Ask Away...: October 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lovers and Friends

Ellen: I’m in my mid twenties so it’s pretty normal that most people my age are married, in a serious relationship, or busy in other ways.  I just feel like I lost my best friend lately.  She has been in a relationship for years with this guy that I adore and I think they are perfect for each other.  I think I just get down because I barely see her anymore.  Maybe once a month.  She always says she’s busy with something but I can’t help but get frustrated inside. Then I wonder if I am being selfish or if I am just mad that she is so happy in a relationship and I’m still single or something.  Am I being unreasonable?
Cathy
Hi Cathy,
No, you definitely aren’t being unreasonable.  You do have to understand that maybe she really is busy and enjoys spending time with her boyfriend just as much as you enjoy spending time with her.  Maybe you should plan a weekly date thing with just you and her.  Movies, drinks, dinner, shopping, etc.  That way you get to see her, and you don’t have to beg her on a daily basis. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Clean or Not To Clean

Ellen, can you help me?  I have a cleaning lady that has been at my house 4 days a week for the past 3 years.  We have a great relationship and friendship and I know she needs the money.  Since my children are older now, there is less mess as there was 3 years ago and I feel the need, financially, to cut back her hours.  Maybe just once a week rather than 4 days would be better.  I am so afraid to tell her because I don’t want to hurt her feelings and make her think that I don’t want her there, and I also don’t want her to be upset because she will be losing money.  I really like when she’s around and could still use the help.  How should I break it to her?
Anonymous

Well, first you could start asking your neighbors and friends if they need a cleaning person at all.  If so, maybe when you break the news to her, you can also give her the names and numbers of the other people who are interested in her.  If I were you I would start by telling her that she is great and that your reasons are just as you said above, your kids are older and there is less mess, and you need to cut back financially.  You could tell her you still need her once a week.  And if you have such a great friendship, you could invite her over once a week for dinner, too.  Then also let her know that when it gets more hectic (holidays, etc.) you will be sure to let her know if you need her a few extra days that week or month.  I think she will take it just fine, but I think you are nervous because you are afraid she’ll take it personally.  I don’t think she will though, given that it’s the nature of her business and I am sure she knows that. Good luck!
Ellen

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Charity Water - Pledge your birthday

Charity Water is a great cause. http://www.charitywater.org/willandjada/
This is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Will and Jada Smith are asking for people to support them by asking for donations instead of birthday gifts, share your birthday and ask for donations instead. The top three fundraisers will win a trip to join Will and Jada in Africa and see the completed wells.

Another barking dog!

Hey Ellen,

I see you have chihuahuas, I have a 4 lb 2yr old and he barks at everyone who walks by the window, freaks when the door bell rings, and goes after everyone who walks in the house. I've tried everything, its so embarrassing ! Do you have any tips to calm him down?

Thank you,
Renae
Hi Renae,
Spray bottles work wonders.  The second he barks, tell him QUIET!  If he doesn’t listen and barks again, spray him when you repeat the word QUIET.  If he stops, praise him for stopping.  Good boy, quiet!  He is just doing his job as a dog and telling you when someone is walking by or coming in but if you can teach him the command QUIET it will work wonders!  I use the spray bottle all the time on my dogs and they have grown so good with it. As long as you don’t abuse it, it should work.  It’s to the point now that all I have to do is place the bottle on the table, and my dogs are on their best behavior. Hope that helps!
Ellen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Get the Guy

Hi Ellen, I hope this isn’t a foolish question for you.  How can I make myself approachable to guys?  I often go to the gym and grocery store and spot a cutie but I can never bring myself to “hit on him”.  I thought maybe I was intimidating them or something.  I thought it would be easier at a bar too but even when I go out and I’m only with my 2 best girlfriends, no one says anything.  I just try to mind my own and see if it interests anyone but it doesn’t.
Pointers/Advice appreciated!
Kelli

