Introducing Cutie...

Fall in Love For Life: Inspiration from a 73-Year Marriage (Chronicle Books) is the memoir of Barbara "Cutie" Cooper, a 90-something blogger with a very special story to share. Co-written with her granddaughters Kim and Chinta Cooper, the book is a featured selection in Anthropologie stores, and has received some very nice reviews.

You're invited to follow Cutie on Facebook, Yelp, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest.

Have a problem and need some advice? You can Ask Grandma Anything, and if she can help, she will!

"Fall in Love for Life" featured in "Yousho Best 500" ("500 best books written in English")

I'm so honored to be featured in Yukari Watanabe's new book, "Yousho Best 500" ( "500 best books written in English") for the Japanese audience. I'm in great company with the classics "Pride and Prejudice" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" -- and my grandchildren are impressed that Patti Smith's "Just Kids" made the list, too.

Yukari was kind enough to send me a copy of her book, which you can see me enjoying here. Thank you, Yukari, and hello to all my new Japanese friends!

See more at Yukari's blog (in Japanese).

Find Yukari's book on Amazon Japan.

Ask Grandma Anything: Disapproving Parents

Good evening, Miss Cutie!

I received your book for Christmas, and I must say that I absolutely LOVE it! Thank you very much for all of your wisdom. I enjoy your YouTube channel and the "Ask Cutie" section. You're a very wise lady.

So, if you don't mind, I need some grandmotherly advice (I lost my grandma three years ago).

According to your book, one of your tips is to find someone who your respected loved ones accept. Here's my dilemma: my family denies everyone that I bring home.

I currently have someone (who lives with me) who I've been with for a while now. My family does not like him at all. He's the only guy I've ever had who's been good to me and loves me and takes great care of me. I have learned to ignore his slight flaws, but my family cannot look past them as I have.

What am I supposed to do? I feel like I am forced to choose my family or my future husband. My heart is torn.

signed,
In a Pickle

--

Dear In a Pickle,

I'm so glad that you liked my book.

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your grandmother recently. It is my honor to step in and offer some surrogate grandmotherly wisdom. Thank you for thinking of me.

You ask a question that many of us can relate to: how do you handle your family's opinion about the way you live your life? In this case, how do you navigate your family's opinions as they relate to a romantic relationship?

It sounds like you have a healthy attitude about your partner. No one is perfect, and in my opinion it is a great quality to be able to appreciate and accept someone despite their flaws.

That being said, I think there may be some value in considering your family's concerns about this person. It can be very easy to disregard their opinions, especially if they are usually generous about sharing them, but they might be able to help you see something about your partner that you need to look at. It might help to pretend that it is not your family saying these things, but a good friend who has no agenda and only wants the best for you.

I'm not saying that your family is right about your partner. It is possible that they are very much off base. But I think when selecting something as significant as a future life partner that it would be worth your while to seriously consider their opinion before moving into such a serious commitment.

Let's say you have honestly considered their concerns about your partner, and still feel that they are off base. In that case, I would encourage you to think about your dynamic with your family. I understand you feel that you have to make a choice between him and them, but it is possible that they may not see it that way. They might disapprove, but still want to have you (and even him) in their lives. It is hard to say because each family and each relationship is different, but there may be room to negotiate.

At the end of the day, it is your life and you get to do decide how you want to live it. But that also means that you get to live with the consequences of the choices that you make, and consequences can have a big impact.

I know that you did not me ask this question, but as your surrogate grandmother, I wanted to also mention that it is perfectly okay if you do have some reservations about your partner. You can love him and also feel that it is not right for you two to get married right now, or ever. You are entirely within your rights to ask for more time to make your decision, to make sure you are making the right one.

Looking back on my nearly 97 years of living, I can tell you that it is incredibly difficult to to break free from expectations, our own and those of other people. It is worth fighting through the discomfort to live the life that you know you should be living. The best way I know to be able to do that is to create judgment free zones in your life where you can start to figure this out. It may seem like there is a rush and that you have to make a decision today, but this is the rest of your life we are talking about. You have every right to proceed cautiously.

Good luck to you, my dear. I'm wishing you every happiness.

Love,
Cutie

Mother at Work

Here is a picture of my mother, Tina, taking a moment's rest while working at the family shoe store. I'm surprised by how much I've grown to look like her.

Desert Decisions

Thought you might enjoy this candid shot of me. I am trying to decide between Jello and chocolate cake. Yes, chocolate cake won. Chocolate cake always wins.

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