Col­lege-bound girl wants to tell mom about plans to co-habi­tate

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES -

ear An­nie: I’m 17 years old and, in a few months, will be grad­u­at­ing and go­ing away to col­lege. I’m very ex­cited about it.

My only con­cern is my boyfriend. I love him and we’ve been to­gether a long time. “Nick” is a year older, has a job (I have a job, as well.) and goes to the lo­cal com­mu­nity col­lege. He wants to live with me next year. I am not op­posed to this. Nick doesn’t have a happy home life and I don’t be­lieve ei­ther of us will be at­tracted to some­one else.

We have al­ready had months of plan­ning and will be able to sup­port our­selves, and I would rather move in with him than live in a dorm. Nick can trans­fer and work at the same com­pany as a full-time em­ployee un­til we save enough for him to take night classes.

I haven’t told my mother. She will be pay­ing for my tu­ition and dorm, and I plan to pay for ev­ery­thing else. She thinks highly of Nick and knows he would never do any­thing to hurt me. I don’t want to dis­ap­point her, nor do I want her to think less of me. What should I tell her? — Wor­ried

Dear Wor­ried: The truth and your rea­son­ing be­hind it. But first con­sider what your de­ci­sion means. How will you feel if Nick de­cides to keep work­ing and never fin­ishes his ed­u­ca­tion? What hap­pens if one of you finds the new en­vi­ron­ment has many “at­trac­tions” you hadn’t con­sid­ered? Also, dorm liv­ing is a good way to ac­cli­mate to col­lege, meet new peo­ple and be part of cam­pus life. Will you re­gret miss­ing out on that? If your mother re­fuses to pay your rent, can you still af­ford it? Think about th­ese is­sues, and then ask your mother to set aside a few quiet mo­ments to have an hon­est dis­cus­sion on the sub­ject.

Dear An­nie: What is the eti­quette con­cern­ing a host­ess who fre­quently uses her lap­top or texts oth­ers while en­ter­tain­ing com­pany?

My hus­band and I have been in­vited to a friend’s home a cou­ple of times in the past few weeks. Af­ter din­ner and cleanup, this host­ess plops down on the couch and pro­ceeds to use her lap­top or send text mes­sages to other friends. I find this rude.

DShould we leave right af­ter din­ner so as not to in­ter­rupt her ac­tiv­i­ties? I am afraid she would be in­sulted. What would you do? — Ig­nored Friends

Dear Ig­nored: Your friend may be oc­cu­py­ing her­self in the hope that you will get the hint and leave. So ac­com­mo­date her. Po­litely. Say, “ We can see that you are busy, so we’ll be go­ing. It’s been a lovely evening. Thank you.” Frankly, stay­ing through cleanup is usu­ally suf­fi­cient vis­it­ing time. If your friend se­ri­ously protests your de­par­ture, it means she has no clue that she is be­ing rude. Ei­ther way, there is no rea­son to stay if she con­tin­ues to be un­avail­able.

Dear An­nie: This is in re­sponse to “Sad in Ohio,” whose abra­sive mother picks fights and has no friends left. You said Mom may be de­pressed or have an un­der­ly­ing men­tal ill­ness. Your ad­vice is right on.

We lost our dif­fi­cult mother last year. She didn’t want us to visit un­less it was at her re­quest. Al­though we called, she did not an­swer her phone un­less she wanted to talk, and be­cause of this, we had no idea she had passed away a few days be­fore Thanks­giv­ing. When she died, it took two days for the po­lice to con­tact us be­cause Mother did not have our phone num­bers any­where nearby.

My mother was not di­ag­nosed with any men­tal ill­ness, but my sib­lings and I knew that some­thing was wrong. We sim­ply could not get close enough to do any­thing about it. We are glad she is now at peace. — Penn­syl­va­nia

Dear Penn­syl­va­nia: How sad that some peo­ple are un­able or un­will­ing to reach out to fam­ily or friends when they need them most. We are sorry for your loss. TORONTO — Kitchen feng shui can make you a bet­ter cook. Paul Ng guar­an­tees it.

“It works like magic,” says Ng, a feng shui mas­ter who lives in Rich­mond Hill, Ont., north of Toronto, “but it is ex­tremely math­e­mat­i­cal and sci­en­tific. There’s noth­ing su­per­sti­tious or psy­chic about it.”

Feng shui is an an­cient Chi­nese prac­tice that in­volves cre­at­ing bal­ance and har­mony in one’s en­vi­ron­ment. Proper build­ing and in­te­rior de­sign, decor and lay­out pro­mote the pos­i­tive flow of en­ergy known as qi (pro­nounced chee). Good luck is said to fol­low.

With the ar­rival of Chi­nese New Year on Sun­day it’s a prime time to try to im­prove our kitchens and our cook­ing skills, Ng says. “This is quite a good year for food. Peo­ple are go­ing back to na­ture now. Peo­ple are get­ting fed up with ar­ti­fi­cial food and pack­aged goods.”

He says the kitchen is the sec­ond most im­por­tant cen­tre in your home. (The en­trance is the most im­por­tant. The mas­ter bed­room is third.) The kitchen is the heart of the home. Ng says it links health and wealth: a well-nour­ished per­son is health­ier and more ef­fec­tive, and so more likely to be pros­per­ous.

“Where your kitchen is lo­cated and how you ar­range your kitchen can play a crit­i­cal role in your hap­pi­ness and liveli­hood,” says Ng.

Born in Hong Kong and now 64, Ng trained as an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, com­puter sci­en­tist and busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tor be­fore quit­ting in 1993 to be­come an ex­pert in feng shui, Chi­nese as­trol­ogy, acupunc­ture and tai chi. Feng shui kitchen guide­lines: The kitchen should be one-fifth the size of the house. Is yours too big? Carve out a break­fast nook or in­stall an is­land. Too small? Re­move a wall to cre­ate an open con­cept. Even a mir­ror helps, Ng says.

When en­ter­ing the house, one should not see the kitchen. An in­ex­pen­sive rem­edy: hang a door with glazed glass to block the view but still let in light.

The stove, rep­re­sent­ing the prepa­ra­tion of food and pros­per­ity, is the most im­por­tant ap­pli­ance. It should face south, east or south­east.

The stove burn­ers should be used equally. Ng says this rep­re­sents money from mul­ti­ple sources.

It’s best to keep the sink and stove at right an­gles. If they are along the same side, keep them three feet apart and put a green plant be­tween them. They should never be ad­ja­cent — sym­bolic of a con­flict be­tween wa­ter and fire. The worst sce­nario, how­ever, is hav­ing them di­rectly op­po­site each other. Ng says this pro­motes fre­quent ar­gu­ments be­tween spouses.

Keep coun­ter­tops free of clut­ter and don’t cram cup­boards full. This dis­rupts the qi in the kitchen.

A fruit bowl sym­bol­izes health and abun­dance as long as the fruit is not over­ripe or spoiled. Ng also keeps a bowl of nuts on the counter, par­tic­u­larly wal­nuts be­cause they are shaped like lit­tle brains.

Peach (a fire/earth tone) and pale green (a wood tone) are the best colours for a kitchen. Dark hues are the worst. Black, dark blue and grey are wa­ter colours that “put out” fire (sym­bol­iz­ing cook­ing), Ng says. Taupe and red also cre­ate bad vibes.

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