Two racks per room?


Nov. 27, 2015


Dear Readers: Here’s this week’s Sound Off, about luggage racks. 

“Many people read your column, and I would like to make a public request: All lodging-type establishments should provide two luggage racks in every room.

“Many people travel alone and probably need only one, but as a frequently traveling couple, each of us would like to have one.

“We shouldn’t have to reserve a room with two beds so that we can have one for our luggage, but we often do.” - Pat K., Cypress, Texas

Pat, I feel your pain, because when my husband, David, and I travel, he ends up putting his things on a chair. Sometimes I use a luggage rack, and other times I don’t. When traveling alone, I, too, ask for two double beds, and the second one becomes my extra desk.

Request an extra rack when you check in, or pull out the ironing board, set it up against a wall and voila - extra space! It may depend on the hotel/motel; generally, the lower-priced places don’t have them. It does cost the establishment to put one in every room, and two would make the cost of your room go up! Some “guests” will steal ANYTHING from a motel room that is not tied or anchored down!
- Heloise (Too many miles and too many hotels!)


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are other uses for old, clean pantyhose:

- In the garden to tie plants.

- As a paint strainer.

- To keep wrapping-paper rolls from unwinding.

- Cut into circular segments and use as hair ties.

- As an exercise band!

- Heloise


Versatile jacket

Dear Readers: It’s time for festivals, craft shows and women’s shows. Years ago, I found a beautiful, quilted, lightweight jacket - blue, green, sort of patchwork, with lovely beading and some netting. It screamed “Me!”

I looked closely and discovered that the quilted jacket was well-lined with a beautiful turquoise fabric, the seams were finished, and I thought, “Hmmm.” I turned it inside out and discovered I could wear it with the lining side out. All I did was carefully clip the tag from the neck area.

I got two jackets for the price of one - great for travel! When shopping, check handmade and commercial items. They may serve double duty. - Heloise


Shelf milk

Dear Heloise: A friend told me about milk that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opened. Is the nutritional value different from refrigerated milk? Can it be used in place of regular milk? - Betty F., Victoria, Texas

Yes, it can. It’s been around a long time; you may just now be hearing about it. Packaged in a special container, it can sit on the shelf for up to six months. After opening, it needs to be refrigerated and used within 10 to 14 days. And yes, it does have the same nutritional value as “regular milk.” - Heloise


Repot plants

Dear Heloise: When I repot plants, I cut up a foam egg carton and put the pieces in the bottom. No extra weight. - Green Thumb, via email

My hair, my money, my time

Nov. 18, 2015

Dear Readers: Here’s this week’s Sound Off, about beauty-shop etiquette:

“When someone comes early for their hair appointment, the operator (stylist) should tell them to have a seat. This early bird shouldn’t make small talk with my operator while she’s doing my hair. I really don’t want a stranger talking to my operator during my time. This happens a lot, and in some places I’ve not gone back.

“I also don’t want a stranger making comments about my hair. It’s my appointment, and I’m paying for this time with this operator.

“Whenever I arrive early, I always take a seat and wait my turn.” - No Name in Ohio

Mention this privately to your operator. Some people are not bothered; others are. Many women (and men) go to a salon for some alone time - to read a book, chat with friends or catch up on what’s going on. Your personal space should be respected. - Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for ironing boards:

- Extra counter space in the kitchen.

- Cover and use as an extra buffet table.

- As a bedside table.

- Cover and place baked goods on it to cool.

- In a hotel, use as an extra support for suitcases.

- Heloise


Permanent markers

Dear Heloise: My little brother took a black permanent marker and scribbled on one of my shirts. I tried hand sanitizer to get it out. I squirted some on the marks and rubbed them just a little. Then I washed it right away. Every mark came right out. - Jewel in Texas

Hand sanitizer is mostly isopropyl alcohol, and getting to the stain quickly was the right choice. Don’t put the shirt in the dryer; let it hang to dry. Repeat the cleaning steps, if needed. Oh, and make your little brother help! - Heloise


Tea life

Dear Heloise: l have a variety of de-caffeinated tea, green tea, regular tea and some loose tea from Germany that my granddaughter sent. Please tell me how long can I keep tea, or are they ready for the circular bin? - Ruthann L. in Greenacres, Fla.

