weekend free-for-all – April 15-16, 2017

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Recommendation of the week: The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton, who’s the author of this realllllly good article in the New York Times, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.” This book in many ways is the continuation of that article, but as a novel about a marriage. It’s amazing.

{ 1,039 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Kyrielle

    Low-FODMAP Easter recipes and plans? :)

    If you’re using meat as a main, there are goodness knows enough recipes for that.

    I miss sweet potatoes, though.

    Reply
      1. Kyrielle

        Thank you! Tweaking for fodmaps, that’s a lovely-looking recipe.

        And yes, 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes – but the question is what else I’d eat with the same family of carbs (from the traffic light system, I’m going to bet mostly polyols). They’re red-lighted in my app, which is enough to make me prefer to avoid them.

        (Also, my husband tolerates them and my kids won’t touch them – so I can’t make more than I’m willing to eat. *wry*)

        Reply
  2. Anons

    Etiquette question. Is it proper to attend a memorial service for someone you didn’t personally know, but you want to support the immediate family of deceased by being there and you know one ofthose immediate family members? The time and location for the memorial have been announced publicly with a note that the actual burial services will be private.

    It feels like it would be appropriate to attend the memorial, but I seek advice just in case. This is certainly not an area of etiquette that I want to get wrong.

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Yes. In fact, in my culture, funerals are for the living, and we attend to support them first, honor the passed second.

      Reply
    2. Artemesia

      If a service is announced and open it is totally appropriate to go for someone who is grieving whom you know or to go if the deceased is someone you knew. It is a comfort to the survivors to have people who cared about their loved one attend and express their condolences (and absolutely write them a letter sharing some anecdote about the deceased- they will treasure it). And it is a comfort to the survivors to have people who care about them attend.

      I have attended wakes or funerals for parents of people I managed and once sadly for a child of someone I managed; they were thrilled to have the support and in one case clearly thrilled to be able to show off their boss to family as in ‘I am an important person at work and so my boss took time to be here) I have attended funerals for parents of close friends when I never met the deceased and have attended funerals for people I knew well. You can’t make a misstep here as long as the funeral is open.

      Reply
      1. Willow

        “And it is a comfort to the survivors to have people who care about them attend.”

        This. So much. When my mom died, I had friends come from work two hours away. And one of my mom’s friends, who had gone pretty much hermit and only left the house to get groceries, came to the funeral. It meant so much to me and my family.

        Reply
    3. The Cosmic Avenger

      Absolutely. I went to a couple of funerals for coworkers’ families, because we’re a pretty close team. (To clarify, one was a coworker’s mother and the other a different coworker’s husband, both coworkers with whom I talked a lot about non-work personal stuff, so I’d definitely consider them friends, but still work friends.) I don’t think I had ever met either family member, I just went to support my coworker/friend.

      Reply
    4. Belle di Vedremo

      If you’d like to go, please do. And if there’s a guest book, sign it. I learned from a friend that it wasn’t possible to notice everyone who came, and it was a gift to them to see the names (and any notes) of those who came for them.

      Reply
      1. Lucy

        Or, don’t sign it! I have looked at the guest book from my dad’s memorial exactly once, discussed with my sister and mom about how weird it is that so many people don’t write their names legibly, and am now using the remaining pages to keep track of my personal budget. It was an enormous waste of money and brought zero comfort to the immediate family, but made the extended family feel better that at least we were following tradition. But: in-person hellos and quick visits, personal notes and cards, phone calls, emails, flowers, donations made to charities in dad’s name … I remember those. Your sentimental mileage may vary, of course.

        Reply
    5. jamlady

      Yes, and in fact, I regret not going to support my oldest friend at her ex-bf’s funeral. I was far away and it was well-known he and I didn’t get along, so it felt like I shouldn’t go, but I regret not being there for her. I was also unsure of how appropriate it was to go, but I know now that it would have been totally okay.

      Reply
    6. dawbs

      yes-these are ceremonies for the living.
      And as uncomfortable and awkward as funerals can be (and I’ve been incredibly ‘zomgs, I didn’t know I could blush that red’ awkward at them), still, when it boils down to it, I’ve regretted skipping funerals but never regretted going to one.

      If nothing else, channel John Donne, and go.

      Reply
    7. MicroManagered

      Absolutely. My father in law passed away unexpectedly last week and the show of support from friends and coworkers (who’d never met the deceased) was very comforting.

      Reply
    8. LBK

      Absolutely. A friend from high school’s father recently passed away and I didn’t know the father too well but I knew my friend, his sister and mother. My attendance was to show support for them, not necessarily to remember the father.

      Reply
  3. Ayla K

    An old friend’s father passed away a week or two ago and I never reached out. I want to say something but I feel weird reaching out now. We were in the same social circle growing up and still leave near each other but haven’t hung out in about three or four years. What can I say to her? I feel like staying quiet isn’t the right move here.

    Reply
    1. Librariana

      Never too late. Your condolences two weeks ago would have been one of many. Condolences now may find a friend who is just starting to deal with grief, and may be very helpful.

      Reply
    2. Artemesia

      A week is no time. Write a letter or if that is too much find a pretty blank card and write a short note. ‘I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. We are thinking about you in this difficult time’ or if you pray — ‘you are in our prayers at this difficult time.’ My biggest regrets are NOT doing something like this when I should have. And a week is nothing.

      Reply
      1. Jen S. 2.0

        Seconded. A week is NOTHING. It’s not like she’s over it and has forgotten all about it and moved on by now, and you are bringing up old news. Send a card or a note.

        And you will never go wrong with “I was so terribly sorry to hear of your father’s passing. I am thinking of you at this difficult time, and remembering him fondly.”

        Reply
      2. Someone

        Just be careful about mentioning prayers — I would find that intrusive and awkward rather than a comfort.

        If you knew her father, a note remembering specific things about him can be nice.

        Reply
    3. Jessesgirl72

      Reach out. They will get all the attention in the immediate time. It’s after the services and hoopla are over that the reaching out really means the most.

      Reply
    4. Blue eagle

      Just sending a card is fine. When my Dad and Mom passed, I appreciated the cards I received a week or two afterward, (particularly if the sender had a parent who passed and included a short note).

      No matter how long it is after the event, it is better to send a card to acknowledge it than to just ignore it. It kind of hurts and makes you feel even more sad when friends ignore the passing of someone close to you.

      Reply
    5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

      Agree that a week is nothing. A *year* after Mom died, an old friend sent me a card apologizing for not being there for me during my time of need and explaining she was going through some things which she didn’t want to put on my plate if she’d come.
      I had noticed her absence but wasn’t holding it against her, but that she was still thinking of me and my loss was actually comforting. No one checks on the bereaved weeks and months after the loss, so coming in later isn’t a bad thing IMO.

      Reply
    6. Connie-Lynne

      Definitely send a card or reach out otherwise. It’s been eight weeks since my husband died and I’m still getting letters, and I appreciate each one.

      Reply
  4. Lady Jay

    Easter dinner: Ham or lamb?

    Probably neither for me this year, as I’m not able to travel to be with family; but growing up, it was always ham. There was an interesting article in the NYT about it this last week. (I’ll put it in the comments). Just curious what you all eat.

    Reply
    1. the gold digger

      I don’t remember what we had when I was a kid, but now, we make steak or beef tenderloin or something else fancy for the big holidays. (And cream cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped jalapenos, which are a pain in the neck to make but so good.)

      Neither my husband nor I like turkey or ham (unless it’s serrano ham, of which we lost $100 worth to customs years ago because apparently, it is illegal to bring uncooked meat products into the US) and we decided we were going to liberate ourselves from the constraints of tradition.

      Reply
    2. FDCA In Canada

      My family always had ham growing up for both Christmas and Easter dinner. For Easter we’d pack up the ham, bread, and eggs, and take them to church on Saturday to be blessed, and then Easter dinner would be ham, potato salad, devilled eggs, kielbasa and sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, pierogies, rye bread and a butter lamb, hard-boiled eggs with horseradish, and a cake for dessert. I had actually never eaten lamb until university and even now I could probably count the times I’ve had it on one hand.

      Reply
    3. bassclefchick

      My mother doesn’t like ham, so she refuses to make it. The rest of my family hates lamb, so I won’t get that. Growing up, we had some sort of roast beef. Now, we go out for brunch. So, I get ham if I want it, mom doesn’t have to cook, and everyone is happy.

      Reply
    4. Gene

      Since my wife will be doing prep for The Test on Monday, neither. She’ll be having clear fluids and I’ll be continuing my bacon fast.

      Reply
    5. Colette

      Turkey, because I like turkey. (We didn’t have turkey when I was a kid, though – it might have been ham, but brrf or chicken were other possibilities.)

      Reply
    6. Sparkly Librarian

      Most years it’s quiche. My aunt hosts the family Easter, and that is what she makes. I don’t like quiche, so I make do with deviled eggs, fruit salad, and — if I’m lucky — bacon. But this year my aunt and uncle are traveling, AND Easter and my birthday fall on the same weekend. So my mom is having people over to celebrate, and she’s making lamb. Yay!

      Reply
    7. Jessesgirl72

      Lamb! :) We had lamb most often growing up. Only if my dad’s stepmother was coming would we do ham, as she doesn’t like lamb, or if it were a particularly tight year financially.

      I really should make a Meijer’s run for a cheap ham, though.

      Reply
    8. Cajun Lady

      Louisiana woman here and it is crawfish for Easter every year! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

      Reply
    9. Jen RO

      Lamb is traditional in Romania. Some people hate its taste and smell, but I love it, so I can’t wait! My mom and grandma made lamb soup, roast and drob (sort of like haggis).

      Reply
      1. Ann Furthermore

        I love lamb. I grew up in Saudi Arabia, and my mom made it often. Many times the beef selections at the markets left a lot to be desired, and of course, pork was not an option.

        My husband likes it now, but when we started dating, he’d never tried it before.

        Reply
    10. KS girl at heart

      We always had ham at Easter growing up. We always have the holidays at the in laws due to space constraints and sometimes I can get away with bringing a ham. This year my MIL is making a full turkey dinner which just feels wrong to me. Not “spring-y” I guess. I’ve always wanted to try lamb but I haven’t been brave enough to buy any.

      Reply
      1. Temperance

        I just commented below, but I always felt that rich people and fancy people ate turkey. (My family did ham. I hate ham.)

        Reply
      2. Willow

        I don’t like lamb itself, but I love love love the amazing lamb-and-lentil stew at my Moroccan restaurant. That might be a good way to ease into the lamb flavor.

        Reply
    11. Kit

      I grew up with tourtière for Easter (french canadian meat pie), but my fiancé had lamb. I don’t know if I’ll do Easter dinner this year. I’m a butcher so this time of year has been INTENSE getting everyone else in the city their Easter and Passover meats.

      Reply
      1. Ann Furthermore

        There used to be a show on Food Network, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, with Anne Burrell. She did an Easter episode once, and started with a fresh ham, and demonstrated how to brine it and treat it. As she was working, she told a story about a friend who had ordered a fresh ham for Easter, and then called her in a panic. “OMIGOD WHAT THE HECK IS THIS THING???” She was not expecting to have to do anything to it. LOL.

        Reply
        1. Kit

          hah! I ask each of my customers who order a ham a TONNE of questions so they don’t get a surprise. Getting a smoked ham when you expected a fresh ham, or a country ham when you expected a city ham, is the worst!

          Reply
    12. Temperance

      My family always made ham. My in-laws only make ham. I totally hate ham, so this is sad for me.

      I always had the opinion that fancy people/rich families ate turkey on Thanksgiving.

      Reply
      1. New Bee

        This is so interesting! My grandmother, who is certainly not rich, always made one or two turkeys for Thanksgiving. She’d buy them when they were randomly on sale (in June/July) and freeze them until November.

        Reply
        1. Jessesgirl72

          And my working class dad and grandfathers always got a turkey or later a voucher from the Union/Company for turkeys at Thanksgiving and Hams at Christmas. We’d eat for days off those things.

          Reply
    13. The IT Manager

      I didn’t even know lamb was traditional for some people.

      Ham for my family.

      We already had crawfish for Good Friday and many Fridays during Lent.

      Reply
      1. Talvi

        Neither did I, until I was invited to Christmas dinner by a coworker when I was in France. She was astonished that I had never had lamb before, because it was the traditional Easter food in France.

        Reply
      2. Mallory Janis Ian

        My family always had ham for Christmas and Easter, and turkey for Thanksgiving. I’ve never had lamb. My husband said his mom cooked lamb once, and all the kids cried for the poor little lamb (although they apparently had no sympathy for the pig or the turkey).

        Reply
      3. Tau

        This thread has taught me that some people eat ham for Easter, which I never knew. Lamb is 100% traditional over here, although my family doesn’t really stick to tradition and tends to do something random every year (one time we had sushi).

        Reply
        1. nonegiven

          The only lamb I’ve never seen in OK that wasn’t on the hoof, was in the grocery store imported from New Zealand.

          Reply
          1. The IT Manager

            True. Lamb comes from ethnic restaurants around here. I mean I’m sure the grocery store has a little, but locals around here don’t cook with lamb often – not part of our cuisine.

            Reply
    14. Maxwell Edison

      I’m making beef Wellington; we all like it, and DS had a rough week with school testing so it would cheer him up.

      Reply
    15. Lady Bug

      BBQ for Easter and every holiday except Thanksgiving when we do turkey. Not worth having to wash dishes.

      Reply
    16. Nicole

      We always had ham growing up so that’s what I make now. My stepdaughter doesn’t care for it so I got a rotisserie chicken as well. I’m baking a carrot cake from scratch too. It’s a new tradition I started a year or two ago.

      Reply
    17. Overeducated

      I don’t remember if we had an Easter tradition (like Elizabeth i just cared about camdy!), but my family did have lamb with mint jelly once or twice a year. Never, ever ham.

      My in laws seem to be into ham for just about all occasions, and since we’re doing Easter with them this year I assume that’s the main dish. This is unfortunate because my husband, kid, and I all dislike ham.

      Reply
    18. Al Lo

      Either ham or turkey.

      My MIL made steak tonight, though. I think my mom will probably do a ham tomorrow. If I’m cooking, it’s typically a ham.

      Reply
      1. Chocolate Teapot

        Lamb Gigot currently in oven on a bed of leeks and garlic. My local supermarket often has an Easter special offer on lamb joints and I got a nice one this year. Mind you, I always have to buy rosemary and it never gets used for the rest of the year.

        I have just started eating chocolate again too, but after Lent, it feels a bit odd. I have bought a french frozen Easter dessert for later (Chocolate and orange in an egg shape), so we’ll see how that goes.

        Reply
    19. Sorgatani

      Late to the party, but it’s always been lamb for my family.
      Got to admit that I never even thought of ham as an option, but that might be my Australian roots showing – the article does mention Australians liking their lamb.
      My family usually does a midday roast for Easter, and this years’ dinner consisted of a chicken loaf, a few salads and general leftovers.

      Reply
  5. ljs_lj

    Women’s clothing question: Do people wear slips anymore?

    I haven’t really worn dresses or skirts over the last five or ten years, but I want to get back into it this summer – I’ve lost some weight and also my new job’s dress code does not allow shorts, even for people in non-customer-facing roles; I’m too short for capris. The question of slips came up in a conversation with my mom and the idea of not wearing a slip at all was just scandalous to her. I’m thinking it’s generation issue and that times have changed, but I honestly don’t know.

    What do you guys think? Does it depend on circumstances?

    Reply
    1. Annie Mouse

      I think it depends on the dress or skirt, I wear a petticoat (which I think are similar to slips) under certain skirts or dresses but not all of them.

      Reply
    2. neverjaunty

      All of the skirts I have either have a lining (i.e., the slip is built in) or they’re heavy enough that you wouldn’t have needed a slip anyway. I think your mom missed the innovation of not having the slip being a separate garment?

      Reply
      1. Myrin

        I did not realise that’s the kind of slip we’re talking about until this comment (or that underskirts are even called “slips”. I’d like to think of myself as a farily proficient English speaker but this stuff can seriously escape me). Oh my. But yeah, I agree fully with this.

        Reply
    3. nnn

      I haven’t worn slips since the 80s, and I wear skirts and dresses every day in the summer. I don’t even know offhand where to buy a slip.

      Reply
      1. Amadeo

        Any department store. I picked one up in the last year for my mother at JCP. So I’m sure other places like Macy’s, Kohls, Dillards and so on still have at least a small rack of them.

        Reply
        1. dawbs

          I’ve actually found it reasonably hard to FIND slips, even at these sorts of places anymore.
          Maybe regional?

          (and lets hear it for the half-slip as being the proper way to do slips, if you must slip. Not having to fight with it on 4 quadrants of my toros, only 2–and it’s the 2 that are most cooperative for this part, = an improvement to the crap I was forced into wearing to church as a child.)

          Reply
    4. blue

      I think it is generational, because sips have definitely gone out of fashion. But it also depends on the fabric and the cut of the dress. Some dresses need a slip to hang right, or the fabric will keep getting caught on your tights/legs and just look horrible. And those retro circle skirts are almost always worn with a slip and then puffy nets

      Reply
      1. SouthernLadybug

        This. For me it depends on fabric and cut. (And definitely check when you are backlit to be safe). For work – I wear one if there is any doubt at all about how opaque the skirt is.

        Reply
    5. Artemesia

      I like a cotton half slip under skirts especially if there is any chance the sunlight shines through. They are super hard to find and nylon slips are hot and clingy. I have an old somewhat ratty cotton half slip that I only keep because I haven’t been able to replace it.

      If no one can tell if you are wearing a slip — no harm no foul. If the silhouette will show in the light, then wear a slip or peti pants.

      Reply
      1. Ellen

        The Vermont Country Store has the nicest, softest cotton half-slips. They last forever and get softer every time you wash them,

        Reply
    6. NicoleK

      It depends on the thickness of the material, sheerness of the material, and color of the fabric. I won’t wear a slip under a skirt/dress made of heavier knit or denim. But a light colored summery cotton skirt/dress, then I’ll wear a slip.

      Reply
    7. Lady Jay

      I haven’t worn a slip in years. Nor do I wear shoulder pads, or hosiery. Hallelujah. So glad that we’re moving beyond these particular “necessities” of women’s fashion.

      Reply
    8. Handy nickname

      I always wear a silk half slip under skirts or dresses (early 20s), mainly to make sure it’s not see through in the light. I wear dresses fairly rarely, but live with my mother and pretty sure it would be a catastrophe if I didn’t (something like wearing a white shirt with no bra) and it’s not really the hill I want to die on.

      Reply
    9. Awkward Interviewee

      I don’t wear slips in the summer. In winter I’ll wear a slip with some skirts if I’m also wearing tights – the slip helps the skirt not get caught on the tights and ride up.

      Reply
    10. waffles

      i only rediscovered slips a few years ago, but i wear them with any dresses where the fabric always stuck to my legs, jersey dresses that i wore to work to give them a bit of extra substance and not have the outline of my butt be so visible. i also like to wear slips if i dont feel like wearing underwear. but i have only ever worn slips with unlined clothes.

      Reply
    11. FDCA In Canada

      I own a couple, but I only ever wear them with skirts or dresses that are either very sheer, or won’t lie right otherwise and keep getting caught on my tights or whatever. Even then I’m not a fan of them.

      Reply
    12. Ktelzbeth

      I wear a slip if the dress/skirt will be see through otherwise or if I’m wearing hosiery, since it helps keep the skirt from catching on the hosiery and riding up. I still wear hosiery since it gets really cold in the winter where I am and I need the insulation. There are also a few skirts, usually sheer or lighter weight, that just don’t hang right without that extra layer.

      Reply
    13. FD

      I think it depends on the material. I find that static cling causes some skirts to cling annoyingly to one’s legs, and a slip prevents it, so I definitely like to wear something with stretchy nylon that doesn’t have a liner.

      But what I like best are those slip-shorts things you can wear. My legs sweat and I end up with chafing a lot of the time if I wear a skirt; slip shorts prevent static cling and chafing. Best of both worlds!

      Reply
      1. Paige Turner

        Slip shorts are the bestttttt! I buy the Jockey ones at Target, and I use Static-X for any cling. I am not a girly dresser in general but skirts/dresses are so much better than pants when it’s 90 degrees out.

        Reply
    14. HannahS

      I wear a slip only if the neck of the dress is too deep and I want more coverage, or if it’s clingy (usually a knit dress, esp. with tights). Otherwise, no. Definitely not in the summer with, like, a sundress or a skirt.

      Reply
    15. Jessesgirl72

      My mom is the only one I know who still wears a slip.

      She also never goes bare-legged, but always wears hose or tights.

      Reply
      1. Parenthetically

        My mother, on the other hand, has fully rebelled against pantyhose and wears them only in black and only in situations of direst necessity (a very formal event in winter, where swishy formal pants wouldn’t cut it, for example), ever since a boss of hers decided that “appropriate hosiery” for female employees meant she had to wear pantyhose EVEN UNDER PANTS, even in the summer. And no, knee-high stockings were not appropriate; she asked.

        Reply
        1. Dr. KMnO4

          Your mom’s boss sounds terrible. First of all, how would he (and yes, I do assume it’s a he, because no rational woman I’ve ever met would insist on such a ridiculous dress code) even know if she were wearing pantyhose and not knee highs? Second of all, WHY??? I can see why your mom rebels against pantyhose.

          Reply
          1. Parenthetically

            It was a woman, if you can believe it! She also had a sick policy that said, “If you are well enough to get to the phone to call in sick, you are well enough to come in to work.”

            I think she was ridiculously, comically insecure about her authority and/or and so took stupid, draconian positions to shore up her power. This with a staff of about 10.

            Reply
    16. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      I was just at the store today getting some lighter hose for spring and walked out realising I forgot to check out slips too.

      I find a lot of today’s clothes too thin or unlined (when they really ought to be) and started thinking a few weeks ago that having a slip handy would be a Good Thing. Im also not handy enough to sew in a liner to any new clothes (nor do I think I need to). I’m under 40 but seem to be getting more conservative with age! :) Also I think it would provide a better “line” under clothes; I do cut off the ends of hosiery with runs to make Ghetto Spanx, which I wear under dresses in summer and under my pant suit for interviews, just to keep everything smooth.

      Reply
      1. Ann Furthermore

        Love the term Ghetto Spanx. LOL!!

        I read an interview with Oprah once, and she was asked what the first indulgence she remembered treating herself to when she started raking in the bucks. She said that for years, if she got a run in her hose, she’d cut the leg with the run off, and then combine it with another one-legged pair to make a whole pair of nylons. She said when she started making money, as soon as her nylons got even the tiniest snag, not even a run, those babies went right into the trash.

        Reply
    17. Jen S. 2.0

      Full disclosure: I refer to my Spanx-like garments as slips to keep myself from being irritated at having to wear them in the first place.

      But if I wear a slip, there’s usually a reason — the garment is sheer or itchy; or the undergarment creates a smoothing effect or keeps the dress from clinging. But if the dress looks fine without it, then no, I don’t add an extra layer underneath just because It’s What You Are Supposed To Do.

      I also HAAAAAAATE being hot, so I especially don’t go out of my way to add an extra layer of polyester / nylon / elastic underneath clothes in the summer.

      Reply
      1. Kit

        I also call my shapewear slips for the same reason. Most of mine are slip-like anyway, and perform the same opacity/anti-cling duties as a slip along with their smoothing qualities.

        Slips were mainly for smoothing out the bumps and lines from foundation pieces in the first half of the 20th century, anyway. Modern shapewear just combines the girdle and slip into one garment.

        Reply
      2. Jen S. 2.0

        I should have added to the part about HAAAAAAAAAATING being hot that I run very hot. I am hot when others are comfortable, and I am comfortable when others are cold. It takes a LOT to make me cold enough to do something about it, and one degree above comfortable is when I freak out. I have lived in my DC apartment for 9 years and have never turned on the heat (it’s an old building, I have a space heater that I sometimes turn on for an hour, the surrounding units create plenty of heat, I turn on the oven when I cook, and I can always put on socks or a sweatshirt).

        I attended a black-tie event tonight in a stretch velvet floor-length halter dress, and just when I finally cooled off a bit (granted, I was on the hostess committee and was running around), other ladies were pulling up their shawls and stealing their dates’ coats.

        I was driving somewhere with my mother, and my window fogged up several times despite my clearing it. She wondered aloud why, and I said it was because I was hot, so my body heat had steamed the window. Her: “Wow. I always thought you were exaggerating. You really DO get hot before everyone else. I’m perfectly comfortable.”

        So, I might consider adding an extra layer (slip, hose, etc.) if I needed warmth… but the last time I truly needed a layer for warmth? I was attending a football game (outdoors), in Ann Arbor, in November, when it was sleeting, and I was at the tail end of a bad cold.

        Reply
    18. Elizabeth West

      I think it would depend on the dress. I can’t even remember the last time I saw one in a store. But I rarely wear skirts anymore anyway unless I can wear tights underneath because I don’t have a thigh gap (oh the chub rub).

      Reply
    19. Jen RO

      I wouldn’t even know where to buy one! Most of my dresses have a built-in one, and I just avoid buying see-through clothing.

      Reply
    20. The Other Dawn

      I’m 42. My mom always wore one, as do my sisters. I do feel it’s somewhat generational, which is based only on my observations in both my work and social life.

      For me, it depends on the type of material. If it’s thin and a bit see-through, or is a material that tends to cling to my pantyhose, I wear a slip. If it’s non-see-through or is cling-free, no. (And, in case anyone cares, I’m pro-pantyhose. And even though I can’t wear them right now due to surgery, I wear stay-up thigh-highs if I wear a skirt. Several friends, co-workers, and family members suggested going without, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.)

      Reply
    21. printrovert

      It’s been years! I usually wear long skirts when I do wear skirts and I rarely wear dresses, so I haven’t needed to. But this is a good question, and actually, I wonder how many women still use pantyhose (she said, under the impression that those under the age of 35 may choose bare legs…)

      Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        I still wear pantyhose. Although I’m definitely in the minority at work. I see lots of bare legs, typically. I’ve also seen some skirts and dresses that really require a slip, and it’s very easy to tell one wasn’t worn…

        Reply
      2. RebeccaNoraBunch

        I’m in my early 30s and I wear pantyhose/tights in the winter and when I want to be formal. Generally I wear dark or patterned tights, but I wear legit pantyhose for job interviews or other very formal events. In the summer I wear bare legs, but I live in the South and it’s hot for 6 months out of the year.

        Reply
        1. printrovert

          Yeah, I live in NC and most of the time hose is too uncomfortable for me. I think the last time I wore a pair was several years ago at a wedding. I generally just avoid formal occasions where I am obligated to wear a dress or shorter skirt. And if fact, this is my goal for the next wedding I have to go to (unless it’s my own, that is):

          Reply
    22. chickabiddy

      I do not usually wear slips but I do often wear cotton knit petti-pants, which are hideous but prevent thigh chafing without being binding and sweaty (I live in the South and do not want to wear tight things that don’t breathe).

      Reply
    23. Liane

      Because I always end up chafed on the inside of my thighs, especially in warm weather, I wear divided half slips. I don’t recall what they are called, but they are like very loose shorts made in slip fabric. I have several in 2 different lengths. I need to get some more.

