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home : columns : dear harriette October 18, 2019

Reader discovers husband's love letters
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was clearing out a room in my house to try to get rid of clutter when I came across a stack of letters addressed to my husband. I was curious, so I opened them; I was horrified to discover that they came from another woman. We have been married for many years, so this bothers me. Has he had an affair that I don't know about? Are they from an old flame that he never got over? What do I do with this discovery? I'm not trying to upset our life together. We are good -- or so I thought. But I can't act like I didn't find them. What should I do? -- Love Notes
Friday, October 18, 2019


Freelancer needs to remember self-care
I have been working nonstop for about two months now, and I am completely exhausted. Obviously that means I should slow down, but the thing is that I am a freelancer. I'm afraid to turn down work when it's coming on strong. Who knows when it will dry up and I will be broke again? I don't want to risk being unavailable and then somebody else gets the job and they don't call on me again. I'm also afraid that I will get sick if I don't get some rest. What should I do?
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Co-workers worried by reader's allergies
It's allergy season again, at least for me. I find myself sneezing and sniffling all the time, even though I use allergy medicine. Sometimes I can tell that my co-workers back up a little when I have allergic reactions. I feel confident that I am not contagious. It's just allergies, but they do present like a cold sometimes. How can I reassure my co-workers that I am not going to make them sick?
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Reader finds love with old flame
Am I wrong to think that I could find true love with my high school sweetheart after being separated for more than 30 years? I am not a romantic normally, but recently I ran into my old flame, and sparks flew. I truly loved this guy when I was in 10th grade, and it broke my heart when college came and we parted ways. Nothing bad happened
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Reader scared to hurt feelings in charitable giving
I get requests for donations online all the time. I see birthday fundraisers on social media, charity efforts to support various causes, etc.
Monday, October 14, 2019

Parent wants to give history to daughter's language
My teenager comes home almost every week trying out new slang. So far, nothing is profane. Some of the sayings hail from back in my day, a thousand years ago. She hates when I tell her that, though. She wants to think that she and her friends are original. Should I just let her think that her new words are new to the world? Part of me wants her to have a sense of history, but I don't want to spoil the moment when she is sharing her discoveries with me.
Saturday, October 12, 2019

Housemate disapproves of cousin's dating life
I live in a duplex building with my cousin. I have a pretty simple life, but my cousin is another matter entirely. He is an attractive young man in his early 20s, and he constantly has women coming in and out of the house. I know because I often run into them. I get that he doesn't have to have a steady girlfriend, but this is ridiculous. I know it's only a matter of time before one of them runs into another. Plus, I worry about my cousin's health. You can't be that promiscuous without the chance of contracting some type of STI.
Friday, October 11, 2019

Reader annoyed with overly friendly acquaintances
I absolutely hate it when people come up to me to ask me if I remember them. I almost always do not. I have a horrible memory. Plus, half of these people are random -- at least as far as I'm concerned. They are not people who have been important in my life. One woman who pressed me to figure out who she was told me that we were friends on social media but hadn't actually met yet. Really?!
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Couple must work to restore intimacy
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been married for a long time, but we have not been close for years. We look good at a party, but we don't share any type of intimacy. In part, it's my fault. We were at each other's throats some years back, and he was not nice to me at all.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Couple must work to restore intimacy
My husband and I have been married for a long time, but we have not been close for years. We look good at a party, but we don't share any type of intimacy. In part, it's my fault. We were at each other's throats some years back, and he was not nice to me at all. That's when I stopped being intimate with him. After a while, it just started being habit that we weren't romantic. Now, our son is about to go away to college. I worry that if things don't change, we won't have a reason to stay together. I can't make it on my own financially, but I also don't know how to turn the romance back on. Do you have any suggestions?
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Woman crosses line by scolding diabetic co-worker
I have diabetes. I am taking the proper medication for it, and I think it is mostly under control. Occasionally I like to eat sweets, but I try to keep it in check.

