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home : columns November 17, 2017

Loss of job takes toll on former fashion exec
DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel very sad and hopeless. I have felt like this for quite some time. I try counting my blessings, something my mother taught me when I was a child. It isn't working. I have been unemployed for three years.
Friday, November 17, 2017


Teenager caught between groups of friends
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is in an uncomfortable situation. She was separated from her core friend group this year at school and has been trying to figure out how to maintain those friendships and bond with the kids in her new classroom.
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Business dinner leads to influential contacts
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a business dinner the other evening and met a number of very influential people. Two of them gave me their cards and asked me to keep in touch with them. I was honored to receive their cards, but I have no idea what we would talk about if we were to follow up with each other. One woman is a legend in her field. The man is on the rise at his company. Me, I'm just trying to reinvent myself after having worked for 20 years in one field, only to see it virtually shut down recently. I don't see why they would want to talk to me. I'm thinking they gave me their cards just to be nice. What should I do? -- Timid, Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Woman's negativity bothers co-worker
DEAR HARRIETTE: Happenstance or convenience or whatever has caused me to spend a lot of time with a co-worker who gets on my nerves. She constantly talks about people from the moment she gets to work until she leaves in the evening. She and I are the only single people at our job, so we gravitated to each other due to our situation. We started going to happy hour sometimes, and even working out on occasion. Now I realize I can't take her endless negativity. How can I peel myself away from her without causing a rift at work? I don't want to end up being one of the people she starts talking about. -- Running for Cover, Monticello, New York
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Children need to learn from mistakes
DEAR HARRIETTE: I put my foot in my mouth this weekend. My kids got into a war of words with some of their friends that I felt, as a parent, needed to be addressed with the other parent. I talked to the other mom, and ultimately this conversation made the whole situation much worse. The kids had moved on from what seemed like a very negative situation and felt that it was resolved, only to have me stir the pot again. I have apologized to my kids, but is there anything else I should do or say? -- Foot in Mouth, Cincinnati
Monday, November 13, 2017

Friends' split upsets person left in the middle
 DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends just confided in me that she and her husband are getting divorced. I am shocked. They seemed to be a solid couple. They have been married for years, and their youngest child has just left for college. I've heard about the empty nest syndrome, where couples sometimes break up when the kids are gone. I didn't think this would happen to them. I'm not quite sure what to do. We are friends with both the husband and the wife. How do I support my friend and deal with the grief I am feeling over what's to come? -- In the Middle, Fairfax, Virginia
Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cousin unsure how to speak up about adoption issue
DEAR HARRIETTE: My cousin adopted her grandson when he was an infant. She did that because her son and the baby's mother were unfit to care for the boy, and she thought he was in harm's way. The court agreed with her, and she has had him in her custody for more than a dozen years. Every now and then the boy's mother will try to get in touch with her son. At first my cousin encouraged visits and for them to stay in touch, but every time they would get together, he would come back with behavioral problems. My cousin told me the mom tried to reach her son to say happy birthday, but my cousin did not deliver the message. I felt bad about that. I wonder how this young man is going to feel later in life given that he has no relationship with his mother. Will he resent his grandmother? Is she doing the right thing? Since she told me about it, should I express my concern? -- Protecting the Boy, Philadelphia
Friday, November 10, 2017

