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Dear Amy: My husband “Paul’s” birthday is coming up. He and I got married in our 40s. It is an only marriage for us both, so we were each single for a long time beforehand.

Columnist Amy Dickinson (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune) 

A couple of years before we got together, I hired a photographer to take “boudoir” photos of me — no nudity, but they are sexy.

I’ve never shown these photos to anyone aside from the photographer. I ran across the flash drive with them recently while cleaning out a desk.

I had the idea that maybe a couple of intimate pictures might be a fun and surprising gift for Paul, but I honestly don’t know if that would be in incredibly poor taste. Our bedroom life is, let’s say, much milder than I experienced as a single woman.

Should I go for it or cover up and buy him a shirt for his birthday instead?

Smart, or Faux pas?

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Dear Smart: When a person reaches a certain age, almost any photo of your younger self (“boudoir,” or not) seems like a sexy treasure. (I just ran across a driver’s license from 15 years ago and wanted to frame it!)

I vote an enthusiastic “yes” to this gift idea, with a caveat: Just give your husband one or two prints (unframed) with a warmly written card, and keep the prints modestly sized (that’s the more “tasteful” choice).

I’m not saying that you aren’t worthy of a mural-sized wall treatment, but if you and your husband like the prints, you can talk about enlarging and perhaps framing them.

I sense that you feel self-conscious that these hot photos might draw attention to the contrast in your sex life between then and now, but they might also inspire a little boudoir revival between you; I certainly hope so.

Dear Amy: Like so many others, I have faced my share of struggles trying to get through the pandemic and keep my health, family, and career on track.

I worked remotely and am now back working at our office space. We employees basically trade off working in the office and working from home. Working at the office is different than it used to be, but this is a compromise that seems to be effective, at least in the short term.

Now we wear masks in public spaces and are extremely careful to distance from one another, but, weirdly, one dynamic left over from the “before times” seems to persist: Some of my co-workers still seem to traffic in negative gossip and petty sniping about management, and each other.

Honestly, this bothers me a lot more than it used to, and I’m wondering if there is anything I can do to change a dynamic that has more or less infiltrated our workplace.

Tired of Toxicity

Dear Tired: A recent study published in Applied Psychology explores the effect of gratitude on negative workplace behavior. The study looked at 351 people, testing the effectiveness of keeping a “gratitude journal” for 10 days. Employees were asked to spend a brief time each morning simply writing down things they are grateful for.

The study concluded that participants who wrote in gratitude journals participated in significantly less gossip and other toxic behaviors at work. There are a number of theories about why this practice seems to work, but basically anchoring to gratitude can significantly boost an individual’s mental and emotional outlook and attitude. And people who feel good (or better) about themselves and their lives are kinder toward others.

This might be a good exercise for you and your colleagues; if you’re not in a position to directly address the toxicity and suggest this as a potential solution, then you might try it — or meditation — on your own. Starting each day with a mindful recognition of the good things in your own life may make the toxicity seem less pointed and painful.

Dear Amy: Good advice to “Anxious Wife.”

Please remind husbands and partners that the title “wife” does not equal “servant.”

Some men seem to think they are entitled to be waited on. They wait for their coffee to be poured, for a meal to be served, for towels to be changed, for trash to be emptied and feel if they have a job, that is enough.

Wife may also have a job, but Servant is her lot in life. No way! Pay for a cleaning company and help around the house. Period!

My husband and I have been married for 50 years.

Not a Servant

Dear Not: Exactly. Thank you.

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You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.



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Pueblo Indian blanket dating back 800 years was made out of 11,500 turkey feathers plucked while the birds were still alive, archaeologists say

There's more uses for a turkey than the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast.

Researchers believe the flightless fowl held deep significance for ancient Pueblo Indians in the American Southwest, who domesticated the bird but didn't eat it. 

Archaeologists at Washington State University examined a 800-year-old feather blanket from southeast Utah, one of the few remaining examples of its kind. 

They determined it took more than 11,000 turkey feathers to make the spread, likely plucked painlessly from live birds during molting periods. 

It would have taken between four and ten turkeys to make this single blanket, now on display at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, Utah.

'The birds that supplied the feathers were likely being treated as individuals important to the household,' said anthropologist Bill Lipe. 'This reverence for turkeys and their feathers is still evident today in Pueblo dances and rituals.'

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An 800-year-old blanket from Pueblo Indians in the Southwest US took more than 11,500 turkey feathers to make, according to a new report. Turkeys were an integral part of tribal life for thousands of years, and not really a food source until the 11th or 12th century

To determine how many turkeys would have been needed for this blanket, Lipe's team counted feathers from the pelts of wild modern-day turkeys ethically sourced from dealers in Idaho.

Such feathers were widely used to make blankets and robes by the Ancestral Pueblo people but, because they're so fragile, few examples have survived.

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'The goal of this study was to shed new light on the production of turkey feather blankets and explore the economic and cultural aspects of raising turkeys to supply the feathers,' said Lipe, lead author of a paper in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Protective fabrics made from animal pelts, fur and feathers would've been needed as tribes ventured into higher, colder elevations in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Feathers from modern-day turkeys used to help determine how many would have been needed for the blanket, Researchers counted feathers from the pelts of wild turkeys ethically sourced from dealers in Idaho.

Turkey-feather blankets were made by weaving feathers into nearly 600 feet of yucca fiber cord.

The ancestors of the modern-day Pueblo Indians, who include the Hopi and Zuni, tended to live at elevations above 5,000 feet, where the winters were brutal and even summer nights could be cold.

Made by women, the fabrics would have served tribespeople through various stages of life — as blankets for sleeping, cloaks in cold weather and finally as funerary dressing.

This particular blanket measured 39 by 42.5 inches and took approximately 11,550 soft body feathers wrapped around almost 600 feet of yucca fiber cord.

Turkey feathers began replacing rabbit skin as the preferred material for twined blankets between 400 BC and 700 AD, according to Lipe. They lasted longer and plucking turkey rather than skinning hares would have allowed for an ongoing resource.

Turkeys were one of the very few domesticated animals in North America before Europeans arrived but they weren't really used as a food source until the late 12th century, when deer became more scarce.

New feathers could be collected several times a year for the life of the turkey, which could more than a decade.

'As ancestral Pueblo farming populations flourished, many thousands of feather blankets would likely have been in circulation at any one time,' said Shannon Tushingham, a professor of anthropology at WSU and co-author of the study. 'It is likely that every member of an ancestral Pueblo community, from infants to adults, possessed one.'

Surprisingly, the turkeys would have been treated more like pets or members of the family than dinner.

Washington State University archaeologists Bill Lipe (left) and Shannon Tushingham hope understanding how Ancestral Pueblo people made turkey blankets will shine a light on the animal's role in their culture


Turkey feathers began replacing rabbit skin as the preferred material for twined blankets about 2,000 years ago. They lasted longer and plucking turkey rather than skinning hares kept the animal alive and made them a renewable resource

Turkeys were one of the very few domesticated animals in North America before Europeans arrived but they weren't really used as a food source until the late 12th century, when deer became more scarce.

Turkey remains found among the ancient Pueblo were usually whole skeletons that had been intentionally buried, not scattered bones in hearths or trash heaps.

That indicates a ritual or cultural significance for the birds, Lipe believes. 

'They are right up there with eagle feathers as being symbolically and culturally important,' he said. 


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