DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 30s and have been happily married for almost six years. After two years of trying, we're finally expecting our first child.
The problem is, how do we handle questions as to whether or not we conceived naturally? I am appalled by people we hardly know asking if we did in vitro fertilization.
As a matter of fact, we DID conceive using IVF, after having tried numerous other options. We don't see anything wrong with it nor are we ashamed. But I don't think it is anyone else's business. Please help me respond properly without seeming as rude as those who ask. -- INTRUDED ON IN DALLAS
DEAR INTRUDED ON: Handle it by saying, "That is a very personal question and I'd rather not discuss it." That an acquaintance would have such little respect for boundaries to ask this question is appalling, I agree.
DEAR ABBY: My mother retired and since I have a degree and background in finance, she asked me to help her get her finances in order. She held low-paying jobs most of her working life, so I was pleasantly surprised to find she had amassed a substantial amount of money in her retirement and other accounts.
Together, Mom and I developed a budget that will not only pay her bills, but will also give her a certain amount of spending money each month while still allowing her savings to grow. Despite my assurances, she still won't treat herself to dinners out or go on nice vacations even though she says she'd like to do those things. How can I convince her that she deserves those things and she has the money now to enjoy them? -- WANTS THE BEST FOR MOM IN MICHIGAN
DEAR WANTS THE BEST FOR MOM: Recognize that the habits of a lifetime can be difficult to break. Your mother might be more open to dinners out if you go together. As to the vacations, do some research for her online or talk to a travel agent and get some brochures for vacation spots you think she might enjoy. It doesn't have to be fancy or exotic -- the greatest adventure can start with baby steps. Be patient and you may find she becomes receptive.
DEAR ABBY: I'm one of four guys who go on a men's golf trip every year. There's no infidelity -- just three days of golf and fine dining.
I no longer want to go because I'm tired of being the big brother, the referee and the designated driver while the others get drunk and obnoxious and are oblivious to others around us. I am also a physician who treats them and their families in my medical practice. How do I get out of this mess? I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. -- THE ODD MAN OUT
DEAR ODD MAN OUT: An effective way to manage it would be to tell them that the dates they have selected for the golf trip "don't work" for you. You don't have to be specific about why -- it could be a family obligation or something related to your practice that makes you unavailable.
HOWEVER, as their physician, if you know these patients drink to such excess that they become obnoxious, oblivious and a danger behind the wheel, it would be in their interests to talk to them about it during their medical exam because they're a danger to themselves and others.
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.