning and roasting them in the oven, the way they did back home in Puebla, Mexico.

Customers like Mr. Flores are the lifeblood of Al Salam Pollería, a thriving shop that opened 28 years ago “by accident,” according to its founders. Abdul Elhawary and his brother-in-law, Safwat Elrabat, who died 12 years ago, opened the shop in East Los Angeles because the zoning there allowed the sale and on-site slaughter of live poultry, in accordance with their religion’s dietary requirements.

Chicken feet at Al Salam Pollería, a Muslim, family-owned business that caters to Latino customers.

There were few halal butchers in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Mr. Elhawary, 60, said, so the family expected large numbers of Muslims from across the city to make the trek to buy halal poultry.

That never happened. Much to their surprise, though, Latino immigrant customers did show up, and in large numbers.

“It was a very happy coincidence and very happy surprise,” said Mr. Elrabat’s daughter, Iman Elrabat-Gabr, 37, “that Latinos were really interested in fresh chicken.”

Animals must be killed according to Islamic law for their meat to be halal, a practice followed at the store only when a customer requests halal meat.

“Around 1989, when we found out that 90 percent of the customers are Latino and we only had 10 percent that are non-Latino, we changed the name in the business cards to Al Salam Pollería,” Mr. Elhawary said. Originally, it had been Al Salam Farms; “salaam” means peace in Arabic and “pollería” is poultry shop in Spanish.

Ms. Elrabat-Gabr recalls that in the beginning, chicken feet would end up in the trash. Muslims did not eat them. But her family soon learned that in Latino culture, the feet were used for chicken soup and were considered a treat for children. The chicken heads, on the other hand, are an uncommon request and are given away free to customers, she said.

Abdul Elhawary, the owner of Al Salam Pollería.

“In Southern California, we believe we were the first Muslim-owned poultry store that figured out that Latinos are just as much interested in live chickens — fresh chickens — as we are,” said Ms. Elrabat-Gabr, who helps out at the East Los Angeles store. Her family, she said, takes pride in having discovered a niche market in Latino communities.

The East Los Angeles shop has been so successful over the last 20 years that members of the Elrabat and Elhawary families have opened three other butcher shops in Latino enclaves. Mr. Elhawary runs a shop of his own (L. A. Fresh Poultry Pollería) west of downtown Los Angeles. Ahmed Elrabat, 35, his nephew, owns a storefront (Pollería el Matador) in Southeast Los Angeles, where a large Mexican flag hangs from a pole outside.

Except for a few Koran verses on a wall and a small porcelain figure of the Kaaba shrine in Mecca atop a refrigerator, Al Salam Pollería, identified easily by the rooster on its roof, resembles a business that caters to the Latino palate. The products for sale include dry pepitas and chilies for mole poblano; various herbs like epazote, essential to some Mexican dishes; and Mexican candy like mazapan.

“We were taught what we needed to sell by the customers,” said Mr. Elrabat.

Ms. Elrabat-Gabr said her father had often spent entire days speaking only Spanish at the poultry shop and “before he died he was more fluent in Spanish than English.”

Mr. Elhawary, who was a high school French teacher in Egypt before emigrating to the United States in 1980, said learning Spanish had not been difficult for him.

“French helped me digest the Spanish language. Spanish is a very beautiful language. It’s musical,” said Mr. Elhawary. “Once you know the language, it breaks the barrier between you and the person.”

A private joke between the family and their shoppers.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Latinos and Muslims had many things in common.

“And sometimes even the food tastes similar because of the many years of interaction between the Muslim Arabs from Africa and Spaniards,” said Mr. Ayloush, whose Mexican-American wife converted to Islam. “You’re talking about 700 years of Muslims living in Spain. And those same Spaniards are the ones that came to Latin and South America and brought with them much of that Arab culture.”

Adrian Pantoja, a professor of politics and Chicano studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., said the family showcased the ways some of the city’s ethnic entrepreneurs had learned to adapt.

“For me, it’s one example of perhaps hundreds of thousands of little shops like these in Latino neighborhoods,” Mr. Pantoja said.

Mr. Flores, the customer with his bag of chicken heads, said he was a regular patron, and not just because of the quality of the food.

“Here they treat you well and they speak Spanish,” Mr. Flores said. “It’s good that they are willing to learn from another culture.”

Islamic Poultry for Latino Tables (Yes, They Have Chilies, Too)

Is Your Relationship Low-Key Or On the Down Low?

I had the pleasure of being a guest on the R & B Podcast hosted by Lincoln Anthony Blades of the popular This Is Your Conscience blog. We had a really interesting laid back conversation (as always) chopping it up about everything from event planning to my thoughts on threesomes (your cue to check it out).  In the midst of our spirited conversation we touched on the topic of low-key relationships. The podcast was recorded on Saturday and the topic reverberated in my head for the entire weekend. This was after an exciting whirlwind of cocktails, fresh fruits and other distractions.

