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Dear Fashion Gods,

You don’t know me (clearly) but I have a favor to ask you: Please could you make the jacked-up booty shorts trend for women go away?

They are high waisted, which makes them look like mom jeans. (We know that’s not good.)

Yet they are so short they often let a little labia loose. Don’t even get me started on how much air the ass is getting.

Lest you think I’m a prude, it’s not the near nudity that troubles me. It’s the fact that they don’t look good on ANYONE.

You’re not in Hazzard County.

Many beautiful women have been taken down by the most recent iteration of Daisy Dukes. Ariel Winter, I’m looking at you.

No, girl.

While you are at it, please eradicate skinny jeans for men.

Again, this is a trend that favors no body style.

This dude looks like he has childbearing hips thanks to these pants.

Not even Harry Styles is immune.

Yuck.

And when they are paired with a whole aesthetic, well then …

Hipsters or Civil War soldiers? (I can’t take credit for that; it’s been going around.)

If you would be so kind as to address these issues, I would be so thrilled.

In your debt,
Beth

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How healthy are you? How willing are you to do the things you need to do to be healthy? Let’s find out!

You are diabetic. It’s time for lunch. What do you eat?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables.
b. Ice cream, baby!

But wait, you have a sore on your toe that won’t heal. The diabetes is obviously affecting your circulation. Now what do you eat for lunch?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables, and then go for a brisk walk around the block.
b. Still ice cream. And also onion rings. (Get off your back!)

You go to the doctor for a routine visit, and he tells you that you are now permanently blind in your left eye. You are:
a. Dismayed. You just thought it was a side effect of one of your many medications.
b. Surprised. You had no idea you couldn’t see out of your left eye.

You have to go to the bathroom. You just had a mini stroke, so you need a little help. What do you do?
a. Wait until someone brings the pee jug to you.
b. Open up your gown and let it go like you are Manneken-Pis.

You are (clearly) having issues with your bladder. The doctor installs a catheter. When do you ask for it to be removed?
a. As soon as possible because CATHETER!
b. Never. It just makes peeing easier.

Your leg is wet. Your catheter tube has come unattached. Do you notice?
a. Yes. Um … pee!
b. No.

Despite physical therapy at the nursing home after your mini stroke, you can’t walk without assistance. To be honest, you have trouble doing anything without help. When do you ask to be released from the nursing home?
a. Not until you can walk and manage tasks on your own.
b. Immediately. Watching TV all day is better from the lift chair. Who cares about the risk of falling?

Once home, your physical therapist tells you not to use the lift chair to help sit and stand. You need to build strength in your legs. What do you do?
a. Listen to her. She knows what she is doing.
b. Tell everyone that she changed her mind. The lift chair is totally fine.

Scoring:
Mostly or all As: Congratulations! You are doing what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. Your family must be so happy!
Mostly Bs: You need to take better care of yourself. Think about how your health issues are affecting your family.
All Bs: Dad?

 

 

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Dear Facebook Friends:

Happy new year! I appreciate that your posts have been filled with love and light for the holidays.

In just a little over two weeks, though, we will inaugurate a new president. And I’m sure that’s going to bring back all the nasty political posts.

This is how I feel about that:

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Let’s start off on the right foot for 2017 by making Facebook a palatable place again. And by that, I mean I need you to stop writing the following:

You say: “I’m tired of being politically correct.”
I hear: “I want to be able to say the same horrible stuff I’ve always said without someone calling me out.”
The truth: You have freedom of speech, but that does not mean you have freedom from consequences. If you want to say, “That’s so gay,” like you did in the ’80s, I’m going to have to chastise you or delete you. Your choice.

You say: “I like Trump because he speaks his mind.”
I hear: “He is saying the horrible stuff I want to say but I can’t because I have to be politically correct (see above).”
The truth (as I see it): Despite his assertions that he has a very good brain, his mind is full of cobwebs, tumbleweeds and pictures of naked ladies. He’s gross. Sorry, not sorry.

You say: “Trump is surrounding himself with good people.”
I hear: “I don’t really like him, but I voted for him and now I have to double down on that decision. I’m going to be optimistic despite all evidence to the contrary. Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie — the Larry, Darryl and Darryl of the campaign — didn’t worry me enough. Oh look over there — a squirrel!”
The truth: So much for draining the swamp. I can’t even with this.

You say: “I’m so glad Clinton didn’t win. Clinton is corrupt.” Also, “she is a career politician.”
I hear that you don’t like her. I get it. But …
The truth: If you really cared about corruption, you wouldn’t have voted for Trump. He’s got a list of shady maneuvers longer than Santa’s naughty list. As for the other, I’m still pissed that her ambition is seen as a bad thing. Clinton worked her whole life toward one goal and she loses to a dude (of course) who seemingly ran on a whim.