Freelancer needs time off to reevaluate
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working on about four freelance projects at the same time ever since I lost my job late last year. I am doing my best, but I am exhausted. Recently I have been messing up, and I'm sure it's because I am tired. I'm afraid to let go of any of these jobs, though, because I am worried about being able to pay my bills. How can I manage my time better so I don't lose everything in the process? -- Stretched Too Thin, Brooklyn, New York
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bristly beard causes irritation
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband usually is clean-cut, and I like that. Recently he has let his beard grow in for a week or more at a time. He works in a job where having a beard is fine, but for me it's an issue. He likes to cuddle up close to me at night, and his beard is rough and scratchy. I often wake up with irritated skin. I love my husband and want to cuddle with him. How can I get him to understand that for me it would be great if he would shave before coming to bed? -- Please Shave, Wilmington, Delaware
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Husband upset over posts to social media
DEAR HARRIETTE: I participated in a wonderful family celebration, and we took a ton of photos. I took some on my phone, and as per usual, I posted some of them. My husband hit the roof. He was so angry that I had "violated" our family's privacy. I never thought I was doing that. I am proud of my family and happy to share. I use social media all the time. I don't think other family members had the same opinion, but my husband is livid. How do I handle this in the future? -- To Post or Not to Post, Chicago
Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sexual advances remembered years later
DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that so many stories are coming out about sexual misconduct at work, I have remembered several incidents that I faced in my job when I was a young woman. I shrugged them off as part of life because my other female colleagues had mentioned that our boss was a serious flirt. As I recall it, though, I ended up leaving this particular job because my boss wouldn't stop trying to get me to go to bed with him. He was married, and I was barely 20 years old. I have gone on to build a fine career for myself. I'm wondering, though, if I should add my voice to this discussion. My former boss is still running his company (even though he doesn't own it) and still could be harassing women. I'm still working and don't want to cause a problem for myself. What should I do? -- Speaking Up, Denver
Monday, November 6, 2017

Friend wants to help with eating disorder
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends is battling an eating disorder. I have thought this for years, but I never knew quite what to say. She recently told me she went away to a rehab place to try to learn how to eat properly. She went and did everything she was told, but she hasn't gained weight. I am so worried about her. She is kind of tall and probably weighs less than 100 pounds. How can I be a friend to her during this period when she is trying to face her demons? -- Supporting a Friend, Las Vegas 
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mother still working at 80
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is 80 years old and still working. She has a part-time job as a nurse's aide, a job she has had for most of her adult life. I hate that she has to work as a senior citizen, but I don't make enough money to help her. I was laid off from my job two years ago and barely scrape together enough money to keep my apartment. I do go and cook food for her every week and do my best to spend time with her. What else can I do? -- For My Mother, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
Friday, November 3, 2017

Alum nervous about group events
DEAR HARRIETTE: My college is having its annual homecoming celebration soon. I have attended every year since I graduated. I'm worried this year, though. A neighboring school just had a bomb scare that shut the school down for more than an hour. Thank God it wasn't terrorism, but it got me thinking. I'm worried it won't be safe this year going into a big crowd, even though I know it's typically a friendly group of people who know each other. How can I decide if I should go? -- Into Danger, Washington
Thursday, November 2, 2017

Friends interview for same job
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am up for a job at a large company in my town, and I learned one of my good friends is interviewing for the job as well. She is so excited, and she confided in me she is trying out for this job. I didn't have the presence of mind to tell her I am interviewing for the same job. I'm sure we will see each other during the interview process. How can I let her know beforehand that I am also in the running without seeming like I am betraying her? We have both been unemployed for a while, so we both need a job badly. I can't step aside on this one. -- On the Line, Severn, Maryland
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Neighbor can do without tricks and treats
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am the neighbor who never participates in Halloween activities. I don't have children, so I have never been pressured to do it. Also, I just don't dig it. The dark imagery of corpses and goblins and all that death stuff doesn't appeal to me. I don't begrudge the people who are into it, though. What bothers me is that my neighbors get upset every year when I don't put out candy or welcome the kids who come knocking. I don't want to get into a political debate with anyone about my beliefs, but I would appreciate it if they backed off. What can I do or say to get them to have their fun without trying to get me to be a part of it? -- Off the Ghostly Grid, Denver
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Forgiveness can be a huge hurdle
DEAR HARRIETTE: My father has been dead for many years. I feel ashamed that it is only now that I have been able to fully forgive him for how mean I thought he was when I was growing up. He criticized me for every little thing. It was horrible, even though it did propel me to succeed. Just the other day I was talking to my sister about my dad, and it turns out he had been bragging about me for years to everybody who would listen. He never told me he was proud of my accomplishments, which have been many, but apparently he was quick to tell others. I appreciate this fact, long after he's gone. How can I deal with the guilt I feel for not being able to forgive him while he was alive? -- Forgiving Daddy, Washington
Monday, October 30, 2017