      Reply
      1. Triceratops

        I’m intrigued so I just looked it up — they’re called pettilegs for anyone else who is interested!

        Reply
    24. Lucy

      Not generational, and not out of fashion – it just depends on what kind of fashion you follow, and there are a whole lot of people who are very into lovely undergarments. If you can see through the skirt or dress, wear a slip or half-slip. If you can’t, don’t. There are many women at my place of work who seem to think it’s a generational thing, or don’t have access to a full-length mirror + light, or who are exhibitionists, or who just don’t know that sometimes you can see EVERYTHING under certain fabrics in certain lights. I’m talking black thongs fully visible under a wispy peach-coloured dress, or white lacy underwear under blue linen.

      Reply
    25. Triceratops

      Totally depends! They’re certainly not expected or necessary at all times these days.

      I’ll typically wear them if my skirt is at all sheer or if I’m wearing a wrap dress (since it could, in theory, blow open in a strong gust of wind).

      Reply
    26. Nic

      I have a few, but generally only wear them if the skirt or dress is sheer at all, or if I’m wearing a dress that generally hugs ALL the curves, and I want a little more leeway. I’m also more likely to wear a slip when I’m dressing up than if I’m throwing on a comfy dress to run errands.

      I think it is generational. As a child I wore a slip every time I was in a dress because that’s what mom always did.

      Reply
    27. Kaybee

      Slip shorts! I and many of my friends wear them under dresses. Some people discussed shapewear above, but there are lots of slip shorts out there that aren’t shapewear if you don’t want to feel compressed. My favorite are Undersummers. Slip shorts are a life saver if you have any chafing issues, and they keep you modest if your dress is thin or if it’s windy outside etc.

      Reply
    28. ket

      Love half-slips, almost always wear them. If I’m wearing tights in fall they prevent the bunching-up of the skirt; if it’s summer they deal with the sheerness factor of a lot of skirts these days and prevent underwear show-through; they help the skirt fall more gracefully & then the skirt doesn’t ever stick to your butt on a really hot day. I rebel against plenty of stupid ‘requirements’ of femininity but I feel that slips are really just an engineering success. They lengthen the life of the fabric of the skirt & allow you to launder it less often. I buy them at Target. They’re cheap.

      Reply
  6. Refrigerators!

    Help! I think my refrigerator is dying, or at least, the freezer seems to not be freezing. It’s a really old refrigerator so not super surprised but I’ve never bought one. How do you even get started? a cursory glance seems to show refrigerators from $350/$400s to … huge amount.

    Reply
      1. Artemesia

        This. We once bought a stove for $200 less because of a dent on the side which was totally invisible once it was installed.

        Reply
      2. Jessesgirl72

        We always shop the scratch and dent section of Lowes. We got an amazing deal on a refrigerator with the tiniest dent that way, and an even more amazing deal on a gas range that had been special ordered, and then lost in transit, so they ordered another one, and the original showed up. Not EVEN a spot on it, but they had to sell it at a deep discount because Lowes has strict rules about what can be out on the floor.

        Reply
      3. dawbs

        YES! We got ours there.
        I found exactly the one I wanted (thewirecutter.com = the best review site, IMO), and then waited for it to show up at the ‘sears outlet’ near me. saved $400 because there’s a dent on the side, which conveniently is where we put a large magnet permanently :P)

        Reply
      4. Ann Furthermore

        We ended up with a set of GE Profile double ovens once for 50% off because the box had been opened — not even a scratch and dent situation. Someone had bought them, and then refused delivery on them because they changed their mind. Unbelievable. It was such a good deal we couldn’t pass it up, and finally decided it was a sign to do the kitchen remodel that we’d been wanting to do.

        Reply
    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      We checked Consumer Reports. If you don’t have a subscription, you could try your local library…I could also list their Recommended or Best Buy models if you give me a few limitations (doors, size) to narrow it down.

      We wound up going with a Haier HT21TS45SW, because to get anything wider we would have to completely remodel our kitchen and we aren’t really ready for a huge project like that right now, so we got a placeholder, so to speak. (Not expensive enough that we’d regret replacing it in a huge remodel, but not a cheapo piece of crap.)

      Reply
    2. JBH

      We have a program with our utility that gives you a rebate for recycling your fridge. They even come and pick it up for free.
      We also have a Habit ReStore–it is a shop run by the Habitat For Humanity charity and they often have new but discontinued or with minor scratches.

      Reply
    3. KR

      For appliances you’re going to be using every day I always think the best course is to go to Home Depot and open/touch/play with all of them! Then go to a Best Buy, then a Lowes, ect. Get a feel for what brands you like, what features you like. Then you can shop around for older models, sales, and super deals with an idea of what you like.

      Reply
    4. Artemesia

      Also. Sometimes an old refrigerator has just lost coolant over years and just having that replaced gives it a few more years. And sometimes there is a lot of dust on the coils that makes it inefficient and then pulling years of hidden dust off the coils — just pull the refrigerator out and dust — will solve the problem. We have extended the life of refrigerators for years doing this.

      Reply
    5. Casuan

      Friends have found good used frigos at a scratch-&-dent store & Craig’s List. Other friends have made excellent appliance [not a frigo] & furniture purchases from LetGo.
      Probably I’d go for a new frigo because it is a major appliance & I don’t want to deal with ramifications if a used product isn’t as advertised. It’s always worth asking a shop if it will sell the floor model.

      Reply
    6. danr

      First, see what the dimensions are for your current refrigerator. If you like what it holds, look for something close. If it’s in a space that seems built for it, don’t get something that will be taller or wider. Now, go shopping online to get an idea of what’s out there and prices. Also, make sure that taking away the old refrigerator is included in the delivery.
      One thing you will notice after a month… you’ll be using less electricity.

      Reply
    7. EN

      I work in appliance marketing. I’d start by figuring out the amount of space you have for it in your kitchen and the configuration you prefer–top freezer, side by side, french door/bottom freezer, etc. Do you have a cutout it needs to fit in meaning you’d like a counterdepth model so it doesn’t stick out? Then go to the stores and ask about brands/check out features. Sales associates can give you good advice on what lasts, has a good repair history, etc. You can also find that online. Scratch and dent is also a great option for low prices. I wouldn’t go used, as refrigerator models are getting so much more energy efficient.

      Reply
    8. Chaordic One

      If go the scratch and dent route, remember you can buy tools to remove (or at least minimize the appearance of) the dent. You can also buy special paints to fill in chips or scratches. Although it won’t look like a new one, it might be something you could live with.

      Reply
    9. nonegiven

      Cheapest problem that causes that is a bad defrost timer. If you can look up the model you may be able to find instructions online to turn the timer onto defrost. If it starts cooling after it’s defrosted, that’s your problem. They normally may defrost 1-4 times a day.

      To find out, you just need to know where it is and a screwdriver to turn the timer.

      Reply
    10. OhBehave

      Probably too late…We have a Habitat ReStore center. People, businesses, etc. who are remodeling bring their gently used items (cabinets, flooring, appliances, décor, etc. you name it, they most likely have it!). It’s a great place to find something perfectly fine but at very low prices.

      Reply
  7. Ruth (UK)

    I finally ran my half marathon! It was really awesome. I did it in 2:01:49 – I don’t feel like I ever really ‘hit a wall’ but I was definitely feeling rather ill from about 9 miles. It was a hot day, 22 deg. C and solid blue skies. The route went through rape fields (I am so going to get moderated for that… I believe in America you call rape ‘canola’?) and the smell was very heavy! I was getting sort of hot and cold flush feelings a bit like when you get the flu. I’ve also got a tremendous sunburn – oops!

    Anyway, my friend who I entered with, he shot off at the start. I caught up to him about 4 miles in and ultimately I was 16 minutes faster. I said I didn’t hit a wall… Actually, I think I hit one the next morning!! (he says he hit a wall at 11 miles. There was a bit of a hill at that point)

    Anyway it was amazing and I had some great conversations with people along the route. In one village, people had come out of their houses to spray the runners with water (as it was so hot). They were playing music and basically throwing a party – it gave me a huge boost. (my legs might stillll ache a little… Race was last Sunday! But I also am now thinking of entering a full marathon, perhaps in Feb 2018… Dun dun daa..

    Anyway if anyone has ever considered doing one (a half marathon) it’s definitely an amazing experience! Ps. It’s also great training for 5k it turns out – new pb on the parkrun this morning of 24:54.

    Ohyeah, silly thing but I cannot work out how to drink water out of a cup while running at the water stations! I resorted to sort of throwing the water at my face with my mouth open…

    Reply
    1. Annie Mouse

      Well done!! Glad it’s not put you off doing more :)

      And sorry, your last sentence made me think of the guy in Airplane and his ‘drinking problem’ and made me laugh!!

      Reply
    2. Awkward Interviewee

      If the water cups are paper, the trick is to pinch the rim of the cup so that one end is narrow, almost like a spout. Then you can sort of pour the water into your mouth. Sounds weird, but it works.

      Reply
      1. Ruth (UK)

        I’ll have a go at that next time. I noticed a few people being sick after the 9.5 mile water station. It was a hot day and i think people were gulping it then running :(

        Reply
      2. Zathras

        I find it also helps to think of “getting the water into your mouth” as a separate step from the act of swallowing. If you try to do it all together it’s easier to accidentally inhale the water.

        I often will just slow to a walk for ~10 feet at the water stops, especially in a longer race – the time lost is negligible, and definitely less time than it takes if you have to stop and cough water you inhaled.

        Reply
      1. Ruth (UK)

        I only took up running in January but have generally always been athletic, and have done some endurance events in cycling previously (plus a bit of swimming and rowing at uni) so I’m a novice runner but it’s not quite fair for me to claim to be new to endurance sports as a whole – the race type is different but the mindset is the same and I do feel that’s a large part of it for long events :D

        Reply
        1. Ruth (UK)

          Ps. Though I did get a bit psyched out on the day when several people who know me and were also running expressed disbelief when I said I wanted to start in the 2 hour predicted finish area… I ended up starting with the 2:15 predictors as people told me 9 minute miles would be unrealistic and I’d not finish. I was behind my planned pace for the first several miles before deciding to go for it. In the later miles I did a lot of overtaking

          Reply
          1. SouthernLadybug

            And now you know! I find it can be a nice psychological plus when you are passing people at the end. As opposed to being passed as you crash. I’ve been in both situations – feeling strong is definitely more fun ;)

            Reply
          2. Headachey

            Ruth, that is exactly the perfect way to pace a race, particularly a longer distance you haven’t raced before. It should feel too slow at first, comfortable in the middle, and hard at the end. If you feel pretty good at the end, then you know you can be more aggressive next time. Take off fast at the beginning and you end up like your friend, burning all your matches early in the race. Very nicely done on your part!

            Reply
        2. fposte

          Yeah, that probably helps a lot with both the mental frame and the cardio. I still love the fact that you were in the beginning just running in cords, though; it was such a practical, anti-merchandising, don’t-give-a-damn move that it really delighted me.

          Reply
          1. Ruth (UK)

            Once the weather gets cold again I will absolutely be running in my cords again. I maintain they are fantastic for running in!

            Reply
    3. CheeryO

      I knew you were going to be pretty close to 2:00 flat! A better day and you would have had it. Either way, absolutely superb time for a first half, congrats!

      Reply
      1. CheeryO

        Oh, I just saw that your friends shook your confidence in your goal time. I’m sorry. In the future, maybe use a running calculator (McMillan is a good one) to figure out a reasonable goal based a recent 5K time.

        Reply
    4. Jo

      Congrats on the achievement! That sounds like a wonderful experience – rape fields are glorious on a bright sunny day!

      Reply
    5. AJaya

      Congrats! I remember when you mentioned that you had just started running. What an amazing accomplishment is such a short amount of time.

      Reply
  8. Lily Evans

    I got back from my trip a couple days ago! It was absolutely amazing! The weather in Iceland wasn’t super great, but the scenery was still gorgeous and I met some really cool people in my hostel there. On the other hand, the weather for my week in London was unbelievable. The rain poncho I bought just for the trip stayed untouched in my bag and I even got a little sunburned while I was there. I also met a bunch of people from different countries in that hostel, since I was there the full week I cycled through quite a few roommates!

    In the end I let my parents know about the trip after I had already landed in Reykjavik, which they’re not very happy about (Easter brunch will be fun tomorrow…), but it was what was best for my anxiety, which was strong enough right before I left that I couldn’t have handled them worrying at me as well. Apparently, though, I’ve finally gotten the right dose of anxiety medicine because I didn’t even have a tiny panic attack on any of my four flights (or train rides, including the one through the chunnel!) and I actually really loved having a window seat. I got some amazing plane window pictures, including one above the blue lagoon in Iceland and some really incredible ones over Greenland.

    Thanks so much to everyone on this thread who offered advice and support when I talked about these plans here in the past!

    Reply
    1. Annie Mouse

      You picked a great time to visit the UK, it’s gone back to being cold here again in the last day or two!!! Glad you had a great time, I’d love to visit Iceland.

      Reply
    2. jamlady

      Heading to Iceland in October – super excited!

      I’m glad you found the right time to let your parents know. I can imagine how stressful that could have been, so I’m glad you found the right cocktail of meds for your anxiety. Don’t stress too much about tomorrow! It’s your life and you get to choose how to live it. Plus, it’s a holiday brunch so hopefully everyone just enjoys the celebration. :) Good luck!

      Reply
      1. Lily Evans

        That’s exciting! And my brunch did go fine, I forgot that I inherited my inability to confront people about things from somewhere…

        Reply
    3. Blue eagle

      I have fantasized about visiting Iceland, but not too sure about what there is to do there. Can you tell us a couple of things that you really enjoyed about Iceland. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Lily Evans

        I really enjoyed the city of Reykjavik and spent my first day exploring it! Even in the freezing rain, it was an adorable, quirky place that I regretted not having more time in. I also enjoyed the scenery, it was so beautiful and otherworldly there. I wish I’d done more than two days so that I could have seen more of it. I also kind of wish I had gone with a less popular tour than the Golden Circle one I took, because while I could see why people are so drawn to those places, there were so many people there even on the off season that it was hard to enjoy them. I’d love to go back with a friend and rent a car to do the ring road some day, to see the entire country beyond the key tourist attractions! There are so many things to choose from there it’s a bit overwhelming! I also really wanted to ride the Icelandic horses, but it was too cold and too time-constrained.

        Reply
    4. SL #2

      Everyone I know is going to Iceland recently– my friend recently went and basically did a road trip around the whole island. I’m very tempted to do the same now…

      Reply
      1. Lily Evans

        If I go back it will be to drive the ring road of the island! (With another person, it’s not really a solo undertaking). Icelandair seems to have been doing a lot of advertising lately, and I think it’s catching people’s attention! I know that’s how I and at least 2 other people I met there ended up in Iceland, we all used their stopover offer, but their direct flights are pretty cheap too!

        Reply
    5. Ann Furthermore

      At my last job I flew back and forth to Europe quite a bit, and on one trip, I finally looked at the map to check where we were at the right time, and realized we were flying right past Greenland. I opened my window and it was beautiful and clear, and I was able to get a good look at it. It looks so cool. I figured flying over it was as close as I’d ever get.

      Reply
      1. London Calling

        Coolest place (in all senses of the word) I’ve ever overflown is Siberia enroute to Australia. It was March, the rivers were still frozen and you could see where people had walked or driven across the rivers to get from village to village over the winter – a tiny dark thread of a trail. Coming back a few weeks later the ice and snow was thawing and even from several miles up I could see the sheer size of the rivers and the country itself.

        Reply
    6. Lily Evans

      Also, I’m sure everyone here is probably the type to research places before traveling, but for everyone going to Iceland or thinking of it, prepare yourself for how expensive things tend to be there! Don’t be condescending airport man who told me that the ballpark exchange rate I gave him must be wrong because there was no way a Dunkin Donute donut could cost almost $3.50 usd.

      Reply
  9. ThatLibraryChick

    I know that I am WAYYYYY late to this but I finally gave in and watched my first episode of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix. And it was delightful. I also really want to go eat cake now.

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Heh. Your weekend is SHOT now, because once I start watching (and re-watching), I can’t stop. :) Enjoy!

      Reply
    2. FDCA In Canada

      I just started another season of it and I’m deliberately pacing myself because it’s so good, I want to savor it! And yes, it makes you want to find some fantastic baked goods.

      Reply
      1. Caro in the UK

        Anecdote from an interview with Mel and Sue (presenters of the show!). Apparently if a contestant is having a bit of a meltdown, Mel and Sue go and give them a cuddle and then swear really loudly and continuously right next to them, so that the footage of the contestants crying can’t be used by the producers to exploit them at vulnerable moments!

        Reply
    3. caledonia

      Shame it will be totally different from this year on :(

      It is a very charming, quintessentially British show. Plus, cakes!

      Reply
    4. Nic

      I always found myself craving baked goods after watching it!
      I’ve only seen it on Netflix, so I’m totally out of date, but I love the show.

      Reply
    1. Annie Mouse

      Best – my colleagues and I literally saved a life yesterday (which happens less frequently than you’d maybe expect in EMS)

      Worst – I had a disagreement with a budelia bush in my garden and I’m not sure who won, half of what I wanted to trim is still standing, my bin is full and I’m covered in scratches!!!

      Reply
        1. Annie Mouse

          The other two I tackled before Christmas were easy and didn’t attack, think this one’s older and therefore more vicious. I’ll wear long sleeves when I go back for more!!

          Reply
    2. Dizzy Steinway

      Best: five days off work.

      Worst: I may struggle not to tear the head off the next person who asks if I’m ‘going home’ for Easter. We don’t all have parents or places to go back to. And breathe.

      Reply
      1. jamlady

        Oof, some things are just so invasive and people don’t even realize it. Sending good vibes your way, Dizzy <3

        Reply
      2. Not So NewReader

        It might be wrong of me but there are some people who I just tell them, “My immediate family is gone now.” And I just let that hang there in mid air. It depends on the person and it depends on the way it’s said.

        I suppose it would be better to just say, “Welllll… as I am sure you are aware not everyone has family. So, no, I won’t be traveling.”
        Not clear on why everyone hasn’t gotten the memo on this one.sigh.

        Reply
        1. Dizzy Steinway

          Why is it wrong when it’s the truth? Why should you have to protect them from their feelings? I’m sorry for your losses.

          It’s not that my family is gone, exactly, so it’s too tricky to explain (and too many people have taken it as an invitation to pry and judge that I don’t risk it now until I know someone well). I’m estranged from all of my family of origin for good reason. I just dodge the question and feel crappy. I’m working on the second bit.

          Reply
        2. jamlady

          I don’t think it’s wrong. I get why some people would brush it off because they want to spare the asker’s feelings, but I also think people are way too nosey and it’s okay to politely give them a reason to second-guess asking those questions in the future. I only have one of relative who continues to ask me about kids (she has zero shame and nothing makes her uncomfortable, but you can’t win em all lol) and the rest leave me alone. If you don’t want real answers, don’t ask the question.

          Reply
      3. Trillian

        The answer to the question is. “Yes.” You are going home. To the one you’ve made for yourself. (And you have plans.)

        Reply
    3. LizB

      Best: had an absolutely wonderful Passover seder on Monday (my friend and I’s first time co-hosting, and we rocked it), and I’ll be going to Easter dinner (with Passover-friendly food!) tomorrow with good friends, minus the one sibling-of-friend I find incredibly annoying, who is out of town! This could not have worked out better.

      Worst: I have struggled with Passover cooking this week. I’ve been in a low-energy slump for a month or so (not quite to the point of adjusting my meds, but getting close…) and the thought of trying to cook real things has been too daunting, so I’ve been living off leftover charoset, matzah with butter, cottage cheese, and the frittata I scraped up the energy to make on Tuesday night. Definitely not my best year in terms of taking care of myself.

      Reply
    4. HannahS

      Best: We managed to make a nice, big Passvover seder. It ran very nicely, which was good because there was some simmering tension in weeks leading up (which included me telling my mom that if ABC happened again, I wouldn’t be attending). But it all worked out! We were exhausted, but we now have a better idea of how to host that many people efficiently.

      Worst: I really got worked into a funk yesterday. Fibromyalgia plus other joint problems has been making my life difficult for a while, and mostly I cope well. But I’ve been on a kick of watching ballet videos which hammered home uncomfortable and uncontrollable my body is. Then I read a well-intentioned but anti-Semitic review of “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” I commented on it, and the writer apologized for hurting my feelings and closed the comments. Which was good, but man, the whole thing made me feel bad.

      Reply
    5. paul

      Best: I’ve been to three cities in two states in the last two days–day trips, not overnight stays–doing stuff with the family and now my kids and I are home watching Madagascar after eating a (too expensive but really really good) lunch at a local Italian place. 2 year olds and tortellini are a messy mixture. Same with cheesecake. Both our kids thought it was their birthday when that came out.

      Worst: My grandfather doesn’t’ remember his daughters or my brother or me or our cousin-got that pleasant bit of news during a phone call home last night. He’s deteriorating fast into that twilight hell of dementia.

      Reply
    6. LadyKelvin

      Best: our stuff finally came on Tuesday. After living out 2 suitcases for 3 months I finally have all my kitchenware, etc. And thanks to having yesterday off, we are almost done unpacking.

      Worst: my husband finished the packing because I had to leave 2 months earlier to start my job. He literally asked me about every little detail (kept this? Keep that?) Except he threw away my favorite and very expensive baking stone and he feels bad but I seriously want to sit down and cry. It seems like such a silly reaction but now that we live on island “we charge three times what it’s worth to ship it to you” I’m not going to be replacing it anytime soon.

      Reply
    7. Trixie

      Best: Finishing up a week of house/cat sitting and it’s just so nice to have space to myself. Couple more stints this summer to look forward too. Also picked up two new classes to teach at local gym which keep me active in their payroll and extra $$$ each week towards debt.

      Worst: Not stagnating in my community but I’m not focusing on relocating as much as I should. Need to actively apply for jobs to see what responses I get. I know this isn’t where I want to stay and certainly not because I’m lazy.

      Reply
      1. Gala apple

        I hear ya on the relocating! It can be so hard to spend energy on that when I live here, not this mythical other place yet, and my time is filled with things here… do you know where you’re looking to move?

        Reply
    8. The Cosmic Avenger

      Best: had a great vacation at Universal Studios Orlando. The butterbeer is amazing!! :-9
      Plus we got a new TiVo (Bolt+), so I’ve got a new toy and a new project — transferring the schedule, shows, then the CableCard from the newer of the two old ones (Premiere) to the Bolt, then when that’s done I’ll transfer the same from the oldest (HD XL) to the Premiere, and retire the HD XL. I did a calculation, and the transfer rate is about 5:1 (12.5 minutes for a one-hour show), so this may take a few days!

      Worst: back to life, back to reality…and back on my diet, because I gained 8 lbs! D:

      Reply
    9. Elizabeth West

      BEST: Warmer weather. I think the cold may be done (I hope; it’s still April, and I’ve been fooled before). When it finally stops raining all the time, I’ll have a big old garage sale and chuck a ton of stuff.

      WORST: No more UI payments and still no job. :(

      Reply
      1. LCL

        Hey Elizabeth, do you have a Patreon for your writing yet? At the con this weekend I heard some graphic artists and musicians say it is a great thing.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          No. They probably have a shit ton of followers and I don’t. I don’t have enough content to offer that way right now and I don’t want to put a whole book out there for pennies.

          Reply
    10. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Best: four day Easter weekend here in the UK – as usual the weather is crap but I dont care!

      Worst: We are moving in 10 days to a quieter place from this rather loud flat. The restaurant downstairs left their extractor fan on all night last night and the manager today essentially told us it was “our fault” for living above a restaurant. We didn’t tell him we are moving but we hardly slept last night, it threw off our visit to Ikea today, and that behavior is unacceptable. Everything was fine for the last year and they used to have it on timer, but ugh, I am SO over this crap. Cannot WAIT to move!

      Reply
    11. Aurion

      Best: realizing I’m definitely Levelling Up my social skills. I’m still not smooth or charming, but I’m approaching comfortable. :)

      Worst: ended a casual relationship last night and I think the other guy was really crushed. I just feel relieved; it wasn’t working out for me. But I feel a little bad too.

      Reply
        1. Aurion

          Reading lots of Dr Nerdlove (his advice is very solid even if you’re not dating; the advice about being an awesome version of yourself, how to be engaging, how to project warmth, etc all apply whether or not you’re looking for dates) and practicing! I’ve been using my coworkers for eye-contact practice, and my volleyball teammates for projecting warmth/small-talk practice.

          Also not really caring if I fail helps :) With the exception of coworkers, I don’t have to see many of my practice partners for too long if I flub.

          Reply
    12. Caledonia

      Best: I can start looking for somewhere to buy in the city in which I work in and commute to.

      Worst: I have my two final assignments due and no motivation to do them. The first one – or second last one – is due in 12 days time. I haven’t even started writing yet….

      Reply
    13. Jen RO

      Best: We had a short day on Friday and now a long weekend! My boss was also off on Friday, so it was quiet – this year orthodox Easter and catholic Easter are at the same time, but he gets Friday off and we get Monday off.

      Also best: SPRING WEATHER.

      Worst: Nothing, it’s been a good week!

      Reply
    14. smokey

      Best- “A”s on first two assignments of my new class.

      Worst- Had to go for a hair drug test. The lady cut it, then said

      “There. And you can’t even see it. Oh, oops, you can see it. I wish I had been paying more attention; I’m usually good at this. Oh well, you’ll be okay.”

      So now I think I have to wear my hair in a ponytail or high bun for the next 3 or 4 years until it grows out some because, yes, she was very right. It’s Very visible.

      Reply
      1. nonegiven

        I would make a formal complaint to the center and to HR/boss, etc. and I’d wear my hair so it showed, but only at work. Make sure every coworker knows who did it.

        Reply
      2. ValaMalDoran

        I would refuse that. You could pull a few of my hairs, demand a urine sample or blood test, but you’re not cutting my hair. Or my fingernails.

        Why did it have to be hair?

        Reply
        1. smokey

          A hair test goes back months.

          They also did a urine test. I’ve had several of these, where I have to do both at once, because every client demands a different testing center and they each have to update every two years.

          This is the first one that messed up mine but the last one messed up my co-worker’s hair. I’m getting pretty sick of it tbh.

          Refusal means not being able to go to client sites, so not really an option unfortunately.

          I think I will ask for some sort of reimbursement on a hairdresser or something. Couldn’t hurt to ask, and maybe a hairdresser can figure out something, although I’m not hopeful.

          Reply
    15. Schaden Freude

      Best? I hope this isn’t too job-related.

      Toxic ex-boss was both a bullshit artist and a busy-body with his hand in a lot of different pies. Among other things, he was heavily involved in politics on a local level. Apparently, in the last year or so, he pulled some fast ones in his work with the party (not unlike how he operated at work). Surprisingly (to me at least), he was recently voted out of his party position.

      His being voted out was understandable and a case of karma coming back to him. I feel like a terrible person because I find it difficult to feel any sympathy for him. In fact, I’m delighted. If someone had to be voted out, at least it didn’t happen to a nice guy.

