Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:10:52 -0700 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate 1d494fd3cf82f1c4268b58040f2d6363 Volunteering for 04/23/2018 Mon, 23 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Did you know that an estimated 16 million youth participate in volunteer activities in the U.S. every year, and that by volunteering, these young people will perform better in school? These amazing kids do everything from collecting stuffed animals for children who are victims of tragedy to creating sustainable gardens in urban communities. All of these remarkable youth have a common goal: to raise awareness and solve the problems facing the world today.</p> <p>To celebrate their ingenuity, idealism and passion, please remind your readers that the 25th Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) will take place April 26-28, 2013. Last year, young people around the world came together and participated in nearly 4,500 projects. Additionally, thousands of community partners in more than 106 countries brought together millions of young people to strengthen their communities through the power of youth service. For more information, your readers can visit Sincerely &#8212; Steven A. Culbertson President and CEO Youth Service America </p> <p>Dear Steven Culbertson: Thanks so much for letting us once again mention Global Youth Service Day. Young people all over the world do such fantastic and helpful volunteer work, not only on this day, but every day of the year. Global Youth Service Day provides more opportunities for everyone to get involved. We hope all of our readers, young and old, teachers and students, will check out your website. <p>Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2018</p> 0f11a17812091cd90c3ef786b391c3b9 Boyfriends and Girlfriends for 04/22/2018 Sun, 22 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My friend "Nina" just broke up with her boyfriend of five years. We are here for her, trying to help in any way we can, even though we think she is out of her mind for doing this. </p> <p>One of our friends has been telling Nina lies about the guy, saying he has been talking about her behind her back. I have never heard him do this. All he has ever said is that he loves Nina and doesn't understand why she broke things off.</p> <p>This friend has a reputation for being dishonest. There have been fights about this before. She has backstabbed Nina twice in the past, yet Nina always turns to her when she thinks her world is collapsing. Nina has told me that she doesn't trust this woman, but they continue to act like sisters.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 22, 2018</p> 006926b1e51a64492cf484469d2570cc My Bipolar Son for 04/21/2018 Sat, 21 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Our 31-year-old son is bipolar. We did not realize how severe it was until a few years ago. He is a bright, gentle and articulate college graduate who can also be mean, self-centered and highly opinionated. When he takes his medication, he is cooperative and easy to live with. The problem is he won't take his medicine consistently. He claims it makes him feel "slow." </p> <p>He has seen therapists over the years but refuses to continue, claiming they find nothing wrong with him. We have no way to know whether this is true. When he finally graduated a year ago, he received a nice inheritance check from his grandmother and ran through the money in two months, spending it on pot, gambling, clothes and prostitutes. There was little left to pay his bills, so he left his wrecked car in a vacant lot and walked back to our house. We took him in on the condition that he would resume his medication. We paid his lapsed insurance, the fine for getting into the accident, and the repairs to both vehicles. </p> <p>We took him back to a psychiatrist who offered to treat him at low cost. We enlisted him in a program wherein the drug company provides his medication for free for one year. After two months, he got a good job, but three months later, he was laid off. We suspect he stopped taking his medicine. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 21, 2018</p> 1c5a694aff6554bc370df85f89e01e85 Unrealistic Expectations for 04/20/2018 Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I'm a 70-year-old woman, still attractive and athletic. I have been dating "Sam," age 74, for nearly three years. When we met online, I clearly stated that I wanted to get married in the near future and that I had three cats and wanted a man who loves animals.</p> <p>Sam is a nice, educated man. He treats me well, and we do a lot of different things. However, he still talks with his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend regularly. He says his ex-girlfriend is lonely and has a sad life. I could deal with that, but his ex-wife was the "love of his life." He says they have a lot in common and she is fun to talk to. Occasionally, they see each other. I don't like it, and neither does her boyfriend. </p> <p>Sam is a great guy in many ways, but I am having a hard time adjusting to this. He insists that his ex is in his past, but isn't talking to someone on the phone every other week considered a current relationship?