DEAR HARRIETTE: My twin sons are in eighth grade. Their middle school ends at eighth, so we are shopping for schools now. It's driving me nuts. I went to public school in my hometown, and it was great. They are in private school, and we are looking at private, aka independent, high schools now, but it's expensive. I don't know how we are going to be able to afford to pay for high school and then college. My husband and I earn a modest living. We are applying for financial aid, but I worry about getting enough money from a scholarship. What do you recommend? -- Next High School, Brooklyn, New York
DEAR NEXT HIGH SCHOOL: The high school process can be harrowing, especially in New York. What you should do is fill out the paperwork for financial aid eligibility as soon as possible. When you speak to schools, tell them you will definitely need aid and ask what the ranges are for what they give to families. Typically, schools with large endowments have more flexibility when it comes to supporting students' education. Those are the schools you should target when you know you need financial support.
However, don't overlook public high schools. New York City is famous for excellent public high schools that are as competitive as many of the independent schools. While hard to get into, they provide an excellent education at no cost. Consider the gamut of what high school education has to offer. Do not go into debt trying to pay for a school you cannot afford.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a woman of a certain age, and I am discovering that I get hot flashes in the blink of an eye. I could be walking down the street or sitting in a meeting or talking to my kids. Then suddenly it's like it's raining on my face. Sweating is so embarrassing. I don't know what to do. Should I wipe my face? Excuse myself from the conversation? I want to keep my composure, but it's impossible sometimes. -- Stop the Rain, Cleveland
DEAR STOP THE RAIN: Menopause can be a difficult stage in life to manage. If you can accept it as a natural part of life, you will be able to live through it better. Practically speaking, wear lightweight clothing, preferably in natural fibers and in layers. Being able to peel off layers when you are hot can be a lifesaver. Avoid wearing clothing that is tight or that binds you. Keep a fan with you at all times. You can whip it out and fan yourself pretty much anywhere you are.
Do your best to stay calm. When you experience any type of extreme emotion, you will likely have a hot flash. Staying even-tempered helps to keep your body cooler. Finally, go to see your gynecologist and talk about natural hormone replacement options that may help you to go through this stage more easily.