Dear Heloise: When is it INAPPROPRIATE TO USE A CELLPHONE? I've noticed in business meetings that some of our associates keep their phones on and answer them. - Tricia G., St. Paul, Minn. Tricia, cellphones are everywhere these days, but people seem at odds as to when it's rude or inappropriate to check messages. Here are a few guidelines:

NEVER text or talk on a cellphone while driving.

• Turn your cellphone off during a business meeting unless you're using your phone to share a presentation or the latest data.

• Turn off your cellphone at the movies, at live theatrical performances and while in church or other houses of worship, and in doctor's offices.

• Don't walk down a street, cross a road or sit down in a restaurant with a friend - or worse, with a date - while checking your messages.

For all other occasions, just use common sense and good manners. - Heloise SEND A GREAT HINT TO: Heloise P.O. Box 795001 San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 Fax: 1-210-HELOISE Email: Heloise(at)


Dear Heloise: Working in an attorney's office has given me some insight on what to avoid when a marriage has broken apart. During a divorce, most people are hurt, confused and angry, but there are some things you should never do. First, stay off social media until your divorce is final. Settle out of court if at all possible - only your attorney will benefit if it goes to court. If you are having disagreements or arguments, NEVER have them in front of your children, and fight the urge to bad-mouth your spouse to the kids. It's really not a good idea to date someone new while your divorce is in progress. And remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. - A.M. in Indiana


Dear Heloise: Just three suggestions for those like me who travel alone on business or for pleasure:

1. Arrive at your hotel before dark. Write down the address if you plan to use a taxi or in case you get lost.

2. Use just one piece of luggage.

3. Let a close friend or relative know about your travel plans: where you'll be staying, when you expect to return and how you can be reached. Be sure to phone a friend or relative at least once during your trip. Stay safe. - Pete W., Seneca Falls, N.Y.


Dear Heloise: I have five grandchildren, and I have vowed to stop giving to them. It's costly for me at my age. I've always enjoyed giving and have done so for many years for birthdays, graduations, Christmas and holidays, and housewarming gifts. I can afford it, but I feel hurt that I don't know if they received it or not. I feel that maybe they don't want it or don't need it. It is so different today. My children were taught to thank people for their thoughtfulness. - A Reader in California

A simple "thank you" doesn't take much time or effort, but can mean so much. - Heloise


No drawstrings attached

Dear Heloise: I'm pleased to see manufacturers produce hooded sweatshirts


A drawstring can be extremely dangerous; it poses a strangulation risk. - Janet M. in Illinois

Janet, how right you are! Parents, many children's garments today are made without a drawstring, either for the hood, the waist or around the bottom of the garment. The drawstring can catch on the slide at the playground; it can get caught in the door of a vehicle; it can get yanked on - too many scary scenarios. If there's drawstringed attire that your child still wears, remove the drawstring, for safety's sake. - Heloise

P.S. The Consumer Product Safety Commission ( has recommended recalls for many garments with drawstrings.


Dear Heloise: My writing students get "its" and "it's" confused. Here's a primer: "Its" shows possession: "The dog can chase its tail." "It's" is a contraction for "it is": "It's amusing to watch the dog chase its tail." - Mae G. in Virginia

It's a pleasure to share your letter, Mae. - Heloise (Did I get it right?)


Dear Heloise: Did you know that no tool is needed to collect dryer lint? My mother told me that "lint attracts lint," and all I have to do is run my finger lightly over the lint screen and all the lint comes off easily. It isn't dirty! We live in the country and must burn our trash, and I keep the lint in a box in the laundry room until we light up the burn barrel. - Lisa in Tennessee


Dear Readers: You might want to consider using a method other than plastic wrap to preserve your food. Clear plastic wrap can contain chemicals, is not recyclable, and because it does not decompose well in the landfill, it can end up in the oceans. Use washable, airtight containers instead. - Heloise

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