Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about stealing people’s lunches from
the employee refrigerator:
“Dear Heloise: I work in a large office where we bring our own lunch. We
either write a name on the lunch or we tag it so it’s identifiable.
Someone has been taking food that doesn’t belong to them. Two employees
found that someone had taken their lunches the other day. We can’t seem
to catch the person responsible. Any suggestions?” - Lois L., Bonne
Oh my, the old “Who took my lunch?” dilemma. This is not new at all. Try
to keep a close eye on the lunchroom, and mention it in an employee
meeting. Posting a sign on the refrigerator might help.
was at a radio station in Washington, D.C., once and commented to the
program director that the “break room” was the cleanest I had ever seen
in a radio/TV station. His reply was that since they had put in a camera
to prevent items from “going missing,” employees were cleaning up after
themselves! Maybe ask management to do the same. It can’t hurt! -
Dear Readers: Here are some uses for old blankets:
Local pet shelters need them.
Keep in the trunk of your car for an emergency.
Use to keep dirt off when storing furniture.
Use to cover a bed in the guest room. No pet hair!
The American Dream
Dear Heloise: I’ve read that the American dream is dead for most young
people. By “American dream” I mean owning a home, having children,
sending the kids to college, building a retirement fund, things like
that. - F.W. in California
Floyd, the “American dream,” as it’s called, isn’t slipping away, but it
is changing. Instead of big homes, many are opting for smaller homes
that require less work and less expense. There also is a trend of
multigenerational homes. It’s a different time. - Heloise
Clean lint filter
Dear Heloise: I may be the last male on Earth to know this, but I use a
used dyer sheet to clean the dryer lint filter. Much better than a wet
finger! - L.H., Bedford, Texas
It’s amazing that what is new to you is old hat to others. Readers,
please be sure to clean the lint filter EVERY time the dryer is used.
Also, check the exhaust hose. You would be shocked about how many home
fires are started by a lint buildup. - Heloise
P.S. DON’T put the clothes in the dryer and then run a quick errand! Oh,
by the way, when I visited the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear submarine docked
at Pearl Harbor, I learned this hint from them: When they do laundry,
someone ALWAYS stays in that room while the dryer is on. Fire on a
submarine is very dangerous. Learn from them.
The moving trash can
Dear Heloise: My trash can would slide when we stepped on the lid
release, so I purchased a small pet food mat. I use it under the trash
can, and no more sliding! - Lynn D., Colorado Springs, Colo.
Thoughts on a new year
Jan. 2, 2017
Dear Readers: As 2018 begins, my wish for you is to think about the
coming new year and let’s all HOPE FOR THE BEST!
This space usually is reserved for a reader “Sound Off” about stores not
posting operating hours large enough to read, packaging that is
difficult to open, or online sites that are not legit.
It’s my turn for a “Sound On” today. Thank you for taking time to write
me. Your input (and, many times, negative comments or suggestions about
a recent hint) is what keeps this column going. Please know that Heloise
Central (what I call my office/assistants) does its best to research and
TEST hints before printing them.
Heloise Hint: Just because it’s on the internet or someone forwarded a
hint via email, you can’t trust everything you read that is on the
internet. Take a moment to consider the source. Does it sound plausible
or just plain dumb? Wow, lose 10 pounds in five days, look younger with
this cream or buy these “rare” coins as an investment - REALLY?
This column is here for you, and know that you can trust me to tell you
the truth. You may not like it, or maybe your mother or father always
did it this way, or a friend told you. However, put on your Heloise hat
and ask: Is it safe? Will it work? Does it sound like old advice? Is it
good for the environment? What would Heloise think about this? See
below, where I explained why the reader “hint” may not be safe or work.
- A big hug, Heloise
P.S. Take a little time to reflect on last year, and look forward to set
some reasonable goals, NOT resolutions. My New Year’s resolution is to
NOT make them!
Dear Readers: Other uses for yogurt containers:
Use to hold loose change (especially for tolls or doing laundry).
Fill with dirt and start seedlings.
Use for small portions of food for a lunch bag or lunchbox.
