Help Me, Bubby!

Other Bubby Books at Amazon:

Bubby Irma's Kitchen

Yiddish Your Bubbe Never Taught You

Poetry by Jewish Grandaughters

Bubbe & Gram

Bubbe's Kitchen

My Bubbe's Arms

Bubbie & Zeide's Favorite Language

Bennett and His Bubbe's Beau

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Friday, February 27, 2004
Dear Bubby,

I am a freshman in college and I am still adjusting. I went to an all boys boarding school a few hours from my house so I have experienced living away from home before, but college is very different because it is much bigger and I cannot see the people I know best in the world regularly.

I miss being able to see my friends every day. It is different to only talk to them online or on the phone. It's not the kind of thing a college guy can say out loud easily either. Also I miss my parents and its hard to really talk to them when I can't see them or give them a hug.

Also it is difficult to relate to the girls here. I have met one that I can really talk to but we do not talk as often as we used to. In high school it was a different dynamic with much less pressure since we were in contact with girls much less frequently. Ideally I would like to find a romance, but I think it would be nice if I could just find a few real friends among them.

I have a hard time telling this to my parents or grandparents. My grandmother always tells me how she brags to her friends at the Temple about me. I don't want to shatter their illusions because for the most part I am happy, but I think I'd feel better and do better in school if I was a little happier.

What would you suggest?
Thanks, Matthew

Dear Matthew,
If you are in college it is time to grow up. Suppose you took a job in another city -- would you cry for your Mommy and Daddy and old friends? No - you would go out and find new ones. That is part of being away from home. You are on your own - to make your own decisions and judgments. You should discipline your time for your studies --- very important if you want to get somewhere in the field you are interested in.

And you should line up the extra activities the school offers. Go to parties -- if they are not your cup of tea, just make friends on campus. Remember that all the freshmen and sophomores are in the same boat. I too was at your age -- many miles from home, etc. But I knew if I didn't make my own way no one would do it for me.

It just takes a little time -- you'll see. Good luck in your classes and making new acquaintances.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Dear Bubby,

Hi my name is Mary-Ann and I need some help.

Well, I was going out with this boy named Collin for about 3 years and then he started to get interested in other girls, so I said to myself, I am sick of this and I broke up with him and ever since that I have been going out with this guy named Matthew. There is only one bad thing... he doesn't go to my school and that sucks big time.

Well, we just had our School Dance last night and about an hour before the dance Collin called me up and asked me if I wanted to go to the dance with him so I said yes and I thought we would just go as friends. Well, when I got there he gave me a dozen roses and a very sweet card that says "I love you" and had photos of our first dates and little things like that. Well, we were dancing and he kissed me in front of all my friends. Well, they all cheered and stuff.

Well, after that he got on one knee and asked me for my forgiveness and asked me if I would go out with him again and I felt special and half of my heart is with Collin and half with Matthew and I feel bad because I kissed Collin and I really don't know what to do and I don’t want to break any hearts and I have feelings for both of these guys now and i just don't know what do so please help me!!!!!!!!


Dear MaryAnn,
Since you don't mention college I assume you are still in high school. And in high school your feeling are usually referred to as "puppy love" which means exactly what you are going through. In the past 3 years you should have been going out and having fun with a lot of different boys - so you could get to know them. I think you wasted a lot of time with this boy in 3 years. He "broke" up with you and then he "broke" up with another girl and made her unhappy and this will be his style until he matures and maybe it will always be his style.

His display at the party was only to get the attention of the other ""kids". And it was at your expense. Don't give him a second thought and start being friendly with other boys and girls - that will be more fun. You'll see.

Lots of fun and parties.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
New Feature: "Bubby, You Helped!"
Months after they got her advice, our readers update Bubby on their lives.

What ever happened to... Manless in Manhattan?
Our October 25th question came from a young woman struggling to find relationship material in the big apple. Bubby advised her to beware of the worms, and to go to a country ho-down instead. So... is Manless finally sporting a new cowboy's hat... or still catching a cab for one?

