Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 14, 2007 12:00 PM
Carolyn takes your questions and comments about her current advice column and any other questions you might have about the strange train we call life. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.
Appearing every day in The Washington Post Style section and in the Sunday Source, Carolyn Hax offers readers advice based on the experiences of someone who's been there. Hax is an ex-repatriated New Englander with a liberal arts degree and a lot of opinions and that's about it, really, when you get right down to it. Oh, and the shoes. A lot of shoes.
Mysoginist Friend: I liked your answer about instigating a thought-provoking conversation with the boyfriend. I think there is more to be said, though, about how others, especially men, view friendships.
I've gotten upset with a woman friend, who wasn't ready to write off a third friend because of the third's actions. I don't really understand how she can still be friends with Third, but I've at least come to accept that she and I are different in that way, and there might be something to be said for having people like her in the world, that are more forgiving or accepting than I.
I think men, especially, are like that. At least the ones I know and know of, they seem to be more accepting in relationships, to not take things personally in a relationship, God bless 'em.
That also extends to their friendships with other men. Again, the men I know and know of, have friendships that predominantly date from high school and college. They don't make new friends easily, they may hang out with the husbands of their wife's' friends, but it's not the same. They remain friends with what us women might see as scum, but they just accept them, because they're friends and that is good enough.
And as for the specifics of the frat boy behavior in the letter - it sounds like the women involved are equal participants in the dance of degradation.
Carolyn Hax: That's why I left that part alone. I think the booby-pic e-mailer fits--pretty perfectly, now that I think about it--your useful description of the old friend for whom there's really no excuse, but also no real cause beyond that for dumping him as a friend. I agree that men carry more of these inexplicable friends with them from childhood, though it is something both men and women do.
Someone who calls his girlfriend a whore, on the other hand, crosses a line. That is someone who triggers a moral obligation to distance yourself. And that's what I was trying to say in the column. Thanks for rounding things out.
Logan Circle, Washington, D.C.: I'm three months pregnant. Yippee, hurray! Theres just one thing dragging down this happy event.
My mother-in-law is obsessed with her grandma name. Apparently grandma is just not special enough for her right now. Should she be GiGi, Sunny, Nonni, Abby Beth (short for Abuela, and no she doesn't speak Spanish, though her son and I do) the list goes on and on.
This is all she thinks about. She probably e-mails me or calls me with a new possibility once or twice a week.
Luckily for me her daughter has shot down most of them, so I don't have to be the evil controlling daughter in law.
What can I do to increase the calm and decrease this stress in my life.
Oh, and for the record my parents are just thrilled with being grandma and grandpa. They don't want to be anyone but grandma and grandpa (it is the first grandchild for both sides of the family... heaven help us!)
Carolyn Hax: Let her have her fun. Really. This is not dragging down your happy event, this is adding a twisted little anecdote to your happy event--plus a couple of e-mails to which you need only reply, "sure, we'll go along with whatever you decide," and variations thereof.
A grandma who smokes around you, doesn't care to be a grandma, nitpicks your every food choice, deliberately tries to feed you tuna, and cries for a week while aligning your husband against you when she finds out she won't be in the delivery room with you--now that would drag down your happy.
Column re: I'd date you if I didn't have a girlfriend/boyfriend: To me what that means is this:
1. I'm with someone who isn't right for me
2. I don't have the guts to break up with them and be alone
3. I'm going to string you along so that when the break does occur, I won't be alone
4. Eventually I'll do the same thing to you
Carolyn Hax: That was Nick's response to that column--verbatim, I think.
Chevy Chase, Md.: My Dad cares for my eight-month-old daughter during the week. He and I recently had a fight related to this. While he and I have sorted it out, my husband and stepmother are both still worked up. My stepmother is still being hostile to me even though she wasn't involved and didn't even hear the fight. Plus she said some nasty things about me to my husband that he can't get past, and he'd rather pay for day care than risk dealing with this again. But if Dad and I are OK, shouldn't they just chill? What gives and how do I get resolution for the people on the sidelines?
Carolyn Hax: I think you have to strip away the stuff of hard feelings, and present to your husband the bare choices: Your baby is getting good care (I'm reading between the lines here). The source of the care comes with complications--for you two, apparently, but not for the baby.
By asking to put the baby in day care, your husband is saying that the annoyance of the complications outweighs the value of the care itself.
