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Karma Cleanser 

Dear Karma Cleanser:
Last year for Christmas I gave my friend a subscription to a magazine that he'd told me he used to really love. He seemed genuinely pleased with the gift. A few weeks back I got a letter from the magazine asking if I'd like to renew the gift. I thought, "Why not? He seemed to like it."

Last weekend I happened to look in this friend's garage. There in a pile in a corner were a year's worth of the magazine I'd given him, gathering dust. What's worse, he had one issue on the edge of the cat's litter box, used apparently as a dust guard.

Naturally, I'm mortified. I feel like a fool for giving him a gift he didn't want. But I think it's very rude of him to treat this gift so thoughtlessly. Should I cancel the subscription?-- Not a People Person

Maybe you should ask him if he really liked the magazine, because you can't assume he hated it based on where the back issues are stored. If he says no, then cancel the subscription and get him something else. Don't lose sleep over a possible gift faux pas. Jeez, it's just a magazine.

Dear Karma Cleanser:
It's the old story that every new wife dreads: My husband's mother will hate me. Well, in my case, it came true. My mother-in-law is nice to me to my face, but she talks bad about me behind my back. We had some pretty ugly arguments leading up to the wedding, which led to me almost leaving my man.

After two years of marriage, "Sheila" and I finally reached something of a truce. Until my husband and I decided to move. Sheila came over and helped us pack. I was surprised by her kindness. But then, a month after we had moved, I was at Sheila's house and spotted an item on her top cabinet shelf that I'm almost certain is mine, an antique serving dish my grandmother gave to me.

I told my husband about it and he said he thought the dish wasn't the same one. But I can't seem to find my dish, which confirms my suspicions.

Do I confront Sheila about this? Or will I risk too much bad karma if it turns out I'm wrong? -- Wronged but Silent

Since you aren't 100 percent sure the dish is actually yours, and things tend to get lost during a move, first take a thorough inventory. If the heirloom doesn't surface, then stop and ask yourself: Is a plate worth more family drama? Maybe it is, in which case you'll need to confront Mama Sticky Fingers in such a way to maintain salvageable relationship. We can't help you there.

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