The update...
Dear Bubby,
Since my last email I am very happy to report that I have met a wonderful man. We have been together about 4 1/2 months. He is kind, considerate, intelligent, sincere, warm, not to mention very attractive. But most importantly I have to say that he is everything that I have been looking for in a guy. I feel like a better and stronger person when I am with him. He was my motivation and support in getting over my fear of flying (which I had for 13 years). We are both very realistic when it comes to relationships--we know that nothing is guaranteed in life -- but we are enjoying sharing life together!
Thanks Bubby!
Sincerely, No Longer Manless in Manhattan

Dear Bubby,

I found your website, and I was just wondering - are you a real grandmother? Anyway, if you're real, maybe you can help me.

My friends all know me as this cool girl who doesn't need a guy to get by... But secretly sometimes, I would like to have someone who puts me at the top of his world.

There are guys who like me, but I have no feelings for them. I tried going out with one of them because he's waited so long for me... But I just can't do it. And the guys I do like, they usually don't like me. Many say I'm too strong. That I intimidate guys, and guys prefer weak girls who fall into their arms. But I'm not that kind of girl. I'm the kind who does things for myself.

I've been told one day I'll find the guy who'll appreciate me for me. But when? At this point, I doubt that day will ever come.

Tiffany, age 18

Dear Tiffany,
Not only am I a grandmother but I am a great grandmother and once I too was 18. Just keep enjoying life and the right one will come along.

Mine did -- and when he saw me he said, "I'm going to marry you." I was with a crowd and we were all hysterical from laughing. Fast forward -- three years later after I graduated from college I did indeed marry him. So don't give up. Just be yourself and he will come along.

Happy time.
Monday, February 23, 2004
Dear Bubby,
My best friend recently had her wallet stolen, which contained over $100 and all of her identification. Finally tonight the person who stole it called her and confessed, and is going to give her back the wallet tomorrow.

I know that you're probably thinking this shouldn't effect me, but it really does, besides the fact that it was my best friend's wallet. The person who stole it is someone I have known since grade school, and it seems like this act of mindlessness must be a cry for help. This person has always been very level-headed and reliable. This person is in several of my classes, and is in a position of authority in my newspaper staff. If anyone finds out about the theft, this person will face expulsion.

My issue is that, besides the thief and the thieved, I am the only person that knows. I don't know how I'm going to deal with facing this person in my classes, without showing that I know. I feel confused by what this person has done. How should I, and my best friend more importantly, deal with the betrayal of our friend?

Thank you very much for your advice, and keep up the good work.
Confused on the Sidelines

Dear Confused on the Sidelines,
This is really an unusual situation. First I would tell the "thief" to return the wallet and its contents to me in the library or cafeteria. You should not have him come to your room since you would be alone. Chances are that the money would not be in the wallet -- well that would be alright. Don't fight over it. I would not trust this person at such a time.

When you meet him in either of the above named places do ask him "WHY". Suggest he get some help -- go to a psychiatrist or if you are in high school or college he should start with his counselor. If he is stealing to buy drugs he most certainly needs the help. Don't buy the excuse that he did it just for fun to give your friend a friendly scare -- there is no such thing. Does he have a family? You have not told me much but I am very sure he need help. Make your friendship casual only.

Let me hear from you again.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Dear Bubby,
I'm getting ready to graduate from an teen tiny liberal arts school that is owed by the Mennonite church. I am about to get an art degree which means my job opportunities are limited. Graphic design is something that I'm good at but I hate. I don't want a job where I have to dress nicely or where I have to work in an office. I'd rather do service work for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the school I'm attending has given me a load of debts which right now are under the name of my parents. They don't have a lot of money, so they'd like to get rid of those debts and I'd like to help them. As I see it, for me to go into service work would be burdening my parents.