If he agrees with that, then I think you need at least to explore some other care options. It's possible that your husband will see the alternatives and their costs, and back down--which will be much better than if he backs down under pressure from you.
It's also possible he'll still want day care for your daughter. Then you need to ask, do you think this care will be better for the baby, or better for us? Just to be sure he's thinking about the baby and not about himself.
The reason you need to be so methodical is that 1. He's the dad, he has a right to have his care preference explored; and 2. He's not the child of the caregiver, so he might be more willing than you are to admit that something isn't working.
As for the stepmother, not much you can do there. If you can take the insults, then so can everyone else.
Washington, D.C.: (online only please) Hi Carolyn. I had an encounter with my ex this morning on the Metro and it's left me bothered for two reasons: First, the reason more than two years ago I called off the wedding with my ex and broke up was in part because of her emotional abuse. This encounter today ended badly with her telling me that I ruined her life and her giving me the middle finger as she walked away. It brought back memories of similar things she did to me in the past during our relationship. Second, I know that my current girlfriend will be upset about me running into my ex. She worries that I still want to be with her because my ex sent me two emails in the past 2-3 months telling me that she's changed and wanted to try again. I don't want to try again. Regardless of whether or not I was even with my current girlfried. Today is the perfect example of why that is. How do I get my current girlfriend to accept this and believe me?
Carolyn Hax: Figure out why you're attracted to jealous, controlling, emotionally abusive women, and fix it. Yes, you are with another one, you just don't see it yet because you're still just dating and she's on her best behavior.
I could answer your specific question, but you don't fix a bad cake by touching up the icing.
Carolyn Hax: I wish that weren't online only.
Austin, Tex.: I'm feeling sad and need some perspective here. A guy "broke up" with me after four months, via disappearing trick. Just stopped calling, returning calls. Two weeks of that and I sent an e-mail, not really looking for anything but a simple, "I get it, I'm sad and don't know why, but OK." He replies with "Sorry, I've been busy. I need to find myself, find balance in my life, this isn't fair to you. I'll call you at the end of the week to talk about it - you deserve at least that much." Instead of a call, I get an email a week later: "Sorry, I was sick. I'll call you at the end of the week." Again, no calls. So at this point it's not that I want to hear from him anymore or that I even want to remain in contact with him even, but that I feel he's almost purposely trying to hurt me. Not sure if this makes any sense but it feels like the perceived intention to hurt is what hurts. So how do I stop being sad? Anyway, last week, someone wrote in surprised that people break up using emails. That is the least of it. There's also the disappearing trick. Mean people suck.
Carolyn Hax: I doubt it's cruelty. That certainly happens, but more often it's cowardice. I know this will be impossible to do right away, but in time I hope you see that there's a 99.5 percent chance it wasn't personal.
No tuna?: Sorry, I'm not a pregnant woman, but I missed what was so nefarious about tuna that you'd categorize it with smoking around a pregnant mom or aligning her husband against her. Is it the smell triggering nausea, or some mercury-level thing I missed?
(Can I have her tuna? Can my cat have it?)
Carolyn Hax: It's not particularly nefarious, I was just using it as (I thought) an easily recognizable item on the not-for-preggos list. Fish near the top of the food chain collect mercury from all the fish they have eaten, and the fish those fish ate, and the fish those fish ate, and etc., and so as a precaution pregnant women are advised to avoid them.
Re: Online Only: No, my question doesn't have to be online only too. You wrote:
Figure out why you're attracted to jealous, controlling, emotionally abusive women, and fix it. Yes, you are with another one, you just don't see it yet because you're still just dating and she's on her best behavior.
I could answer your specific question, but you don't fix a bad cake by touching up the icing.
How can you decide if the person you're with is controlling or if your own actions are out of line? I am very close to someone, and I'd would probably be with them if I wasn't attached, but my GF can't just let us be friends. She freaks over the least mention of her.
Carolyn Hax: 1. What's her reasoning? 2. If by "be with them," you mean you would be dating this other person if you weren't attached?
If the answer to 2. is yes, then don't bother answering no. 1.
Paris, France: I have a female friend who is 29 and I am 45. We hang out together and we really like each other. No problems, we never disagree or argue. We are both free. But recently, I have come to want her for more, I think I'm falling in love. She wants me just as a friend, I think mostly because of our age difference. Do I tell her how I feel and maybe risk losing the friendship?