      Worst: The prospect of Easter dinner with annoying relatives. I’m going to have to google and reread how to deal with your relatives who have different political beliefs.

      Reply
    16. The Other Dawn

      Best: Got to see Def Leppard in concert. I didn’t buy tickets since I didn’t think I would feel good enough to go. I then decided I wanted to go, and at that point no tickets were available. But then the casino comped me tickets!

      Worst: Lost all the money I gambled the day of the concert.

      Reply
    17. Mallory Janis Ian

      Best: I made myself go to my women’s wisdom circle gathering today, and then I had a long, leisurely lunch with the woman in the group with whom I’m closest. I’ve been holing up at home and not doing anything since I’ve been depressed about my daughter’s mental health issues, but it did me a lot of good to get out and get the support of other women.

      Worst: combatting the urge to withdraw from everything

      Reply
    18. Ruffingit

      BEST: Had Friday off and put in for Monday off so a 4-day weekend!

      WORST: The tension at home with my mother. She should be leaving next week. I feel like the entire house will breathe a sigh of relief.

      Reply
    19. New Bee

      Best: I’m going to Missouri next month for my sibling’s graduation! It’ll be a mini-family reunion.

      Worst: My allergies (and what’s probably escalated to an eye infection) just won’t quit.

      Reply
    20. Carmen Sandiego JD

      Worst: PMS mood swings that left me cranky

      Best: the SO who brought me my favorite Easter chocolate and gave me tummy massages….

      Reply
    21. Emily

      Best: I’m switching to a new PhD advisor and research project! I think that the new advisor will be more structured and attentive to my needs than my current advisor, and the project will be a better fit for my skills and interests. (For a sanity check, I talked to a couple of other people about it, including a student in my current lab who’s had similar issues with my advisor in the past – and they both agreed that it sounded like a good idea.)

      Worst: My ultimate frisbee team fell apart right before the start of the seasonal league, and another team who had offered me a spot a while back has completely filled their roster in the interim. I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do – if I wanted, I’m sure I could find a team willing to take me, but cultural fit matters to me a lot and I’d rather not play at all than end up with people who are too competitive or otherwise not fun to play with.

      Reply
    22. Piano Girl

      Best – hearing my former supervisor is leaving the company that just laid me off. (Thank you, Karma!)

      Worst – finding out that my husband has disintegrating vertebrae in his neck. :(

      Reply
    23. Jo

      BEST: Nada

      WORST: Rather unsurprisingly, after losing my job and planning to relocate to a new city in a new country (neither of which I have ever visited before), I’m in the midst of a major depressive episode along with dealing with intense anxiety about my future and still in pain over my breakup and just generally in a Very Bad Place right now.

      Spent all weekend locked inside my apartment by myself, compulsively eating nonstop (I’m a stress/comfort eater) so I’ve gained back at least 30 pounds over the last 6 months, after working so hard over the last few years to lose it.

      Reply
    24. Paquita

      Best: Went to my first Seder. And my birthday this week.
      Worst: Hurt my knee somehow. Ice, nsaids, knee brace.

      Reply
    25. Hrovitnir

      BEST: Um, not that exciting but it being my turn to clean the floors/bathroom etc in our flat spurred me to clean my room. Which I really needed as I’m not in a good headspace.

      WORST: My dog died out of the blue while I’m out of the country. That is our fourth loss in 6 months and she wasn’t particularly old (10). Was happy in the morning, my partner came home and she was gone, apparently very quickly because there’s no sign of any thrashing about. It just feels like one thing after another.

      Reply
    26. Blackout

      Best: Made plans to get together with my best friend from grad school over Memorial Day weekend. Also made plans to go to Colorado in July to play in an adult band camp (and visit family also!)

      Worst: Nothing, really; life is good at the moment!

      Reply
    27. MT

      Worst: Unanticipated emergency devoured my week. Not only am I dealing with the personal fallout of losing that time, but I am also feeling awful about the extra work that has caused colleagues who have been working with me on tight deadlines. My inability to work this past week meant all of us had to put in extra effort on a holiday weekend.

      Best: Invited to be flown in for an out-of-state job interview at a very exciting organization. This will be my first in person interview for this career, and I am incredibly excited for it (if I make it past this weekend, agh!)

      Reply
    28. LCL

      Best-it was NORWESCON weekend and it was awesome.
      Worst- the guilt of boarding my dog for the weekend. Though he had a great time, and the kennel told me they were keeping him because he was such a ladies man and got along with all the girl dogs. Now he’s sleeping it off at my feet.

      Reply
  10. Myrin

    Today (the 15th) is the one-year-anniversary of my cat’s death. He was a beautiful animal, a gentle soul, an intelligent friend, and a loyal companion and we all miss him every day. We put one of the grave lights I’ve talked about before on his grave again and planted some flowers and a tree, all of which he would have loved. Here are some pictures, if you’d like to visualise him and think of him a little.

    Reply
    1. Casuan

      Gorgeous guy!!
      He’s now on Rainbow Bridge looking out for you. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      Those fuzzy cat tummies are my kryptonite. How can one not pet them & feel better?

      Reply
    2. Atexit8

      so so so so adorable!
      I don’t have pets of my own, but every Saturday, I volunteer at a local no-kill animal rescue cleaning cat cages.

      Reply
    3. Freya UK

      Oh I’m so sorry! What a handsome chap – now over the rainbow bridge where he can eat treats all day without getting chubs, and reminisce and tell all the other cats lovely tales of his beloved cat-mama and what you used to do together <3

      Reply
    4. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      He looks like our Martin who is just a total ball of luv. I can’t imagine being without him – I hope you had a long and happy life with your boy. What a lovely cat to have chosen you!

      (damnit, they told me this mascara was waterproof….)

      Reply
    5. Your Weird Uncle

      I am so sorry – it is so hard to lose a pet, they touch our lives in so many ways. He was a handsome fella!

      Reply
    6. MissDisplaced

      I’m sorry. I too have a little corner of my garden for my fondly remembered kitties. I think of them often.

      Reply
    7. Not So NewReader

      He was a very rich animal to have someone who did and still does care so much. I am sure that your caring made him into the quality adult cat he became. RIP little man, you have served your human family well…

      Reply
      1. SheLooksFamiliar

        I’m so sorry you lost your sweet boy, Myrin. Sending hugs and healing to you, and chin scritches to your furry angel.

        Reply
  11. Ruffingit

    I ran my first 5k last Sunday! I had come down with a terrible cold the previous Thursday. So I was worried about being able to run it. But I did it! I was slow, but I ran the whole thing so I’m really proud that I was able to do it. I trained for 10 weeks with the couch to 5K program. Our next 5K, my husband and I are doing this together, is in September.

    Reply
    1. Aussie Teacher

      Ooo well done! I want to try couch to 5 K but only got up to the end of Week 3 before I started school and with 60 hour weeks I just couldn’t keep going.

      Reply
      1. Ruffingit

        I hear you! I started and stopped it many times over the years because of school, work, or both. This time, I decided to get up in the very early morning hours to do it. We get up no later than 5 a.m. three times a week to run. It’s hard. REALLY hard. I am not a morning person. But I do feel better when I do it. This is not to say I’m suggesting you do this because sometimes schedules just aren’t compatible with running. And that’s OK! There will be another time where you can try it. Just sharing what worked for me :)

        Reply
    2. SeekingBetter

      Good for you! I’m planning to train for another 5K soon but haven’t been able to get outside lately due to winter. So I’m planning on getting some running in tomorrow :)

      Reply
  12. Kate

    Passover is THIS CLOSE to being over, but not quite over yet.

    Share your best Passover recipes with me to get me through the last few days? Please?

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      I know! The last couple of days are always a struggle. :) Tips: if you eat meat, roast a chicken. Or make some lamb shanks. I used to make a delicious lamb shank braised with mushrooms, it was amazing.

      But we don’t eat meat in our house, so here goes. Tomorrow evening, we’re having friends over. The menu:
      – Mexican matzo ball soup, omit the sesame oil and make the matzo balls from scratch: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/09/30/496109583/for-rosh-hashana-a-matzo-ball-soup-by-way-of-mexico
      – Spinach and matzo pie, which I make every year: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spinach-and-matzoh-pie-242019
      – Roasted asparagus and leeks
      – Roasted potatoes
      – Israeli salad
      – Homemade aioli
      – Cranberry curd tart, but the crust is entirely almond meal: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017817-cranberry-curd-tart

      Tonight, I think I’m making shepherd’s pie with mustard greens, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, etc. Topped with mashed potatoes. I also do a lot of quiches (in a potato crust) and frittatas. The other night, I made a sort of tortilla espanola (I say sort of because I added mushrooms) and served that with asparagus and hollandaise sauce. (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/07/tortilla-espanola-spanish-potato-omelette-recipe.html) Shakshuka is also very good and can certainly be made Pesadik! Good luck until Tuesday!

      Reply
      1. Kate

        Mmmm. I suggested turning the lamb leftovers into shepherd’s pie the other day and my MIL shot me a look that recalled daggers!

        Tonight’s dinner is beef short ribs, olive oil mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. I made extra, hoping that the leftovers can be used for tomorrow’s breakfast.

        Reply
        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Your MIL is a silly lady Shepherd’s Pie is delicious! (But because mine is veggie, I get to put butter and cheese in the potatoes, so I win.)

          Reply
  13. Anon Anon

    Husband and I are considering buying a house sometime in the next year. What resources would you recommend (websites, links, etc) to educate ourselves more on the process? We’re both nerds so we want to thoroughly understand financing options and also how to inspect a house thoroughly before purchase. Financially, we’re in good shape- no debt, decent savings, and good credit scores, but we also live in the SF Bay Area, which has some of the most out-of-whack house pricing (so one question I have is whether renting might still be better than buying, and how to evaluate that smartly). Other considerations- we have good job stability, possibly will have a kid in the next five years but not in the next three.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous Educator

      Not having kids but in an otherwise similar situation. Will definitely be watching the responses here…

      Reply
    2. Amaryllis

      I found “The Just Right Home” by Marianne Cusato really valuable for not only getting started on practicalities but the author also covers things like the character of a neighborhood (she feels really strongly about homes with giant garages right on the front!) and other details that could make or break a particular house. She also covers renting vs owning early on, and a lot of the later chapters could still be useful for renters.

      Reply
    3. Paige Turner

      Zillow was good but having a friend we really trusted as our realtor was key- we knew she would tell us if a house was a bad idea for any reason :) We’re in the DC area and friends recently bought in Oakland so I feel you on the expensive real estate. The good thing about buying around here (and there as well, I’m sure) is that it is generally pretty easy to sell if you find that you want/need to move in a few years. Good luck!

      Reply
    4. Not So NewReader

      My go-to message on home buying is use a real estate calculator (you can find one online) and calculate how much house you can afford. DO NOT use the numbers the mortgage people tell you. Develop your own answer and use that. (Your number will probably be about 1/3 less than what mortgage people tell you.)

      This one thing saved my butt. I was not working when my husband died. It was a little dicey going to interviews and such. I landed a job. I refi-ed my house which cut the mortgage in half. And this is why I still have my house today. Additionally because I was able to pay ahead on my mortgage, I will finish paying off the refi loan around the same time I would have paid off the original loan.

      Since you describe the two of you as nerds, use it to your advantage. Build a long term plan so that if one of you is left alone, that person does not have to leave the house if they don’t want to.

      Reply
      1. Anon Anon

        Thanks for the advice. I’m sorry for your loss, but glad to hear that you were able to stay in your home!

        Reply
    5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

      Oh goodness, buying here is totally scary. We’re also in the SF Bay Area and have been hunting this year. We got a recommendation for a realtor from our friend, and we love her for her honesty, responsiveness, and willingness to go the extra mile for us. We were traveling recently and she did big video walkthroughs for us so we could view homes even while we were gone.

      I already did the legwork on understanding ARMs and fixed rate loans a long time ago but I think there’s also a required Consumer information packet on all the relevant information on homebuying that I received when I refinanced our current place. I can try to dig up for you if you want to drop me a line later. It seemed to cover a lot of the stuff you should know before getting a mortgage.

      What has helped us is our broker found lenders for us who would actually preapprove and underwrite our loan before we even had a property identified. That’s huge so when you make an offer in this market where even fixer uppers that need A TON of work are getting 10-15 offers, you don’t need to have a loan contingency. We are finding that many prospective buyers are making offers with no contingencies and that’s knocked us out of the running for having any contingency at all. The three common ones are the loan contingency which you need if you only have a preapproval and not a fully underwritten loan, an appraisal contingency (which protects you from being committed to the offer until you know that the appraiser is assessing the property to be worth at least as much as you offered, since they will only lend based on the appraised value), and the property condition contingency for you to take a look and be sure that the place is in the shape you expect. I might have gotten that name of the last one wrong.

      Last, a common thing that’s done here in the SF Bay Area that I haven’t seen elsewhere is the seller often does the property inspection, the buyer doesn’t. On the one hand, it sucks that you’re locked into the inspection company that the seller chooses but a good broker will tell you if the company is at least reputable or if you should get another inspection. The upside to this is that I love getting the property inspection reports with the seller’s disclosures so I can make an offer that takes into account the condition of the whole place, not just what I think I saw, and there are fewer surprises.

      That’s all I have off the top of my head right now but I’ll likely write up more of this experience on my blog as the search progresses.

      Reply
      1. Anon Anon

        Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I hope you do write it all up sometime – you’re great at explaining. Good luck with the house hunt!

        Reply
    6. Call me St. Vincent

      The one thing I will say is that, if you’re planning to have a kid in the next few years, factor the cost of childcare into what you’re comfortable paying for your mortgage. We probably could have done a better job with that. Childcare is expensive and I don’t live in a high COL area like SF Bay. We do daycare and that costs as much as a 1 bedroom apartment here. We bought our first house and were happy to have our mortgage and taxes equal out to what our rent plus parking from our apartment cost. When you add daycare in, we’re still okay with the mortgage but the breathing room evaporated! I don’t regret buying our house because I truly love it, but wish we would have thought that out a little bit more beforehand!

      Reply
    7. Thinking Outside the Boss

      For the home inspection, avoid the home inspector et al an agent wants you to use and have a trusted service provider (if you have one) come out and do a proper inspection. It will be more expensive, but worth it. I went with the home inspector, the roof inspector, the chimney inspector, and the pest inspector recommended by my real estate agent. Big mistake. They have an incentive to say that the house is okay so you’ll close escrow and help out the agent, and the agent will give them more referrals.

      The reports from the providers my agent wanted me to use all came back clean. However, by the time the statute of limitations in my state had run for suing these people, I found unreported problems of a failing sewer pipe, a leaky roof that the inspector said had been fixed to code, an 80 foot tree with dry rot that I had to take down, copper pipes that were connected to galvanized steel (the report said it was 100% copper) resulting in sediment that ruined the new water heater, a bathroom remodel that was bogus and cost me $12,000 to replace, sub-par electrical work, and stucco work that was so bad that it was causing leaks in the wall that my plumber and his general contractor diagnosed in about 10 minutes.

      Using your own experts is the way to go!

      Reply
  14. LawCat

    Thanks to everyone who offered camping equipment advice! It was much needed and much appreciated. Definitely brought up ideas I hadn’t thought of and we will be implementing.

    Related, how do you find places to camp on a weekend? Is this just something you have to take care of many months in advance?

    I went online this week to check out state parks (there’s a specific web site the state parks directed us to) and there are *zero* spots available on any weekend this summer at the parks I looked at within a few hours’ drive. I’m very disappointed about this development and not certain about other options.

    Reply
    1. Dalia524

      State parks (especially near fun things like beaches and amusement parks) do tend to fill up pretty fast in the summer. I’ve found private camps just by google-mapping “camps”. Also, some counties have local parks with camping, so you could check nearby county websites.

      Reply
    2. KR

      Try some campgrounds close to state parks! You can often get tent sites for under 50$ a night that have a little water spigot and an outlet. The campgrounds often have a swimming hole/pool and amenities. It’s not quite “in the woods” camping, but you could camp close by and then go hiking in the state parks!

      Reply
      1. Parenthetically

        Yes! The fanciest campsite we stayed at on our big trip last summer was near the Badlands, and it was just over $20/night, with power and potable water right at the site, plus a pool and laundry and hot showers. We stayed a mix of state/national park campgrounds and privately-owned campgrounds near national parks, and we found it really easy to find places, even in summer. Most of the more popular places will be surrounded by privately-owned campgrounds — just read reviews carefully!

        LawCat, you might call some of those parks — I did the same thing last year and found out that actually many of them don’t take reservations for certain time frames, but they’re marked on a calendar as “unavailable” meaning first come-first served. Sometimes “unavailable” meant “unavailable to reserve” and sometimes it meant “booked.” I will say that summer weekends can be trickier, but if you can sneak away and do a Wednesday night – Thursday night stay, you’ll have an easier time. Check State Recreational Areas/ State and National Forests, too. We’ve found some amazing campsites at State Recreational Areas.

        Reply
    3. Kristen

      Yeah, in my state (MN!!) some of the best state parks (North Shore) have to be booked six months in advance if you want a weekend during the summer. We have some US Forest Service parks (recreation.gov I believe is where you’d search) that are more bookable if you’re late, but much, much more rustic (maybe not your thing since you’re a first time camper). Otherwise, pick where you want to go and find private campgrounds in the area. I’ve never done this though, because we really have a nice state park system in MN.

      Reply
      1. Kristen

        Oh yeah, are there KOA’s near you? I think they tend to be less rustic and the one time I’ve been, there was a swimming pool which was nice.

        Reply
    4. Uncivil Engineer

      Try to find a campground that doesn’t take reservations. Then, get there really early on a Friday morning. In popular places (e.g., the beach), first-come first-served campgrounds are practically non-existent but there may be some in other places. Instead of looking at the state park’s website, just Google “campground” and use the map to find smaller or privately owned campgrounds.

      Reply
    5. paul

      around here, the two near-ish state parks fill up quick. You can search for private campgrounds in the area; you can also check out National Forest or National Grasslands near you if they’re in the vicinity. Those can also fill up fast but a lot less so than state parks.

      If you can give us a region maybe someone can be more specific?

      Reply
    6. Jessesgirl72

      You can get better luck at private campgrounds- but private campgrounds aren’t as great for tents, in my experience, and they are lacking a lot of the activities state/national parks have. (our dogs hate the lack of trails at private parks)

      In WI, the window opens at 11 months, and if you don’t book at the 11 month mark for the popular places right on the dot at 9AM, you’re pretty much out of luck for a summer weekend. Every state has its own window, and you can pretty much bet, for a weekend, you have to book the minute it opens. And yes, it’s really a pain. We just had to cancel a bunch, because 11 months ago, we didn’t know we’d be bringing home a newborn this summer!

      Reply
    7. Applesauced

      Car camp sites tend to fill up quickly. If you want to backpack (check the specific park you’re going to) in most cases you need to be X yards from the trail, any you can camp.

      Reply
  15. Dizzy Steinway

    Does anyone else really not like surprises? I don’t mind my husband surprising me as he only does it with something he knows I’ll like. I don’t like surprises from people who don’t know me really well as they just stress me out, which probably sounds ungrateful but I’ve just had a friend telling me about her mystery plan for when we meet up on Monday – so I’m there saying, actually I really don’t like surprises, please just give me an idea of what it is, and she’s all: don’t worry, it’s nice, I promise! And when I finally squeeze it out of her it transpires that she wants to go and see some animals other people like that I am scared of and don’t enjoy. And people wonder why I’m so control freaky and won’t let them surprise me…

    Reply
    1. bassclefchick

      I’m not a fan of surprises, either. Mostly because those who have tried to surprise me have failed miserably and I hate it. If you’re taking me somewhere, I want to be involved in the planning – that’s part of the fun for me!

      Though I wonder that your friend wasn’t aware that you’re afraid of a certain animal. That would be something she maybe should have known about you?

      Reply
    2. Casuan

      In theory I like surprises, although not always in reality. Also I have some physical considerations & what I do one moment can affect me from a few hours to a few days. So with a little planning I can do surprises!

      Reply
    3. WellRed

      Yeah, no. It’s meeting up with a friend. No need for a big surprise. Or a little surprise for that matter.

      Reply
    4. jamlady

      Nope, hate surprises. And I don’t think that’s as abnormal as people might think it is. The best thing about the people in my life is how diverse everyone’s interests are – we’re not all going to enjoy the same adventures. Every so often a friend of mine will mail a book to me or my husband will arrive home with some ice cream, but that’s as much as I allow lol

      Reply
    5. Jess R.

      I’m not really a fan of surprises. I have found that I also don’t really like to surprise people, even with gifts? I’d rather say “hey, I want to get you X for your birthday. Does that sound like something you want?” I will get “surprise” gifts if someone gives me a list because then it’s not really a surprise.

      But yeah, I don’t like people surprising me. I am a planner and a creature of habit and ritual, and I am calmer and safer and more likely to have fun if I know how things are going to go. You are definitely not alone.

      Reply
    6. The Cosmic Avenger

      My wife and I both dislike surprises, which makes things easier. We’re both meticulous planners, and we don’t even like for people to sing Happy Birthday to us, for example. We’d rather just get to the cake. :)

      I do randomly bring home roses once in a while, but I know she likes flowers to liven up the house a bit, so by now it’s probably not much of a surprise.

      Reply
      1. On Fire

        This. My husband and I have a deal: don’t have the wait staff sing Happy Birthday to me, and I won’t have them do it when it’s his birthday. (It’s the being-the-focus-of-attention thing as much as surprise for us, though.)

        Reply
    7. nep

      I don’t like surprises at all. To me they seem self(the surpriser)-serving — sort of like public proposals.

      Reply
    8. Elizabeth West

      I only like them when I’m sure the person knows me well enough to not spring something embarrassing or stupid on me. Or something I’m afraid of. If a boyfriend surprised me with a trip to the zipline thingy near here, I’d be really mad because NO I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT. I hate surprise gifts too for Christmas and birthdays–just ask me what I want, dammit. Don’t buy me a bunch of junk that you like just because you think I should have it. Gift cards ftw.

      But a guy I dated when I lived in Delaware surprised me once with a trip to Rehoboth Beach one weekend, and I loved that. Truly loved it. He knew I liked the beach and was dying to go and so he said, “Pack your stuff for the weekend,” and didn’t tell me where we were going until we were in the car. Overall, he was kind of a dick but that was a good move. :)

      Reply
    9. Not So NewReader

      Not a fan. And it’s because usually the surprise does not go that well. Something happens that throws it off somehow.
      I try not to surprise others for the same reason.

      Reply
    10. Lissa

      I don’t like them either, nor do I like surprising people. It feels too uncertain and pressurey in both directions. If the surprisee doesn’t like it, they feel the need to perform that they do, while the surpriser might be able to tell it’s not really going over well, and feel anxious and stressed. I dislike anything where I feel like I’m “expected” to perform a particular emotion, because I don’t tend to be showy with happiness or sadness so it’s like putting a performance and takes the actual enjoyment out of it.

      I also get stressed about reciprocation even if it *is* something I like, because I am just not creative in that way where I can anticipate something fun to plan for someone else.

      Reply
      1. Dizzy Steinway

        Pressure to perform and be happy and grateful. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

        Spent childhood being told I was ungrateful (not for special surprises but, like, existing and stuff). Not liking a surprise can trigger majorly difficult feelings for me as then I am Being Ungrateful.

        Reply
      2. Casuan

        Wo, Lissa… This is precisely how I feel, especially “‘expected'” to perform” & reciprocation!!
        Especially because I’m not creative in this milieu. Thankfully my friends are & they understand I’m not!

        bonus infos: With few individual exceptions, I dislike opening cards & gifts in front of others. It’s the “expected to perform” thing…

        Reply
        1. Casuan

          yeesh, “‘expected’” to perform”
          the extra quote marks after “expected” represent things that keep me awake at night
          Okay, not really.

          Tho still… commenting on AAM has done wonders to help me chill on my perfectionist tendencies & it’s helped my writing to be a bit less formal.
          Still I need to work on pith!!

          Reply
    11. zaracat

      Not a fan of total surprises as they can so easily go wrong. For example, my friends decided to throw a surprise birthday party for me one year at a restaurant during Chinese New Year when my birthday falls, but failed to give me any sort of heads up, and I accepted an invitation to go away for the weekend. Rather than cancel the booking they figured they might as well still go out, and had a wonderful time with fab food, fireworks, dragon etc. I felt very left out when I found out, especially as something rather nasty happened to me on my own trip (completely not their fault and unrelated to the surprise element, but nonetheless salt in the wound).

      Letting some elements be a surprise within parameters you’ve already set is so much better.

      Reply
    12. Overeducated

      I like them in theory but very rarely get them. I don’t think I’ve ever had an event or activity surprise, unless you count the time my husband tried to get some friends together for a happy hour drink before our pre planned dinner reservations on my birthday. (The surprise was spoiled by one of the friends saying, “hey, I’m looking forward to your birthday drinks tomorrow!” It was still fun and thoughtful though.) I prefer gifts that I didn’t put on my Amazon wishlist because they show that someone thought about me and what I would like, even if they’re not something I would have picked out myself. I guess my life is so predictable that I assume any surprises would be low key and harmless.

      Reply
    13. Jo

      I hate surprises. Part of that is person preference, due to my anxiety issues and inability to handle uncertainty, but part of it is also the self-centredness of them. Someone really has to know you very well before they can be trusted to “surprise” you with something.

      Reply
    14. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

      Hate them unless from my husband as well, he also knows what a good surprise is vs a bad one. He was so aware of this, in fact, that he was a nervous wreck the day he proposed because the timing was a surprise and he was worried that the fact of being surprised might override my goodwill even though he took great pains not to have any public fanfare that would annoy me. In hindsight, all his concern was pretty funny.

      Reply
  16. Nervous Accountant

    Allergy on my face—-

    Any tips on how I can fix my face? I had an allergic reaction to makeup remover wipes (ironically it was for sensitive skin!) and my face is now rough and patchy. It looks normal, but it’s very rough and dry. On a pharmacist’s advice, I used allergy ointment, which calms down the itching but doesn’t help the dryness. I used neosporin lip ointment for the area around my lips, and I’ve been using baby gel Oil with aloe vera.

    This has been happenign since Tuesday, so day and night I’m using something. I’m seeing a derm on Thursday but I desperately want this to get better and go away, I haven’t worn ANY makeup in days and I miss it, not to mention I hate how my face feels! :(

    Reply
    1. evilintraining

      I feel your pain; I’ve always had terrible skin allergies! I like the Aveeno and Neutrogena lines for after a reaction. And I always keep a tube of the Aveeno cortisone cream in my purse.

      Reply
      1. Nervous Accountant

        Oh gosh, those two lines are horrible on me :( I had a horrible reaction to Neutrogena back in HS and have been scared to use it since.

        Reply
    2. Spoonie

      If you’re just worried about the dryness, you could try coconut oil — definitely test an area first before you slather it on. And a little does a lot. But certainly continue the allergy ointment for itching.

      Reply
    3. No, please

      After my last reaction I switched to cetaphil face wash. It’s helped with a lot of other issues as a bonus! I’ve also used cooked oatmeal and honey on eczema and redness with itching.