I'm at a loss. Should I follow my heart and do what I really want to do, or should I respect my parents and get a job that pays? Is there a compromise?
Thanks, Gem

Dear Gem,
It's wonderful when you graduate from college but on the other hand it was a safe warm place to be in. Now you are out in the cold world and you have to make decisions. Well that's life. I can tell you I found myself in the same situation a long time ago. Take the job that pays the most money and you are good at - as you say -- graphic design. You won't be married to it and you will be able to pay off your debts earlier. Then you can quit - you will have some experience in the business world and you can then decide exactly what you want to do. Today people dress very comfortably at work - neat and clean is all. In my office we wear slacks or skirts or suits that are very comfortable. This was my campaign and it turned out just fine.
Good Luck.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Dear Bubby,
I am in the 6th grade. I used to be considered a nerd/weirdo. I still haven't had a girlfriend. I found a girl I like, but I am not sure if she likes me. She isn't exactly what you'd call popular. I want to tell her, but I don't want to ruin my new reputation. What do I do?
Sinceriely, an anyomous 6th grader

Dear 6th grader,
With a nick name like nerd/weirdo I am sure you will go places and leave the rest of those kids behind. Don't worry about that. Just study and learn. As for this girl I think you ought to say good morning and ask her if she thought the homework was difficult for her to do and offer to study with her. Then you work up to a walk and maybe a soda. A few jokes.

Let her see what a good friend you can be.
Have fun.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Dear Bubby,
Yes, even Zayde's need advice. My daughter is 35 years old and has two boys, 3 and 5. Her mother and I divorced when she was 5 years old. Her mother moved away so I raised my daughter myself. We were as close as a father and daughter could be. It was "me and her" and "her and me". I took sole care of her. At age 25 she married a really great, super guy. They had their first son and named him after my Bubby, may she rest in peace. Then they had a second wonderful son.

About a year after the second child was born, my daughter started fighting with me over nothing, and over everything. When I asked her why, she said it was because I am sick all the time (my health has been poor for years), and because she thinks I interfere too much.

Now we do not speak any more unless it is imperative. We avoid each other. I only see my grandchildren when she is at work. But Bubby, time is moving on... I'm not going to be around forever! I'm at a loss as to what to do.

Do you have any advice?
From, a Zayde

Dear Zayde,
I really don't understand your daughter. How could you both be so far apart now? Since you say you see the children only when she is away there is something definitely wrong. How sick are you? Do you complain to her about it? Have you been to a doctor? You should have a complete checkup and for now don't tell her about it.

Go see the children when you feel like it but make it your business to take them out to a park - for a walk - keep them happy. If you order her around - stop - she is a grown woman and is entitled to her mistakes. Just be civil. She will soon notice the healthy neglect you are giving her -- but always be pleasant, like with a stranger.

Do you get along with her husband? Be friendly towards him. Soon she will notice that you don't come so often. Find some friends so that you won't be alone -- perhaps in the Synagogue. Instead of visiting very often, call to check up on the children -- if they can say HELLO to grandpa on the phone then that is like a visit. Make up with them to come see them and be sure to tell them to ask Mama.

Let me hear from you again.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Dear Bubby,
My husband and I have been married for a little over a month, and I can feel us settling into that border line comfort zone where we don't always say, "Excuse me" after we burp. But the larger problem seems to be that I can't lure him away from his video games or fantasy books for any real length of time. Now, even though he's made some effort to cut back, I still find myself angry when he picks up the controller or a book at all. I don't want to have a chip on my shoulder. Am I being selfish?
What should I do?

Dear Nessa,
If you are married just over a month you all still on your honeymoon. Why did you marry him? It seems to me that you should certainly have a talk with him. His bachelor days are over and you should both have lots to talk about and really get to know each other. If you are watching television you should do it together - if you are having dinner, both of you should share cleaning up -- it is fun. He can have his games but play them together. By doing everything together you are learning the meaning of marriage. If this continues I would suggest that you speak to a marriage counselor for help before it gets out of bounds.
Take care.
Dear Bubby,
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of one and a half years. I really thought that he was THE ONE. After suffering through several months of “things not working out,” however, I realized that it was time to cut my ties. I am almost 24 years old now and I know I am still young. Nevertheless, I feel so hopeless about ever finding the right man for me. I just want someone who understands me and my complexities (every woman has them). I need some advice on how to meet someone.
Sincerely, Timidly Looking

Dear Timidly Looking,
There are many fish in the sea and I am sure another one will swim your way. Find someone worthy of you. Never sell yourself short or you will be the loser. Join some organization, spend time in the adult library. You could take some adult classes. I know several girls who met nice young men that way.