You say: “Suck it up. Get over it. He won. Now you know how I felt when Obama won twice.”
I hear: “Nyah, nyah” and “neener, neener.”
The truth: Obama and Trump are very different people and very different politicians. Both wins reflected a desire for change from the prior administration. I’m better off now than I was eight years ago and so are most people I know. I guess you aren’t. Either that, or you are voting against your own best interests.

You say: “There is a war on Christianity.”
I hear: “I’m pissed that everyone doesn’t believe what I believe.”
The truth: Not everyone is a Christian. We have separation of church and state for a reason.

You say anything nasty regarding the mainstream media.
I hear you attacking my integrity as I have spent my life working in and researching local news.
The truth: Without the mainstream media, we would have no reliable information about what is happening in our communities, our nation, our world. The fourth estate is crucial for an informed citizenry. Also,

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As you should know, I am not a straight-ticket kind of person. I would love to hear your point of view. But I want to hear it in person over coffee. I’m not interested in the talking points or meme you got from some fake news site run by a bored teen in Macedonia. Fair warning: This is the year that I stop being polite and start getting real. (More so than usual.) 

We are all human here. Let’s try to make the world a better place. We can disagree about how we are going to do that, but let’s schedule a play date to discuss.

Love and kisses in 2017!
Beth

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danteDear Dante Alighieri:

First off, let me say that I love your work. My favorite isThe Divine Comedy,” with particular love for the “Inferno” part. I am an orderly person, so I gravitate to categories. The nine circles of Hell speak to me and my Type A personality.

I went on a work trip last week, and I’d like to add people to the circles, if I may.

Candidate: People who meander in the middle of the airport concourse, weaving side to side and making it difficult to walk around them
Circle of Hell: First circle — limbo (or maybe the vestibule — land of the indecisive)

Candidate: That guy in the bar who won’t let you have a drink in peace
Circle of Hell:
Second circle — lust

Candidate: People who stand in the middle of the moving sidewalk when they clearly should move to the right to allow people to pass
Circle of Hell: Third circle — gluttony

Candidate: People who take up the airplane arm rest immediately upon sitting
Circle of Hell: Fourth circle — greed

Candidate: People who take up seats with their bags in the airport gate area and look at you sullenly if you dare to ask to sit
Circle of Hell: Fifth circle — anger

Candidate: People who put their feet on their airplane tray tables
Circle of Hell: Sixth circle — heresy (because EWW!)

Candidate: People who are unaware of the circumference of their backpacks
Circle of Hell: Seventh circle — violence

Candidate: People who try to get on the plane when their zone has not been called yet
Circle of Hell: Eighth circle — fraud

Candidate: The pilot who wants to tell you too much about the flight when you just want to watch the movie
Circle of Hell: Ninth circle — treachery [Listen, Captain: You do your job (flying), and I’ll do mine (resting).]

Like I said, I appreciate order. I need these people to get it together or go to (their circles of) Hell.

Thank you, Mr. Alighieri, for considering my suggestions.

(Wait … What’s that? I’m a candidate for at least three circles, you say? No … )

Yours in boiling blood and fire,
Beth

danteinfernoninecircles

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imageDear Dominic:

This was your first week of school, but I’m the one who learned a lesson.

When we were shopping for last-minute school supplies, I gave you a little bit of a hard time when you wanted a pink binder. I said, “You are going to a new school. Are you sure you want to call attention to yourself and be the kid with the pink binder?”

You put me in my place — rightfully so. You said, “It’s just a color, and I like it. If the other kids don’t like it, that’s their problem.”

You are so right. You are wise beyond your 11 years. I was wrong. I apologize.

My knee-jerk reaction was a leftover of my childhood days where we did what we needed to do to fit in so that we would not be a target for bullies. Pink was for girls then. That I didn’t like Barbies was my own dirty little secret.

Your father and I have raised you to be an individual, to be inclusive, to be kind to others, to like what you like and not be ashamed of it.

We’ve clearly taught you well.

I’m sorry I forgot those lessons for a beat.

I’m so proud of you.

Love,
Mama

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Dear Job Seeker:

I’ve written posts about the job search in general, job fairs, Skype interviews and in-person interviews. I have not addressed email correspondence specifically, because I thought your mama taught you well.

I was wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t blame mothers. Maybe it’s our digital culture that makes people lazy and rude.

When looking for a job, however, you should be on your best behavior.

