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DEAR READERS: Ladder safety? It's so important this time of year. Whether you're stringing lights around your home or topping the tree with a star, please be careful on the ladder. Here are some hints from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (, a division of the United States Department of Labor:

• Read the instructions for the ladder and inspect it before mounting it.

• Use the ladder, whether step, straight or extension, on a dry, flat surface free of clutter.

• Never stand on the top rung of the ladder.

• Ensure the ladder's locks are engaged before you climb it.

• Always keep three points on the ladder: two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.

Falls from ladders are a big cause of injuries. Be careful!

DEAR HELOISE: To decorate the rec room, I lined the walls with album covers -- a true art form lost to digital downloading. I use adjustable, repositionable tape to adhere them to the wall.

-- Megan R. in Illinois

DEAR HELOISE: I carry pens and pencils in a travel toothbrush holder to avoid stray marks in my bag.

-- Greta T. in Minnesota

DEAR HELOISE: My son tends to get carsick at times. I carry dog waste bags with us in the car. They can come in handy.

-- Dan R. in Texas

DEAR READERS: When coming out of the carwash, and before getting back on the road, be sure to double-check the rearview mirrors. They can get bumped during the wash process.

DEAR HELOISE: I frame my favorite old Christmas cards in different, pretty, colorful frames. It makes for a nice spread across the mantel.

-- Helen R. in Arizona

DEAR HELOISE: I keep a toilet plunger near my tall kitchen trash can. It works great for pushing the garbage down and making more room in the can.

-- Rita H., via email

DEAR HELOISE: I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV, especially those that have amateurs or professionals competing. However, it bothers me a great deal when I see these cooks touching their hair and then the food they are preparing. I'm hoping the producers of these programs will read your column.

-- Grossed Out

in Colorado

DEAR READERS: Remember your covid-19 protocol: Social distance, wear your mask, wash your hands, don't go out if you don't have to. We will get through this. Visit for more information.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email


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