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home : columns June 24, 2021

Home owner notices mistakes in brand-new home
I'm in the process of moving into my brand-new home, and I'm already seeing that a million things were done incorrectly. We built our house to look exactly like the model home that we viewed in our subdivision. I took note of small details in the model home, and I immediately noticed that things were not adding up. Our house doesn't have crown molding in the kitchen like we asked for, and the guest bathroom is way smaller.
Thursday, June 24, 2021


Politics remain a hot topic
I consider myself pretty liberal politically. I stay up to date on current events and history. So I was a bit taken aback when I was talking to a colleague about a somewhat political topic of the day and she scoffed and told me she didn't want to talk about it anymore because she didn't agree with me. Clearly, she was implying that I wasn't radical or strong enough in my views since my ideas didn't match hers. Really? It seems like everything is so politically divided now that it's not possible to discuss ideas.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Friends aren't supportive after sexual assault
Thursday, June 3, 2021

Aspiring musician wants to keep relationship private
I am keeping my relationship private for a few different reasons, but one of the reasons is that I fear that a public relationship will ruin a few opportunities for me. I am veering into the music industry and was told by management that maintaining the "single girl" image will help build a male fanbase. I don't want to jeopardize a following before it even begins, but I also do not want to hurt my relationship. What should I do?
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

I have two friends who were super-close for something like 40 years, but then they had a huge falling-out a few years ago. They have not spoken to each other since. Instead, they have occasionally spoken to other close friends about the situation. Two stubborn old men who are dug in about the issue that separated them does not bode well for those of us who are part of their mutual friend group. It almost feels like high school all over again even though these men are senior citizens. I, for one, am tired of thinking about it and, more, exhausted by the fact that our friend group is splintered. Is there anything I can do or say to help them mend the fence?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

New employee intimidated when meeting boss in person
I was hired at my company in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I have met my boss and co-workers only via Zoom or other videoconferencing platforms. We don't even live in the same town since it didn't matter where I lived when everyone was working from home.
Monday, May 31, 2021

Friend won't stop bringing up the past
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who holds a grudge like nobody's business. He has been brooding about an unfortunate incident involving one of his best friends for a few years now. I thought that the two of them had resolved things, but I saw them interacting the other day, and it was obvious that he is still holding on to his pain. When I talked to him about the wonderful event that we both attended, he dug in and talked about how much he didn't enjoy it and basically replayed all of the hurts from the past.
Friday, May 28, 2021

Conscious rapper not seeing enough popularity
I feel that I am compromising my art for the consumer. I'm a hip-hop artist, and I make what I would describe as "conscious rap." I know that conscious rap is hit-or-miss in 2021, but I'm losing my patience a little. I keep watching rappers with no lyrical depth make hits and get famous for their music when it all sounds lazy to me. My music has heart and soul, and I get little to no support for it. I've dabbled in making music that aligns more with the "mumble rap" that I hear on the radio today, but it makes me feel sad and unfulfilled. My art is my passion, and I don't want to change it, but I don't want to keep getting ignored. What should I do?
Thursday, May 27, 2021

Cousin asks for help paying for ticket
About a month ago, my cousin's boyfriend came to pick me and a friend up from the airport. I appreciated the gesture until he started driving recklessly. He was breaking every rule in the book on the drive from the airport to the house. He was texting, speeding and switching lanes without signaling. We ended up getting pulled over twice. The second time, he got a speeding ticket. The next morning, my cousin asked if I could pitch in for her boyfriend's speeding ticket; it really offended me. We had asked him nicely to slow down, and he didn't listen to us. It's not our responsibility to pay for that ticket, even if we were the reason that he was driving in the first place.
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Friend asking too much for introduction to boss
A good friend of mine really admires my current boss. She has been pestering me to get her an interview with him, or at least a phone call. I told her that I'm not comfortable using my job to put her in contact with my boss, especially since she doesn't really have anything of value to say to him. I feel like a bad friend for not helping her out in this way, but I know that I could get in real trouble at work if I give her what she's asking for. What do I do?
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Co-worker appropriates black culture
I have a non-Black co-worker who appears to draw his whole identity and personality from Black culture. He is constantly speaking in AAVE (African American vernacular English), listens to Black music only, and I've even caught him casually using a few slurs when he's speaking to non-Black friends. He doesn't really have any Black friends from what I can see. I'm offended by the fact that he's adopted parts of Black culture that perpetuate negative stereotypes. Everything about the way he carries himself and acts around other people is racist. How should I address this situation?
Monday, May 24, 2021