I learned during our dialogue that keeping relationships low-key is typically a male preference. Low key for the purpose of our discussion today is simply a preference for intimate encounters with minimal to no social media attention operating on a need to know basis. Down low refers to this classic R Kelly Isley Brothers track.

At this stage in my life and for a good portion of my dating life I’ve always preferred the Beyonce and Jay-Z approach, dropping little hints here and there, teasing, but never really getting into the raw dog details of my romantic relationships at any one time. They really had the media twitching for a good minute didn’t they?!

Is Your Relationship Low-Key Or On the Down Low?

I have stories, every day I work hard to create them believe me, but I respect any one I chose to date and carefully select what to share and what to keep under wraps.

9 times out of ten women are uncomfortable with low-key relationship because they feel as though a man is trying to hide them from the world. The fear is that they may end up in that side chick role, heading for a “just bag the face” demotion. I understand the concern and admittedly I’ve been in relationships that were not really relationships because of this factor *sigh* however this assumption is usually far-fetched especially if the man has not said, “I’m not looking for a relationship” or, “we just chillin”.

My reason for wanting a low-key relationship is so that he and I can build a foundation based upon respect and intimacy on our own terms before we ever publicly announce the relationship. The minute a relationship goes “viral” is the minute the strength of it will be tested and generally speaking men seem to understand this more than women *kanye shrugs*

Get your weight up before the Facebook relationship status change, before the parental introductions, before talks of the titles and rings. Who are we? What do we stand for? What will we NOT stand for? Do we respect each other?

It’s up to us (yes that includes you!) to take initiative at maintaining intimacy and therefore a balanced level of privacy in our love lives. Especially in world where people are murdered and abused over Facebook beef- Really though?! That’s enough of my two cents, what is your take on low-key relationships? Are you more comfortable with the red carpet approach or would you rather keep the good news to yourself?

P.S It’s also important to understand the difference between low key and down low. Skipping out of town and hiding from your partner’s spouse or significant other in crusty motels in seedy parts of town is not low key it means you’re on the side-If that’s what tickles your fancy by all means happy hiding.

‘Battle of The Sexes’ 

Dating For Love – Guide To The Best Dating Sites On The Internet, Cupid At Work

Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday.

By 

Job growth slowed substantially in August, increasing the political pressure on the White House and strengthening the argument for new action by Federal Reserve policy makers to stimulate the economy when they meet next week.

The economy added a total of 96,000 jobs in August, down from a revised figure of 141,000 in July and well below the 125,000 level economists had been expecting.

The latest figures confirm suspicions that the economy has been treading water recently — over the last six months, monthly job growth has averaged 97,000, typically not enough to absorb new entrants into the labor force, let alone reduce the unemployment rate.

For August, the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent in July, but economists said that was a sign more unemployed workers were dropping out of the work force, rather than an indication that new jobs were being created.

Current and former members of the military at a job fair on Thursday in San Diego.

Republicans have made persistently high unemployment a centerpiece of their argument for denying President Obama a second term, and the new figures give the White House little to boast about.

“This is one of those reports that as you dig deeper, it looks less friendly,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The improvement in the rate was purely due to people who gave up looking for jobs.”

Indeed, he noted that the government report showed the overall labor force dropped by 368,000 workers in August.

“Politically, you can spin the drop in the rate as a positive, but it’s a sign of weakness,” Mr. Harris said. “The economy is slowing down and it wasn’t very robust to begin with.”

Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, last week delivered a forceful argument for more action, calling the current unemployment level a “grave concern.”

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee convenes on Wednesday and Thursday, and many economists and traders are looking for major news to come out of the meeting. Some expect the Fed to announce another round of asset purchases aimed at lowering borrowing costs and boosting investments. A more limited option would be for the Fed to extend its benchmark interest rate, set near zero, into 2015 from late 2014.

The rate of job creation has been erratic in 2012. After adding more than 200,000 jobs in both January and February, the economy slowed and by June the gain totaled an anemic 80,000. It bounced back in July, but few economists see big gains in the coming months.

Friday’s report showed that the private sector created a total of 103,000 jobs in August, while the number of government jobs fell by 7,000.

In order to make a significant dent in the unemployment rate, the economy would have to add at least 200,000 jobs a month, assuming modest growth in the labor force.

The manufacturing sector, a closely watched barometer for the broader economy, lost 15,000 jobs.

Sectors that did show growth in employment tended to be lower-paying ones, said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. About 40 percent of the new jobs came from four sectors: retail, leisure and hospitality, temporary help services, and home health care services.

“This is one of the reasons wages haven’t been growing,” he said. “People are taking jobs they didn’t take in the past, moving from sectors like construction into jobs at lower-paying, big-box retailers.”

There were other signs the economy remained stuck in low gear. Average hourly earnings ticked downward by 1 cent in August to $23.52 while the length of the typical private sector workweek remained flat at 34.4 hours. Both measures have barely budged from where they were six months ago.

Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

 

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