Sexual harassment issues worry parent
DEAR HARRIETTE: All this talk about sexual harassment at work is upsetting me, but more my daughter, who is about to graduate from college and wants to work in the entertainment industry. She and I have been discussing how she can protect herself from sexual predators on the job and whether she should even keep her dream of working in film given the horror stories that have been exposed about Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby before him, and so many others. How do I protect my daughter and encourage her to pursue her passion? Listening to the women who are speaking up today doesn't really make me more comfortable. They were quiet for decades so that they could grow their careers. Is that what my daughter's fate will be -- give in or go home? -- Protecting My Daughter, Cincinnati
Saturday, October 28, 2017

Family can't travel for the holidays
DEAR HARRIETTE: The holidays are coming up, and I am in a bind. Usually, my family travels for Thanksgiving and Christmas to visit relatives. My husband recently lost his job, and I am a stay-at-home mom. We can't afford the flights or even the road trip we normally take. We have to be frugal until we figure out how we will earn a living to take care of our family. We don't really want to tell our extended family what's going on. My husband is a proud man, and he doesn't want to admit that he got laid off. I want to honor his wishes, but I don't know what to tell the family. They will start worrying and wondering if we don't tell them something. -- Dreading the Holidays, Pittsburgh
Friday, October 27, 2017

Neighbor needs support after loss
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm not sure how to handle a delicate situation. My neighbor's husband passed away recently, and she is having a hard time. We were never close, but I am concerned for her. I want to be able to support her, but my husband doesn't like her. He has a good friend who has filled his head with terrible stories about her, so he doesn't want me to associate with her. I kept my distance for years because of my husband's perspective, but now she needs support. How do I break the invisible line and lend a hand without offending my husband? -- In Mourning, New Orleans
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Neighborhood group gets gossipy
DEAR HARRIETTE: I moved to a new neighborhood a few months ago, and I am getting to know some of the people who live nearby. I learned that there is a women's group that gets together once a month for drinks or dinner. In theory, it's really nice. The thing is, I don't like a couple of the women. They are very catty and sit in the corner and talk about people -- or worse, they talk about people out in the open -- when the people in question are not there. How can I befriend some of the other women without condoning that behavior? I don't want to be a bystander and allow that kind of talk to go on in my presence. -- Fitting In, Scarsdale, New York
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Co-worker should keep opinions to herself
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was talking to a work friend the other day, and the subject turned to a fellow co-worker who is gay. My work friend started in saying she knows we are supposed to be PC and all, but she is a Christian and believes homosexuality is a sin. She knows she should be more open to this guy, but she says it is against her religion to believe that the way he lives is acceptable. This conversation was awkward, to say the least. I understand her feelings, even though I don't agree. But we are not supposed to discriminate against anyone on the job. Her comments went on and on about this guy and his presumed behavior. I didn't like it, but I wasn't sure what to do or say. Can you help? -- Sexuality and Religion, Memphis, Tennessee
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Couple reaches impasse regarding housekeeper
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am about to get married, and my fiance and I have come to an impasse over something that I don't think is such a big deal. I grew up in a household where everybody had chores, but we also had a housekeeper who came once a week to do heavy cleaning. It was so helpful having Mrs. Lancaster with us. She became part of the family. I want the same thing for my new home. Of course, both of us should do chores, but I believe having extra help will ensure we keep everything organized and clean. My husband thinks this is excessive and a waste of money. He grew up in a household where no extra help was ever there. They couldn't afford it. We can. Plus, I work 80 hours a week usually. I need the help. How can I get my fiance to see that? -- Clean Up, Rochester, New York
Monday, October 23, 2017

Nice guy does not enjoy spontaneity on dates
DEAR HARRIETTE: I've been dating a man who is the quintessential nice guy. He calls me a lot. He asks me out on dates every weekend. He has great manners. 
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Aging group of friends falls out of contact
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother has a small group of friends she has been close to since she was a child. She is now in her late 80s.  
Friday, October 20, 2017