Recently, I was out with some co-workers, and when I ordered an ice cream, my colleague chastised me, telling me that it was not good for my health. I was offended. My doctor says that I can have sweets in moderation, which is what I do. But even if I chose to eat the whole ice cream store, it shouldn't be her business to weigh in on my choices.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Ex won't explain why she dumped partner
DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend broke up with me right after we celebrated her birthday. We had a nice dinner together, I thought, but then she dumped me. She said she wanted to make sure that we ended on a good note before it was over. That's why she said that she planned the nice meal.
Monday, October 7, 2019

Ex won't explain why she dumped partner
My girlfriend broke up with me right after we celebrated her birthday. We had a nice dinner together, I thought, but then she dumped me. She said she wanted to make sure that we ended on a good note before it was over. That's why she said that she planned the nice meal.
Monday, October 7, 2019

Unpaid interns reap priceless benefits
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have just started a new company and have a small team of people working with me, plus several unpaid interns. I need everyone in order to get things off the ground, and my resources are very limited right now. I give college credit whenever the schools allow, but sometimes the interns are simply volunteering.
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Boorish neighbor lacks boundaries
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who is annoying, to say the least. She talks too much and is extremely loud and intrusive. I am a loner and rarely have company. She will ring my bell at all hours of the day and night and barge in because she wants somebody to talk to, or she wants a drink and is all out at her apartment. I don't want to have to let her in, but she is insistent. Sometimes she will bang on the door until it disturbs the other neighbors if I don't answer.
Friday, October 4, 2019

Job seeker should tidy his speaking habits
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is a young adult looking for a job. He just finished college and hasn't found anything yet. When I talk to him, I notice that he has adopted some poor speech habits -- from school, I guess. He constantly says "like" in almost every sentence. I know that many young people do that, but I find it annoying. I wonder if this is distracting in his job interviews. How can I help my son to clean up his speech? -- LAZY LANGUAGE
Thursday, October 3, 2019

Wedding gift should come from the heart
I was invited to a bridal shower but was unable to attend because of a last-minute scheduling conflict. I feel bad because I really like the woman who is getting married. I was wondering if I should get her a gift anyway. I already know that I will not be able to attend the wedding. It is a destination wedding, and a little pricey for my wallet. But I want to do something for her. Do I get her a shower gift and a wedding gift, even though I won't be attending either? What do you recommend?
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Treat celebrities as you would want to be treated
I live in New York City and often see so-called boldface named people walking around. The other day I saw Charlie Rose walking along Central Park. I have seen actors in Soho and politicians in Harlem. Whenever I see these people, I want to say hello, but they don't know me. I fear that they will be offended if I were to walk over to them to say hi and that I appreciate their work. Do you know any guidelines for how to approach famous people who are out and about?
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Parent needs to vet potential babysitter
I have a 5-year-old who is a good kid. He gets along with most people. This includes a teenage girl who lives in my building. Her mother came to us to say she would be available for babysitting if we ever need help. Occasionally my husband and I do go out, and we could use a part-time sitter. I worry, though, that this young lady may not be attentive enough. My child has a good temperament, but he's still 5. He has to be watched at all times. Would you allow a teenager to watch a 5-year-old?
Monday, September 30, 2019

Reader worried about negative feedback
I conducted a workshop for a client, and we did a survey to see how the participants felt about it. I thought it went really well, and most of the participants agreed and shared bits about their experiences in the comments. About a third of the participants didn't like it, though. I know I shouldn't hold on to those negative comments, but I can't help myself. I feel like I can do better and may be able to win everybody over. I'm wondering if I should ask the administrator if I can contact the participants to ask for more feedback.
Saturday, September 28, 2019

Girlfriend and her brother have vicious fights
I seem to have become the go-between when my girlfriend and her brother get into arguments. I am an only child, so I am unaccustomed to seeing family members go at each other so viciously. They are quick to argue and can be downright mean when they are talking to -- or yelling at -- each other.
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Laid-off employee must find a new job
I worked the same job for many years -- decades, really -- and I got laid off this summer. I have meager savings and no idea of what I can possibly do to take care of my family. I do not have a college degree, but I do have a lot of job experience in office administration. I feel so sad about what's next. How can I change my attitude and find work?
Wednesday, September 25, 2019