Hi Kelli:
Well, you don’t necessarily need to mind your own all the time.  If you are out at a bar, and you want a guy to approach you, don’t stay too “close” to your girls.  The chances of a guy coming up and prying you away are slim to none, and if he does, he might be a little bit too interested in you.  Take in your surroundings, take note of any guys who seem to move in close to you and repeatedly check you out, and then slowly back away just a tiny bit from your girlfriends, making it easier for a guy to come up to YOU and say Hey , excuse me,…..
At the gym and the grocery store, if you see a guy you’re interested in, do the eye contact thing.  Glance at him a few times, and if you both look at the same time, crack a smile.  Give him a subtle hint that you notice he’s looking at you and you don’t mind. It’ll probably make him feel less awkward about approaching you.  If you completely tune everything out, it may make a guy assume you aren’t interested, are taken already, or don’t even notice that he’s there.  That was a fun question! J
Good luck,
Ellen

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wedding Worries

Hello, I was wondering if you could weigh in on my little dilemma here.  I am setting stuff up for my wedding and before I ask my girlfriends to be in it, I need to decide how to choose the maid of honor. I have no sisters, and my fiancĂ© doesn’t have any either.  I have 2 extremely close girlfriends and 2 other girlfriends that I would like in it.  I am so nervous, because this is the first day I started to work on wedding planning after I got engaged last month.  I don’t want to have to choose between my two friends.  This is supposed to be such a happy thing but I am so scared Ellen!  Please help me.  Can I just not have a maid of honor? Is that wrong? How am I supposed to break this down to them and let them know what’s going on.  They all get along just fine and there have never been any dramatic situations over who is closer to me.  Thanks for any advice you can give me!
Tara

Tara,
Congrats on your engagement!! You’re right; this is supposed to be a pleasant experience for you.  It’s very good that your friends have never been jealous or suspicious about each other. I think you should sit down or call your two best friends and tell them that you would rather not go with the traditional “title” of maid of honor, since all your girlfriends are so close to you.  See what they say.  If you are dead set though on having a maid of honor, when you contact each of your closest girlfriends, ask them what role they would love to be in your wedding.  You might get lucky and one might say she has too much going on right now to take on the maid of honor role.  If you decide not to have a “specific” maid of honor, then just do what I said above and tell them they are all special to you and you would rather just have them all be the same “role”.  I am sure they won’t mind.  A lot of people do things differently with weddings these days.  It’s certainly not wrong. It’s YOUR wedding, your special day, your decision. 
Best wishes,
Ellen

Friday, October 22, 2010

Madison Creative Services

Another blog I frequent - Madison creative service. A blog for things that are happening! Very seasonal lately, too! http://www.Madisoncreativeservice.blogspot.com

Happy Friday!

Friends Picking On Me...

Ellen,
My question is about my friends.  My friends at school are being weird to me ever since I started talking to the boy who sits next to me in science.  He wears black clothing and spikes his hair in a mohawk.  My friends roll their eyes when he says hi to me in the halls.  Why are they doing this? And what should I do?
Thanks,
Jerica
Hi Jerica,
It’s very big of you to continue to be friendly with this boy even though it seems to bother your friends.  They must not be comfortable with something about him and they are probably jealous that you ARE, and that you can handle him while they can’t.  Some of the nicest people I know, looked very unique in high school, and I was always nice to them.  Years down the road, it always pays off, trust me on that one!  Next time your friends make some sort of face or comment, just ask them why it bothers them so much? If they say they don’t like him or he’s weird, or something along those lines, just say “Ok well I think he’s cool so if you can’t stop making rude faces at me I just won’t hang around with you anymore.  I don’t want people thinking I’m friends with other people that are so judgmental.”  You are going to get a lot further than your friends some day.  Be very proud of that!
Ellen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Daily Dose of Cute!!!

