California is a whole different bird

In Iowa, they pause for coffee at the Kum & Go convenience stores in crossroads scattered around the state. In New Hampshire, they engage voters in school gymnasiums and on town street corners. In California they appear on television.

Woman is trapped by guilt in an accidental friendship

DEAR ABBY: Years ago, I was friendly with a man from work who was very close to his mom. She came along with us once for lunch and ended up really liking me. From that point on, whenever he and I would get together for lunch, she would tag along.

Reader tries being gender identity sensitive

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am finding myself at a loss for how to be politically correct when it comes to talking about gender identity. My neighbor’s child — who was born female — says that she now identifies as “they.” I do my best to remember, but it doesn’t come natural to me yet.

Dog waste can be a problem in communities if it isn’t properly disposed of; it can pollute waterways and raise the harmful bacteria level in public water. A good rule of thumb is this: Don’t just leave dog waste in the yard or in the woods and let nature take its course.

Daughter plans a wedding without a marriage license

DEAR ABBY: My daughter, “Heidi,” is 39. She is successful, owns her own business and lives with her boyfriend of five years. I’ll call him Rick. They have two beautiful boys, 3 and 18 months. She has decided to tie the knot with Rick with a nice, somewhat big wedding.

Friend worried how to spend retirement

DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a letter from an old friend that was very disturbing to me. She is at retirement age and has to keep working, like most people I know, because she doesn’t have ample retirement money.

From quick DIY repairs around the house, to contractors on the jobsite, power tools can make nearly any job faster and easier. However, having the know-how to put power tools to use is only half the challenge.

Topical pain relievers can be quite effective

Dear Doctor: I play in a weekend softball league, 111 and my shoulder aches for a couple of days after the game. Aspirin hurts my stomach, so I wonder whether using a pain medication in a cream or an ointment might help?

Wife says friend living upstairs should move on

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have a friend, “George,” who rents our upstairs. Our home is large, and the second floor has all the amenities of a 2,500-square-foot house. He has his separate entrance and never has to come through our living space. In the beginning, I agreed to the arrangement because he was going through a divorce and needed a place to live. Now, for the past several months, his ex has been spending nights upstairs. We just celebrated the holidays, and his family was here together.

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