Checking the legitimacy of charities
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was asked to give gently used clothing to a clothing drive for victims of the hurricanes that have occurred in recent weeks. I am so happy to help, and I gathered everything my family and I could give away. 
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gun safety becomes hot topic for parent
DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that the gun issue is top of mind, I have begun to question the people I know who may have guns and the lives of my children. I never thought to ask parents if they own guns before I allow my children to visit their homes. Now I think it's a question to ask, especially if I am planning to allow my children to go for a sleepover.   
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Woman in young industry turns gray
DEAR HARRIETTE: My hair is turning gray, and it concerns me because I work in a young industry. Most of my colleagues are 20-somethings, while I am in my 40s. I am good at my job and seem to be appreciated. I make sure I look youthful enough and vital so I am not considered old.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finding a nanny comes with legal questions
DEAR HARRIETTE: I need to get a baby sitter for my son. I am going back to work, and he is too young for school. 
Monday, October 16, 2017

Woman finds older photos more flattering
DEAR HARRIETTE: I need to provide a photo to an organization I'm joining, and I don't know what to do. I am a woman of a certain age, and I much prefer my older pictures when I looked young and vibrant. I'm a professional woman, and I have worked very hard to achieve many goals, which didn't leave too much time for glam or exercise. I'm about 40 pounds overweight. I look OK, but I don't love the recent photos of me. The only professional photos I have are about 10 years old. I suppose I could wait for a few days and get another photo taken, but I fear I will hate capturing myself as I look today. Can I use an old photo of me for this organization? -- Reflection, Chicago
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Aging father has new girlfriend
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 80-year-old father lives in a retirement community. He likes it a lot and seems to be thriving since he moved there last year. My mother died two years ago, and my father needed to be around others.
Friday, October 13, 2017

Recent grad notices parents are fighting
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm afraid my parents are about to get divorced. They have been arguing nonstop for a long time. Recently it has escalated. The crazy thing is, I just moved back in the house after graduating from college. I'm here for a short time until I can get on my feet. Who knew that I would walk into a war zone? They were fine before I left four years ago, but it's different now. They don't seem to notice me much, but I want to help. What can I do? -- In the Middle, Stamford, Connecticut
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Identity theft leads to ongoing anxiety
DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel so insecure about my email address now. About two years ago, my social media and email, which were linked, were hacked. The hackers got so deep in my personal information that I had to create a new Facebook page because the hackers changed all my security questions. They stole my identity. It was horrible, but I started over.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Daughter takes her time before warming up
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter starts off shy and then warms up after a while. Because she is slow to interact with people, some think she is shy or unfriendly. That's not the case at all. It's more like she starts off as an observer, figures out who she wants to talk to and then slowly opens up to that person. In our fast-paced world, this can cause problems. I'm worried that now, when she's interviewing for high school, that the first impression people may have of her is that she is not interested in their school. What can I do to help her to pick up her pace? -- Press Fast Forward, Brooklyn, New York
Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Entrepreneur seeks inexpensive meeting spaces
DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently started a business and work out of my home. I need to have client meetings to get things going, but I don't have a place to go. I have been inviting people to meet me for coffee or drinks at various locations, but that is getting expensive. I don't have much disposable income right now. If I invite someone to meet with me, I feel like I have to offer them something. I don't know what to do. I get that you have to pay to play, but I can't keep paying at these prices. -- On the Path, Philadelphia
Monday, October 9, 2017

Private high school costs add up
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.
Saturday, October 7, 2017

Woman's abrupt manner leads to issues
DEAR HARRIETTE: I worked for a year on a project with a woman who had good intentions but who was often late and even more often was abrupt in the way she talked to me and to others on our team.
Friday, October 6, 2017