      Reply
    4. soupmonger

      I would recommend you read Sali Hughes’ Guardian newspaper column and can also recommend her book, Pretty Honest. She has skin issues herself and has a ton of hyper-safe recommmeds for folks with various skin allergies. She’s excellent; talks a lot of sense with no woo science.

      Reply
    5. copy run start

      Vaseline is my go-to for dryness. They have a lotion-type formula that doesn’t linger as much as the tub stuff but just as effective for me. You want the “deep moisture creamy” formula if you want to try it. It comes in a standing tube; the version in the traditional lotion-style plastic bottles is thinner and not as effective. I would put it on at night and then wash off in the morning.

      Reply
    6. super anon

      I get contact dermatitis occasionally, and the way I heal the super dry scaly patches that remain after is to kill it with moisture and cortisone cream. When I first see it starting I’ll hit it with a 1% hydrocortisone cream. I then will layer on moisturizer. I use the Cerave line because it’s what my Derm recommended to me and I know it doesn’t break my face out. After a few rounds of moisturizer I will seal my face with Vaseline. This step is very important because it locks the moisture in so it will work more effectively. When it starts getting that peely, dry skin layer on top I will gently exfoliate it off, and then repeat the entire process again.

      It usually take me at least 7 days to get it cleared up fully with this method, sometimes 10 if it’s winter and super cold and dry.

      Reply
    7. Mirax

      I live and die by the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack. I’ve almost entirely transitioned to using it as my nighttime moisturizer–my skin is so soft now.

      Reply
    8. Elizabeth West

      Auugh that stinks. Those did something similar to me–my face got all red and stung like fire. The only ones I can use are the Philosophy Purity ones and they are expensive. That or baby wipes but it depends on the brand.

      Reply
    9. Chaordic One

      I’ve had good luck using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment, such as Cortisone 10, although a generic version will work as well.

      Make sure you get the ointment with a petroleum jelly base and NOT a cream.

      If you’re not going out in public you can gently put some on the bags under your eyes (which tend to swell up when you’re having a bad allergic reaction). It’s also very good for chapped lips.

      When you go to bed, gently dab some of the ointment onto your eyelashes and even onto the insides of your eyelids using a Q-tip. Yes, the ointment will make your vision blurry for a few moments, but you’re going to sleep, not out driving around where you need to see. In the morning the swelling should be down and if there was redness, it should fade.

      If you can tolerate it, I’ve also had good luck taking an over-the-counter antihistamine (such as as Benadryl) but not everybody tolerates them well.

      Reply
    10. Not So NewReader

      In addition to topical treatments make sure you are drinking water every. single. day. And add some healthy oils to your diet. We don’t dry out just from the outside in, we also dry out from the inside out. Try to attack the problem from both inside and outside.

      Reply
    11. Slave to a toddler overlord

      Oh contact dermatitis, I reacted to MAC makeup so bad that I had to miss a week of work because of taking benadryl and other anti histamines. I can’t work under the influence of anything. I found that Clarins Foot Cream works wonders for my face. I tried it after my allergy face.

      Reply
    12. Call me St. Vincent

      Not always on my face, but I get random hives all over my body. They will pop up out of nowhere. I also get pressure hives. For a long time, I took an Allegra every day and that helped a LOT. I stopped when I was pregnant and just never went back (although they are starting to bother me again), but it might be helpful, even temporarily to try an over the counter non-drowsy antihistamine until it goes away.

      Reply
  17. EA

    Does anyone have any tricks for dealing with someone who just annoys the shit out of you? I will be stuck dealing with someone for a while who has a personality I find incredibly grating. It’s this little girl Pollyanna bubbly personality. I try to be nice, and also minimally talk to her (I can’t avoid it due to the circumstances), but I feel like she senses that I pull away, and she tries harder. A lot of this is my problem, I dislike that personality type and also struggle to fake it with people. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Oh geez. I used to try so hard to deal with people who annoy me, then I gave up. What are the circumstances in which you see her? I’m thinking about the super annoying person in my own life, and she’s the girlfriend of an acquaintance, so usually we just see each other over beers. My only tip is to just ask her questions and let her talk (and talk and talk and talk) and I just tune out. You have my sympathies.

      Reply
        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Oy. Do you live with him? Does he insist you hang out? In my opinion, you should be able to say, “We just don’t mesh” without drama, but I can see how that might not go over super well.

          Reply
        2. fposte

          I don’t think it’s really something it makes sense to tell him unless the dislike is rooted in something really bad for him anyway–it’s not really an actionable item.

          Sometimes it can help to listen instead of talk–try to get her to tell you about what she does in her spare time, what she’s enjoyed recently, etc. It can also help to focus on what she does for your brother, assuming you like your brother reasonably well, and keep conscious about the fact that that’s the part that matters.

          Reply
          1. EA

            I agree. Like if she did something I could bring to him (she is really dishonest here are examples) I would. It’s just that she has a personality I don’t like, which is a preference. I don’t think she is a bad person or anything

            Reply
            1. fposte

              Yeah, then I think you’re on the right track of just thinking about methodologies. If you think she’s going to be around for a bit, it might be useful to actively note stuff that she does that you approve of: “She is really nice to my mom” or “She really cares for those friends she talks about.”

              And I agree with neverjaunty that sometimes it can be interesting to think about why that personality type is one that you resist. I don’t necessarily mean it will reveal a huge flaw in your nature or anything, but sometimes it’s enlightening to discover that I actually am jealous of somebody who has the confidence to say things I’m afraid I’d be judged for, or that I place a lot of value in class/cultural associations with dress, or that when I was a kid I felt like this was who I was expected to be and never was.

              Reply
    2. neverjaunty

      Greatest suggestion from the commentariat here for dealing with people who annoy you – imagine that you’re an anthropologist studying this person, which of course requires you to be neutral and detached while observing their strange and remarkable behavior.

      (On another level, I often find that when somebody annoys the crap out of me for no concrete reason – concrete reasons being like ‘they stole money from me’ or ‘they’re a jerk to waiters’ – it’s because of something about me, not them, that I need to look at hard.)

      Reply
    3. StudentA

      If someone is the bubbly type, they sometimes ramp it up around their bf or husband’s family, especially if the couple hasn’t been together long. Cut her some slack.

      One strategy would be to imagine your bf’s family categorized you in a neat little “personality type”, especially a type they didn’t like. You’d probably wish they saw you as more of a “whole” person. So I think a bit more empathy may help. I get that you don’t want to be fake, and agree with you. But just being polite and pleasant is not being fake.

      If you can’t stomach that, I think you should find ways to spend as little time with her as possible. Remember, just because you’ve had bad experiences with your brother’s past gf’s doesn’t mean history has to repeat itself. I’m sure you understand that on a factual level, but could it be on a subconscious level, you’re taking out the past on her?

      Oh, just thought I’d mention I have siblings and in-laws, so am not just talking rhetorical here!

      Reply
    4. HannahS

      For myself, I find it hard to resist responding when someone keeps trying harder and harder. So I force myself to remain politely pleasant and never reward it. Because otherwise they might think they need to ramp it up to eleven for me to like them. But I try to, I dunno, pretend that they’re not doing it. Like if they say “Ohmigod HANNAH it’s so GREAT to SEE you!!! HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?” I’ll use my normal tone of voice to tell them my weekend was fine, thanks, how was theirs. And then once they finish their long dramatic story, I’d smile and say, “Sounds like fun.” And just rigidly not get pulled in to faking a higher level of energy and enthusiasm.

      Reply
    5. Casuan

      Auggghhh!!
      …which doesn’t answer your question. My answer is:
      Why, yes. I have several suggestions from years experiences with conflicting personalities.

      Okay. You know you need to do this & you recognise that this person really grates on you. If it’s as bad as that… I feel your pain.
      EA, we can all get you through this [lol]… I love what fposte & neverjaunty said, some of which I’m repeating here.

      Something confuses me & probably I’ve misunderstood. You said she’s a good person yet also dishonest…?

      Keep your brother out of this. He’s already proven that strategy doesn’t work & it strains your relationship. Depending on your current & desired relationship with your brother, if you think Pollyanna is affecting this then you could tell Brother that your sibling relationship isn’t based on your relationship with his significant other.
      [sorry if this oversteps; I’ve had to do this before & thought it could be useful to others]

      Bubbly personalities can be the easiest to work with because one means well— & yes, they can be quite tedious as well. Bubbly settings are “Self-Aware” & “Clueless.” If she’s at all self-aware, she’ll be genuinely horrified to know that her attempts to engage you have caused you to be uncomfortable. If she’s Clueless, then just try to stay bemused & look forward to when you can be somewhere else. :)

      A simple convo or text is all that’s required to know her setting; I prefer text because it’s slightly less awkward & you can be more precise.
      adjust as needed [also I don’t like my phrasing]:
      “Pollyanna, sometimes when I give a short answer you seem to press me & that makes me uncomfortable because often there isn’t a longer version or I’m not comfortable sharing. Of course you can always ask, although please don’t press me for more information.”

      other suggestions:
      Ask Pollyanna about something she enjoys & tell her you don’t know much about the subject. Then sit back & let her talk. Ask questions as needed. Usually it’s good to hear someone talk about their interests; even if I’ve no interest in the topic I can appreciate another’s passion. The anthropology suggestion works well for this, or even a mental buzzword bingo can help keep me amused & engaged.

      Sometimes, advance work helps.
      Know how you react & respond to things— it seems you already do. This is a huge advantage!

      Prep some default replies to things she often says or asks then be a broken record as needed. I don’t mean this as rude, for me it’s “This person affects me to the point I can’t think around the nails-on-chalkboard so the best replies are ones I can think of when I’m not being aurally assaulted & unnerved.”

      Sample text for If she often tries to engage you:
      “[Give a short reply]. Really I’ve had a hectic week & it’s refreshing to listen to others talk about anything that isn’t work!”
      Often bemusement gets me through interactions like this.

      As fposte suggested, try to find at least one good trait in this person. This tactic has really helped my psyche & how I interact with whomever it is I don’t really like.
      “Not like” is relative here; it can range from how someone can be a good person yet have a personality trait to which I can’t easily relate to someone whom I genuinely dislike.

      Also, pity is a rare yet useful emotion for me; it’s usually reserved for those who aren’t at all self-aware &or who aren’t open to new thoughts or ideas. I’d rather perceive someone as flawed [ie: pathetic] because it makes them more as a human with whom I can interact as opposed to the indignation that prevents me from being civil to a BEC.
      [full disclosure: I’m flawed, too]

      Have an escape plan in case of emergency. Seriously. If Pollyanna is causing you to really simmer & none of the more genteel methods work, then get out of there.
      eg: If you meet up for dinner, you can say you felt off during the day/your stomach is wonky/your friend is in crisis/on call for a work deadline… whatever. Truth is best, or the closest you can come to it; “crisis” is relative & deadlines are deadlines, even if that deadline is three months away.
      Invoke as needed. Prep work can help here too because you can start a few days in advance [“Looking forward to you staying with me. Work has been hectic & we’re trying to get this project out…”]. Bonus if you can also tell family or mutual friends the same scenario so you can’t be accused of not wanting to be with Brother & Pollyanna.

      Long ago, when I realised I needed to have an escape planned, I felt like I was overreacting or being rude &or dishonest. Then I decided my feelings were wrong: just knowing there’s an escape plan in fact helped me to stay & sometimes to preserve a relationship one might need to take a step back to defuse hard feelings.

      EA, please let us know you survived!!

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        OMG. Causuan knows my family member, oh my… (joking, joking…)

        Yes to all of this. Have an escape plan or two. One is a preset time you will be leaving because the dog is sick, you have work to do, you have a commitment somewhere else. My husband and I always agreed on what time we would leave before we got to the Bubbly One’s House. Then have an emergency escape plan in case she hits all your buttons early on. This can be a low grade headache that suddenly mushroomed. (One time we had to leave because my husband did not get enough protein for his diet. A platter of spaghetti and three meatballs to serve 12 people. grrr….)

        Busy yourself while you are there, play with the kids/dogs/cats/whatever. Personally, I always volunteered to do dishes. It’s not because I am a good person. In this case, I am not. Her sis and I saw eye-to-eye on things, so if sis was there we could hang together and actually enjoy the time. We looked for each other.

        Have a reward waiting for you when you get home, this can be anything of value to you: a long soak in a hot tub, ice cream, a movie, whatever.

        I love the part about “self-aware” and “clueless”. That conflict alone can be unnerving. She’s very aware of how she presents and what she should be doing, but she has no clue how life works. Her world is a very small circle that extends about as far as arm’s length. My Bubbly One had more degrees than a thermometer but she didn’t understand that much of anything. She could be the biggest brown noser and the next minute be snorting [drug] in the bathroom.

        Honestly, I could not sort it all out. My biggest problem was I lost respect. And that is when the battle got hard. I found it helpful to stop looking for things that are not there and never will be. I started checking my own behaviors and mindset to make sure I was living up to my own standards. And that is about the best I could come up with.

        Reply
    6. Mirax

      Oh man. She sounds like she’s probably really nervous about wanting you to like her, esp with the trying harder if she thinks she’s pulling away. And since you’re her boyfriend’s sib, she’s probably really emotionally invested in winning you over.

      In your shoes I’d try to meet her halfway–ask her more questions to keep her talking, or maybe invite her to do some kind of activity that reduces conversation (bike ride, movie, etc). Like, I know you said she annoys you, but she might back off a bit if she got some kind of reassurance that you two are cool?

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        This makes sense about the nervousness. Sometimes I think that is what causes the bubbly personality, sheer nervousness all the time.

        Reply
        1. Hellanon

          Yeah, same here – it’s possible she’s amping up the superficial friendly out of nerves. My strategy with people who can’t seem to drop their performance of themselves is to try and engage them, get them to talk about something that’s interesting/important to them. Of course, sometimes that turns out to be, surprise, themselves, or they can’t drop the public face at all – but then I feel I can engage escape strategies with a clear conscience. In the meantime, people are a lot more likable when they talk about something that fascinates them, and it’s easier to find your way past the annoying parts when you are interested in the person or in what they do.

          Reply
        2. Bubbly girl

          I am naturally really bubbly and I can assure you it is not nervousness. Bubbly is just a combination of being optimistic and outgoing. I was almost 30 before I realised that some non-bubbly people genuinely didn’t want to be bubbly. Up until that I always assumed they were just too shy or nervous to talk to other people, or just really unhappy. So it’s actually amusing to find out that non-bubbly people think the same about us!

          Most likely the reason she is trying so hard is because that is her way of trying to be nice to you. Why does she even want to be nice to you? because you are important to the man she loves, so she is trying her absolute best to be as friendly to you as possible. Not because of nerves, just because being nice to people who are important to your loved ones is a good thing to do, even if they are the total opposite to you and you would rather bang your head against a brick wall.

          I am guessing she finds spending time with you just as difficult as you find spending time with her. She is doing her absolute best to be as nice to you as possible in the only way she knows how.

          If you really want to stop her talking to you could just tell her what you’ve told us – that you are constantly watching her and keeping note of every little thing she does wrong so you can use it as ammunition to get your brother to dump her. Pretty sure she won’t want to talk to you any more once she finds that out.

          Reply
          1. Bubbly girl

            Ok I realise I was a bit annoyed when I wrote this and it was snide. I apologise. I read

            ” if she did something I could bring to him (she is really dishonest here are examples) I would”

            and I read that to mean you are actively watching her to see if she does something you could take to your brother. Maybe I overreacted and that is not what you meant.

            It genuinely came as a revelation to me when I learned that some people are actually happy sitting in the corner talking to no-one. After I realised that I stopped trying to be friendly to everyone.

            If you say to her something like “you’re a really outgoing person and that’s great and I know [brother] loves that. But I just wanted to let you know that I’m naturally the total opposite. Believe it or not I actually like sitting quietly just listening to other people talk and I don’t really like being IN the conversation. So please don’t feel like you have to involve me. I’m not mad at you when I’m short with you or anything, I just am naturally reticent.”

            Reply
            1. EA

              Good Lord.

              When I said what you quoted above. It was in response to someone thinking I should talk to my brother about why I don’t like her. It was intended to convey that it is a personality preference and not something substantial. The dishonest example is something that I HAVE NOT seen from here, but if I did I would bring up, because it is serious, and me non liking her personality is frivolous. I think most people would agree it would be fare game to bring up a serious personality flaw (like lying) and that isn’t watching her every move and using it as ammunition. Maybe I didn’t communicate it clearly, but it was intended to say I don’t think anything about her is fare game to bitch about, because it is all my own issue.

              And just for the record, my issues with bubbly people have nothing to do with me preferring to sit in the corner and not be part of the conversation. It is about being irritated by the shrill, fake ‘omg how aaarreeee you’ at an energy level of about a 100 throughout the whole interaction. honestly, I try and understand others and be kind, and you assuming that anyone not like is unhappy and how could anyone not want to be bubbly doesn’t strike me as very kind. Maybe this post just hit a nerve and I wasn’t particularly clear, but what you wrote came off incredibly judgemental to me.

              Reply
              1. Bubbly girl

                I think it did hit a nerve actually – I didn’t like being told that an entire personality type of which I am a member is “little girl” and “fake”. So I think judgementalism exists on both sides here.

                Maybe you wrote your response above before you saw the second message where I apologised. I realised that I was annoyed and that may have coloured my judgement and I apologised. It was actually the apology post you replied to. So either the commenting system is playing up or you just chose to completely ignore the fact that I already acknowledged it touched a nerve and I apologised already.

                I actually don’t think it’s unkind to misunderstand people with a different personality type to you. When I’m unhappy I sit in the corner and don’t talk to people so it is an obvious assumption to make that other people who also do that are unhappy. Like I said i eventually realised that those people genuinely feel differently to me, and actually don’t want to be outgoing.

                It’s much more unkind and judgemental to assume that someone who behaves differently to you is “fake” and childish (“little girl”). That’s not just misunderstanding that’s criticising.

                Saying “if she did something I could bring to him I would” really does make it sound like you are watching her to see if she does something you can bring to him. I’m glad to hear you are not doing that because that would be a horrible thing to do. Obviously if she did something awful you should bring it to him, but the way it was worded made it sound like you were looking for things to bring to his attention.

                Anyway I’ve given my advice and I apologise again for offending you. I hope you find a way to look past this girl’s personality.

                Reply
                1. EA

                  Okay. I’ll cop to poorly communicating, I understand how what I wrote could have been read differently.

                  I don’t really think we are talking about the same thing. I think you use bubbly to mean friendly and outgoing, and self identify that way. I literally mean the skreetchy high pitched over friendly voice woman sometimes use when they first meet one another, and never toning it down. Are you telling me that sometimes that is genuine, and not super fake? Every other person I have ever encountered tones it down and doesn’t act like that 100% of the time.

                2. anonanonanonymous

                  It’s much more unkind and judgemental to assume that someone who behaves differently to you is “fake” and childish (“little girl”). That’s not just misunderstanding that’s criticising.

                  I disagree with that statement. I think they’re both misunderstandings–people who aren’t naturally bubbly would have to fake it, so they assume it must be fake for others. That’s just like assuming people sitting alone must be miserable because it would be miserable for you. (I made this mistake once with someone I dated–I asked him whether I should have come to the party on my own because he was sitting alone on the sidelines, and he responded, “But I’m having the best time!”)

                  Also, in my experience, “outgoing” and “bubbly” are not always the same thing. I love people and am definitely an extrovert, but I think my presence is too subdued to be bubbly. I’ve also known plenty of highly energetic introverts–they’d rather talk one-on-one to people they already know, but boy are they animated when discussing their favorite subjects!

                3. fposte

                  EA, yes, I do think it’s not fair to condemn an interaction as “fake” because it’s not the practice you’re used to; “How are you?” in soprano and high decibels isn’t less sincere than “How are you?” huskily whispered, after all. Do you think people who are soft-spoken and quiet are fake for not being in a “normal” tone?

                  Ultimately, I think it’s a mistake to read this as fake vs. sincere; it’s about ways of being and cultures of human dynamics. So maybe this goes back to neverjaunty’s point about why this hits you–is it about having a hard time imagining somebody enjoying meeting people that much, or are there maybe some class assumptions going on about public volume, or is it just associated with people you didn’t like at some point in your life?

                  Right now it sounds like you’re a wolf and you’re thinking that golden retrievers are insincere. But they’re not; they’re just golden retrievers, and happy to see people, and very much not wolves.

                4. Bubbly Girl

                  It’s two things combined that annoy you then – the high pitched voice and the enthusiasm/energy?

                  What evidence do you have that the high pitch is fake? Have you heard her speak lower with other people? There was actually a comment on here the other day by a lady with a high pitched voice who felt like her voice gave a negative impression of her. Some people have high pitched voices and that’s just life. If you have some reason to believe that’s not her natural voice then maybe try to figure out why she might be speaking in a higher tone just with you and not with others. TBH that’s a bit unusual if she is doing that – my voice gets higher pitched when speaking to children or when I’m really upset or sometimes when I’m really excited – but none of those things seem to fit meeting boyfriends family. Maybe as someone said it is nervousness. I disagree with the earlier comment that bubbliness is caused by nervousness but I do acknowledge that some people’s voices get higher pitched when they are nervous. You could try making her less nervous and she might talk lower or something. Or do like Sheldon did with Penny and speak lower back to her and give her chocolate!

                  The enthusiasm/energy, well like i said at first that’s probably just her way of trying to be as nice to you as she possibly can. That’s what she thinks of as being friendly. Politely letting her know that she doesn’t need to do that is probably the easiest way to end it – signal to her that you already like her, she’s passed the test or whatever and she will probably stop trying to make friends with you so hard.

              2. LCL

                Just tell yourself it takes all kinds to make a world. Your brother chose, for whatever reason, someone who has aspects of her persona that are 180 degrees from yours. Is the rest of the family more like you, or more like her? Someone has to be upbeat and bubbly. You don’t want that to be you, that’s OK. (Says the person who was called a mindless optimist by the ex when he wanted to twist the knife.)

                Reply
          2. Not So NewReader

            You folks are making me think.
            There are bubbly people who do not cause me to grind my teeth. Actually I am happy to be around them.
            I think there are other factors coming into play here that are not being mentioned.

            I have a friend who is a bubbly person. She is very talkative and very enthused about everything. I can trust her word. She rarely puts anyone down. Her work is difficult both physically and emotionally yet she maintains an amazing can-do attitude. When she encounters a difficult situation she finds a creative response to ease or remedy the situation. And she is real. If something is sad she will acknowledge the sadness.
            With family member this last piece here was the final straw for me. There was a whole list of topics that could not be discussed around her, because she could not listen to the discussion. For example, reading many of the things here on AAM would cause an overload. We had to watch everything that we said to make sure there was nothing negative or difficult.
            In short, I can now say it was not the bubbly personality that was off-putting.

            Reply
            1. fposte

              For me, the older I get and more people I know, the more I have to let go of what looked like correlations in my youth. If you talked this way, I figured you couldn’t be smart; if you said you liked this movie, you couldn’t be nice, etc., etc. But it turns out that all kinds of people make all kinds of noises and like all kinds of things, and the best way to tell whether they’re smart or nice is whether they’re actually, you know, smart or nice.

              Reply
              1. Casuan

                Fposte, I so much agree with your comments on this thread!

                also… Wo.
                EA, I also didn’t understand your “dishonest here are examples” comment. Thanks for explaining this; I understand now.
                For me, Bubbly Girl’s first post was meant to give perspective from the other side & she gave examples of what you could say that might work for your situation. I did find her last paragraph a bit harsh [“If you really want to stop her talking to you could…”] albeit I think she gave you good insight as how to implement the option that could prevent Pollyanna from ever talking with you again. Bubbly Girl was self-aware to realise she might have been ‘snide” & she apologised for it; she also gave more perspective from the bubbly-behaviour side.

                Just as Bubbly Girl had to learn that not all people are naturally bubbly, perhaps you need a paradigm shift to understand that not bubbly personalities are fake.
                We all have personality bias to some degree in that we tend to stereotype. There’s also the bias to not grasp that certain personalities are one’s true nature 24/7. The personalities that I don’t understand probably don’t understand me, either. Usually I enjoy finding common ground, unless I’m quite tired or stressed. Then just leave me alone. :)

                EA, good luck with your brother’s girlfriend; I hope the visit goes well.
                Bubbly Girl, thank you for the perspective!!

                Reply
    7. Lissa

      My suggestion would be not to either try to convince yourself to like her by guilting yourself, or or to get caught up in rants about her, because both (for me anyway) will lead me to like the person even less. I haaaate the brain loop I can sometimes get into. “But I should have more empathy! I should try harder! She didn’t do anything wrong, you are just being awful for not liking her, imagine how you’d feel if someone didn’t like you . . ” And you know, it *never* helps, it just makes me feel resentful on top of annoyed.

      And in reverse, ranting about the little things she does can blow them out of proportion. I completely sympathize with what you mean, a couple personality types just set my teeth on edge and it’s not their fault but screams forever. I typically try to low-dose with them for awhile, and I find that *sometimes* I end up kind of inoculating myself against the annoyance and not being so bothered by them as time goes by.

      Reply
    8. NicoleK

      1. mentally prepare yourself in advance when you have to spend time with her
      2. try to find things in common to talk about
      3. try to get to know her
      3. if 1 , 2, and 3 don’t work, limit your contact with her

      Reply
  18. Anonak

    I’ve been dealing with anxiety and depression on and off for decades. I’m currently in a good place, but I’ve been here before and have always back slid eventually. My main problem is that when I am depressed, I am deeply apathetic and lack any motivation to accomplish things. Even when I feel much better, I am then overwhelmed by the backlog of things that I haven’t accomplished and have no systems in place to get back on track. In addition, I’m highly avoidant, so even when I’m feeling better, my sense of urgency seems to be broken. It’s almost like I spend so much time suppressing my anxiety in order to function that even when I’m not depressed, reasonable anxiety for things that are important like paying bills on time is gone.

    I would like to figure out a way to stop the cycle, but I’m not really sure where to start. Every bit of advice that I’ve seen says just start small, but starting small seems useless when there’s just so much to accomplish. Also, I’m a master procrastinator.

    Has anyone who has gone through this or something similar found ways to be successful or resources that can help?

    Reply
    1. Dizzy Steinway

      Oh, I feel you on this. I make long lists of things and berate myself for not doing them.

      Are these things you need to do, want to do or think you should want to do but actually don’t? I think my answer may depend a bit on this.

      Reply
      1. Anonak

        I think that the things are both. I would like to have a better financial life, but I also need to stop spending so much money and drawing myself further and further into debt. I would like to live in a nice organized apartment, but I have to get it cleaned up at least somewhat so that I don’t live in fear of the day that the landlord a repair person has to come in. But that question brings up an interesting strategy. Maybe I do focus too much on what I need to do, and I should focus on what I want to do and what I choose to do. Because saying that I need to do it makes it sound like a chore, but they may choose to do it and then following through makes it feel like an accomplishment.

        Reply
      1. Anonak

        Unfortunately, I have a bad habit a rewarding myself just because I feel like it. So rewarding myself for accomplishments would require me to stop that first or else it would be fairly meaningless. But that is a good idea.

