I'm 37 years old and single. A year ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of three years. He is now living with someone else and has a newborn daughter. I'm finally over that relationship and ready to date again, but I have not met many interesting men.
Some of my friends tell me that at my age I cannot afford to be picky and that I should not wait for the kind of love that exists in movies. Instead, I should look for someone who is "good enough" if I want to ever get married and have a family. Are they right? Is it better to compromise, or is it better to be alone - even for the rest of my life - rather than accept second best?
The Old Maid
Dear Old Maid,
You should never call yourself "Old Maid" and give up. I read about many marriages of people in their 30's. What I don't understand is why you lived with this person for three good years. You must have known from the beginning that he was a lost cause. Just be glad you are rid of him.
Now that you are "single" again, try joining some group where you will meet young men your age. I am sure there are many. You can take courses at some university - I think there are some social groups - ask your friends about them. Do your friends or family know of someone you might meet? Do you go to the beach where people your age "hang out"?
But don't think that you have to just settle for anyone. Love and marriage come about when two people meet - share values - want the same thing out of life and are compatible. Just be yourself and get out into the world - you are sure to meet other men.
We're proud of our latest mention in Verge, the teen section for the Pougkeepsie Journal, as well as the The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California. Thanks guys!
I'm a frum girl who wants to know how to behave toward my sister. She does the types of things my Bais Yaakov mind-set condones (watches movies, listens to rock music, etc...). It is becoming increasingly difficult to live in the house with all the noise pervading the rooms.
I need some help in how to gently ask her to keep her movies and music within her own room. (I get no help from my parents who feel she has a right to do whatever she likes.) Thank you so much for helping me.
Bais Yaakov girl
Dear Bais Yaakov,
I was going to tell you to ask your parents for help but you have told me that won't do. But I do think that is what parents are for - to make siblings understand and help one another. In this case to turn the volume down.
In a sisterly fashion, tell her you can't study, read or sleep when she has the volume up so high and would she please turn it down. Then invite her to your room to listen to some of your music and keep it soft. You can also ask her to come in while her music is on and listen to how loud it is - then maybe she will cooperate.
I also feel your parents should lay down the rules so that both you girls can come to an agreement. Let me know how you made out. If it does not work we'll think of something else.
I'm on your side.
I have a really big problem. When I was in tenth grade, my boyfriend said that our relationship could not work. Now we're at the same college and he wants to get back together again. I love him with all my heart, but I'm afraid he might say we have to break-up again, and I don't want my heart broken twice.
Now I know you can't give advice that easily on things like this, so I will describe "Will" to you. He's Jewish, (not that I care, I just know you are, and I am too) smart, loyal, funny, cute, and an all around nice guy. So you are probably wondering why I wouldn't want him. It's not that I don't want him, I love him!! It's just that, as I said before, I don't want my heart broken again.
Now I know this will be really hard to answer, but all I want is your opinion. Like, what *you* would do in this situation? I might or might not take your advice. Thank you!
By the way, he didn't go for another girl when we were apart. I know that for a fact. He said he dumped me because he was being a "jack-ass", as he put it.
I agree with "Will". I think he is right when he calls himself a "Jackass". He probably checked out all the "chicks" that are on campus and could not find any one to suit him so he must figure you are there so until someone else comes along you will do.
If I were you I would tell him that at the moment you are not interested and play a little hard to get. See how he reacts. Why should you be hurt a second time? And besides, you might just meet another young man that will appeal to you more. Since you are just in your sophomore year in college you have plenty of time. By the time you are a senior, you will have better values and will have many more very nice "guys".
Don't let this young man think that all he has to do is crook his little finger and all will be forgiven. He hurt you too much -- not again.
My husband forgot my birthday this year. Should I also forget his?
-Alone in Jerusalem
Dear Alone in Jerusalem,
I know how you feel to be forgotten on your birthday by your husband but two wrongs do not make a right.
I would send him a card with nothing on it for one thing and a gift box with nothing in it. And if he says anything I would remind him of what he did to me.
And then I would say that now that we have both had our says -- Let's go out and celebrate for both of us. And I bet next year he will not forget at all.
