DEAR ABBY: I'm a 12-year-old girl who loves music and electronics. I sit on the swing and listen to music on my iPod through my earbuds. I do it at least a half-hour every day -- sometimes more.
When my grandma visited a few weeks ago, she tried to talk to me when I was giving my iPod my undivided attention. When I finally realized she was talking to me, I took my earbuds out so I could hear her. She told me the earbuds were going to make me deaf. (I listen on four or five notches.)
One night we were playing a card game where you have to play really fast and watch a gazillion piles of cards at once. The game made me dizzy, and I said so at the end of the round. Grandma said it was because of my iPod. It was all I could do to say politely, "No, it's not."
Is there a way to tell her to stop blaming my iPod for everything? I consider my iPod a friend. -- MUSIC LOVER IN ARIZONA
DEAR MUSIC LOVER: Loud noises can damage a person's hearing, and there is legitimate concern that the sound levels at which people listen to music cause hearing problems.
However, I suspect your grandmother is less concerned with the damage your iPod will do "on four or five notches" than she is about the fact that you don't give her your full attention when you're spending time together. I'm surprised your parents haven't mentioned to you that showing good manners means being polite, respectful and not ignoring your grandmother when she's trying to talk to you or play a game with you.
DEAR ABBY: My husband died unexpectedly eight months ago, leaving me with two young children to raise on my own. My parents are deceased. It has been a long, hard road since then. I have tried to make sure my in-laws continue having contact with my children, encouraging visits to my home and dropping the kids off at their homes when they have asked.
I recently let everyone know that, although I still miss my husband terribly, I have been lonely and I'm ready to start dating again. I was frankly unprepared for the barrage of absolute HATE that was sent my way by my husband's parents and siblings. They have cut off all contact with me and thus my children, which has left me stunned and sent my kids reeling from even more loss in their lives.
Is there something wrong or disrespectful with my wanting companionship and to be happy again? My in-laws seem to expect me to be in mourning forever, which is cruel and incredibly inconsiderate. Please help me find peace with all of this because it's tearing me up inside. -- IN TURMOIL IN DETROIT
DEAR IN TURMOIL: Your former in-laws may have been less upset had you waited a full year before letting "everyone" know that you're ready to start dating and going on with your life. Not knowing them, I can't be sure what has caused them to shun you and their grandchildren, who are their last link to their lost son and brother.
You may find peace through acceptance of the fact that as one chapter in life has closed, another is opening up and you will have a full life ahead of you. That is not wrong. As much as you may have loved your husband, now that he is gone you have every right to continue living a full and happy life with companionship and love. My deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your husband.
DEAR READERS: If you live in a state where daylight saving time is observed, don't forget to turn your clocks forward one hour before going to bed tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow. Hallelujah -- it'll be lighter later!
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