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home : columns : dear harriette May 23, 2018

Potential threat at camp taints experience
I don't want them to be alarmed, but I also don't know how to bring up such a harsh topic to 10-year-olds. What should I do?
Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Mom doesn't understand why reader wants nose job
I have been saving up for five years, and I finally have enough money to get a nose job. Since I don't have any close friends, I asked my mother to come with me to the doctor's office to get a consultation. She has agreed, but she doesn't understand why I am so self-conscious about it. How can I get her understand my decision?
Monday, May 21, 2018

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I are celebrating a big anniversary this year, and I really wanted to host a dance party for us because we love to dance together. The reality is that I can't do that.
Saturday, May 19, 2018

Girlfriend never looks up from her screens
DEAR HARRIETTE: In today's world, social media and technology are a big part of everybody's life, especially my girlfriend's. She is constantly attached to her phone or watching shows on her laptop. I understand that there are important matters that need to be attended to on her devices, but I want her to enjoy living in the moment more and appreciate the things around her, not just her phone.
Friday, May 18, 2018

Job seeker applies at family friend's company
Do you think this falls under the umbrella of mixing business with pleasure? Will it make the relationship with my friend a little awkward?
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Midlife crisis sufferer seeks relief
I have tried expanding my comfort zone and explored new hobbies to try to change this feeling, but nothing seems to be working. Is this a normal feeling? Do you have any ideas about how I can find my real passion in life?
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Boyfriend unwilling to marry outside his faith
I am wondering what your opinion on religion and relationships is, and whether you think he is in the wrong for letting my feelings get this far
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

NewYork City girl considers learning to drive
Living in New York, I never saw the need for one. Do you think a driver's license is an important thing to have in your life?
Monday, May 14, 2018

Reader wants to visit uncle with liver cancer
I work full time, but I have been thinking about visiting him for a week or two. I can't afford to take that much time off, but something is telling me that this may be the last time I get to spend quality time with him. Should I visit him?
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Friend upset about possibly similar engagement rings
When I told my friend that I wanted a similar engagement ring, she got upset with me. I asked her why, and she explained that she didn't want me copying her ring style. What is your opinion about claiming ring styles? Am I in the wrong?
Friday, May 11, 2018

Boyfriend wants dog, but reader doesn't like them
It has been a couple of months, and my boyfriend has asked me if he and I can get a dog together. As much as I want to say yes to bring that happiness back to my boyfriend, I dislike dogs. I never had any pets growing up, so I don't understand the whole "bond with an animal" thing. How should I deal with this situation?
Thursday, May 10, 2018

Grandmother treats grandchildren differently
She has clear favorites, and I seem to rank last on the list. It has gotten to the point where on my birthday I don't even receive a birthday card, whereas my siblings and cousins get endless gifts and cards. It hadn't bothered me until now, and I want to speak to her about it. Do you think I should talk to my parents or go straight to my grandmother and tell her how I have been feeling?
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Student-athlete needs a break
As much as I love working out and playing for a team, I kind of like the idea of having an off-season. I would like that time just to hang out after school instead of going from practice to practice. What do you think would be best for me? Is there a way I can convince my dad to have the winter sports season off next year?
Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Girlfriend's graduation trumps family dynamics
My girlfriend's college graduation is approaching, and I am nervous to attend due to the amount of time I would have to spend with her family. Do you have any advice on how I can survive the weekend with her not-so-welcoming parents?
Monday, May 7, 2018

Addict boyfriend wants to drink again
DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiance is a recovering drug addict. When I say those words out loud, it still scares me, but he has been sober for more than two years now, and we have a great relationship. 
Saturday, May 5, 2018

Daughter needs to lower prom expectations
DEAR HARRIETTE: As high school prom season is approaching, my daughter and her friends are getting excited about the event. Some of my daughter's friends have already found their dresses, booked their beauty appointments and secured their dates. My daughter has been asking me almost every day if I can book her a makeup and hair trial run appointment, as well as appointments for the real thing. I know that a senior prom is a big deal, and I want to make it the most special day for my daughter, but I just can't afford all of these things.
Friday, May 4, 2018