Have a good time. Remember, there are forgetful moments in every life time. Let this be the last in yours.
My 12-year-old daughter will be attending at least a dozen of her classmates' Bar and Bat Mitzvahs this coming school year. Since her Bat Mitzvah is one of the later ones, I have no idea what kinds of gifts kids give each other. Any ideas on what is appropriate?
Thanks so much!
Dear Mitzvah Mom,
What a happy problem! I will tell you what I did when my son was a Bar Mitzvah. There were also 12 boys Bar Mitzvahed in the same year so the mothers and I got together and decided that each would get the same gift and we decided on a savings bond. At the end of the year each boy was richer by 12 bonds.
For a girl I would suggest a little piece of jewelry - maybe earrings or a thin little chain for her neck. Girls love jewelry. Do they have cell phones? Girls live to talk on phones. You could always buy a set of 2 or 3 tickets to a show so she can take her parents or 2 girlfriends. Or as we did - buy them each a savings bond for their futures. Good luck in whatever you decide.
So many people say that "when it's love, you just know." I'm 26 years old, and I've never "just known," which I guess means I've never been in love. I very recently started dating a friend of mine, and my question is - how do you know when you're in love with someone? How do you know when a guy is your bashert?
Thanks so much, Want to Know
P.S. - Your site is wonderful! I really enjoy reading it.
Not all marriages are made in heaven but you can get pretty close to it. In your case of 26 I think you have the ability to know when the right man comes along. Do you share the same values? Do you want the same things out of life - are you willing to give up some things for him such as moving to a different location and will he encourage you if you have a career or does he want you to stay at home? There are many more questions that you can think of. Is he considerate of you and shares your laughter and tears with you?
If all of the above are answered correctly for you I would say "He is the one" because these are the things love is made of. If it works out for you and I am sure it will, show him the sparkle in your eyes and smile. Before you know it he will pop the question and I don't mean "what time is it?"
The time is now. Best of everything.
We're so proud of our mention in The Copacetic Zine. Thank you!
My name is Anna and I am 17 years old and I live in England. Recently, I've had to make some big decisions which will change my life.
I've wanted to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) military since I was 10 years old and I am still determined to carry this out. However, I must wait a year or two until the intelligence trade opens up again.
In the meantime, I have applied for another year of school in business Studies. But my parents don't think this is the right choice for me. I'm not very good when it comes to exams, I panic and fail. They think I should be out in the real world, get a job and find out what that's like, before I join the RAF.
Now I am quite liking this idea because my boyfriend has offered that I live with him in Cambridge where there are plenty of job opportunities. My parents think it would be good for me to get away and they don't seem to mind that I would be living with my boyfriend (age 21). My dad said not to base my move on my relationship, which I understand. But I do love him and feel like it would be a good move. He lives in a house with 3 other people and they all pay rent. I would also pay rent and he and I would share a room because there are no other rooms in the house! It is a small place.
I am researching what would be best. If I stayed here to do my bushiness Studies, it would mean getting work experience with the MoD which would look good for my hopeful future military career. But it is in a town which is quite difficult to get to from where I live. And it might cost a lot of money, which I don't have.
I hope and look forward to your reply, Bubby.
Thanks, from Ann in UK
Dear Anna in UK,
If you were my daughter I would not allow you to move away from home to live with a 21 year old boy. If you went away to school that would be different. I think that studying a business program is a wonderful idea and it is something that will help you in life no matter what you do after you get your diploma. I myself was a business major and indeed I had wonderful jobs and enjoyed the people I worked with and I am still working. I know that at your age it is very difficult to make a decision and having a boyfriend - you say you love - makes it more difficult. But I can tell you that relationships at your age rarely last a lifetime and as you grow older and wiser you will understand.
Joining the RAF is fine but get your education first -- no one can take that away from you. Just one more word - since you are prepared to pay rent - go to the
school and pay rent in the dorm and get that education. You will find as you grow older you will meet more boys to fall in love with.
I sincerely hope that you give this advice serious thought and I would love to hear from you again.
Free for the pickin'
We're offering new stamps for you to put on your own blogs to let the world know you're a friend of Bubby's. All you have to do is download the image you like best to your computer (no direct links please), upload it up to your own blog, and make it link to: "http://www.HelpMeBubby.com".