Don’t trash the tea! If stored correctly, tea bags and loose tea can last a LONG time! The tea needs to be kept in a cool, dry place. Also, it’s best to use a tin or other dark container. I have boxes in an upper kitchen cabinet, and the flavor is just fine. I know you are going to scream - some of it is seven years old, and a gift from a friend. - Heloise


No slime

Dear Heloise: After your hint on cleaning birdbaths, did you know that copper pennies will help greatly and are nontoxic?

I put one in my pets’ water bowl and never have the green slime. There’s one in the bowl that’s outside in the sun, which is what causes the slime. - Weltha K., Columbus, Ohio

Be sure to change the water often; our animal friends deserve fresh water. - Heloise


Sounding off on modern news

Nov. 4, 2015

Dear Readers: Here’s this week’s Sound Off: “I get frustrated watching breaking news on some 24-hour TV news channels. With each channel trying to be the first to get the story, it seems they report anything and everything, without verifying facts.

“The story is fluid and changing minute by minute. Channels seem pressed to report up-to-the-minute information when many times it’s incorrect. Even interviewing ‘witnesses’ presents its own problems.

“Since the media has a responsibility to report facts to keep us informed and safe, take time to get the real facts and eliminate hearsay and false reporting.” - D.R., via email

Dear D.R.: You have voiced an opinion that many (including me) feel strongly about. However, it’s not the old days of wait and then report at the 6 p.m. news. Breaking news on a 24-hour channel is just that - it just happened, and here is all we know right now.

With the many ways people get and share news, it’s a whirlpool of information, some correct, some not, being thrown together.

Readers, what can you do? Wait before retweeting, posting or passing on questionable information as fact. Don’t make a snap judgment based on one source, even your favorite news channel or a tweet from a friend.

It’s similar to being at a football, basketball or baseball game, or any event where lots of people are involved. Are you in the stands? On the field? Watching it on your cellphone, tablet, computer or TV, or listening on the radio? Which point of view is real?

Readers, news - good, bad and incorrect - moves quickly today! The 24-hour channels are trying to fill time! Anything is up to be broadcast, even a black cat walking under a ladder.
- Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: More hints for re-using dryer sheets:

* Place one inside a vehicle as an air freshener.

* Wipe a dusty electronics screen.

* Wipe the fish smell off hands after fishing.

* Place in bags, containers, drawers, etc., to mask odors.

- Heloise


Family updates

Dear Heloise: Here’s a hint for readers who can’t keep their children’s memory books updated. I started one with my first child and became frustrated because I couldn’t keep it up.

For my daughter’s first Christmas, we sent out Christmas cards with a family picture and newsletter.

The response was so positive, we continue today. Three children and 30 years later, we’re still updating relatives and friends.

Our children enjoy going back and reading summaries of our life’s journeys.
- Anna A. in Texas


Business cards

Dear Heloise: When I travel for business, I put extra business cards in a zip bag in my carry-on bag. I’ve run out at too many conventions and don’t have any to hand out! Last time, I resorted to letting the person take a snap of my last card with a camera phone.
- S.D., Boulder, Colo.


Ivy cleaner

Dear Heloise: When I use a paper towel to wipe something up, I rinse it with water afterward, and wipe off the dusty leaves of my kitchen ivy. - Maureen C. in New York

Apartment and condo hunting tips

Nov. 4, 2015

Dear Readers: Apartment or condo hunting should take some time to find the right spot to live. You may be there awhile! Hints to help you:

Where do you want to live? Near schooling, work or family? Need access to bus routes, stores or medical centers?

Check crime statistics in that ZIP code. Some apartments have police officers who live on-site who work security on their off-hours.

There should be good lighting, and the buildings should be clean and well-maintained. Parking should be lighted and safe!

You must check the apartment you want! Do appliances work? Check the bathroom drains and shower. Hot water slow? Do they drain well? Flush the toilet a few times to see if it drains quickly. Good locks on doors and windows are a must! - Heloise

P.S.: Chat up residents in common areas and ask how they like living there.

Dear Readers: Have a happy and safe Halloween. Keep pets and children in sight. - Heloise


Thanks mom with dollars!

Dear Heloise: I read the article about a child thanking their mother on their birthday. As a single parent, college tuition was a struggle. When my son turned 30, he sent me a card that read “30 years ago you gave me life, 10 years ago you gave me a future.” Enclosed was a check for all the tuition I had paid!
- Peg W., via email

Give that man and yourself a big Heloise hug! - Heloise


Pluck versus tweeze

Dear Heloise: I enjoy you in The Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo., and had the pleasure of hearing you in person at the Offutt Air Force Base Officers’ Wives Club in Nebraska back in the 1970s.