Use as a scoop for dry dog food.
Names on clothing
Dear Heloise: Please rethink the advice not to put children’s names on
clothing and lunchboxes! So many items go missing throughout the year.
Names can be placed on the inside so strangers can’t see them.
- Karen J., a kindergarten teacher, Los Alamitos, Calif.
Karen, good point. Any identifying information should be put inside a
lunchbox or clothing. This is especially true for a backpack. -
Purse in a shopping
Dear Heloise: I read your column about not leaving your purse in a
grocery cart. I close my purse, place it in the child’s seat, then use
the straps and wrap them around the purse handle several times and snap
shut. - Linda L., via email
Linda, this may be true, but anyone can unzip your purse or cut the
straps and steal your wallet in a second. Carry your purse with you, or
take just your wallet and coupons. - Heloise
A holiday message
Dec. 27, 2017
Dear Readers: It’s the HOLIDAY SEASON, and many of us are with family
and friends, or you might be by yourself. Whatever your situation,
please know that I send you my warmest and happiest greetings!
Here are a few short hints from me, your friend Heloise:
DO try to enjoy yourself and take some time for YOU.
DO use care when in the kitchen. Watch food on or in the stove, or in
DO keep an eye on pets and small children so they don’t get into
DON’T light a lot of candles around your home and walk out of the room!
DON’T burn wrapping paper in a fireplace!
DON’T put sharp knives in the dishwater - it’s easy to get cut.
My wish for you today? If it can wait, LET IT WAIT! Dust, dirt and
leaves will be there tomorrow!
Big holiday hug! - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for “sticky notes”:
Stick one on a bathroom mirror to remind you of your hair/dental/doctor
appointment date and time.
If you’re going somewhere, put one on the back of the door by which you
leave to tell yourself what you need to take with you.
Label clothing by color if colorblind.
If you have a list of errands you need to get done, write them out on a
sticky note and attach it to the car’s steering wheel.
All bottled up
Dear Heloise: When traveling by air, there’s one thing you really need
in your carry-on bag: an empty water bottle. After going through
security, you can fill it up at a water fountain. Many times I’ve been
on a rough flight where refreshments were not served, and it came in
handy. - Kathy P., Port Charlotte, Fla.
Keeping in touch
Dear Heloise: Most of us have friends who, for many reasons, have
drifted away. A couple of years ago, some of my friends and I started to
reconnect, and we decided to get together once a month. We choose a
restaurant using the alphabet: first month the letter A, the second
month the letter B and so on. Sometimes we travel out of our community,
and sometimes we meet close by, but we always have fun and stay in touch
with each other. - S.D.J.B., via email
To eat or not to eat
Dear Heloise: Is household paraffin wax edible? Nowhere on the box does
it say “edible.” - Janice P., via email
Janice, paraffin is used as an ingredient in making chocolate,
especially chocolates that are given shapes, such as Easter Bunnies or
Santas. A little wax is mixed in to make the chocolate hold its shape
and to add shine. Paraffin wax is actually non-digestible, which means
it passes through the body without being absorbed. However, eating a
large amount of paraffin is dangerous and can lead to intestinal
blockage, which can be very serious! - Heloise
cautious with a pet gift
Dec. 20, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about gifting an animal for
Christmas. - Heloise
“Dear Heloise: Please advise your readers to think twice about giving an
animal, such as a dog or cat, as a Christmas gift. A pet should be given
ONLY if the recipient has requested a particular pet and is above 12
years of age. It’s better to allow the recipient to select the pet
rather than to pick one out for him or her. However, if the pet is for a
child, it must be understood that the child needs to feed it, water it
and play with it. All too many children lose interest in the pet after
the newness wears off, so think carefully. It’s a living, breathing,
feeling creature, NOT A TOY.” - Angela in Detroit
Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for a potato peeler:
Cut thin slices of cheese with it.
Shave chocolate to make chocolate curls.
Carefully remove fuzzy sweater balls from sweaters.
