This advice column is penned by a Sonoma County resident and our new weekly sage. Go ahead! Ask her anything.
Dear Sydney: My grandfather died this past week, and my brother is a money-hungry pig. We can not agree on anything. Since I am the trustee and have the ability to change the will, my brother is pressuring me to do so. I was very close to my grandfather and I want to carry out his wishes, making sure that his belongings and money go to the people that he requested, but my brother, who is very much alive, is making my life miserable over this. Any advice on how to deal with this without stepping on anyone's toes?--Heartsick
Dear Heartsick, with the way things are going, and so soon after your grandfather's death, I would have to say that no, there probably isn't any chance of avoiding some toe-stepping. The only way to dance gracefully would be if everyone, living and dead, were in agreement. But based on the scanty information provided here, it seems they are not. Therefore, mind your own toes, and don't worry so much about everyone else's.
If your grandfather left you as trustee, there must have been a reason. Seeing as this isn't the movies, I will assume it is because he trusted and loved you. This makes it your job to re-assess your grandfather's wishes. Do they seem just to you? Is he leaving his fortune to the woman across the street who gardens naked? A corporation that supports globalization and or atomic warfare? Take a close look. Was grandpa crazy, and is it now your chance to right what could be a tragic wrong by depriving your very much alive brother of what he needs to survive?
Then again, maybe your grandfather's wishes are ones that you can stand by, and your brother, as you so blithely say, truly is a "money-hungry pig." In which case, I guess your brother might choose to spend his future Thanksgiving with someone other then you. The question is, are you prepared to live with that? If you are, then follow your heart. Then take a few days off. Go to the beach, even if it's foggy.
Dear Sydney: My dear friend, who happens to be gay, just moved to town and is looking for a friend who could possibly turn into a great love. She's having a difficult time meeting anyone. Any advice?--Wish I Were Gay So I Could Date Her
Dear So Not Gay, unfortunately, your friend must deal with the challenge of facing an incredibly small dating pool. In fact, let's just call it a pond, a small pond. Even though she is living in a new area, she's still going to find less people to date than, say, you would in a similar situation. But this does not mean she should give up in despair. She just needs to think one word, and one word only: Internet. I don't care what those snooty people who think they will never have to advertise to get laid say. Sometimes it takes reaching out of your immediate dating pond, especially when it's so small, and take a dive into the unknown depths of online dating.
What better way to look for exactly what she wants? I have witnessed enough success stories to believe that where there's wireless, there's a way. If your friend thinks this is too demeaning and or ridiculous, then suggest to her that she check the local bulletin boards for lesbian socials. Maybe after a month or two of fruitless searching, she will be willing to reconsider. Though she is probably just as likely to meet someone standing in line at the supermarket, this is a way for her to actively seek what she wants, and what could be more empowering then that?
Dear Sydney: All four of the men that I have been in romantic relationships with since moving back to California in 2002 were adopted. Is this merely a coincidence? I am afraid it may have something to do with my pattern of dating men who are unavailable. None of the four men appear to have dealt with their issues of abandonment, which I believe contributed to the eventual collapse of my relationships with them. Please send your advice.--Abandoned by the Abandoned
Dear Abandoned, In any given moment, you may be faced with a thousand different choices and, usually without thinking, you choose one after the other after the other. And for some reason, you have decided, when faced with yet another love potential, to get involved with the adopted guy. Of course, it's just as much a "coincidence" that the last four men you dated, who just happened to be adopted, were all dealing with abandonment issues. How random is that? The question is not why are so many guys adopted and why do you keep meeting them, but what is it that you find so attractive about "unavailable" men, adopted or not. Once you figure that out, then you can make a conscious effort to no longer get intimately involved with men who meet that profile.
A word of caution, however. Don't worry too much about analyzing the men you date. Instead, make a list of exactly what you want in a relationship. Then burn it and start from a new place, where you expect to be adored and nearly always get what you deserve. And who knows, maybe you will once again choose to be with a guy who has abandonment issues, except this time you'll work through it together. Try not to completely rule that option out, as every relationship you have will be flawed in some way.
No question too big, too small or too off-the-wall. Ask Sydney.