        Reply
        1. Trix

          Between this and the comment just about about having to clean your apartment enough so you don’t live in fear of the landlord or repair person coming in, man alive do I feel you.

          I have no suggestions, just commiseration, but I’m enjoying reading what others have already said.

          Reply
        2. Parenthetically

          Holy mackerel I have never so identified with an internet stranger. High fives or whatever sympathy/affirmation works for you, because I FEEL THIS.

          I can recommend Unfuck Your Habitat for cleaning things, but otherwise I am scouring this little thread for tips.

          Reply
    2. Artemesia

      the one thing that has helped me is history i.e. the first few times I felt like this I thought it was the end of the world — but now I have lived long and prospered and so when I get into one of these loops, I remind myself that I have lived through it before and will again. I find this really helps me pull myself through.

      Reply
      1. Anonak

        Thank you for your sharing your experience. That is a good way to look at it. For me, one of the most terrifying places to be is when you feel okay but realize that it’s creeping up on you and there’s a sense of desperation because you don’t want to go through the lows again.

        Reply
        1. Ismis

          I have a good habits app where I just check a box when I’m having a good day. I found that when I was getting down, I thought “I always feel this awful and it’s never going to change” but by checking the app, I could see that actually, it had been 2 months since I had a bad day and it was just my sad brain lying to me. That helped me get out of the spiral. A bad day every now and then is manageable, but I needed logic to show me that it wasn’t more than that.

          Reply
        2. Casuan

          For me, one of the most terrifying places to be is when you feel okay but realize that it’s creeping up on you and there’s a sense of desperation because you don’t want to go through the lows again.

          Anonak, I can relate to this. If I understand correctly, this is an oft-repeated pattern for you?

          If so, I have a radical suggestion:
          When you feel that it’s creeping up on you, try not to fight it. Let it come.

          Why do I say this?
          Because [again, if I understand correctly] you can’t fight it. It’s going to come whether or not you want it, whether or not you fight it. When you get in this loop it can make things worse.
          Instead, if you can try to focus on the fact that you will eventually get through it— as you have many times before!!

          It’s so demoralising to feel okay then you realise that the depression [or other negative thing] is coming & nothing you do can stop it. And after failing to stop it, you then have to deal with the storm because it saps all air & energy from you & leaves you with such an aftermath you’ve no idea how or where to start to clean up…

          The big advantage you have is that it isn’t a surprise: you know what happens & you can usually recognise the warning signs & you’ve survived it many times over!!
          This advantage is huge & you should make use of it. When you feel the creeping & desperation, batten down the hatches. When the lows hit, remember that they’re temporary. Think of what you want to do when they pass.
          If it would help, tell your friends what goes on & ask for help. You can prep for this. You can call or if there’s a particular phrase that you know will help, you can ask that when they get your keyword they can respond accordingly.
          [if this makes sense…?]

          This is all so much easier said than done & it takes practise. If you decide to try x, y & z then only accomplish y… don’t think you’ve failed because you didn’t do x & z. Be proud that you did x!!

          for context on my responses to Anonak: This topic is especially passionate for me because I have MS & fatigue is one of my primary symptoms. I can’t stress enough how difficult it is to grasp the concept of physical & mental energy if one hasn’t personally experienced for a certain length of time; if i hadn’t gotten ill I’d never understand how pervasive this fatigue can be both physically & mentally draining.
          Pervasive fatigue isn’t improved by sleeping & it’s a 24/7 battle for the energy to do anything. It’s exhausting & that can make me quite dejected. Although there are so many similarities between our situations, the causes are different. True anxiety & depression have their own dynamics & I don’t fully understand them. I do understand the dynamics of feeling so overwhelmed & too constricted to do much of anything.
          Anonak’s query & comments have very much touched me because the descriptions are so very parallel to how things can be for me.

          If anyone wants to understand this a bit more, the Spoon Theory can help; it represents anyone with fatigue issues.
          https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

          Reply
    3. MarianCSRA

      I am in a similar situation, and one of the most frustrating parts is that not every treatment works for every person. I have had occasional bouts of depression, but they come mostly as a result of my anxiety issues. What has (mostly) worked for me is medication and therapy. In combination, meds and therapy have helped to mostly keep the day to day generalized anxiety at bay. I also have a flying phobia which is a whole other animal, and it’s still a work in progress.

      One thing I’ve found that’s helpful to remember is that progress with anxiety isn’t always going to be linear, but I feel like you probably already know that.

      I definitely feel the same lack of urgency that you describe even when I’m feeling good. I also understand the importance of having systems in place, though I don’t always follow through. You specifically mention paying bills. I am a procrastinator and also forgetful, so what helped me with bills is to set an email reminder that also goes to my phone to pay bills after every payday. Even if the bill is not due, I’ll log into the account after every pay day and check. Sometimes I’ll go ahead and pay it, and sometimes I’ll see the due date and know that it can wait for the next pay day.

      I hope some of this helps. At the very least, know that you don’t suffer alone.

      Reply
    4. TL -

      Maybe start by seeing the small things as an accomplishment and not stressing about the rest? Like, you can put most of your bills on auto pay these days, so any day you put a bill on autopay would be a win. And then you don’t have to worry about the bill – even my credit cards have autopay set up for these minimum if I don’t make a payment that month.
      And after you do that, think super positive thoughts. Like, “wow! I just put a bill on autopay, that’s going to reduce my stress so much! I really accomplished something good today! Go me! That’s a huge relief.”

      Basically, if you try and retrain yourself to have a positive reaction to one small step, you’ll do more of them! If you do the dishes and then immediately stress out about the place being a mess, that’s negative feedback and you’re training yourself to think of the dishes as being stressful to do. If you do the dishes and think, “Great! I just did the dishes, go me! Clean dishes are awesome! I’m going to really appreciate this at breakfast!” it’ll be less stressful to do them next time, whether you’re thinking they need to be done or washing them.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I enjoy really cheesily saying out loud “Go me! I did it!” and other things like that when I get something, especially a lingering something, done. I’m the one it’s benefiting, after all, so why shouldn’t I cheer?

        And for me small goals are key in fighting against crushing expectations. “I have to clean out the room!” No can do. “I want to put away one item of clothing from the table”–yeah, I can manage that. It’s better to succeed at a small goal than fail at a larger one.

        Reply
        1. MarianCSRA

          I definitely do this as well. I have a tendency to leave things in my car. So when it gets bad (i.e. too much stuff), I start making a point to take one thing out when I get home. I’m not always good at doing that every single time, but I do it enough that the car eventually gets (mostly) cleaned out.

          Reply
          1. Nic

            I really like the “do one thing” way of moving forward. The one I’m working on right now is every time I go into a room, get one thing that is out of place and put it in place. Or if I’m leaving a room to go to another, grab something from the one that belongs in the other. It’s amazing how quickly one little thing can make a difference!

            Reply
        2. Girasol

          I also do the small goals. I find that if I just can’t do a task, I promise myself that all I have to do now is get out the tools – hunt down the paperwork, look up the web pages, and get everything ready for the horrible task that I’m not going to do right now – and the next thing I know it’s done after all. Yay me!

          Reply
      2. Jess R.

        I do this SO MUCH. I’m training for a 5k and sometimes I get to the gym and feel like I just can’t hit my distance goal that day. So instead of saying “ugh, I was supposed to run 2 miles and I didn’t,” I try to say “I ran a mile! Good for me!” Or like “I got the laundry in! That’s progress, Jess.” I’ve got to cheerlead myself on the small stuff or nothing will ever get done.

        Reply
      3. Nic

        Agreed with this, especially on the positive retraining.

        I’ve heard of a “done list” instead of a “to do list”. Basically you write down everything that you successfully accomplished, no matter how small.
        1. Woke up.
        2. Grabbed a pad/pencil and started a done list.
        3. Went to the bathroom

        Everything on that list is a success, no matter how small. You woke up, and that’s big sometimes. You are working on self care. That’s also HUGE.

        Something I did for a while was a jar of good things. Any time something good happened (and I’m the only one who can judge that, so if I say watching a butterfly land on a passion flower is good, then darn it, it is!) I’d write it down on a slip of paper, date it, fold it up, and drop it into a clear container. I got to see all the good things start piling up!

        In theory, you’re supposed to go back and read them a year later, or on a hard day, or whatever. I never got around to doing that, especially because some of the former happy times were now associated with an ex I didn’t want to think about. That didn’t matter though, I still got to look at my box and see how many good things had happened.

        Reply
        1. Casuan

          >In theory, you’re supposed to go back and read them a year later, or on a hard day, or whatever.

          This system probably works well for many people. Not at all for me. To me there’s the clutter of a jar in my already small flat & putting something on my calendar for next year.
          And if the jar is glass… it won’t last the year because I’d accidentally break it… so I’d need to put it in a safe spot… which would make too much effort to use the jar as intended!!
          Of course I could use a non-breakable container, although I know myself well & there’s no way I’d sustain this process.

          That said, there’s a lot to say about the visual of seeing the good things piling up!!

          Reply
    5. NoMoreMrFixit

      Suffer from the same. I found that the main things I need are close and trusted friends to pull me up or give me a kick in the tail as needed. Time management tools and task lists are crucial for me to keep on top of things. If I don’t put something into my calendar it doesn’t exist. Even then it’s far too easy to click OK and ignore the prompts so I tend to put in multiple reminders to nag myself into action.

      I can’t recommend a good therapist strongly enough. They make a huge difference.

      Reply
    6. Elizabeth West

      We were just talking at coffee today about how mindfulness meditation has helped us/is helping with anxiety and/or depression. It’s about acknowledging what is happening instead of getting lost in those thoughts or avoiding them. Obviously if a person needs medication to stabilize, it’s not a substitute, but it can be tremendously helpful. Pointing your attention on certain feelings and thoughts can get uncomfortable, but knowing it will pass is a big help.

      I bookmarked these ages ago; I hope they help a little.

      A little more info:
      themindunleashed.com/2015/03/mindfulness-is-more-effective-than-drugs-for-both-anxiety-and-depression-heres-how.html

      A technique (easy even if you’ve never done this):
      upworthy.com/a-meditation-teachers-4-tips-for-calming-down-and-refocusing-in-just-30-seconds?c=ufb5

      Reply
      1. Jo

        These are really helpful, thanks! I keep trying meditation/mindfulness, but it always leaves me feeling like a failure because I just. can’t. do. it. I like the idea of small doses – that seems much less likely to leave me feeling even worse about myself.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          Don’t think you have to do it perfectly all at once–it takes time to learn. I’ve just begun doing it myself. I’ve got a long way to go but I think it’s worth the effort. :)

          Reply
      2. Casuan

        Thank you for sharing this. I really need the Upworthy post just now. The phrase about the most difficult part is remembering [to do something] is spot-on!!

        Reply
    7. Short and Stout

      I use an app called ToDoist combined with the Gettings Things Done system, created by David Allen. This got me out of a long and tiresome slump brought on by a long and fatiguing illness.

      (I feel like people now use the phrase “gettings things done” to mean something along the lines of “I am highly productive and no-nonsense”, but there is a specfic if somewhat worrisomely culty meaning just associated with the organising system developed by Allen. I digress, but I think it is well worth noting that it is an actual system that you can apply to yourself / your thinking. )

      As recommended to me, I started by reading the 15 minute guide to GTD here: https://hamberg.no/gtd/ and then read the book a few weeks later. The ToDoist app acts as the list required in GTD.

      The app is especially great as it tracks how many tasks you get done, and has levels for the number of tasks you have done.

      Reply
    8. Not That Jane

      I like the website Unf**k Your Habitat. Has a lot of useful, small, manageable ideas for how to keep your space functional, and acknowledges that not everyone can (or should!) do cleaning marathons.

      Reply
      1. Nic

        I just checked that out for the first time, and my word! I love it! I’m going to do a weekend challenge this (my) weekend!

        Reply
    9. Not So NewReader

      The times I have been at my worst, with some of the things you are talking about here my vitamins and minerals were not doing so hot. Making matters worse, I ate too much junk. For me, there is nothing like eating a lot of bread to take the life force right out of me. And I looove bread. I also found that synthetic cleaners and fragrances were aggravating my allergies to the point that I was less of a person.

      Have you had a check up lately? I am thinking, thyroid, heart, nutritional levels, blood.

      However, understand you have a circular thing going on here. You avoid, then you get more depressed, then you avoid some more then you get more depressed and so on. Decide where you want to cut into this circle to stop the circle.

      A couple of times my give-a-damn was broken, I decided that there would be a day in the future that I would care about X, therefore I should take care of X today so in the future I am all set with X. I did not take care of X for today-me, I took care of it for future-me. Today-me did not give a crap.

      I have done that constant rewards thing. Arguably, one could say I was self-indulgent. For me, getting through the last five minutes was so rough, I earned that reward. This made me look at my life. Why do I need a steady stream of rewards? Because life was not rewarding. I knew I had to get out of toxic job, find friends who could GIVE as well as take, get rid of the clutter in my house and do some other things. I broke into my circle by changing my diet and eating simple foods. After a few months mental clarity started coming back. I was able to start to handle these things.

      It’s important and also helpful to realize that life is a journey. Change your expectations of having a perfectly neat home or having every new gadget on the market or whatever it is you are doing that does not truly satisfy you. And understand that as we go through life we are always changing and tweaking what we are doing. Decide that this is a new life habit of yours to just be making incremental improvements in your life for the rest of your life. If you decide that you will be constantly improving your life, it can take some of the torture out of things going on in current time.

      Reply
    10. JKP

      One thing that has worked for me is to have accountability with someone else. It can help them too. Like we would both check in with each other each week and go over what we accomplished and what we wanted to do next week. It didn’t have to be long, even just 15 min each. For me I was more motivated by the idea of letting someone else down than letting myself down.

      Reply
    11. Casuan

      busy day & I just finished this reply… before posting I just caught up on the other comments & Anonak’s replies… some of what I’ve written has already been suggested

      …and lack any motivation to accomplish things. Even when I feel much better, I am then overwhelmed by the backlog of things that I haven’t accomplished and have no systems in place to get back on track. In addition, I’m highly avoidant, so even when I’m feeling better, my sense of urgency seems to be broken.

      Every bit of advice that I’ve seen says just start small, but starting small seems useless when there’s just so much to accomplish.

      Anonak, I’m so sorry for your anxiety & depression. I very much relate to the above quotes, albeit my causes are different. Still, what you describe really resonates with me so perhaps some things that work for me can help you.
      nb: Without knowing more about the things you need to do it’s hard to give concrete advice. So this post assumes these are from both home & work. I’ve different strategies for different things.

      One step at a time. The “step” isn’t defined as quantity, it’s defined as any positive action you do. You get to decide the step… not books, websites, advice from from others… Take whatever you think will work for you & discard the rest. Also maybe stop reading published material on this because there’s not much new information on “How to deal with [whatever is holding you back].” Once you’ve read so much the advice just repeats. The result is that you start to feel pathetic because you get overwhelmed because you can’t get going enough to do what all of those books are telling you & then you revert to where you were that made you read the books in the first place…

      It’s vital that you try to shift your thinking. Don’t look at all of your failures. Anonak, you haven’t failed to accomplish things, you’ve identified some things that are holding you back & you’ve asked others for help. That is a big start!!

      eg: We’re trained that “clearing off the table” means “removing everything in one session” so if all we do is to put one or two things away then we don’t accept the victory, we look at all we didn’t do. We failed to clear the table.

      Accept the victory instead!!
      It sounds silly to think “Yay, I put one thing away!” & it takes a bit of training to consistently think like that. At first it’s “Big whoop, I moved one thing and now there’s all the other crap I need to put away.”

      When you compare the one thing to doing nothing…?
      That is an accomplishment.

      If I need to “clear the table” [or fold clothes, or whatever…], sometimes I’ll literally do so one thing at a time. Whenever I get up to do something, I’ll put one thing away/fold something/whatever. I’m always amazed at how quickly something can get done this way. Also if I have something in hand, I try to do what I need with it instead of putting it down to get to it later. That said, if all I can do is to move it closer to where it needs to be [such as putting something on a counter because I need the step-stool to put it away]… yay, I accomplished that!

      Often I work better with a clean slate. If my table has been full for much too long & just looking at it depresses me… if the thought of clearing it is akin to the energy of climbing Mt Everest… then I’ll grab a banker’s box & put everything from the table into the box. Sometimes waiting a day or two helps me to forget about how the table was & to think of how I want it to be, if that makes sense.

      Drafting a friend can help, even if that friend just talks with you whilst you do some things. Or go to a friend’s house & help them! It’s funny how we can help others with things that we’re ignoring for ourselves.

      About your backlog: Stop thinking of it as “backlog,” at least as much as is practical.
      What matters is now. For whatever reason, there are things you need to do & haven’t gotten to them yet. Full stop.

      What used to be backlogs are now Projects. Some projects are probably more urgent than others, so you need to triage things. For me, that means evaluations & notes & even if I can’t physically begin to accomplish what I’ve written down, just knowing I have a plan helps with any angst I might have by just looking at my buried desk or clothes that need folding or whatever else.

      How to triage?
      Assess projects as if for the first time. Prioritise what really must be accomplished sooner than later. A good thing about procrastination is that sometimes projects become obsolete so you can delete them from the list. If you’re a perfectionist, try to identify how that’s holding you back & if that’s the only reason you want to do something, then reassess. Break a project down into smaller projects.

      As for my notes, many prefer to write lists & cross things off so they can see the accomplishment. For some things I’ll do lists, although often I do a version of story-boarding. Post-its are great for this type of thing: one task on one post-it. The post-it gets trashed when I finish the task & it helps not to have the “clutter” of crossed-off lists.

      Be realistic with how you work, whether it’s at home or for work. Keep things as simple as possible. Be resigned that the first “system” you try might not be the one that will really work for you, sometimes it takes various tries to figure out what works for you. Sometimes a system looks great on paper & works for a lot of people; this doesn’t mean it will work for you.
      Also be wary of creating perfect over-complicated systems that make total sense when you’re setting them up, only to later feel like a failure because you’re not keeping up with the process.
      eg: I’ve learned that I’m not good at logging things such as diet or exercise. I might start out as resolute & eager, yet within a week I stop.
      My solution now: I won’t start a log such as this because history has shown that it is Not Happening. Why set myself up for failure?

      Final thoughts:
      Accept that you’re going to have setbacks [a simple example is that my life got much easier when I realised that regardless of how often I clean off my table, it’s going to get more things on it]. When you get gripped by inaction & can’t fight it… that’s okay. It will pass like it always has. If you can, try to think of how you can take some control after it passes by accepting that what you can do is a victory.

      Please know that I’m rooting for you!!

      Reply
    12. Jo

      I’m dealing with this exact thing right now — unfortunately, no advice to share as I haven’t figured it out yet, either, but I’m hoping others do!

      Reply
    13. anonyanonymous

      The one thing that helped me break the cycle you describe (and I was very much like you), was going to therapy. All the suggestions above are good but to me they don’t stop the cycle, they just put – maybe – better band-aid on the problem. Have you thought of going to a therapist and exploring why you get such low-lows, why you are in such a cycle? why it’s so destructive? You seem to know already what you do – you get depressed, you avoid, it creates a problem, etc. But why do you keep doing it since it serves you so poorly? I think it might be worth exploring that.

      Reply
    14. Panda Bandit

      I have many of the same problems. I’m a champion-level avoider of things! Please, please, please keep in mind that you don’t have to fix everything right now. It’s okay to prioritize and take breaks and it is better for you. Studies show that our brains work better when we have regular breaks.

      Music actually helps me a lot. It energizes me and I usually put it on for tasks like cleaning.

      To-do lists and a calendar. Writing things down seems to clear out my head, and it is satisfying crossing them out afterwards. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Focus on what is the most urgent or has a due date that is coming up soon. A friend of mine goes by the idea that if you do 3 things a day eventually everything is done. I don’t always do 3 things but on my worst days I can pat myself on the back for doing something.

      Timers. Try working in 15 minute increments. You don’t have to scrub an entire room from top to bottom to count as doing something. You worked for x amount of minutes and that is most definitely an accomplishment.

      Therapy is one of my best tools. It’s helped take me out of the perfectionist, all-or-nothing mindset. I think a similar mindset is holding you back.

      Reply
    15. Is it Performance Art

      I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. About a year ago, I was anemic and I did not have the energy or motivation to do much of anything. I’m not sure if this will work for depression, but it sounds like you have a lot of the same challenges I had.
      One thing that helped me was to view completing tasks as helping my future self. Even if that was me two hours in the future. I reminded myself that if I did something now, my future self wouldn’t have to scramble to fix what I’d let slide. When I fell behind on tasks and the backlog seemed really overwhelming, I reminded myself that if I did it now, I would be reducing what I needed to do later. I also reminded myself that it would get better, and it was better to do the annoying stuff when I was still feeling crappy because it wasn’t like I was ruining a good day.

      Reply
    16. Casuan

      Anonak, I understand that your depression is a big trigger for your inaction. Can this trigger be broken down to specific thoughts?
      eg: Once I realised that I was waking up extremely fatigued every day [more so than is usual for me from MS] & just the thought of doing what was on my list… well, I was done before I started because I didn’t have the energy. I realised that I was looking at my list before I went to bed & that was working against me; when I awoke my list came to mind before I even got out of bed & just the thought of the energy required was working against me [as for the list itself, nothing physically strenuous; with MS-fatigue every thought & action requires energy & it drives me bonkers].
      So I retrained myself to not look at my list until I was sufficiently caffeinated & mobile for the day— & it worked!

      as for your finances… it’s never easy when you know you need to deal with late payments & other repercussions. Be pragmatic & take control: overdue bills aren’t a failure, rather they got a bit out of control because of your serious health issues. Life happens.
      Don’t be afraid to ask for help; ask a friend to help or look online or ask for help here.
      suggestion for a starting point:
      Gather all of your financial documents & sort them out. Don’t even try to read each of them, just sort them however works for you [for me this is alphabetical].
      If even that is too daunting then break it down even more. You don’t need to tackle everything financial in one day.

      as for your home… What does an “organised apartment” look like to you?
      Is it like one of those photos from a glossy magazine or are would you consider it organised if you & a few friends can sit down without moving things to find the seats?

      If your reply is the photo, does that really sync with your personality, aesthetic & lifestyle? You should make your space comfortable for *you* & if that means a stack of books on the table or floor or a pyramid-of-cans somewhere or… the only rule here is for you to do what makes *you* happy & comfortable.

      as for your lack of motivation… Could there be other reasons in play here, besides your depression? Could there be a physical cause [eg: anaemia]? You said you don’t want your landlord to see your place as it is now & that you spend a lot. Do you think you might be a hoarder? If you’re not certain, you can ask for help with that.
      *to be clear, I only this moment had the thought & decided to mention it as a theoretical possibility because it can be easy to blame the prevalent cause & not perceive the real cause; I do not have a reason to actually believe that you are

      Reply
  19. AvonLady Barksdale

    I’m coming to terms with the fact that the people I’ve become kind of friendly with here (since we moved 2.5 years ago) are not people I want to continue being friendly with, and I’m struggling with it. Some of it is age-related (at 38, I’m a good 15 years older than some of them, and I just don’t have the interest in or patience for some of the things they do and talk about), but some of it is because we just have nothing in common at all. We went to a party the other night at a friend’s place (I really like this woman and her husband, and my boyfriend and the husband get along incredibly well) and for the first time in ages, I had to get up and leave. The guests were just rude and loud and kind of obnoxious. They’re like this at every event, but I usually manage to escape into a corner. Couldn’t really do that this time.

    My boyfriend’s social group doesn’t help things (for me, anyway). He’s a doctoral student, so most of them are in their early 20s, and several of his friends are just really immature and know nothing but academia. Which is fine, but I have started to dread hanging out with them. I put on a good face for the occasional beer, but I find myself turning down more invitations than I used to and telling my boyfriend to go without me.

    There are probably five people here whose company I actively seek out. I realize that’s a lot, and I’m lucky, but I do miss my groups of really tight friends back in New York. I spent 10 years building up those friendships, so I know it takes time, but damn. I’m trying really hard not to fall into an idea that my life in NYC was perfect (it wasn’t) and that moving back will solve all my problems (it definitely won’t). I’m just tired of feeling like an old lady down here. All of the women my age I’ve met here are married (for a long time) with children, and very few of them have professional careers, so I always feel like I have a hard time connecting. I don’t know if that’s them or me, to be honest.

    On the other hand, I have met some amazing older women (older than me– in their 50s and 60s) who have reached out to me at various points, so I think I need to devote more energy to cultivating those relationships. At this stage of my life, it just feels more natural to spend time with the interesting empty-nesters than with the young couples. No question, really, I think I just needed to get all of that out of my head and “on paper”, so to speak.

    Reply
    1. RussianTea14

      I know exactly how you feel. I recently went through these exact feelings and it took me awhile to sort them out and finally accept them.

      I had the same friend group for almost a decade and it was hard to realize that I just really didnt like hanging out with them anymore. I evolved in a different direction than many of them did, and we just didnt have a lot in common anymore. I didnt help that I felt constantly judged and seen as the charity case of the group. Plus, there was this constant whirl of drama – not one person that was specifically causing the drama, but just a general sense of it. There is one person I still hang out and when I shared my feelings with her, it turned out that she felt very similarly.

      Now, I have a new friend group and it’s much more fulfilling. The relationships arent quite as deep yet but I feel completely accepted and its drama free, so it is working out well. Best of luck to you!

      Reply
    2. HannahS

      Honestly, it’s nice for me to hear that making strong friendships is hard, and I’m not failing because I suck at it. It’s hard all round.

      Reply
      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        It is so, so hard. I’m very fortunate in that I am very active in a hobby that attracts people a lot like me– choral singing– and that makes it easy to find acquaintances who like the same things, and my closest group of friends is made up of people who started out simply as fellow choristers. And it takes a long time to find that closeness. For me, the big blow is mostly that I do have those deep friendships, but… they’re physically somewhere else. I want to at least find people I can hang out with here, and that’s a struggle. Some of my girls are visiting in a few weeks, and I’m really excited about it, because I feel like I’ll be able to spend a few days with people for whom I don’t have to put on a show.

        Reply
    3. Not So NewReader

      Interesting, your observation about people a bit older than you. I have often thought that both men and women should seek out friends who are around ten plus years old than themselves. These slightly older people can be mentors, reality checkers, friends and they can drop some real pearls of wisdom.

      I think that doing this now is imperative. When we are 90 there won’t be many 100 year olds to chat with.

      My suggestion is to keep a mix as much as possible and to know that you have to recharge by going to these older folks to talk with them. What I am seeing here is as the decades roll by friendships become more and more about a purpose, such as a shared interest or membership in a particular group. I don’t have a lot of “general purpose” friends. My friends do particular activities with me or we have a shared interest. One thing that helps me is just as I like talking to slightly older people, there are some younger people that feel the same about me. So I take from one group and give back to another group, sort of. Perhaps your role in life is changing.

