Lifestyle

Dear Abby: Meat-and-potatoes man pans his friend's vegan cooking

Dear Abby: I retired after a 40-year career. A friend from work, "Bernie," is the same age I am (62) but is still working.
Six years ago, I had a serious health crisis. Three years ago, Bernie survived a heart attack. Since then, Bernie worries incessantly about dying. He exercises rigorously and eats a strictly vegan diet. I like to spend time with him, but I'm more casual about diet and exercise.

Neither of us is going to be a GQ model, regardless of how much we diet or exercise. I say life should be enjoyed, but Bernie is too busy obsessing, compulsively taking medicine and working out.

Today he invited me out to supper. Instead of going to a restaurant, he said he was cooking another of his (not-too-tasty) vegan meals. I don't want to offend or discourage Bernie, but I hate his cooking. What should I do? Would a steak and a baked potato kill him? – Paunchy But Happy In Kentucky

Dear Paunchy: Because you enjoy Bernie's company, call him and tell him you would love to come to supper, but because you are a carnivore you will be bringing your own steak and potato with you, so fire up the broiler.

Dear Abby: My mother died from a heroin overdose when I was 8. As a mother with children of my own, I often find myself getting upset when people say nice things about her – things that would normally make people feel good, such as, "Oh, she would have been so proud of you," or, "She was such a great woman." I feel if she was such a great woman, she wouldn't have chosen drugs over her (or our) well-being. How can I let go of the anger I feel toward her when everyone else sees her only in a good light? – Mixed Feelings About Mom

Dear Mixed Feelings: I'm sorry for the loss of your mother at such a tender age and under such tragic circumstances. Far more is understood about drug addiction today than was known when you were a child. We now know addiction can be less about a lack of character than a medical problem.

I seriously doubt when your mother gave herself her final fix she realized it would be her last. While I sympathize with your anger at being cheated out of her presence in your life, it would be better for your own quality of life if you could accept she was a human being and fallible. A licensed mental health professional can help you work through your anger, and I hope you will talk to one soon.

Dear Abby: We host many gatherings in our home during the year, including picnics. We have a downstairs bathroom intended for guests. But twice now, I have encountered guests using my upstairs bathroom. I have never offered it, and I'm offended they take it upon themselves to go uninvited into private territory. I would never do that in someone else's house. Am I wrong, or are they overstepping the boundaries here? – Wondering In The East

Dear Wondering: To use your upstairs bathroom without asking your permission is overstepping. The exception might be if the downstairs bathroom was in use, and the need to get into one was urgent.

• Write Dear Abby at www.dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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