Good Luck.
Friday, February 13, 2004
Dear Bubby,
I've been going out with my girlfriend for over a year now, and when any important holiday comes around, I feel really lost and confused. I never really know exactly what to buy her to make her really happy.

It's not like I don't listen. I really do. But she doesn't exactly say, "I want _____ for Valentine's Day" or something!

What should I do? Casually ask her about these things, or what?
Confused Shopper

Dear Confused Shopper,
If you really want to buy your girlfriend a gift there are a million things you can get her. Now that Valentines day is here, how about a dozen red roses and a box of good chocolates? If you are very close to her there is always lingerie - and a nice gold chain with a charm - a heart is just beautiful. This is only the beginning. If she likes to read, get her a copy of one of the books on the best list - check the N Y Times and go to Barnes and Nobles. Then there are beautiful bags (pocketbooks). Just go and buy! And then you'll get her reaction -- don't just talk about it or dream about it. My husband bought me all sorts of gifts without asking me WHAT.

Good pickings
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Dear Bubby,
My mom doesn't like the music I listen to. She seems to think I will become violent because of it. I like the music because I can relate to the lyrics. She doesn't understand. What should I do?
Music Lover

Dear Music Lover,
I don't know what type of music you listen to but I do think that most of the music young people listen to reminds me of the music small children bang out on their toy drum and horns. Why don't you ask your mother to recommend some music - it can be showtunes, contemporary music or maybe even an opera, like Carmen. Try them out. You can develop a great love for some of them and learn a little about the history of music.

Remember, that other music was the rage a long time ago just as the modern renditions are today. The good ones survive and the "junk" disappears after a while. Give it a try. You may like it. And as for the modern music - your mother should try it. Give all forms of music a chance -- life without music and song is pretty dull.

Have fun.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Dear Bubby,
I was wondering if you had any advice on how to get over a broken heart? Just recently the guy I liked totally blew me off and treated me like I was below him. I really really liked this guy and it crushed my heart because I thought I was in love with him. I'm really depressed about it and wondered if you had any advice on the matter.
Love, Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,
You don't need this guy. You are lucky to get rid of him. I know you have a broken heart but a heart heals and yours will too. Imagine if you married this no-good and he suddenly decided that he is too good for you. Don't ever let anyone say that to you. You are a thousand times better that than he is. Brush your eyes and smile -- I am sure a better person will come along so get ready.

Don't let anyone ever put you down.
Dear Bubby,

I worry that GW Bush is the worst president the U.S. has ever had and that this is the most critical historical period the U.S. has ever been in.

The combination of those two worries keeps me up at night. Now I have dark circles under my eyes and a permanent back ache, and I'm only 33.

Since you've seen a lot more of life than I have, can you reassure me that things have been this bad before, or maybe even worse, and they got better? Where does a person find hope in the dark moments of life?


Dear Lily,
Yes, Bush is the worst President we ever had. But we have had bad times and got through it. Do you listen to the programs on some of the political programs like CNN? Listen to as many as you can. I am a Democrat and that is the party of the people. I'm for Kerry and I would like to see Edwards as the No.2 man. I think they are both sincere and will try for the common people -- schools, health, jobs, etc.

Don't give up hope. This is your country and my country and is the best in the world. The trouble will dribble out and our men will come home. I lived through a few wars. Remember the storm is over and the sun shines again. Just like Noah and his ark. Trust in G-d. Keep your spirits high and do what's right.