Dear Heloise: Do you have a hint for cleaning gravestone markers? I
would like to remove enough grime to make them legible. - Jack in San
Jack, you didn’t mention what materials the markers were made of;
however, never use a stiff-bristled brush on a grave marker. Avoid
pressure washing and bleach, and do not use a regular household cleaner
on any marker.
Granite headstone: Use a nonionic detergent, by mixing 1 ounce of
detergent with 1 gallon of water. Using a soft-bristled brush, gently
scrub the marker.
Marble or limestone markers: Clean with a cup of ammonium hydroxide in a
gallon of water to kill such things as moss, algae and lichen. Again,
use only a soft-bristled brush.
Bronze marker: The cleaning tip for granite markers also applies to
bronze markers. Do not try to remove the green patina that comes with
time from bronze. It adds an aged beauty to the marker.
Teaching kids about
Dear Heloise: I found a great way to teach my kids about money: I gave
my son $20 and told him he had to figure out a dinner that would feed a
family of four, then I had him come with me to the grocery store. The
things he learned were (1) $20 doesn’t go very far; (2) you can’t do
impulse buying when shopping for dinner on $20; and (3) you need to look
He made spaghetti with a meat sauce, tossed salad and heat-and-serve
rolls. Dessert was a sherbet that was on sale. There was 11 cents left
over from the $20. He’s had a greater appreciation of money ever since.
- A Reader, via email
Dear Heloise: When I add a contact to my cellphone, I always list the
person’s relationship to me - I have probably five or six “Jennifers” in
my phone, and I need to be sure I am speed-dialing the correct one!
- Maria F., Tallahassee, Fla.
Dec. 12, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about not sending back an RSVP for
seated events. - Heloise
“Dear Heloise: I recently had a wedding, for which we sent out the
invitations four weeks ahead of the event, along with RSVP cards.
Sixty-four people said they were coming, but 88 showed up. We sent the
RSVP cards because we were having a sit-down dinner for the number who
RSVP-ed! We had an evening wedding, which did not include children, and
yet people brought small children and infants.
“Have we, as a society, lost our manners? When an RSVP is included in an
invitation, you need to reply as soon as possible. If someone’s name is
not on the inner envelope of a wedding invitation, then that person is
not invited, and that includes children.” - Mary Ann and Dave K.,
Dear Readers: Here are a few uses for a hair dryer besides just drying
Use to soften glue on stubborn labels.
Use to remove dust from artificial flowers.
Use to dry a wet area of your clothing.
Use to dry nail polish on toes or hands.
Getting below the
Dear Heloise: I gently press a hard-boiled egg on a hard surface and
roll it back and forth in order to generate mini cracks over the entire
shell. Then I take a spoon, with the cup side down, and gently insert it
into one of the larger cracks and pry the shell from the egg.
Oftentimes, the entire shell will come off with one prying action. -
Ginger S., via email
Just ask a plumber
Dear Heloise: My plumber told me to never flush facial tissues down the
toilet because they can easily clog the pipes: They’re meant to keep
their shape and strength when wet, unlike toilet paper, which is made to
dissolve easier when flushed. - Happy Mom and Grandmom, Centerville,
Dear Heloise: I have a new set of 100 percent cotton sheets, which I
washed and rinsed in cold water and hung out to dry. Results? A
gazillion wrinkles! What should I do differently to remove all of the
- Old Washer Woman in Rockingham, Va.
Try spritzing the sheets with a light spray of water. First put the
pillow in its pillowcase, then lightly spritz with water while holding
the pillowcase up by the cuff. Then shake up and down a few times. You
can spray the sheets while they hang on the line, then try a little
pulling and see if this helps. Otherwise, you’ll have to iron your
sheets, because 100 percent cotton usually wrinkles to some extent. -
Dear Heloise: If soap and water make you clean, why do towels get dirty?
- Alfred D., Tampa, Fla.
Alfred, if you use soap and water properly, the towel won’t get dirty.
