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home : columns May 25, 2017

Reader reading books faster than buying them
DEAR HARRIETTE: I like to read. When I am not doing anything else, I love to sit outside and read a good book. I read them fast, and I do not want to keep spending money on books. It has added up. I have to spend my money on more important things, but losing the enjoyment is hard. What should I do? -- Bookworm, Burlington, Vermont
Thursday, May 25, 2017


Anderson Jewelers

Mom's shaming causes friend to monitor food
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend's mom recently told her that she had put on a few pounds and needed to lose it. When my friend mentioned it to me, I took it as a joke, like I thought she would, because she does not need to lose weight. A few days later, I walked into her house and there were sticky notes on the food cabinets and the refrigerator. One of them said, "Do not eat unless you are hungry." The other one said, "Are you hungry?" I tried to act as if everything was normal, but that just isn't normal. I am not sure how to act or what to do. Do I do anything? -- Weight Loss, Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ex-boyfriend won't stop messaging reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: An ex-boyfriend keeps messaging me at 4 a.m., when intoxicated, saying something like, "I miss you." I never acknowledge it, but it continues to happen.  

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mom feels unappreciated on Mother's Day
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am disappointed that my family did not get me a card or anything for Mother's Day. I am married with two children who are 9 and 12. I can see how the children might not think of it, though I always remember their birthdays and every other special day you can imagine. But my husband did not think to get a card for them or a present or anything. They didn't offer to take me to dinner, so I ended up cooking. It hurt my feelings. Usually I organize everything, but I am tired of having to be the coordinator, even for what should be my celebration. How can I get them to understand that? -- Snubbed, Denver
Monday, May 22, 2017

Sober friend doesn't need reader sharing information
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends, "Emily," used to be an alcoholic and a drug addict. Now, she is completely sober. I am very happy for her, but she insists on going to bars with everybody and doesn't like it when people call attention to her sobriety. Should I tell others to stop buying shots for Emily or offering her sips of their drinks? I think spreading the word to our immediate friends might help Emily feel more comfortable. -- Sober in a Bar, Newark, New Jersey 
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Reader makes mistake negotiating salary
DEAR HARRIETTE: I realized I lowballed myself when a company I was interviewing for asked for my desired salary. I did not want to seem greedy and wanted a follow-up interview, so I made an offer on the lower side. This appeared to work, and I am waiting for their final decision after my second interview. If accepted, do I have any wiggle room with my salary, or must I stick to my original ask? -- Worth More, Boston
Friday, May 19, 2017

Reader won't loan car to terrible driver
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Reader should not feel obligated to visit ex's family
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to my ex-boyfriend's family dinner. I am friends with his family and his siblings, but going there for dinner would make me feel uncomfortable. The thought was there, and they are very nice to me, but they keep on inviting me. I politely decline, but how do I tell them nicely that I do not feel comfortable eating there anymore? -- Ex-Friend, Salt Lake City 
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Persistent man scares reader into giving phone number
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Reader worried about sensitive friend
Monday, May 15, 2017

Violent film on airplane upsets children
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reader wants kids to help hurting neighbor
Friday, May 12, 2017

Friend's emotional outburst hurts reader
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Reader upset by kids' behavior toward waitstaff
DEAR HARRIETTE: At dinner with my children recently, I noticed them treating the waitstaff poorly. They would roll their eyes, not say thank you and barely acknowledge the servers. I was mortified and asked where they learned this. They all shrugged. A conversation is necessary, but I am not sure whether to start with my ex-husband -- who is notorious for being a menace to any staff -- or with my children. Should I start at the root of the problem, or just focus on my children's behavior? -- We Say Thank You, Shreveport, Louisiana 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Friends don't respect reader's new car
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have just purchased my first car ever. Although it is a used car, it is in immaculate condition, and I hope to keep it this way for a long time. Many of my friends have had their cars purchased for them by their parents, and they don't respect their vehicles -- or mine. I am sick of dirty shoes being put up on my dash and food being dropped onto the seats. How can I make rules that will be enforced? I feel like a parent in my own car. -- Clean Car, Detroit 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Small friends can't borrow reader's clothes
Monday, May 8, 2017

