DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage son, "Alex," eats large amounts of food. This is to be expected for a growing boy, and I'd estimate he eats six full meals a day. He eats everything in the refrigerator, on the counters and in the pantry.
I've noticed my daughter, who is 10, eating less and less because Alex devourers her favorite foods without thinking. I believe he eats inconsiderately because he never asks for anything from the grocery store, yet eats all the food that everyone else requests. How can I balance life with a human vacuum in the kitchen? -- Moderation, Madison, Wisconsin
DEAR MODERATION: You need to talk to Alex to teach him about using his brain when he reaches for food. It is important for him to think about others, even as he is a growing teenager who craves food. You may also want to resort to an extreme measure that many other families have had to put in place -- lock some food away that he cannot access. Put the foods that you want reserved for your daughter and for the rest of the family into a separate refrigerator that you literally lock. That way, Alex cannot eat it even if he wants to.
Finally, you can continue to ask Alex to give you a list of food items he prefers. Put his name on those items, and put your daughter's name on her favorites, yours on your favorites and so on. At least this will begin to raise the awareness in your home that food is there for more than one person's consumption.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been putting off publishing my own website on which to sell my ceramic art. What nobody knows, though, is that I have a completely done, unpublished website ready for launch. Every time I think about pressing "publish," I think of how embarrassing it'd be to fail. While everyone encourages me, I know they won't all buy my art. Should I wait until I sell some pieces in person? I could not handle failing at my favorite thing in the world. -- Under Pressure, Williamsburg, Virginia
DEAR UNDER PRESSURE: Stop drowning in worries about what might go wrong and launch! Success will be measured over time, and trust that your success will not be due to your friends buying most of your artwork. You will need to build a following among collectors of your style of work. You must cultivate mailing lists, learn to promote your work in a targeted way and find craft fairs and other events where you can bring your work for others to see.
For starters, you don't have to tell your core group of friends and family, if that makes you feel safer. Do a soft launch, look for online and other outlets that attract your customer and align with them. When you feel comfortable, tell your loved ones and ask for their support. Focus on the positive, and build your art business.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)