Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 09 Dec 2019 18:44:01 -0800 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate a871daaaf05924d8bf74b4569f97f6f4 You Say Ta-May-Toe; I Say Ta-Mah-Toe for 12/09/2019 Mon, 09 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I used to date a lady from Australia who was taught to hold her fork in the European/continental style. When she came to visit me in Milwaukee, she noticed my American style. She seemed put-off but didn't say anything. We had a pending dinner date with mutual friends, and she thought I would be set straight by seeing how other people hold their forks.</p> <p>When we gathered together, she was surprised that, "You all eat that way!" We both learned about differences from that point on.<p>Updated: Mon Dec 09, 2019</p> 0dd46d8987bf9cf52ba392fde1c27ae0 A Softy or a Sucker? for 12/08/2019 Sun, 08 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: One of my young relatives came to me when she was thrown out of her house at the age of 23 by her parents for "no reason," she claimed. I agreed to cosign her lease so she could get an apartment, and I also agreed to pay her rent until she could find a good job. Two years later, she hadn't found a job, and I was still paying for her apartment. I informed her I expected her to start contributing a small amount for rent. She became angry and stopped returning my calls. Then she vanished. Her friends told me she was now living with some guy out of state. The manager of her apartment contacted me and said I still owed rent for the next 10 months, as I was the cosigner, unless I could find someone to take over the lease.</p> <p>My question is: What should be my reaction to this level of dishonesty? Should I try to find her and take her to court or just forget the $18,000 dollars I've spent along with the $7,000 more I still owe? Is this cause for some kind of retribution? Disown her? Upon my death, she was to get my $200,000 house, and now I don't believe she deserves anything. Is it reasonable to expect a 26-year-old to be responsible? <p>Updated: Sun Dec 08, 2019</p> 906509484d03f75071e5845f58f384f3 Pouring Cold Water on Romantic Entanglements for 12/07/2019 Sat, 07 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: A few years ago, I moved into a duplex owned by an old college friend of mine, "Robby," and his wife. During this time, I became very close friends with Robby's wife. Earlier this year I moved out. Around this same time, Robby's wife told him that she was thinking of divorce. The wife pretty much stopped talking to me once I moved out of the residence. However, Robby and I remained close friends. Since then, Robby has continued to confide in me about their marriage and their potential divorce. He started calling and texting all the time. One night when we were out, he told me he should have married me and was in love with me. I have no romantic interest in my friend. How do I get him to understand this? &#8212; Confused in Ohio</p> <p>Dear Confused: Have you tried telling him? That's a good place to start. Be direct: "I have no interest in you romantically." Emphasize how much you value him as a friend, but let him know that if he doesn't quit it with the love talk, you'll need to take a break from seeing him and talking to him on the phone. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Until you've stamped out every last ember of hope, he'll keep stoking the potential flame.</span> <p>Updated: Sat Dec 07, 2019</p> 30fb4c75d3efb7f5adb6fd395067fa5e Passive-Aggressive or Perfectly Appropriate? for 12/06/2019 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My wife and I are approaching our 70th birthdays this year. As we have aged, hosting company and taking care of visiting children and grandchildren has become more stressful. Both of us have age-related health issues. One of our daughters (my stepdaughter), "Janet," visits with her 8-year-old daughter and 70-pound dog. The dog eats off the grandchild's plate while she's still eating, jumps on furniture and is not well-behaved much of the time. Also, Janet visits twice a year and stays anywhere from 10 days to two weeks each trip. While she is here she is "on vacation" and likes to be waited on by her mother. After her first trip with the dog, I said he should not come back when they visit, but she brings him anyway. We have four other children with five other grandchildren who visit, and one daughter also brings her dog, but the dog is well-behaved. </p> <p>So, recently, I decided to write a post on social media with some general rules for visiting children. I explained that we loved for them to visit but, because of our advanced age and health issues, we needed to establish some standard guidelines: "First, please help pick up after your children." (My wife has tripped over shoes and toys left on the floor.) "Second, help out with household chores while visiting. If you want full maid service, go to a hotel. Third, before bringing a pet, check with us first. Well-behaved animals are welcome but it is based on our definition of 'well behaved.'" <p>Updated: Fri Dec 06, 2019</p> 8ce58dce5e10500f57bd45b735d962ba Teachers Deserve Parents' Patience and Respect for 12/05/2019 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am a teacher in a small town in New England. When I began my job, I thought it was the best job in the world. I spent a lot of time, money and effort to learn the skills to become an effective teacher, and I couldn't think of a better way to give back to my community.