Member of online chat group plans meetup
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a part of a chat group for a year or so. We originally bonded from our love of playing video games, but we have now turned into a global support system for each other. We have spoken through video chats, and I have found all of these people on social media, so I know I am not being "catfished." I want to organize our first meetup in person. Would it be crazy to invite them to stay at my place? I don't have the funds for an international flight, so I figured I'd be doing my part by allowing them to stay in my house. -- Online Family, West Palm Beach, Florida 
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Parent pays phone bills but gets no calls
DEAR HARRIETTE: I pay the phone bills of my adult children. They range in age from 18 to 29. I don't mind paying these bills, but my wife recently questioned why I'm doing so if they never answer my calls or text messages. I typically get ignored for a few days. For my youngest, I've tracked down his friend's phone numbers so I can contact him through them when he isn't responsive to me. Should I take my wife's advice and stop paying their phone bills since they don't use these phones to communicate with me? -- Ring Ring, Norman, Oklahoma 
Friday, May 5, 2017

Teen ruins party out of spite
Thursday, May 4, 2017

Seeking closure requires solid game plan
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

End-of-life matters require careful consideration
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been faced with the harrowing decision of taking my great-uncle off of life support. He has no other living and willing relatives to take care of him, so I am essentially making this decision on my own. Nobody has taken any interest in either direction, but there is a slim chance of him making it out of his coma. He is 92 already, and I have no idea what I want to do. 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Reader cannot ignore colleague's sexism
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Son's hair causes problems at school
Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mother's gift offer both offends and intrigues
Friday, April 28, 2017

Father frustrated by son's senior slacking
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reader caught snooping on father's computer

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently caught snooping for the prenuptial agreement of my father and his new wife. My father caught me on his computer sifting through his legal documents, so what I was looking for was obvious. He didn't demand an explanation, and I just left the room because I didn't want to explain myself.  

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mom upset when kids receive gendered gifts
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New blogger struggling to gain readership
DEAR HARRIETTE: After being told to start a blog by multiple friends and family members, I took the plunge. Although I felt like I had a lot of support, nobody is reading or commenting on my posts. I thought I could've turned myself into a brand, and now I'm flopping. Should I continue striving for this dream or cut the cord five months in? -- Blogging Is Hard, Milwaukee 
Monday, April 24, 2017

Friends take pranks too far on april fools' day
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a sophomore in college, and I feel like I'm still getting tested by my peers. This past April Fools' Day, my friends dragged my mattress out onto the street, filled my blow-dryer with baby powder and put mayonnaise in my shoes. I enjoy a good prank, but I seriously believe this went too far. My shoes are ruined, my blow-dryer is not back to normal and I had to haul my mattress back upstairs all alone. Do I have the right to be upset, or should I ease up in the spirit of the holiday? -- Too Much, Atlanta 
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Husband's birthday gift disappoints reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: My birthday just passed, and my husband got me a "pricey" perfume that I wanted. I use quotations because upon opening it, I saw that it was a knockoff brand. I don't think he knows this perfume is not the one I wanted at all because the outside packaging was nearly identical. Should I tell him or just throw the fake perfume out, hoping he won't notice? -- Fake Gift, Real Sentiment, Detroit
Friday, April 21, 2017

Reader wants roommate's boyfriend to pay bills
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Stepdad's attempt at bonding falls flat
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Now is the time to bring up idea of a move
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Don't write off beau after honest mistake
Monday, April 17, 2017

Group must agree when splitting prize money
Friday, April 14, 2017

Poor eyesight creates awkward moments
Thursday, April 13, 2017

Weekend job is no cause for embarrassment
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Delivery people need not know your business
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Student wants to fly solo during time abroad
Monday, April 10, 2017

Reader accidentally sees friend's abusive message
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was recently using my friend's laptop, and a message from her boyfriend came up on the top right corner. I did not open it to read it in its entirety, but it appeared as though he was being emotionally abusive and gaslighting her in the message. How do I tell her about his manipulative techniques without my friend getting mad at me for reading her messages? -- Faux Beau, Milwaukee 
Friday, April 7, 2017