<p>Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2018</p> 6fb5a7d7841eccce8fe11a9b98ca511d Let Her Work Through This Herself for 04/19/2018 Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have grown children from my first marriage. I now have a 7-year-old son from my second marriage, and we are home-schooling him.</p> <p>My older children, who all attended public school, aren't terribly keen on this. One of them, "Jenny," criticizes home-schooling and then gets into what she considers insufficient socialization. She says if her baby brother doesn't turn out right, it's because I deprived him of something. When she's finished with that topic, she criticizes the condition of our 30-year-old house. Then she says my house is too cluttered, which I admit, but it's fairly well organized, and I regularly donate old clothing and appliances. Jenny has offered to help me with the clutter, but I suspect that's an excuse to throw away all of my things.</p> <p>Jenny's latest complaint is that I've "changed" and she can no longer talk to me. We used to be able to talk about everything, and now Jenny feels that I bring up God too often. My faith has deepened, but I remind Jenny that I am still the mother I've always been, albeit older. But she has decided to cut off communication for an unspecified period of time, saying she "needs space."<p>Updated: Thu Apr 19, 2018</p> 067d8d6c038601ce8b0b506547258bec She Likes Her Ailments for 04/18/2018 Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband's parents are in their mid-70s. They are both in good health and financially stable. The problem is, my mother-in-law has a bit of hypochondria along with some anxiety. She has self-diagnosed herself with many "syndromes" (such as fibromyalgia, restless leg, irritable bowel), and she refuses to exercise. Her syndromes, which are exacerbated by her anxiety, keep her from getting out of the house, unless it involves an activity that she truly enjoys, like shopping. </p> <p>My in-laws don't have a wide social circle, and Mom refuses to try to make new friends. You can't have a conversation with her without the topic turning to her various maladies. I believe this is causing her some depression. Our town has many great programs for seniors, and I know both of my in-laws would benefit from them. I have repeatedly suggested to my mother-in-law that she get outside more, get some exercise, volunteer, take classes at the senior center, etc., but she refuses. </p> <p>Annie, I understand that Mom may have some physical ailments, but being home all day and inactive surely can't be making her better. It's so important to remain physically and mentally active, and it's frustrating to see a wonderful couple, a wonderful woman, throw her "golden years" away. &#8212; Frustrated Daughter-in-Law <p>Updated: Wed Apr 18, 2018</p> 2d0187414acefd039bef2fb36f6638b5 We Are the Future for 04/17/2018 Tue, 17 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: We are the future. It may sound cheesy, but that's the motto I live by, and it's one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the need to prevent and reduce tobacco use among teens and kids. My passion for tobacco-use prevention started when I saw the harm that tobacco use caused my older sister. She started smoking at age 13 and ended up with an addiction that spiraled out of control, in many ways taking her childhood with it. </p> <p>Every year, tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans, and the vast majority started smoking as children. Kids are overwhelmed with pressure to smoke, from tobacco industry marketing, their peers, movies and other sources. But we have the power within ourselves to win the fight against tobacco, and I am proud to advocate for policies proven to reduce tobacco use and save lives. To learn more about tobacco-use prevention and to see how you can be a part of the efforts of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, please tell your readers to visit &#8212; Gabe Glissmeyer, age 19, Salt Lake City, Utah </p> <p>Dear Gabe: Thank you for writing and giving us the opportunity to tell our readers about the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The cigarette companies do an excellent job of recruiting new smokers. It's time for the rest of us to do our part to keep that in check.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 17, 2018</p> 8a06e1eb68189ccd352d8c64f09906b8 Too Old for Hate for 04/16/2018 Mon, 16 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family. I have an older sibling who has hated the rest of us for the past 45 years. Family gatherings are extremely uncomfortable events. Inappropriate barbs lead to physical fights, young children cry while the adults pretend nothing is amiss, family members spy on one another, there is lots of back-stabbing, and some relatives are ignored while others are fawned over. My mother allows her adult children to treat one another like animals and refuses to get involved in the chaos.</p> <p>I am tired of this and will no longer let my children witness these destructive behaviors. Please let other parents know they should work to make their home a welcoming and loving environment. Is there anything I can do to counteract the hostility at these gatherings? &#8212; Too Old for Hate </p> <p>Dear Too Old: You cannot force your parents and siblings to behave in a civilized manner. The pattern in your family seems fairly well set, and no one else has much interest in changing it. You are smart to realize that your choice is to stay or leave. <p>Updated: Mon Apr 16, 2018</p> 4b1391fbe2752927cb680568f4fa375f She Needs Help for 04/15/2018 Sun, 15 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have been friends with "Missy" for a long time. She hates her husband's sister and hasn't allowed them to speak to each other for years. The sister is not allowed to come anywhere near Missy's house. Last year, things got worse.