Movin' On From A Broken Heart

Hey Ellen,
I am 20 and just got out of a year long relationship.  I am bummin over this girl so much.  She said she wants to be on her own and she has a lot on her plate with a career and school and a part time job.  I know we can’t be back together again but how am I supposed to get over her and be happy again.  This literally just happened last week and all I’ve been doing is laying around, sleeping in a lot, and playing video games.  My guy friends are all in school out of state so I can’t just run to them and have guy time.  You seem to have good relationship advice mostly to girls so I hope you have some good advice for me, as a guy. Thank you!
Michael
Hi Michael,
I’m sorry this happened to you.  Take this time to just get to know you.  Get a hobby that involves you being out and about for it.  Take up a sport or a new activity.  Something that will keep you physically active and mentally consumed so you don’t have time to dwell on your break up.  I like to watch movies because it takes me away to a different place.  Maybe you can watch more movies and just enjoy your alone time. Go on walks, hikes, go to relaxing places. Learn to be alone with yourself and enjoy it. That way, you will never ever truly feel alone.
If you don’t have guy friends, you can still spend time with girls that you are friends with.  Or embrace any new friendships with guys you might meet while doing a sport.  Sports teams are a great way to meet new people that you obviously have something in common with.  I hope everything works out for you Michael!
Good luck,
Ellen

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Boyfriend Never Wants To See Me...

Dear Ellen:
My boyfriend of one month never tries to see me. It feels like he doesn’t care to even make any attempts.  He’s always out with his friends.  I don’t even know why he wants to date me if he doesn’t want to hang out!  I just don’t get it.  I let him have his own way.  I let him have space and don’t call him a lot.  When I do call him he always sounds annoyed and he never says he’ll call me later.   I just feel hurt because if he’s my boyfriend shouldn’t he be spending time with me.  We are both 17 and I’ve only been in one other relationship.  He’s been in 2.  It’s not like he’s new to all this or anything! What the heck???? Thanks Ellen!!!
Elizabeth
Elizabeth:
Well, it sounds like he doesn’t have his priorities straight.  Maybe you should just tell him you need to be with someone who actually wants to be with you and makes attempts to see you.  He’s at the age where he will be discovering new things and he’s probably distracted and focusing on those things.  Cool new hangouts for him and his guys, and who knows what else.  Elizabeth, I really don’t think he’s worth your time.  Maybe he just wants a girlfriend so he can say he has one. That is so not cool.  You are so young and you have plenty of time to meet a guy that will totally spoil you and make you feel so loved and so wanted. Don’t make someone else your priority, when you aren’t theirs.  You obviously are affected by this.  I hope you take my advice girl!!
Good luck,
Ellen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mother/Daughter Dilemma

Hello Ellen.  I really enjoy your blog!  I have a 16 year old daughter, that I recently overheard on the phone with her friend.  The only thing I heard her say was that she wished she could go on birth control.  Am I horrible mother if I don’t put her on it? What if I do put her on it?
I know that there are a lot of girls in her grade at school that lie to their parents about what they do on weekends.  I don’t want her to have to hide stuff from me now.  Help!
Terry

Hi Terry,
You sound a lot like my mom. J  If she wants to go on birth control, please put her on it.  My mother was always very supportive of me, and contrary to “popular belief” putting her on birth control isn’t going to make her go have sex.  What it will do is make her realize she can trust you and come to your with any concerns she might have.  As a teenage girl, that will be so comforting for her.   I never had to lie to my mom. We established a really good trust system.  If I was going to a party, I told her.  I took my phone and I told her she can call me whenever she wants and we set up a time for me to be at home.  All of my friends at the time were sneaking around behind their parent’s backs.  My mom said she never wanted to be the parent that was out of the loop.  She never wanted to be the parent that said “My daughter wasn’t at that party; she was at a friend’s studying I thought”.   This would also be a good time to sit down with her and talk about whatever she wants to talk about. Make sure you tell her you won’t judge her or attack her.  Give her advice from a female to female sometimes.  That’s all we need.  I think you are a great mom for reaching out for help about your little dilemma, and hey, if you ever have any other questions about that kind of stuff along the way, I’m always here!
Good luck Terry!
Ellen

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cat Scratchin'

Dear Ellen
I have 2 cats and I’m 30 years old.  My husband has a major problem with my kitties because they scratch the furniture and he’s freaking out about it.  I’ve tried deterrents, tried double stick tape, and I have even tried putting moth balls by all the furniture.  He keeps telling me to get the declawed which I refuse to do cause I consider it to be equivalent to cutting off their fingertips.  I am totally worried now because I really don’t want him to tell me to get rid of them and I understand that he’s so mad cause our furniture is getting ruined.  This problem just started because we got new carpet and new sofas in our living room.  Both of my cats, Sparks and Angel, and 3 years old and are sister and brother.  Help!
Viv

