Dear Annie: Would you happen to know a dating site that isn't crazy expensive and that would allow me to find someone who's not fake? I'm looking to meet someone real, preferably someone who loves animals like I do. I'd appreciate any help you can offer. – Just Me in Germany
Dear Just Me: There are plenty of dating websites that offer free basic memberships and affordable premium memberships, such as OkCupid (which is free to join, and $5.95 per month for six-month premium subscription) and Plenty of Fish (also free to join, with premium memberships available for $5 to $10 a month). Though it's not a dating site, MeetUp.com offers opportunities to meet people who share similar interests, and you might consider volunteering somewhere that allows you to work with animals and meet like-minded folks.
As for verifying whether someone's the real deal, a few practical tips: Look them up on social media; FaceTime, Skype or Zoom with them rather than just messaging; and, of course, always, always meet in a public place.
Dear Annie: I am a 92-year-old lady, and have outlived my child, immediate family and many dear friends. Sadly, I'm writing you after hearing of a 90-year-old friend who tried to commit suicide but was saved.
This friend no longer has family. She has a lot of back pain and age-related problems that most of us get in later years. We are all isolating ourselves due to the pandemic, and sometimes our loneliness is more than we can bear. I'm writing to let people know to please, please remember to call often to these lonely souls or stop by to say, "Hi," or send over a few cookies or a flower from your yard. Just keep in touch to give them a sense of worthiness. I've talked to other elderly persons going through this, and some have admitted crying themselves to sleep at night or just sitting all day doing nothing. Please remind folks to check on the elderly, especially those living alone. – Soon to Be 93
Dear Soon to be 93: This is heartbreaking. I am so sorry to hear that your friend felt such despair that she tried to take her own life. And I'm deeply sorry to hear that you've lost so many, including your child, over the years. Your letter is a powerful reminder to check up on older relatives, friends and neighbors, even if just to say, as the great John Prine put it, "Hello in there." It takes so little effort to pick up the phone, and yet it can mean so much.
Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for guidance and resources to help your friend.
Dear Annie: I donated my $1,200 to our local museum. All museums have been closed for the past months with no income but still have utilities to pay and usually at least one staff member.
Not being considered essential, museums have been ignored. But saving history is important, too. We will regret it if the museums have to close forever. – Shirley in Rochester, IN
Dear Shirley: According to MarketWatch, 90% of museums around the world closed during the pandemic, and 1 in 8 may never reopen. We should all consider financially supporting museums in our communities if possible. As artist and writer Maira Kalman said: "A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can."
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