Carolyn Hax: How recent is your information that she just wants you as a friend? If it has been a while, then you ought to be honest with her. A strong friendship will withstand it.
re: Washington, D.C.: Carolyn,
Why do you immediately jump to the conclusion that his current girlfriend is jealous and controlling? Perhaps she is just a worrier or he has said other things that make her feel insecure. Just a thought.
Carolyn Hax: His history plus her histrionics over an ex.
If he "makes her" feel insecure, then a woman who is not controlling (or 13 years old) will realize the problem is with her, because no one can "make her" feel insecure.
She is in charge of her own feelings. If he is in fact doing something out of line, enough for her to feel insecure in her relationship with him, then the way for her to deal with that isn't to limit his interactions with that person, but to limit her interactions with him. (There is one exception to this, which I'll get to.)
If he isn't doing anything out of line, then why should it be his job to make her feel better by cutting people out of his life? She needs to accept that she can't control him and work on her own emotional health, either in the relationship or, if her problems are extensive, after she ends it to allow her to focus on getting well.
(Exception coming ...)
Carolyn Hax: Here's the exception: If you've been with a life partner for a good deal of time, and s/he starts to behave around someone in a way that makes you jealous--again, after you've spent years with this person, so you know you're not feeling jealous lightly--then you do have a right to ask your partner to limit his or her contact with this person. Not right way, though-- only after you get out into the open: the possibility that there's a crush happening; that if true it's perfectly normal; and that if you both want your union to survive, the contact with the crush must be minimal.
But if you're at this point while you're still dating, then please see the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles lining your path. Thanks.
Alexandria, Va.: Carolyn,
I can't believe I used to write to you about whether to kiss a boy on the first date, and now... this.
My husband and I are starting IVF treatments to have a baby. Our chances of having a child naturally are neglible. IVF will take over our lives for the next several months... I will have daily injections, weekly or more blood tests, ultrasounds, etc... and the actual procedures to remove and implant eggs and embryos. Needless to say, it's going to be emotionally, phsyically, and financially exhausting.
So how do we tell our friends? Particularly those who are pregnant or have babies? It's VERY hard for us to socialize with those friends right now... but we don't want to lose them.
Carolyn Hax: This is a wonderfully honest post (including the part about how long I've been around), and I think what you've said here is exactly what I'd want my friends to tell me if they were going through IVF.
The choice that leaves you is in-person or e-mail, and for that I'd strongly advise your deciding based on how close you are to people. Not that people who really love you will dissect your decision and cut you loose forever because you chose to e-mail them, but I think you'll feel better 1. if you don't have to have this conversation face-to-face 20 times, and, 2. if you do have it face-to-face with certain people.
Good luck with it all.
Bad relationships - Figuring out why and fixing it: But how? How does one figure it out? How do you figure out why you're attracted to a certain type that turns out to be toxic? As Chris Rock said, for the 1st year your PR department is talking to their PR department. And with me, I find myself trying to focus on the good points and rationalizing away the bad. I've had 2 lengthy relationships in the past 11 years, one lasted 3 years and I'm currently getting divorced from my wife of 7. I couldn't really see how bad things were until the fog of emotion lifted months after the relationships ended. How do I stop this from happening again? What do I ask myself while I'm staring at my navel?
It sounds stupid, but I'm really hurting. I don't want to go through this again.
Carolyn Hax: I'm sorry. I think the most useful place to look is at relationships that aren't so emotional, at least not any more. Exes are an obvious and productive place to look, but I'd also take a hard look at your mom, dad, siblings, childhood friends, anyone with whom the dust has long since settled.
When you start looking at these long-since-taken-for-granted relationships in the fresh context of a recent heartbreak, then you can often see all kinds of new stuff. What used to be parents in a stable marriage, for example, can appear to you as one parent who was Always Right and another who just went along. Or, a parent who was always critical can become a parent who had no idea how to give or receive love. That kind of thing.
What you're looking for is a pattern, a relationship you have over and over again without even realizing it. For example, the pattern of rationalizing that things are working. Are you a pleaser, someone who tries to avoid being seen as a meanie or failure? How good are you at saying no? Extend that--would you say your problems stemmed from saying no to much, or yes too much?