After downsizing, reader worries friends will bail
DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to be the one in my friend group who paid for everything. I earned a lot more money, so whenever our group would go out, I would pick up the tab. I had no problem doing that. But times have changed. I got downsized at my job, and I don't have enough disposable income to foot the bill anymore.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

After downsizing, reader worries friends will bail
I used to be the one in my friend group who paid for everything. I earned a lot more money, so whenever our group would go out, I would pick up the tab. I had no problem doing that. But times have changed. I got downsized at my job, and I don't have enough disposable income to foot the bill anymore.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Daughter upset she's not in class with friends
My daughter just started back to high school, and she seems sad. She made a few friends last year, but she discovered that she is not in any classes with them this year. She thought that she would find some comfort in this new, big school because she had her crew to rely on, but she is finding herself having to be solo again. It seems that she is feeling vulnerable. How can I help her?
Monday, September 23, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: A client of mine contacted me recently to see if I would work on a project with her. It was a generous offer, but not a great fit. I do know someone that I think would be better for the project, and I told her that I would put them in touch with each other. There is potential for a lot of money to be made on this thing. I now think that if I introduce them, I should get a cut of the deal. Is that wrong of me to think? How can I go about getting myself in the finances of this thing? -- Want a Cut
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Son is unmotivated after lazy summer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm worried about my son's discipline as he starts off this school year. For the first time, he did not have extracurricular activities this summer. He was supposed to have a job, but he couldn't find one. He mostly hung out with friends or slept around the house. By the time I figured out how unstructured his summer was, it was too late for me to set him up with activities.
Friday, September 20, 2019

Reader shocked that friend is glib about medicine
DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine just told me that she almost died because she didn't take her blood pressure medicine. She is a smart, professional woman who has an important job and is involved in many civic organizations, plus she is a wife and mom. She is paying closer attention now, but it's weird. I don't understand why she would be so flippant about her medication.
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Reader worried family will judge blue-collar beau
DEAR HARRIETTE: I come from a professional family. For several generations, everyone has been college educated and has had a great professional job. I took that route myself, and I am now working in finance, which I like.
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Reader worried family will judge blue-collar beau
I come from a professional family. For several generations, everyone has been college educated and has had a great professional job. I took that route myself, and I am now working in finance, which I like.

I have met and fallen in love with a man who does not have a college degree. He and his family are simple people who live pretty modestly. They are salt-of-the-earth people, too. I love him, and I love them. My boyfriend does landscaping. He has his own truck and all of the tools he needs in order to be self-sufficient, and he does very well. In fact, he already makes way more money than I do in my junior banking job. I know it's not enough for my family. They expect me to bring home somebody with a pedigree. I haven't met anybody like that who makes me this happy.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Reader wants to open bank account for niece
DEAR HARRIETTE: I tried to give my niece money for her birthday, but she doesn't have a bank account. She is 13 years old. I was shocked. I want to start an account for her, but I don't want to offend her parents. I think she needs to learn about money and how to grow it. How can I make this recommendation without hurting my sister's feelings? -- Open an Account
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reader wants to open bank account for niece
I tried to give my niece money for her birthday, but she doesn't have a bank account. She is 13 years old. I was shocked. I want to start an account for her, but I don't want to offend her parents. I think she needs to learn about money and how to grow it. How can I make this recommendation without hurting my sister's feelings? -- Open an Account
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reader terrified of natural disasters
I am so scared because of the extreme weather in the world. When I listen to the news, I can't tell what to believe. Some leaders say that this is all happening because of climate change, and they say that it is not too late for us to change our ways. Others say that's a bunch of baloney, and human beings have nothing to do with the weather patterns.
Monday, September 16, 2019

Influencer thinking of ending friendships
I feel like many of the friends I've known since I was in high school are resentful of me ever since I've become an influencer. I feel like I'm being mistreated and get ditched by them occasionally. I'm not sure if it is me changing or them being jealous of me. I want to talk to them about this before I end our friendships. How should I discuss this with them?
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Friend wants to celebrate woman's remission
I have a friend who had breast cancer several years ago. She seems to be in the safe zone, so to speak, in that six years have gone by. She told me that if you pass five years without a relapse, you are considered to be cancer-free. I started thinking that maybe this is something I should celebrate with her. Just as I was going to suggest doing something special in honor of her good health, she told me that another friend of hers just died from complications of some kind of cancer that came back after several years.
Friday, September 13, 2019

