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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Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Dear Bubby,

Last July I met my boyfriend while we were both working in China. He is American, I am English. We now are in a long distance relationship. He just visited me for 10 days and left yesterday. I do not know what to do next.

During each of our visits, we have great happiness and our communication has really grown, but at times he grows very quiet. He says he feels sad, that he has doubts. Yet whenever I suggest perhaps the distance makes our relationship too difficult, he says he loves me and wants to make it work, he just doesn't know how.

He asked me to marry him soon after we met, but then said it was too soon. I know he brought an engagement ring with him on this trip, but he did not ask me to be with him and instead said he was sad and we needed to break up. Then he changed his mind the next day.

He is very loving towards me - the most gentle, kind, humanitarian man - and I adore him. Yet I have put my life on hold for him, taking time out of my doctoral studies and not taking promising jobs, because we had talked about us marrying and me moving to America to be with him. I don't know whether to break it off - if he isn't sure now when will he be? Should I be making my life plans without him, or just wait?

I am so sad and confused - I'd value your advice.

Long distance love

Dear long distance love,

I had a similar experience when I was in college and I laughed about it. I told him that it would take me three more years to finish my studies and he said he would wait because I was the one for him. At the end of the three years we were married. During that time I would see him about once a month. We were in the same country but far apart.

If this young man really is in love with you and is planning to marry you, you should discuss it openly between you. If he hesitates, he either does not want to lose you or is still out on a limb and you should not wait for him. He has to grow up.

Marriage to me is a life long commitment. Moving to the states is not a big deal. I moved to NY after we were married, I met new friends and I was with my loving husband and friend. But you must be sure. I think the fact that he crossed the ocean to see you means he was trying to make up his mind and you should do that too -- see other young men to compare him.

Best of good luck.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Dear Bubby,

I'm glad to hear you are feeling better and back in the business of helping people. Now I could use some help!

My parents were divorced when I was six-years-old. I've always had a great relationship with both of them. My mom remarried shortly after I graduated high school. I love my step-father and think he and my mother make a wonderful couple.

My father remarried two years ago, but unfortunately I didn't really like his new choice. I felt she was very manipulative and did not treat my father with respect. I held my tongue at the time, as I figured there must be *something* about her that makes my father happy. Plus, it is he who has to live with her, not me. I live far enough away that visits are few and far between anyway.

It's now two years later, and my opinion of this woman has only gotten worse. My wife feels the exact same way as I do . I get physically stressed and am disgusted to be around her. I honestly can't find a single nice thing to say about her.

Now it gets complicated. My wife and I are expecting our first child this year. As you can imagine my father is ecstatic, and he can't wait to play with his soon-to-be grandchild. I know he will be an equally wonderful grandparent and I would love for him to be involved in my child's life. However, I think that I will be less willing to invite him now since it would involve bringing his wife. I would never shut him out completely, but there would definitely be less visits.

Is there any way that I can tactfully ask my father to come alone when he visits? I so much want to tell him how I feel about his wife, but I know it would hurt him. However, I know it would hurt him even more if he ever felt that he was being left out of his grandchild's life. Help me Bubby, what can I possibly do?

The Bad Son?

Dear Bad Son,

No, you are not a bad son by telling me you don't like your father's new wife.

I think when the new baby arrives and it is a girl, you can tell your father that he can come see her when he has the time and you think it best he come alone because if his new wife came it might not be wise to have his former wife and his new wife together.

I remember going to a wedding once and the father of the bride brought his new wife along and ignored his first wife. She was very upset and all the guests were watching the two women if anything was going to happen. The first wife was not told in advance which was very bad.

I think you should discuss this with your Mother. She may not care or if she does care you should tell your father it would be best if he came alone. The best policy is to be honest up front. And then again, after so many years your mother may not care. She is very happy with her second marriage and your father will be like a stranger to her.

Don't let it be a surprise -- that would be the worst. Be honest with both your parents.

Good luck and much happiness to you and your wife with this new blessing.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Dear Bubby,

My daughter asked me to find a recipe for hamentachen filled with chocolate. She doesn't like the normal hamentachen fillings (jams, etc.) and would like to bake some goodies for the holidays.

Do you have a recipe?

Thank you!
Purim Mom

Well, Purim Mom, you're in luck. Last year someone else e-mailed Bubby for some hamentashin recipes (aka "purim cookies"). Bubby typed up her recipe for everyone to see. We decided to re-post that entry today in honor of Purim 2005.

When we were growing up Bubby always made us hamentashin with lots of different fillings including chocolate chips and jams. (She would even send them to us in college and we'd share them with everyone in our dorms.)

Have a happy holiday!

Bubby's recipe for Hamentashen/Purim Cookies
Just in time for the holiday...

A few months ago a reader named Betty the Baker asked Bubby if she could share her recipe for delicious "Purim cookies", also known as Hamentashen. Bubby told her she would, but the recipe was out of reach at the time. So now, in honor of the holiday Purim this weekend, Bubby has dug out her special recipe to share with all of you.

The Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pareve margarine
1 egg-slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven 375 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut the margarine into small piece & cut into flour mixture until it looks like cornmeal. Mix well to form dough. (I use an electric mixer.) Chill several hours. (You can freeze for a later baking.)

Roll out dough 1/8" thick on a lightly floured board. You should have a clean place to roll out the dough - preferably a sheet made especially for rolling out dough. You can buy these in home cooking supplies stores. Also the cookie cutters. Keep a little dish with flour nearby when rolling out the dough to keep it from getting sticky. Just a sprinkle will do.

To form the hamentashen use a round cookie cutter no larger than 3". Cut dough into 3" circles. Place 1 tsp of filling towards the top of the circle. Fold over the flap directly above the filling; then fold over the flaps on either side of the filling sealing the corners on all 3 sides of the filling to form a triangle. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes till lightly browned.

The best filling to use are PRUNE BUTTER and APRICOT BUTTER or if you like you can use POPPY SEED MIXTURE. You should be able to buy all these things in a gourmet food shop.

Happy baking!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Dear Bubby,

A few weeks back a very good friend wanted me to go on a ski trip. Being in university and having money issues at the moment, I knew there was no way I could afford this trip (it was very expensive). I also had family obligations that weekend which would have prevented me from going as well. I explained all of this to her and told her that I wouldn't be able to go.

Later that day, she called back and told me that she had gone ahead and booked and paid for me. I told her that I had asked her not to do that and she said she knew this but she really wanted me to go. She said she trusted me and that I could pay her the money back whenever I wanted.

I ended up not going. A few weeks passed, and she never mentioned the money until today. She was wondering if I wanted her to go with me to see if I could get my money back for the trip. She told me that if I couldn't get it back,(apparently they had a no-refund-policy) than I could pay her back before the end of the semester.

I am in shock. I really, truly do not have the money to pay her and I probably won’t have it any time soon. While it was nice that she wanted me to go, it seems that she totally ignored my situation and went ahead and did what she wanted to do. I’m the kind of person who doesn't like to owe money to anyone and I feel extremely bad about the mess that has developed over all this.

I don’t know what to do and it's really stressing me out. Do I just try and get the money to pay her back? I don’t see how this is my problem as I told her couldn't go. Please Help Bubby!

Thanks so much,
To pay or not to pay

Dear to Pay or not to Pay,

If you told your friends that you cannot or do not want to go on the ski trip, she had no business making the reservation. She should have asked if the trip is refundable and if the answer was NO then she should not have made the reservation for you.

You are not obligated to pay. You might offer something to her as a friendly gesture but the charge is your friend's obligation not yours.

For the future I hope both of you have learned that you don't spend another person's money at any time.

I hope this does not cost you your friendship.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Dear Bubby,

I am a 21 year old college student who has everything he could possibly want - a busy life, good grades, lots of friends and no financial worries. However, there is one thing I don't have and it is something I desperately want - a serious relationship with a Jewish girl.

I haven't had a girlfriend for over 3 years now and am not the kind of guy who likes one night stands or anything of that kind. I'm also not the kind of person who meets girls in bars or clubs, so I get to know people through conversation at dinners or Jewish events.

Basically I'm what everyone calls a 'nice guy'. I have loads of friends who are girls but they only see me as a friend. When I ask a girl out, I get a 'no' with no genuine reason given. I'm relatively good looking, intelligent, respectful to women, have great prospects and a good sense of humor. I want to meet someone who can be a friend and a girlfriend.

I'm also a good listener and girls do discuss problems with me - which annoys me sometimes! If they are having relationship problems and I then ask them what they really want out of a relationship, they usually describe a guy who, without them realizing it, is me.

I don't want to have to pretend to be anything other than myself, because a relationship based on that won't be genuine. So why am I in this rut and what I should do to get out of it? It's really beginning to get me down - I feel very lonely even with all my friends around me.

Please help me!
The Nice Guy

Dear Nice Guy,

It seems to me that you are a nice guy and that any nice girl would be glad to go out with you. So let's take stock and try to find out just what is lacking. Are you too heavy? Are your clothes proper? Do you have a speech defect? All these things can be corrected. Take stock of yourself. Do you spend too much time discussing articles that girls find dull? If you have boy friends, have you ever talked to them about your problem?

You know, it takes one to know one and your fellow Jewish friends would surely tell you if you have any undesirable habits. Or if you like, tell me and we will try together to get to the bottom of it.

You are still quite young and I am sure the right girl will come along. You should mix with all young people at school functions so you will get to know what girls are really like.

Good Luck.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Dear Grandma Bubby,

I spent all day yesterday making apple jelly for the first time. It is apple season here in Ohio.

Please help me Bubby, I cooked the jelly for too long and this morning when I tried to jelly my toasted bread, it would barely come out of the jar!! It is very hard and STICKY.

