Ladder safety? It's so important this time of year. Whether you're stringing lights around your home or topping the tree with a star, please be careful on the ladder. Here are some hints from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (, a division of the United States Department of Labor:

* Read the instructions for the ladder and inspect it before mounting it.

* Use the ladder, whether step, straight or extension, on a dry, flat surface free of clutter.

* Never stand on the top rung of the ladder.

* Ensure the ladder's locks are engaged before you climb it.

* Always keep three points on the ladder: two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.

Falls from ladders are a big cause of injuries. Be careful. — Heloise

Pet Pal

Dear Heloise: Meet Hizzy. Hizzy showed up in our backyard in September, a true "alley cat," a very hungry kitten. Look closely at his feet, he has seven toes on one foot and six on the other — polydactyl kitty. A real pistol! — Brooke P.

Brooke, what a doll! Readers, to see Hizzy and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on "Pet of the Week."

Do you have a funny and furry friend you'd like to share? It's easy. Email a picture and description to — Heloise

Picture perfect

Dear Heloise: To decorate the rec room, I lined the walls with album covers -- a true art form lost to digital downloading. I use adjustable, repositionable tape to adhere them to the wall. — Megan R. in Illinois

Pen in pocket

Dear Heloise: I carry pens and pencils in a travel toothbrush holder to avoid stray marks in my bag. — Greta T. in Minnesota

Alternate use?

Dear Heloise: My son can tend to get carsick at times. I carry dog waste bags with us in the car. They can come in handy. — Dan R. in Texas

Mirror adjustment

Dear Readers: When coming out of the carwash, and before getting back on the road, be sure to double-check the rearview mirrors. They can get bumped during the wash process. — Heloise

Frame it up

Dear Heloise: I frame my favorite old Christmas cards in different, pretty, colorful frames. It makes for a nice spread across the mantle. — Helen R. in Arizona

Smashing trash

Dear Heloise: I keep a toilet plunger near my tall kitchen trash can. It works great for pushing the garbage down and making more room in the can. — Rita H., via email

Grossed out

Dear Heloise: I enjoy watching cooking shows on TV, especially those that have amateurs or professionals competing. However, it bothers me a great deal when I see these cooks touching their hair and then the food they are preparing. I'm hoping the producers of these programs will read your column. — Grossed Out in Colorado


Dear Readers: Remember your COVID-19 protocol: Social distance, wear your mask, wash your hands, don't go out if you don't have to. We will get through this. Visit for more information. — Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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