weekend free-for-all – May 5-6, 2018

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.)

Book recommendation of the week: Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss. The hilarious Hey Ladies column from The Toast is now a book! One of the ladies is getting married, and there are many, many emails to be sent and plans to be made. It’s so, so funny, and you will cringe with recognition. (And here’s a great piece about it from The Cut.)

{ 1,216 comments… read them below }

  1. Come On Eileen

    Mocktails! I stopped drinking a few years ago and have been teaching myself how to make fun non-alcoholic drinks for special occasions. I feel like I’ve mastered the nojito, but am looking for other mocktails I can try as we head into summer. Anyone have a favorite recipe to share?

    1. Handy nickname

      Ooh I loved mixed drinks, but rarely drink alcohol so I’ll be following this one!

    2. Lavender Gooms

      This is a great thread idea! I don’t drink either due to a medical condition, and at 26 it’s kind of dampened my social life. Usually I end up asking for a Shirley Temple, which is delicious but also kind of embarrassing to ask for. I’ve had bartenders try to pressure me into getting alcohol when I ask for one. Sigh.

      1. secret reader today

        Good bartenders should never do that! You think they’d be glad to there’s a sober person in the group.

        1. Anon For This

          Agreed. Most of the time when I order something non-alcoholic, they don’t even charge me. I think they like to have people around who can be designated drivers or just help to keep things sane.

      2. Parenthetically

        Tonic and lime is my go-to because it looks like booze so I don’t get questions, and I would honestly tell a bartender who tried to pressure me into drinking to piss off. I might consider a strongly-worded email to the bar — I’ve had the same experience as Anon For This, with bartenders not charging the DD/nondrinker, and I think it’s great. Surely if you’re going to comp drinks it ought to be to the person who’s helping make sure people get home safe.

        1. SS Express

          Tonic with lemon is my non-alcoholic drink of choice! So yummy, and unlike a Coke or Shirley Temple it doesn’t invite a million questions about why you aren’t drinking – I don’t really mind anyway, but if you don’t want to explain why you aren’t drinking (e.g. recovering alcoholic, not-yet-public pregnancy, on medication for a private health issue) or you just have really rude pushy friends it’s obviously a plus.

    3. Dopameanie

      Virgin Lemon Drop?

      I grow some lemon mint, use lemon juice, simple syrup, muddled lemon mint, fancy sugar rim glass, lemon twist and enough sprite to make it sparkle.

    4. Ali G

      I personally think bloody mary’s would be better without the vodka! I like it spicy with a good amount of horseradish and a vinegar based hot sauce.

      1. Aphrodite

        Me too! I have this recipe planned for Christmas morning breakfast. It originally had alcohol but I removed it.

        3 cups vegetable juice (I like TJs vegetable juice far better than V-8)
        3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
        1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
        2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
        1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
        2 teaspoons Tabasco
        1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
        1 teaspoon sugar
        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
        Garnish with a celery stalk, carrot stick, one shrimp and one slice of crisp bacon

        Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive container and mix well. Cover and refrigerate and let the flavors meld, overnight is best but not more than 24 hours. Pour into large glass mugs with a celery stalk and bacon.

      2. dawbs

        I don’t like them (because tomato hates my tastebuds. I’d like to like it, I just don’t), but I’ve always relished the idea of ordering a virgin mary.

    5. Nashira

      I had a delicious mocktail last summer that was muddled basil and mint, peach puree, and ginger ale. It was so good I had two and mention it anytime mocktails come up lol.

      I got it by telling a bartender I can’t drink but that I still wanted something good, and could she make me something interesting? We briefly discussed flavors I like and then she was off.

      1. CTT

        Oh my god that sounds good. Do you puree the peach yourself or is that something easily found at grocery stores?

        1. Nashira

          It was high summer when I had it, and I believe the bartenders were pureeing fresh, skinned peaches themselves.

