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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: We live in a nice, settled neighborhood in a small town. We bought our home 20 years ago. Our neighbors are lovely people. A couple of years ago after a robbery in which some sports equipment was taken from their detached garage, they installed a security light.

Abby, their security light spills over into our back yard. Our patio and pool can no longer be used at night because of the glare. The light also shines into our guest room, both of our bathrooms, through our dining room windows into our kitchen and living room, as well as the master bedroom. We are forced to use heavy shades or drapes in our home.

We've done everything to block the light, but a guest recently commented that we don't use our back yard as much as we used to. (We can't because of the bright light.) Our guest said he had heard many people complain about neighbors' security lights infringing on their property.

Can you please help us spread the word that before installing those beacons, neighbors should consider how such a light will affect the families who live on the adjacent property? The neighbors should discuss it together to determine if it will adversely affect the lifestyle of the neighborhood. With honest communication, perhaps a solution that everyone can live with will come to light.

We want our neighbors to feel secure, but we want our lifestyle back. What can we do about their light pollution? -- LIVING IN THE LIGHT AGAINST OUR WILL

DEAR LIVING: Discuss the problem calmly with your neighbors. Although they must be aware of the light on your property, they may not have considered alternatives such as shifting the light's position, motion detector lights, or adding shields that redirect the light from your house and yard back to theirs. Good luck.

DEAR ABBY: A close friend has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. (I'll call her Tina.) There will be only three girls in Tina's wedding party -- the maid of honor, another bridesmaid and me.

The three of us are planning a bridal shower, but Tina's mother is being difficult. She insists we host the shower at an elegant restaurant. Since the guest list numbers more than 40 people, we had planned to have it at a modest restaurant with a banquet hall we can more easily afford.

Tina's mom is insisting on the restaurant she has selected, even though she has made it clear that it will be our responsibility to foot the entire bill. Last night, she called Tina's maid of honor and started yelling at her about it.

Are we responsible for throwing an extravagant shower we can't afford? -- WEDDING SHOWER BLUES

DEAR BLUES: Under no circumstances should you allow yourselves to be intimidated into paying for a shower you cannot comfortably afford. Invite the bride's mother to the lovely shower you are hosting in the banquet hall. It's up to her whether she wants to attend or not. If she wants to upgrade the restaurant, she should ante up the difference, not you.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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