Problem with all of this is, I think we can all think of a few people who would fail all of these introspection tests, because they refuse to admit they are wrong about anything. So there's the nut of the whole thing, really: How ready are you to answer honestly, knowing that the end result might be that you don't really like who you are?
It can take you to some dark places, but if you're of my generation, keep in mind the closet in "Poltergeist"--the rope you hang onto is the fact that seeing these things will allow you to change them, if only by learning to work with them. It's far worse when you can't see them, because they can work against you 24-7 without your even knowing it.
Fairfax, Va.: Hi Carolyn, so here's my thing. Despite numerous attempts, I've never even been on a date with a woman. But the funny thing is almost all of them say the same thing, besides No. Many have told me that even though I'm a great/nice guy, they just don't feel that click/spark/magic with me. I guess part of this could just be letting me down easy, but what can I do to make myself more clickable/sparkable/magical?
Carolyn Hax: Two questions (hope you're here live): How old are you, and what would you say these women all have in common? Besides rejecting you, obviously.
Anonymous: Okay, I have to know: is the girl character in Nick's cartoons (usually in your "adapted from a recent chat" columns) based off a real person? She has been showing up a lot the last few months and so I felt compelled to ask.
Carolyn Hax: It's me. Specifically, Nick's interpretation of the way I draw myself, though that happens to be a poorly formed circle with two dot-eyes and some squares for teeth. Nick's talent prevents him from capturing the true awfulness of my cartoons.
RE: IVF: My wife and I just finished our third (and first successful) IVF procedure. My suggestion: Tell as few people as possible. In our case, that was limited to parents, and each of our best friends. No one else needs to know.
When you get the inevitable question about when or if you're having kids, you can use Carolyn's "wow" or my own favorite. "We're considering it." Any question beyond that just gets "The Uncomfortable Stare"
Best of luck to you. And remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
PS Be nice to your husband. It's your body but it's his life too. And those hormones provide quite the rollercoaster of emotions.
Carolyn Hax: Great perspective, thanks. Here's another slightly different one:
For IVF in Alexandria: We've been there -- are there -- too. We found it helpful to tell a handful of close friends early on in the process, who have been tremendously supportive. They haven't asked a lot of questions, but have been receptive to talking when we need to. It's really helped having them know in some instances. Now friends understand when I don't go to the umpteenth baby shower in our circle of friends (a few were fine, but every month or so was tough). Also, they've been great in groups that fall into constant chatter about their babies to help steer conversations back to more "neutral", inclusive territory for us.
I think the tougher call is if/when you tell a boss or supervisor. I had to because of having to be out for treatment during a critical deadline. Again, not ideal, but boss has been tremendously supportive.
Good luck. It's a tough road, but telling some friends really can make it less lonely.
Carolyn Hax: Thanks.
Carolyn Hax: I've gotten a lot of similar posts, and there's a theme: As part of your announcement, make sure you make it clear that you will let them know when and if you have news. As anyone knows who has ever been in suspense about anything, the well-meaning questions from others are torture.
Alexandria, Va.: Carolyn, I'm almost afraid to ask, but did you ever hear back from the woman who wrote in several weeks ago trying to decide whether or not to have her baby?
Carolyn Hax: I haven't heard back.
Washington, D.C.: CH
Love the chats.
if the guy from Wednesday's column (who do I choose) thinks he has it bad, I was doing some charity work where I ran into two sisters. I emailed the one who I thought I had more in common with and who I spoke with more (because she was physically closer to me) -- it turns out she has a boyfriend. The other one, I have heard from 3rd parties, is apparently single.
Carolyn Hax: No! You're a sitcom! If anyone reading this recognizes the sisters, pls tell the unattached one to ask this guy out. Thanks.
Anonymous: I'm in a similar boat as Austin. How do I reconcile the hot-cold, Jeckyll and Hyde turnabout I've seen from this person? Now I find that I don't want to date men because I don't trust them not to turn in some unexpected and unkind way. I can't reason through the change in the desire to see me regularly to apparently not wanting to be in contact at all, let alone try to have a friendship, and I'm upset with myself for mourning the relationship in any way when I think my reasoning should be that if this is how he is, he's not meant for me or someone I would want to be with anyway. Was I dating two people in one and I just saw the nice side? How do I trust what I see in a person again? What did you mean, "not personal"? In some way, I think I understand, in some way I don't, and not 100% sure how it factors into this aftermath for me. And after this, I've gone into hermit mode.