Musician balances real life and passion
I have a strong passion for creating music. It's hard to prioritize my art while still being a working-class citizen. As you know, hard work is key in attaining any goal. I also have to fight against the clock of life; music is a young man's game. I don't want to leave my dreams behind me, but bills are very real. My question is: How do I balance what I want for my future and what is necessary for right now?
Thursday, May 20, 2021

Aspiring artist wants to use dad's connections
My dad is a professional singer with 25 years of experience and connections I could not even dream of having. I admire all he does and want to pursue a passion similar to his. The only problem is, I don't even know where to start, and I'm nervous to ask him for help because we don't talk regularly. What do you think I should do?
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

14-year-old daughter has poor body image
My 14-year-old daughter has come to me with a troubling question. She asked me if it is OK not to like her body. I did not have a response because I was scared that anything I said to her could irreparably change how she views herself. What do you think I can say to my daughter to help her love herself again?
Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Son questions including SAT score in application
My son is a junior in high school, thinking about college. He has a lot of grand ideas for his future, and he is very excited. We are told that this year he does not have to take the SAT in order to get into college. Because of COVID-19, this will be the second "test-optional" year for many colleges. But I am worried that if he doesn't share his SAT scores, he may be overlooked. He didn't do great on the test, however.
Monday, May 17, 2021

Adult child upset after absentee father's death
DEAR HARRIETTE: My father recently passed away, and I have so many feelings about it. We had not been close for years. I tried to stay connected to him, but after he and my mom got divorced, he stopped talking to us. We went 20 years before speaking, and that was only for a moment.
Saturday, May 15, 2021

Kids think mom's boyfriend is bad news
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom's boyfriend is not a good guy at all. He's been arrested several times, and I think he currently has a warrant our for his arrest. My sister and I also recently found out that he has a child by another woman that he never told my mom about. My mom is in her late 50s and has never had the best of luck when it comes to men. I think that she's holding on to this guy out of desperation.
Friday, May 14, 2021

Lack of fashion sense embarrasses best friend
My best friend has no idea how to dress. Whenever we go out, she wears something ridiculous or inappropriate and embarrasses me. Sometimes the outfits will be out of style, or they'll make no sense whatsoever for the occasion or weather. It's really getting out of hand. I don't want us to stop doing things together, but I feel like I'm not a real friend if I don't tell her how she looks. I also don't want to come across as a hater because I know how it would sound. What do I tell her?
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Dad's gift doesn't impress recipient
My dad bought me a fake designer purse for my birthday. It was similar to a purse that I had wanted for a very long time, and I could tell that he was so proud that he was able to get it for me. However, I knew it was fake almost immediately. He's always asking why I never use it, and I just don't have the heart to tell him that I can't be seen with this purse. I even considered lying and saying that it was stolen. What do I do?
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Student-athlete questions getting a job
My family's COVID stimulus money is running out, and the bills are starting to add up. Playing Division I sports is the only way I can stay in school because I cannot afford tuition. I'm on a sports scholarship. My problem is that all of my time goes to practice, training and traveling for games, so I cannot get a job. Should I sacrifice my scholarship by getting a job?
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Boyfriend upset by partner's past
My boyfriend is upset with me because of something that happened in my past. I really have no idea how he found out about it, but it wasn't necessarily a secret. He won't open up to me about why it upsets him or how we can work through it. I don't like how he's reacting. It's unfair of him to shut me out when he wasn't even in my life at the time of the incident. What do I do?
Monday, May 10, 2021