      Reply
    4. zaracat

      If it’s an option, perhaps you could seek out opportunities to have spend time just with the people you actually like rather than in larger groups which happen to include those people (I get that because of their busy lives, many people may not want to do this – they see it as more “efficient” to tick the socialising box by cramming everyone and everything into one event). I enjoy entertaining at home and used to hold large dinner parties which were a nightmare as far as satisfying everyone’s preferences around food, music and company; I’ve come to realise I enjoy it much more these days hosting smaller, more individually tailored events and saving large scale socialising for situations where the social stakes are lower and I can leave without any fuss if I’m not enjoying it.

      Reply
    5. SeekingBetter

      I know how you feel. It was really hard for me to make friends too. Actually, I actually have a few friends who are at least 25+ years my senior and I seem to get along with them so well. All people my age are typically into drinking and partying and that’s not the crowd I want to really make friends with. It’s so hard sometimes to figure out when you know you “click” with somebody though. It’s almost like romantic relationships.

      I hope you’re able to further your relationships with the amazing older women you speak of. In my experience, I find these to be good relationships :)

      Reply
    6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

      In my mid-30s now and I felt something like that for the whole time that I’ve lived here in the SF Bay Area. Almost a decade now. I do have very deep and supportive friendships but they’re all in different states and that’s hard when you want to spend time with a friend face to face, not just online.

      Online isn’t a bad way since my fibro means I have severely limited physical energy, but the occasional get together to sit and laugh over dessert is really good for the soul!

      I’m working on being open to deeper friendships with one person at a time. It’s not an easy process at the best of times, harder still if they’re in a different life stage. But I hope you do reach out to the older ladies and find a well of friendship there.

      Reply
  20. Nervous Accountant

    Last working weekend of tax season, working all weekend yay!!!!!!!!!!

    But next week we’re going on a mini vacation. we’re heading to Cape Cod next weekend. Any suggestions on what to do there? I know very little about it, any direction or suggestions will be nice. We’re spending Saturday and Sunday night and leaving Monday morning. We may be able to visit other parts of MA, or any other places we should stop at along the way ? (We’re in NYC).

    Reply
    1. KR

      I would visit Plymouth to see “Plymouth Rock” (not the actual rock). They have a little village that’s modeled after what the pilgrim’s village would have looked like too. Disclaimer: I don’t know how much they whitewashed the treatment of native american people since I haven’t been in years.

      Reply
      1. It happens

        The rock is one of the greasiest disappointments ever for tourists. Plimoth plantation is very good and they added a native village a number of years ago. But that is all an extra trafficy off-cape trip if you’re driving from NY (presumably crossing over the Bourne Bridge.)
        Just enjoy the Cape for two days – find some places to eat on the water and walk on the beach no matter the temp. There are nice villages and ice cream everywhere.
        I do recommend the Plantation and the Plymouth waterfront to people spending a few more days in the area.
        –not a Pilgrim, but I’ve lived there

        Reply
        1. many bells down

          Seriously, I grew up near there and every time I’m like “Yay let’s go to Plymouth Rock!”
          And then I get there and oh, right … it’s a rock in a hole. Whee.

          Plimoth Plantation is fun, though. Last time I was there we were chilling in the Wampanoag lodge listening to them tell stories when a lady asked “So … how did the Indians get here from India??” We had to leave quickly so as not to die laughing. The Native presenter handled it very well, though.

          I also really like Heritage Gardens in Sandwich. They have a 100+ year-old Looff Carousel which is my favorite thing.

          Reply
    2. LeRainDrop

      I would definitely want to visit Provincetown, at the tip of the Cape. The Mayflower actually landed there in 1620. Anyway, it’s a great place to visit to see a bunch of neat artwork, and there are a ton of great restaurants. Wonderful place to just walk around and really feel the vibe of a good seaside town.

      Reply
    3. WellRed

      I second Provincetown. No matter where you go, remember its still off season for a lot of places. Which I love, but not everyone does.

      Reply
      1. Nervous Accountant

        Thanks!

        Any food/restaurant suggestions?

        We’re also open to driving out not more than 1 hour away on Saturday/Sunday?

        Reply
        1. WellRed

          In Provincetown eat at lobster pot or muse (if muse is open). Really, it depends where you on Cape you stay. Mid Cape? Outer Cape? Also, if you ate going to tje Cape, I’d focus there., rather then considering other parts of Mass.

          Reply
    4. Jen

      If you’re driving up and it’s feasible, pack bikes and bike the rail trail. You could also rent them there but not super sure on the seasonality.

      Reply
    5. Amy

      Oooh, the Cape! I’m from there!

      The weather on the Cape will probably be unpredictable. It may be beautiful and sunny and in the 60’s or it may be gray and chilly and drizzly. Spring is such a crap shoot. Nevertheless, try to get out for a walk on the beach. It almost certainly won’t be swimming weather but it’s still lovely to walk. Dress warmly because it will be cooler near the water. One of my favorite spots for beach walks in the mid-Cape area is the Brewster Flats behind the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. It’s a short hike through the woods to a huge expanse of open tidal flats – just be sure to go at low tide and be careful to be off the flats before the tide comes in. Another great mid-Cape hike is Sandy Neck in Sandwich; either walk the beach proper or the trails in the dunes by the marsh. It’s off-season so it won’t be crowded.

      I also second the Provincetown recommendation. It’s just a really neat little town. If they’re doing whale watches this time of year that can be a lot of fun, if you’re into marine life.

      The best stuff to do on the Cape is outdoors, so even though it will probably be a bit chilly, get out there and enjoy it – especially because you won’t be fighting throngs of tourists this time of year! You will likely find many of the more tourist-y things aren’t yet open for the season but there’s still lots to see and do.

      Reply
  21. Anon for this

    Do you think it’s appropriate to ask the neighbour children to stay out of my driveway?

    Background: My neighbours are a multigenerational family with about three girls who are between 6-8 years old. I live in a fourplex with a larger-than-usual driveway, and so the grandfather will often send the girls to ride their bikes up and down my driveway. I appreciate that this is safe for them, staying off the streets, but they holler and it disrupts my work. I feel like such a grinch even asking this question . . . but it drives. me. nuts.

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Is it a shared driveway, or just yours? (I’m having a hard time picturing it.) And if it’s shared, are they one of the families who share it? I feel for you, because I am way sensitive to outside noise, and I have to constantly remind myself that the neighbors are allowed to make noise on their porch at 8pm, even if it’s the Worst Guitar Playing Ever. Anyway, if the driveway is just yours, you are perfectly within your rights to ask them to leave.

      Reply
      1. Anon for this

        Shared. They’re not actually living in the fourplex, though. They have their own driveway.

        Honestly, I’m too “nice” too confront them (they’re generally friendly folks), but it’s moments like this I wish I owned my own place. One day. Too poor right now. :P

        Reply
        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          They don’t live in the fourplex. It’s not their driveway. You’re allowed to ask them to leave.

          Reply
    2. fposte

      Since it sounds like it’s also their driveway, I think you just have to deal. If it’s before 9 on a weekend or late at night, that’s intervenable, and you can also ask for a special favor of a quiet day every now and then if you’re sick or on a deadline the next day. But otherwise they’re using their home appropriately for home life, which unfortunately trumps the desire for work-level quiet.

      You could try getting insulated blinds for the relevant windows, too–they stop a lot of sound.

      Reply
      1. Anon for this

        It’s not actually their driveway, though. I live in a fourplex with three other families, and some of the kids do use the driveway, usually for pickup soccer. And I deal with them; it’s their place too.

        These people live in a house right next to mine, with its own driveway, but because their driveway is short, they persist in coming into my space.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Ah, okay, that I wasn’t clear on. Do you know what others in the fourplex think of this use? It’s hard to ask them to move if somebody else has said it’s okay. If nobody else is inviting them there, I’d decide based on the time percentage if this is an issue I’m willing to talk to them about. Is it for an hour in the afternoon when they get home from school? Is it just bad this week because they were on break? Is there a use that *would* work for you, or are you at bottom frustrated that they’re using the driveway at all, not just noisily? (I would probably let my current next-door neighbor’s kids use my driveway because they’re super-responsible parents and kids, but I wouldn’t do that for everybody’s kids.)

          Oh, and owning your own detached house means less worry about noises through the walls, but there’s still lots of exciting neighbor interaction. Like “Hey, neighbor, it turns out that my sewer line actually ends in your backyard, so to fix the break in it we’ll need to drive an excavator through your fence and dig up your yard.”

          Reply
          1. Jessesgirl72

            Hey neighbor, can you tell your dad to stop driving through my yard when he comes to visit you? (I finally left a note on his car. He now only drives through their yard- nice gouged muddy tire track right now)

            Reply
    3. FlyingFergus

      If it isn’t their driveway, I would be worried about whether I would be liable if something happened to them while on my property, so that alone would prompt me ask them to please not use my driveway.

      Reply
      1. Thlayli

        Also – you may want to check with your other 3 neighbours to see if they have already given permission to use the driveway. You will look pretty bad if you tell them to stay out of the driveway and it turns out they have already been invited to use it by someone else who lives there.

        If you do decide to stop it it should be a joint decision from all 4 of you.

        I like the idea of asking them to play quietly during your work hours though – that’s totally reasonable.

        Reply
    4. Sam Foster

      Research liability laws for where you live. If the kids fall and break something on your property you could be liable. Putting it in legal terms reduces the chance for emotional conflict.

      Reply
    5. Not So NewReader

      This maybe no-so-subtle. Rather than telling him not to let the kids play in your driveway, tell him that they need to keep the noise level down when they do play in your driveway.

      This way you are not directly saying don’t play here, which it sounds like you are concerned with being off putting. So this would skate around that and get you the quiet you are looking for.

      But yes, I do think it is appropriate for you to ask the neighbor to keep the kids out of the driveway. I think explaining why would be good. Bonus points if you can say, “It’s okay after 5 pm [or whatever].”

      Reply
    6. Epsilon Delta

      Ugh how frustrating. I don’t have any new advice to add, but you are totally within your rights to be frustrated/not ok with this.

      Reply
    7. Moosey

      I’m having a hard time with this, I think you are being a grinch! True they don’t have a legal right to use your driveway, but it’s a safe place for them to play. It sounds like they are often watched by older relatives, and that can be a challenge for the family. Having a safe place to play sounds necessary in their lives. They are your neighbors and it’s nice to be neighborly!

      I think it’s fine to ask them to be quiet, but I would extend some more compassion their way. Have you thought about getting a white noise machine or something to help drown out the sound?

      Reply
      1. Jessesgirl72

        It’s not the responsibility for me to provide a safe place for my neighbors to play. That is the responsibility of their parents. Especially when I am 100% liable for any injury they get on my property!

        The grandfather could take them to a park or other PUBLIC place.

        It’s never too young to learn to respect private property.

        Reply
      2. The Cosmic Avenger

        But the kids might be even safer in the OP’s bedroom. How can she not let them play in her bedroom whenever they want?

        Honestly, I’m not trying to be sarcastic, just demonstrating that it’s not her responsibility to accommodate strangers to this extent, and I like to use analogies.

        There are always people who don’t have things that we have, that doesn’t mean that we have to give everything we have to someone who has less, or that everyone who has more owes us anything. Most people help our family and close friends when we can, but people who just live on the same block, not so much.

        Reply
      3. Temperance

        Why should she be responsible for these children? If they’re injured, it’s going to be on her.

        I hate the phrase “be neighborly”, because, in this case, it would have been neighborly for them to ASK to use her private space.

        Reply
      4. Sam Foster

        Are you willing to pay the legal fees and medical costs that the OP may be liable for? In my state, if someone trips and breaks an arm on my property I can be considered liable.

        Reply
      5. Moosey

        I’m not saying she has any responsibility to do it, it’d just be nice of her. And it would. It’s a nice thing to help out your neighbors.

        Reply
        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          I really, really disagree with this, and not because of any liability issue. No one has ASKED to use the driveway, they just do it. I would be so peeved if my neighbors told their kids to go over and play in my yard because it’s “safe” without asking me first. And a driveway is not a particularly safe space, especially one that isn’t your own– four households share it, with people coming and going at times that one can’t possibly predict. Moreover, if I ever did give my neighbors’ kids permission to play in my yard, then I have every right to tell them to keep it down if I’m working or have a headache or otherwise don’t feel like hearing screaming that day.

          There’s being neighborly, and there’s taking advantage of people.

          Reply
          1. Thlayli

            Actually we don’t know if they asked or not. OP says there are children living in the property who use their driveway to play in. The neighbour kids may have got permission from those children or their parents to use the driveway, or from either of the other 2 families that share the property.

            I do agree that it’s totally reasonable to ask them to keep it down even if they have been given permission to use it though.

            Also – I highly doubt someone would be liable for an injury in a shared area of a property they rent. If anyone is responsible it’s the landlord.

            Reply
  22. LawCat

    A weird thing happened to me yesterday. Out of the blue while walking home, I got sharp, shooting pain in my foot radiating from my big toe and the toe next to it. I put a cold pack on when I got home and took aspirin. The pain went away, but the skin on top of the toes, between the toes, and about an inch up my foot from the toes went numb. It’s still numb this morning. On a visual level, everything looks normal.

    It’s just super weird. I don’t remember stepping wrong. I’m keeping an eye on it today. Has anyone ever had something like this happen before?

    Reply
    1. Allypopx

      Yeah that sounds like you pinched a nerve. It usually comes from stepping weird, even if it’s subtle enough you don’t notice it. It can be scary! But you should be fine as long as feeling is back to normal.

      Reply
    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      That is indeed super weird. But as someone with myriad foot problems… Could be a neuroma, where the nerves get caught between the bones of the foot (I have one at the base of my big toe), and you stepped in a way that aggravated the neuroma. Could also be a touch of tarsal tunnel which is, yes, a thing (my feet get numb occasionally, it sucks). Neither of these is serious, in my experience. Anyway, if it happens again, I would go to a podiatrist.

      Reply
    3. fposte

      Yeah, I numbed a toe years ago while moving house; I think I just compressed a nerve against a bone. There’s not a lot of space in there.

      Reply
    4. Mirax

      I had similar pain back when I had a neuroma. If it stays numb for more than a couple days, or if walking on it starts to hurt a lot, see a podiatrist! I wound up needing surgery for mine and it was not a fun time–wish I’d paid more attention to the pain when it first came up.

      Reply
    5. Casuan

      Please get this checked out. What you describe reminds me of Morton’s Neuroma, although my expertise is that I had it 25 years ago.
      At first, I dismissed the symptoms as my imagination. However over time, the intermittent pain became more frequent & it was so intense I couldn’t even breathe because any movement made it worse. I’d even silent scream into my pillow.
      Outapatient surgery repaired the neuroma. My recovery went well… I decided to recover in Lake Tahoe, mostly in the casinos. :-)

      Reply
    6. Feet

      I had this exact same experience, same toes, same sharp pain and numbness. The podiatrist said it was a compressed nerve that runs on top of the foot to that place between toes, and that in time it would get better (and if not, to go back to see him). It did get better in a few weeks, but now I have more sensitivity as in when I lace my shoes too tightly, I can feel the nerve being unhappy on the top of my foot.

      Reply
  23. Allypopx

    So I’m in the process of tapering down off my SSRIs. They caused me really intense depression and erratic moods and after 5 weeks I can’t deal with it anymore. Second day tapering down and I feel so much better.

    I didn’t want to go on them in the first place – out of fear of side effects – and let myself get talked into it, so while I’m not too disappointed, I was hoping it would work out. I’m also worried they’re going to try to put me on a different SSRI but I know I can’t deal with that again right now.

    Reply
    1. Anonak

      I do think that SSRIs are definitely not for everyone, but I also think it is important to acknowledge that not every medication will work for every person. That does not mean, however that there is not another type that would not work well. I am on SSRIS (and similar Rxs) since I was a teenager, and I expect that I will most likely be on them for the rest of my life. That scares a lot of people, but for me it is comforting to know that there’s something out there that works for me.

      As for your situation, I would ask if your medication was prescribed by someone in the mental health field, or by a general practitioner. For me there’s a huge difference in terms of choosing the correct prescription and switching it if necessary. I’m actually of the opinion that scriptions for mental health should not be first line treatment for most people. I also believe that it should not be prescribed without at least some therapy as a component.

      If you think that you are in a situation where you can recover without medication, that is certainly a possibility for a lot of people. Some people cannot do that however, and take medication for a short time and it helps kick-start the recovery. Others, like me, have recurring issues and will probably need to have medication for life. Whatever your situation is, I strongly encourage you to talk to a mental health professional like a counselor. Talk therapy is a vital in teaching your tools to help you manage your symptoms and hopefully recover. Also, if your medication was prescribed by a regular doctor or internist, I would encourage you to see a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner and psychiatric field.

      Reply
      1. Allypopx

        I don’t want to go too deep into my medical situation right here right now but it was prescribed by a psychiatrist.

        Reply
      2. NoMoreMrFixit

        I found that the meds only helped to get me to a stage where the therapist could begin their work helping me rebuild. The therapy was more effective than the meds. Still use what I learned and been off meds for a year now. Unfortunately where I live there is a shortage of psychiatrists so I was stuck with a GP.

        Reply
      3. Nic

        To add to this, everyone’s chemistry is different, and even with a highly competent physician or psychiatrist it can take multiple attempts to find the right medicine or combination to help.

        That sucks. A lot. It sucks going through and feeling like you’ll never find the right combination. It sucks dealing with any side effects that come up, or with restrictions due to the medicine, or just getting used it in general.

        But the feeling when you find something that works is life changing. If you need to give yourself a bit of a break before trying something else, or if you need to say “maybe not another SSRI right now, is there something else available?” those are totally okay.

        Good for you for doing something to make things better for yourself.

        Reply
        1. Ktelzbeth

          Things got too hectic with Easter weekend. If you check back in a few days, I’ll try to have something up. Easiest to add are Slow Cooker Quinoa White Chili with Roasted Poblanos and Chickpea Casserole with Lemon, Herbs & Shallots because with the titles, Google will get you the recipes.

          Reply
    1. FDCA In Canada

      I make the Budget Bytes tortilla soup semi-frequently, which is vegetarian and very tasty and feeds a crowd. I’ll link it in a comment, but it’s simple, quick, very tasty, and you can put out bowls of sour cream, avocado, crumbled chips, cheese, whatever you want to customize.

      Reply
    2. Annie Mouse

      Roasted veg (of your choice), mixed with pasta and a herby cream cheese (use a drop of boiling water with the cream cheese to thin it out a little as the sauce). Best to mix the cream cheese and pasta first, and then add the roast veg on top or it goes a bit mushy!

      Reply
    3. HannahS

      I make this stew regularly. It’s really nice, and lends itself well to “but I don’t have ____ so I’ll use _____.”
      https://smittenkitchen.com/2011/01/chard-and-white-bean-stew/

      I make mujaddara a fair amount, too. I fry an onion with oil, cumin, and some coriander, the add canned lentils and some leftover rice. It’s so good. I think it’s meant to be a side dish with meat, but I eat it on its own for lunch.

      Reply
      1. HannahS

        Oh, and also. If I’m having friends over, I often make diy tacos. Yves fake ground meat, refried beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa…it’s so good.

        Reply
            1. HannahS

              Whoops, sorry, I meant my “no way” to sound incredulous, because I didn’t know other people use zucchini that way, rather than a rude “your idea sucks” way.

              Reply
    4. super anon

      I always have a bunch of the budgetbytes hearty black bean quesadillas on standby in my freezer. You can also easily make them vegan (or lactose intolerant friendly) by using daiya cheese instead of regular cheese in them.

      Reply
    5. printrovert

      I have a whole Evernote notebook dedicated vegetarian recipes! If your family enjoys pasta, I recommend the pumpkin mac from the Oh She Glows blog (I’ll link below). I’ve made it quite a few times, and it always satisfies. And it’s easy to add another vegetable–just throw in some fresh greens, peas, or edamame. Or get fancy and grate some broccoli on top like Parm.
      I also made a rustic galette with beets that I enjoyed and even though it’s been a few years, I made an eggless quiche that I remember was very good. It all depends on what you’re looking for (pescetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan) and if anyone in your family has allergies/sensitivities.

      Reply
      1. printrovert

        Oh She Glows Vegan Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheeze Sauce – http://ohsheglows.com/2011/10/13/vegan-pumpkin-mac-n-cheeze-sauce/
        Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas – http://www.yummymummykitchen.com/2012/09/roasted-butternut-squash-and-black-bean.html
        Rustic Beetroot Galette – http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/01/05/rustic-beetroot-galette/
        Savory Tomato and Asparagus Quiche (egg and soy free) – http://www.saralynnpaige.com/food/recipes/asparagus-quiche-with-tomato-tarragon/

        I recently saw a sweet potato quesadilla recipe that looked good but can’t remember which blog or website I saw it on. I’m sure there are plenty of similar recipes, but these will at least give you some ideas!

        Reply
  24. overcaffeinatedandqueer

    How do you deal with someone using the wrong pronouns for you, and does anyone have suggestions for helping that happen less?

    A week and a half ago, I told my wife that I use they/them pronouns now. She took it well, but still uses “she” a lot of the time, and may or may not catch herself. It’s not deliberate, but how do I help her remember, and how do I correct her?

    Reply
    1. Dizzy Steinway

      Hey, I know it’s a big deal and it’s hard if they’re wrong but try to give it time – it takes a while to form new habits.

      Reply
    2. fposte

      What about talking to her about it? “I know this is going to be hard habit to change; what would help from me, and at what point do you think it makes sense for me to remind you?” While obviously you want your partner to use the correct pronouns, you also want to make that happen in the best possible way for both of you, so I think it could help to get her input on this.

      Reply
    3. Allypopx

      In my experience not making a big deal of it works best. Everytime she says “she” just say “they” and let it keep going. Same if you misgender someone – correct and move on. She’ll get it. She’s unlearning something super integrated in her brain. It will take time.

      Reply
      1. Elkay

        Yep, this is what the person who changed gender pronouns in my office did. We were all trying but sometimes people would slip, the correction wasn’t done in anger more in the way that you’d correct someone who’d relayed your order incorrectly in a restaurant.

        Reply
      2. Jess R.

        Yeah! Don’t worry about being annoying — just correct quickly and simply every time, and she’ll retrain her brain. I also agree with the comment above about asking her what would help, but you’re 100% allowed to correct every time. They’re your pronouns. You’re allowed to insist on the right ones.

        (Also, can I just say that having other nb folks to talk to on these weekend threads is lifting me up so much?? I just barely started coming out, and it means the world to have these conversations here.)

        Reply
      3. jamlady

        This is what I do with my husband (not with misgendering, but with words in general) and it’s always very chill and normal and we just keep the conversation going. It’s worked very well.

        Reply
    4. Stellaaaaa

      This isn’t what you asked, but have you talked to her about the impact on her if you transition or just start to identify as a different gender? If your wife is a woman who is attracted to other women, there’s a whole other layer to this if she finds herself no longer married to a woman.

      I’m bringing this up because it’s far more complex than asking your friends and coworkers to respect your pronouns.

      Reply
      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer

        Yes, I have, but she’s bisexual, so in terms of attraction that won’t be a big issue.

        Reply
        1. Thlayli

          Totally Off-topic – is she pansexual or bisexual? As I understand it bisexual is attracted to men and women specifically, whereas pansexual is attracted to people regardless of gender.

          Apologies if I have it wrong; I only learned the word pansexual a couple months ago, but if I understand it right it seems to apply in this case.

          If you have switched to they pronouns that means you no longer identify as 100% female but you don’t identify as 100% male either, so if she is still attracted to you that would make her pansexual not bisexual. I think.

          Reply
          1. Hrovitnir

            Bisexual most certainly does not (necessarily) mean only attracted to men and women. There are not-bisexual people who will argue pretty hard that it does, but I feel very strongly about “same and different” being the meaning for bi, not “men and women.” That said, people will use the words they’re the most comfortable with and they’re not always going to agree.

            There are a lot of arguments about bi vs pansexual but after trying out pan for a while I’m just more comfortable with the label bi. Partially because I don’t want to have to explain myself constantly, partially because I got a vibe of misgendering or otherwise othering binary trans people from some of the pansexual community. Ultimately I kind of ID with both but bi is much easier and I really dislike the idea that bi = no NB people.

            Reply
          2. Jess R.

            The most common definition among the bi community (myself included!) is “two or more.” Interestingly, I read recently that the bi in bisexual never meant “two genders” but rather “two orientations” — i.e., it was conceived as a word to indicate “gay AND straight simultaneously,” a derogatory and othering word, which is absolutely not what bi folks are. We are our own orientation, not half and half. The bi community took the word back from those who created it.

            Reply
          3. Thlayli

            Thank you all for the comments. In all honesty I am probably more confused now not less about what is the difference between bi and pan, but I guess if that debate is still ongoing in the bi/pan community then I’m certainly not going to understand it from the outside.

            Reply
            1. Hrovitnir

              Haha, I can understand that! I think the issue is that there isn’t a clear delineation and it’s all internal politics. That’s my take, anyway.

              I do own both the bisexuwhale and pansexuwhale t-shirts (a humpback whale and narwhal respectively coloured like the bi/pan flags. Highly recommend.) :P

              Reply
    5. Casuan

      Please help continue my education on this topic… every source seems to use different words/phrases/descriptions & I’m not even certain what is the proper name of “This Topic,” which admittedly is a bit embarrassing.

      I’m glad to use the pronouns that another prefers, although I’m not certain I understand the usage. Perhaps it’s the shift from singular to plural that is confusing me because I’ve had decades of experience in maintaining the distinction between “one” & “they.”
      I’m still processing the revised AP rules that “they” can now be singular & I gotta admit it’s made my life easier, especially when I’m writing.

      A week and a half ago, I told my wife that I use they/them pronouns now.

      Is this correct?
      Instead of asking overcaffeinatedandqueer: “Are you going to the store?”
      One should ask: “Are they going to the store?”
      oh dear, I don’t even know what to do with “One” in the above phrase…

      So my questions are:
      What is the proper name of “This Topic”?
      Is my usage of “they” correct in accordance with overcaffeinatedandqueer’s pronoun preferences?
      Would someone please give me other usage examples based on other preferred pronouns?

      Overcaffeinatedandqueer, to reply to your original query, please give your wife some time & ask her how you can best remind her when she slips.
      :-)

      Thanks in advance to whomever responds!!

      Reply
      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer

        No, it’s meant to change the third-person pronoun only; so a person would continue to use “you” when talking TO me, but in referring to me in the third person, use “they” or simply my name instead of “she.”

        Reply
      2. NaoNao

        I think “This Topic” could be called “Pronoun Use” in general.
        For some examples….

        “I went out with them last night, it was fun.”
        “Whose shirt is this? Oh, theirs.”
        “My spouse loves Orlando. They went there on vacation last year and had a blast.”
        “Introducing our panelist, overcaffinatedandqueer! They’re a respected legal scholar and research fellow at Blah University, where they completed their studies in Chocolate Teapots. Please welcome them to the stage.”

        So instead of using “they/theirs/them” as a plural nongendered pronoun, in this case, it is being used as a singular nongendered pronoun.

        …I think! I’m certainly no expert.

        Reply
    1. fposte

      Thanks for posting this; I saw her post a time or two this past week and was hoping that meant she was hanging in there.