Reader should feel welcome to engage in church
I feel disconnected from my religion, and I want to start attending mass again. I think going to church might help me clear my head -- especially now that I am going through a rough time in my life. How can I get involved in church again?
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Reader needs to mingle while girlfriend's in wedding
Weddings are social events; there is always a lot of small talk and mingling, which is hard to do when you don't have any mutual friends to speak to. Do you have any advice on how I can be more comfortable at the wedding?
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Mother-in-law takes discipline too far
She is my son's grandmother, so she thinks she has rights, but she must stop. I need her to respect me and the way I raise my child. How can I get my mother-in-law to stop hitting my child?
Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Boyfriend refuses to go on double dates
My boyfriend and I are getting serious, but I love my friends. I think he is trying to make me choose between him and my friends. I don't want to do that. How do I choose -- or is choosing even an option?
Monday, April 30, 2018

Stay-at-home dad feeling self-conscious
What is your take on the stay-at-home dad culture?
Saturday, April 28, 2018

Reader reconnects with former camp crush
I am at the age when I would like to be engaged soon, and I believe I am with the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I wanted to know your take on fate. Do you believe in fate when it comes to love?
Friday, April 27, 2018

Parents treat master's student like a baby
How can I speak to my parents about treating me like an adult?
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Roommate's boyfriend stays over too often
I feel like I am walking on eggshells in my own room, and I am so sick of it. How do I approach this situation without coming off as a crazy roommate?
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Father wants to build relationship with kids
How can I reconnect with my kids? I try to speak with them as often as I can, and I always send them gifts on their birthdays or holidays, but I miss the relationships I used to have with all three of them.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sister tries to horn in on spring break trip
Do you think I should address my sister's comments? How do I tell her nicely that I don't want her and her husband coming to Florida with us?
Monday, April 23, 2018

Ex-boyfriend needs to handle breakups on his own

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a call out of the blue from my ex-boyfriend's most recent ex-girlfriend. I loved this man for many years, and he turned out to be a heartbreaker. 


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Reader irritated when wife messes up car

DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife is a car slob. Even though she has her own car, she likes to borrow my car for a few days or weeks. Every time I get it back, it is a complete wreck: empty food containers on the floor, makeup smudges on the seat and steering wheel and coffee cups in the cup holders. She loves driving my car, but it bothers me that she doesn't have the respect to keep it clean. I want to tell her to stop driving my car or clean it up after she uses it, but I'm afraid it will hurt her feelings. How do I tell her? -- Stop Trashing My Car, Denver


Friday, April 20, 2018

Reader must decide which path to take
On one hand, I would enjoy working for the startup, but I would hate being apart from my partner. On the other hand, if I moved to Austin, I would be happy living with him, but might not find a great job right away. Should love trump a career, or vice versa?
Thursday, April 19, 2018

Seasonal affective disorder touches whole family
Do you know anything about depression or mental health disorders? Are family health issues often passed down?
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Student needs advice about post-grad plans
I graduate in May and need some help deciding what the next step should be. Do I continue working with the couple and earn enough money to support myself, or branch out with my college degree?
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

World Almanac
Today is the 106th day of 2018 and the 28th day of spring.
Monday, April 16, 2018

Nanny worried about fatigue while working
I have already agreed to work for the month, but I have been thinking about speaking with the parents to ask for a couple of nights off. I think if I get one night off a week (so four nights during the month), it would be less draining. How do you think I should approach this? Is one night off a week the right amount?
Monday, April 16, 2018

Reader should reach out to friend in mourning
What can I do to express my sorrow appropriately?
Saturday, April 14, 2018

World Almanac
Today is the 105th day of 2018 and the 27th day of spring.
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Reader ready to recommit to religion
What are your thoughts on re-entering a religion, or in my case, starting to practice the religion again?
Friday, April 13, 2018