    6. Lora

      Agua fresca! I make big pitchers of different flavors of agua fresca for parties. My favorite is Jamaica:

      For one quart
      4 – 5 hibiscus teabags
      1/2 c sugar
      2 limes, cut into quarters and squeezed, rind and all, just throw it in the pitcher after squeezing.
      Boil about a quart/liter of water with all the stuff in it. I just toss it all in an electric kettle. Let it sit uhh… until you remember it…then strain into a pitcher and chill.

      I have a more elaborate recipe for cantaloupe agua fresca where you take half a lemon worth of juice, four slices worth of very ripe cantaloupe cubed and 1/2 – 1/3 c sugar and a cup of water and blend in the blender then strain and serve over ice. But I hardly ever make it because I hate washing the blender.

    7. Temperance

      Commenting to follow – any sugar free mocktail recipes would be so appreciated!

    8. Not That Jane

      Smitten Kitchen has a coconut/lime mocktail that looks amazing. I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems perfect for summer.

      1. Traveling Teacher

        Omg, it is so good, you have to try it! My husband and I love that one!

    9. Hmmm

      I love making fancy Jello shots, and I’d bet you could make them taste even better without the alcohol! And use non alcoholic alcoholic beverage flavorings, if that’s your thing.

      It’s lazier than a mocktail, but I love ginger ale and ginger beer!

    10. Wendy Darling

      One of my go-to summer drinks is the Moscow Mule, which is ginger beer, lime, bitters, and vodka. And tbh the vodka is not bringing anything to that party and ginger beer is nonalcoholic.

    11. AdAgencyChick

      I love just mashing up blackberries or raspberries and pouring seltzer over. Mint optional.

    12. Kali

      I love Shirley Temples. Lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, grenadine, and cherries. :D

    13. Blue_eyes

      Will you share your nojito recipe? Mojitos are one of my favorite cocktails but I’m planning to get pregnant in the next year, so I’d love to have a non-alcoholic version at the ready. These aren’t very exciting, but I enjoy OJ or lemonade mixed with seltzer or cranberry juice with lime seltzer.

    14. Bluebell

      Look up shrubs! Basically you combine fruit and vinegar and sugar, then afterwards mix it with seltzer. I did a cranberry ginger one that was very nice.

    15. AnonEMoose

      A mix of lemonade, cranberry juice, and something fizzy (lemon-lime soda, ginger ale) is tasty and refreshing. A splash of lime would probably be good, too.

    16. I'm A Little Teapot

      Strawberry dacqueries- just leave the alcohol out. Tastes just fine.

    17. Merci Dee

      My favorite is an easy substitute for mimosas. Just mix equal parts orange juice and lemon-lime soda. All the sparkle and fizz without champagne. You could also sub in ginger ale if you like.

    18. H.C.

      On a tangent, I’ve sampled Seedlip’s “no alcohol spirits” recently and they do a nice job of simulating gin & spiced rum; might be worth looking into as a gin/rum swap in.

    19. Nervous Accountant

      These all sound so amazing. Wish there were more options for low/no sugar drinks as well.

    20. JSPA

      Juniper is the defining flavor in gin (especially UK / US; dutch genever is a more balanced mix). You can buy juiper berries as a spice. Crush some up and extract for a few hours in a tea bag and add a twist of citrus peel to make a concentrate that mimics any number of gin-containing drinks. I wonder if they might be a little too evocative of gin for someone who’s had a weakness for gin(?) but I suppose that’s an individual thing.

    21. CarrieGreene

      I have had an alcohol-free version of the Dark & Stormy cocktail. Spicy ginger beer (just a stronger ginger ale) plus some lime juice shaken with ice and strained. I’ve seen online recipes add some pineapple juice as well.

    22. Laura

      I’m very partial to a rock shandy: lime juice (either from fresh limes, which I prefer, or out of a bottle – the most common brand here in the UK is Rose’s but not sure if there’s a US equivalent), sparkling water and ice. You can add Angostura bitters as well for low-alcohol, as opposed to no alcohol.