Hi Viv,
Have you tried buying one of those carpeted cat trees?  They are amazing.  My parents use them and they have no more problems with the cats scratching furniture.  Also, depending on how your house and living room are set up, you could try putting gates up to block the room so they can’t go in.  I do believe that the carpet tree should help a lot though because you can always replace the carpet, and it will distract them from the other furniture since it will be the most exciting for them to climb, scratch, and lay on.  They range in price and you can find them at Wal-Mart and any pet store.  It’s definitely worth the cost because it works wonders!! Also, good for you for not having them declawed.  It makes me happy to hear that you feel strongly about your cats!  Scratching is an instinct for cats so as long as you meet their needs somehow you should be alright.  You can also buy one of those scratching boards that you lay on the ground, and you can buy catnip to sprinkle in it.  They LOVE that!!
Good luck!!
Ellen

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Barking Dog

Good morning Ellen,
I have a question about my Chihuahua and I figured you would be the perfect person to go to since you have some of your own.  My Chi’s name is Penny and she is 2 years old in November.  Penny’s a sweet dog and so gentle with other people.  She’s never had any run in with a dog that attacked her or anything.  I live at home with my parents still and we live in a neighborhood where half of the houses are occupied and the other ones are still being built.  So the problem is that Penny barks so much at a couple different things. Maybe it’s because of her size and she has to be defensive or something but it’s like every single noise she hears she will bark at.
 It wasn’t this bad until lately. There’s construction going on in my development now and there’s a new family that moved in with 4 kids so they are usually outside playing basketball or running around yelling.  It doesn’t bother me one bit but I just want to get her used to this stuff more so she isn’t always freaking out. I don’t want her to annoy neighbors I might have in an apartment complex when I eventually move out.  Any pointers? Have you ever had this problem or anything similar? Thanks so much and I really look forward to getting your response.
Kaycee

Hi Kaycee,
Yes, I have has this problem.  Many Chihuahuas are “barky” dogs at first, because they seem to always have to make their presence known.  Two of mine can be rather barky and it is sometimes difficult to silence them. 
One thing you could do is try to expose Penny more often with the sounds that make her bark.  When construction is going on you could walk her past the site several times.  I did this with my one and it worked wonders.  At first, I let her bark a bit, to see if she would quiet down once she realizes there is no threat, and that no one was responding to her bark.  It worked at first but sometimes she just kept barking and staring so I tugged the leash and would say her name loudly to try to distract her from the situation that made her bark.  It got to the point that I had to make a whistle sound for her to look back at me, and once she did I praised her,  then when she would look away I would get her attention again then repeat the word “Quiet”.  She does know this command already so it wasn’t very hard.   You can also let her outside with you whenever the kids are playing and let her watch what’s going on so she understands that those sounds are just kids playing.  Then do the same thing when she barks as I said earlier.
Another thing you can do with Penny is use a squirt bottle inside.  It works WONDERS!  It’s to the point with mine that all I have to do is set the squirt bottle on the table, and the know not to bark.  When she starts to bark tell her quiet, and make sure she’s got her attention focused on you.  If she is completely ignoring you, give her a quick squirt at her next bark and say Quiet.  The instant she stops barking, praise her.
Some of those pointers I learned in training class with my pups so I really hope they work for you.  Let me know how your progress goes!
Ellen