</p> <p>Missy has five grown children. Four of them remain in touch with "Aunt Martha." As a result, three months ago, Missy sent them letters stating she was no longer going to be a mother, grandmother or great-grandmother to their families. For some reason, she is still close to the fifth child, even though that one also talks to Aunt Martha.</p> <p>This makes me so sad. I attended her granddaughter's bridal shower, and Missy wasn't there. The granddaughter's wedding is next month. Missy and her husband are the only grandparents this child has, and they won't attend. <p>Updated: Sun Apr 15, 2018</p> 321f80d28d1c380fe984785259d9588f You Can Make Friends for 04/14/2018 Sat, 14 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I'm a sophomore in high school. I never had much social stability as a child because my family moved around a lot and I was often in a different school every semester. I've always been that pretty girl who becomes an outcast as soon as she speaks or says something stupid. </p> <p>I thought high school would be different, but it's not. As soon as I try to make conversation, I'm labeled "weird" or "annoying." The kids at school point at me and laugh when I talk. I don't consider it bullying, because people don't say anything to my face or threaten me. I just know when they give me that smirk. </p> <p>I've had counseling and therapy, but really no one can tell you how to make friends and be socially comfortable. How do I talk to someone my age without coming across as strange? I'm not trying to "fit in." I like to be random and spontaneous and consider things others don't think about. All I want is to be accepted without all the snooty faces and glares I get at school. &#8212; Awkward for Life <p>Updated: Sat Apr 14, 2018</p> 3a9b3e6c533b73971dc6192e3dfec7d5 Dead at Seventeen for 04/13/2018 Fri, 13 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My 17-year-old son has his beginner's driver permit and thinks he knows it all. If I mention something he did wrong behind the wheel, I'm being "mean." I can't seem to get through to him the dangers that can happen in a split second. Can you please run the essay ''Please, God, I'm Only 17'' again? Maybe it will open his eyes. &#8212; Worried Dad in Kentucky</p> <p>Dear Dad: At least once a year, we get a request to reprint this moving essay for the new crop of teenage drivers. We hope all parents will place it where the kids will see it. (We also recommend, Dad, that you pepper your criticism with praise for all the things your son does correctly. He'll be more likely to listen to you.) </p> <p>"Dead at Seventeen" by John Berrio<p>Updated: Fri Apr 13, 2018</p> 65229f578564116d1a71aba94b9ce843 This is About the Kids for 04/12/2018 Thu, 12 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My sister, "Suzie," has always been a bit of a flower child, and my parents think it's funny. Suzie dropped out of high school to pursue her "career" in something &#8212; art, music, dance, yoga, whatever. I usually gave her a place to stay when she got evicted and didn't want our parents to know, which was pretty often.</p> <p>Suzie and her husband (I'm not sure whether they're legally married) have been better since my nephews were born. What concerns me is that she won't take the kids to the doctor when they get sick. She just gives them some herbal remedy and sends them to bed. The boys aren't very clean, often have the sniffles and are almost always in clothing that's the wrong size. Suzie is homeschooling the boys, even though neither she nor her husband graduated high school. My oldest nephew is 7 and cannot read, count to 10 or say his ABCs. </p> <p>Suzie insists that the children be fed only vegan and organic products. When the boys stay with us, which is fairly often lately, we feed them healthy balanced meals that they wolf down like they're starving. The oldest boy told me they usually eat oatmeal with some peanut butter in it. I believe both boys are anemic. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 12, 2018</p> 766b2df3baac15c343d71296f2428fce Speak Up Or Clean Up for 04/11/2018 Wed, 11 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I work for a small family-owned company, and there are fewer than 10 employees. There is no office cleaning service. For years, one of the employees has been compensated for cleaning the building after hours. This person was recently promoted, but continues to be in charge of the cleaning. That's the problem. For months now, the office has looked like a fraternity house. The trash is overflowing, dust is piling up, and dishes are left in the sink for a week or more. </p> <p>The rumor mill has it that the promotion didn't come with a large enough raise, so this person is now doing the bare minimum of cleaning out of spite. The other employees refuse to lift a finger because they feel the person being paid to do the cleaning is solely responsible. </p> <p>I