Employee losing motivation at work
The other day, I got written up at work. I saw it coming, so it didn't really surprise me that much. I know I haven't been performing very well at this new position, but I have no idea why, and it's been discouraging. I feel like I'm at risk of losing my job, and I don't know how to deal with it. I've been doing my best -- but recently my best doesn't seem to be enough. Should I quit and start over with another employer or stick it out?
Saturday, May 8, 2021

Reader gets staph infection from nail salon
I got my nails done a few weeks ago, and now I've developed a staph infection. I went back to the same salon, and they swore that it wasn't their fault. I've gone to the doctor several times since and received multiple steroid and antibacterial treatments. My doctors told me that this type of infection always comes from nail salons. This is the only nail salon that I visit. I love the people who work there, but I feel like I need to take some type of legal action. On Yelp, a few other people have complained that they had similar issues. What should I do?
Friday, May 7, 2021

Student-athlete questions getting a job
My family's COVID stimulus money is running out, and the bills are starting to add up. Playing Division I sports is the only way I can stay in school because I cannot afford tuition. I'm on a sports scholarship. My problem is that all of my time goes to practice, training and traveling for games, so I cannot get a job. Should I sacrifice my scholarship by getting a job?
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Woman jealous of grand- daughter's other grandmother
My daughter recently had a baby -- my first grandchild. The problem is that she lives out of state, and she's now living in close proximity to her mother-in-law. They spend a lot of time together, and the mother-in-law is getting to know my granddaughter well. I cannot move closer to my daughter, nor can I take much time off work to see her. How can I be just as involved in my granddaughter's life as my daughter's mother-in-law? I don't want to be bitter about their new relationship, but I am.
Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Newly signed model doesn't want plastic surgery
I recently signed to a prestigious modeling agency in Los Angeles. This feels like my big break because I've been wanting to get signed for such a long time. The other day, my manager told me that I would book more gigs if I got a certain type of plastic surgery. I don't think there's anything wrong with me, and I'm not necessarily ready to make such a huge change to myself. I don't even think that I believe in getting plastic surgery. Other people within the agency have agreed with my manager and said that getting this procedure done would help my career a lot. What do I do?
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Harriette reflects on a year in the pandemic
I want to take a moment to talk to you directly about the things that have been going on in our world for the past year. Many of us have been quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only now being able to move about freely. The year been fraught with challenges. Because the world shut down, many of our jobs evaporated. Countless businesses -- especially the small businesses that are the backbone of our country -- did not survive. Many more continue to limp along in hopes that soon they will experience a full comeback.
Monday, May 3, 2021

Employee appalled by racist remark
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was in a virtual meeting at my job the other day, and someone made a racist comment about a fellow co-worker who was not on the call. I was shocked that this person made the comment, but it was almost worse that nobody said anything about it. I didn't speak up either. I am in a junior position and was afraid that if I said something, my job might be in jeopardy. But I'm still mad about it. A few people have been texting about it, but that isn't going to change anything. Do you think I should say something to my boss? He didn't make the statement, but he has the power to address the situation. I want to be an ally, but I don't really know how. -- Becoming an Ally
Friday, April 30, 2021