Co-worker getting too close for comfort
Since that lunch meeting, he gets close during conversations and touches my arm. If we're sitting down, he will touch my leg. He hasn't done anything else, but I don't want his actions to get worse. Should I confront him before I talk to HR?
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Reader questions whether to confront former boss
Now that people are talking about their experiences, I want to add my voice to the conversation. This man is retired now, but I know how to reach him. Do you think I should write him a letter or contact him in any way to tell him how much he violated me back in the day? I am not interested in money or anything.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Underemployed reader worried girlfriend will leave
I am tired of pretending like it's getting better when it isn't. I don't have the skills to get a better-paying job right now. What can I do to turn the corner?
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mess reader unsure about inviting over next-door neighbor
I am super private. I'm also always thinking I will get it together one day and have a tidy house. But right now, my next-door neighbor needs me. Should I open my door?
Monday, April 9, 2018

Reader debates goint to graduate school

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been going back and forth with the idea of attending graduate school to receive my master's degree. There are many reasons for my waffling: I don't have enough money to attend, so I would need to receive some sort of scholarship or loan, and I am not sure what graduate program I want to do. Another reason I am conflicted about the idea is the timing of it. Should I be attending graduate school immediately after I received my undergraduate degree, or work for a couple of years to gain experience and then go back to school to earn my master's? What do you think is most beneficial or looks best to a prospective employer? -- Master's Degree Debate, Philadelphia


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Summer of fun might not be best idea
DEAR HARRIETTE: I wanted to know your perspective on a gap year, or "summer of fun," when a student takes a year or a summer to relax before he or she starts a full-time job in the real world. I am about to graduate college and hope to secure a job after graduation. 
Friday, April 6, 2018

Reader must stay prepared for interview
How do you prepare for a spontaneous job interview? I recently spoke with a radio executive, and he asked me about myself and whether I knew about his radio station and some of the local channels. I knew of the channels, but I wasn't sure about the details. I felt so embarrassed. He said that he will forward my resume to the hiring manager for any potential positions, but how should I stay prepared for times like this?
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ex-boyfriend needs to give space to sick woman
Last week, one of our mutual friends informed me that my ex is sick. There is something wrong with her lungs, and she has been having trouble breathing on her own for the past month or so. When I first heard this, my heart hurt and my immediate reaction was to call her. I got no response, and then I wondered if it is my place to reach out. Under these circumstances, what is the right thing to do?
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Reader shouldn't pressure boyfriend into getting dog
I'm waiting for him to become ready for a dog, but I know I will become impatient if he keeps waiting. Should I talk to him about it again?
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Reader debates visiting friend on her birthday
My friend did not visit me on my birthday, so will she be offended if I do not make the trip? What do you think I should do?
Monday, April 2, 2018

Boss needs to back off from matchmaking role
I am recovering from a breakup, and my family and friends are supportive. My boss is encouraging and always wants me to be happy. However, she might be trying to set me up too early when I'm not fully recovered from the breakup. She has men in mind whom she would like me to meet, but I'm not ready. How can I tell her to back off for now, but that I will be ready later?
Saturday, March 31, 2018

Mom pressuring reader to attend alma mater
I'm afraid she will use her financial assistance to convince me to go there and will make me feel bad if don't. How should I choose the school that's right for me?
Friday, March 30, 2018

Sister's boyfriend not planning for the future
I know my sister very well, and I know she is itching to get engaged soon. Do you think it is inappropriate if I ask my sister's boyfriend what his intentions are with my sister, or if he plans to marry her?
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Woman irritated by sister who drinks too much
How do I tell her that she needs to drink less if she wants to continue to go out together? I don't want to be harsh with her.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Student considers nannying job
Is it the right move for me to take a month of the summer to nanny, or should I continue my job search?
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Teenage son is skipping school, getting bad grades
Monday, March 26, 2018

