DEAR HELOISE: Recently I read that people look at their cellphones on average 90 times a day. I find that incredible but believable. In my own household, I started a rule, and we've all stuck to it. During meals, all cellphones are turned off, as well as the radio and TV.
When we are speaking to one another, we must look at that person. We carry on conversations over dinner. I've found this to be a better way of bringing the family together rather than allowing outside callers to interrupt "family time." While technology is wonderful, we should not allow it to interfere with communicating with each other or disrupting what little time we have to bond as a family.
-- Loretta T., Colorado Springs, Colo.
DEAR HELOISE: I work in human resources, and I've heard some terrible stories of people who are desperate for work but were scammed by unscrupulous people who offered them a job. Here are a few things to consider if you're looking for work:
• If someone offers you a large salary for what seems like easy or very light work, it should be a red flag.
• If asked to forward packages or money, be very careful. These are often part of an illegal scam that might involve criminal activity.
• If they give you a check or cash before you even start work, watch out! Don't deposit the money or check in your bank account. This is an old scam. They may say it was a mistake and ask you to return the money in the form of gift cards or wire transfers. Just give them back the check or cash, but not gift cards or wire transfers.
• If you are offered an interview, do some research on the company before you go. If you are offered a job without an interview, you should probably be very careful. Employers seldom offer jobs without first getting to know who they are hiring.
DEAR HELOISE: I have to travel a lot in my job, so after I use a curling iron on my hair, I set it on an air conditioner in my room. It cools down enough to pack in my suitcase. Usually 3 to 5 minutes at the most.
-- Diane A., Mansfield, Ohio
DEAR HELOISE: I had a cute little hand-painted watering can that I used to water a small planter on my porch. One day I finished watering and the can was empty, so I hung it on a stub where a thin branch had been cut off on a Red Bud tree. I walked off and forgot the watering can. About three days later I remembered the watering can, but when I went outside to get it, I found a bird had built her nest in it. I left it alone, and now every year she comes back to rebuild her nest in my watering can.
It's such a joy to watch the baby birds when they hatch and when they start to fly.
-- Jill R., Holland, Mich.
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