Pale daughter's sunburn worries parent
My daughter has very fair skin, so I always caution her to stay out of the sun. This summer, she went away for the weekend with some of her high school friends, and when she returned, she had a severe sunburn. Her skin continues to peel, and she is uncomfortable.
Thursday, September 12, 2019

Harriette urges readers to see good in each other
Today is a day of remembrance. Because "war" seems to happen "over there" somewhere, many of us didn't connect to the visceral realities of war and tragedy in an immediate way until this day, 9/11, 18 years ago.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

New friend cuts off communication without warning
I hit it off with a new friend, and we've been chatting on social media. We have exchanged numbers and have been texting every day. The conversation flowed smoothly.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

College student questions calling out friends
When I return to college, there are a couple of people I will be seeing for the first time since the semester ended who I promised to make plans with and didn't end up seeing. While some of this was my fault, sometimes the other person flaked on me, which upset me.
Monday, September 9, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I had a vivid dream the other night that my old boss appeared at an event and asked me how my marriage was going. I said, "Fine." My husband and I have been married for more than 20 years. We have our ups and downs, but mostly I would say we are fine. In my dream, my boss looked at me intently and said, "No! Things are not fine." I woke up with a start and wondered what this meant.
Saturday, September 7, 2019

Boyfriend upset when woman gets a tattoo
DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently got a tattoo on my arm without my boyfriend knowing, and when I told him, he freaked out a bit. He apologized later, but this really struck a nerve with me. I am going to ask him why he thought this was such a big deal; he shouldn't think he has control over my body. How should I approach the relationship if that is the case? -- Tattoo Girl
Friday, September 6, 2019

Boyfriend upset when woman gets a tattoo
I recently got a tattoo on my arm without my boyfriend knowing, and when I told him, he freaked out a bit. He apologized later, but this really struck a nerve with me. I am going to ask him why he thought this was such a big deal; he shouldn't think he has control over my body. How should I approach the relationship if that is the case?
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Parent finds vape pen in teen son's room
When I was straightening up my son's room while he was at camp this summer, I found a vape pen inside his pillowcase. I knew that he has tried vaping, because we talked about it. But I was crystal clear with him that it is bad for him and that he should not continue it. He assured me that he did not like it, he did it a long time ago and it was over. I was shocked to find this little thing that looks like a USB drive in his pillow.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Reader questions telling ex about one-night stand
My girlfriend and I broke up a month ago. We had been dating for two years when things went bad, and we decided to call it quits. I had a one-night stand during our break, but I have been communicating with my ex again, and it seems like we both want to get back together at some point. Should I tell her about my one-night stand immediately, or should I wait for her to ask about it?
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Co-worker should keep thoughts to himself
I was working on an intense project recently, and after a while, everybody got pretty testy, mainly because of the long hours and the lack of sleep or breaks. One of the members of the team, who has worked on this job for many years, has a short fuse; he started grumbling about the work conditions. He was pretty harmless -- mostly just letting off steam -- but it got back to the big boss, who was very upset. My co-worker apologized, but he continued to grumble about things in private while we were still at the work site. He didn't seem to understand that he should keep his thoughts to himself until he was safely away from the job. How can I impress that upon him?
Monday, September 2, 2019

It's time to talk to teenage son about protection
My 15-year-old son came home late from a party with his friends. In the morning, I noticed that he had a hickey on his neck. Now, I am no prude, but I'm also no dummy. I need to remind him of how to protect himself, but when I attempted to talk about it, he brushed me off, saying it wasn't a big deal.
Saturday, August 31, 2019

Friend wants to reach out after losing touch
I just spent time with some women who are friends with someone I grew up with. I used to be close to this friend's mother, and I would talk to her from time to time over the years, but we lost touch with each other. I learned from these women that my friend's mom is in poor health and her daughter is taking care of her. I want to reach out to say hello, but I also feel terrible that I haven't reached out in several years. Do you think they will appreciate my call, or will they be resentful that it seems like I forgot about them?
Friday, August 30, 2019