understand both sides, but at the end of the day, nothing is being done. I get mad at myself and at the person responsible every time I give in and clean up, but otherwise, the office is unpleasant and looks unprofessional. We have clients in daily, and some have commented on the condition of the office. This has caused me undue stress, but it doesn't seem to bother the other employees, especially not the one who is supposedly cleaning. <p>Updated: Wed Apr 11, 2018</p> 4b86072d2b0bfa2a018f94bcd306db8e Stop Relying On Him for 04/10/2018 Tue, 10 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have been married to "Dennis" for eight years. Early on, Dennis couldn't do enough for me. Now, if my car won't start, he yells at me and says to call a tow truck. If I ask him to spend time with me, he always has other things to do. On the rare occasion when we attend a social event together, he abandons me so he can "work the room" and have a great time with everyone else. We arrive together and leave together, and the rest of the time, I sit alone, miserable and forgotten. </p> <p>Dennis will go above and beyond for others. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night, raining, snowing, spending money we don't have, missing meals, birthdays, holidays and our daughter's school programs. If it's a chance to make himself look good, he's there with a smile and compassion. I get the repairman to take care of me with a handshake and a bill. But when I ask Dennis to treat his family with the same enthusiasm, he calls me a selfish nag. </p> <p>Yes, I resent all the people he helps, because they get the side of my husband that belongs to me. I'm told to take care of myself because he's too busy helping others and inflating his ego. I get whatever is leftover. I love Dennis, but I'm starting to feel that he only gave me his adoration and helpfulness because he was trying to win my heart. How do I deal with this? &#8212; Wife of the Plumber with Leaky Pipes at Home<p>Updated: Tue Apr 10, 2018</p> 28a7ae1e911b3d26103e16bd73ea560d Alcohol and the Brain for 04/09/2018 Mon, 09 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I wanted to share a bit of what it's like to be the family member of a person who drinks too much. I know. I had more than 40 years of experience by the time I finally sought answers. I studied brain- and addiction-related research to assess my loved one's drinking patterns in order to protect myself from secondhand drinking. Secondhand drinking is a term to describe the impact on the person on the receiving end of another person's drinking behaviors. </p> <p>These drinking patterns cause brain changes &#8212; especially in the areas of the brain responsible for judgment, memory, coordination, pleasure/reward and reasoning. And we don't fully understand the physical and emotional consequences to the health of a family member or friend who repeatedly deals with SHD. These include anxiety, depression, stomach ailments, skin problems, obesity, sleep problems, difficulties at work or in school, migraines and more.</p> <p>April 11, 2013, is National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). This year, I urge people who love someone who drinks too much to conduct an anonymous screening of their loved one's drinking patterns. Screening for Mental Health has created a fantastic website,, where anyone can anonymously evaluate their own or a loved one's drinking patterns through an online assessment. The website also provides information on treatment options and suggestions for what it would take to cut down on or stop drinking. <p>Updated: Mon Apr 09, 2018</p> af89300c4ad32f8831aa6fc739fe5108 This Ship Has Sailed for 04/08/2018 Sun, 08 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a 44-year-old guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. I met "Lisa" two years ago. I was fresh out of a divorce. Lisa was in terrible shape. Her mother had just died, and shortly after, she lost her fiance in a traffic accident. Then she moved back home to take care of her ailing father. </p> <p>It was love at first sight for me. But Lisa never fully grieved over her fiance. She told me he was her "soul mate," and that she would never love another man the way she loved him. I told her I have all the patience in the world and would be there for her through her grief and sorrow. I knew she needed to deal with this in her own way, which included getting his name tattooed on her back. Again, I was patient and understanding. </p> <p>Lisa's family began inviting me to their home. But her family had been exceptionally close to her fiance and began posting things on Facebook to remind Lisa of him. It finally reached the point where I had to say something, and I talked to Lisa's cousin. I said posting such things keeps the fiance's memory fresh in Lisa's mind, which doesn't help her heal. I asked the cousin to please get the family to stop doing this. Well, my request got back to Lisa, who became hostile and negative toward me. She broke things off.