      Reply
    2. Marcela

      Belle, fposte, THANK YOU. You don’t know how brilliant you just made my day. Thank you, truly. I am absolutely blessed because you thought of me.

      Things are as bad as they can be, but here I am, I did not die =^.^=, and I am focusing in just the current moment. And just today my brother flew today from my home country to my rescue. So all in all, things are not as horrible. And again, I feel so grateful because you remembered me and my pain.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I’m so glad you’ve got your brother here to be on your side. (And I am also *very* glad you are still alive and kicking.) Thanks for letting us know.

        Reply
      2. Belle di Vedremo

        It’s good to hear from you, and to know that your brother is by your side. Glad that things are not as horrible.
        =^.^=

        Reply
      3. EA

        I’ve thought about you too these last few weeks. I never commented because I had nothing to add ( I am woefully unqualified to give life advice). You will get through it, honestly, because you don’t have another option (I know this isn’t positive at all, but the sentiment has always been oddly comforting to me. ) Many of us around here are keeping you in our thoughts, I am sure of it.

        Reply
  25. Myrin

    I’ll be having my septum surgery next Wednesday. I’m positive I’m in good hands and not afraid or anything like that but a bit uneasy nonetheless, in a “oh-my-I’m-glad-when-it’s-over” kind of way. I’m also tremendously looking forward to being able to breathe, yay! I hope everything will be going swimmingly. Keep me in your thoughts, if you want, and in the next open thread, I’ll just have returned home from hospital and will be able to tell y’all how it went!

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Yeah, even when I was really, really wanting a surgery it’s still a little stressful. But even if you’re still sore post-surgery it’s a much happier time; I hope that proves true for you as well and that you get to breathe like you’ve never breathed before :-).

      Reply
  26. fposte

    I’ll put a link in followup, but did anybody else read the Guardian article called “Confessions of a Reluctant Gentrifier”? I was interested initially because it was about East Rogers Park in Chicago, where my father briefly lived when I was in college, but it was really thoughtful about fear and its value and lack thereof, and it’s sending me to read Barry Glassner’s The Culture of Fear. I really liked this paragraph from the article:

    “One of the paradoxes of our time is that the ‘war on terror”’has served mainly to reinforce a collective belief that maintaining the right amount of fear and suspicion will earn one safety. Fear is promoted by the government as a kind of policy. Fear is accepted, even among the best-educated people in this country, even among the professors with whom I work, as a kind of intelligence. And inspiring fear in others is often seen as neighbourly and kindly, instead of being regarded as what my cousin recognised it to be – a violence.”

    Reply
      1. Lore

        She is a wonderful essayist generally and I recommend her On Immunity if you haven’t read it. Chris Hayes’s new book, A Colony in a Nation also deals with the issue of white fear as a sociocultural force, and draws a distinction between those protected by the ideals of law and those subjugated by the ideals of order that resonates with the Guardian piece.

        Reply
          1. Lore

            Matt Taibbi’s The Divide covers a lot of the same ground as Hayes and sometimes more deeply but he’s a love-him-or-loathe-him kind of writer and while I’m in the “love” camp even I sometimes find him exhausting at book length so I recommend him less!

            Reply
    1. Kowalski! Options!

      I read it and thought it had some great points. But the insights on the nature of engendering fear really hit home for me more than the actual ideas of gentrification (I’m from a smaller Canadian city and you wouldn’t really find many parallels between Chicago and here).

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Yes, I was frankly expecting a fairly predictable article about the mixed emotions of moving into a lower-income neighborhood, and the fear angle was a fascinating surprise for me. The notion that we can fall into a trap of treating fear as automatically significant was especially resonant to me, because I think that insisting on its importance is one of anxiety’s best tactics; I remember when I was dealing with the height of my flying phobia how strongly it felt like losing that fear would be leaving me undefended.

        Reply
    2. Sparkly Librarian

      The contrasting definitions of gentrification stood out to me as something meaningful.
      “It means that an area is generally improved,” he says finally, “but in such a way that everything worthwhile about it is destroyed.”

      My dictionary defines “gentrify” as meaning “to renovate or improve (esp. a house or district) so that it conforms to middle-class taste”.

      My wife and I bought our home in a short sale a couple of years ago, in a neighborhood that is at risk for gentrification. We’ve got those mixed emotions. We’re a queer interracial couple who are educated and work in civil service. We’re aware of the value of the community here, and how people with money buying up the houses without taking part in the daily business of the neighborhood are a threat. We’re trying to combat that by being present and planning to stay long-term and raise a family here. I like that there are small businesses nearby. I shop at the Mexican grocery chain that is within walking distance (speaking generously; I don’t drive, so I may have a longer range than most people in the area). It’s not quite a food desert. I don’t *want* a pet-grooming shop, or vegan donuts, or whatever, to push out people working here already. But I really wish the *empty* complex a couple blocks away would become something useful, like a grocery store or a retail pharmacy or a hardware store, and would hire some of my neighbors and give us a public place to meet each other casually.

      Reply
      1. Kj

        The husband and I moved to a similar neighborhood and I’m struggling with the same stuff; I work in mental health and have a background in social justice. We try to meet neighbors and shop local, but it is hard to find folks who want to talk to us and be neighborly. Being present is hard because we are at the end of a dead end road. I’m trying to give it time and am going to start volunteering at a local school, hoping that might help. But it is hard. I don’t want to be the gentrifier, but in some ways I am.

        Reply
  27. Gene

    It’s time to get rid of the 25# that have found me after I lost 70 a few years ago. I did that with low carb, and I do really well on that, so I’m doing a 30-day bacon fast. :-)

    A couple of eggs for breakfast, bacon for lunch, and bacon or some other form of pork for dinner. Pork has a good amino acid profile, better than beef, so it’s my protein of choice. And, bacon! I started Monday and am down 5 pounds. I expect it to slow to a pound or two a week, and I’m good with that.

    And, bacon!

    Reply
  28. Rebecca

    I’ve been posting the last 2 weeks about my Dad. I took him for a liver biopsy this past Monday, and we got the results on Thursday. He has pancreatic cancer, a separate mass, and the cancer has completely overwhelmed his liver. There’s also cancer in his spleen. He is not able to eat or process food, and is just sipping on liquids, and cannot even stand up to use the bedside potty chair without 2 people helping. The hospice nurses started to visit on Thursday as well, and I asked the nurse today to make contact with a social worker. My Mom needs to understand this isn’t sustainable. I’m going to call off work on Monday so I can be here for the social worker visit, but Dad is failing so fast he really needs to go into the Gate House.

    We’ve been making a lot of phone calls, and people have been stopping by, but Dad isn’t able to communicate well. His blood pressure is dropping, it was only about 100/70 earlier today, his legs are filling with fluid, so it’s not going to be long. I spoke to the nurse outside and she agreed.

    I’m so grateful for all the help from everyone. If there is any comfort in this, Dad isn’t in pain, and it doesn’t appear he will be subjected to lengthy suffering. I’m trying to take some solace from that.

    As hard as I’ve tried to be strong for him, when the doctor told us the news on Thursday, I broke down and sobbed. That was the only time. I’ve been going out to his workshop and I sit in his chair if I need to cry for a few minutes. I’ve left his tools, glasses, everything exactly as he left it for now. Plenty of time to organize and put tools away later. Dad was in the middle of a frame off restoration of an old Ford Panel truck, and I hope I’m able to help complete it for him. Not sure how I’ll do it, or who will help, but I’d really like to do that for him and his memory.

    I know I have to think about the obituary, what clothes to dress him in for burial, and all of that but I can’t deal with it right now. I know he wants to be buried with his fireman’s helmet, and for the life of me I can’t find is 50 year service pin, but for now I just have to concentrate on each hour, and getting through to the next day.

    From March 13 to April 15 – that’s all the time it took for him to go downhill so completely. It’s so hard to fathom.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Oh, Rebecca, this is so hard. Pancreatic cancer does tend to move fast and it’s usually discovered pretty late, unfortunately. It sounds like you’re being impressively wise under the circumstances in keeping an eye on the practicalities while giving yourself some emotional moments; I hope you can keep that up.

      I’m sorry. Loss is hard enough on its own, and then the labor surrounding the loss is huge.

      Reply
    2. Myrin

      Oh no, Rebecca, I remember your other posts and I’m so extremely sorry to hear that! I think it’s a wonderful idea that you want to finish his work for him because it will allow him to live on for a long time in a way. I’m sending you the best wishes I can and I’ll be thinking of you. You sound like a wonderful daughter.

      Reply
    3. Caledonia

      It was similar to my mum – Feb until the 20-something of April.

      I’m sorry for your loss and I’m glad that your dad doesn’t seem to be in pain. I hope your mum accepts the help.

      Reply
    4. Sunflower

      Rebecca I’m so so sorry you’re going through this. I don’t have any direct experience with this but someone I’m very close with recently lost his father to pancreatic cancer and it was incredibly painful to watch him go through this experience so I can’t imagine what it feels like to actually happen to you. My only advice is please please let yourself feel what you need to feel and do not feel guilty or ashamed for not being able to hold it together all the time. No one expects you to. Please lean on your support system- they want to help you. My friend felt like he had to put on a brave face and show the world he was fine which led to him partaking in some destructive behavior which he’s still trying to dig out of.

      Let your support system help if things feel too overwhelming. Can you ask a friend to come over and help you look for the pin? Even if you need something as simple as someone to pick up your groceries, please reach out. People want to help and support you. I’m sorry this is happening to you and hoping you are getting all the support you need.

      Reply
    5. Freya UK

      I’m sorry Rebecca. A friend lost his mum in the space of a month earlier this year (liver disease), it’s an awful shock.

      I don’t have much advice – just remember to breathe, take each day (or hour or minute) as it comes, and please be gentle with yourself.

      Reply
    6. Belle di Vedremo

      I’m so sorry this is happening, and so fast. It sounds as if you’re handling things remarkably well. I hope that as you talk with the hospice folks that you’ll let them know you’re doing all this alone and ask what kinds of support are typically needed, and available, for someone in your position. We know you’ll do all you can for him and your mom, please also take care of yourself.

      I wonder if the folks at the firehouse would like ways to help. Some might enjoy working on his truck – and I bet you’d hear some new stories from the guys who served with him in the process.

      Internet hugs.

      Reply
    7. Jessesgirl72

      I’m so sorry.

      It’s so hard for everyone to watch, but at least his time suffering is short. Not a lot of comfort, I know. :(

      Reply
    8. Rebecca

      My mom was just crying in the bathroom. I told her it’s ok to cry, this is terrible and sad. Dad’s sleeping now so she is going to try to rest for a while.

      Thanks everyone for your kind words and good thoughts. I’m going to take advantage of the hospice grief counseling, and I’m going to encourage Mom to as well.

      Reply
      1. Casuan

        Rebecca, I’m so sorry. Please do ask for help, especially with the little things because they can quickly become overwhelming. Concentrate on spending as much time with your dad as you can & your mum as well. Don’t forget your own needs.

        The truck restoration is a lovely idea. Perhaps you can tell your dad about what you want to do. I believe that those who are quite ill can hear what we say, even if they can’t respond.

        My thoughts are with you & your family.

        Reply
    9. Mimmy

      Rebecca, I am very sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Definitely take advantage of the grief counseling, and I hope your mom does as well. Hugs.

      Reply
    10. Blue eagle

      Please don’t feel bad about starting to write the obituary now. I wrote my Dad’s about a month before he finally passed, which gave our family time to think about everything that was an important part of his entire life. It was actually very cathartic to write it and think about how much I love him. Sending lots of positive energy your way.

      Reply
    11. Not So NewReader

      The old Ford Panel truck sounds really neat. Maybe in the future we can help you figure out how to get that restored.

      I am so very sorry, Rebecca. Some cancers incubate for quite a while and once they get into full swing they charge ahead. My husband called in sick to work one day and three months later he died. His type of cancer goes 10-15 years before it is detected.

      I dreamed of my father after he died. He said that the time he spent in the hospital with his final illness was nothing but a moment to him now. This blew me away. I think this is super important to remember that their final illness is NOT the sum total of their lives, it’s just another part of their life story.

      You are doing really great, but I bet you are not so sure about that. Yep, that is right. This is some of the toughest stuff in life, that is why it might feel like you are not doing great. But you are looking at things clearly and logically and you are continuing to make good decisions. It’s what we do when we are weak that shows how strong we are. And you are a very strong person.

      You and yours are in my thoughts.

      Reply
    12. Clever Name

      Waiting for someone to die is pretty much the hardest thing anybody can do. I remember coming home to be by my granny’s side when she passed. I felt absolutely wrung out. And then you have to plan a funeral, which is basically like planning a wedding, but on 3 days’ notice. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s hard dealing with your own grief and others as well.

      Reply
    13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

      I’m so sorry, Rebecca.

      I remember sitting with my best friend’s dad, someone I considered family, in the last week of his sudden decline due to pancreatic cancer and it was both the longest and shortest week of my life. This is such a hard thing you’re going through.

      Perhaps a friend can help you find the pin, unless he doesn’t need to be buried with it, in which case it would be a lovely thing to keep and remember him by when it does turn up.

      I hope you have family and friends to help with the arrangements.

      Reply
    14. Nic

      Oh…my heart breaks for you. When my grandmother died of cancer (the only close family death I’ve experienced at this point) we saw her go downhill fast like you experienced. It’s such a powerless feeling.

      I have no advice, no wise words, but all the love and support you could need.

      Reply
    15. Hrovitnir

      I’m so sorry. I’m glad he’s not in pain, and I also think quick can be better – but it’s also so, so shocking and hard to deal with when everything goes so fast. Virtual support however you’d like it from the internet.

      Reply
    16. Vancouver Reader

      I’m so sorry Rebecca! You are amazingly strong, which I admire very much. Is your dad willing to participate in making some of the decisions related to his funeral? My mom had bought plots for her and dad a long time ago, and in the later stages, she chose her outfit she wanted to be buried in.
      I hope you will take advantage of anyone who offers you any help because as strong as you are, you can’t do it all by yourself. Sending positive vibes and virtual hugs your way.

      Reply
    17. The Cosmic Avenger

      I just wanted to point out here that Rebecca commented further down that her father passed away late Saturday night.

      Reply
  29. Casuan

    /also posted in the open thread, although I was late so it got kind of lost/

    A few days ago Alison posted a letter about a colleague who was insensitive to a tragic event that occurred before the colleague was hired. There was an excellent comment that came as comments were winding down so I’m posting it here because I’m not certain how many people read it.

    Kate the Purple suggested that the OP [with the anniversary of a tragic event] research the Ring Theory/Circle of Grief concept.
    http://www.askamanager.org/2017/04/interviewer-asked-if-my-resume-exaggerates-office-is-weirdly-secretive-about-hiring-and-more.html#comment-1439969

    Kate, thank you so much for posting this!!

    Reply
  30. anon for this

    I’d like a little input on something.

    I’m working this evening with isn’t typical but we have a lot of people on the team out of town so it has to be done. I spent this morning shopping with my boyfriend for Easter lunch things, kind of stressing because I feel like I’m short on time this year. My family does a potluck style and I’m making a couple of salads. I’ve been chatting with my sister on and off all morning about little recipe logistics and other nonsense. We were talking about how the cauliflower is better/organic/cheaper at a place that is far away from my house, and I asked if I should make my boyfriend follow me into work (which is closer to the good cauliflower) to pick up the good stuff or settle with the meh stuff. Her response was, “you should make Boyfriend get a job.” And then, “and the good cauliflower, sure.”

    Context – my boyfriend of 7 years has been employed unsteadily, underemployed, etc, since we’ve been together, and hasn’t had a job for about half a year. He struggles with the most serious case of depression + anxiety I’ve witnessed, like on a very visible physiological level. We shop together because one of the few monetary things he’s able to contribute is his grocery assistance $$. He’s been rejected a couple of times for any other kind of monetary assistance. I don’t make a lot of money, so things are tight after rent and utilities. Of course, I confide in my sister about all of this, although pretty sparingly compared to a couple of my best friends because she can generally be a little cold and rude.

    She’s never said something like that before, and so out of the blue, especially when she knows I’m already stressed. I am honestly hurt and pissed off. She knows that this is a painful and ongoing issue, and already a constant discussion and source of tension between boyfriend and I. Boyfriend and I have to spend a fairly long car ride to Easter with her tomorrow and I really don’t want to. She makes beaucoup bucks and works 2 full time jobs constantly to the detriment of her own relationships, and I think she really looks down on me (my job isn’t good enough) and Boyfriend (obviously) for not doing the same.

    Am I crazy for being hurt by this comment?

    Reply
    1. fposte

      No, that was a pretty thoughtless comment, and it would be regardless of why your boyfriend wasn’t workin. However, I also think you’re not doing yourself any good by thinking she looks down on you, and it sounds like you might be defensively judging her choices as well, which is only going to drive the wedge further.

      I don’t think a captive car ride is a great place to talk this out, especially in front of your boyfriend, but maybe when you get a chance at the destination tomorrow you can say “Hey, sis, when you said ‘Make boyfriend get a job'” that really hurt me. Can we talk about that?”

      I didn’t offer language on the specifics, because I don’t know how you feel about your job and money situation yourself. Do you love your job and are happy to accept whatever financial limitations it brings? Then that’s a different dimension than if you’re not that sure if your job is good enough for you either and are trying to get out of it.

      Reply
      1. anon for this

        In fact, I don’t like my job and I feel completely stuck in it for a lot of reasons, including how little support I can rely on from my boyfriend or family, if it came down to it.

        I realize that I sound like I could be imagining the looking down on bit, but …I don’t know. She’s the type to refer to people as Person, PhD and ask instantly what someone does for work. She also has a strange habit of finding the “bummiest” people in her life and asking them for favors – things like taking out the trash and helping her carry things. Mostly that includes me, our brother, who is finally starting to find his feet after a terrible near-decade of addiction problems, and my boyfriend. Doesn’t do this to my doctor brother. It’s been independently confirmed by family and a couple of my friends who have been around her enough to know what she’s like.

        Here’s the thing about judging her choices – I do, to the extent it affects the way she treats people. She’s constantly late and unapologetic about it, she takes ages to respond to people about dinners, outings, etc, but she gets upset if she’s left out of things because of this. She asks people to come do work for her – her actual job(s)! Our mom has visited on the weekend to help her get through busy work. And through all of this, she acts like everyone needs to plan their schedules around busy her. If she wants to be a workaholic, I respect that. I worry about her, but I respect that work is what she values, finds fulfillment in. On the other hand, I don’t accept being treated like garbage because of it. I especially don’t accept that she’s willing to ask my boyfriend for a lot of help, but also make rude and completely unprovoked, irrelevant comments about his job. Re: the way she treats other people’s time – it’s something that has been addressed more than once by me, and by other people in our family.
        She has now texted me to say that she’s sorry about the comment and she knows how insensitive it was given how complex the situation is, and then said she’s been having a really difficult day (almost certainly to do with work stuff) and isn’t in a good place.

        If any of this comes off as snappy at you, fposte, I’m so sorry and please know it isn’t intended! I don’t talk to other people about my sister because I have this terrible habit of wanting to make sure that no one IRL hears anything but the best about my friends and family from me. I think a lot of this resentment stays built up a little :-/

        Reply
        1. fposte

          It didn’t sound remotely snappy to me, anon for this; I’ve negotiated complex sibling relationships, and they’re frustrating!

          I might separate out her income stream from her treating people rudely–do you really think if she suddenly got her salary cut she’d arrive on time and stop asking people to take out her garbage :-)? It also sounds like your mom has indulged her on some of this rather than saying “No, honey, I’m not going to do your job for you.” So this may be something with some longish roots, which only makes it more frustrating.

          If you’re not already doing this, I’d be a lot more ready to say “No” to random requests for stuff that’s her responsibility; if it doesn’t add to your relationship, there’s no particular reason why it’s hard for her, and you (especially meaning your boyfriend) don’t have a burning desire to take out her trash, don’t do it. It’s clearly not the route to earning her respect or affection, which I bet has been a bit of a motivator. I’m wondering, in fact, if doing stuff for her has helped shore up her belief that his time isn’t valuable; if he can be beck and call guy it can suggest that. Maybe it’s time to try to find different ways to spend time with your sister–go to an art fair or something that’s free or low-cost to enter and that’s neutral ground. That can help break out of family patterns.

          Reply
        2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

          To speak to your last point – your sister is an adult who exists in the world and it’s ok for you not to take on the burden of protecting her reputation on her behalf. It’s possible to be pragmatic and not hurtful, and also not have to pretend that only the best exists in your sister. I say this because for literally half my life I’ve been supporting my family, including a deadbeat older sibling, and not telling anyone about it except for anonymously blogging for years as my outlet. This year I’ve come to find out that I have been wasting my time and way too much energy and anxiety protecting my dad from possible criticism because he’s been using the rest of the family for assistance too, without telling me about it. I feel taken advantage of, and resentful, and tired. But I am also feeling a strange sort of relief that his relatives know who he is and aren’t shunning him because that means I can stop pretending that I’m Superwoman who can take care of everything for the family and that they’re “of course” behaving in an honorable way toward me for that support. I can admit that I’ve been hurt and cannot trust him now, and not feel like I’m betraying him by exposing his reputation. The fact of the matter is – they already know who he is from his actions with them which are not all that different from his actions with me.

          I think it’s safe to say that the same probably applies to your sister. The people who know her and know you, well, they know her. You’re not obligated to pretend she’s not human and without flaws. Being tactfully truthful isn’t hurtful, either.

          Reply
    2. Dan

      You’re not crazy, but I also understand where she is coming from. It’s not obvious she looks down on you, but it probably is difficult knowing that you have been dealing with this for seven years. It is not helping if she thinks you look down on her for placing her independence over “relationship status.”

      I had a non working spouse, and let’s just say that I’m not going to let any body be a drain on me again if I can help it.

      Reply
      1. anon for this

        Dan, I remember your stories about your ex-wife, so I know you’ve been through a similar (maybe?) situation. I know that a big chunk of her reaction comes from being concerned about me.

        To your point about independence vs. relationship status, I hear that. I replied to fposte about the kind of relationships I’m talking about – family. Incidentally, she’s been single for awhile too, but other than hoping she finds someone who treats her perfectly if she decides she wants a romantic relationship, I have no judgments at all about that, and I have no reason to suspect she would feel otherwise.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          My ex’s work situation was more out of a sense of entitlement and her own choices. So Im not sure how similar it is to your situation.

          It’s too easy to judge from the outside, but I’ve walked a similar mile… It’s hard. For me it was too hard.

          Reply
      2. Dan

        I just read what you wrote to fposte. Your sister sounds like a real peach, I cut her a little more slack than was warranted, sorry.

        Reply
    3. Not So NewReader

      A few things.

      In long term relationships such as family a one liner can trigger a book full of history. It’s like an octopus, that one line has tentacles all over the place.

      The advice about doing things for her is spot on. Here’s why. When we give people too much they lose respect for us. Her respect is sliding and now you know that. Let your BF know that the two of you will be doing less for sis. With sis you can frame it as, “You know, you are right. BF and I have decided that we need to focus on at home things more.” Then when she asks you to take out the garbage and other small stuff you can say you are busy now. Please stop doing this stuff for her, she is unappreciative.

      The next thing is some times the people closest to us are the worst people to share the details of our personal relationships with. Yep, she is advocating for you, but at the same time her respect is sliding. This is not a good combo, it’s a bad road to start down. If you feel you would benefit from counseling, reading, other friends. etc. please shift to those activities for help with your relationship.

      Last. When someone makes a comment that echoes in our heads for a while that could be because there is some validity to it. Stay with me here because this gets interesting, the validity may not be in a manner that it appears on the surface. The fact that your BF does not have a steady income stream may not be what is causing the echo of her words. In all likelihood it is something else that is gnawing at you.

      I can do an example for you. I had a job working with disadvantaged people. It was hard work but it felt like I was doing something. One day a family member said, “Your mother was a hot mess and you made that work for you by getting this job that taps what you learned there. You got dealt a bunch of lemons and you made lemonade.”

      This sounds like a compliment right? So why did I feel insulted. Why couldn’t I let go of this compliment. And the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I had let ME down. I had traded one hot mess for another hot mess. It wasn’t the recipients that were the problem, it was the employer who was a hot mess. I had never extracted myself from the hot mess, as I had promised myself I would. I merely traded one hot mess for another hot mess.
      I had not gotten to the point in life that I had promised myself I would get to. I failed me and that was far more devastating than any remark that family member could make.

      So my response was:
      1) I let go of the remark from the family member. She has a history of gaslighting, she could have been gaslighting me or not. But really, there were bigger fish to fry here.

      2) Get rid of the damn job. Find other work. Go back and finish my degree.

      3) Do some reading, learn about things that happened to me. Learn about parent/child relationships and so on.

      In the end, my gaslighting family member did me a HUGE favor. She made me take a step back and really think about what I was doing with my life. My suggestion here is while you are correct, the remark is indeed hurtful, take a step back and ask yourself “what is the real reason this hurts?”. Give it time for the answer to form in your mind. Then develop an actionable response to that hurt.

      Reply
      1. Casuan

        Much of what NSNR wrote is what I want to tell you! Fposte is spot-on as well, with comments that are helping me, too [thanks, fposte!!].

        Definitely you’re not being crazy for being hurt.

        Of course, I confide in my sister about all of this, although pretty sparingly compared to a couple of my best friends because she can generally be a little cold and rude.

        Anon for this, this phrase caught my eye— especially “of course”— & I have some [rhetorical, if you prefer] questions.
        Are you confiding in your sister out of a sense of obligation or because she expects it?

        If so, please rethink that strategy. You’re under no obligation to do so & if she isn’t being helpful or otherwise supportive, then why set yourself up for her negativity?
        You should confide in those who help & support you on a consistent basis. Of course there will be disagreements. Generally, if there’s a pervasive heaviness then you might want to censor what you say &or limit contact with that person. Talk to your sister about non-controversial things instead or limit contact even if for a short time so you can have some breathing room.

        Reply
    4. Nic

      You are not crazy to be hurt at all. I don’t have a lot to add to what the other awesome posters have mentioned, but to suggest that maybe Captain Awkward (www.captainawkward.com) and the Awkward Army (not an 80s band) might have some advice, or there could be something in the archives that would be similar. She’s got great scripts and suggestions for ways to reframe or think of situations that have really helped me in the past.

      I wish you the best of luck. IMO, there is a LOT of give and take to a relationship, and just because his “give” isn’t in cash money earned from a job that doesn’t mean that he isn’t giving you something of value. Your sister just may not be in a position to see it.

      Reply
    5. Temperance

      You aren’t crazy for being hurt by her comment. It sounds like she hit a nerve; it’s totally fine if you are stressed by financially supporting your BF. It’s also okay for her to worry about you. It’s not okay for her to make you feel bad about the situation, or to treat people badly.

      Reply
  31. Elkay

    Anyone experienced with body jewellery names? I accidentally bought some captive bead rings to replace some hoop earrings I have. I’m not going to be able to get the captive bead rings in, what I’m looking for is something that looks like a captive bead ring but fastens like a traditional hoop earring (thin wire into hollow hoop). I have no idea what to Google for, or if such a thing exists. Going to the piercing shop is pretty stressful as I feel out of my depth but I trust that they’ll have decent surgical steel so my ears won’t react.