Parent wants more information from camp
My daughter spent a month at camp this summer. When she got home, she told me that one of the girls in her group had tried to hurt herself through cutting.
Thursday, August 29, 2019

Upperclassman wants more confidence in public speaking
I am preparing to give a speech in front of the underclassmen at the beginning of the school year. I still have a lot of time to prepare, but I want to make sure that I know exactly what to say. I want to improve my confidence with public speaking. Do you have any tips for me to feel less afraid when I am standing in front of a lot of people?
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Parent struggles with becoming empty nester
My son is going to leave for college in a week, after he spent a gap year living at home, working and learning how to code. He's my only son, and having him out the house will be a huge change for me and my husband. How would you adjust to having your child away from your home for the first time?
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Mom feels unappreciated in the kitchen
Before I had my son, I never cooked. My husband and I live in New York City, so it was easy to order in or go out; we could eat healthy at a good price. But after we had our son, we had to start preparing meals. I took on dinner and have become good at it.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been wearing my hair straight for many years, even though it is naturally curly. I'm now a student at a relatively conservative, mostly white school, and it may not seem like a big deal, but one way I fit in is by wearing my hair like my classmates.
Saturday, August 24, 2019

Talent agent causing problems with career
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm working with a talent agency, and my agent constantly messes up appointments. He makes a lot of typos and is hard to contact to get clarification. Sometimes his mistakes make me late for auditions, so I want to improve my communication with him. What can I do? -- Agent Problems
Friday, August 23, 2019

Mom feels she hasn't given as much to son
I am a single mom with two teenage children. I spent a lot of time and energy working with my daughter to ensure that she did well in school, and I got her into a great college.
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Son wants to help stressed-out mother
My mother has been getting upset at my grandmother a lot recently, and it has been hard on my family. My mother gets stressed out because she regulates my grandmother's medications and manages her diet, exercise and various health problems. However, she then ends up getting burnt out to the point that there is yelling and crying every few days. I'm not sure how much I can do, but I'd like to support both of them so this happens less. How can I be of help?
Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Boyfriend disappears for the summer
I have been dating a guy this year who seemed attentive. We would get together at least once a week, sometimes more. Then summer came. He has been virtually absent all summer long. There has always been an excuse, like he had to travel here or there to deal with family or to help a sick friend. Summer is almost over, and I have hardly seen him. It has been so bad that I haven't even been able to sit down with him and find out what's going on. He couldn't be more different now than he was for the previous six months. Should I just move on, or should I try to get a handle on things?
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Reader upset by bad breath
I have never been someone to have bad breath -- at least as far as I know -- but the other day I was participating in a meeting with a small group of people, and I noticed that whenever I was speaking, they would hold their hands up to their noses. They tried to be discreet about it, but I figured it out after a while.
Monday, August 19, 2019

Son needs energizing before school starts
For the first time in eight years, I did not enroll my son in any type of summer camp or organized summer activity. He was tired from his first year in high school and did not want to go back to camp. He has had a few long weekends with his friends and two mini-vacations with our family, but mostly he sleeps and does little to nothing. He has to read a bit before school starts, and I'm having a hard time getting him motivated to do that. Clearly, I made a mistake giving him a break this summer. How can I get him energized before school starts again?
Saturday, August 17, 2019

Son's career strains relationship with parents
I was raised in a conservative family and now work at a progressive media company where I create content that my parents do not approve of. I do not think we will be able to reconcile our ideological differences, and I'm worried that our relationship has been strained as a result. How can I maintain a good relationship with my parents when we fundamentally disagree on a topic that my entire career is based on?
Friday, August 16, 2019