I have an interesting reaction to the term “plucking” one’s eyebrows. Chickens are “plucked”; people “tweeze” their brows. - Sandy R., via email

Sandy, ouch either way! One can “pluck” a chicken and one’s eyebrows, but it’s difficult to “tweeze” a chicken!

Yes, I remember my visit, and what a treat to go “down” underground to the command center for the Strategic Air Command at the time. They had “Welcome Heloise” on the big screens! Thanks, Air Force, from an AF “brat.” - Heloise


Soft brushes

Dear Heloise: We went to painting workshops at a home-and-garden show. The speaker said to put about 1/4 cup of fabric softener in paintbrush cleaning water. I did, and it is so fabulous. Brushes are soft and smell great. - K.M., Grey Forest, Texas

My mother, the original Heloise, printed this hint decades ago. Update: Be sure to rinse well. - Heloise


Re-using tubs

Dear Heloise: The plastic tubs that hold dishwasher or laundry single-use packs make wonderful storage cans for things you store near a washing machine: stain pretreater, cloths for cleaning and other items.
- Elva in San Antonio


Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about package amounts:

Oct.29, 2015

“My Sound Off is about food packaging. Companies are decreasing volume rather than raising prices. I would rather pay a few cents more than try to figure out quantities for my favorite recipes or have almost a whole package of unused ingredients.” - C.S., Gastonia, N.C.

Dear C.S.: Not much new about this complaint. Companies have been doing this for decades, and sometimes the consumer does not realize because the can or package looks the same size but has less content. See if neighbors or friends might want the “excess” ingredients. - Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Other uses for empty, cleaned nut cans:

* Wrap in decorative paper and use for cookies.

* As a small container for lunches.

* Keep screws or nails in one.

* Shell your own nuts and use to store.

* Cut a slit in the lid for a piggy bank.

- Heloise


A “button” of garlic?

Dear Heloise: I enjoyed reading the interesting and historical article about Heloise in a recent San Antonio Express-News.

I have heard of the garlic bulb and the garlic clove, but please explain what a “button” of garlic is? Does that mean the entire garlic bulb is used? Thank you for all your helpful suggestions. - Maria in San Antonio

Maria, thanks for the mention of the special story that ran in our newspaper here in San Antonio. Readers, if you would like to take a look, visit my website,, and it’s on the home page. It’s about my mother, the original Heloise, and the story of me taking over upon her death. It’s been 38 years! Thanks for staying with this column; I appreciate each of you and your input.

About the garlic button: You may be thinking of my mother’s Heloise Teriyaki Sauce recipe, which she got when we lived in Hawaii. Her original recipe calls for 1 “button” of garlic, which is simply a clove, NOT the whole head or bulb! Did you miss the recipe and want a copy? It’s in my pamphlet, along with many other family sauce and seasoning recipes. Go to my website,, or send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Seasonings, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Have a recipe that calls for a tablespoon of wine but don’t have any? Use apple juice in a pinch, depending on the recipe. Most recipes won’t suffer by omitting just 1 tablespoon of wine anyway. - Heloise


Shoulder-pad hint

Dear Heloise: I read you every day in The (Monroe, La.) News-Star. I would like to add a shoulder-pad use. If you break your arm and the sling you use is rough on your elbow, use a shoulder pad to cushion it. I used a shoulder pad, and it worked wonderfully well. - Bobbye C., via email

Smart: recycling, reusing and prevents pain! Also, fold one over, pin and use for a pincushion. - Heloise

Smelly soap out of hand?

Oct. 21, 2015

Dear Readers: This week's Sound Off is about scented soap in public restrooms:

"Public restrooms shouldn't use scented soap. Some people are allergic, and besides, who wants their hands smelling like wildflowers when trying to eat a sandwich."  Susan V., via email

Susan, I've addressed this issue of some people being allergic to scents many times. It may be someone's perfume or cologne, stores with scents in the air or scented soap in a restroom.

Sorry for your situation, but it's the establishment's prerogative, and it is a public restroom. You can mention it to management. Also, carry hand sanitizer to use. - Heloise


Dear Readers: Hints for labeling keys:

- Use nail polish.

- Use colored key covers.

- Wrap in decorative tape.

- Make keys in different colors.

