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In my youth, adolescence and early adulthood, I kept journals on and off. Now, my kids are grown and while sorting through old memorabilia, I came upon them and am wondering what to do with them. I would be mortified if my kids read them, but at the same time, it would be hard to throw away this record of my life and those memories. Not sure what to do with these artifacts!
To Keep or Not To Keep
Dear to keep,
What a great question! On the one hand, of course I understand the mortification you’d feel if anyone, namely your children, read them. But, just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, would you feel the same way after you’re dead? I’m not saying that you should definitely keep them, I’m just saying, think of what it might have meant to you to be able to read the secret thoughts of one of your parents, warts and all.
As the angel’s advocate (is that a thing?), here’s another idea from the former Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman. Take a day (or a week or a month) and set aside some “you time” (I know, I hate the phrase too). Then, while you are alone, read through your journals one by one and destroy every page as you finish reading it. That way, you can reclaim the young you, and say goodbye to her at the same time. I suggest a little ceremonial fire, even if it is in a Hi-C can (dating myself! Does it still even come in cans?). Just be safe. And be free!
I need a rainy day activity for my young kids and their friends. I am plum out of all ideas. Got anything I can steal from you?
I’ll Take Anything
Dear I’ll Take Anything,
Does Gabby have anything you can steal? Of course! Gabby aims to please! And speaking of plums, since spring is in the air but the garden is not yet doing much, why not bring it inside? And by bringing it inside, I mean plant the refrigerator!
I heard about this years ago on the radio, and it was a super fun activity. Seeds are found in an awful lot of commonplace items in the cooler: lemons, limes, apples, avocados, tomatoes, potatoes, pineapples, oranges, peaches, beans (hello bean sprouts!) etc. Find the seeds in these fruits and veggies and plant them indoors and see what grows. When you are done with that, see what happens if you plant your spice drawer, like sesame seeds, mustard seeds, celery seeds or fennel seeds.
This is cheap, easy and fun. All you need is some dirt, some planting pods and a little patience. You can get all that the hardware store – minus the patience. In fact, depending on the hardware store, you may wanna tear your hair out. Also, a quick Google check about how to plant the pineapple, avocado and potato….But before you know it, all your data will be on a poster board for your school’s science fair. Twofer!
If that doesn’t work, try water balloons, homemade goop or everyone’s favorite, Coke and Mentos. Just don’t blame me for the big brown stain on the ceiling.
On a recent walk with my dog, something happened that threw my understanding of both dog etiquette and neighbor relations into chaos. My dog, as dogs do, peed on a neighbor’s front lawn. The neighbor was getting out of her car, and she turned to me, I thought, to say hi and exchange pleasantries. Instead, she glared at me and said angrily, “How would you feel if I walked my dog over to your house and let her pee on your lawn?” I managed to utter the words, “Actually, I’d be totally fine with that. Come on over.” But I was so taken aback by her rage that after my snappy retort, my dog and I just got the hell out of there. I have avoided her lawn – and her – ever since.
We live in a neighborhood where dogs do this and more all the time. I always clean up after my dog when there’s something to clean up. I even carry extra bags so I can clean up after other people’s dogs. Some neighbors put out little signs or lawn ornaments asking owners not to let this happen, and I always honor them. Then I got yelled at by a neighbor who didn’t like other people putting bagged (and tied) dog poop in her garbage can that sits in the alley. Who cares what is in their garbage can?
Honestly, it never occurred to me that pee-pee was a no-no. Is it? Or that dog poop should exclusively be disposed of in the garbage can of the dog owner. Were my neighbors jerks, or was I?
In my opinion, your neighbors are figuratively pissing around their property in an effort to mark their territory, not unlike, um, dogs. Maybe COVID has driven them to madness or maybe their last name is Grinch. Whatever the reason, I’m with you on this one. Lawns are clarion calls to our furry friends to pee with glee and stick their nose into other dogs’ streams, which is like reading the local gossip column. Full disclosure, however, I myself have peed on a few lawns in a (rare!) emergency, so, consider the source.
Nevertheless, having said all that, your neighbors have been very specific in their requests, it is their property and you are right to honor their wishes, as misguided as you and I feel they are. I particularly applaud you for picking up after other people’s pets and honoring goofy lawn signs. As a side note, technically our garbage cans belong to the city of Evanston and not the owners of the property, just sayin’. I know because I called 311 to confirm. And have we really become so territorial and picky that we care whose dog poop goes in whose garbage can? It’s garbage!
So, in answer to your questions, pee-pee is not a no-no (in fact, it is completely sterile when it leaves the body!). Your neighbors are within their rights as property owners to be twits. Avoiding them is wise on your part. But in terms of your dog’s a-voiding, feel free to bring them to my house! In return, I promise not to pee on your lawn.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.