DEAR ABBY: I was taught that when you don't know a person's political affiliation, it is impolite to discuss politics, especially if it involves disparaging others (name-calling, putting down political candidates, etc.).

I am often approached by people seeking agreement with their views. They make insulting comments regarding the political views of others and then say, "Right?" This makes me terribly uncomfortable, so I often say nothing, which only further fuels them to continue their negative diatribes.

How do I stop these political assaults and let them know I find it rude without being rude myself?

"" WANTS TO BE POLITE IN COLORADO

DEAR WANTS TO BE POLITE: There is nothing impolite about saying, "You know, this topic of conversation is making me uncomfortable. Can we please change it?" And if the person persists, it is also not impolite to excuse yourself because you have some previous business to attend to. And that's what I'm advising you to do, because to stand and listen implies agreement.

DEAR ABBY: As Mother's Day approaches, please remind your readers to appreciate and SPEND TIME with their mothers while they are on this Earth. This year, Mother's Day will mark exactly one year since my dear, sweet mother died in my home. She had been living in a nursing home for more than two years, suffering from dementia, but got pneumonia. I brought her to my home from the hospital for the last two weeks of her life.

I am left with so many "what ifs" and "I should haves," but I did the best I could with what I knew then. I saw so many patients in the nursing home who seldom &

if ever &

had any visitors, it made me sick.

I just want everyone to take time in their busy lives to devote to their parents while they are still here. I am grateful that God gave us those last two weeks with Mom. I feel she knew where she was, and it brought all of us peace. There were too many times I was "too busy" with my family. Please just be there for your mom or dad.

"" WISHING MOM WERE HERE, IN EAU CLAIRE, WIS.

DEAR WISHING: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your dear mother. For you, Mother's Day will always carry with it a tinge of sadness. Please do not burden yourself further with "what ifs" and "should haves." Live in the moment. Regret is the cancer of life. When you visit the cemetery, you might find comfort in reciting the following prayer from the Hebrew Union Prayer Book:

"I remember thee in this solemn hour, my dear mother. I remember the days when thou didst dwell on earth, and thy tender love watched over me like a guardian angel. Thou hast gone from me, but the bond which unites our souls can never be severed; thine image lives within my heart. May the merciful Father reward thee for the faithfulness and kindness thou hast ever shown me; may he lift up the light of his countenance upon thee and grant thee eternal peace! Amen."

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are wondering if you could settle an etiquette question. We don't want our neighbors to hate us, so on Saturdays or Sundays, how early can we start using heavy lawn care equipment, like chain saws and wood chippers?

"" SLEEPING IN FROM CALIFORNIA

DEAR SLEEPING IN: You're asking the wrong person. Ask your neighbors and see if you can arrange a time that is agreeable to all of you. But first check to see what the local noise ordinance dictates.

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.