</p> <p>Fast-forward a few years. Most teachers work very hard to plan quality lessons and to make sure that students are making progress in school, but the lack of basic respect in return is severely lacking. The worst of it doesn't come from students. It's hard to believe the appalling behavior from parents that school staff is expected to tolerate. </p> <p>One recent incident really bothered me. A parent was upset because her child was not getting an A in a certain class. She named the teacher on a public chatroom and invited negative comments! Fortunately for the brilliant, wonderful and respected teacher, several community members came to their defense and let the poster know that her post was inappropriate.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 05, 2019</p> b9eddbc16c03e3c49daddabbead85e66 Leave the Drama at the Door for 12/04/2019 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I are planning a big party to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Sadly, two sisters are all but ruining the event. They are both close friends of mine, but they are feuding with each other. I did not send out online invites but rather traditional paper invitations. Through the grapevine, I heard they are both inquiring about whether the other was invited. </p> <p>We just want a peaceful, fun party and do not want to get dragged into their fight. How can I avoid their turmoil? It is already casting a shadow on our party. &#8212; Sister Squabble</p> <p>Dear Sister Squabble: Congratulations on 25 years of marriage! That is no easy feat, and it's a wonderful thing to be celebrating. Hopefully, it will be a drama-free evening. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Speak with each sister before the party and tell them to leave their baggage at the door and put their party hats on.</span> <p>Updated: Wed Dec 04, 2019</p> a4f670a01f73384152c48e7ea9e72b25 Closed Door, Open Heart for 12/03/2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: One of my cousins lives about two hours away. Her parents are deceased, and she is estranged from her siblings. She has been in the hospital several times for mental health care. I believe she is bipolar but don't know that for sure. Because she lives alone now, we invite her to family gatherings for the holidays.</p> <p>About once a month, I will receive a burst of text messages from her, sometimes 20 or more at a time, telling me about something that is going on in her life. Recently, in one of those bursts, she said she wants to move and might like to rent a room from a relative. I reminded her that she has a comfortable home in a place where she already knows people and that it can be hard to establish a new network of friends and support in a new place. She said she knows all of that but wants to move anyway. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 03, 2019</p> 3afecf66e301e4e9719d00a150b65bbe Up in Smoke for 12/02/2019 Mon, 02 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I smoked cigarettes for 18 years and tried to quit many different times. I tried all the recommended treatments including hypnosis, nicotine gum, patches and a hundred other things. But three years ago, I quit for good, and I feel so much better. That was possible because I started vaping. I have said many times that vaping is saving my life.</p> <p>My doctor says that I'm in much better shape than I was when I was smoking cigarettes. My husband says that he and our children are extremely grateful that I managed to quit. I have way more energy, and I no longer cough in my sleep, which I used to do all the time when I smoked cigarettes. <p>Updated: Mon Dec 02, 2019</p> acb9fd29538730934b34790d2b60fb77 Watching From the Sidelines for 12/01/2019 Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My son "Bo" has been with his wife, "Joyce," for 13 years. Several months ago, my husband and I spent a long weekend at the beach with our children and grandchildren. My husband rises early, and he was in the kitchen at 4 a.m., starting his day, when he ran into Joyce. She was just getting home. Without my asking, Joyce explained to me the next day that she doesn't get to go out often and that tavern owners remembered her from the previous year when she did karaoke there. She said they were buying her drinks and later invited her to their beach house. I told her that when men buy you free drinks they usually want something in return. </p> <p>She was away daily most of the time out with her brother, "John," who is very dependent on her socially. Bo seemed indifferent to her behavior the entire time. This week, my husband and I visited to attend a grandchild's school play and soccer game. During the visit I found out that John is now residing on first level of their home, and Bo is now living on in the finished basement. I asked Bo about living arrangements, and he said that he and John do not get along, so he moved downstairs. John does not pay rent or help financially; he just helps around the house. <p>Updated: Sun Dec 01, 2019</p> c9a5879cd95961126c81fe249b9bd16a Avoiding a Wild Workplace Romance for 11/30/2019 Sat, 30 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I never thought I'd write to you, but I have no one else to ask. I work part time as a customer service representative. Like me, all of my co-workers are mostly retired women except for one man who is our age, "John." He's been in our department for about two years. A year ago, he began having a friendship, for lack of a better word, with the only 30-something woman in our department. He divorced his wife of 40-plus years and moved in with "Mary" and her husband. The relationship between Mary and this older man has become more intimate and secretive. We've all just kept our distance.