Vaccinated couple wants to plan family visit
I have been waiting for months to go visit my family. We live in different states, and the rules have been so strict around COVID-19 that we have not been able to see one another. Now that my husband and I are fully vaccinated, we want to make the trip -- especially because we have elderly family members we haven't seen for far too long. I work from home, so it's no issue for me when we get back. My husband has to go into an office for his job. We just learned that some family members have not been vaccinated yet. How can we be sure that we won't have to quarantine for two weeks when we return?
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Reader apprehensive about moving relationship to real life
I started talking to a guy during quarantine, and now he wants to take me out. We got close -- from a distance -- over this past year. We even had phone sex. It was fun, given the circumstances. I feel safe with him, or as safe as you can when you haven't physically spent time together.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Political junkie needs a break from the news
I was glued to the TV for the past four years because of how volatile things were in Washington, D.C. Frankly, I am exhausted by all of that, and I do not have the energy to focus on the new administration the way I did the last one. I worry that I am making a mistake. I know that there are issues that I should be paying attention to, and I will be mad if things go wrong and I didn't say anything, but I am just plain tired. I do not think that Biden has all the answers, and Congress is still pretty messed up. How can I continue to be vigilant part-time?
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Pet owner debates hiding animals from landlord
I have two dogs and a cat. I know that my life would be much easier if I sold my pets, but I can't bring myself to do so. I love my pets as if they're my children.
Monday, April 26, 2021

Friends with aging parents can support one another
I am in the age group where most of my friends who are lucky enough to still have their parents are now dealing with their major health issues. That includes me. It is hard for me to keep up with everyone to make sure that they and their parents are OK. Just being a supportive friend is getting challenging. I'm worried that I may miss one of my friends who could need a hug or help handling a situation with a parent -- or even worse, a parent dies and I can't respond fast enough. I need to create a system to keep myself calm and to stay engaged. Do you have any ideas?
Saturday, April 24, 2021

Dad's misogynistic remarks irritate daughter
I think that my dad has misogynistic views. He's always been old-fashioned in his values and beliefs, but now that I'm older, I'm starting to realize how problematic his mindset is. He says things to me such as, "As a woman, you need to learn how to cook and clean not only for yourself, but for your future husband." I don't understand why that's my duty as a woman. I already know how to cook and clean for myself. He also says things like, "Men prefer a clean house when they come home." I want to call him out on it. Is this misogynistic, or am I overreacting?
Friday, April 23, 2021

Boyfriend fudges the details of relationship's start
I've been in a relationship for the past six months. My boyfriend and I are happy and in love. A few nights ago, he told me that when we were in our casual dating phase and were not exclusive yet, he was still seeing other women. He told me the names of the girls he was seeing, and I know a few of them very well. I would not have a problem with this, except for the fact that at that time, he told me that he was seeing only me. I'm trying to remain unbothered by this, but it is a little upsetting. I feel like he lied to me so unnecessarily. We've already talked about it, and he promises that it isn't a big deal. How do I address this? I don't know if I feel comfortable continuing a relationship with a liar.
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Burnt-out reader tired of social media
Lately, I've been getting incredibly tired of social media. I see the same posts over and over again and the same people over and over again. I would like to remove myself from my social platform, but I'm also afraid that I'll be missing out. I've been feeling unhappy with the posts of social unrest and people's political views, and it's wearing me out. My question is, how do I maintain my relationships with people on social media while protecting my mental state at the same time?
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Girlfriend's new job causes concern
My girlfriend has been looking for a new job for a while, and she finally got a job as a server at a high-end bar and restaurant. The problem is that she wasn't totally honest with me about what kind of job it actually is. I researched the place and found out that the waitresses are required to wear really revealing outfits. I know how hard it was for her to get this job, but I'm really not comfortable with it. I also wish she had been more honest with me about it from the very beginning. What do I do?
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mom doesn't respect daughter's new boyfriend
I am the mother of a beautiful and talented 23-year-old daughter. I have always wanted her to date and marry someone who was established, educated and of Christian faith. My daughter recently told me that she has started a relationship with a 28-year-old department store worker. He did not go to college, he is not a faithful Christian and he does not have his priorities set for establishing a career. I don't want to discourage my daughter from being with the person she wants to be with, but I want her to realize that she can date somebody with more to offer. What do I do? Do I continue to support her dating a man who is going nowhere?
Monday, April 19, 2021

Neighbor wants to support woman with cancer
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a loudmouth neighbor who has been remarkably quiet recently. She told me that she got cancer and was going to have to undergo treatment. My guess is that this is why she has gone radio silent. I see her husband and son from time to time; when I ask them how she's doing, they are pretty tight-lipped, but I can tell that things aren't so good. I like this woman even though she can be a pain in the neck. I would like to do something for her, but I don't want to overstep my bounds. She loves to cook and would sometimes share dishes she had made with me. Do you think it would be good to make her a special dish? -- Reaching Out
Friday, April 16, 2021

Son resents dad's relationship with half-siblings
My ex-husband remarried a little while ago, and they eventually had a child. He and I share two kids from our marriage.