4. 5. 6.
Enjoy! (from, the granddaughters)
Reader's Response: Wedding Etiquette Re-re-revisited
On May 26th, we received a letter from Mrs. B, who needed Bubby's advice concerning a wedding invitation (Miss Manners' apparently didn't have a chapter on this). The envelope contained no RSVP card, and Mrs. B wasn't sure how she should formally inform the couple that she would in fact be showing up. Bubby wrote back that the wedding was probably going to be a very informal affair, and that Mrs. B should just send a hand-written note confirming her presence at their party. An update soon followed, and Mrs. B told us that Bubby was correct - it was going to be a very informal affair.
A few weeks after that we received another letter from a woman in Jerusalem, who had read Mrs. B's letter, and Bubby's advice -- and then had a few insights of her own to share with us. Here's what she wrote:
I enjoy your blog very much. Reading your advice makes me miss my own Bubby (whom I call "Omi"), who lives in America (I moved to Israel last year). She's very sweet and makes excellent blintzes.
Anyhow, tonight I read about the wedding invitation with no response card. Your reply, and the follow-up the next day, made me think of something interesting.
Not so long ago, response cards were considered gauche. If you read the Miss Manner's books from a few decades ago -- which you probably remember, Bubby, but some of your younger readers might not -- they all say that when you get an invitation to a wedding, you must hand-write a response on your own stationery, accepting or declining the invitation. So the advice you gave, technically, is the very most formal way of responding.
It's interesting how manners change over time. Once upon a time, writing a hand-written response was the ONLY acceptable way to respond to a formal invitation. Now, it's come full circle, and become the way to respond when an invitation is so INformal that there is no response card!
Anyhow, keep up the good work.
--A Fan in Jerusalem
I finally after so many years met a man I like but he lives in South Africa and I live in Israel. He has no will to move here because he has family in South Africa, and I have my family here in Israel and don't want to leave them. Have you any special advice as to solve this problem?
I can see that your problem is almost insurmountable but I have a suggestion. This man - is he visiting Israel or did he have another reason for coming to Israel? Was he looking for a new business or pleasure? How long have you known him and how well have you gotten to know him? How does he feel about you? Is there a future between both of you?
But to help you make up your mind, why don't you take a visit to South Africa and see if you like it well enough to spend your life there. By seeing him in his native surroundings you will get a lot of your questions answered. Enjoy his company in Israel and tell him you will plan a trip to his country after he goes back. You may like it. The country is not so far away but the living and restrictions may be not to your liking.
Go with an open mind -- try it, you may like it.
I have never written to an advice column before but I could really use some help.
Over a year ago I went out with this guy for about a month and a half. When he broke up with me it took me a long time to get over him. A lot of that had with the fact that he was my first boyfriend. Well, I have a different boyfriend now and we have been going out for seven months and I'm very happy with him.
The problem is that my ex is friends with the other people I hang out with. When we all get together he is there, which makes it difficult. But when my boyfriend is also there it's not so bad because of two things:
1.) he doesn't feel threatened by him and
2.) he at least partially gets along with him.
When my boyfriend isn't there though, people start saying things about how me and my ex are flirting or they ask what is going on between us. But the only time I see my ex is in a group setting and only then. We both want to be friends, and never doing anything alone of course, because:
a.) it's too weird and
b.) it really would seem like I'm cheating.
I don't want to jeopardize my current relationship but I also think my ex does make a good friend. And although my boyfriend says he's OK with my ex being around, I know there's only so much he can handle. My ex says he doesn't want to cause me problems so he knows to keep a distance. But he also feels bad about a lot of it.
Another issue I have to consider is, do I secretly still have feeling for my ex that I won't admit but others can see? But like I said, I don't want to jeopardize the current relationship with a wonderful guy that really does make me very happy.
I guess my question is, how should I best handle this tense situation? And, what can I do about any more-then-friendship feelings I MIGHT have for my ex?
If this boyfriend of yours is so nice, why do you have to give a thought to your ex? You have to sit down and write out the merits and disadvantages of these two young men. Then add up the debits and credits and make a choice.
