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March 21, 2012

Zumba: Do dancers know what they're dancing to?

During a recent zumba class, the instructor told us the song we were dancing to is "Rated XX." I was immediately intrigued and had to find out what it was about.zumba.jpg

I asked the instructor and he didn't seem comfortable talking about it, so I was on my own. Since I don't know the names of any of the songs, this was a complicated task.

I finally found the song, "Ai Si Eu Te Pego," "Oh, If I Could Get My Hands On You," which is in Portuguese. I got a colleague to translate, and it wasn't too offensive. But I started researching other lyrics and found some that were much more risque, especially "Allez Ola Ole," which is in French.

So every time we dance to these songs now, I smile, knowing that most exercisers have no clue what they're dancing to. Or maybe they do know and are living out a secret fantasy.

FPG photo/Janeris Marte

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 14, 2012

"Carly's Voice": Autism, from a parent's perspective


When we see a parent with a disabled child, we sympathize. But after reading "Carly's Voice," a new book by Arthur Fleischmann and his autistic daughter, Carly, I realized I had no clue about the struggles and agonizing decisions that go on when the rest of us are not looking.

I went to college with Arthur and his wife, Tammy, who was my good friend. But we lost touch over the years and until Facebook came along I didn't know their teenage daughter, Carly, had severe autism and is unable to talk. The book describes her frequent crying, constant rocking, sensitivity to noise and inability to sleep through the night as her parents search desperately for help.

Their savior, besides excellent caregivers, ends up being computers that allow Carly to "speak." They learn she has extraordinary intelligence and has been absorbing everything she has been hearing when her parents thought she wasn't listening. Carly has since become something of a celebrity, appearing on several news and talk shows. The book shows how persistent parents who don't give up can allow their kids to achieve their potential and find some satisfaction despite the constant roadblocks.

Photo courtesy Arthur Fleischmann

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 13, 2012

The Big Ask: The new way to get a prom date

Remember the olden days when a boy asked a girl to the prom by calling her on the phone? Well that is so 1970s.KATRINA%20PROM133.jpg

The new way to ask your date, at least at my kids' high school, is to do an elaborate set-up that the whole school observes. Lots of showmanship goes into it, and the asker needs to be pretty sure his date will say yes so there is no embarrassment after all he has gone through.

Among the asks I have heard about: The boy bakes brownies and when the group of friends gets to the bottom of the pan, the question is waiting for her. In another, a girl who is a swimmer swam to the end of her lane, and the boy was waiting with a towel painted with the words "Prom?"

Another creative boy placed tennis balls that said PROM? in the fence of the school's court. As for my daughter, her date sent her on a scavenger hunt around the school, with different teachers giving her different letters of the word PROM.

You gotta love the creativity, but there also must be pressure for the next kid to come up with an even better presentation that the whole school is going to see.

Photo: Marvin Joseph/Washington Post

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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March 8, 2012

The savings are priceless for telecommuting parents

Do you have a whole workday before you get to your actual job? I know I do. It’s not easy getting everyone ready and where they need to be in the morning. It’s no picnic making arrangements for how everyone is going to get home at the end of the day either.

I just discovered a relatively new campaign to help stretched-thin working parents trying to juggle the responsibilities of work and home life. This week is the second annual National Telework Week, which was designed by Telework Exchange to show businesses and employees the financial and environmental benefits of working from home. And if you’re a parent, there are benefits for the well-being of you and your family, as well.

Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of, writes on, “According to Telework Exchange, 2011’s participants “saved $2,730,229 on commuting costs, gained back 148,692 hours into their day, and removed 1,818 tons of pollutants from the air, while refraining from driving 3,764,001 miles.” All that from just one week spent telecommuting!”

While the environmental and financial aspects are great, telecommuters are often healthier and less stressed, leading to a more productive workday — a good selling point for the boss.

Fell said telecommuters are 11 percent to 15 percent more productive than office-bound employees and get an extra hour of sleep every night.

Did someone say an extra hour of sleep??

If that’s not a reason to campaign for either a part-time or full-time telecommuting schedule, I don’t know what is.

For more:

See what your telecommuting savings could be:

POSTED IN: Child Care (26), Family Issues (231), General (185), Health (111)

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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.

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