- Mark with a felt-tip pen. - Heloise

Bowl cleaner

Dear Heloise: I need to know what type of hanging things to use to keep toilet bowls clean. I now use those blue hanging things, and they don't work. I used the tablets, and the chlorine ate up the rubber and plastic parts. Thank you. - Glen H., via email

"Glen, there is no easy or safe answer! As you found out, those hanging things" and chlorine tablets don't really work to clean the toilet. The chlorine tablets in the tank can eat up rubber parts, causing a leak.

The old-fashioned way is still the best. It's called use a toilet brush and swish around the bowl a few times a week."

I don't know why people wait to clean it ONLY ONCE a week or so, when it gets used daily! You don't have to use a cleaner; just scrub the bowl a few times with the brush, daily, and flush. This prevents a buildup and keeps it pretty clean.

To quickly freshen, you can squirt a drop of dish soap, hand soap or hair shampoo in the water, swish and scrub, then flush! Do this daily, and the bowl will not be hard to clean. Wipe the surfaces with a cleaner or paper towel every few days, too. - Heloise

P.S.: "Don't flush flushable" cleaning cloths.

Left-up lid

Dear Heloise: I have two daughters and two sons. We were having a problem with the toilet seat and lid being left up. So, the family hint is lid and seat down after use. That way, it's fair for everyone, male and female. No excuse about I forgot to put the seat down or It wasn't me! Can't tell you how many times I've fallen in during the middle of the night! I should turn the light on, but don't, so I do take a little blame.
- Betty Jean B., via email

Fresh fragrance

Dear Heloise: My lightweight vacuum has a removable filter. Each time I clean it, I spray it with one of my perfume fragrances. The aroma is lovely when I vacuum the next time. It makes the whole house smell like a garden in bloom. - Angie Z., Englewood, Fla.

A lack of feedback

Oct. 15, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about customer service:

“I have wondered why it is so difficult to engage American companies in a two-way conversation. It seems to be somewhere between difficult and impossible to provide companies with feedback on products and services.” - Chris C., via email

Chris, sorry, but I can’t agree with you. At no time has it been easier to contact a company. Most have a website, which usually has contact information - sometimes only an email, but many times a phone number, also. A lot of products do have a toll-free phone number on the label itself.

Whether they listen or respond to you is another matter! - Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Other uses for picture frames:

- Frame colorful paper, set the picture frame flat and use to hold a candle.

- Use a large frame as decoration around a flat-screen TV.

- Frame a screen or corkboard and use to hang jewelry.

- Paint the glass with chalkboard paint and use for messages.

- Mount several empty frames on a wall as decoration. - Heloise


Cleaning wood blinds

Dear Heloise: I read your column in The Washington Post and desperately need your help. I have wooden-slat blinds. I have tried oil soap and baby wipes, but I cannot get them clean. Can you please help? - Marie M., via fax

Help is here. Cleaning wooden blinds shouldn’t be hard! Baby wipes are OK, but may leave a residue (oily, depending on the wipe), which will attract more dust and cause it to stick more! The oil “soap” is what I use, and it’s never failed me.

Are they just dusty? Coated with a gummy sort of residue? Are they painted or raw wood? Painted should be a zip to clean. If they are unpainted wood, try this: Use a microfiber cloth dipped into just warm water. Wring it out, and run it over one slat. Go both ways, back and forth. If you see “dirt” on the cloth, then proceed.

If it’s that sticky stuff, then go back to the wood soap. Don’t overwet, and be sure to rinse off, then dry well. Test one-half of a blind and see which method works best for you! - Heloise

P.S.: Use the upholstery attachment with the brush to “suck” dust off the blinds!


Shredding solution

Dear Heloise: Shredding paperwork can be such a mess. I always seem to get little pieces of paper floating around when dumping the bin. Now I line my shredder with a lightweight trash bag. When it is full, I simply pull the drawstring and carry it to the trash. - Lew D., Mobile, Ala.


Wood blocks re-life

Dear Heloise: When my children outgrew their wooden blocks, here is what I did: I spelled out their names, then glued the blocks together and used them as decorations. The blocks I had left were used to spell out other words. - Becca M., via email

The cut of my veggies

Oct. 7, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about frozen vegetables:

“My Sound Off is when frozen vegetable blends or mixes are not cut in uniform sizes. There will be some cut into pieces of less than half an inch, while others in the same bag will be as big as golf balls. It is very hard to cook the big pieces of veggies without overcooking the small pieces.” - Grace W., via email

Grace, I hear you. I love bags of mixed veggies, and always have some in the freezer. Yep, the small pieces cook faster than the big chunks. Generally, the more expensive the bag, the better cuts of veggies. The big store-brand bags are really bits and pieces. You could start cooking the big pieces, than add the small. - Heloise

P.S.: Sometimes, I let the bag thaw in the refrigerator and nibble on the veggies as is - just like steamed, without the hassles. Tasty on a salad, dipped in low-fat blue-cheese dressing or sprinkled with balsamic vinegar.


