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THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'

Feeling weird about your plan to do massive amounts of nothing Friday night, while the rest of the world greets the year 2000? Buck up -- that may be the way of the next century.

A new poll commissioned by MasterCard International, done by the Yankelovich Partners, suggests Americans have made, and are increasingly willing to make huge changes in order to put family first in the new millennium.

93 percent of Americans say their families mean the most to them; 7 percent said their careers.

Almost 50 percent have recently changed careers to have more family time; 20 percent have taken a pay cut in order to work fewer hours.

More would rather find a cure for cancer than make as much money as Bill Gates.

For all that, though, Americans said they nonetheless expect the coming decade to be "complex," "aggressive," "stressful" and "greedy."

Pant, blow, read

Here's post-yuletide fun.

Wait 'til you and your spouse are going over those thick stacks of Christmas bills, and announce: "Uh, honey? I don't think we're done with Lamaze yet."

When they revive, chuckle affectionately and go "No, silly, these," and show them the new line of books from Lamaze International, specifically for infants and toddlers.

Plush, touchy-feely and full of vibrant colors and textures, the Lamaze Infant Development System books come in four stages -- newborn and up, 9 months and up, 18 months and up, and 24 months and up -- and sell for $9 to $12.

Want to check them out? Go to rcs@learningcurve.com or www.metrobooks.com

Peace on earth, peace of mind

Nothing like a change of century to get you thinking about your future and your kids' -- especially if they're special-needs kids.

You may want to check out something new from Met Life: "MetDESK," which stands for MetLife's Division of Estate Planning for Special Kids.

As part of the insurer's 85-brochure series on life planning, this one explains all the legal and financial complexities facing parents of special-needs kids, including how to provide for them after you're gone.

Interested? Call (800) METLIFE (638-5433) or go to www.metlife.com.

Food for thought

The Top 12 foods you should be serving in your home, according to nutritionist, father of eight and cancer survivor Dr. William Sears:

Avocados, chickpeas, eggs, fish (salmon, tuna), flax seeds/flax oil, kidney beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, tofu (firm), tomatoes, whole grains and yogurt (plain, non-fat).

FlufferNutter and Slim Jims did not make the list.

By News Staff Reporter Lauri Githens, compiled from wire services and other sources.