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Money and Trust

Dear Ellen,

I had a friend who I felt was like a sister to me.  We could talk about anything!  We met at work, and had a friendship that lasted over 25 years.
The reason I said "had" is that we are no longer friends and haven't spoken in over a year.  Two years ago, I lent her $ 4500.  She told me at the time, that she would pay me back as soon as possible, when she received her tax refund.  After I lent her the money, it seemed to me that she avoided any contact with me.  When I called her, I always got voice mail, and left messages that were never returned.  A year ago I did manage to talk to her, but she did not seem too concerned when I asked when I could expect to be paid back.  I had always told her that she could make small payments over time, but as of now, she hasn't paid anything.
It really hurts me that she doesn't seem to care.  Over the years, I have not only lent her money, but also gave her 2 cars and other things.  What bothers me most is that she has a mother and brother who could have helped her, but she turned to me for the loan.  Her brother couldn't help her at the time, and she didn't want to ask her mother.  When she first asked for the loan, I had misgivings and should have followed my gut feeling-but she was in a bind, and out of the goodness of my heart I lent her the money.
Sometimes, I feel so angry that I want to write her a letter and explain how I feel.  I can't call her anymore since she has changed her phone number.  I guess I just have to accept the fact that I'll never hear from her again.
I just can't understand how someone can behave like this-we had been friends for over 25 years, and now it's all gone.  I just would like to know how to get over this.  I just feel so used.   It's not so much about the money, it's more about the trust I had in her.  How do I move on, and let this go?
 I just would like others opinions on how to handle this situation.
Thanks,
Buffy

Hi Buffy,
Wow, you really have been dealt a difficult card.  I can understand why you did what you did, and why you feel the way you do now.  First of all, don’t feel guilty or angry at yourself for lending the money.  You did something out of the goodness of your heart and you can’t go back and change your decision anyways. 
Money can do a lot of things.  It can create riffs between people and it can change people.  That is what it did here.  I don’t blame you at all for being upset about the trust that you had in her.  I was in a situation before where someone I had been close with turned on me because of a job opportunity.  Regarding that situation, I was once told that I was too innocent to see the evil in the world, meaning that people can turn on you in an instant.  I do see that now, and I think you should too. 
One way I would try to get over it, is realize that it was a good chance for you to learn a lesson.  You will always be more cautious with people from now on and that is okay.  This set you up, so that sometime down the road someone else may ask you for something and you will be more hesitant, and will end up saving yourself from even MORE trouble.  It happens to everyone.  You are not alone at all. I’m sure everyone has a story they can share.  If it would feel better to write a letter, you could do that, OR you could write it all out but never send it.  That way you are getting your emotions out and relieving yourself more.  You know your friend better than I do, so you would know better as to if you should actually follow through with sending the letter or not.  I really hope some readers can offer more advice!  Just don’t be mad at yourself, and take this as a lesson.
Best wishes!
Ellen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Always Late

Hey Ellen:
Lately I’ve been having issues with my boyfriend.  He is always late!  Dinners, visits to my parents house when I meet him there because he’s coming straight from work, appointments we have to look at apartments.  It’s a problem of his he’s always had, with time management.  How the heck can we make it easier for him to be there on time? I guess my continued nagging isn’t helping.  He says sometimes he just loses track of time.  I do believe him but I really have no clue how I’m supposed to handle this.  He is a really great guy who is totally open to any help I would ever give him so I don’t need to worry about upsetting him. 
Thanks,
Jill
Hi Jill,
Well, one thing you can do is, say that you have an appointment to look at a house at 2pm, and he is supposed to leave his office by 1:30. Have him set an alarm on his phone or watch for 1:00, instead of 1:30.  That way he will start to wrap everything up and be able to leave by 1:30.  Some people just have problems getting their mind out of what they are currently doing in time to go to the next task.  I have had this problem with people before and when I gave them that suggestion, it worked perfectly!
Good luck,
Ellen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feeling Neglected

Ellen:

I have a question. How do I get my husband to love and appreciate me more? It has been hard with him just working but I don’t know what I can do to make him say I love you more and Wow you look great today.  I just don’t feel loved anymore and I think he is unhappy with me. 
Anonymous

Hi there,
Have you talked to him about it yet? It might ease your mind to sit down and ask him how he really feels about everything.  You can also say that sometimes you feel as if you don’t make him happy anymore and ask if there is anything you should work on.  Maybe he needs YOU to say that you love him more, and give HIM compliments.  I know plenty of guys that like when the girl does that stuff too and sometimes they worry just like we do. 

If there are some problems, maybe you should spend more time together doing romantic things.  You could go to a really nice dinner for just the two of you, go on a little getaway, or just have a date night each week.
If your marriage has more serious issues than that you should probably seek counseling. 

Good luck with everything, I hope my suggestions help you!