Waiting for meeting where no one shows up
DEAR HARRIETTE: How long do you wait when you are invited to come to a meeting at someone's office, but when you get there it's an open working space and you can't find the person anywhere? I get the economy of open spaces without administrative assistants, but it backfired on this day. 
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Managing expectations important in business
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have rekindled a business relationship that began some 20 years ago. My business partner was excellent back in the day, and I'm excited about the possibility of working with him again now. My concern is that last time we worked very hard on an idea that never really went far. We pitched it to all the right places, but it fell flat. 
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Elderly cousin reaches out
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an older cousin who has always been very kind to my siblings and me. She is an only child, and now that she is getting up in age I'm noticing she is pushing to get closer to us. She texts me periodically and has asked that I visit with her every time I come to town. At first, I thought of her request as an imposition. When I come home, I head straight to see my mother. Mom is the priority. Because two of my siblings help to care for my mom, I see them as well.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Teen daughter pretends to be in control
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 14-year-old daughter was hanging out with her girlfriend at home, and they were supposed to be doing homework. When I went in the room and asked what they were doing, I got a lot of nothing in terms of an answer, followed by the admission that they were about to watch Netflix. My daughter knows what she was asked to do.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Contributing to society comes in many forms
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm in a weird position. On one hand, I feel for people who are in need, like the ones who beg for money or food on the street and who are obviously in a bad situation. But I'm annoyed by people, especially young people, who sit on the sidewalk, beg for money and get an attitude when I don't give anything to them.
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Parent concerned about daughter's posts
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 14-year-old daughter is very active on social media. Snapchat is her medium of choice. I'm on Facebook and Instagram but not Snapchat. I recently learned that she and her girlfriends have been posting photos of themselves asking if they are cute. My "source" told me some of the posts are mean about other people, and some are kind. 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Social media posts cause awkward moments
DEAR HARRIETTE: I post a lot on social media, which is fun. It got me in a bit of hot water this summer, though. I was driving with my family and posting shots along the way. When I got to my destination, I started getting messages from people who live there asking me if we could get together. I had already planned my trip, and we didn't have time to visit with the people who were getting in touch with me. I felt kind of bad about it, but what could I do? 
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Friend wants a cut from setups
DEAR HARRIETTE: I know a lot of people. As a result, I've noticed people contact me all the time to put them in touch with others. At first, I didn't think much of it, but then I noticed a couple of these frequent callers are actually booking people for appearances on TV or for speaking engagements. It seems like everybody is getting paid except me. How can I leverage my relationships so I get a piece of the action? -- Making Connections, Washington, D.C.
Monday, September 25, 2017

Brother's reputation overshadows sibling
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a business conference this summer and met several people who know my older brother. When they heard my name, they asked if my brother and I were siblings. I was happy to meet people who were connected to my family. Later in the evening, after everybody had had a few drinks, these same people let loose and started telling me terrible stories about my brother. One guy told me that my brother had stolen money from the job and was fired as a result.
Friday, September 22, 2017

Action in weight loss is the most important step
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been about the same size since we got married, more than 20 years ago. I have gained quite a bit of weight. We have a scale that talks. I heard my husband weigh himself and, to my horror, I heard he weighs less than I do. 
Friday, September 22, 2017

Moment turns awkward after attempted kiss
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my best friends just came on to me, and I'm not sure how to handle it. I love her, for sure. We have been close friends for more than 10 years. I feel so stupid because I didn't even know she was gay. We have talked about my boyfriends over the years. I just broke up with a guy I dated for three years. She mostly skirts the issue when I ask her about dating. She talks about being busy with work and other things. I never pressed her. I was shocked when we hung out at my house and she tried to kiss me. I flinched, and the moment got way awkward. 
Thursday, September 21, 2017

Displaced family prefers to stay in Houston
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have family in Texas and have been begging them to come and stay with me. Already my Houston family has been displaced, but they want to stay in town to clean up and try to get their lives back. I understand they need to get their insurance activated and all, but they are living in a temporary shelter. I don't see why they can't work on the phone with the insurance company and governmental offices at least for the short term. 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Teenage daughter turns snippy
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a teenage daughter who has been lovely thus far. When people have warned me about how teens turn on their parents, I've shrugged it off. I figure if I focus on the positive, we can create space for less drama. Because this is my attitude, I find myself in an uncomfortable place.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Open discussion important with teen
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was doing the laundry and found a condom in my 16-year-old son's jeans pocket. I was in shock. My husband and I have talked to him about sex, and they have discussed it at school too, but I never expected he would be sexually active this young. I know I can't control his behavior, but he is not a mature kid. I can't imagine this is going to turn out well. I suppose I should be happy he has a condom, but I'm worried. How can I talk to him about this without alienating him? I need to know what's going on. -- In My Face, Boston 
Monday, September 18, 2017

