Thursday, February 17, 2005

Advice from CHIP:

During my high school years, I created a family newsletter. (This may prove how much of a dork I am, but you know what, I like being a dork.) Each month, my parents and I would spend an entire weekend putting together stories about the extended family into the "journal". It was usually 6-8 pages (double-sided, so 12 to 14 full pages of text and pictures) and sent out to about 30 households.

It was a fun experience to work with my parents for a weekend each month preparing the paper. It really brought us closer and I learned a ton about my family from the work. In some ways, I miss working on it each month. College arrived and it just fell by the wayside. But sometimes...

I liked how I heard from my family more often. Once the paper stopped, the communication in our family fell away. I hardly ever talk to relatives anymore. It takes a huge effort in our family to communicate (extended family) and without the paper, a distance formed. C'est la vie and all that.

One of the monthly "columns" was an advice column from my dog. It's so cheesy and I still laugh. My mom was paging through some of the old issues the other day and found herself giggling. It's funny, she wrote the column, yet she still feels the words were his.

I am going to share some of the old stories and articles on this blog. Tonight I want to share a little bit of Advice from CHIP.

July 1993:

Dear Chip:

My boyfriend is handsome, charming and fun to be with. He treats me great, has plenty of money and a nice car. He even loves to cook and clean! One small problem---whenever I want to go for a walk together he finds something else to do. He has asked me to marry him. Do we have a future together?


Dear Hopeless:

Stupid question! Everyone knows that taking walks together is the only real basis for a long-lasting relationship. You two don’t have a chance! Next time you write, think first—and bring me something to eat!


Dear Chip:

My wife and I walk together most evenings. I like to keep moving all the time but she is always stopping to look at water and trees and bushes. What can I do to speed her up?

Tired of Waiting

Dear T.W.:

You could be more patient. When she stops, give her a minute to look around before gently letting her know that it is time to move along. Maybe you will even find something in nature to appreciate too. If that doesn’t work, you could bite her ear playfully and run so she chases you. Is it time to eat yet?


Dear Chip:

When I was talking a walk in the woods yesterday I met a really cute boy. He said hello in a very friendly way but I was shy and only nodded back. Now I wish I could do it over again. PLEASE HELP.


Dear Teen:

Don’t give up! You should go for that same walk everyday until you meet him again. I could go with you! Then he will ask you questions and you can tell him all about me without being shy. I am so cute that he will want to walk with us and you can get to know him! Let’s go get something to eat now.


August 1993:

Dear Chip:

Eating out is fun. I like to try everything. My problem is this. After the salad, breadsticks, rolls, soup, relishes, etc. I’m almost full before my main course arrives. What are my options?


Dear Full:

Option #1 – Ask not to be served what you’d rather not try – but remember you still pay for it.

Option #2 – Eat only a little of each item and leave the rest. Do you like wasting food?

Option #3 – Eat everything but go easy on the things you can take home in a doggie bag. The meat portion is what comes to mind here. That it real easy on the meat and you can have room left for dessert! You will be full but comfortable and someone will love you for it.

Speaking of meat, let’s see what’s in the frig!


Dear Chip:

We like to eat out quite often. There’s a buffet we really enjoy but we often wonder. How much should we tip when the server only brings the beverages?


Dear Diner:

I don’t know. Here’s one for you. Did you know that you can’t get a doggie bag at most buffets? Just think about that! Give me something to eat now.


Dear Chip:

I used to bring home doggie bags and split the food for my dog and my cat. My cat sometimes wouldn’t eat it and never said thank you. So now I give it all to my dog. Is this wrong?

Fair or Foul?

Dear Fair, no Foul:

No, this is good. Your cat would have to be starving and be served on a silver platter to appreciate leftovers. Cats just drive me nuts! Especially when they walk on top of the fence and sneer down at you!

I wonder if there is any pizza left.


September 1993:

Dear Chip:

Please help! I am so depressed and unhappy! Someone I love is going away soon and I don’t want her to go. There will be soon be a big empty spot in my life. What can I do?


Dear Heartbroken:

I am so sorry. This must be a very hard time for you, but life does change and people move on. You must wish this person the best and be happy that you had her with you as long as you did. If you look outward to new friends and relationships, that big empty spot will fill up fast. Otherwise you could always store more paper towels there! Going away…Going away?? WAIT A MINUTE! Is that like packing things in bags and cases and big boxes? This better not be someone who gives me treats and scratches my ears and tells me how cute I am! HELP! I’m so depressed and unhappy! I better have something to eat now!


Dear Chip:

I went to the cupboard to find a bone and lo and behold I was not alone. These kids are running me ragged! What’s a mother to do?

Sleepless in Stoughton

Dear Sleepless:

I know what you mean! There were some babies in our neighborhood (9 of them) and they cried ALL the time! But they were almost as cute as me and it was amazing how fast they grew up! You should enjoy your babies as much as you can because they may soon be going away—there’s that nasty “going away” words I don’t like!

Exactly where is this cupboard where you can get bones?


October 1993:

Dear Chip:

I have a favorite older granddaughter (Traci), a favorite younger granddaughter (Beth), a favorite older grandson (Christopher), a favorite younger grandson (Matt) & a favorite great grandson (Aaron). But now Traci has fouled me up. Do I have a favorite double great granddaughter Alex/Sam? Please help me with my dilemma.