Being in the same group has nothing to do with your relationship with your ex unless you are showing that you care. You can be distant friends if you want, but be sure you don't go further or you will lose this new boyfriend. And don't listen to these so-called friends - they are waiting for something to happen. Don't let it. It is all up to you.
I hope you make the right decision. Good luck.
I love this - asking a Jewish grandmother for advice. My own bubby usually stuffs me with delicious cooking loaded with grease and salt and then advisesme to suck in my stomach when I walk. So I'm looking for another opinion here.
The situation I have is with a friend / acquaintance I've known for a number ofyears, and kept in touch with on and off. For the last few years he's been having trouble at school and holding down a job, so he's been drifting from place to place and usually doesn't have much money. He's very thin and always seems hungry. I've offered to lend him a few bucks or buy him lunch but heusually refuses. He told me he doesn't like to feel obligated to other people.
This weekend we got together for a Jazz Festival and dinner. I wasn't that hungry so I didn't eat much. I ordered a drink, ate a few things off his plate and finished his meal when he was full. When we went to pay for our meals, the cashier mistakenly lumped my bill with his.
I could have taken that opportunity to pay his bill for once because he really could use the extra savings (I have a steady job), but my knee-jerk reaction was to correct the cashier and tell her "no, we're paying separately!" So she refunded me my change and the poor guy had to pay with a debit card. By the time I realised my mistake, it was too late. I know he never would have accepted cash from me if I'd offered to split the bill of his meal. He didn't seem angry about it - he is a nice guy - but I feel really bad.
It's unlikely I'll see him again for another month or two, since our contact with each other is pretty sporadic. But I just want him to know that I didn't mean to be selfish and maybe buy him something else to make up for it. If I tell him directly though he might just refuse again. What would you suggest I do to make amends? I don't know of any jobs he might be qualified for and I already have several friends who I've promised to help look for work. (We're all in our early 20's)
Thanks in advance for your input.
Dear Guilty Canadian,
So you put your foot in it. There is nothing you can do at this point. Do not send him a gift - that would be the worst thing you could do. And don't apologize. You have just learned your lesson and remember next time you see him you tell him before you walk in to the restaurant that this is on you and if he asks why just say, it will make me feel good. Then go about enjoying each other's company.
You say you could not eat anymore but then you finished the food from his plate. If you were full how could you eat more?? You should have suggested that he have the waiter pack it up and he should take it home. This is done in all restaurants. Restaurants are prepared for this.
I think you need a little help in social procedures. I'm sorry your friend can't find a job and it is very nice of you to try to help him locate one. Has he had any training in any field? You say you are all in your early 20's - that's great. Is he in school? He could try to get something right in school. He should see the counselor or the dean. That is what I did and I got the job. He could also go to any agency.
A good frienship is hard to find and if this is a good one you don't want to loose it. You have just learned your lesson and I am sure you will be a better man because of it.
Best in your manners and good luck to your friend finding a job.
New Feature: "Bubby recommends..."
"I am reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This the author of Tuesdays with Morrie. It is the story of Eddie -- old and grizzled, a handy worker at an amusement park. He is killed on his 83rd birthday One by one his life after death is full of people he meets who illuminate the connection to heaven of his earthy life. This book is small but has a lot of food for thought and has humor besides." --Bubby
Well, first, I don't like how you changed the spelling of Bubbi, but as you are my new surrogate grandmother, that will be okay.
Okay, I need a good kosher dill pickle recipe. Just to make, nothing more or less. Or maybe to pickle tomatoes, as I do like pickled tomatoes. Or, you can send me a jar. That also works.
Also, as my new surrogate Bubbi, since mine passed away a few years ago, you have been a little remiss in sending out birthday gifts. I expect to see some checks this October to make up for lost time. We can write off Hanukkah, since, well, I never liked latkes anyway.
your new genius grandson
Hi New Grandson,
Firstly, I was always Bubby - the spelling was an error from someone else.
As for the recipe for pickling pickles, I do remember helping my Mother do it and I was always there to help in my little way. First you must have a nice big crock and a cool spot where you can mix it and let it stew in the brine. Buy small pickles - now called kirbeys. In the town where I lived we called them penny pickles because they looked like little cucumbers and cost a penny each.