</p> <p>Last summer, Mary and her husband maxed out their credit cards to build a basement apartment in their home for John. Mary's husband used to visit her at work often and bring her coffee, but he stopped doing that months ago. According to Mary, all he does is work long hours and then come home and sleep. I have known Mary and her husband since they were kids, and this doesn't sound like him. <p>Updated: Sat Nov 30, 2019</p> d567f67fcd326029bd2ab1401fb3b995 Fractured Friendship for 11/29/2019 Fri, 29 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been friends with this girl for several years. She's my (adult) daughter's age. We have never had a disagreement before. Long story short, she said something out of the blue that hurt my feelings. She says she was joking but the fact remains that she hurt me. She won't apologize, and now she's stopped speaking to me. When I run into her, she gives me the silent treatment, which I think is immature. And I think that she was never really my friend if she could do this. We used to, I thought, enjoy each other's company. I even gave her my house key to watch my dog when I'm out of town, and my dog is my everything. I guess she's really changed. What do you think? &#8212; Fake Friends</p> <p>Dear Fake Friends: To say that she's a "fake friend" implies some sort of intentional deceit all along, which doesn't seem to be the case. So I don't think she was a fake friend; I think she was just not a very good one. Don't bend over backward trying to guess her intentions, and don't bog yourself down with carrying a grudge, either. Let her come to you if and when she's ready to make things right. In the meantime, nurture new friendships &#8212; and find a new dogsitter. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 29, 2019</p> ef3e672ae9151acbf4ac102bd547a568 Thank You, Readers for 11/28/2019 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to thank all of you &#8212; my readers. I particularly want to single out those of you who have reached out by offering your questions and opinions. Without you, the column would not be possible. <span class="column--highlighted-text">To celebrate this special day, I'd like to share one of my favorite poems</span>, because it helps remind us that noticing the simple pleasures of life brings us the most joy.</p> <p>"We Thank Thee," by Ralph Waldo Emerson<p>Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019</p> 810aa122f5031ad0da2ec847e207310f Supportive Sister Doesn't Want to Be Overbearing for 11/27/2019 Wed, 27 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a sister who has had six surgeries to beat two types of cancer. She has residual complications but is working forward. I have been with her through all her surgeries and rehab. I live on the West Coast, and she lives on the East Coast.</p> <p>I have called her every day since her first diagnosis. Now that she has had a relapse, she is blocking me out. She is hostile and acts as if she is frustrated with me. I am not sure if I should stop calling and just express that I am here if she needs me. Yet, I don't want her to feel deserted, as she has no friends or family nearby.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 27, 2019</p> ac82359e4d1eb02f7e41bd9326e06fbd Fretting Over Familial Financial Friction for 11/26/2019 Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I'm very upset about my brother and my sister-in-law's friction over finances. My brother and I are very close. I'm single and spend a lot of time with them and their two kids.</p> <p>They fight about money often. It's mostly centered on their mortgage. My brother thinks they should pay extra every month in an effort to pay off the house faster. He wants the peace of mind of ownership and not having debt. My sister-in-law thinks that's a mistake because they need the money now and get to enjoy the tax write-off the mortgage brings. She also thinks they could invest that money and have a better return from the stock market rather than tie up that money in the house. My brother argues he would rather pay off the house than pay for it over and over again with all of those interest payments. He doubts they'd have the discipline to invest that money, but paying extra on the mortgage is a forced savings. </p> <p>I've rented all my life and don't know much about mortgages, but I've researched this a bit, and there are logical arguments on both fronts. Besides, I certainly don't want to take a side. <p>Updated: Tue Nov 26, 2019</p> 687de966a3ffae56abac9f5776e4717a Gift-Shopping for a Special Child for 11/25/2019 Mon, 25 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Christmas is coming up, and I like to give each of my friends and neighbors a little something. There's a very nice family nearby; I usually give the adults a box of candy and their older child a smaller box of candy. Their younger child has Down syndrome. Last year, I gave him an ornament. This year, I'd like to do something different, but I don't know what. He will be 3 at the end of January. I don't want to do anything out of the ordinary because I think that could be offensive. Any suggestions? &#8212; Ms. Santa</p> <p>Dear Ms. Santa: If you don't want to do anything out of the ordinary, maybe ask his mom what his favorite animal is and get him a nice soft plushie that he can cuddle with. If you want to get something for his family, perhaps you could make a donation in his name to a charity that helps children with Down syndrome. Whatever you choose, I'm sure it will be appreciated, as it's usually the thought that counts.