DEAR ABBY: I'm a 27-year-old woman who still lives at home. I do it so I can help my mom with my five nieces and nephews. Their mother passed away suddenly in 2009 at age 30. My mom and stepdad kept them rather than scatter them to fathers who don't appear very interested in them.
Since my sister's death I have earned two degrees, entered the health-care field and have lost almost 140 pounds. Despite all this, I feel I have nothing to show for myself. What can I do so I can stop feeling like a loser?
- Lost in the Northeast
DEAR LOST: A loser? From where I sit, you appear to be not only a caring daughter, but also an accomplished young woman who is being very hard on herself. If you feel you haven't accomplished a lot, I have to question the yardstick you're using.
It's time you discussed your feelings with a licensed mental-health professional who can help you understand what is causing your low self-esteem. What's currently going on in your head is unfair to you, and destructive.
DEAR ABBY: I work in a buffet restaurant. I wish you would alert your readers to how waste increases the costs at restaurants like this one. I have seen customers stick their fingers or used utensils into pans of food to taste it before serving themselves. And instead of the tongs we provide, they use their hands to help themselves to chicken, bread, etc.
The fact is that once anyone touches the food with his or her hands or eating utensil, the restaurant is required by the health code to dispose of the entire pan of food. This causes tremendous waste. I wish you would remind your readers to use common sense when dining out. The parents should serve food to their little ones who don't know better.
- Frustrated Buffet Worker, Colo.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: For adults who have so little understanding of hygiene - or consideration for others - perhaps after being reminded that it raises the prices they have to pay, they'll think twice about it. But don't bet on it.