Girlfriend worried about former addict boyfriend
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is a recovering drug addict. About a year ago, he was in a bad place in his life and was in a downward spiral. He got his act together and has now been sober for a year. I am proud of how far he has come and all the changes he has made, but I fear that one day he won't be able maintain his sobriety.
Saturday, March 24, 2018

Studies show that flu virus can be spread by just breathing
DEAR DOCTOR: How does the flu virus spread? I've always thought it was mostly from coughing, which contaminates the air and the surfaces we touch. But now I've heard that people who are sick actually breathe the virus out. Should I be wearing a mask to protect myself? 
Saturday, March 24, 2018

Mom with dementia needs full-time support

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father passed away seven years ago. After he died, my mother came to live with my family and me. Because my children have essentially grown up with her living with them since they were babies, their relationship is nothing less than amazing. My kids look to her for advice and support, and they love her dearly. Unfortunately, last year my mother was diagnosed with dementia, and in the past few months it has become progressively worse. 


Friday, March 23, 2018

Girlfriend questions friendship with elderly woman
My girlfriend finds the elderly woman rude and does not like that I spend time with her. I enjoy going to these monthly lunches, but I can see how it is a little odd. Do you think it's normal, and should I continue my friendship with this woman?
Thursday, March 22, 2018

Difference in parents' ages causing problems
My parents have been married for over 15 years.  There is a big age gap between them, as my father is 10 years older than my mother. What is your take on martial age gaps?
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Job seeker struggles with wardrobe for meeting
What should I wear to the meeting? Because I am not going on an interview with this person -- it's just a general meeting about working in the industry -- does it mean I don't need to wear formal interview attire? Could I go in business casual as opposed to business dress?
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Girlfriend wants her own room in shared apartment
Do you think it's abnormal for a couple to move in together, yet have their own bedrooms?
Monday, March 19, 2018

Fiance picks fights over tiny details
n and on about how we've been together for six years, and I should know this about him. It was a mistake to forget this small detail about him, but I would much rather argue about bigger, more important things such as where our wedding will be held, not ice cream. I don't know if I am overexaggerating or if this is a glimpse into our future. Please help me.
Saturday, March 17, 2018

Friends angry after being detained by police
Why should all of us be held accountable for the actions of two people?
Friday, March 16, 2018

Dad's career suggestion isn't what reader wants
I have my own dreams I want to focus on, and working on a beach house isn't at the top of my list. How do I make it clear to my dad that the beach house isn't one of my dreams?
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Friend's parents hold a grudge from middle school
Should I talk about it with my friend and ask her why her parents still hold a grudge against me for something that happened so long ago?
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

High school friend must accept woman has changed
I reconnected with a high school friend recently, and we went out for some drinks. The problem is that my classmate treats me like I am still in high school.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Son's decision to enlist in army upsets family
How can I become more supportive and comfortable with the idea of my son joining the Army?
Monday, March 12, 2018

Is mom's boyfriend too good to be true?

DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother and father are divorced. Recently, my mom started dating a guy who seems nice. He treats her well and seems very genuine. Because of the physical distance between us -- we live thousands of miles apart -- I've only spent time with them together a couple of times. From what my siblings and I can gather, there is nothing wrong with him.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Threat of terrorism causes canceled plans
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live near a major city. My friends and I often travel into the city for a day of shopping or a fun dinner. In the past few months, there have been multiple terrorist attacks in big cities in both the United States and Europe. I am a very cautious person, so this scares me. 
Friday, March 9, 2018

Former student reluctant to make teacher's retirement video
One of my teachers from high school is retiring. I recently received a message from a classmate of mine asking if I would like to record a 1-to-2-minute video that would be part of a farewell montage, created by her past and present students. Would it be meaningful if I created the video, even though I don't have any personal memories to share?
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Boss calls young employee a baby
Would you suggest sitting down with my boss and telling her how I feel about being called "the baby"?
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lost engagement ring causes guilt

Is there a way to prevent him from using the lost engagement ring against me? Should I just get over this?


