Dear Ann:

I am a 40-year-old professional woman, married to a wonderful man. After numerous failed attempts to become pregnant, we have decided to adopt two infants from China.

The problem is my 74-year-old widowed father. I am his only child, and he is completely against our adopting children. Dad has told us repeatedly that if we go through with the adoptions, he will cut us out of his will and have no further contact with me or my husband.

Ann, I have told my father that his money is not important to me, but I would like his approval so he can enjoy being a grandfather. He will not listen to anything I say, and whenever we bring up the subject, he explodes in anger. We expect the adoption to go through within a few months. Should we continue to talk to Dad about this in the hope that he will change his mind, or should we just keep quiet?

-- Betwixt and Between in the Midwest

It sounds as if Grampa's mind is not only closed, but nailed shut. Say nothing more about the subject. I'll bet when the child puts his chubby arms around Grampa's neck, he will thaw out. If this doesn't happen, don't press the issue. Just figure it is his loss.

Dear Ann:

I'm tired of those West Coast grouches who think people who live in New York can't tell what time it is. They are angry when they get phone calls at 6 in the morning because some idiot on the East Coast can't figure out the time difference.

Let me tell you what it feels like to be on the other side. When it is 9 p.m. in California, it is midnight in Maine. Strange as it may seem, we "numbskulls" (their term, not mine) are not anxious to chat with the nice folks on the West Coast at that hour. Most of us are asleep. We don't like the phone waking us up at such a ridiculous hour, but you don't hear us complaining to Ann Landers.

Tell those sourpusses to try smiling instead. It's wonderful exercise for the face, and postpones wrinkling.

-- Lorraine in Waterville, Maine

I doubt that your letter will result in many smiles on the West Coast, but I'm sure you spoke for many readers on the East Coast, and I thank you. Please, folks, before you call someone in a different time zone, check with the operator if you aren't sure what time it is there.

Dear Ann:

Several years ago, I enclosed this clipping from the Oregon Register-Guard when I sent out my Christmas cards to all my friends and relatives. They thought it was pretty funny, so now I'm sharing it with you. I hope you will print it one of these days, maybe a few weeks before Christmas.

-- Billie in Springfield, Ore.

Here is your contribution, which will appear well before Christmas. I hope the fruitcake lovers (I am not among them) won't be offended:

An American Express survey about Christmas gifts found that the fruitcake was chosen most often from a list of "worst" holiday gifts.

It even finished ahead of "no gift at all," the second choice. Fruitcake was picked as the worst gift by 31 percent, "no gift" by 18 percent.

Anything that has to be assembled was third on the list of bad ideas, followed by damaged gifts, another tie or blouse, and a gift that needs batteries but doesn't come with them.

(C) 1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.

To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.