    Reply
    1. Belle di Vedremo

      Google “hoop earring findings” (findings is the name for the structural – & sometimes added decorative – pieces for making jewelry) some that are designed to mimic captive bead earrings. You’re right to be careful about the metal content. Happy hunting.

      Reply
      1. Elkay

        My Google searches aren’t returning anything that mimics a captive bead ring, just plain hoops or pull throughs.

        Reply
    2. No, please

      There are post earrings made to look like CBRs and plugs. You might check Amazon for feaux gauged jewelry and see what comes up. Or try calling around to local shops before visiting. If they can’t give some basic info on their stock over the phone then move on to the next place.

      Reply
    3. Hrovitnir

      Do you need it to fasten like a traditional hoop or just to be the right size? You can get captive bead rings in 20 gauge/0.8 mm, which is the standard size of ear piercings usually:
      http://www.bodyjewelleryshop.com/online_store/surgical-steel-ball-closure-ring-0-8mm.cfm

      You can also get fake stretch jewellery but I haven’t managed to find any captive bead rings like that. I did have a good look and I’m thinking maybe it’s not a thing? There are hooks and spirals but not hoops that I could find. But if you have a 20 g piercing and want a thicker hoop you could ask about a “fake gauge”: that’s the best search term I managed to get. If you don’t want the design of the captive bead you can get hinged seamless rings and bar closure rings but I couldn’t find smaller than 18 g.

      Reply
      1. Elkay

        The captive bead ring is the issue, I can’t fasten it once it’s in my ear (and with difficulty when it’s not). I’d rather not rip my ear trying to get the ball back in.

        Reply
        1. Hrovitnir

          Ah! Yeah, it looks tricky. Couldn’t find anything quite right, unfortunately! The hinged rings look really nice and easy to use and you could put a bead on it, but I couldn’t find 20 g.

          Reply
  32. AlaskaKT

    Okay this might sound weird but I’m so excited about it….

    I have a shower at HOME now! No more driving 2 hours to the rec center or heating water for a 5 gallon camp shower, which is not fun outside during Alaskan winters. I still have to haul water from the creek, and the shower is in an out building, but having instant hot water on tap for a shower is AMAZING! And I can change the temperature! It’s been a year since I’ve had this kind of luxury, so holy cow is it nice.

    Living off grid has been a challenge, but I love it!

    (Blog link in my name in case anyone is interested in how I live.)

    Reply
    1. fposte

      If I’d had a year where I couldn’t shower in hot water in my own home, I’d be sending up fireworks.

      I was interested to read your comment about really appreciating visitors when you don’t see people that often. A friend and I were talking this week about the increasing level of sensory stimulation over our lifetimes, and that we wondered if that might be related to the prevalence of anxiety. I would definitely feel very different about unexpected encounters with people if I didn’t see people all the livelong day!

      Reply
      1. AlaskaKT

        100 times yes to this! Driving used to give me massive anxiety when I drove 12 hour night shifts for work. I would rather sit at home and not eat than go to the store on my weekends, even though it was a 10-15 minute drive from home. Now I drive twice a month (if that!) and I’m actually excited for it.

        Reply
    2. Elkay

      I’ll be reading all your blog entries now, I’ve watched the Edge of Alaska type reality shows but I strongly suspect they’re not reality (television lies, who knew?!) so it’ll be interesting to read your actual experience.

      Reply
      1. AlaskaKT

        My husband and I have actually been invited onto reality TV shows twice. There is a lot of lying/twisting facts even during the interview process (which totally turned us off). Things like suggesting our daughter doesn’t live with us because it’s to dangerous out here, when really she was just visiting grandparents in another state so we could get some work done. I don’t see reality TV the same way anymore for sure!

        Reply
        1. Elkay

          Ok I’ve read the whole thing and I have a few questions which I hope you don’t mind me asking – you talk about neighbours/friends, did you know people before moving there, if not how did you meet people? How far away is town? What’s your husband’s job (you mentioned him getting a job in one post, not sure if it was ongoing)?

          I’m totally fascinated by the whole thing, I feel like you’d be a good candidate for one of Alison’s interviews of people with interesting jobs.

          Reply
          1. AlaskaKT

            I’m happy to answer! We moved up here without knowing anyone. When we looked at moving to Alaska, we picked where to move based on annual snowfall (I actually hate snow, but the good things about Alaska outweighed the snow factor). We met people by asking for help, and craigslist. We actually spend nights in town at the house of a nice lady we met buying chickens from her! Some of our best friends have come from vehicle break downs and flagging people down for help. The closest town is 25ish miles, but 15 of that is off road, so it’s about a 2 hours drive, an hour of which is by 4wheeler. That town is mainly the post office and mini mart. It doesn’t even have a gas station. The closest town for shopping is 3 hours (Walmart & Home Depot, plus some restaurants), then 45 minutes past that is the nearest hospital, Fred Meyer or Safeway. My husbands job was seasonal at a fish processor, since we only have reliable access in winter. In summer we can only get in or out taking the beach in low tide, and theven time we can go changes every day! If low tide is at 11am on Monday it’s around 3pm on Friday, and tides happen twice a day here, so it’s 12 hours of waiting around if you miss it by 15 minutes.

            Okay, that makes it sound awful but I really love living out here! And thank you for thinking my job is interesting!

            Reply
    3. Lily Evans

      I think your blog is so interesting! Homesteading isn’t a concept I’d ever heard of before, thanks for sharing your experiences!

      Reply
    4. paul

      dang, I thought I grew up in a rural area. the area in your blog makes rural Colorado sound like downtown Denver.

      I’ve got ask; you mention having to haul in water. Is the ground not good for wells?

      Reply
      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        If shes as far out in the bush as I think she is, you can’t sink a well because of the permafrost layer.

        That takes guts to live off the grid in AK – you would see people in NV living off some desolate dirt road in a trailer in the middle of the high desert but at least it was sunny!

        Reply
      2. AlaskaKT

        We could have a well, but it’s crazy expensive (think 15k and up) because there’s no road access. Drill equipment would have to be helicoptered in because there’s no road access during summer, and the ground is way to hard to drill in winter.

        Reply
    5. Elizabeth West

      This is cool. I’ll have to check out your blog. I’d love to learn some independent living and survival stuff (just in case), though I’m not interested in living way out — I’m a city person.

      Reply
    6. Nic

      Oh man! That’s a great feeling! Congrats!

      I’m seriously considering doing a big life change similar to off-grid. I’ll have to read up on your blog!

      Reply
    7. E

      I know I’m late responding, but just wanted to say I love reading your blog! I live in Arkansas in a rural area, though with power and all for now. The hope is to be off grid one day, and in the mean time learn as many useful skills as possible.

      Reply
  33. Gotta Get Away

    Are last minute flight deals a thing at all? I’d really like to go away this weekend- can push it a few weeks but next weekend would be perfect. Right now I’m using Skyscanner and TheFlightDeal to look but IDK if there are websites I’m missing? Or some alternative form/method of booking travel that I should be checking out.

    Reply
    1. Dan

      Not really. The price is the price. Sometimes you might find something cheap on an ultra competitive route, but by and large, prices go up at the last minute, not down. You should do much better if you can book two weeks out, and preferably three.

      Reply
    2. CAA

      Are you just wanting to go away somewhere without having a specific destination in mind? If so, then try google.com/flights to get some ideas. Scroll down to see the tile that has a map and then click on Explore Destinations. You can enter generic destinations like “Scandinavia”, “New England”, “Florida” and it’ll show you all the airports in that region with their best fares. You’ll probably want to actually book through some other site, but I love the map for figuring out what options are out there.

      Reply
    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go? :D

      Check out Flyertalk – there is the Mileage Run Discussion and the Good Fare discussion thread amongst many. Usually there are a few good fares that pop up (depends on your airport of departure) that sure, have some stipulations but see what is up for your area. Its a good thread to keep an eye on for basic information on finding cheaper tickets/routings.

      Alternatively, check Southwest, Jet Blue, Virgin America (now Alaska) and see if they have any last minute specials on- I seem to remember Southwest putting them on sale on Tuesdays.

      Google flights is a good option. Just be wary of some of the third-rate online sellers who may not actually have the tickets in hand.

      Reply
    4. Al Lo

      I have the GTFO (Get The Flight Out) app on my phone, which scans for flights leaving in the next 24 hours — it’s best if you’re open to going anywhere, rather than planning a specific trip. I’ve never actually used it yet, but I’ve seen some pretty great deals come up on that. I like to click into it when I a) need to dream about getting away, or b) have a few days off coming up and am thinking about actually going somewhere. The other day, it had flights from YYC to LAX for $272, which is about as good a price as I could get, and I think I saw a return flight to Hong Kong for something like $575. Right now, I could book a flight to Mexico City for $420, leaving tomorrow morning at 6:35 am. Sometimes there are really great deals; sometimes the “cheapest” last-minute flights are super expensive.

      Reply
  34. Windchime

    OK, this might be a weird question but I’m apparently a terrible Google-er. I’m tall and wear around an 18 in pants. We can wear jeans to work, but not if they are blue. (Don’t ask me why; it seems weird to me, too). So I am searching for some jeans or pants in colors. I would be OK with khaki, black or brown or really any muted color. Do these just not exist? I can find pants with big, baggy legs or pants that are skin-tight all the way down, but nothing in just normal, straight-leg pants/jeans. I’m willing to pay for them; I just can’t really find anything! Where are the tall, plus-size women buying their clothes?

    Reply
    1. fposte

      When I’m trying to get specific on clothes, I use the shopstyle dot com site or its app, and I look on Amazon. When I look for straight-leg, classic, or boot-cut jeans in 18, there aren’t a lot of other colors than blue, but I find classic names like Lee and Wrangler doing black and a few other brands in the mix on ShopStyle, with NYDJ and others added in on Amazon. It looks like grey and black would be your main alternatives.

      Reply
      1. Windchime

        Thanks! It’s so frustrating. Why do manufacturers assume that, if we have a big butt, we want either cheap, brightly colored polyester pants or plain black? And don’t even get me started on the “ankle pants” trend. Because I’m tall, lots of pants are already “ankle pants” on me. Am I seriously going to have to learn to sew pants?!?

        Reply
        1. fposte

          Unfortunately, it’s because they’re not selling what they think you might want; they’re selling what their stats suggest will earn back their cost. The more people buy that type of clothes in that size, the more variety you’re likely to get, because they can make money on the olive *and* the black in addition to the blue.

          Sometimes if you’re a hard-to-fit size it’s worth checking with a local tailor to see if it’s possible to replicate an existing garment you have and like for a decent price. It’s easiest with simpler, less pockety things like skirts and dresses, but it could be worth it with some silhouettes of pants, too

          Reply
        2. The Other Dawn

          I’m 5’11” and I don’t even know what to do with ankle pants. I know how to handle capris, but ankle pants stump me. Really, they look like crop pants. It’s really annoying to shop as a tall person. Also, designers seems to think that all plus-sized women have very curvy hips and an actual butt; I have neither, which leads to perfect legs and baggy hips and butt, or perfect hips and butt with baggy legs.

          Reply
          1. Nic

            I think they’re made so that short folks like myself can get excited at finding something that’s the right length….they just didn’t label them short like they should have.

            Reply
      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Totally Old Navy. I no longer buy jeans from anyone else (except I have two pairs from Talbots). I have several pairs of black Old Navy jeans, plus some in bright blue. I have a few pairs in different cuts, from skinny to straight-leg (I like the Curvy line for straight leg, Rockstar for skinny). I’m a size 16 with a big butt and a small waist, and I hate low-rise.

        Reply
        1. Book Lover

          I bought old navy a few years back and they were wonderful for an hour and then relaxed so much they were falling off. Was I just unlucky? Maybe I should try them again?

          Reply
          1. Sylvia

            I had that problem with both Old Navy and the Gap for years, but I recently gave Old Navy another shot. The mid-rise Rockstar skinny jeans take a couple of wears to relax and they shrink again in the wash. Some of my old Old Navy pants shrank after an hour, just like you said, and wouldn’t return to normal even washed/dried on high heat.

            Reply
          2. many bells down

            I loooove Old Navy, especially the Pixie pants, but their sizes are super inconsistent. It’s frustrating to buy two identical pairs of pants in different colors and have one fit and one not even go over my butt!

            The loosest pair of jeans I have are a size 6 ON “boyfriend” jean … I’m a size 10/12.

            Reply
      2. General Ginger

        I’m going to suggest Old Navy, too but try men’s jeans — just measure your waist and inseam. They have tall options.

        Reply
    2. Lightly-chewed Jimmy

      Long Tall Sally usually has a variety of cuts. If you’re at all near one of their stores it’s worth going & trying on as their sizing is a bit different, I think partly because they are cut for tall women (longer rise & so forth (waist is at the waist & not bruising my hipbones! \o/)). For me, for instance, size chart says I should be a 16/18 but I wear 10/12 in their jeans, depending on cut/the day. Once you find your size they are pretty consistent though.

      Reply
    3. Lizabeth

      My go to for jeans is Cabela’s but their brand doesn’t have black. However they come in a couple of lengths – I don’t do anything but 34 inseam which can be hard to find at a reasonable cost. They also have them on sale for less than $30 occasionally which is when I snap them up. Which reminds me…it’s time to check and see if I need some.

      Reply
    4. The Other Dawn

      I like the Butter Denim at Avenue (go to avenue dot com and search “butter denim straight leg jean”). I’m tall and I’m a 16, and they sell those in Tall. Very soft and comfy.

      Reply
      1. chickabiddy

        Eddie Bauer has colored jeans (they call them “twill”) and they come in plus and tall sizes. I am the opposite of tall so can’t speak to whether they will be tall enough, but I hope they work out. I have generally been pleased with the quality of their stuff, and if you order online, you can return in stores to save shipping.

        Reply
    5. Sylvia

      …How do you feel about Old Navy? As a tall person on a budget, I buy their jeans fairly often. Most come in black.

      Reply
    6. This Might be Vodka

      I get Gloria Vanderbilt’s Amanda style at Kohl’s. They come in a number of colors and tall sizes.

      Reply
      1. Effie

        +1 for the style! Best thing for me is that they’re mid-rise, not low-rise. Definitely encourage trying them on in-store.

        Reply
        1. Chocolate Teapot

          What about dying jeans to the right colour? I use a pack of washing machine dye to get the right shade of dark blue for me, but there are other colours available, like black.

          Reply
    7. Nic

      Torrid is somewhat youth-fashion, but has larger and taller sizes. Their sizing is not traditional (think 00-4 as opposed to 14-20+), but once you find what you are in their system it’s easy to go with.

      On a totally different (and non-jeans) route, HolyClothing.com isn’t the style for everyone, but they make incredibly comfy clothes of all sizes for decent prices, and they last. I’ve had a few articles over a decade.

      Reply
    8. Camellia

      QVC Dreamjeannes come in regular, short, and tall, boot cut and straight, and lots of different colors. The nice thing about QVC is that, once you find your size it is consistent.

      Reply
  35. jamlady

    Goodness those adorable kitties!

    I just wanted to come on here and thank everyone for the advice on relaxing since my anxiety has been through the roof (for no real reason other than I have GAD and my asthma has been pretty bad, so it just kind of went bonkers).

    Things I’ve tried and loved so far:
    – lavender bath
    – relaxation videos on YouTube (ones where people talk about travel and other nice relaxing experiences, rather than noise or meditation videos)
    – breathing exercises while spending time outside totally unplugged (I live on a very quiet lake, but the bugs have been terrible so we invested in some little fire lamps so I can spend time outside again)

    Things I want to try:
    – getting back to exercising, including a really great morning stretch regimen (my back is kind of a mess)
    – slowly working some bad things out of my diet and working some good things into it
    – stop thinking so far in the future and focusing on the immediate and controllable future
    – getting massages (I don’t like people touching me so we’ll see if I ever get to this one lol)

    I’m feeling much better – I’d like to keep that going! Thanks everyone!

    Reply
      1. jamlady

        Might be a good idea to start small – plus my brain makes exceptions for touch that I consider “medically necessary”. I don’t love it, but I do it, vs. the stubborn refusal for any kind of spa treatment that’s just for fun, despite the obvious medical benefits I’d get from it. If I start small and then realize the health benefits, maybe I’ll get over the touch portion because I’ll see it as necessary rather than pampering (the fact that I have to teach my brain to think about things in certain ways is just a whole separate issue with my anxiety lol).

        Reply
  36. Spoonie

    Does anyone have any advice on timing for a new rental? I’m currently in an apartment but want a townhouse/duplex type situation (basically…fewer neighbors). My lease is up end of July, and I’m a planner so I’ve already been lightly looking (mostly does what I want even exist in budget/desired location. But how soon is too soon to start the actual “hi my lease is up X and your property looks interesting. Can I schedule a tour?” conversations?

    And any additional advice on things to looks for, websites to use, things to ask? I’ve mostly lived in apartment complexes, so that was pretty straightforward. Thank you all!

    Reply
    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      I like to start very early, with the understanding that most places I want will probably be gone. However, a lot of leases require 60 days’ notice, so you might be able to start looking in May. I think getting a good idea of the market is an excellent thing to do.

      Websites often vary by location, but Craigslist can be good, or Trulia. Google for a local rental site. Make sure you have a list of must-haves (for us: backyard, dog-friendly, good kitchen), nice-t0-haves (dishwasher), and dealbreakers (no light, no AC). Ask if the landlord is local or not, and whether they use a property manager. How do they want the rent paid? (If they say cash, RUN.) Who is responsible for lawn/outdoor maintenance? Ask to read the lease before you put down a deposit, if you can. Good luck!

      Reply
    2. Jessesgirl72

      It depends on the notice. In California, it was always 30, and looking any earlier than that was pretty much a waste of my time.

      Reply
        1. Jessesgirl72

          The other answer is- do you have the ability to overlap the leases? Just because you are paying for the new townhouse doesn’t mean you have to move into it that first day. I’ve had things go wrong- either with the movers, or with the bleeping landlord “Oh, even though you signed the lease giving you possession on Friday, you can’t move in on Saturday because we didn’t clean the carpets until 5PM on Friday and the movers will ruin them” Plus, I like having time to not have to clean on moving day/weekend after the stress of a move. If you can afford to overlap by a couple weeks, that would give you a little more time to look before you have to be out of your apartment.

          But just from experience, if you’re trying to look ahead of time, it’s either we don’t have anything open right now and can’t show you anything, or a unit is open and we can show it to you, but we won’t hold it to rent to you.

          Reply
          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            Amen to this. The only time I haven’t deliberately overlapped was when we moved out of state. Otherwise, it is so much easier, nicer, and less stressful to be able to take things gradually from one place to another, have time to clean, and, yes, have a buffer if something goes wrong. Some places will set a move-in date for the 15th (and might pro-rate your rent for the month, or have your rent always due on the 15th), which gives you a good buffer without being too financially prohibitive.

            Reply
  37. Today's anon

    I am thinking of getting a helix ear piercing. Anyone have it done? anything I should think about or that you’d wish you had known?

    Reply
    1. Nic

      I have one. Wasn’t too bad getting it done, but it did make a loud pop sound. Takes a while to heal, as do all cartilage piercings. I found a ring to be easier to deal with than a bar.

      I do find that if any part of my ear is going to fold or otherwise find itself in an uncomfy position in my sleep, it’s that area. I would suggest getting it on the non-slept on side if possible, or finding one of those travel pillows so that your ear can go in the hole when you’re sleeping.

      I also suggest BME.com (Body Modification E-zine) for research. They have tons of stories and images, and you can search by piercing type.

      All that said, if you were considering a FRONTAL helix, I’d say it wasn’t worth it for me. It healed crooked because the bar was too long and is absolute frustration to try to change any jewelry.

      Reply
  38. Bellatrix

    I’d like to share a happy cat-ending :) ! My eldery cat went blind in February and I was devastated.

    Two months later, she’s doing great. The vet said there’s no hope of her sight returning, yet I often forget she can’t see: she has mind mapped the apartment and moves around without any issues as long as I keep things tidy. She can always tell where I am by sound and smell. She’s also become more cuddly and these days, I’m always falling asleep with her on my pillow. She just celebrated her 18th birthday and continues to live life to the fullest – playful, inquisitive and free spirited.

    She came into my life two years ago due to the unfortunate death of my grandmother. Keeping her was the best decision I ever made, I love her more than anything in the world.

    Reply
    1. Damn it, Hardison!

      That’s great! It’s amazing how they adapt. I have a 20 1/2 year old who went deaf a few years ago. We got some great tips from our vet and pet sitter for not startling her. I think my girl has gotten cuddlier as she’s gotten older as well.

      Reply
    2. Hrovitnir

      Yay! That’s so sweet. They do need accommodations, but most cats and dogs do remarkably well blind. :)

      Reply
  39. WELL SHIT

    Orange mew mews! <3

    Update on neighbor:
    The other neighbor got hold of the Shriners/Masons and they totally stepped up and are going to come over and fix his bathroom. The hospital got hold of his son and now I have contact information for his family, and his cousin is going to come and help him clean etc. once a week. He's in a nursing home/rehab situation now until he gets his strength back and should be able to come home in a few days to two weeks (not sure; it depends on how well he does). So, whew.

    The kitty is fine. God, that cat is affectionate. I feel bad that he is alone most of the time; he's used to having Neighbor around. I'm trying to go in and out a little bit and I let him out for a while when it's nice outside so he can get some fresh air. He's a little sweetheart and lets me pick him up, though I have to corner him outside a little bit to catch him. If I can get hold of him, he lets me haul him out (from under the car once!) but he won't come to me or to the door, unless he's totally ready to come in. Pig hated to be picked up, haha.

    Now for a visit from Shitty McShitterson and his shitty brother:
    I got a letter from UI today. I've exhausted my claim and can't file another one until November. Either I get a job this week (come on, universe, gawd) or I have to hit up the Bank of Mum. I swear, if I make a million zillion dollars, I'm putting a big chunk in her bank account for a change.

    Also, guess who was late to meditation today–and guess where the only seat left was? Yep, right next to me. I knew someone sat down but didn't pay any attention to who it was until we were done; then when I opened my eyes and saw it was him, I looked at the Buddha statue like, "Seriously? Is this a test? :P" I just basically ignored him until we were leaving and then we both said hi. When I was driving out of the parking lot he gave me this big wave (auuuuugghhh stawwwwp) and did not come to coffee–but at least he didn't bring his gf with him. I wish I wasn't still attracted, but I am and I don't want to think about it anymore. I guess it has to run its course. Ugh! I need a distraction from this distraction!!

    On the bright side, the session went really well for me today. It's getting easier to sit for longer in a cross-legged position; I actually wasn't in too much pain today. And it is easier to regain focus when I do have to move or change position. So progress! :)

    Reply
    1. the gold digger

      I’m really glad to know that things are getting better for the neighbor. You did a very kind thing helping out.

      I have my fingers crossed that your job situation improves very quickly.

      Reply
    2. Nynaeve

      Good vibes, I send them! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Reply
  40. Aurion

    Last year I finally committed to an exercise routine in my lifestyle (weightlifting and volleyball), so my goal this year was to get better social skills (and dating would be a bonus but totally optional).

    I ended up volunteering for my volleyball league (I do setup/organizing before the night starts), which has been the ultimate in low-stakes, high-reward volunteering opportunity for me: free gameplay, not a lot of commitment or training upfront, and I get to do something I really enjoy. And I’ve been socializing really well too. I feel like it really helps having something to do; last season I was standing around awkwardly because I didn’t know any of the people, but throw on a red staff shirt and put the poles in my hands and I’m perfectly fine even if I still don’t know any of the people. I’ve been doing mental post-mortems after I come home and I can’t even think of any faux pas I made this season, which is awesome. :D (The super cute guy on my team is married, but that just makes him a safe target for socializing–not flirting!–practice. As far as I’m concerned, there is no downside to practice, and friend-or-acquaintance-zoned is perfectly fine in my books.)

    I even went out on a few dates with a guy I met online; he was really into me and I ended things (I hope) gently last night. This whole year has been a series of social firsts in my life. I’m feeling pretty proud of my progress.

    Level up! :D

    Reply
    1. Emily

      Wow, that all sounds great. Congratulations on finding an activity that fulfills you physically and socially.

      Reply
    2. Aurion

      Thanks all! For those with similar goals as me, I highly recommend Dr Nerdlove; with or without the dating lens, his advice on charisma, approachability, and socializing is on point. I think his advice is what is finally going to inspire me to become a tidier person (in a way even Unf#*! Your Habitat couldn’t) and better dresser too. And eye contact actually hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be.

      Reply
  41. Detective Amy Santiago

    I am so burned out right now. I’ve been running the office alone for the past two weeks because my boss’s mother was ill and passed away. And it’ll be another week until she’s back.

    And then my uncle passed away unexpectedly, which made this past week even harder. He was one of the few people on that side of the family that I was comfortable talking to at family functions.

    On top of everything else, I’ve been struggling with my finances. I did get a small raise recently, so that should help, but all I really want to do is hide under my covers.

    Reply
    1. Nina

      Ugh, it sounds like you’re going through a really hard time right now. I’m so sorry about your uncle.

      (hugs)

      Reply
    2. Nynaeve

      That is a lot to deal with. Be kind to yourself and let yourself feel whatever you feel. See if there’s anything you can postpone, lower your standards on, or delegate until you have more energy.

      Reply
  42. Alinea

    Any gamers out there? What would you want for your birthday?

    My BIL’s 3Xth bday is in 5 days and TBH I haven’t thought of anything for him. He’s been annoying at best and an asshole at worst over the last few months. He’s lucky I’m not giving him coal.

    Anyway, over the past 2 years we’ve (DH, me, or his parents) gotten him a gaming computer, larger monitor, gaming chair, and games. I think his headphones are okay…what else would he need?

    I’m in a foul mood, so I suggested a catheter bag so he doesn’t have to leave his room.

    Reply
    1. copy run start

      He’s a PC gamer, I take it? Other than headphones, maybe just money towards new games since it seems like he’s gotten everything else. If he uses Steam (most PC gamers do) you can get him a gift card and he can put it towards games or DLC that he wants. If he is a console gamer at all an accessory might be nice (like those controller charging stands), or Playstation Network/Xbox Live gift card.

      Though if he’s lucky he’s not getting coal, perhaps he doesn’t deserve a gift!

      Reply
      1. Alinea

        My BIL just came home from work only to yell, “What did you make?! It smells disgusting!!!”

        Um…rice?

        Ugh, what an ass.

        I asked him if he had heard of Steam and what he thought of it. He mumbled something that they didn’t have the latest games? F him. I can’t win.

        Reply
        1. Jessesgirl72

          Steam doesn’t have the latest games? WTF is he talking about? They are basically one of the only ways to get PC games these days (if you buy a physical game in a store, you’re likely buying all but an empty box, and being sent to Steam or Origin to play it. At least to activate it, if not download the whole thing outright.)

          Honestly, for an ungrateful expletive like him, nothing sounds about right. The secret to pleasing people who can’t be pleased is to stop trying.

          Reply