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Family valued 4.27.05

Mi Casa? Picasa!

Like many moms and dads, I'd hit the brick wall of digital photography. There were too many generically named image files on my computer. My camera's naming scheme made things worse. It's impossible to tell what the files contain without opening them, and Microsoft's support for photos is somewhat quixotic.

If I had a Macintosh, I could use the iPhoto software that comes with it. Until that day, however, I'm happy to have found Picasa2. Internet giant Google offers Picasa (www.picasa.com) as well as the picture-sharing application, Hello, as part of its expanding portfolio of free software.

Having been bitten by bad, free apps before, I was skeptical at first. But from the moment I started Picasa, I liked it. It asked where I'd like to begin (specific folders or the entire computer). Quick as a blink, it went to work scouring my computer for pictures. Next, I quickly scrolled through the photo library Picasa had indexed. I could double-click an image and non-destructively enhance it with the Picasa toolkit. I found the tools simple and yet powerful enough to fix many common photographic problems (Picasa's quick fix button is labeled with Google's trademark "I'm Feeling Lucky"). Using Picasa2 as a front end for my scanner, I was able to scan a photo and post it on Blogger within minutes.

With Picasa's connections to a variety of online photo finishers and Blogger (another Google freebie), I've been having more fun with photos lately. For families making the transition from film-based photography, Picasa2 is one of those must-have applications.

--- Stan Merrell

This week for families

Asian Heritage Family Day Sun, May 1. art in motion, drama, dance, stories, art, Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave, 12-5 p.m. $1. 473-7720

Brighton Memorial Library storytimes: Mondays 10 a.m. (ages 3-4), 10:30 a.m. (ages 1-2.5); Thursdays 7 p.m. | 2300 Elmwood Avenue. 784-5300, www.brightonlibrary.org

College Night on the Mall Mon-Tues, May 2-3. Mon: Marketplace Mall, 7-9 p.m.; Tues: Mall at Greece Ridge Center, 7-9 p.m.

Experience Your Future Day Wed, Apr 27. for high-school seniors, Bryant and Stratton College, 1225 Jefferson Rd, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 292-5627

I'm Beautiful Essay Contest for girls ages 11-17. Deadline: May 31. 482-6910

Inside the College Admissions Process Wed, May 4. high-school students and their families, UR River Campus, 6-8:30 p.m. $20. 275-2344, www.rochester.edu/college/osp

Inventions Alive Sun, May 1. Family Sunday event, invention demonstrations, kids activities, Central Library, 115 South Ave, 2-4 p.m. Free. 428-8301

Kite Flight Sun, May 1. demos, public kite flying, entertainment, Ontario Beach Park, Robach Community Center, 12-3 p.m. Free. 865-3320, 428-6755

Little Red Riding Hood Sat-Sun, Apr 30-May 1 and May 14-15. TYKEs, UpStage3, Auditorium Center, 875 E Main St, Sat 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Sun 1 p.m. $10. 723-6080

Rhyme Time PJ Storytime Fri, Apr 29. w/poet Carin Berger, Barnes & Noble, 3349 Monroe Ave, 7 p.m. Free. 586-6020

Scoobie Do Where Are You? Sat, Apr 30. Choo Choo's Express, 5138 W Ridge Rd, Spencerport, 12-8 p.m. $5. 352-4422

Soap Box Derby Sat-Sun, Apr 30-May 1. youth race, School House Rd, Greece, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 261-8881

Summer Arts in Action Program Scholarships summer arts camp for ages 4-12, Hochstein School. 454-4596, www.hochstein.org

YOHP Summer Musical Auditions Wed, Apr 27. Penfield Recreation, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat audition for ages 12-18. 340-8664

Colorful language

A father used that term in my office recently. His four-year-old son is learning how language shocks and dismays parents. He uses terms like "poopy head" and "doo doo." I like this dad's reference to "colorful language." He didn't call it "bad", "foul," or "rude." He values his son's creative ability to check out what provocative language does.

            My friend, Reverend Jim Warnke, says "Oppositional behavior is strength of character pointed in the direction that pisses you off the most." This son is doing his job. Our kids have to oppose us, test new behaviors, and express their frustration while learning limits. They could act out physically, hurting themselves, others, or valued property. If we say, "Shut up!" they might choose to keep their feelings inside, unexpressed and festering. Given the alternatives, I'll take colorful language every time.

            This father wanted advice. Responding with, "That's bad language!" or by washing the child's mouth with soap, serves to increase the power of the child's defiance, reinforcing it. Meeting defiance with defiance never works. Ignoring the behavior is really hard to do and difficult for the child to understand. Empathy always works. "Boy, you're mad!" "I know you don't want to!" "You're saying silly words, aren't you?" This kind of response dodges the provocative intent of the language and grabs the feeling behind it, modeling both compassion and better communication.

            By the way, when you use colorful language in front of yourkids, smile and say, "Whoops. I'm sorry."

--- Laurence I. Sugarman, MD