Dear Grandfather:

Wow, this is tough. I think they could be your favorite twins! Maybe my readers have some other suggestions. If so, please send them in.

It sounds like you don’t want one to be more favorite than the other. I would like the one who eats less better because I really like leftover milk and cereal. Probably other kinds of baby food too.


Dear Chip:

Halloween will be here pretty soon. This is a holiday that spotlights cats! HA HA HA HA – dogs don’t have any holidays about them. So what do you think about that?


“Dear” Fluffy:

You hear a lot about cats around Halloween because this holiday is for evil and scary things. Not that I am scared of cats, of course, but some dogs and people are and they are bad luck besides!

I think I like Halloween anyway because we gets LOTS of candy for kids but not many kids come to our door. I like corn candy and little Snickers bars and Hersheys and Rolos and (get this) even Kit Kat Bars!

So dogs don’t get a holiday, HUH? Who do you think Arbor Day is for?


Dear Chip:

I’m selling my house soon. Any hints for a quick sale?


Dear Moving:

Yes! Here’s a good one. When someone is coming to look at the house I will come and sit in the yard next door. I will sit very quiet (not in your front yard though) and wag my tail (cute) and tilt my head to one side (very cute). Everyone will want to live there!

Also, leave some fresh cookies out for them to give me when they leave.


November 1993:

Dear Chip:

The answer to Grandfather’s dilemma is technically Alex is 5 minutes older than Sam is. So he still has a favorite older great-granddaughter and a favorite great-granddaughter. And for you Chip, they usually don’t leave much leftover milk. They are pretty hungry girls.


Dear Traci:

Are you sure? No leftovers? Oh well…Thank you for a very good solution. You sound like a nice woman and I would like to meet you. Couldn’t you come here and visit us and maybe bring some extra food along in case your babies are messy or something???


Dear Chip:

Who is this Grandfather guy anyway? Tell him for me that he has too many favorites! Is everything a favorite something? When he eats a bologna sandwich, does he have a favorite left side and a favorite right side? Or a favorite top layer of cake and a favorite bottom later? Get real!

BobbyJoe (Houston)

Dear BobbyJoe:

Don’t you get it? These are people, grandchildren even, that Grandfather is asking about. Not something for lunch!!! Lunch?? What is for lunch?

Who do we know in Houston anyway and if we do, how come he didn’t send us some steaks?? I like steak too.


Dear Chip:

My human wants me to wear a costume next year for Halloween so I’ll be cute. Is my human nuts or what?


Dear Pookie:

I used to think that too. I didn’t want to wear a costume either at first. But Taco was wearing his so I tried it. It was nice having everyone tell us how cute we were and taking our pictures.

Let me tell you about this whole Trick or Treat thing! You go right up to houses, ring the bell and THEY GIVE YOU CANDY!! Really! We got lots of candy and we could wet on the bushes too. I liked Halloween a lot and I’m pretty sure the next holiday is a good one too---turkey and pie---I hope it starts soon.


December 1993:

Dear Chip:

Please help me out. I’ve been living with the same guy off and on now for six years. I’ve always told him how much I would like offspring, but he doesn’t want to discuss it. I’m not one to play “Hard-To-Get”, but he ignores my advance. I think he’s neutered. What should I do?

Toiling Tilly, Milw., WI

Dear Tilly:

Six years and you just think he’s neutered? What are you, a cat or something? If you really want offspring, your choices are pretty limited---have an affair and hope he doesn’t remember how you get babies! But do you really want babies? You know, they eat a lot and you have to stay home with them all the time. And once you have babies, you aren’t the baby anymore! I am only one year old so I had to look up “neutered”. Eeeeewwooo!!! It’s almost enough to take my appetite away!

So, Tilly, want to have dinner with me next Saturday?


Dear Chip:

I love the holiday season, but I always seem to over eat. Yes, I’ve read all the popular (old, worn-out, boring) theories on how to avoid this—but everything looks so good! Any suggestions?

Holiday Binger

Dear Binger:

YES, Yes, yes!!! Take a good long walk every evening! This works great! Also, run around a lot and bother your big brother (or whoever) and—Wait a minute—You get too much to eat? I’m always hungry. Maybe you could just put some of that extra food in a bag for me!


P.S. The world is a pretty dangerous place….if you take long walks, it is much better to take a dog with you—for protection, you know.

Dear Chip:

Last month’s editor’s column said that you have gift suggestions. I almost hate to ask, but what are they? I have a wide variety of friends and family to buy for.

Concerned Shopper

Dear C.S.:

There are two great gifts that always fit—OK, three if you count cash—puppies and food! My editor may have been a little confused. I meant I have suggestions for gifts for me! 1) Steak 2) Pork 3) Hot Dogs 4) Candy.


Dear Readers:

I found this interesting small piece of news in our daily paper:

“In January, Robert Williams, a University of Tennessee neurobiologist, reported that the brains of housecats are getting smaller, probably attributable to their associations with humans.” Merry Christmas to All!!!



*During the summer of 1993, my cousin Susan lived with our family while attending school in Minnesota. When "Chip" is talking about someone leaving, he is referring to Susan.

**In August of 1993, my cousin gave birth to twins. That was an actual submission by my grandfather about his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The link is the last time I saw them. Not pretty. Somewhat funny, but not pretty.

***Tilly was my cousin's cat. There are more submissions from "her" in later columns. I will probably share them here.