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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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September 27, 2006



God, I hate moochers! I avoid them like the plague, when I can.


So you really have to speak up and firmly say that since you're a little short are watching the pennies, you'll just pay for what you ordered plus tax and tip. And if they look down on you or drop your friendship for doing so, they aren't friends worth having. Gee, as moochers are they worth having for friends in the first place? I say good riddance!


Michael and I are so annoyed by this too. We have a new policy where we just get a separate check in large groups. I don't do that when I'm alone but, I think I may start. I'll give you my latest example: I went to the Montage for lunch with some girls from my book club. Well immediately two people were going to go in on their own check. No big deal right? By the time our bill came they had their own entree but shared in our 3 appetizers that we ordered and the 2 big desserts. The rest of us had to chip in $50.00 a piece and they had their small bill of $24.00 each! Never again! I'm always going to get my own check in a group situation!


If it's a small group,we just tell the guy at the counter what we ordered separately (usually if it's a set menu).The Japanese are very particular with these things,dutch treat talaga. More often, the acting leader of the group will collect a certain amount from everybody beforehand then just divide the change equally and give it back to us.

How are you mz.beautiful? :)

sistah #1

if you think you got screwed, get this:
sometime ago, i met up with some ex-officemates who wanted to get together to cheer me up because i had been unemployed for so long. in deference to that group of fully-employed workers, i offered to meet them at the acapulco right around the corner from their office. it didn't matter that i had to drive through rush hour traffic to get all the way out there; heck, i had nothing better to do.
long story short, no one offered to pay for my drinks. not only that, but because i was cash-poor, i had to put the entire tab on my credit card and collect the accumulated cash on the tray. it was only when i got home later that i counted the cash and realized that not only did i end up paying for my entire share, but i was out an additional $30!!!
needless to say, i've never met up with them again since.


Pay only for what you ate plus tax and tip. If they take that against you, then good - time to stop seeing them. I used to end up paying more than I should until a friend said I was a sucker. That's when I learned to be wiser - "give me the bill so I can check if it's correct" and of course, everyone ends up paying only what he should, nothing more, nothing less. :)


rule of thumb>
1. tips- in LA it's at least make to figure out the amount of the tip ,just double the tax amount.

2. stand your ground- pay what you order plus tip.

3. if none of these works- then you need to find new friends to hang out with. dump the free riders!



Hi Cathy, Anna, Julianne, Sachiko AKA Ms Sexy, Sistah#1, Bugsy, and DatuPanot -

Thanks for all the tips and encouragement! It's not an issue with my good or "real" friends -- the problem is when it involves people I barely know. Still, I do need to learn to stand my ground -- or ask for a separate check! I've received emails about this post and it appears that it works for the folks who do, even if they get funny looks from the rest of the crowd.

I'm quite fair when it comes to these things anyway; for instance if someone else orders appetizers and I have a bite or two I'll split the cost with the person right away. So I really should have no qualms about being more assertive, right?


If you hang around people who have no regard for the finances and feelings of others, then you need to carry around a calculator so everyone pays their fair share. you should never have to pay more... just my two cents. I won't ask for it back. :-)


I feel for you because it happens to me with some acquaintances and... some in-laws. In in-law gatherings, my in-laws (2 bros and 4 sis) always "split" the bill between siblings no matter that they have two or five children each and we have none. One time, we got stuck with "our share" - 1/6 of an $900 bill when they all had their kids there, AND their kids' guests ordering expensive drinks, appetizers and desserts. Their kids and their guests are all near to or twenty-somethings. Once in a while is okay, but it's getting to be a habit. Some of his nieces invite their boyfriends and friends along, order without blinking and look the other way when the bill comes. Next time, hubby and I are asking for a separate check. If we get funny looks, that's their problem. We're just tired of it.


Hi Onigiriman - Hey, does your two cents include tax and tip, too??? :)

Hello MadMuse -- The kids have their own guests, too,and they're all considered 0 persons when the bill arrives? Yikes! Go get your own check...and quickly!


Hello, Gigi!

Very well written post. Like you I find myself in similar situations every now and then.It really is annoying.

I often get mad at my husband for being too nice and shouldering the "extras" in a bill for a group.


when i eat out with my office mates, someone shoulders the bill first. then, when we return to the office, i compute everyones share including service charge and tip (i have a prepared excel file) This way no one gets cheated. :-D



Hello, Gigi. :) Been lurking in your blog for several months now. I can't remember if I've ever left a comment.

Anyway, I've never had this problem, even with people I don't know. I guess it's because I always, always make them pay what they owe. When the check reaches the table, I get it first, then I bring out my cellphone and calculate how much each one of us owe. :) Hehe. I do this even with really close friends. Hmm.. I suppose it's kind of weird.

Irene Tuazon

HA! Great post! I feel your burning indignation (and pocket)! Good luck with your resolve to stop the mooching! c",)


Hello Duke, Buns, Jen, and Irene - You know, this might seem funny but I had absolutely NO idea this happened to so many people! But thanks to you guys, I now realize I don't have to be a shmuck. Thanks!


I went out with a school friend one time. She got to lunch and announced "I only have $10 on me". And then she proceeded to order an iced tea and a pasta dish that costed $10.50. Neither was the cheapest route to go. Needless to say, her share of the bill was close to $16 and she only paid $10. Not a huge deal, I know, but it was annoying that she said she had a certain amount of money but still ordered more than she had to! Well, the next day in school I wasted no time proclaiming what a cheap-ass she was. Aaah, those were the days. And that was my first encounter with someone like that. I learned a lesson though.


Hi Henna - thanks for stopping by, so nice to meet you :) Anyway, I sometimes wonder if folks who order more than they can afford are betting they'll be subsidized and thus take advantage of others on purpose, or if they're living in some kind of dreamworld. Either way, they need a wake-up call and hopefully your old friend got that from you. :)

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  • LISTEN: "Pluto" by Chamsom


    I don't have to understand Korean to love this song, although I think it's about a person who was in a rocky relationship that ended but still feels deeply for her former lover and is feeling lonely tonight. "You're like a little star that's far away from me and keeps disappearing." I suppose the title -- Pluto used to be known as the ninth planet from the sun but now isn't even considered one -- might provide a bit more context to the song's meaning. Spotify


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