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Dear Heloise: My sister-in-law gave me a hint I’d like to pass along. When traveling, I take all battery-operated items and place them in a plastic bag after I remove the batteries. Then I place the items on top of my clothing. I usually pack brand-new batteries, in their original wrapper, i…

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Dear Annie: I have a full-time job, and I love it. However, I’m never happier than when I’m traveling. How do I make peace with the fact that I probably can’t travel more than twice a year now that I work a 9-to-5? Is there some way I could travel more than that? My job is really important t…

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The word anointing has been used and abused by charlatans and schemers, but the word is thoroughly biblical. It’s when God fills a person with His Spirit for the purpose of using him or her in a mighty way. In the time of Samson, Israel was in bondage, and God anointed Samson as a judge and …

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Dear Annie: My husband is friends with a couple from college with whom we have exchanged Christmas cards and graduation announcements over the past 25-plus years. They have three sons, all of whom we sent a card and money to when they graduated from high school. However, when our daughter gr…

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Making holiday cookies_the rolled, cutout, and glazed butter-cookie variety_is everyone’s favorite December activity. Unfortunately, these cookies either look good but taste like cardboard or have buttery, rich flavor but lack visual appeal.

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Traditionally, Italian porchetta is a whole pig that is spit-roasted to produce fall-apart tender, rich pieces of slow-cooked pork, aromatic with garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, and thyme. It’s served with pieces of crisp skin on a crusty roll.

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Dear Heloise: What is the correct way to carve up a pineapple? My wife slices it down the sides and gets too much of the pulp and skin.

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Dear Annie: A therapist recommended that I try EMDR in order to process past traumas. It sounds intriguing and fancy, but I don’t really understand what it involves. Could you explain what EMDR is and how it works? I’m uninformed and skeptical.

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Dear Annie: I love being a grandpa, but it seems all my fellow adults have a totally different impression of what a grandfather is supposed to be. My wife says I should be a role model and authority figure, which to me translates to being stern and official. Our daughter says essentially the…

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President George H.W. Bush has a special spot in my heart, since he and Barbara were making their splash into fame during the same years that Robert J. and Bettie E. Miller were just getting together in the same war. George and Barbara were married a bit earlier than we were, but there were …

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Dear Heloise: Given the cost for checked bags and problems with carry-ons, when my wife flew, we boxed up everything she’d need, from clothes to toothbrush, and mailed it about two weeks before she would get there.

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Happy Holidays! May you and your family share the joys of giving and receiving this Holiday Season! Tis also a good season to reflect on individual and family journeys of struggles and triumphs and to celebrate every one of them. Christmas is also the time to be thankful of our blessings inc…

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Dear Annie: The adults in our family, all of whom are blessed with the necessities of life, have enjoyed a “shake the dice/give and take” holiday gift exchange for many years. Often gourmet food items and good wines and such are included. My daughter reminded me this year that we have family…

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Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about irresponsible drivers on our roads.

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Dear Annie: Two years ago, I met a homeless man and took him in. “Steve” has a mental illness and a drug problem. He told me he had no family and was all alone. It was Christ­mas­time, and I couldn’t walk away. Come to find out he had been living with his mom, who threw him out over his drug…

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NEW YORK — It took just days for the brightly colored Mandarin duck that appeared suddenly in a Central Park pond to turn both New Yorkers and visitors into a new gaggle: the quackarazzi.

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HEIDELBERG, Germany (AP) — Ger­many’s popular Christ­mas markets are back in business, and the Glueh­wein is flowing in Hei­delberg’s old town — under the city’s landmark castle.

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Landscaping in the Antelope Valley is challenging in many ways. One challenge in planning a good landscape is to think about the way your landscape will look during the winter.

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Dear Readers: How can we keep our pets safe around our holiday decorations? Here are a few suggestions:

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Dear Annie: I have a sibling who struggles with an eating disorder. I give her constant love and support and do everything I can to help her. I’ve heard that Thanksgiving and Christmas pose challenges for people with eating disorders, as people are expected — and even pressured — to eat more…

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Dear Heloise: What are the best times to travel? My husband and I want to go to Europe, but my husband hates crowds and waiting in line.

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LANCASTER — The Lancaster JetHawks, High-A California League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are planning their annual JetHawks Holiday Caravan.

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Dear Annie: Whenever Christmas rolls around, I feel sick. I want to enjoy the merriment as much as most people seem to. Unfortunately, I have negative associations with the winter holidays. I’m sure I’m not alone in dreading Christmas. How can I put these associations aside in order to have …

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Dear Annie: I was recently out of town for a weekend with some girlfriends. When I returned home, I opened the refrigerator and commented to my husband of 30 years that based on the leftovers, he must have prepared a nice meal for himself. He responded that he had invited my best friend, who…

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Dear Annie: As the holidays draw near, I like to be prepared and buy my gifts early. Every year, I get stuck when it comes to thinking of a gift for my younger brother “Henry.” Henry is a teenager whose only interest is playing video games. For Christmas, the only things he ever asks for are…