Time for a good deal

Dear Readers: This month is a great time to SHOP FOR BARGAINS. What’s on sale right now? Let’s take a look:

January is famous for white sales: linens, sheets, curtains, towels and even luggage and housewares. Christmas merchandise, such as decorations and gift wrap, are marked way down. Also, stores are beginning to clear out winter clothes and boots.

Look for specials online, too — maybe free shipping! — Heloise

P.S. For anyone with romance on the mind, January kicks off wedding shopping season; your best values may be right now!

PET PAL

Dear Readers: Patricia H., via email, sent two pictures of her Charlie, a Shih Tzu, and Scout, a wire-haired labradoodle who sheds like crazy! They remind us of the yin and yang of a new year: opposite but complementary; out with the old, in with the new. Big changes!

To see Charlie and Scout, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” — Heloise

A PAIR OF HINTS

Dear Heloise: To take care of icy concrete steps in the winter without using damaging, salty ice melt, I cut to size rubber door mats that have a brushlike texture and place them on the steps. A large one at the top and bottom of the steps; narrower ones on the steps themselves.

The snow and ice will cause them to stick hard on the steps, and the brushy texture gives traction to prevent slips. I pick them up after the spring thaw and reuse next year.

Also, I developed a text group of close friends to whom I can send pictures and updates throughout my vacation. I offer opt-outs to anyone who doesn’t want the frequent texts. I safely share my experiences with others who are interested. — Jan, via email

WRITE IT DOWN

Dear Heloise: When I receive cards in the mail (birthday, Christmas, etc.), I write the name and address on the back of the card.

That way, when I store them, I’ll have the address for next year. — Randall E., Cortez, Colo.

You also can cut out the return label and tape it to the back. No chance for typos! — Heloise

RADISHES?

Dear Heloise: My dog likes radishes! Are they OK for him to eat? — Luke B., via email

Luke, radishes are OK for your dog as a treat; some dogs may not like the spicy zip of a radish. Other veggies that are fine for the dog as a special snack: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, asparagus, green beans and potatoes, all either raw or cooked. They are a good source of vitamins. But no onions. And don’t be confused: Wild radish is a wildflower that is poisonous. — Heloise

BAG LADY

Dear Heloise: I had such a problem with handbags and tote bags in my closet. When they are empty, they won’t stand up straight, and the handles get tangled with the other bags.

I have discovered that if I fold the handles inside each individual bag, they stand up better and make it easier to store them on the shelf. They are easier to see and to remove the bag that I want to use. — Judy H., Sherwood, Ark.

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Dear Heloise: I’m confused by “FLAG ETIQUETTE.” My husband said that when lowering or raising the Stars and Stripes, it should never touch the ground. What is the proper procedure? — Stephanie F., Waynesboro, Miss.

Stephanie, in this country, the American flag should be hoisted briskly. It should be lowered slowly and gathered and folded before it touches the ground. When displayed with other flags, it should be raised first and lowered last. — Heloise

GREASE DISPOSAL

Dear Heloise: I saw the article about grease in drains. I am a maintenance man in a mobile home park, and I’ve had to replace many drain lines due to this very fact. I’m talking about every inch of drain line. It makes no difference what temperature the water happens to be, the grease will, in time, build up and turn as hard as concrete. Put grease in the refrigerator overnight, and the next day dispose of it in the trash — NOT the drain. — Russell K., Yucaipa, Calif.

LEAD CRYSTAL SAFETY

Dear Heloise: I have two beautiful crystal decanters. Is it safe to store alcohol, such as wine or gin, in there without the potential for lead contamination? I’ve been told that it isn’t safe. — Barbara in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Barbara, do NOT store any alcohol or juice in a lead crystal decanter. If you drink from lead crystal glasses, pour from the bottle, not a decanter. If you want to use your decanters when you have company over for dinner, pour the wine into the decanters, and after the dinner, pour the leftover alcohol back into its original bottle. There will be very little leaching of lead into your drinks, unless you leave the alcohol in there more than a few hours. Within 24 hours, there can be considerable lead leaching. — Heloise

OUTDATED PRODUCTS

Dear Heloise: I can never remember when I bought a product, so on a small piece of paper I write the date of purchase, then tape it to the product. This worked so well that I began doing the same thing to items like my computer, coffee maker and other appliances. — Pauline K., Moorestown, N.J.

OLD MEASUREMENTS

Dear Heloise: I have a very old cookbook that calls for things like 1 ounce of butter, or 1 pound of flour, or 1 pound of sugar. What does that translate into in modern terms? — Gail N., Waterloo, Iowa

Gail, 1 ounce of butter is 2 tablespoons. A pound of sifted flour is 4 cups, and a pound of sugar is 2 1/2 cups. — Heloise

EARTH FACTS

Dear Readers: Earth is the only planet not named after a god or goddess. The rotation of Earth is slowing down, and our planet, according to scientists, is about 4.6 billion years old. — Heloise

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally butv will use the best hints received in her column.