  2. nep

    Triumph. Went to a new dentist this week. I’ve got countless problems with my teeth and it’s tough exposing my mouth to a new team of people; didn’t think I could do it. (I’d been seeing another dentist regularly up until last year; financial constraints meant I had to hold off. Decided to use expanded Medicaid in my state and found a dentist that accepts my plan.)
    Hope the Medicaid will be for just a short time–but it’s great to have the option for now and to be able to address the most pressing dental issues so things don’t get worse. Thanks, all, for the encouragement and insights.

    1. Nashira

      You’re doing a good job taking care of yourself! It’s really hard to overcome those shame feelings but you did the thing.

      1. nep

        Yes. Thank you. It helped that the staff and dentist were terrific — but honestly, even before I met them and knew that, I was — ‘This is what it is and just do it.’ Once the appointment was made and I was in, I was all in and it was just happening.
        I am more than my mouth. I am more than my past where my dental problems were born.

        1. Jane of all Trades

          Yay!!! High five!!! I totally feel ya – I’m pretty embarrassed about my crooked teeth and about a month ago started going to the dentist every sat morning to slowly fix it all!!
          Good for you!

    2. Bad teeth anon

      I’ve got nothing to offer but solidarity from another teeth-challenged reader! I’m about to move, so I have to find a new dentist, and I’m dreading it so much. Ugh. But I need some work done in the next year or so…a bonded tooth is falling apart and likely needs to be capped, and my bridge is up for replacement. Yuck.

      1. nep

        All I can offer is the trepidation in the run-up to the appointment is usually worse than the reality.
        Also–go in for that initial consultation with this in mind: You’re feeling them out to see whether they are right for you and whether they treat you as you need and deserve to be treated. I know it can be a pain if one has to try more than one dentist, but don’t settle. Get what you need.

        1. RestlessRenegade

          This is something I really have to do. I usually go with the first place I can get an appointment, especially with doctors/dentists, which has caused me so many problems. I’m glad you’re getting things worked out!

          1. nep

            Yes — it’s extra work and can seem like added stress at a time you really could do without. But in the long run shopping around can pay off. Not all physicians or dentists will be just what you need.

          2. Traveling Teacher

            So much this! That’s one of my least favorite parts about moving. Once I have a good experience with one, I ask the physician (and their receptionist) for the names of great doctors, dentists, gynecologists, etc. in the area. It usually only takes finding one to break into the “good” care network.

            I usually ask for specific things like, “Good listener, likes to give patients extra info” etc. because I like to know everything possible if I have a health problem but that sometimes annoys doctors because they think I’m questioning their authority or something when the issue is that I, personally, just have to have as much info as possible so that I know why it’s important to do x, y, and z thing and will then do it.

            1. nep

              I’ve got no time for a physician who’s got the chip on the shoulder, gets defensive about any questions. That’s a bunch of BS.
              (I’ve had positive experiences with dentists but in all my many, many years I’ve yet to have a positive experience with a doctor — in any context, in any situation. I know — I should start to question whether it’s me. But truly have yet to have a positive experience with any GP, ob/gyn, internist, any …They’ve all made me feel as if I’m on an assembly line and they’re just trying to squeeze as much in as they can to make the most money. Ick.)

    3. nep

      (First thing I’ve got to do is make an appointment with an oral surgeon for an extraction–so a new dental team seeing my teeth. But I was on the phone to make that appointment as soon as I got in the car. I am eager to get this tooth out and empowered by the whole experience. No more being beaten down by this.)

      1. nep

        I should say I wasn’t beaten down by it before — I just mean, no letting my embarrassment be a monster that stops me from doing what I need to do.

