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Hello again, dear readers, and welcome back to our monthly letters column. Like many of you, we’re adjusting to shorter days and longer nights, and we are gearing up for the challenges of winter. This makes us even more appreciative of your staying in touch. One reader asked us about water.
Dear Annie: Your responders are showing the wonderful ways they are illustrating generosity and care this season, even at the expense of their own enjoyment of the holidays. A suggestion for making those benefits available past Jan. 1 would be to adopt a school or family or shelter, and to continue that commitment. Hunger has no season. Compassion has no limits.
Dear Miss Manners: I am done with shopping for my older nieces and nephews for Christmas. They are all adults now and have never made one effort to recognize any holidays for anyone except themselves. They rip open their gifts but never acknowledge the giver or offer any thanks, not even when I hand the gift to them outright.
More than 50 new stuffed animals were donated for infants in MultiCare Deaconess Hospital's NICU. The gifts were collected by a Spokane Valley mom, Andrea Berndt, and her adult daughter, Stephanie Berndt, to honor Andrea Berndt's second child, Ashley, who died in 1989 at 8 weeks old from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
For some families, decorating the tree is a walk down memory lane. There are ornaments brought home from travels, made by little hands at school and purchased to commemorate occasions or accomplishments (baby's first Christmas or a new house). Maybe there's a shark or three because sharks are a child's favorite animal.
Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend for 16 years. Until this year, we were very happy. We shared a home together and talked all the time. We had a healthy sex life. Our relationship was great. But when the pandemic happened, his 22-year-old daughter moved in. Since then, my world was turned upside-down.
Dear Miss Manners: My family is actively trying to be anti-racist and would like some help understanding microaggressions. Can you put this in simple terms that we can explain to our children? It’s already a big word! Our school is wanting to start tracking microagressions experienced by students, and I want to do my best to teach my kids about them.
NEW YORK – Corritta Lewis has a huge extended family. Her mom is one of 12 siblings. Usually, Christmas means that she, her wife and their 2-year-old son dig out their cold-weather gear for the schlep from home in sunny Southern California to Ohio and days of holiday chaos.
Fans will not be allowed at No. 1 Gonzaga’s showdown against No. 3 Iowa on Dec. 19 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Dear Miss Manners: Each year, I host my women friends at an open house holiday party in my home. Most of us are in our 60s or older, and are understandably cautious these days. I can seat five or six ladies at the proper distance inside my living room, and if we have nice enough weather, I can seat a slightly larger number outside.
Two Spokane Valley brothers are hoping a new dice game called Smirkle they created with their father will be a holiday gift hit. The fast-paced game developed amid COVID-19 shutdowns is something families can do together, say Gideon Noble, 16, and Gabe Noble, 13. They're selling Smirkle through the NoBull Game Co., a new family business.
Nothing prepares a mother for departure from the hospital after having her first child. All of the Dr. Spock books and material from other parenting experts slips out of your brain once you're smacked in the face by the welcome fresh air. Good luck after you're no longer tethered to labor and delivery.
The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture has found a way to serve up the flavors of a Campbell House Christmas, though as with much of life this year thanks to the pandemic, it's going to be different.. Hulda the cook will still be there, and there will still be cookies. But this year, the event will be outside.
We are exactly one week into December, and I am happy to report that all of my Christmas decorations are up and more or less in their proper spot. I say “more or less” because I never really know where the foot-tall nutcracker will end up (dang kids!), and the Elf on the Shelf is of course a daily wildcard.
Dear Doctors: I've heard that when you're on a diet and you decrease caloric intake by a lot, your body will start to consume muscle for energy. It that really true? How can you lose weight and not wind up losing muscle? Dear Reader: Discussions about losing weight typically focus on pounds, as in, "I want to lose 10 pounds."
Dear Doctors: Our 16-year-old daughter wants to become a vegan. Her father and I think that may be a bit extreme, so we’ve compromised, and first she’s going to try being a vegetarian. What’s a good way for a growing teen to safely make the transition?
Dear Annie: Two years ago, I got on my then-17-year-old son for using a very derogatory term for women. I told him that the word should not be a part of his vocabulary, and it would cause great harm to his reputation if he were to use the word in public. He got angry with me. The argument ended with him leaving my home. He went to stay with his mother and didn’t come over to my house for his normal visits for his entire senior year of high school.
Dear Annie: My girlfriend has done a lot for my family and me, but they show little enthusiasm for her. How can I get them to appreciate her more and to reciprocate what she has done? I live in fear of them attacking her or being cynical about romance itself.
Dear Miss Manners: I enjoy picking out “just the right gift” for various family members at Christmas. However, each year, several family members ask me what gift they should purchase for my children. My mother insists that I am being difficult for not providing her with a gift list.
The holidays will feel a bit different this year, but some traditions cannot be thwarted – like our annual viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Though your gatherings might be smaller than usual, there are a ton of family-friendly viewing options on streaming and a growing number of ways to make them a virtual group experience.