</p> <p>Dear Annie: This letter is for the grandmother who's concerned about her children being raised by a mother with OCD. My sister and I grew up in a household with a very OCD mother. Her OCD controlled her life and ours. The good news is that, while we're generally clean and tidy adults, we are normal and nowhere near OCD ourselves. The problem was the extreme control and the ways in which she wasn't functional enough to keep our meals or our extracurriculars on time. The OCD took over her daily activities.<p>Updated: Mon Nov 25, 2019</p> 7cfafbe20a439b43b9f8e05546cb27af Creative Christmas Contributions for 11/24/2019 Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: It seems as if many people are looking for an alternative to buying things for people for Christmas out of habit.</p> <p>So, here is a creative solution we use to both keep a festive spirit and give to charities. This is a great alternative to buying for adults who honestly don't need one more thing! In my family, we each draw a name for the holidays and select a toy or special gift and an outfit the person would have loved as a child (or teenager).<p>Updated: Sun Nov 24, 2019</p> 0b37ee78ee037bfa4c1710ad0a2ba02a Reeling from Mom's Gambling Expenses for 11/23/2019 Sat, 23 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Since 2013, my mother has inherited $475,000, which she has cast into a bonfire of casino losses, church donations, failed business investments and undisclosed other ventures. My late father and I advised her to pay off the home mortgage, and we were strongly rebuffed. </p> <p>Fast-forward to 2019, at 82 she is penniless; she has a mortgage far in excess of the home value. Additionally, she has run up over $25,000 in credit card debt. (I paid for bankruptcy attornies, but she failed to use them.) She has absolutely nothing to show for it &#8212; no new appliances, car, etc. She lives in a small town in a low-cost-of-living state, has an income of $2,050 a month from Social Security and her pension, and about $850 left over after all her expenses. I paid off two foreclosure notices within five months until I found out that she has a larger monthly surplus than I do. <p>Updated: Sat Nov 23, 2019</p> 596e510678d810d000476e8485dcee6a Everybody Do Your Share for 11/22/2019 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: With the holidays coming up, and people going here and there for dinner at others' houses, I would like to know why some people feel they can just sit on their butts after the big meal (or before), while the others, always the same ones, get up and clean up! </p> <p>Don't the ones who don't offer to help realize how exhausting it can be &#8212; the days and weeks that go into planning, making lists, shopping for groceries, prepping, cooking, cleaning the house, etc. I have a large family and was taught by age 8 that helping out is just the right thing to do. If I didn't get up and help, I would have been scolded. I'm 65 now and still recognize the need to help. <p>Updated: Fri Nov 22, 2019</p> 521e19c8e2f4b8365160c9208da61a5b Saying No to Hosting Duties for 11/21/2019 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Christmas is around the corner, and my mother has asked me to host Christmas at my house. (Roughly 30 people will be there.) I do not feel my house is big enough, and hosting an event at my house gives me extreme anxiety! I hosted last year, but only because I was guilted into doing so. My house is just average size, but it's the largest of my sisters' and mother's. While everyone seems to be having a good time, I'm constantly worried about how cramped we are, how messy my house is getting, if there's enough food, etc. </p> <p>I can't enjoy myself. I really do not want to host again, but don't know what to tell them. Please help. &#8212; Not Feeling the Christmas Spirit<p>Updated: Thu Nov 21, 2019</p> 197e784a6e68fd9f8ce6769b9372d1ed Carpe-ing Every Diem for 11/20/2019 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My wife and I are both 86 years old and retired from meaningful careers. We have a very happy marriage, wonderful children and grandchildren and are blessed with good health and mobility. </p> <p>We live in our own home, subscribe to two theatres and the symphony, attend our grandchildren's school performances and athletic events, take part in an exercise class, enjoy traveling and are active in our church. I am the volunteer director of a community choir of 25 men and women in our own age bracket, and I serve on two boards. We also enjoy reading and other hobbies.</p> <p>These specific activities may not be for everyone, but for us, these activities &#8212; plus our social connections and religious faith &#8212; stave off morbid thoughts of the future and are largely responsible for our continuing health, happiness and sense of fulfillment. &#8212; Grateful Octogenarians<p>Updated: Wed Nov 20, 2019</p>