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Children terrified by thoughts of school violence
DEAR HARRIETTE: The rising number of school shootings has taken a toll on my children, especially my high school-age son. After the Parkland, Florida, shooting, he asked questions like, "Why would he do that?" Through our conversations, I have explained to him that sometimes these shootings can result from bullying and mental illness. He is still afraid to go to school. Every morning, he says he's sick, hoping I will let him stay home. 
Monday, March 5, 2018

Aunt won't stop commenting about reader's body
DEAR HARRIETTE: I struggled with my weight throughout my teenage and young adult years, but I am now content with how I look and feel. An aunt I don't see often has been on a fitness journey and has been losing weight. I'm happy for her, but she always mentions my appearance and gives advice on what I should do. It makes me feel like the way I look isn't OK or is unhealthy.
Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mom's constant workouts worry reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: My family has always been very active. We all love playing sports and exercising regularly. Recently, my mother has been very into yoga. I admire her for maintaining her health and always trying to get some activity every day, but it has gotten to the point where she is obsessing over her body. She restricts her diet so much, and has been taking two or three workout classes a day. 
Friday, March 2, 2018

Husband wants to regain intimacy with wife
DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife and I have been married for more than 20 years. We have a solid marriage, but the intimacy seems to have faded away years ago. I feel like we are living as roommates more than husband and wife.
Thursday, March 1, 2018

New employee wants to bond with co-workers
DEAR HARRIETTE: I started a new job and want to become more social with my colleagues. They invite me to happy hours and evening work events, and everyone is very nice and great to be around. However, I feel like I am an outsider, or I don't match the same energy as the others. I am an introvert, but I want to learn to become more social and improve my networking skills. I want to come out of my shell, but I am afraid I may come off as fake and not my authentic self. How do I show interest and improve my networking skills while still being me? -- Shy Girl, Seattle
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Job-seeking reader questions interview attire
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an interview coming up at a restaurant where I have applied to be a host. What do you think is the appropriate attire to wear to this interview? Usually I would dress in business casual to an interview, but because the restaurant is casual and I am interviewing for the position of host, I'm not sure if wearing a suit and tie is appropriate. Are there different places or occasions where casual dress is better to wear than going formal? -- What to Wear, Syracuse, New York
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Dad wants to reconnect with teenage son
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a father of three, with one son. I want to have a better relationship with him, but I don't know how to get closer to him. We used to be very close; we attended baseball games together, went out to dinner almost every week, etc. 
Monday, February 26, 2018

College student wants mom's blessing to study abroad

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been talking to my parents recently about going abroad for a semester. My school offers a program where you can take classes toward your degree in a different country, and I think it would be a great experience for me. 


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Reader annoyed by loud customer

DEAR HARRIETTE: Today I was sitting in Starbucks doing my work. A man came down to sit next to me, which of course I had no problem with -- until he started watching an obnoxious video on his phone without any headphones on. I understand that it is a public space, but everyone else in the store was reading or doing work. He was easily the loudest person in there because of his phone. I kept giving the man looks and then would look at his phone, giving him the hint that it was very loud and distracting, but he just sat there chuckling at whatever he was watching. Do you think I should have said something? -- Annoyed Starbucks Customer, Portland, Oregon 


Friday, February 23, 2018

Girlfriend getting nervous about ski trip
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend grew up skiing his whole life, as did all of his friends. I have never skied in my life. This spring break, our friends (who are all couples) decided they want to go on a ski trip to Aspen, Colorado. I agreed I would go along because I didn't want to be the Debbie Downer of the group. As the trip gets closer, I am getting more nervous about the fact that everyone else on the trip are avid skiers, whereas I am a beginner. I have signed up for a couple of ski lessons while I am there, but I feel like I will be left out of most of the activities because I don't ski. What can I do to make the best out of this trip? How can I feel included? -- Girlfriend Who Can't Ski, Roxbury, Massachusetts
Thursday, February 22, 2018

















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