Ellen

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Waiting Game

Hi Ellen,
I have been dating a nice guy on and off for 2 years.  He seems to be afraid to commit.  When we are together he treats me really well but there seems to be no forward motion to our relationship.  I bring up marriage and he says he is not ready.  I am 24 and he is 26.     Our only arguments are about this issue.  He says that he thinks marriage is important and serious and he doesn’t plan to ever get divorced.  He has never been married or engaged.  Should I keep waiting or move on?

Thanks for listening,
Luanne

Hi Luanne,
Thank you for your question.  There are several different things I could say regarding your situation.  In the end, it will all depend on you and what you would like to do.  You know yourself best.  

If you have the patience to keep waiting, you should.  Everyone is different.  Some people take a long time to decide if someone is the right one for them.  Sometimes it's based on how their parents were, or just a personality trait in themselves that allows them to refrain from jumping into things quickly.  It seems like he just wants to make sure that he can marry someone and not have to worry about any issues that can't be resolved that might lead to divorce.  26 is still young.  Guys don't put as much pressure on themselves as we do.  

If you truly feel he is just making an excuse (you would know best since you see how he reacts when you bring marriage up) and that he may never change his mind, maybe you should move on.  But if you are truly happy with him, and this is the only issue, it may be worth it to wait a while longer.  It's not about the timing, it's about how happy you are.  If you are truly happy and wish to spend the rest of your life with him, it may be worthwhile to you to enjoy the time you have with him, and try not to pressure him anymore by bringing it up.  Maybe by doing that he will feel like he has more room to breathe and tackle the decision in his own time.  

I know some people, that no matter how happy they are with someone, will move on if they aren't getting what they want in a certain amount of time.  I know others that could care less and are just happy that they have their partner in their life at all.  If he is very committed to you and you have no HUGE issues, give him some time.  He will come around! If he's smart.  Maybe if in another year (again, depending on how long YOU want to wait), if he still isn't budging on the situation, tell him you feel it isn't fair to you to keep waiting and that it makes you feel like you aren't worthy.  Then hopefully he will explain to you what's really going on in his head.  I really hope my advice helps you in some way.  Please let me know how it goes!
Best wishes!
Ellen

Friday, October 8, 2010

Doggy Dilemma

Hi Ellen,

I really enjoy reading your blog and it sounds like you have been a pet lover for most of your life so I hope you can give me some advice.  I never grew up with any animals but I have always loved Golden Retrievers from afar.  My husband had a border collie as a child and although he likes dogs, he thinks it’s a lot of work.  We have 2 boys, ages 5 and 3 and for some reason my older son has a fear of dogs and we have no idea where it comes from.  He's never been bitten by a dog or even been barked at that I can remember.  My younger son was really comfortable with dogs when he was little but I think he's now copying his older brother because if they even see a dog, you'd think someone was coming after them with an axe or something by the sheer terror in their little faces.

During the summer, we went to a fair and they have a show called the "Superdogs" and afterwards they welcome the audience to go down and meet the dogs and their owners.  To my amazement, both of my boys wanted to go and meet the dogs and actually petted some of them.  They were so proud of themselves so it gave me hope that maybe we can get a Golden Retriever but my son has said that he doesn't like big dogs or puppies that will become big dogs.

I don't really know too much about smaller dogs and I'm guilty of thinking smaller dogs are 'yappy' so I apologize to dog owners everywhere for that assumption.  Can you educate me and advise what breeds of small dogs are good with kids, not yappy and loud?  Are there dogs that don't shed as much?

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Ally

Dear Ally:
Starting with a smaller breed is probably a better idea.  I for one, am proof that not all small dogs, especially Chihuahuas, are yappy.  It all depends on the individual dog.  Also, barking is a behavior that can be corrected depending on the circumstance. 

In regards to which breed would be best, I did some research on the internet and judging by your other needs, here is what I came up with.

The Brittany Spaniel is a medium size dog of thinner build.  The breed is easy to train and very sensitive, which is good. 

I also found the Bichon Frise to be suitable for children.  These dogs don’t shed because they have hair instead of fur.  They are a small breed and when trained like any other dog, aren’t “yappy”.