However, dead skin cells will be rubbed off when you dry yourself. Then
there is the matter of towels developing mildew and odor from being
damp, so they need to be washed frequently. - Heloise
‘no’ to contact info
Dec. 6, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about advertising on the internet/webpages:
“Dear Heloise: I get annoyed at websites where pop-up ads say, ‘Get a
free, no-obligation quote.’ Life insurance, for example: I understand
asking smoking and health questions, but why do they have to ask my
name? This is only one example of a large number of sites that want
contact info. WHY? Asking my name is an invasion of my privacy. If I’m
interested, I’ll call them.” - Vicki B., via email
Vicki, I understand completely! I’m tired of ads covering up news
stories, and the big banner ads at the top of every screen. The worst,
for me, is that they say they’re free but want your credit card number.
I’d like to know how other readers feel about this problem. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here are a few suggestions for water conservation to
Boiling pasta? Save the water and, after it cools, use to water plants.
Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
Make sure your dishwasher and clothes washing machine are full before
Water your lawn late in the day or early in the morning to reduce
Remember, water is a precious commodity. Let’s not waste it. -
Wedding rules of
Dear Heloise: Is it proper to ask people to attend a wedding shower but
not the wedding?
- Richard B., via email
Richard, there are some hard and fast rules for wedding etiquette that
1.) If you’re invited to a shower, it is generally understood that you
also should be invited to the wedding. An “office shower” might be the
one exception to this rule.
2.) The bride/groom sends out handwritten thank-you notes for each gift,
making certain to mention how they plan to use it. These go out as soon
as possible after the honeymoon.
3.) The bride and groom personally thank everyone for attending their
wedding, while at the reception.
4.) No one but the bride should wear white to the wedding. Don’t put the
bride in an uncomfortable position by asking if you can wear white to
Lampshade vs. dust
Dear Heloise: I have dog hair and dust on my lampshades, and even though
I vacuum them, the dust still clings to the shade. What to do? -
Lydia M., Hastings, Neb.
Lydia, if the lampshade has a flat surface, you can use a lint roller to
remove nearly anything. If your shade is fluted with ridges and valleys,
take it outside and use a clean paintbrush to brush the dust off in
downward strokes. - Heloise
The forgotten ones
Nov. 29, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about spouses who forget important
“Dear Heloise: For the fifth year in a row, my husband has forgotten our
wedding anniversary. A year after we were married, he stopped taking me
out for my birthday. Many men, like him, work hard, don’t abuse their
wives and love their kids, but they alienate their wives by missing
special occasions. I grew up in a house where Christmas, birthdays,
anniversaries and more were to be celebrated and enjoyed. To me and many
women like me, ignoring these occasions is the same as saying, ‘You
don’t matter to me anymore.’ I wish men would remember the old saying,
‘Happy wife means a happy life.’” - Betty R., Tulsa, Okla.
Betty, I hope your husband reads this column, as well as all the other
men who forget or ignore the things that strengthen the bonds between
husband and wife. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here are some uses for leftover wallpaper:
Use as shelf liners or to wrap around smooth canisters.
Take to a copier store and have custom place mats made by having the
desired size encased in plastic to match your kitchen decor.
Use to make book covers.
Dear Heloise: In response to Betsy M., who said her husband refuses to
eat leftovers, I said the same thing to my wife about three weeks after
we were married. She handed me an apron and pointed toward the kitchen.
If I wanted original meals every night, she said I should get busy and
start cooking. That was 46 years ago, and I’ve been a good boy ever
since. By the way, I eat leftovers! - Stanley H., Leesburg, Va.
The following letter has another hint about leftovers. - Heloise
Call it a ‘planned
Dear Heloise: To help the new bride whose hubby won’t eat leftovers, I
suggest she call them “planned-overs.” That’s what I have called them
for years, and it goes over much better with my family. I enjoy reading
your column in The (Martinsburg, W.Va.) Journal. - Lisa R., Cayce,
Dear Heloise: My daughter was recently hospitalized. Several nurses and
support staff did an excellent job of caring for her.
Instead of buying a bouquet of fresh flowers that will eventually die, I
bought a container of live plants and suggested that the staff auction
it off after seven days. The proceeds went to the staff’s coffee fund. I
was told that it worked out very well. - Luetta S., via email
view isn’t camouflaged
Nov. 22, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about the wearing of camouflage
“Dear Heloise: People from babies to adults are wearing camouflage
clothes. It’s used on sheets, towels and whatever.
