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DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother of a 10-year-old who also cares for my elderly mother at my home. I have had a lot of stress in my life and have gained a lot of weight.

After much investigation, I decided to have weight-loss surgery to better my health and energy. I ended up financing the surgery with a no-interest loan for five years. I do not regret my decision; it has helped with my self-esteem and outlook on life.

My problem is a friend of mine now shuns me. I suspect it is because she did not agree with my decision to pay for this surgery. She is being married this year, and I would never give her advice on how to spend her money on her wedding or otherwise. Why would this person not be happy for me and support my decision that did not involve her? -- HURT IN OHIO

DEAR HURT: If your theory is correct, it appears your "friend" was extremely controlling and is punishing you because you went against her wishes. Or she may have been somehow so invested in your remaining fat that your "escape" from that role is a threat to her, which would mean that she is competitive or jealous. Neither is a particularly attractive trait, and you are probably better off without this woman in your life. From my perspective, consider it another "health benefit" of your surgery.

DEAR ABBY: Four years ago, I gave a bridal shower for our eldest granddaughter, "Liz," one month before her wedding. Two weeks later they canceled the wedding. Liz did not return the gifts, nor did she write thank-yous for them. I was embarrassed by her lack of courtesy and appreciation to those who participated, as well as to me. Liz is a college graduate. Her mother, our daughter, knows better -- but apparently was not able to influence her daughter's behavior.

Soon afterward, the local daily paper had a series of articles on the frequency of wedding cancellations. It specifically said that unused gifts were to be returned, and that thank-yous were to be sent.

Abby, if another wedding is planned, Liz may expect me to host another bridal shower and include these same relatives. I plan to tell her that I hope to give one shower to each of our eight grandchildren, if I can. Am I being unreasonable? -- DISTRESSED GRANDMA

DEAR GRANDMA: Your granddaughter may suffer from "great expectations," but that doesn't mean you have to comply. A bridal shower is a gift, and you are under no obligation to host another one. It's not "unreasonable" to draw the line, and that's what you should do. However, it's possible that you won't be asked because it might have such strong associations for your granddaughter with the wedding that fell through. (Cross your fingers!)

DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement between my husband and me. When we get in line at the checkout stand at the grocery store, he says if the bar is not behind the groceries of the person in front of you, that we need to wait until they're done before putting our groceries on the counter. (Sometimes I can't reach the bar.)

I say it's rude for the shopper in front not to put up the bar if it's out of my reach, and I put the groceries on the counter, leaving an obvious space. Who's right? -- KATHY IN ORLANDO, FLA.

DEAR KATHY: You are. Now stop arguing.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600

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