My oldest is starting to realize that the new child is getting a lot more attention than he did from his dad growing up. My oldest is in his late 20s now, so it seems kind of random for him to be harping on this the way he is. He will often compare his experiences with his father to the experiences that his youngest half-sibling is getting. I feel that it's not my place to address the resentment he's feeling toward his father.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Brother's weight gain worries sibling
My brother has been really depressed lately and is gaining a lot of weight as a result. I've noticed him eating a lot and not exercising at all. It's been gradual; since last November, he's been slowly gaining more and more weight. I think losing our great-aunt may have triggered this depression. They were very close, and he really hasn't been the same since she died. I'm concerned for his health and his happiness. Losing control of his weight may worsen his depression. How can I intervene without upsetting him or making him feel bad?
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Reader wants to find church family in new city
I've been around the same church community for practically my entire life. I'm moving to a new town where I know hardly anyone, so I'm going to have to find a new church family. I have no idea where to begin since I don't have any connections in the new town. I'm in my late 20s, and I want to find a young church with traditional values. How should I go about this?
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

New beau shows many red flags
I joined a dating app a couple of months ago, and I connected with a really nice man who met all of my requirements. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that he started showing serious signs of instability. For example, if I'm busy and cannot answer my phone, he will call and text me incessantly. He's even gone as far as to call my work number and make sure I'm there. On one occasion, he showed up at my house unannounced and practically begged me to let him inside. We are not even officially in a relationship -- we are only casually dating. I don't know if I can look past this behavior. Should I have a talk with him or just cut him off altogether?
Monday, April 12, 2021

Reader sad about friend moving away
My best friend and I have been neighbors for 20 years. For 20 years, she's been a short walk away from my home; she's always been there whenever I've needed her (and vice versa). Recently, she told me she accepted a position in another state. Although I'm happy for her, I'm devastated that she is moving so far away from me. I'm excited for her to start this next chapter of her life, but it's hard for me to be happy for her knowing that I'm being left behind. How can I be a supportive friend without showing how truly sad I am that she is leaving?
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Vegan girlfriend imposes beliefs on meat-eater
I've recently started dating a woman who is a lifelong vegan. She is very health-conscious, and she even has a website and YouTube channel dedicated to her plant-based lifestyle. While I admire her dedication to veganism, I myself have never been a vegan, nor do I wish to be.
Friday, April 9, 2021