Reader wonders if gift cards are too impersonal
DEAR HARRIETTE: Is a gift card an impersonal gift? Sometimes I find myself too busy or at a loss for ideas when it comes time to give presents. For example, I got my friend a gift card to a store I know she likes. I felt bad, but also knew it would be put to good use. Should I have gone to the store and picked something out that she may have returned instead? -- Gift Card, Raleigh, North Carolina
Friday, April 7, 2017

Lunch eater wants to move away from loud people
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Friend may not have confided for professional opinion
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mom worried about leaving son alone with husband
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Reader questions need to buy souvenirs
DEAR HARRIETTE: When going abroad, is there still an expectation to bring back souvenirs for friends and family? I feel like I have never appreciated a keychain or refrigerator magnet, but I do not want to offend anybody. -- Tchotchkes, Dallas 
Monday, April 3, 2017

Mom doesn't know not to comment on weight
Saturday, April 1, 2017

Reader feeling fine after mother's death
Friday, March 31, 2017

Kids need direction when traveling to the city
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reader uncomfortable with boss's personal texts
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ex snoops on reader's linkedin profile
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reader needs help going into networking event
Monday, March 27, 2017

Reader not sure about mentioning friend's teeth
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend "Lauren" is very outgoing and kind. I have noticed her teeth becoming more damaged and yellowed in the past few months. We regularly speak about our various health ailments, and she has not mentioned her teeth.
Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reader thinking of co-worker as more than a friend
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have started thinking about my co-worker, "Oliver," as more than a friend. We have had a very flirtatious relationship filled with banter, but have never followed through on it.  
Friday, March 24, 2017

Friends involve reader in marriage problems
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Reader needs tips to stop procrastinating
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Daughter using emergency credit card for fun
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Woman's masculine style greeted with derision
Monday, March 20, 2017

Gift of books should come from the heart
Saturday, March 18, 2017

Reader makes up mind about makeup
Friday, March 17, 2017

Going to concert isn't a political statement
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Friend's social media obsession out of hand
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Politics gets in the way of friendship
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Friend's use of slur shocks reader
Monday, March 13, 2017

Reporting animal abuse is always correct
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live near a farm and find the state that those animals are in despicable. This is a petting zoo that gives tours to families, and the animals are kept in cramped cages and can barely move. I think this is animal abuse and believe this farm should be shut down. Should I call the police to report this neighborhood farm? I don't think children should be taught about nature like this. -- Animal Abuse, Norfolk, Virginia 
Saturday, March 11, 2017

Juggling two beaus is a bad idea
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am caught in a love triangle. I'm 22 and feel completely unsure of what to do. "Luke" is a sweet guy, and we've been friends for years, while "Chris" is a jock who has just started showing me attention. I feel horrible for juggling two guys, but only because it would hurt Luke if he found out. I know I will eventually have to choose one, but am completely torn on where to focus my energy. Should I pick the reliable choice or the daring bad boy? -- Too Much Love, Cincinnati 
Friday, March 10, 2017

Wife's secret bankroll troubles reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: My wife has recently purchased a car for herself. I had no idea she even had the funds to do something like this. She gave her old car to our daughter to take to college and refuses to answer any of my questions about her personal finances. 
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Food for restricted diet disappears too quickly
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Neighbors obsess over sprinkler systems
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Friend wants to bleach that man right outta her hair
Monday, March 6, 2017

Reader isn't ready for wedding bells
Saturday, March 4, 2017

Husband interjects in fight between friends
Friday, March 3, 2017

Sharing memories can shift focus from hardship
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fake accent is hurtful, not cute
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bride wants to avoid drunken mayhem at reception
Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Teacher feels useless without glasses
Monday, February 27, 2017

Scorned reader shouldn't sabotage former date
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went on a few dates with someone, but he never responded to my messages. You can imagine my shock when I saw him interviewing for a position at my company. I was asked my opinion on him, and I gave him a negative review because of how he treated me. Upon reflection, I possibly sabotaged him because of a situation outside of work. Should I change my tune on him, considering he is truly qualified for the job? I wouldn't want karma to come back around and bite me like it could him. -- Mincing Words, Boston 
Friday, February 24, 2017










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