“I think this is a slap in the face to our men and women in the armed
forces, who have earned the right to wear this type of clothing. I feel
people should respect the camouflage clothes of the armed forces like we
respect the American flag. Haven’t our men and women in the military
earned the right to wear camouflage, and NOT everyone else?” - Martha
N., Riverton, Ill
Martha, although I don’t wear camouflage, I think it’s OK if others want
to wear it. To some people, this is a way of showing support for and
solidarity with our armed forces, while others find the design to be
attractive, and hunters have used camouflage for years. It’s currently a
trend, but it may fade in time.
Dear Readers: Here are a few ideas for using wicker baskets:
Use one to hold all the remote controls in your home.
Use a large basket for your pets to sleep in, with a towel or pillow on
Save them to place gifts in. They make a nice presentation when handing
a gift to someone.
Dear Heloise: My company is now encouraging employees to meditate during
our breaks and if we have time during our lunch hour. It’s an innovative
idea and is becoming more common in the workplace, because there are
benefits to both the company and the employee. First of all, when people
meditate, they also form the ability to concentrate better on their
work. We just seem to have more focus, more energy and feel better all
over. Some of my co-workers swear they have a better quality of sleep
after meditating. I’d like to see more companies help their employees to
learn meditation. It’s certainly helped to cut down on turnover in our
company! - Lillian G., Bismarck, N.D.
An idea to ‘dye’ for!
Dear Heloise: Jeans seem to last forever, but they do fade. So, twice a
year, I dye them with two bottles of navy blue on the soak cycle of my
washing machine. Then I run them through the regular cycle and clean my
washer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I wash them only
with blue items or alone after that. I’ve been doing this for years, and
my jeans still look good. - Edna R., Rineyville, Ky.
Smooth as satin
Dear Heloise: I sew or pin a satin pillowcase over my pillow. When
putting on the clean pillowcase, the pillow just slides over the satin
with ease. - Eileen B., Lima, Ohio
No treat for pets
Dear Readers: It’s best to keep pets away from sugary treats during this
holiday season. Ask visitors to refrain from giving your pets people
food, and you’ll avoid an upset tummy for Fido or Fluffy. - Heloise
Donating the gift of life
Nov. 15, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about organ donation. - Heloise
“Dear Heloise: My 17-year-old son received a new kidney after the tragic
death of a young woman in an auto accident, and he is now doing fine. He
had kidney problems almost from birth, and the doctors said I’d lose him
before he turned 30 unless he received a kidney transplant. No parent
wants to outlive his or her children, but thankfully a donor was finally
found. I would like to raise awareness of how desperately donated organs
are needed. To those who have graciously become organ donors, thank you,
from a very grateful mother.” - Lisa G., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Dear Heloise: Here are some money-saving tips that help people all year:
Clip coupons and carry them in a separate container in your purse or
Brown-bag it to work. Going out to eat gets expensive.
Before you make a purchase “just because you like it,” ask yourself if
you really need it.
Call credit-card companies or banks and ask them to drop their penalty
or overdraft fees.
Reader, via email
Pop the cork!
Dear Heloise: Aloha! I’ve been saving wine bottle corks, and I use them
to top skewers when preparing a whole chicken for roasting. You’re safe
from poking yourself or tearing the foil, and it’s easy to remove when
the cooking is done. - Liz H., Kauai, Hawaii
Liz, aloha to you, too! - Heloise
Dear Readers: The question of what to do with all of your empty plastic
containers motivated many of you to send me some hints:
Carol F. wrote: “Call a day care center. They usually can use empty
plastic containers for crayons, paints or other craft materials."
Win G. wrote: “I give them to a local senior center, and they use them
to send any leftovers home after the daily lunches."
April B. wrote: “I keep them and fill them with Christmas cookies and
June K. wrote: “I keep a supply of chalk in empty containers so my
granddaughters can draw on the sidewalk when they visit.”