    4. Dental phobic

      So help me out here. I have had a missing upper molar for two years. I had a “flipper” and can’t stand it. Dentist advises an implant. My husband sailed through two of these but I have special needs. EDS. Novacaine and numbing agents don’t work well on me. We have insurance and money in savings. Could someone please talk me into this? Summer is best time to do anything because I am a librarian. Although I do not have the time off, it is our slow time. (not a public librarian, been there)

      1. Windchime

        As a previous dental-phobic person, I can relate. I had some bad dental experiences as a child and teenager, and then had a hygienist make a callous comment to me when I was in my 20’s. I decided that I was not going to go to the dentist ever again. And I didn’t go for many years; that is, until my teeth started to crumble from failed fillings. At that point, I had to go back but I was so anxious and upset.

        What actually helped me was counter-intuitive, but I started reading online about dental phobia. It’s actually very common and I learned that there are now new medications and techniques. For instance, you may be able to find a dentist who will put you under for the procedure. I had a failed root canal and lost a top back molar last year; the dental surgeon gave me an IV and I don’t remember a thing.

        It can be really scary, but knowledge is power and I know you can do this. Find someone who understands that you are truly afraid and they will work with you. And also–I don’t know how old you are, but my bad memories were literally from the 70’s and 80’s. There are new techniques and medications now, and it will be much better.

      2. Nashira

        Is this something that could be done under sedation? Would that work for you and your body?

      3. brushandfloss

        Go to an oral surgeon for the implants if your dentist cannot sedate you. Most oral surgeons are licensed to give sedation/general anesthesia and most also place implants.

      4. Wendy Darling

        I also have a missing tooth and hate my flipper. (It’s not really noticeably luckily so I just wear the flipper at night to keep my teeth from stealing its spot.) I’m getting an implant — currently I’m waiting for the bone graft to get settled so they can place the post.

        Would sedation dentistry be an option for you? If local anesthetics don’t work well on you, could you have an oral surgeon do the implant work under general anesthetic? I’ve also had work done under twilight sedation where basically they doped me up on so much valium I was no longer capable of caring what they were up to — I had my top wisdom teeth out that way and dozed off for most of the procedure despite having a raging phobia of dental work.

        As far as talking you into it… It’s better for your jaw to have something there than nothing, as the bone recedes when it’s not under pressure from a tooth. It’s also better to have an implant placed sooner than later — if you wait like 10 years you might not have enough jawbone left there for an implant without major bone graft shenanigans.

        I had a tooth extracted and bone graft placed at 8am with just novocaine and laughing gas and was back at work at 10am, albeit I work from home and could sit at my desk holding an ice pack on my face. In retrospect I should have taken the day off but I was still contract and didn’t get PTO so I just… worked anyway. If you do sedation dentistry you’ll probably need a few days to recover but if you did it on a Friday you could probably be back at work for Monday. Maybe Tuesday if you have a rough time with sedation.

        I can tell you how my post placement goes but it won’t be for another month or two.

        1. nep

          I can attest–I’ve had many tooth missing for years. Not a candidate for implants because it’s been too long.

        2. the gold digger

          If you do sedation dentistry you’ll probably need a few days to recover

          This probably varies by person, too. I was at work the next day. The only problem I remember was throwing up from the vicodin I took after – I took it on an empty stomach. Don’t do that!

          With my five – yes, five – gum grafts and with my two root canals, I have had the procedure in the morning and worked from home the rest of the day. I wasn’t under sedation, though. But they gave me enough Novocaine that the procedures themselves were painless and aspirin was enough for the pain afterwards.

          And I am not a person with a high tolerance for pain and medical stuff. I pass out when I have blood drawn. But these dental procedures have all been fine.

      5. Parcae

        I’m a dental phobic, too. I went far too long without seeing a dentist at all, but I’ve been making my regular appointments for two years now. Go me.

