DEAR ABBY: Have you any advice for how a person can handle mornings better? No matter what I do, I start off every work day irritated and grumpy.
I love the mornings, and even get up early so I can enjoy sitting with my coffee and relax before heading out the door. But as soon as I get out into traffic, I'm immediately in a bad mood. Then, sitting down at work and facing all the emails that come in from my global associates -- usually about some emergency that is plopped in my lap -- puts me in more of a foul mood.
I actually like my job, despite what it sounds like. I just hate starting off every day like this. Telecommuting is not an option for me. What can I do? -- MS. GRUMP IN DENVER
DEAR MS. GRUMP: OK, so you're fine until you leave the house. Many people who find morning rush hour to be nerve-wracking find it calming to listen to audio books or music during their commute. If that doesn't help you, and it is feasible, consider using another form of transportation that's less stressful.
And when you arrive at work, take a little time to decompress before turning on your computer, whether it is with meditation or deep-breathing exercises for the first 10 or 15 minutes. Both can do wonders for a person's outlook.
DEAR ABBY: A cute little girl lives up the street from my husband and me and attends the same church we do. A few years ago we taught her in a Sunday school class. At the time, she developed a crush on my husband. We both laughed about it then and thought it was sweet.
Fast-forward three years, and it's not so sweet anymore. It's downright awkward. She runs up to my husband multiple times while we're at church, while ignoring me. Last Sunday, she turned to me as she did it and announced, "He's mine!" I stood there thinking, "Uh, no -- he's mine."
I know this jealous reaction may seem silly and I'm trying hard not to feel this way, but it felt like I was fighting over my husband with an 8-year-old. He is aware of her crush and how I feel about it, but he doesn't want to hurt her feelings. Her mother knows about the crush, and we shared a laugh early on.
What can I do? Would speaking to the girl's mother help? What should I say? Or would it make things more awkward? -- NO LONGER AMUSED IN OGDEN, UTAH
DEAR NO LONGER AMUSED: The cute little neighbor girl is no longer 5. Three years is a long time for a child to hang onto a crush. Because her behavior bothers you, tell her mother you find it excessive at this point and ask her to tell her daughter she's getting too old to act that way. It's the truth, and your husband should back you up.
DEAR ABBY: I thought I'd share my own New Year's resolution with you. For the past 25 years I have made the following resolution: Each day I will ask myself, "What is the kindest, most loving thing I can say or do at this particular moment?" I invite your readers to consider this. -- WAYNE IN PUYALLUP, WASH.
DEAR WAYNE: I consider it a refreshingly positive way to start a day, and I'm sure others will agree and add it to their list of New Year's resolutions. Thank you for sharing it.
CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: A word to the wise: If you plan to toast the New Year tonight, please appoint a designated driver. And on this night especially, designated drivers should remember to drive defensively. To one and all, a happy, healthy New Year! -- LOVE, ABBY
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)