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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am being married in August. I'm going to have my bridal portrait taken, and I need to know if I'm supposed to wear my wedding ring in the photo session or my engagement ring. Also, how soon do I need to schedule the portrait session? -- BRIDE-TO-BE, PECOS, TEXAS

DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials. According to my wedding expert, you should schedule your wedding portrait to be taken sometime in the month before your wedding, and you should be photographed wearing only your engagement ring. Oops! That didn't come out right. You should also be wearing your wedding gown.

DEAR ABBY: I have an incredible career and was recently promoted to a position that requires frequent travel, which I love. Part of my job involves providing educational programming.

I invited my sister to help me with a couple of training sessions, and I covered the cost of her travel and meals.

Now she expects to travel with me on every trip. She has booked her own flights on two other trips already this year.

I have a hard time telling my sister no, but at the same time, I'm working when I am on these trips. I have meetings and events that I cannot include her in. She says she wants to learn "everything" about what I do so she can do it, too.

Abby, I worked more than 25 years to get to this point in my career. I would love for her to be in the same field, but she has never worked in it and doesn't always know how to talk to people. She jokes and makes inappropriate comments that leave me embarrassed and angry. How do I tell her I can't keep having her along for the ride? -- WOEFUL ROAD WARRIOR IN OHIO

DEAR ROAD WARRIOR: By stiffening your backbone, informing your sister what it was she has said -- and to whom -- that made you feel embarrassed and angry, and telling her that from now on you will be flying solo. The last thing you need at this point in your career is for her behavior to reflect on your performance. And it could.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, a question was raised about whether my mother might have been pregnant at the time of her wedding more than 30 years ago. I wasn't premature, and no, I never "did the math."

Not once in my life was there ever a hint of such a thing, and no one ever alluded to it over the years. I am shocked. Mother has been so proper all my life, and she raised my sister and me to be ladies under strict supervision. Why would she not tell us, even after we became adults -- wives and parents struggling with the same situations?

Should I let it go and respect Mother's obvious wish to keep it her own? Can I ask her without damaging our good relationship? Could there be another explanation? A big part of me wants to know the truth. -- CURIOUS IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR CURIOUS: I see nothing to be gained by bringing up something that you know could cause your mother pain or embarrassment. Because she "obviously" (your word) wishes to keep the matter private, my inclination would be to let it go.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)