        I had an oral surgeon do my four implants, and honestly, it was the best dental experience of my life. Yes, I was nervous beforehand, but I was sedated for the procedure and– wonder of wonders– the sedation actually worked. I felt no pain or anxiety the whole time. (Not sure if this is your experience, but ordinary fillings are a miserable experience for me. Lidocaine, etc, only goes so far in dulling the pain.) The healing time before I could get the corresponding crowns was a pain in the butt, but ultimately worth it.

        More importantly, now that my implants are in place, they’re GREAT. They never hurt. They fit well in my mouth. I can actually use them to chew! They are superior in all the ways I can tell to my natural teeth. I’ve had them for over ten years ago, and if I could change anything, I’d have them put in sooner. My understanding is that the younger/sooner you have implants done, the better your outcome is likely to be. Go out and get your teeth!

        1. Bibliovore

          This reminds me of “go get your dog!” I am inspired and feeling brave. I will call the dentist tomorrow.

      6. Stacy

        I have EDS too, and am so incredibly thankful that both my dentist and my oral surgeon are EDS aware! My dentist has EDS in her extended family, and my oral surgeon had already had a couple of EDS patients before me so he was already familiar as well. I honestly just stumbled into it. It has made such a difference in my health care for me! I’m also a redhead, which means I have 2 strikes against me in the anesthesia department. I just let them know as soon as I can feel something I shouldn’t, or sometimes we just have to try multiple times/types to get me numbed up in the first place. There have been too many times in the past where I’ve toughed it out without sufficient numbing and it just sends my body into a tailspin. (Thanks EDS and MCAS!) Honestly I avoided the dentist for years. YEARS. I’m actually embarrassed to say how many, but I have just finished spending the last 4 years catching up with all of the work that needs to be done. Well, all that makes sense for me. I feel SO much better about my teeth, and so much better health-wise. I wish I hadn’t waited as long as I did, but I’m glad to have connected with the right dentists for me so in that sense it was worth the wait. You’re gonna do great!

      7. Bibliovore

        Okay so now I AM anxious . “It may be too late for in implant?”

        I was told when the tooth came out that you don’t get the bone graft right away. The pain from extraction was excruciating for more than 6 months.

        I had an incomplete root canal on the tooth behind the hole that had to redone.
        My plan- go to my dentist for a recommendation for an oral surgeon.
        Go to the oral surgeon.
        Explain the whole EDS, numbing thing.
        I wish there was a hand out for this- when I had abdominal surgery, it took them 2 hours to get the post surgery pain under control, when I had knee surgery the block didn’t work, and believe me no one wants to hear about the first colonoscopy that I had.

    5. Brace Face

      High five for sh1tty teeth!

      I am past three years in braces with no end in sight. It’s starting to cause serious gum recession (which is apparently common in adults with braces), and the teeth are still not moving how they’re supposed to. This week the ortho told me my teeth are tilting inwards and I need “inside braces” too, which I’ve never effing heard of before. It just keeps getting worse instead of better!

  3. CatCat

    My kitty cat is officially cancer-free! He’s had several positive exams, but now it’s official and he doesn’t need to see the vet oncologist anymore.

  4. epi

    Has anyone done just one litter box for two cats?

    We adopted a second cat in January and they are getting along well. They aren’t best friends but they eat near each other, play together, and old cat allows new cat to sleep in our bed although they don’t want to snuggle each other, only us. The original cat has a pretty secluded box in the closet to our home office, and we set up a second one in a hall bathroom.

    Well, no one likes that second litter box. It gets used maybe once a day, just enough to be unsightly. They are sharing the other box most of the time with no conflict I guess. The new box is really in the way, but I’d keep it if it were being used. I’m thinking of trying to get rid of it and just clean the favorite box twice a day instead of once a day, and change all the litter it more. It seems like that will need to be done anyway since it’s so obviously preferred. Thoughts?

    1. Come On Eileen

      Isthe second lithe same size as the first? I had to play around with things like size and location of the second box. My two cats still have a primary/preferred box but they do use the second one regularly. Maybe tweak a few things before getting rid of it, everything I read is that at least one box per cat is the ideal setup.