Dear Readers: Other items to use as bird feeders:

* An empty milk carton.

* Large, plastic soda bottle.

* An unused cupcake stand.

* Tin cans hung sideways.

* An old plate, or a teacup and saucer.

- Heloise


Karate uniform

Dear Heloise: My teenage son recently got a new karate uniform. The problem is that the jacket (or gi) has been starched by the manufacturer. I have tried everything to soften it. I soaked it overnight in vinegar, in hot wash cycles, and used bottles of liquid softener and fabric sheets. And still this jacket could stand up on its own. Any advice would be appreciated. - Kelley K., Leon Springs, Texas

Kelley, it may or may not be “starch”; it could just be the material and fiber blend. Let’s review, for you and my other readers who may have a similar problem:

Read the CARE LABEL! Some say no hot water, use cool. Most say do NOT put in dryer on high heat. No chlorine bleach. No fabric softener, liquid or sheets - it only coats the material more.

Try this: Soak the jacket in just plain cool water. Run the washer with no detergent. Soak overnight, then run it through the longest wash cycle possible. This will give the sizing/starch more time to break down. Do this two or three times. No other clothing with it, either.

All say NO dryer, so try to hang it to dry, or use the lowest heat setting for a longer time.

Depending on the gi, it may have padded areas for protection. You don’t want those spots soft! Ask the instructor for a recommendation. Too soft, not good; too stiff, not good. - Heloise


Tag troubles

Dear Heloise: I hate tags sticking out of my clothes. I use a small notebook and write down the garment and care instructions. That way, I can take out the tags. Sometimes I just tape the tag to the page.
- Nan P. in New Hampshire

Is the front backward?

Oct. 1, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about solar lights:

“I love the dollar store solar-powered figures that come in the shape of flowers, hula girls, birds, etc. My Sound Off is that the solar-receptor box is in the front of the figure, which is away from the window. If it were in the back, there would be a lot longer action, because it would catch the sun’s rays at all angles.”
- M.C., via email

Hmm. I understand your point, but my thinking is that most folks put these in the yard or a pot plant rather than in a window, so the “front” is facing most likely where the sun can recharge the “battery,” but I’m not sure. Readers? - Heloise



Dear Readers: Other uses for stand-up paper-towel holders:

* Keep bracelets on it.

* Place yarn on it when knitting or crocheting.

* Slip binder rings over it and attach page protectors for recipes, etc.

* Keep large rolls of tape on one.

* Place in a bathroom to hold extra rolls of toilet paper.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: I have both cooking-oil and auto-oil spots on concrete from a few years ago. Is there anything I can use at this time to remove them? - Joanne, via email

A few years ago? Let me guess: The cooking oil is from deep-frying a turkey? I hope! Let’s give cleaning it a try. To make Heloise’s Concrete Cleaner, use baking soda, water and a squirt of dish soap that especially tackles oil and grease. Make a thick paste, wet the concrete, cover the area and scrub with a stiff brush. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so, then rinse. If some stain remains, repeat the steps, but use dishwasher detergent rather than baking soda, and rinse off immediately. Do keep kids and pets away. Baking soda is a multitasker around the house, garage and yard. To find out the many ways I use it, order my pamphlet. Go to my website,, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. The next time you see an oil spot, sprinkle baking soda on the area right away to absorb the oil. This works on the kitchen floor, too! - Heloise



Dear Heloise: I read your suggestions for getting two glasses apart that are stuck together. I, too was never very successful. One day, I laid the two down on the top shelf of the dishwasher. I ran a load of dishes. When I opened the door, eureka! Works every time for me. - Donna H., Bella Vista, Ark.



Dear Heloise: When I send a letter to my grandparents, I enclose a few special-issue stamps. I pick them up at the post office - they are so pretty! Nana especially likes the flower ones; Papa likes the music ones. - Annabella C. in Chicago

Too Fast to Catch

Sept. 23, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about commercial announcers:

“My Sound Off is commercial ads where the person talks ‘a mile a minute.’ You have no idea what is being said. It isn’t very smart to advertise in such a way where no one can understand what you are advertising.”
- Philip G., Newark, N.Y.