I also found the Cocker Spaniel and Beagle on the list.  You should do some more research on all of those breeds.  They are also a decent size. 

No matter what breed you may decide on, it is a very good idea to sign your dog up for obedience school whenever you can.  Also, your entire family should attend so you can learn everything together.  I also think that may help your son get more comfortable with dogs.  Petsmart and Petco also offer reasonably priced training.  My one Chihuahua Grace took classes at Petsmart and graduated last year!

If you decide to get your dog through a breeder, you can ask the breeder if she can help match you up with the perfect individual dog for your family’s needs. 

I also wanted to say, I noticed the Golden Retriever is the ideal dog for children.  I know of many cases of people I know that had a major fear of dogs that went away eventually.  Most of those people have big dogs now.  Maybe if you do start with a puppy, and your son builds a relationship, he will not fear it when it gets older.  You could also ask a breeder of Golden Retrievers what she advises.  I think Goldens are amazing dogs so if you really are interested in that breed (and from our emails back and forth it seems you are) you should go for it. 

Thank you for your question and please let me know how everything goes!
Ellen

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A dog's life....

Hi Ellen,
    I’m aware that you have 3 dogs currently, and was wondering if you have ever dealt with the loss of a dog? Do you also know what the average life span for each size dog is (small,medium,large). My oldest dog is starting to slow down, and from what I have learned he has out lived his normal "time". He is almost 16 yrs old. I’m scares that I’m going to lose him, as I have had him since I was 5 and he is truly my best friend. Any advice?
Brittnie

Brittnie,
One of the hardest things about owning a pet is that they never live as long as people do.  But having them for the number of years that you do, is a big blessing.  I know that generally, the lifespan of a dog can be affected by its size.  Chihuahuas, for example, can live to be anywhere from 15-20 years old.  That can all change depending on the breed of dog and if it is or isn’t purebred.  I have dealt with 2 losses in my life.  My first was a dog that my parents had even before I was born.  Smokey was a mutt and lived to be 15 years old.  It was very very hard but I got through it.  Brandy was put to sleep a few years ago.  She was a bull terrier and was 12.  Again, that was hard because we consider our pets to be family members so it was like losing a sibling for me.  Nothing great can last forever.  What you can do now is just enjoy the time you do have with him.  Spoil him rotten, take tons of pictures, and spend lots of time with him.  Brandy “slowed down” when she was about 9.  She got gray fur and was having vision problems.  Just because your dog is showing signs of age doesn’t always mean he is running short on time.  Dogs are loyal to us their entire life, so the best way to make them happy is to appreciate them and let them know they are so loved!! Everyone deals with the loss of a pet so eventually when the time comes, just know that you can find a support group almost anywhere and they will help you through it.  I hope you are enjoying your time with your doggie!!! Hope my advice helps!
Thanks,
Ellen

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Should we go for it?

Ellen:
I have a question, I have 4 kids- 18, 14 ,11 ,8. My 18 year old daughter is 4 months pregnant and moved her husband and herself back home with us.  Well I'm 38 and my husband and I have been talking about having one last child ourselves when we ask the kids how they felt all was ok with it except my daughter who is pregnant. She said I was too old and I was supposed to be a grandma and spoil her baby . What do you think? Am I too old? Should we just forget what we want?
Thanks,
Vicki
Hi Vicki,
Well if you already spoke with a doctor and they informed you that you are healthy and good to go, then of course you aren’t “too old”.  I think your daughter may just be worried that you won’t be able to help her and focus on the baby as much if you have one of your own.  If you don’t feel that’s true, then you should sit down and chat with her and explain that this is what you want and you would like to do it sooner than later.  Ask her why she feels the way she does and then reassure her about everything.
You know what YOU want and if it will make you happy, I say go right ahead.  You both will have plenty of help from your other kids.  It seems like they are at an appropriate age that they could lend a hand with a few simple tasks around the house. 
If, however, you feel that it would be too much to take on, with the ages of your children right now, size of your house, volume of workload, and complications with your daughter and her husband and soon-to-be grandchild moved back in, maybe you should rethink it.  Perhaps you can get what you are looking for from taking care of your grandchild.  I think after a nice talk with your daughter, you may be able to make the right decision for yourself. Thank you so much for your question and I hope everything works out for you!!
Ellen

Monday, October 4, 2010

if they can do it...what's our excuse?

