Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Pet for George

Hi Lila,
I was thinking about getting a pet for my disabled brother George's birthday. I don't know what to get him. He can't walk or speak so I wanted something that couldn't hurt him and he can't call for help. We were thinking of a smaller pet, like a rabbit or a lizard. Turtles are one of his favorite animals too, but we want something affectionate.  Have you had any experience with small animals? Do you have any that you could tell me about? What do you think I should get for him?I really need to figure this out.

Los Angeles, CA

Dear Alice,
By all means, look into getting a smaller pet for yourself if you'd like, but it doesn't seem like it would help George that much.  A young man with Georges disabilities could benefit from a service animal.  These are most often dogs, and can help a person be more independent.  Great information may be found from the Service Animal Registry of America.  Their website is: 

If you do decide to get a smaller pet for your own pleasure, I'm sure George would enjoy seeing and touching a rabbit, lizard or turtle.  The stimulation of feeling a rabbit's fur or the warm skin of a lizard could provide a fun activity for you to share with your brother.  He's fortunate to have a sister interested in sharing his world.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hopelessly Devoted

Dear Lila,
I've been divorced for years, and I can't stop thinking about my ex.  He's the first one I want to call when something happens, good or bad.  I'm even dreaming about him!  I know he's moved on, why can't I?
Hopelessly Devoted
Boston, MA

Dear Devoted,
First let me say that I understand loneliness and sentimentality, but you need to examine what's really going on here.  Is this a recent development, or have you felt this way since you split?  Start by reminding yourself why you got divorced in the first place.  As my friend Beth likes to say, there's a reason he's an ex.

Sorting out that line of reasoning is your first task.  Then you can evaluate what has or hasn't changed.  Has he grown as a person?  Have you?  The answers to these questions can point you in the right direction.

If you decide that you want to try this relationship again, have a heart to heart with your ex to see where he stands.  Be very clear about your feelings, about what you want, and how things could be handled differently than they were in the past.  If he's on the same page, vow to make a conscious effort to avoid your old relationship pattern.

If he doesn't want a do-over, you can lay the issue to rest knowing you've given it your best shot.  Begin filling out your days with exploration of new passions, take advantage of your freedom.  Your environment can help you change your mindset.  Clear away tender reminders, photos and romantic gifts.  And tune out all the sad love songs on the radio.  A little less Lady Antebellum, a little more Alanis Morissette!


Dirty Dishwasher Woes

Dear Lila,
I have a 7 year old dishwasher, and with today's economy, I can't afford a new one.  It's still running, but doesn't get the dishes as clean as I like.  Do you have any tips on how to coax cleaner glassware out of each cycle?
Spotty Madge
San Jose, CA

Dear Spotty Madge,
Take your fingers out of the Palmolive and rinse them clean!  Now, repeat after me, softer hands won't sparkle and shine.  Seriously, let's just focus on your dilemma.  I also have a retro dishwasher.  And I think the drain is sort of plugged.  But my dishes are looking squeaky clean since I started adding white vinegar to my rinse cycle.  A quarter cup should do the trick, and it may take a couple of cycles before you see a big difference.  The vinegar rinses off, so don't worry about that special sour scent when the dishes are clean and dry.