Good Luck.
Monday, February 9, 2004
Dear Bubby,

A co-worker is having her second baby. For her first baby, we gave her a shower at the office. But many here feel that one shower per person is enough. Those of us who work closely with her want to just take her to lunch and give her our own gifts without having a shower that a lot of people will feel obligated to attend. But we're afraid she will be offended if she doesn't get a full-blown shower.

What do you think we should do? (I should add that we've had a lot of new babies around here, so folks have had a lot of showers to buy gifts for).


Dear Lisa,
A shower for one baby has nothing to do with a shower for the next baby. Each child is an entity on its own and is entitled for anything good that comes his way. But if you and your other office friends are tired of making another shower I think as long as you don't let the occasion go by the wayside a luncheon or even dinner after work would be very nice. The latter would be just like a shower since you are planning to bring gifts.

Have it in a restaurant that you will enjoy and you will find that everyone in the place (I mean in the resaurant) will get in the mood and wish her well. Those who don't want to go don't have to go -- the rest of you will have fun whether there will be 3 or 4 or more. Bring along some of your own baby pictures and make sure a few baaby jokes are in place.

Have fun.
Friday, February 6, 2004
Dear Bubby,

Right before Christmas, my mother got into a bit of trouble and needed to borrow $500. I didn't mind giving her the money, but I'm curious about what is the best way to talk to her about paying me back. I love her dearly and I don't want to hurt her feelings. Money is such a touchy subject. I hope I don't sound too selfish. Please help!

Confused Daughter

Dear Confused Daughter,
I don't know why your mother needed the money but it must have been very demoting for her to ask her daughter for the $500.00. As for asking her to give it back to you at this time, maybe she does not have it to give back.

I also know it is most difficult to ask a daughter for money. Have a talk with her -- find out what is troubling her. Could be she needs your love, understanding, and help. And I am sure as a loving daughter you have the ability to help her. Do you need the money now or is it just to put in the bank? No mother would take money from a child and not return it -- it may take a little time so don't rush it.

I had a experience with a friend who was in dire difficulties -- she did not ask me for money but I could see that she needed it. I offered -- she reluctantly took it and in time paid me back and thanked me again and again. And a mother is closer that a friend. Because she is your mother you are here today. Remember, money is the root of all evil -- don't let that happen to you and your mother.

Good luck.
Thursday, February 5, 2004
Dear Bubby,

I have a problem I hope you can help me with:

I love my boyfriend, but I hate his dress sense! He wears the brightest, most patterned shirts I have ever seen, and they disgust me. The worst is bright green silk with yellow sunflowers the size of your hand all over it - it's awful!

Sometimes I even feel embarrassed when we're in public, because his shirts are so hideous. I've tried telling him that I don't like them, but he pays no attention to me.

What should I do?

Dear Tara,
Tell your boyfriend he can wear those outrageous printed shirts in Hawaii or any of the island countries but when he is with you, you want him to be dressed with toned down shirts. You could also buy one of those outlandish tops and wear it and let him complain. Then you can make a deal with him -- neither of you will subject yourselves to such ridiculous clothes. Or you can insist he wear a jacket so no one will notice his garish outfits. If he really loves you, he'll want to please you .

Give it a try.
Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Yo Bubby,

Hey! I'm just a little guy who wants to start a business designing my own clothing. How do I go about getting recognized with no money? I want to make it big.

Sincerly, Lizard

Dear Little Lizard,
You don't give me much information -- do you want to design ladies clothes or men's garments? Have you had any training or did you study design - fabrics - colors - anything in that field. You have to have some education in the field before you can start making a lot of money. Why don't you stop dreaming and if you are in earnest -- either take some courses or get a job in the field -- even if it's a "gopher" and you will start learning.

Good Luck.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
Dear Bubby,

I have two questions.

1) I need to know what a good gift would be for a Bat Mitzvah. If I give money, how much? I need some advice on that.

2) I have a "friend" who's been ditching my other friends and I lately to be with a more popular crowd. We used to be really good friends, so it's hard to just cut her off. Also, she only talks to us... sometimes. It's really confusing and I don't know what to do.