Friend wants to help during difficult time
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine has just had surgery. His wife contacted a group of us to let us know it was happening and that she would keep us updated as to his condition. She promised to email us after he got out of surgery, but she didn't. I have been crazy with worry. Finally I wrote to the group, excluding her, to find out if anybody had heard anything. I didn't want to worry her in case anything bad had happened to her husband.
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Parent and daughter don't agree on piercings
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 15-year-old daughter wants to get her nose and eyebrow pierced. Her best friend from school just did it, and now she thinks it's her turn. I think it's a terrible idea. I think it will limit her options for work before she even figures out what she wants to do in her life. 
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Friend takes online posting too far
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who loves to take photos and videos with her phone. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we catch her posting and even streaming live. It's crazy. Last week, my other friends and I caught her posting in the bathroom at a restaurant where we were eating. Don't get me wrong. We all like to take pictures and post sometimes, but she has taken it to a different level. We want her to stop including us in these posts. What can we say or do to get her to give us some privacy? -- Out of Bounds, Denver 
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Take neighbor's comments in stride
DEAR HARRIETTE: I see a man who lives in my building almost every morning when I go out for my morning walk. He is standing at the gate when I leave and standing right there when I return. I always greet him, which is fine. The other day it was a little weird. He told me he has noticed me doing my exercise and that I'm looking good. That was nice, but then he pointed at my belly and told me if I keep on walking, I will lose that too. 
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A chance to build on our greatness
DEAR READERS: It is September 11 again. I will never forget that day 16 years ago, when time stopped and the world as we knew it changed. I live in Manhattan, and my office is in the Village, far enough away from Wall Street to be "safe" from the explosion and destruction of the Twin Towers, but close enough to see them burning and disintegrating as they fell. I remember seeing throngs of New Yorkers standing in the street on Sixth Avenue -- Avenue of the Americas -- looking downtown, incredulous at what was playing out before their eyes. I remember. 
Monday, September 11, 2017

Children unaware of previous marriage
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was previously married, in my early 20s. My current husband and I have been married for more than 20 years. Because that previous life is from so long ago, I don't think about it or talk about it at all. However, it came up recently because I ran into a college friend who knew my previous beau and me.
Friday, September 8, 2017

Friend feels judged during vacation
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to share a house this summer with an old friend I haven't seen for years. She also invited several other old friends. We all convened on a lovely home our friend had found in a beach community. It was fun to get together and tell stories and hang out.  
Friday, September 8, 2017

Recent grad living at home can't find work
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son graduated from college in May. He did well in school and had a few internships. He has been at home since graduation, actively looking for a job but has found nothing. My husband gave him six months to find a job or find a new place to live. I know our son has been working hard at it, but so far no luck. 
Thursday, September 7, 2017

Making lists can help with packing
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a heavy packer. It's pretty bad. I always want to have choices for the activities I'm going to be participating in, so I end up packing two or three outfits per event. Then there are the shoes -- for dress, different colors, for working out, slippers, and a few extras. Plus the makeup and beauty supplies.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Co-worker should focus on work at the job
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have spent the past six months working out almost every day. I am proud of myself because I had almost given up. I had gotten to the point where no matter what I did, I wouldn't lose a pound. To be fair, I was a stop-and-start kind of exerciser. But still, I tried. This year I have been consistent, and it's finally paying off. I feel good about myself even though it's going slowly. A colleague of mine has noticed my work and has started to rib me. She is super fit, always eats healthy food and goes to the gym five times a week. She has taken to bragging about her workout whenever I mention anything I have done. I find it annoying and petty. Everybody can see she's practically a bodybuilder. Why can't she cut me some slack? I appreciate when people compliment me on my effort. Do I have to stop telling my story in order to get her to lighten up? -- Pushed Aside, Denver
Monday, September 4, 2017

Neighbors don't follow apartment trash rules
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in an apartment building that has strict rules about trash disposal. Tenants are supposed to separate their trash and put it outside in the hallway between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. each day. The guy who picks it up is always on time. 
Saturday, September 2, 2017

Overweight co-workers impacting reader's diet
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work with a number of extremely overweight people. They do their work well and seem to manage fine, but they move slowly and complain incessantly about what ails them. One woman can't walk more than down a hall without stopping to catch her breath. I feel for these people. I can see them growing unhealthier by the day. At the same time, I realize that I have slacked off in my exercise routine and my eating habits. I need to turn this around for myself. Do you think I need to find a new job? Do I dare say anything to my co-workers about their weight and their choices? That feels weird and judgmental. I need to do something. Help! -- Off the Scales, Cleveland
Friday, September 1, 2017