Carolyn Hax: Since you can't know the cold is coming until after it's there (and it's all over), you can only learn to be very suspicious of the hot.
People who come on really strong in a romantic way can't can't can't be trusted. I'm not even suggesting the people themselves can't be trusted, since certainly people of great character are subject to big, overpowering emotions. It's the emotions themselves you can't trust.
Someone who is dying to see you every day can't get enough of you can't keep his/her hands off you thinks everything you say is the funniest thing ever said--and who has this response very soon after first meeting you--is having these feelings based on knowing you at a chemical level, not on -knowing- you, for the way you think and feel and twirl your spoon when you eat ice cream. Slow-to-build passion based on really knowing you is much more reliable than instant passion.
That's why it's not personal--it's about a chemical reaction you caused in someone, who then didn't have the nerve to face you when the chemicals burned off.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi Carolyn,
If your SO of one year walked out on you six months ago with minimal contact following the breakup and all of a sudden asked you out for drinks would you (1) ignore the email or (2) reply thanks, but I'll pass.
I sincerely value your perspective. Please advise.
Wishes her ex could be shipped off forever in a box.
Carolyn Hax: If that's how you feel, then pass. Otherwise I would go out of curiosity. You can always pay the tab and go home if it turns out it's all about jerking you around.
Sister Act: Carolyn, the dilemma of asking out the wrong sister made me think of a social etiquette issue that I find difficult to resolve. My boyfriend travels a lot for work and is frequently not at social gatherings that I attend during the week. Often, I will find myself in an extended conversation with a guy who seems interested and want to find a polite way to clarify that I am not available, to avoid leading anyone on or being disrespectful of my boyfriend, but I don't want to seem like a jerk by declaring "I have a boyfriend" in the first few minutes of conversation. With holiday parties upon us, I have found myself in a situation several times in the past couple of weeks where when I finally mentioned the boyfriend in passing conversation (i.e., "oh, my boyfriend also really likes x"), the person I was talking to seemed visibly disappointed/irritated and/or quickly ran off to talk to someone else. I don't feel that I was rude in any of these situations, but was just wondering if you have any thoughts on the least awkward way to handle this type of situation. Thanks.
Carolyn Hax: You don't have any obligation to say anything unless someone asks you out. And, unless you're flirting wildly or dropping in your BF mentions in a really geeky way, it also isn't your fault that people abruptly stop talking to you when they figure out you're not available. I suppose you could see it as your -problem-, since a series of abruptly abandoned conversations can kill the party mood, but their problem is still probably worse; it's pretty short-sighted to deem conversations as worth having only if the other person is an immediate romantic prospect (assuming you've read their behavior correctly).
Please know how I feel about deception when I say this: If you want, you can always wear a solitaire on your left ring finger (doesn't have to be real) to deflect the ones who are looking for availability. Just don't lie if you're asked about your "engagement."
Washington, D.C.: How do you determine whether your friends' bad behavior -- behavior that's hurting other people, not you -- is Your Business or None of Your Business? I know you have a strong leaning towards None of Your Business in a lot of these situations. But what about when you see friends who you know to be good, decent, well-meaning people but perhaps a little careless/clueless/naive/immature. When is it okay to pull them aside and say, "What you're doing is potentially hurtful and harmful -- straighten up!"? The situations I have in mind involve guy friends (ages 29 to 85) who are either stringing along women they're not serious about or attempting to date multiple women in the same social circles.
Carolyn Hax: My None of Your Business leanings definitely kick in when it comes to tipping off strangers about things that may or may not affect them, and to people who feel it's their place to change people's personalities, character or quirks.
What you're talking about is making someone close to you aware that they may be hurting someone. That strikes me as fair game--you're a friend, so you have standing, and you're pointing out something of which they might not be aware. Go for it.
If they choose not to heed you, though, then you're stuck with its not being your business any more, except of course as it applies to your reasoning about whether to keep them as friends.
A logistics question: Carolyn - what happens to the questions you don't answer? Do they just disappear? Do you keep a file of the "stupidest questions I get on the chat"? Do you even see the ones your producer (who is it, by the way) rejects?
