Q: I am 21 and come from a family of crime involving drugs and violence. I was taken by the state as a child in need of care at 14. I’ve been in and out of juvie and did 18 months in juvenile prison. I’m now sitting in adult county jail. I’m going to get one more chance, according to the judge.
Where can I get help if I want to live a rightful life and fix mine? With very little income, I only know how to make money illegally, which is more than many people make in two or three years. I want to do right this time. What’s your advice? — Stuck in Crime in Kansas
A: My advice is to finish your education. At the very minimum, get your GED. Fight the temptation to go for “easy money” and find a mentor who can steer you toward constructive activities and opportunities. A place to look would be one of the prison ministries.
You are still young and have your whole life ahead of you. It will be far smoother and more successful if you don’t add to your criminal record.
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Q: My 10-year-old daughter and I enjoy hosting sleepovers for her friends from school. Over the last few years, her circle of friends has increased, as have the dietary needs of said friends. It went from simple meals like macaroni and cheese, pizza or hamburgers to parents requesting gluten-free cookies, soy milk, almond milk and other demands that drive me crazy.
I’m willing to accommodate to a point, providing vegetarian options and no nuts, but for parents to demand that I spend (what seems like) hundreds of dollars on food my family and I never eat is insane.
The last time this happened, I asked the parent, nicely, to provide a small container that I could store in my fridge for the girl to use for her soy milk. The woman became irate, called me thoughtless and wouldn’t let her daughter come! I don’t know what I did wrong, but apparently I made some faux pas because the same thing happened with a different girl who wanted gluten-free everything.
Abby, what should I do or say in these situations? I usually provide snacks and such that fit most diets, but a lot of times the main course contains gluten, dairy, etc., and I don’t want to go broke buying select types of food for one kid. — Sally in Washington, D.C.
A: You did nothing wrong. Asking the mother to have her daughter bring a quart of soy milk with her was not rude, and the same is true for the mother of the girl who has an intolerance for gluten. The parents of children with food allergies should be used to the routine of providing allowable foods for them to bring when they will be eating away from home, and for you to have received the reaction you did was over the top.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.