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 08, 2018</p> 0f8619beaed32bc9bc811f0ee865d659 Every Parent Nightmare for 04/07/2018 Sat, 07 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My 17-year-old daughter, "Kylie," has had behavioral problems since she was 14. I am a single mother. I work full time and also have two sons, one of whom lives with his dad. Kylie was in a hospital for three months for various evaluations and recently lived in a residential home. She was released last October on the condition that she follow the house rules, obey curfew, finish high school, get a job and start looking at colleges. But Kylie never followed the rules. She would go out on Friday night and not return until Sunday morning. Every time she broke parole conditions, it would be reported. During this time, we had family counseling, and an individual clinician saw Kylie. They offered help with resumes, job applications and social activities. </p> <p>In December, Kylie met a 24-year-old man and ran off with him. This young man was discharged from the military because of psychiatric issues. This scares me to no end. Kylie is now considered a missing person, although she's been in contact via text, telling me to leave her alone. There is a warrant out to take them into custody. Since then, my home has been robbed of clothing, food and jewelry. I am sick over this. </p> <p>Kylie will be 18 in two weeks. She has no remorse for what she's done. People tell me to let her go, but how? I am angry, but I still love her. I am losing sleep, I'm scared in my own home, my 10-year-old can't sleep alone, my work is suffering, and I'm a mess. I've talked to the police and am doing my own detective work to find her. I need help. &#8212; Worried Sick in Connecticut <p>Updated: Sat Apr 07, 2018</p> 2ef85f0c32d0c4ea98709f57676c3904 Ignore the Drama for 04/06/2018 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I've always had a problem with my mother and sister. When I was a child, I often stayed with my grandfather. I loved this man fiercely. He died recently, and the last 10 years of his life were terrible. My mother and aunts rescinded his DNR and disregarded his wishes about life support, forcing him to remain in a partially vegetative state for years. </p> <p>My sister, "Alice," inserted herself into this drama at every opportunity. She had to be removed from his bedside when she became hysterical and lashed out at the nurses. Alice submitted the death notice to the local paper without checking with anyone. She left out many family members, who are furious and are taking it out on me. My aunt (the executor of the will) has made it clear that I won't get the small tokens my grandfather left me unless I pick sides.</p> <p>I doubt Alice's grief is genuine. When I moved away, my aunts paid her to stay with Grandpa, and she told me she was only doing it for the money. My mother and aunts won't set a date for a memorial because they're all so busy trying to hurt each other. Every family function becomes a three-ring circus. How can I grieve for a grandparent who meant the world to me when I'm busy refereeing? &#8212; Brokenhearted<p>Updated: Fri Apr 06, 2018</p> fd4ff0a8552510b2c2bbb854703345db The Ex Factor for 04/05/2018 Thu, 05 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I've been a widow for 15 years. I moved to another state to be with my kids and met "Jerry." We've been dating for nine months. </p> <p>Jerry has been divorced for two years and has two adult children. His ex-wife was his childhood sweetheart and the only woman he'd ever been with. The problem is, I have never been to Jerry's house. He says his niece and youngest child live with him, and he hasn't told the family about me. When I asked why, he said, "Then everyone will know it's over between my ex and me."</p> <p>I think Jerry's mother sustains the hope that he will get back together with his ex, and I'm pretty sure his ex would like that, too. I gave Jerry a deadline of three months to make our relationship public. He swears he's not still married, and he gave me a ring for Valentine's Day. He spends the night at my house every week. I just want to know what you think. &#8212; Not Yet Official<p>Updated: Thu Apr 05, 2018</p> a2c82727a15faef00956d7710a198d51 Vacation for 04/04/2018 Wed, 04 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Recently, I invited my best friend, "Evan," and his family of four to join my family at a popular out-of-state theme park. Our children are similar ages, and we have always gotten along well even though we live in different states. </p> <p>My wife and I are members of a vacation program and offered to use our hotel points to save Evan a great deal of money. We didn't expect anything in return, but we had discussed how much fun we'd have together. This didn't happen. Evan and his family ignored us, made no effort to interact with my wife or children, and had other friends and family join them at the resort and in our shared rooms. They frequently went their own way in the theme park and were distant during the rare times that we were together. The final insult occurred on the last day, when they simply left the resort without saying goodbye or even thanking us for the stay. </p> <p>Clearly, Evan took advantage of our kindness, and interactions since indicate that his family is oblivious to their behavior. Are we wrong to have expected them to spend time with us? Evan and I have a long history, and I want to preserve the friendship. I prefer to drop this issue, while my wife wants to wash our hands of these people completely. Is there a tactful way to address this and salvage the friendship? &#8212; No Explanation Given<p>Updated: Wed Apr 04, 2018</p>