Reader upset by selfish brother's actions
DEAR HARRIETTE: My brother moved back home after living on his own for about five years. He was living with his girlfriend during that time -- something that I didn't like so much because she didn't seem like a good influence. He started being late to work and slacking off in his responsibilities. He hardly called our mother, and did only what his ex wanted. Now, she has dumped him, and he has come back to our family home with his tail between his legs, asking my mother to take him in. I am so mad at him. He is a grown man and needs to act like one. My mother does not deserve to have to tend to his broken heart. She is old and needs to focus on herself. What can I do to get my brother to get his act together? -- Bum Brother, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer house rules aren't being followed
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I rented a summer house with another couple, and we made a list of agreements for what we can and cannot do. That includes who can spend the night, how many guests we can have at any particular time and responsibility for guests' needs, including for food and drink. We were clear, but that seems to have gone out the window. Our friends keep inviting other friends to come and spend the night. I usually cook, and they all eat without even offering to contribute -- money, dishwashing ... anything! We still have a few weeks left of summer. What can I say to our friends to get them to honor our agreement or make new guidelines that are fair to everyone? -- Duped, Stamford, Connecticut
Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Reader annoyed that friend backed out of weekend trip
DEAR HARRIETTE: My colleague invited my husband and me to spend the weekend with her and her family at her country home. She extended the invitation about a month ago, and we were supposed to go this upcoming weekend. I convinced my husband to go with me. He is a homebody, so his preference is always to stay close to home, but he agreed because he really likes my friend. 
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Daughter's excursion stresses reader
DEAR HARRIETTE: My 13-year-old daughter had a sleepover with her friend, and when I called to check in on her, they were headed out to Coney Island. I am out of town, and I was shocked. I asked if she had gotten permission from my husband, and she said she had permission to go "out." I explained that "out" is different from traveling nearly an hour to a giant amusement park. She said she understood why I was unhappy. 
Monday, August 28, 2017

Teenage daughter won't get off phone
DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter walks around with her cellphone attached to her ear like it is an appendage. I feel like everything she does takes twice the time it should because she is constantly talking to her best friend while she's fulfilling a task. I like and appreciate that she has a friend who seems to be nice, but she is taking this too far. How can I regulate her telephone time without becoming the mean mom? I want to teach my daughter good habits. -- Too Much Phone Time, Milwaukee 
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Reader needs help addressing civil unrest
DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was growing up, my parents were involved in marches and other forms of activism on behalf of the civil rights movement. I remember people constantly being in our home, sharing stories of what was going on in the world and what we had to do about it.  
Friday, August 25, 2017

Son's politics may derail college scholarships
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son has become involved in the student government at his school. As political topics have come up on campus, conversations have gotten heated, and my son has taken a stand. I am proud of him, but I'm also concerned. He is up for a scholarship for college, and I worry that if he becomes too politically vocal, he could lose this important money that can help him go to college. Should I encourage him to tone down his comments so that he can look ahead to the future? -- On the Line, Atlanta
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Reader uncomfortable with friend's pleas for money
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is an artist. He has worked on many projects, and over the years he has started capital campaigns to get his friends and others to help fund his ideas. I like the fact that he is trying every way he can to pay for his ideas, but I find it uncomfortable to keep getting these pitches from him. I know him. We went to college together. I like him a lot, but I do not have the resources to continue to help fund his projects. I feel guilty for not wanting or being able to give him money when I receive requests from him in very personal ways -- like via text or direct message on social media. How can I handle this? Should I say something to him? -- Pitch Fatigue, Raleigh, North Carolina
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Reader stunned after seeing photo of self
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been exercising regularly since May. I have lost almost a whole dress size, and I am proud of myself. It hasn't been easy, but I'm sticking to it. 
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Reader nervous about mom's new beau

DEAR HARRIETTE: My 85-year-old mother has a suitor! She recently moved into a retirement community, and there's a gentleman there who has taken a fancy to her. She sounds all bubbly on the phone when she talks about him. I am happy for her, but I feel like the mother of a teenager.  

 

Monday, August 21, 2017












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