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A new travel plan

Dear Heloise: Travel is something I've always loved, especially to foreign places, but I used to go with my husband. We're no longer together, yet I still want to travel. But to be honest, I'm scared to travel alone. None of my friends will go with me to other countries because they're married or their careers don't allow for too much time off. -- Gigi K., Mapleton, Utah

Gigi, you can go with a group, and any travel agent can help you plan your excursion. If you decide to go by yourself, you might find you enjoy traveling on your own, or you might meet people who enjoy traveling as much as you do.

-- Heloise

Should you rinse?

Dear Heloise: My dentist is adamant about no rinsing after brushing. If the toothpaste has fluoride, he claims that rinsing will wash it away. -- Charlie S., Chambersburg, Pa.

Charlie, this is a matter for debate. Some dentists feel that rinsing out after brushing washes away the fluoride. Yet other people say that swallowing toothpaste upsets their stomach, or that rinsing cleans out bacteria and food particles that were just brushed out from their teeth. Both sides present valid arguments.

-- Heloise

Telemarketer nonsense

Dear Heloise: If a telemarketer calls you, ask yourself these questions:

• What's the hurry?

• If it's "free," why are they asking me to pay or give them credit card information?

• Why am I "confirming" information ... or am I handing it out?

Resist all travel packages, credit card offers, charitable causes, extended warranties and/or "free" trial offers. The majority of the time these are scams.

Never give out any financial information over the phone. If asked, just hang up the phone. Report your experience to the Federal Trade Commission online (https://www.ftc.gov/complaint). -- Lonnie W., Ypsilanti, Mich.

Bright idea

Dear Heloise: I had a white lampshade that turned yellow with age. I hated to get rid of it because of its unique shape. A friend of mine suggested painting it with spray paint.

I gave it a couple of light coats of paint, and it looked new again. Just be sure to take the shade off the lamp before spraying. -- Olive R., Fairbanks, Alaska

Reuse paper towels

Dear Heloise: I hate to simply toss out a paper towel if it can be reused. I rinse out the paper sheet I've used and, while it's still wet, I clean the leaves of my plants with it. I have a huge rubber plant, and keeping the leaves clean not only makes it look good, it helps the plant to breathe. -- Vicky T., Clarksburg, W.Va.

Sausage casing gone

Dear Heloise: My husband will not eat sausage with the casing on it. So, I tried to peel the casing off but made a real mess of it. Then I tried using a vegetable peeler and had much better results! -- Louise Y., Irving, Texas

SEND A GREAT HINT TO:

Heloise

P.O. Box 795001

San Antonio, TX 78279-5001

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise@Heloise.com