Choose pickles that are not quite ripe or they will come out mushy. Vinegar should contain no more than 5% acid. White vinegar is better to use than brown. You can use Cider vinegar to give the pickles a fruity flavor. Salt should be pure - not table salt - so that the liquid will be light. Use whole spices and tie them in a square of clean muslin. Use granulated sugar to have a light liquid.
Of course the amounts should be decided on depending on the size of the crock. Pack everything together all very tightly and cover the crock. If you have a lid to the crock you can weigh it down with a nice big stone and store in a cool dark cellar - if you have one. If you want to hurry the procedure along, you could boil the pickles first before starting with the above procedure.
Or better yet, you can go the supermarket or closest Deli and buy your pickles and enjoy them and save all this work -- after all this is 2004.
I'm 20 years old and in my third year of college. I live far away but I keep in touch with my hometown friends. My best friend (same age) has been hard to keep in touch with since she rarely checks her email, and often her phone is disconnected. Still, we did the best we could. As far as I knew, we didn't have any deterioration in our friendship.
Two weeks ago I got a one line email from her telling me that she got married! I was horribly hurt that I wasn't invited. This weekend I received another email from her -- she's pregnant!
I'm not as hurt as I was before -- now I'm just worried about my friend. She's always been VERY close to her mother, but her mom doesn't even know that she's married. She dropped out of school to support her new husband, a musician, who she's known 8 months (he's 26).
I guess I just want to know what you think is going on with her. Did our friendship really break up, and I just didn't notice it? Is there something I can say that won't make it seem like I'm not happy for her? And what in the world should I send as a shower present?
Maybe I'm just looking for a few words to help me feel better.
I hope you can help,
From, a Bewildered Friend
Dear Bewildered Friend,
Well, we know what is wrong with her and that is why you were not invited to her wedding.
Perhaps she and this young man just went to the justice of peace and said their vows, or maybe not. But she did want to unburden herself so she sent you that second note. This is all too bad but it is something that these two young people will have to live with. My mother always said -- the baby came on time but the wedding was a little late. This does not make her a bad person - nor this young man - they were careless.
Now what to do is to not treat her as an outcast. She should go home and tell her mother - and I know mothers always forgive their children. They will work it out. Mother can say the baby was premature, the young couple can set up housekeeping and learn to take care of their sweet baby -- all if they truly love each other. I think their ages are OK - young matures. If her mother decides to take care of the baby for a while she can finish college, which is very important, and this young man should either find his way in the musical world or choose another profession. The entertainment world is a hard nut to crack.
I feel for both of them and wish them luck. As for a gift, forget it for now. When the baby arrives send a nice gift and now you can send her an uplifting letter. She is adrift now but it's not the end of the world. Cheer her up and ask her to keep in touch with you.
I really like your website, and you seem to have some genuine wisdom to offer. So, here is my story: I am a husband and a father of seven children. I really love my family, so I got the very best possible job I could to support them. We live in a very rural area where jobs of any kind are hard to come by. My job is in the city 40 miles away and I work in a medical school.
My problem is that I really hate my job. There are a lot of reasons why, but no matter what reason it is this week, the one thing that doesn't change is how miserable I am to work there. I want to quit, but I know that I won't be able to find another job that pays as much money. It bothers me that I come home tired and angry, and that I'm no fun for my family to be around any more, to say the least.
So, which would you say is more important: to be happy myself or to do the best possible job of providing for my family? I have worked a number of other jobs before, and while there were certainly some I didn't like, none of them made me this consistently wretched.
Dear Overworked Dad,
I have always said that the worst thing that could happen to a person is to get up in the morning and go to work to a job that person hates. So I can understand how you feel - and riding 40 miles to get to it. Is that driving 40 miles each way? And all that gas to boot!
I know it takes a lot of hard decisions and soul searching before one gives up a job that feeds 9 people. Still there should be a way out. You should give up your job and find something closer to home. You should take stock of your abilities - talk together with your whole family -- surely you must have one or two who are in their teens or close. Supporting a family is a family job.
