In my youth, teens, and early adulthood, I kept journals from time to time. Now my children are grown and while sorting through old memories I came across them and wondered what to do with them. I would be mortified if my children read them, but at the same time, it would be hard to throw away this record of my life and these memories. I don’t know what to do with these artifacts!
To keep or not to keep
Expensive to keep
What a good question! On the one hand, of course, I understand the mortification you would feel if someone, namely your children, read them. But, just to play devil’s advocate for a moment, would you feel the same after you died? I’m not saying you should absolutely keep them, I’m just saying, think what that might have meant you being able to read one of your parents’ secret thoughts, warts and all.
As an angel advocate (is that a thing?), here’s another insight from former Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman. Take a day (or a week or a month) and set aside some time for yourself (I know, I hate the expression too). Then, while you are alone, read your journals one by one and destroy each page as you finish reading it. This way, you can get the younger you back and say goodbye to them at the same time. I suggest a small ceremonial fire, even if it’s in a Hi-C can (meeting myself! Does it still come even in cans?). Just be safe. And be free!
I need a rainy day activity for my young children and their friends. I’m out of ideas. Is there anything I can steal from you?
I’ll take anything
Dear I’ll take anything,
Does Gabby have something to steal? Sure! Gabby wants to please! And speaking of plum trees, since spring is in the air but the garden isn’t doing much yet, why not bring it inside? And by bringing it inside, I mean crashing the fridge!
I heard about it years ago on the radio, and it was a super fun activity. Seeds are found in so many common 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 vegetables and plant them inside and see what grows. When you’re done, see what happens if you plant your spice drawer, like sesame seeds, mustard seeds, celery seeds, or fennel seeds.
It’s cheap, easy and fun. All you need is soil, planting pods and a bit of patience. You can get everything from the hardware store – minus the patience. In fact, depending on the hardware store, you might want to pull your hair out. Also, a quick Google check on how to plant pineapple, avocado and potato… But before you know it, all your data will be on a bulletin board for the science fair of your school. Of them !
If that doesn’t work, try water balloons, homemade goop, or everyone’s favorite Coke and Mentos. Don’t blame me for the big brown stain on the ceiling.
On a recent walk with my dog, something happened that upset my understanding of dog etiquette and how to relate to neighbors. My dog, like dogs do, peed on a neighbor’s lawn. The neighbor got out of her car, and she turned to me, I thought, to say hello and exchange pleasantries. Instead, she glared at me and said angrily, “How would you feel if I took my dog to your house and let him pee on it?” your lawn?” I managed to get the words out, “Actually, that would be fine with me. Come here.” But I was so taken aback by his rage that after my scathing retort, my dog and I ran away. I’ve 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 is something to clean up. I even carry extra bags so I can clean up after other people’s dogs. Some neighbors have put up little signs or lawn ornaments asking homeowners not to let that 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 trash can that’s down the alley. Who cares what’s in their trash?
Honestly, it never occurred to me that peeing was a no-no. Is it? Or that dog poo should be disposed of exclusively in the dog owner’s trash can. Were my neighbors morons or me?
In my opinion, your neighbors figuratively pee around their property in an effort to mark their territory, much like dogs. Maybe COVID drove them crazy or maybe their last name is Grinch. Whatever the reason, I’m with you on this one. Lawns are bugle calls to our furry friends to happily pee and stick their noses in other dogs’ streams, which is like reading the local gossip column. Full disclosure, however, I have peed on a few lawns myself in an emergency (rare!), so consider the source.
Nevertheless, having said that, your neighbors were very precise in their requests, it is their property and you are right to honor their wishes, as misguided as you and I think they are. I particularly congratulate you on having resumed after other people’s pets and honor goofy lawn signs. By the way, our trash cans technically belong to the City of Evanston and not the owners of the property, just to say. I know because I called 311 to confirm. And have we really become so territorial and picky that we care about which dog poo goes into which trash can? It’s garbage!
So, in answer to your questions, pee is not a no-no (in fact, it’s completely sterile when it leaves the body!). Your neighbors have the right, as owners, to be morons. Avoiding them is wise on your part. But when it comes to your dog’s urination, feel free to bring them to my house! In return, I promise not to pee on your lawn.
Dear Gaby appears in the Round Table every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom and wit. And a pinch of snark. She is by no means a qualified therapist, but has seen and loved many in her time. Her goal 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 diverging from hers. Write to Gaby at [email protected]