I love this video. I can't watch it without getting goosebumps.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.2

Family Issues

Ellen:
My older sister and I have been close friends in the past and then not very close. We email each other on birthdays and stuff like that.  We live 7 hours by car from each other.  I last heard from her in May, when she said her Mother-in-Law had died.  So it has come to my complete surprise that 5 months ago my sister moved within 10 miles of me.  I found out yesterday and was stunned, hurt, and angry.  It was my brother who told me, he was surprised that I didn't know yet too.  Then he said something to her because I received this email last night:

Hi
 I heard from brother that you didn't have a clue we moved.   It was my understanding that you never want to have anything to do with me or my family so I felt there was no reason to inform you.  On 10/11/2009 I replied to a note from you thanking me for the birthday wishes.  It was a very heartfelt message but I never heard from you again so I figured it wasn't very well received.  For the record, our home is at XXXXX I am working as an Assistant Manager at XXXXXX. I hope things are good for you and your family.
                             
My feelings are hurt and my first reaction is to blast off a retaliation but I didn't, I want to do the right thing.  What is your advice? 

A Sad Sister

Sad Sister,

I am really sorry to hear about all of this.  It has to be so hard for you!  I always take a neutral stance with these things so my advice is just that.  I think one of you needs to be the bigger person now.  Even though you might try to come at her with kindness, you should probably apologize too, because an apology always makes things SO much better.  You could try to get a hold of her and just tell her that you want to apologize for all of the tense feelings between the two of you and you would like to move past it now.  Life is too short to waste it in petty arguments.  Family is something you should always hold near and dear because in the end, family will always be there for you.  Ask your sister if it would be possible to “start fresh” and put everything behind you if you both promise never to bring it up again.  And if she wants to clear some things up but still talking about certain issues, do it immediately so you can get past it and move on with the air cleared. 
If you don’t think this would help the situation any, maybe you should seek assistance from another family member by asking them to help sit down and mediate the situation.  Perhaps your brother could do something?  I really hope the 2 options I gave you might be of some help.  Please let me know how things go!

Ellen

Friday, October 1, 2010

Car Troubles

Good morning Ellen,
A friend that reads your blog told me to ask you this question since she didn’t have any advice for me herself.  I was wondering if you think it’s a good idea to buy my son a car for his birthday.  I am worried though because what if he wrecks it?  How will I be able to trust him with it?   Right now, he’s 17 and he is driving my car when I am not using it.  It’s becoming very complicated to mesh our schedules since I work late at my job a lot and he works evenings after school.  I feel it would be easier for us if he had a car of his own and is a tad more independent.  Problem is, he cannot get one by himself because he doesn’t have enough money, which of course is because he does not work enough hours at his job as a sales clerk.  Reason being, doesn’t have reliable transportation.  Oh, what a vicious cycle we fall into! Any ideas?
Thank you so much in advance,
Gwen

Well Gwen,
I do have a response to this one.  In all honesty, I have seen both sides to this.  I borrowed my parent’s car until I finally had one of my own.  They bought it for me but I had to start paying them back right away.  I had a chart that showed how much I owed and had a space to put in my payment to them each week.  I took a big chunk of my paycheck to pay it off as quickly as I could.  I noticed that when I drove my parents’ cars I was never as careful as I am with my own.  I guess it’s simply because I paid for my current car with my own money, and I have the loan in MY name so naturally I am taking better care of it.   You should get him a car of his own, within reason.  It doesn’t need to be brand new.  Keep in mind, this car will be his first and he more than likely will bump it up at least a few times.  I had friends growing up whose parents would buy a luxury vehicle for them and I never understood why.  These friends abused their car and could care less how long it lasted.  I baby my car now and it is the first new car I’ve owned.  I had 2 used cars before that.  The payment plan thing is also a great idea because it will start to instill responsibility in him so he knows that nothing is going to come free.  And he will still have to work to pay this off.   I hope this is a decent response for you and I hope it works!
Thanks for your question!
Ellen
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