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Life on the wild side

Illinois couple devote life to educating others about their scaly, furry family members

Subscriber onlyHumans love pigs and goats, but opossums may have a bit of an image problem. Continue reading...

Giving is a way for grace to fill us

Subscriber onlyWhen I run to the market for just one thing, I never know what I'll bring back. Continue reading...

Pet Vet

Subscriber onlyAngel is a 14-plus-year-old feline sharing her life with her caretaker Stefanie. Some time ago Stefanie found a small, dark and soft mass on the top of Angel's head and about six months ago it grew quite visibly to about the size of a quarter at its base and three-quarters of an inch high. It is now pink, soft and, as Stefanie puts it, squishy. She wants to know whether or not she should be concerned. Continue reading...

Today's children are insufficient in 'vitamin N'

Subscriber onlyI call it "vitamin N." It is the word children need to hear most, but it is currently the word children hear least. It is arguably the most character-building word in the English language, but then helping children achieve great things (or creating the illusion that they are achieving great things) has eclipsed helping children build strong character. That is unfortunate indeed because high achievement alone does not produce solid character, but a person with solid character will always do his or her best. Continue reading...

MONEY MANNERS

Subscriber onlyDEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: Our friend "Robin" has undergone a series of minor surgical procedures over the past three years, procedures to treat a condition that is serious but not life-threatening. Every time she goes in for one, my wife and I send her a "get well" gift, something that generally costs about $75. We're wondering, though, whether at this point our friend should be asking us to stop giving her presents. I don't want to seem petty, but to me, after the first two or three gifts -- and we've given her six -- a more considerate person would have said, "Thanks, but from now on, your good wishes are all I want." For what it's worth, recovering from the procedure takes about a day, during which time she's at home, not lying in a hospital or anything. Continue reading...

Ex-etiquette

Subscriber onlyQ My daughter is getting married next month. Her father left 20 years ago, and we have not seen him since. I know where he is -- we have stayed in touch with his relatives. My daughter wants her aunts and uncles to be at the wedding, but does not want me to invite her father. She wants her stepfather to walk her down the aisle. I'm conflicted. Should we not invite her father at all? Even though his brother, sister and all the cousins are coming? It just seems rude. What's good ex-etiquette? Continue reading...

Movies, TV shows about inner beauty

Subscriber onlyIt can still be hard to find TV shows and movies with a range of body types represented and an emphasis on skills, smarts and character instead of appearance, but it's worth the effort. Continue reading...

Gaga for goo: Homemade slime is all over social media and everybody wants to touch it

Subscriber only Call this the Summer of Slime. Continue reading...

Pet Vet

Subscriber onlyMacintosh is a 10-year-old Schnauzer with diabetes. His caretaker, Paula, has been treating him with an injection of insulin twice daily for the past 16 months, and he has been doing quite well. Paula checks Mac's blood sugar level three to four times weekly, and he appears to be well-regulated. Recently, Mac has developed a mass along the top of his back just behind his shoulders. When Paula first noticed the mass, it was raised and about the size of pea. It now has grown to about one-inch in diameter and has turned red. Paula is understandably concerned about this mass and wants to have it removed but is also very concerned with the increased risk of infection associated with diabetes and surgery. Continue reading...

Summer's memories top the list of the best

Subscriber onlyWhat does summer mean to you? It probably depends on where you live or grew up, or how you choose to spend it. Continue reading...

20-item test rates parents' degree of mental stress

Subscriber onlyDo you need a parent-nanny? Not a nanny for your child, mind you, but one for you! Continue reading...

MONEY MANNERS

Subscriber onlyDEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: Several years ago I borrowed $2,500 from my uncle when I was out of work. We agreed I'd pay him $250 a month once I got a job, and I immediately began repaying him when I did. Then, after I'd made seven payments, my uncle told me I didn't need to pay him any more -- that we were square. I thanked him, and that was that. But recently I asked my uncle if I could borrow $5,000 so I could get a better car, and he said, "No." He said that he hadn't gotten all of his money back from me last time and that he "couldn't afford to keep giving money away." I was shocked. What should I say to my uncle? I could really use the loan. Continue reading...

Ex-etiquette

Subscriber onlyQ I was married for 13 years and have been separated for a year. I have two kids, ages 9 and 12. I have met someone I like -- finally -- but have only dated her once. We are both very busy and have not been able to arrange another date, but I know this relationship has potential. My kids have seen me texting her and have asked what's going on. I'm wondering when I should tell my kids about her and when they should meet. What's good ex-etiquette? Continue reading...

Experts' tips on effective child discipline

Subscriber onlyThere's no perfect way to parent, nor is there a single way to discipline a child. But parenting experts have studied discipline methods, so we asked them what they wish parents knew about disciplining their children. Continue reading...