African American employee worried about standing out
I recently started a new job, and I am the only African American person in the entire workplace. I don't know how to feel or what to expect because this is the first time I've been the only minority at my place of work. I'm not sure if I should even pay attention to it or if I should keep my guard up. While I don't want to be at work with a negative perspective, I can tell that most of the employees are a little shocked that I got this position. Some are masking it by being overly nice. Can you give me some tips on how to be comfortable in an environment where no one looks like me?
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Rude 15-year-old can handle confrontation
We recently went on a family vacation, and our overall time was great. However, there were some uncomfortable moments. My father invited some of his family from Florida and South Carolina, and instead of exhibiting Southern charm, they were pretty rude. Our family welcomed them with open arms and tried to show them a good time, but they seemed ungrateful.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mother finds it hard to be only woman in house
I am a woman with a husband and a 19-year-old son, and recently I've been finding it difficult to be the only woman in the household. Sometimes it feels like I can be heard only when I raise my voice. What course of action can I take to convey these feelings to my husband and my son in a healthier manner?
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tattooed woman wants to show mom her ink
I have been hiding my tattoos from my parents for years. They disapprove of tattoos in general and have somewhat traditional beliefs. I have two tattoos -- a large one on my upper arm that can be concealed under a T-shirt sleeve and a small one on my fingers. Recently my mother discovered my small tattoo and berated me only a little bit. The reveal went better than I thought it would, probably because the tattoo she saw is very small.
Monday, August 12, 2019

Woman doesn't get back to mentor in timely fashion
I have a young woman in my life who is important to me. I consider myself her mentor. She calls whenever she needs anything, and I do my best to be available at a moment's notice. I am beginning to see, though, that when I need her, she is often MIA. If I text or call her, I may have to follow up three or four times before she responds. Meanwhile, if she texts or calls me, I do my best to drop everything to make time for her. I don't like how this is balancing out.
Saturday, August 10, 2019

Parent wants to cut down on teen's screen time
How do you approach teen smartphone and computer usage? I think my son's constant use of phones and other screens -- especially at night -- is not great for his health. He is 16 years old and is constantly on some device. I know that he plays interactive video games with his friends, but I am worried about whatever else he may be doing. What are some ways I can limit his phone usage without being too harsh?
Friday, August 9, 2019

New employee worried about job expectations
I just got a job -- finally. I am excited but also a bit worried. I will be working at an upscale restaurant that has many expectations about how the staff behaves. They expect us to speak perfect English and to know all of the rules of etiquette. I'm not sure how I was hired, because there is so much that I do not know. Still, I will give it my all. Do you have any recommendations for how I can get up to speed quickly?
Thursday, August 8, 2019

Husband ignores reader after stressful day at work
My husband worked really late the other day. I called him throughout the day to make sure he was OK and to share a cheerful word or two. When he finally got home, I called out to say hello. He didn't say anything, went into the back of the house and disappeared for hours. I know he was exhausted, but the least he could have done was to have said hello to me before holing up. I don't want to make a big deal of it, but it hurt my feelings. I don't know when the right time would be to bring it up. He is completely stressed by work. I don't want to add to that, but I do want him to be kind to me. How can I get him to think of me?
Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Reader struggles to remember new names
Whenever I run into people I've met before and they approach me knowing my name, I always feel really bad when I forget theirs. What are some ways that I can either admit to forgetting somebody's name in a less embarrassing way or have them tell me their names naturally within the conversation?
Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Parent wants to cut down on teen's screen time
How do you approach teen smartphone and computer usage? I think my son's constant use of phones and other screens -- especially at night -- is not great for his health. He is 16 years old and is constantly on some device. I know that he plays interactive video games with his friends, but I am worried about whatever else he may be doing. What are some ways I can limit his phone usage without being too harsh?
Monday, August 5, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am really worried about my husband. He seems to be in good enough health. He exercises daily and eats well, but he hasn't had a physical in more than 10 years. He doesn't believe in going to the doctor. Instead he reads about holistic alternatives to traditional medicine and chooses to "heal" himself whenever he has an issue. One time, that landed him in the hospital because he did the wrong thing, but he still didn't get a physical.
Saturday, August 3, 2019

Lending a dress carries awkward risk
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends asked me if she can borrow a formal dress for an event that she is attending. She has a limited budget and really can't afford to go out and buy a gown. Under normal circumstances, I would be OK with that. She seems responsible, and I hardly wear my formal clothes.
Friday, August 2, 2019