  1. Ensure your emails are professional. Often, an email is the hiring manager’s first impression of you. Make it count. A candidate recently copied me on an email to an HR recruiter. It was the first email I received from the candidate. It began with this sentence: It does not appear that my candidacy for the [REDACTED] opening has thus far been accorded the proper level of respect and professionalism. I had been on the fence about the candidate. That certainly helped me make a decision.
  2. Watch your tone. Remember that positive emails tend to come across as neutral; neutral emails read negative. Perhaps the candidate was simply neutral. (Yeah, right.)
  3. Use proper grammar and mechanics. Do not use textspeak. SYK.
  4. Don’t write a book. People often read emails on their phones. Don’t make them scroll and scroll and scroll. Get to the point.
  5. Proofread. Then get someone else to proofread the email also.
  6. Don’t be a pest. Say everything you need to say in one short email. If the person writes you back, then you can write again. Send one email to follow up on an interview. If you haven’t heard anything in two weeks after that email, send a final email. Then let it go. If the listing says “no calls or emails” then you have to respect that or risk pissing off the hiring manager.
  7. Always send a hand-written “thank you” note after an interview. It’s just good manners. Sadly,  few people have good manners nowadays. That means you will stand out in a good way.

email-cartoon

Happy writing!
Beth

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img_car_fam03Dear Gary and Joy Lundberg,

I read your article, “5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it.” It was a timely read as I visited my aging father over the weekend. Though you make some excellent points, I’d like to respond with points of my own.

Your Point 1: You don’t call them much

You note that adult children should “be sure to include some good news” when they call. They have to because if the children don’t include some good news, there won’t be any at all. Every time I call my father, or Eddie calls his mom, or my coworker Anita calls her father, etc., we hear about exploding spleens, the consistency of colon output, new affronts to personal world view, “that damn doctor,” or “these kids today.”

Adult children understand that parents have less control over their lives and that makes them scared and angry. Children also understand that parents are on many medications that alter their mood. But that behavior also makes visits seem like being held hostage by an angry badger. Would you repeatedly subject yourself to an angry badger? What if the badger was not only angry, but also complained when you didn’t allow yourself to be held hostage?

What’s worse is that children remember what their parents were like when they were growing up. They compare the new, cranky badger parent with the memory of the parent who raised them. Often those seem like two completely different people.

Aging isn’t fun; everyone knows that. Adult children know it too as they also are aging. People can either try to have a positive attitude or they can be angry badgers. Don’t be an angry badger.

Your Point 2: You ask them for money

Your comment, “You’re an adult and capable of providing for yourself and family,” is so true. So true! I know of many adult children who are still sucking off the teat. Their parents should stop allowing it, but parents love to be needed. Saving the day is a hard habit to break.

But what about when children have to take care of their parents plus their teat-sucking brethren? What about the families where there is one responsible adult child and the rest are deadbeats? What about adult children — part of the so-called “sandwich generation” — who  are worrying about paying for their parents’ assisted living plus their children’s college? In about five years, I likely will be touring residence halls for both my father and my son. That sounds delightful.

Your Point 3: You forget their birthdays

I’ve got no issue with that. Everyone should remember birthdays and holidays. And, if you have any relationship at all with your mother or father, then you should call them (at least) on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Even lazy folks can post a Facebook status. That’s where the older people are anyway, right?

Your Point 4: You don’t offer them your help

While it’s true that it is a good idea to offer specific suggestions (“Hey, can I clean out those gutters?”), what happens when parents are offended by offers to help? I know from personal experience that these offers can make parents angry and defensive. You say, “Can I clean your bathroom?” and they hear, “Good lord, Man! What happened in your bathroom? Who exploded? You can’t see that crime scene in there?” Many parents become outraged at offers of help or any suggestions.

Your point 5: You don’t include them in your family events

I agree with you: Children should invite parents to be part of special events. You also offer this advice, “If they invite you and your family over for dinner, accept the invitation and show up.” Shouldn’t the same be said to parents? Aging parents often live in different cities from their offspring. Sometimes parents are not as mobile as their children. But they should still want to be in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. There’s always Skype.

Parents spend much of their lives yelling at their children to “Get a job!,” “Settle down!” and “Have some kids!” Then when their children get a job, settle down and have some kids, their parents want them to forget all that and spend more time with them. Adult children can’t win. They have responsibilities, are pulled in many different directions, and want to make everyone happy. It’s not possible.

ChastRoz0011398889741Your closing paragraph includes the sentence, “Look at how you are treating your parents and ask yourself if this is the way you want your children to treat you when they’re grown.” OK. There’s also this for adult children: “Look at how your parents are treating you and ask yourself if this is the way you want to treat your children when you are old.”

Even though Eddie tells our sons that he is going to take off his clothes, run around their house, and sit naked on their couch when he is old just like they do to us, we know he is just kidding. (Good God, I HOPE he is just kidding.) I’m learning what I will not do to my children.

A legacy is the memories a person leaves behind. I plan to make sure the good memories outweigh the bad.

Hope you see there’s another side,
Beth

for-all-the-love-you-ve-given-me-i-will-one-day-pay-your-nursing-home-bill-mih

 

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