Somewhat Stranded

Dear Somewhat Stranded,
As for a Bat Mitzvah gift, you can give whatever you feel like giving. It's a present not a purchase that you have to pay the price. I remember many years back a boy was being Bar Mitzvahed and his parents made him a very elaborate party. One of his well known guests sent him a tennis racket and a box of balls. However, a week later the boy received a check with a note of apology saying the tennis racket was just part of his gift. Through the grapevine I heard he had such a great time at the party he was ashamed of his "cheap" gift. So you are the best judge for the gift. Remember - it is your decision. Have fun.

As for your second question. If this so called "friend" gives you and your friends the cold shoulder - why don't you play her game too. Have fun with the friends you have and don't bother with her. If she really wants you as a friend, she will soon wonder why she is left out in the cold by you and your true friends. When she asks "why" - be mature and tell her very nicely that you are teaching her a lesson.

That's how you get to know different personalites.
Monday, February 2, 2004
Dear Bubby,

I go to school with a girl who told me that a friend of hers at the Skating Rink said she likes me. I didn't know who she was talking about until yesterday. And I loved her the first time I saw her! But what if she's over me already? I wanna just walk up to her and tell her I like her. But for some reason, I can't! I really like her. Am I just chicken? I'm so confused! Help!


Dear Corey,
It's so nice to have someone who likes you and confides her feelings to another friend. Don't be afraid - If you really like her go up to her - say hello - ask her about school - maybe what do you do after school? Tell her what you like to do and you might ask her if she would like to take a walk after school (if you can afford it you might stop off for pizza but don't tell her what you plan) It will be lots of fun. I know.

A little secret - When I met my husband for the first time he told me right off in front of friends that he was going to marry me. I was shy and confused and said - You can't do that. I still have a couple of years in school and my father would kill me if I stopped and besides I have a friend - Very "laid back" he said he would wait. We all had a big laugh - end of story 3 years later - I married him.

If you like this girl - be positive - speak up and have fun.

Let me know how you made out.

"Help Me, Bubby!" Disclaimer
By submitting a letter to this website, you grant Help Me, Bubby! permission to publish it on this site or elsewhere including print publications. Your letter will only include an anonymous signature that you provide or that we use to substitute for your real name. Your email address will never be included or distributed. Due to the large number of letters received, there is no guarantee that a letter will be responded to. Any information or advice given at Help Me, Bubby! is not intended to provide an alternative to professional medical treatment or to replace the advice or services of a physician or psychiatrist. Neither Bubby nor her granddaughters are professional therapists or medical experts. If you have any serious medical or mental problem, please consult a professional. Although all this advice is offered lovingly from the heart and in good spirit, we are not responsible in any way for your decision to accept or reject the advice or the results thereafter.

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Bubby is our 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93 94 year old grandmother.
A few years ago we introduced her to the internet and we've been getting daily e-mails from her ever since. When she was 87, we began this website. We now believe she is the oldest blogger on the Internet.

Whether Bubby is reminding us that boyfriends do not substitute for warm jackets in the winter, or that it's better to receive a compliment than a brick, she always has something to say to her granddaughters.

Now with this new website, Bubby can finally share her wisdom with the rest of the world. And she's excited about it! (Which confuses us, because she used to say we were all she needed.)

Hopefully this will be as much fun for new readers as it will surely be for her. And if not, well, as Bubby says, it will all come out in the wash.

So, are you looking for advice on food, work, a broken heart, or the perfect bat mitzvah present?

But no dirty words allowed or you'll only get one matzah ball.

Bald and oblivious
Denim diagnosis
Girls are weird
Halloween ideas
I smell him from here
I'm gonna marry you
How to meet a man
Nerds go far
Political predictions
Sloppy spouse
Tastes like chicken

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New York Times: Letter to the Editor (6.11.04)
Jerusalem Post: Feature article (7.2.04)
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Golden Web Page Award (dec.'04)
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