I used Macintosh apples and the goo has a very good flavor. Can I make this into candy and if so how?

Up to My Elbows in Goo

Dear Up to the Elbows in Goo,

I have no recipes for apple candy but my guess is that you did not have enough water to start with. I think you could have made applesauce instead. The Macintosh apples were fine to use. You should have referred to a cook book so try again.

You know that old adage, "Try, try, again if you don't succeed" and eventually it will come out right.

Try Again.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Dear Bubby,

I was a tour guide for a recent birthright Israel trip, and on the plane over sat next to a great guy. Over the course of the trip, I developed a *huge* crush on him, and we became good friends -- nothing more, because I knew he had a girlfriend. Now, we're writing and talking on the phone, and I can't figure out if he likes me as a friend or as something more. How can I tell? Help me, Bubby -- he's funny, he's smart, he's cute, he's Israeli, he could be the one!

Shabbat Shalom,

Dear Jet Love,

At least your flight to Israel was not boring - meeting a nice guy. As far as all these phone conversations go, enjoy them and see how far it takes you. Does he live near you? Are your conversations personal or just light every day stuff? Has he asked you to meet you someplace to have coffee?

So just be telephone friends. You never know when such a meeting will be the real thing. My advice is watch your step and try to learn more about this young man from him about himself - school - job - plans for the future - what he plans to do with his life.

Good luck and let me know what happens.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
Dear Bubby,

I am 28 years old. I have been dating a man off and on for 3 years. He is 27 and scared of marriage. He leaves me, then he comes back. We've broken up and gotten back together twice. Now he is about to move across country for a while, at least 6 months. So we are basically breaking up again. Each time we get back together, he seems more and more committed. He seems to have grown up a little more each time.

I love this man, but I worry I will be waiting forever. What should I do?

Thank you,
Just Waiting

Dear Waiting and Waiting,

I think your waiting and waiting will be just that -- waiting and waiting. Good that this young man is going away for six months. That will give you time to meet someone else. This man has not grown up yet. After dating for some time - six months to a year - your young man should know if he really loves you and admires you and is ready for marriage, or if he is looking with one eye on you and the other eye is looking elsewhere.

Time is marching on and so should you.

Good luck.
Monday, March 7, 2005
More Letters For Bubby!

Hi Bubby and the Granddaughters,

Bubby, I hope that you are resting up and on the road to being fully mended. I know that there are lots of people who missed your advice, but please take the time that you need to let your family take care of you.

Although I have never written in to your blog, so much of your advice is so level-headed, warm and caring...not to mention savvy and smart. You are truly amazing Bubby, and all of our thoughts are with you and your family for a speedy and full recovery.

Lots of love from,
J in CA.


Hello Bubby,

Just coming across your site and am so moved by all your wonderful responses. Thank you for being there. I sure hope you are feeling better.

Take the best of care,
S in NYC.

Thanks everyone!
Friday, March 4, 2005
Dear Bubby,

Okay. I met this guy at my camp this summer, and we started dating. He lives an hour away from me, so I see him occasionally, and we e-mail constantly. He's mature, smart, and a little reserved, with an interesting wit! I really like him for his personality. That's basically what our whole relationship is about. We really don't have a physical relationship at ALL, all we do is hold hands, sometimes.

Now to my problem! I'm starting high school in the fall, and I'm having doubts. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but what if I start liking another guy? I won't be able to see this one hardly at all! And sometimes I feel like I'm having doubts about how well I like him... Should I wait until there is a problem or should I let him down now? Should I even do anything?

Thanks for your help!
Doubtful Girlfriend

Dear Doubtful Girlfriend,

I think the best thing you could do is tell this young man that for now you would like to be friends and let the girlfriend decision go for now. In that way you can get to know this person without discrimination. That means you will get to know him better without strings attached. He will be himself and so will you.

If he does not agree with you, drop him and look for someone else as a friend and not a girlfriend. You can play the field without feeling you are cheating on anyone. You should look for the virtue in a person - his likes and dislikes, his plans for the future. You will both mature and the answer will be good or "thanks but no thanks."

Better to be right at the beginning than sorry at the end.

Good luck.

"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

Voted "Blog Of Note" on (2003)
4-star Review from The Weblog Review (1.5.04)
Voted "Blog Of The Day" by The Blog Hunter
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Featured in the Tampa Tribune online
Featured in USA TODAY (4.22.04)
Bubby's first radio interview - 96.5 WOXL (5.4.04)
JewsWeek Jewriffic Award: "Best blog of the week" (6.6.04)
New York Times: Letter to the Editor (6.11.04)
Jerusalem Post: Feature article (7.2.04)
Interview for Akron, Ohio newspaper (aug.'04)
Golden Web Page Award (dec.'04)
Reader's Digest article, "Me Me Media" (july.'05) "Alternative Site of the Day" (aug.'05)
AARP Magazine article: July/August 2006 issue
Listed as "Cool Site Of The Day": (7.27.06)
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