Why don't you think about opening some kind of store or service place where the whole family can help. The older children can devote some time to doing neighborhood jobs like mowing lawns, baby sitting, etc. Are you trained for anything?? Maybe you could find something closer to home.
I know it is not easy at first but it will work out. But you must give up this job that you have now so that you can devote yourself to do the proper research. Speak to your present employer about how you feel and perhaps he can give you some information closer to your home. He might fire you and then you could have money to live on until you settle on something you like. I don't know in what part of the country you live but I think you are industrious enough to either make a job or find one close enough to home. And the whole family will be happy.
From the granddaughters:
We receive a lot of letters from young girls who want Bubby to tell them why they don't have a boyfriend. So today we're posting two letters from single young women wondering if they're the only ones out there who can't find love. Because we wanted them both to see (and any other girl out there reading this) that they are not alone.
But that's just our opinion. Let's see what Bubby has to say...
Okay. Here it goes. Well, I am a sixteen year old girl, and I am tired of not having someone who loves me. (At a loss for better words, a boyfriend.) Guys just don't seem to notice me, and it seems that as soon as a guy starts to be nice to me, and I start to like him, he drifts away. It's not like I act differently or anything... Is there something wrong with me? Do I have, like, horrible karma or something?
I went with a guy to Winter Formal one time, but he didn't like me. I was just his accessory. I never get asked to dance at dances. I never have Saturday night dates. I've never been kissed by a guy before. I've never held hands. It seems like I'll always be boyfriend-less.
Please give me some advice, Bubby!
--Just wanting some guy-love
Good Evening Bubby!
I'm 19 years old. I'm intelligent, I go to a good college, I have lots of friends, I think I'm pretty funny and not terrible looking, but I've never been on a date, had a boyfriend, or even been kissed.
It's frustrating for me because I can't seem to find whatever flaw is keeping me from being attractive to the opposite sex or keeping them from approaching me or whatever the problem is. I'm very happy with my life in every other aspect, but I feel like I'm light years behind when it comes to romance.
Any advice on how to meet nice young men my age? How to be the kind of young women that they would want to have a relationship? Anything at all that could help?
To two very lovely young girls,
At your age - girls are far more mature than boys, but give them a little time. Do you go to school sports activities or parties? Don't be shy. Walk up to a young man, ask his name - what class is he in - does he plan to go on to college - does he like to dance? Get his reaction.
For every young man there is a sweet young girl, but sometimes boys are either too slow because they don't know how to approach a girl and some are too aggressive and are obnoxious. But I am sure that your turn will come. Just be yourself.
Do you go to friends parties - if not, why not get together with a few girl friends and have a party. That should turn out for a lot of fun and on your home ground you can let your personality shine.
Try it - you'll like it. Good hunting.
I'm from Singapore. Stumbled upon your site twice by chance and guess fate brought me to you.
I have this boyfriend whom I am with for the past 2 years and 8 months. Life has been full of challenges, changes and good times. The first man in my life and someone who actually loves me back instead of the typical "first-relationship-doesn't-last" situation. I really love him a lot and can see that he does think likewise about our relationship and intends to settle down into marriage upon the 4th year of our relationship.
I am only but 21 years old this year (haha). Reckon that would be very young still to make any decision but I am a person that is clear of what I want and feel therefore my decisions are thoroughly considered before even making one.
The problem perhaps, is that my boyfriend has no qualification. His future seems uncertain. Inevitably, I feel concerned and occasionally, dubious of whether I am making the right choice. He is definitely regretful of the mistakes he made during his younger years and is willing to work hard for the future. He treats me very well and from my observation, he treats me with with care and concern and most importantly, with respect and is not the least bit chauvinistic. My mom pampers him a lot as she believes that he is the man I love therefore she loves him too. My faith keeps me strong.
I guess there's not much of a question in this letter but just something I felt like sharing with Bubby. Will Bubby support me in my decision on staying with him in this relationship too?
Dear Hopeful Thinker,
I can see that you are thinking a lot, but to what end?? This man - how old is he - you are 21 and you have been seeing him for almost 3 years. That is not so bad. He is nice to you and respects you and he says he loves you but the future is more than all that. If he has "no qualifications", so what does the future hold for you?? Is he independently wealthy? He has no job. How does he pay when you go out or don't you go out?