Thanks to all my readers who had so many great ideas to share. -
That ‘caps’ it
Dear Heloise: It’s easier to replace the cap on a spray product if the
cap is placed upside down on the counter and the upside-down can is
pressed into the cap. - Marge G., via email
Hint from Chammy
Dear Readers: My little dog, Chammy, has suggestions of her own: It’s
always a good idea to wash out pet food bowls every week with soap and
hot water to make sure that there’s no bacteria growing on your dog’s or
cat’s food and water bowls. - Heloise
for the ‘privilege’?
Nov. 8, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about the fees charged by stores for
the privilege of shopping there:
“Dear Heloise: There are a couple of large discount stores that charge a
fee to shop there, and frankly, I don’t understand why I need to pay for
a discount! I asked the clerk why I had to pay for the ‘privilege’of
spending my money in that store, and the clerk said that they have a low
markup on all items, and the fees are the main source of the company’s
revenue. As a businesswoman, I find that difficult to believe.”
- Lori M. in Dallas
Readers, how do you feel about paying a fee to shop at a particular
store? - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here are some uses for stale bread:
Make croutons out of it and freeze them for future use.
Stale bread is best for bread pudding.
You can crumble it and put it in a meatloaf or use it in stews (to
thicken the sauce).
A devoted reader
Dear Heloise: I love reading your column in our local Free Lance-Star
newspaper! Here are two hints I’d like to share:
1. An empty tea-light holder is a perfect place to store your rolled-up
fabric measuring tape.
2. The plastic cover from a store-bought cake can be reused/recycled as
a drip tray for a plant.
Dawn W., Fredericksburg, Va.
Dear Heloise: Please tell brides to step outside for a moment when
trying on wedding gowns, especially if they are having an outdoor
ceremony. This way, they can tell whether sunlight shows everything
under the skirt. I had to make a last-minute slip out of a nightgown
when I discovered this mistake at my wedding. If I had known about this
before the wedding, I’d have bought a half slip! - Julianna T.,
‘You can wear it
Dear Heloise: Why do brides tell their bridesmaids that the dresses
they’ve chosen for their attendants can be worn again? Six times I’ve
heard, “Just shorten the skirt and you have a cocktail dress.” One of my
bridesmaid dresses was in black-and-white stripes! Lined up at the
altar, we looked like an overdressed chain gang! I wish brides would
just pick simple styles with no adornment for their attendants so we
really could wear them again. - Connie A. in Boston
Cleaning silk flowers
Dear Heloise: In response to cleaning silk flowers, a designer of silk
flowers recommended using a hair dryer once a month to blow dust off
flowers. It works! - Judy I., The Villages, Fla.
Judy, I’ve tried this method, and yes, it works like a charm! -
Grief without relief
Nov. 1, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about the grieving process when you
lose a pet. - Heloise
“Dear Heloise: We recently had to have our beautiful 17-year-old black
Lab put to sleep due to kidney disease. I can’t even begin to explain
the grief and pain we feel at the loss of this sweet pet. I just wish
people would stop saying things such as, ‘You can always get another
dog.’ Yes, we can, but nothing takes the place of a beloved pet. Or
‘Time heals all wounds.’ Sure, but right now, I’m grieving the death of
my dog, and I don’t want to hear things like this.
“I wish people would just listen when I need to vent about my sorrow. I
don’t want to hear about the death of someone else’s pet; I’m too
consumed by my own loss. Please, just let us grieve when we lose a dear
pet. Listen without offering advice, and don’t brush off our loss,
because it’s very real and very painful to us.”
- Mavis G., Marietta, Ga.
Dear Heloise: I have some rubber shelf liner left over, and I’ve found
several more uses for it:
I cut out a square and placed it under a sofa cushion that kept slipping
I put it under my pet’s bedding to keep it from sliding across the
I cut a small square and used it to remove pet hair from my furniture.
I wrapped a few delicate things in the liner before shipping them by
Loretta W., Springfield, Mo.