You would think that’s the case, but most likely it’s that they have ONLY 30 seconds or so to say EVERYTHING. Most of the “gibberish” at the end is legal information that they must include. If it’s something you want to check out, the next time the commercial comes on, record it and then play it back. - Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Uses for wooden crates:

* Stack a few together and secure for a bookcase.

* Hang on the wall as a shelf or shadowbox.

* Use as toy boxes in a child’s room.

* Place on a desk to hold folders or magazines.

* Stack in a mudroom for shoes.

- Heloise

Clean a Curling Iron

Dear Heloise: I have a question: How do you clean a curling iron? - Gwen, via email

Gwen, this question comes in often. You need only two things: a washcloth or microfiber cloth and some plain rubbing alcohol. Be sure the iron is unplugged and not hot. Then dampen the cloth with the rubbing alcohol and rub the curling iron to clean. You may need to rub several times, back and forth, depending how much buildup is there. If you do this once a week or so, your curling iron will stay clean! - Heloise

Dog Chow

Dear Heloise: I have a large dog, and he was having trouble eating. The veterinarian suggested that we use elevated dog bowls.

When dogs are large (our Ansley is a great Dane), bending down low puts them in an awkward position for eating and drinking. I wanted to check if that was the problem and that lifting the bowls would help. I got out a couple of cake stands that I rarely use and placed his food and water bowls on them. It helped Ansley, and I loved the way they looked. - Samantha G. in St. Louis

“Woof, woof” from Chammy, our adopted silky wheaten, who even though she is NOT a large, tall dog, likes her food and water bowls raised. Henry, the mini schnauzer (really mini! Less than 12 pounds) doesn’t need that help. However, I notice he uses Chammy’s water bowl more than his. - Heloise


Baby-powder Hint

Dear Heloise: I love reading your column, and get ideas for so many different things. Thank you.

I read your hints for use of baby powder. One more useful hint: If I get any grease on my clothes, I cover that area with baby powder and leave it for a day or more, then wash the item (for silk, I just shake off the powder). This works like a miracle. - K.P. in Yorba Linda, Calif.

No Names, Please

Sept. 17, 2015

Dear Heloise: Today I received my third email offer for “PERSONALIZED” BACKPACKS. Please do not put your child's name (especially elementary students) visibly on a backpack. A child can get a false sense of safety and security if a stranger is able to call them by name. Never put your child in possible danger with clothing or other items visibly displaying their name. - M.C., via email

Thank you for this important hint. A personalized backpack sounds like such a nice gesture or gift. But today, it's a whole different world. Just because someone calls your child by name does not mean they really know your child.

Security experts suggest that you and your child think of a question or code word that only the two of you know. If someone comes to pick up your child or the person says they are a friend, they must know the “game” of the secret password. If the person does not, tell your child to run, get away and find an adult they know - a teacher, crossing guards, a neighbor. A good lesson that will keep them safe. - Heloise


Travel hint

Dear Heloise: Motels are using heavy comforters, which look luxurious but are too hot for sleeping, in both summer and winter. Sometimes they don't have a light blanket available. Here is a hint: Request two extra sheets (for a total of three covering you). It feels like a light blanket. - G.H., via email

My first “recon” in a hotel/motel room is to check the AC/heating, bed and bath. Call for more pillows or a light blanket, and tip the person who brings them. - Heloise


Deer response

Dear Heloise: This is in response to the person having problems with deer in their garden in Texas. We live just west of Little Rock, Ark. The deer were enjoying our day lilies and roses. Someone told us that deer have a keen sense of smell, and if we would sprinkle some balls of human hair in our garden, they would stay away. We have a close friend who has a hair salon. About every six weeks to two months, I get some human hair from her and put it in the garden. - Charles S., Little Rock, Ark.

Charles, I, too, tried this, and it seemed to work only for a week or so. Rain seemed to negate the smell of the hair. I have given up on my antique roses for now; between the drought (we are back on water restriction in San Antonio) and the deer, my beloved flowers will have to wait to bring me joy again. - Heloise


Melting lip balm

Dear Heloise: Just a reminder for anyone who goes out in the heat and needs a lip balm: Keep it from melting by placing it in the freezer overnight or placing it in a baggie with ice cubes.
- Terri F., Mingo Junction, Ohio









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