I think you are making a mistake. At 21 you should be seeing other young men who have better qualifications like a job or studying to get a better job by taking courses. You sound like a young lady with a lot of common sense and I suggest you and he should separate for a while - that will give you a chance to meet other young people so that you can compare this person with others. There are many nice, thoughtful young men around. Meet them. If you were my daughter I would certainly suggest this to you.
I think he is stringing you along telling you that he will marry you after 4 years and after 4 years he may say "another four years." From what you say about him he is also much older than you, but I think you are smarter than he is.
Give this a lot more thought and the best to you.
We received some funny letters this week from people trying to get down to specifics.
Didn't you used to spell it Bubbe? Or am I going kwazy?
-Distressed in New York
Yes I did sign my name as Bubbie but so many people spelled it with a "y" I decided to go with the flow. Doesn't matter. The answers are the same.
Greetings from Bubby
How do you deal with so much email? Wouldn't it take you all day long to read through and respond to them? By the way, I'm a college student in NJ on summer break. I really like your blog and the help you give.
I remember when I was a student in college. I wanted to get out in a hurry so I took summer classes to get more credits, and boy! Was it hot. But I managed and I did get out early. Now I wonder why - being in school with all the work, there was still lots of fun. I've always been busy and I seem to work all the time but I also manage to get a social life in. I work best late at night -- a hold over from my years in school - and I don't mind a bit.
Our lovely first daughter, Flora, was born a month ago. My husband and I are having some difficulties relating to both our in-laws. What bothers me is that, although I used to like my mother-in-law a lot, I dislike her attitudes towards me and the baby now.
She rarely offers help and yesterday, when we visited her, she wanted to hold the baby all the time - without washing her hands after holding her dog... I had to ask her twice to wash her hands before holding the baby.
In my view, she behaves like a little girl wanting to play with a doll. She doesn't seem to respect our choices and always tells us how she used to do things. I get upset just thinking about an upcoming visit with her. I don't want to feel like that!! I know how wonderful grandmas are for children, help me overcome this...
Concerned New Mom
Dear Concerned New Mom,
I know just how you feel about your new sweet baby. As for your mother-in-law, you must lay down some rules. You must say your doctor stressed the fact that before anyone picks up the baby --- wash your hands --- more germs are spread from people wanting to play with the new baby without washing their hands, breathing over the tiny one and kissing too much. This little one has yet to build up immunity to such things and adults should understand this.
When she reaches a few months there is plenty of time. She is not going anywhere. As she gets older she will start to smile and will enjoy being played with. Now your baby is best off lying in her crib and receiving the attention she deserves. Your mother-in-law should know this but it doesn't hurt to talk about it in a nice way.
I know, since I am not only a grandmother but also a great grandmother and neither my babies nor I have missed loving. And don't forget babies love to hear songs.
Reader Update: Doctor Who?
On March 3, we received a letter from a frugal veterinarian on Long Island. Bubby doesn't like to pick favorites, so let's just say she has very high regard for this writer, because he made her laugh, laugh, laugh. Dr. Huntfresser was looking for advice on how to improve his shlumpy ways. The nurses in his office were tired of seeing him drink out of the same water bottle for months, which they were sure was filled with bacteria by this point. Even when the Doc discovered a strand of E.coli in the bottle, he couldn't find the motivation to change his ways.
Bubby wrote back that he should ignore those women and drink whatever he wanted, from wherever he wanted. But more important than the bacteria he was consuming, Bubby wanted to know: "Are you married? If so - I am sure she has the ammunition to correct what she wants to correct in you."
So, whatever happened to Dr. Huntfresser? Is this doctor still coasting by on his E.coli... or did the nurses finally give him a shot of his own medicine?
Actually, in order to get along better with the yentes at our hospital, I have taken to drinking Crystal Light which I mix in a store-bought RubberMaid 2 liter bottle. The problem is, I often forget to return my bottle to the refrigerator. It sits out and grows mold. The good news is, the mold is so disgusting that even I cannot bring myself to drink out of it so I end up washing it. I get it pretty clean. The funny thing is, they are all so disgusted by my moldy Crystal Light that they are begging me to go back to the old soda bottle and water routine.