Dear Heloise: As a nurse, I’ve seen many casts put on people who’ve
broken a bone, and there are a few things we normally tell the patient
to help them avoid injuries. First, don’t use a wire hanger or any sharp
object to scratch an itch under the cast. Try sprinkling baby powder
under the cast. If a cast gets wet, use a blow-dryer set on low heat to
dry the cast. You also can use an old sock or knit cap to keep your toes
or fingers clean and warm. - Lois G., Livonia, Mich.
The very last drop
Dear Heloise: I generally buy 32-ounce jars of mayonnaise, and the last
inch or more is so difficult to get out. I discovered that a frosting
spatula does the job easily. - Leslie W., Alexandria, Va.
Dear Heloise: I make a lot of jigsaw puzzles. When I first open the box,
I pour all the pieces into a colander and shake it over the trash
bucket, thus getting rid of the paper sawdust. - M.Z.S., Santa Ana,
Dear Readers: When sending email to someone who might have trouble with
his or her eyes, enlarge the font. Size 12 to 14 or bigger is easier to
read. Your recipient will thank you! - Heloise
A memorial or a mess?
Oct. 25, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about memorials:
“Dear Heloise: My pet peeve is litter. People leave flowers, candles in
glass containers, stuffed animals and other items in a place where
someone died. The thought might be good, but tell that to the person who
has to clean up that mess. These piles of trash can be found along
highways, on sidewalks or on private property.
“Instead of leaving behind some pile of mementos, why not make a
donation to a charity in the name of the deceased? It seems to me that
this is a far better way to honor the person - with a donation that will
go toward doing something positive. If the person loved animals, for
example, then make a donation to an animal charity, or if he or she had
heart problems, make a donation to the American Heart Association.”
- Richard T., Miamisburg, Ohio
Richard, that’s an excellent idea. All charities need financial help,
and it’s a lovely way to honor someone we’ve lost. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Most of us have hair conditioner at home, and here are
some additional uses for it besides on our hair:
Loosen a tight-fitting ring.
Use it to shave your legs.
Use on your dog after its bath to keep the coat smooth and
Add a little to the final rinse of hand-washed lingerie.
Everything is just
Dear Heloise: My husband loves fried peach pies. However, I have been
unable to find dried peaches in any grocery store in our area for
several years now. Do you know why they are unavailable?
- Mary Helen F., Hooks, Texas
Mary Helen, try a specialty store, such as a health-food store, or if
you search the internet, you will find places that sell dried peaches.
Just type in “dried peaches,” and you’ll find various sources that will
sell you dried fruit of any kind. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I read your column in the Orange County (Calif.) Register,
and I have a question: Do you have a recipe using baking soda or vinegar
to control insects (spiders and roaches)?
- Dennis D., La Palma, Calif.
Dennis, yes, I do, and in fact there are several ways to repel spiders
In a large spray bottle, add:
cup of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 4 drops of peppermint oil (or
citronella or tea tree oil), then fill up the rest of the bottle with
water and shake well.
Spiders hate the smell of peppermint, citronella and eucalyptus. Be sure
to spray all nooks and crevices, windowsills and around doors. Spray any
spiderwebs you see, compost piles and in your garage. - Heloise
Flat coffee filters
Dear Heloise: We use a basket-type coffee filter, and the last ones in a
package tend to get flat. I discovered that if you turn them upside down
and use the bottom ones first, that problem is fixed!
- Cindy H. in Ohio
fares take flight?
Oct. 18, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about airfares offered in an ad, and
what it really takes to get those fares:
“Dear Heloise: I’ve lost all patience with travel websites that
advertise round-trip airfares at significant savings. The problem: You
never can actually find these fares. You can spend hours adjusting the
dates, hours and departure location and still not find the advertised
fare. There should be a law requiring travel websites to clearly state
what days are associated with the advertised fare. Then consumers can
decide if it’s right for them or not.” - Sterling D., Dayton, Ohio
Sterling, there are laws about false advertising, but one answer to this
problem would be to phone the travel agency that placed the ad and ask
how you can get the advertised fare. The agency placed the ad, so let
them do the work to find you the best deal possible. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: I saw your recycling suggestions on amber pill bottles, so
I thought I’d send you some of my uses for the empty containers:
I keep one filled with mints so they don’t get scattered in my purse.