Carolyn Hax: I keep the questions I don't answer; I don't keep a file, but wish I did because "What's the dumbest/weirdest question you ever got" is usually among the first five questions I'm asked in an interview; I do see the rejected questions, some of them during but most of them after the chat is over. (That's also when I see some of the ones she chose; I get more than I can read in two hours, much less answer.)
Email from ex: "If your SO of one year walked out on you six months ago with minimal contact following the breakup and all of a sudden asked you out for drinks would you (1) ignore the email or (2) reply thanks, but I'll pass."
That sounds like a booty call. He hasn't had a date in a while and he's looking for you to scratch his itch.
Carolyn Hax: "Sounds like" isn't the same as "is." Could be feeling guilty and ready to explain or apologize, could be 12-stepping (but apparently not w/AA), could be missing the glee of torturing you.
Another movie reference of a certain era: "Look for low and away, but watch for in your ear."
Did someone just take over your keyboard?: "Please know how I feel about deception when I say this: If you want, you can always wear a solitaire on your left ring finger (doesn't have to be real) to deflect the ones who are looking for availability." Please know I normally think you give great advice, but this seems so out of character. Care to expand on it?
Carolyn Hax: It's pure pragmatism. It tells people who are -specifically- starting conversations -just- to get dates that they should look elsewhere. It will not stop anyone who is interested in making conversation. It also works its magic wordlessly, without making any assumptions about anyone. Finally, it's just a piece of jewelry, which is hardly against any laws, it's not even rude--and if she's honest to people who ask about it, it's not even a lie. Purists can put it on their right hands and hope the guys are tipsy.
Duck, N.C.: To the "nice guy":
I had the same problem, but as soon as I decided I would not care about dating anymore, I apparently became much more interesting.
Both sexes can smell desperation a mile away, and it isn't attractive.
Taking the pressure off yourself is the only solution.
Carolyn Hax: Standing and clapping. And, I like saying, Thanks, Duck.
Resubmit?: So if we have an otherwise reasonable question do you advise resending next week? I'd like to hear your thoughts on my situations.
Carolyn Hax: Sure, but you can also send it to my email address, email@example.com. I won't post it to a chat from there. I will, however, not only consider it for a column, but also be more likely to choose it in a chat if I've already read it and thought about it. Doesn't happen often, but it's nice when it does.
Re: taking it personal in Chicago: Another question about it not being personal when someone falls off the face of the Earth. OK, I get that relationships that burn really hot quickly can flame out quickly. But it's worse to think that the chemistry was great, but when they got to know the "real" me...mmm not so much. Ouch. How can't that hurt?
Carolyn Hax: Because it's not necessarily that the "real" you was unappealing, it's that "you" were never a factor. It was newness.
The world is a big place. Most people won't want to marry you, and you won't want to marry most people. The problem with hot attractions is that they put people together intimately who otherwise don't belong together. I knwo, it's hard to train your mind this way, especially when your feelings are still raw, but -most- people who don't like each other just ... don't. It's the way they were built. Don't give another's opinion disproportionate weight.
Baby questions: Maybe I'm just not easily offended, but I really don't care if people ask my husband and I if we're going to have kids. Maybe it's because we're already an open, joking couple, but it just doesn't bother me. Why let people have that much power over me?
Carolyn Hax: Great question.
Carolyn Hax: Some people, to be fair, just get really tired of it. It's easy not to mind times 1-3, but times 400-475 can really chap one's mood. Especially if all times are racked up over the course of one holiday weekend. The volume can in itself be an offensive message.
But the don't-give-them-power still applies, thanks.
Fairfax, Va.: My friends have talked about getting together for the holidays. Since we all just graduated and are working in different parts of the country, we don't see each other often. The hitch is that I am attracted to one my friends, who I asked out, but she said no and broke my heart. I have a very bad poker face, so she would know that I still have feelings for her and I don't want to ruin the get-together for everybody else. Should I still try to grin and bear it or just lie to get out of seeing them?
Carolyn Hax: Oh brother. Just go, and pay close attention to the people you're happy to see.
Carolyn Hax: Must run. Thanks everybody, and type to you ... ooh, I forgot to ask Liz ... might change date next week, in anticipation of mass exodus from offices Friday. Check back for a possible schedule change. Bye bye.