It reminds me of a story my father used to tell from the Old Country:
A man goes to the rabbi and complains, "Rabbi, My wife and I have been blessed with 12 children!" The Rabbi says, "Nu?! So what's wrong with that?"
"Well, the house is too crowded now. I'm losing my mind."
"I see," says the Rabbi, "You must move your donkey into the house right away. Come back in a week." The pious man moves his donkey into his house that night. He returns to the Rabbi a week later.
"Rabbi, the donkey is so noisy and now the house is smelly too!"
"I see," says the Rabbi, "You must move your chickens into the house. Come back in a week." The pious man moves the chickens into the house and comes back a week later.
"Now there's chicken poop everywhere!", he says. The Rabbi tells him to bring his flock of sheep into the house. This goes on until the house looks like Noah's ark.
"Rabbi, you are a great and wise man, but all that this has done is make my house more crowded and annoying! My children have been forced out of their beds by the geese and my wife and I share a bed with a calf."
"I see," says the Rabbi, "You must remove all the animals from the house
tonight." A week later the man returns.
"Rabbi, you are a genius! The house is so roomy and quiet it's a mechayah!"
So too is my moldy Crystal Light. Now, the yente-vet-techs all marvel at my "clean" reusable soda bottle. When people think things are bad, sometimes they need to be shown just how bad things can get! Thanks for your help Bubby.
Dr. Huntfresser (Oy Vet Zmeer!)
Bubby responded to the good doctor... (and p.s.: a "mechayah" means, a delight.)
Dear Dr. Huntfresser,
Thanks for the joke. It is so typical of the "old country" jokes I used to hear from my parents. But with the fun there is always a lesson behind it.
Enjoy your bottle -- at least it is water.
Congratulations to Bubby! Check out the July 2nd edition of The Jerusalem Post to read the feature article on this blog...
My husband's wardrobe is either exceptionally casual (tshirts and jeans)or exceptionally formal (three piece suit!). He doesn't seem to quite get the "in between" stage of dress: Business casual. His office does not require him to dress up and so he has little need to think about such dress, until of course it's too late.
I'd like to introduce him to a more modern style of dress, but I don't know how since he hates shopping and doesn't appreciate much criticism of his wardrobe (I try hard NOT to nag or otherwise pester him about such things). Truthfully though, I'm tired of looking at his ill fitting jeans and baggy tshirts! Do you have any advice for gently updating a husband's wardrobe?
(It's like coaxing a squirrel to eat out of your hand: one sudden move and all is lost!)
The Squirrel Talker
Dear Squirrel Talker,
Jeans and T-shirts are great but one must grow up to other types of dress. Why don't you buy him a nice broadcloth shirt or a slipover sweater for his birthday or even just for being a nice guy. Say when you looked at this beautiful slipover you could just see him in it.
Do you point out some of his friends who wear slacks and sport jackets when they go out to dinner? Show him the magazines that advertise men's clothing styles. Plant the seed in his mind and it will grow. Once you get him into some comfortable casual sports clothes and he looks into the mirror - he'll say "not a bad looker" and he will change.
It worked for my husband and it should work for yours. Also take him to a nice men's store - not a closeout facility.
Tech News: This blog now has it's own syndication feed, thanks to feedburner. You can subscribe here.
I'm bored with my job. It's summer and I just want to go to the beach. Do you have any creative suggestions about how I can get people to stop expecting anything of me? I've considered just wearing the same outfit every day so that by the end of the week people will avoid me because of the smell... Do you think that would work?
- Uncivilized servant
Dear Uncivilized Servant,
I find that you are a person who likes himself (or herself) very little or not at all. If you keep up these ideas of being smelly then you will stay smelly and you won't have to worry about people not being near you.
If you feel you must go to the beach on a working day then take one of your vacation days and go. Then you will feel better, or guilty for not being at work. But console yourself - you had been given vacation time. Now maybe you will get back to work -- "gung ho".
I think it is time to get hold of yourself and a good way to do it is to look into a mirror and tell yourself it is time to grow up and join the world. Smile, smile, and take that shower.
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