I keep loose change in them.
I use one to hold tiny things, such as screws for my glasses, earring
backs, safety pins, etc.
I also carry an additional supply of cream sunblock in one.
Reader, via email
And here’s another hint about amber pill bottles:
“I saw the amber pill bottle reuse suggestions, and I thought I’d send
in one of my own. Here in Hawaii, it is a custom of ours to have a
‘House Blessing’ when you buy a new place. After we bought our home, my
husband and I composed a prayer and wrote it out on paper, then folded
it very small and placed it in a pill container. Later in the evening,
we had an open house with family and friends, and the minister blessed
the house. We then took the pill container, with the prayer inside it,
buried it in a deep hole in the front yard and planted a mango tree on
top. This house has weathered hurricanes, storms, four kids and six dogs
in 15 years, and it’s still here.” - Malia K., Oahu, Hawaii
Dear Heloise: When you accumulate a number of floral vases and
containers that you don’t want to keep, call a local florist and ask if
it would be interested in reusing them. Sometimes the florist will even
pick them up and offer to pay for them. - Linda M., via email
The key is graphite
Dear Heloise: A locksmith once told me never to use a household
lubricant on a key lock. There is one very popular lubricant in a can
that many people use, but on a lock, it just causes a gummy buildup.
Instead, use graphite - white graphite if you can find it, black if you
can’t. - Lois B. in Arkansas
Did you know?
Dear Readers: Although only about the size of a golf ball, the
blue-ringed octopus has enough poison to kill an adult human in a matter
of minutes. - Heloise
and bikes don’t mix well
Oct. 11, 2017
Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about cars that hog the road and
endanger bicycle riders. - Heloise
“Dear Heloise: Today, while my biking group was in our bike lane, a
driver drove so close that she knocked a rider off the bike. Thank
heavens he had his helmet on! She claimed it was an accident, that she
didn’t see him, but with nine of us in colorful outfits, in a single
line, we’re hard to miss. This isn’t the first time it’s happened.
“I know we drive slower than cars because we’re pedaling, but please
stay out of our lane, and we’ll do our best to stay away from yours. We
have as much right to be on the road as a car, and many of us are going
as fast as we can while trying to build up endurance for competitions.”
- Terry V., Austin, Texas
Dear Readers: When you have empty tissue boxes, don’t throw them away.
First, if you or your children want to decorate them, it can be a lot of
fun. Then you can use them for other things, such as:
In the kitchen - use to store plastic grocery bags.
In the bathroom - use to store cotton balls or makeup-remover pads.
Remove the entire top and store cat toys for Fluffy.
Use one to store receipts or coupons.
Use as a trash collector in your car.
The wedding gift
Dear Heloise: I enjoy your column with its many hints in the Dayton
(Ohio) Daily News. Today, however, I have a hint for you:
was wrapping a wedding gift of flatware to help complete the couple’s
dinnerware. I was looking for something to cushion the pieces in the
package, so I wrapped each piece in a clean dust rag that the bride can
use, instead of tissue paper that would get thrown out. - Jane A.,
Refrigeration of food
Dear Readers: Here are two questions related to refrigerating food:
“How long can I keep cooked chicken in my refrigerator?” - Sadie D.,
“How long will bacon and sausage stay fresh in my refrigerator?” -
Patsy L., Dagger Falls, Idaho
Sadie, cooked chicken will keep well for three to four days in a
refrigerator and two to six months in a freezer.
Patsy, bacon will stay fresh enough to eat for seven days in the
refrigerator and one month in the freezer.
Sausage usually will keep for one to two days in the refrigerator, and
one to two months in the freezer.
Make room in your
Dear Heloise: So many young people are under the misconception that as
they move through life, they’ll make more money and they’ll be happy
because they won’t have any worries. That type of thinking leads to
disappointment. Go after the dream, not the money. Don’t base your life
strictly on how much money you can make. A soul-crushing career will
only make you miserable. You’ll work a long time, so make sure that it’s
something you really enjoy doing, then do the best work you can. -
Margaret B., Inglewood, Calif.