College student questions mom's engagement
I'm a 20-year-old college student, and my mom recently got engaged to her boyfriend of two years. She's been a single mom for pretty much my entire life, and I'm nervous about her taking this next step. Her boyfriend seems cool, but I really don't know him all that well since they started dating while I was away at school. I want her to be happy; however, I'm also insecure about losing our closeness. My mom and I are best friends. It's been just the two of us for so long. How can I be more accepting of this change?
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Housesitter doesn't take care of friend's plants
My best friend was housesitting for me while I went out of town for a few weeks to visit family. One of the most important tasks I gave her while watching my house was to take care of my houseplants. My plants are very large and require proper care and sunlight, or they will quickly start to wither and die.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Long-distance friend doesn't want relationship
I've known the man who I am currently "seeing" for three years. We've never been in a relationship before -- we've always just been long-distance friends. It is almost as if we are pen pals. We met through social media.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Body issues hinder summer activities
I'm 30 years old, and I've always been really insecure about my body. During the summer, my friends and I have pool parties and beach days. All of my friends wear bikinis, even though not all of them have perfect bodies. I admire and envy their confidence; I simply don't have it. I am so insecure about my body that I have not put on a swimsuit since my teens. I'm afraid that I'm spending my best years being defeated by my own insecurities. I would love to get into the pool, and I would love to go to the beach. I don't want to stand in my own way. How can I take the steps towards accepting myself for who I am?
Monday, April 5, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: Whenever I talk to my sister, we have some kind of an argument. She is older than me, and she just can't help herself. She always finds a way to jab at me and make herself look better. I am so sick of it. But here's the thing -- while she can be rude and mean to me, I have discovered that she brags about me when she talks to other people. I was shocked to learn that she speaks about me in glowing terms. Who knew? That made me feel a bit better, but it doesn't change that she is rude to me. As an adult, how can I get her to quit it? I don't like talking to her much because it's guaranteed that she will find a way to be mean. -- Reset
Saturday, April 3, 2021

Reader not ready for life to go back to normal
DEAR HARRIETTE: Now that a lot of people are getting vaccinated, I see more people going outside, meeting up in groups and not wearing masks. This frightens me. We are not even close to being fully vaccinated yet. I get that people are tired of being cooped up at home, but I don't think this is smart. Several friends have been calling, trying to get me to hang out with them, but I'm not ready. When I say that, they call me a scaredy-cat. Really? Do you think I'm being too cautious? Several of my friends passed away from COVID-19. One of them was older and unwell, but one of them was the picture of health and young, and he died anyway. I am scared. -- Reentry
Friday, April 2, 2021

Recent grad's family urges getting a master's degree
I can't get over the feeling that I wasted my time and money in college. I graduated three years ago, and I haven't worked in my field or gotten even remotely close to it. My family is urging me to go and get my master's, but I don't want to waste even more of my time in school. Do you think it would be worth it to get my master's?
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Older dad doesn't want to make lifestyle changes
I'm concerned about my dad's eating habits. He is getting a bit older, and although he has no preexisting health conditions, he's not in the best shape. He consumes way too much sugar and sodium, and he doesn't get nearly enough exercise on a weekly basis. I've tried to help him, but he is stubborn and stuck in his ways. He feels that at his age, he is entitled to eat and live however he wants. I'm scared that if he doesn't make a change, something bad is going to happen to him. How can I convince my dad to live a healthier lifestyle?
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Reader ready to revisit relationship with ex
My ex-fiance and I have been broken up for four years now. We got engaged in our early 20s and never got married. Our relationship lasted three years. Over the past year, he and I started communicating again. The more we communicate, the more I find myself wondering if we made a mistake by calling off our engagement. Neither of us is in a serious relationship at the moment. I'm curious whether or not I should give this another go.
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Black reader wary of getting COVID-19 vaccine
I'm really afraid to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I was born in the late '60s, and I've witnessed firsthand how the medical community misdiagnoses, tricks and leads the Black community astray. I know that at some point I will need it -- and I don't want to side with anti-vaxxers -- but I'm frightened. Do you think that I am justified in being afraid of getting the vaccine, or am I being irrational? I don't believe statistics -- I know numbers can be fixed.
Monday, March 29, 2021

New friend too curious about old flame
I have recently become good friends with a girl whose boyfriend and I used to date. We all went to the same college, so it isn't a strange coincidence that we know each other, but the thing is, I have a feeling that it still makes her uncomfortable. Sometimes we'll be chatting, and she'll ask me random questions about my past relationship with her boyfriend. She'll ask me about the things we used to argue about or if he was ever unfaithful to me. I have completely moved on from that relationship, and now I'm very happy with someone else, but I just wonder if she has some type of hidden agenda with me. I really like her, and I don't want to make things weird. My other friends think it's strange that she would even want to know the details of my short-lived relationship with her long-term boyfriend. What do you think?
Saturday, March 27, 2021









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