Dear Abby:

Your readers have a history of responding enthusiastically to the good advice you share with them. Because of that, I'm writing on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health and the Federal Citizen Information Center to offer our new, free Women's Health Information Kit. It contains some of Uncle Sam's best advice on more than a dozen health topics that concern today's women.

All of these materials are part of the Take Time to Care information series. Between caring for their families and staying busy at work, women are always on the go. That is why it's more important than ever for women to "take time to care" about their own health. Whether they're managing their medications, looking for ways to minimize their risk of heart attack or learning about menopause -- they'll find some great advice in our Women's Health Information Kit.

Thanks, Abby, for always providing timely, practical and good advice to your readers. And please ask them to place their orders now, because supplies are limited.

Marsha Henderson,

Acting Assistant Commissioner

for Women's Health,

Food and Drug Administration

I'm delighted to spread the word. Readers, as many of you know, the information in these special kits for women has been compiled by the government at taxpayer expense. That's why they're offered at no cost to you -- not even postage. I have reviewed the kit, and it contains a gold mine of handy-dandy information on topics that include heart disease (the leading killer of women in the United States), mammography, Pap smears, menopause, depression, strokes -- and more.

There are three ways to order this TTTC Women's Health Information Kit. Order online at www.pueblo.gsa.gov. Send your name and address to Women's Health Information kit, Pueblo, Colo. 81009. Or call toll-free 888-878-3256 weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and ask for the Women's Health Information Kit. If you're interested, don't wait. Do it today.

Dear Abby:

I have recently recovered from a life-threatening illness, and it has made me want to re-prioritize my life. I have decided I no longer want to spend holidays with some of my relatives. The person I specifically would like to eliminate from my life is vain, shallow and a tightwad -- even though her husband is well-off.

She insists on hosting holiday and family parties at her house, then tells everyone not only to bring the food but also to bring extra portions -- which she uses to feed her own family the following week.

The gifts she gives are either recycled, or stained and torn items of clothing she purchased from thrift stores. When I give her gifts, she tells me to return them and give her the money. If she admires something of mine, she'll beg until I give it to her, then return it to the store for the money or sell it in one of the garage sales she holds twice a month.

When her kids were little, her philosophy was that everyone else should drive them, baby-sit them, take them places and foot the bill. Reciprocation is not a word in her vocabulary. I feel life is too short to waste on people like this. Is this how people get rich?

Fed Up in San Diego

On the contrary. This is how people impoverish themselves in every way that's important.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2005, Universal Press Syndicate