It is never too late to support a grieving friend
I feel so bad. My good friend and neighbor lost her father recently. She and I had been talking about his illness, and I was supporting her emotionally to the best of my ability. But I was traveling for work when he died and was away at the time of the funeral.
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Freelance worker must make time for jury duty
I work freelance and do not make a dollar when I am off work. I just got called in for jury duty, and it's at my busiest time of work. I have to go, because they threatened to fine or arrest me because I have been unable to make it in the past. I am worried that I am going to lose work if I get picked for a jury. What can I do?
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Son has grown lazy without structure of camp
Usually I put my son in summer camp, but I didn't make him go this year. He wanted to have less structured time, which I understand. He has been oversubscribed for most of his life.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Well-intentioned remark was actually racist
I was working with my colleague the other day on a longtime project. We were chitchatting, and everything was fine until he attempted to say something complimentary, but it really was racist. I know he was trying to be nice to me. I also know that he cares a lot about me, but I feel like I should tell him that what he said was off. He told me that he thought that my skin color and that of another woman were so beautiful, just the right color of brown -- not too dark, not too light.
Monday, July 29, 2019

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who tries to be helpful but ends up being whiny. When I tell her something that I'm working on, she immediately looks to figure out how she can be of help. That is generous of her. But the next thing you know, she is blowing up my phone wanting me to stop everything I'm doing to respond to her in that moment. I am busy and can't always do that, plus her manner is really annoying. How can I change my attitude to be more open to my friend's help? Or better yet, how can I get her to chill a bit as she is trying to help me? -- Overwhelmed
Saturday, July 27, 2019

Husband resents spouse's new job
DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a new job this year, and it has me traveling more than ever. I like it, but it is taking a toll on my husband. He is so dependent upon me, I don't think he eats when I am away. I do my best to make food for him that he can warm up, but sometimes I just can't do it. My schedule is full, and I find it challenging to do everything. My husband does know how to cook, but he doesn't like to.
Friday, July 26, 2019

Reader is feeling overwhelmed by the future
I feel like such a loser. I had a great career earlier in my life, but I lost my job almost 10 years ago. Since then, I have had small projects here and there, but nothing has stuck. Now I'm approaching my 60s, and I have nothing to show for it. At this rate, I will never be able to retire. I feel like such an idiot. I have met people with no education and with menial jobs who have saved way more than I have and who are set for their twilight years. I don't know what to do. I feel like it's too late for me, but I have to figure out something.
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Barista needs to manage sleep better
I'm having trouble managing my sleep schedule, and I have a real issue with staying up late, sometimes when I have work in the morning, and sometimes when I just want to watch more television. When I don't sleep enough, I wake up exhausted and grouchy. I work in a coffee shop, so often I have to get up early.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Vacationer finds it difficult to relax
When I travel with my children and my husband, I find myself overpacking to ensure that I have everything I need for them and for myself. During our vacations, I find it difficult to relax and wind down. I'm always preoccupied with one thing or another. I'd like to take it easy for my next trip. How can I achieve this goal and break free from self-induced worrying all the time?
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Reader needs a break from monster boss
I work for a woman who can be extraordinarily difficult. It's so bad that I break into a cold sweat before scheduled calls with her. I'm constantly worried that I will not measure up to her expectations. My boss is rude and condescending usually, though other times she acts like an angel. I never know which person I'm going to get. I need this job, so I don't want to walk away from her, but I am growing weary of feeling like I have to be on guard. What can I do to stop letting her get under my skin?
Monday, July 22, 2019

Freelancer can't turn down work
I am a freelance producer, and I have struggled a lot with finding enough work. This year has been different. I have had quite a few small jobs, and I am grateful for them. The problem is that it is hard to keep track of small projects when they overlap. I scheduled a short vacation this summer, but then I got a gig and had to do the prep work during my vacation. My boyfriend was mad because he took off work from his 9-to-5 and expected me to do the same. I wanted to, but I worry about turning down work when I remember so well that a year ago I had none. How do I manage this new reality?
Saturday, July 20, 2019











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