    2. Combinatorialist

      My family had cats all the time. Usually two, sometimes three. We never had more than one litter box — I didn’t even know this was a thing. They were indoor/outdoor cats and one of them definitely preferred to use the infinite litter box of the outside, but all three happily cohabited one litter box for years without issue.

    3. Cat Person

      I had three cats at one time and only ever had one box. Clumping litter was a life saver! The cats never had a problem, I just had to be more vigilant in cleaning it daily, or more depending on how much it was used.

    4. Hannah

      I used to have two cats, and only one litter box. I don’t think it ever occurred to anyone to get two. They were brother/sister but I don’t think they really thought much about the family tree while going potty.

    5. Dorothy Zbornak

      I had 2 cats at a time (so, when 1 passed, a new cat was adopted shortly after) from birth to mid-20s and only ever had 1 litter box. The cats adapted to each other & any problems that arose were from old age or illness. I’ve seen households that absolutely need more than 1 box b/c of picky/grumpy cats, but it sounds like yours get along just fine and 1 box is a reasonable accommodation. I’ll second the recommendation of clumping litter, too.

    6. Grad Student

      I have two cats and have only ever had one box for both of them. For a while we moved in with a third cat and had two litter boxes total, but one of them went unused so we effectively had just one (and cleaned it more often than we might otherwise).

    7. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      We were on a one box system as the downstairs bathroom is kinda small and when you put two in it makes it difficult for a human to use the human facilities! However we are rarely downstairs for it to matter too much.

      In the last week we went from one to two again because we were having some issues with boy kitty missing the box a bit (hes very meticulous about his litter). When we had one we ‘shoveled’ about 5 times a day – once in he morning, once before bed, two or three times when we got home from work before bed, or spread out a bit through the day on the weekend. As long as you clean it often, you should be ok.

      I know the vets say one for each cat + an extra but I don’t have that kind of space in my house! But if the cats are getting along (ours are best buds) and you aren’t seeing any territorial marking or anything, then it is worth a try.

      1. effazin

        Yeah, I’ve seen the one box per cat plus one extra in several places, and I keep giving my head a shake. Thinking back to when we owned two cats in an apartment, where on earth could we have put 3 litter boxes without putting one in the middle of the dining table? It’s only recently I’ve started to notice the #cats +1 advice, and it had never occurred to me that more than one box was needed. If multiple cats used it, then it had to be cleaned more frequently, but just like a multi-person home might have only one bathroom, our multi-cat family only had one litter box.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

          Lol – I love the analogy :) We have friends who at their first apartment when we met them the (covered) litter box was essentially next to their couch in their (tiny, overcrowded) living room as they didnt have space in the bathroom. Ill admit that was kinda gross especially as one of their cats could really drop a bomb.

          I figure if you have one box there is NO WAY you aren’t going to not clean it more than once a day – either via the odor or cat harassment to clean it. But, as with most things these days, common sense and responsibility probably shouldnt be assumed.

    8. Kuododi

      When DH and I had two cats we were doing a one for two deal on the litter pans. (Space constraints) I cleaned the pan twice a day and replaced the litter regularly. Unfortunately I never felt like I was keeping ahead of the odor. We were using the clumping litter and I still felt like things were dusty and “funky.” Some of that may have been my issue. I have mentioned before I have a sensitive nose and smells just hit me harder than other people. Good luck.

    9. blaise zamboni

      Seconding everyone who says that two cats can definitely share one litter box. However, if you have the space, I recommend keeping the second litter box (cleaned and emptied) tucked away in storage. I had two cats who shared the litter box fine for their whole lives. Then I had another set who shared their box fine–for a year and a half, and then one of them started peeing on the wall out of the blue because she wanted her own.

    10. Aphrodite

      I have two cats sharing one but originally had three (Athena died about nine months ago). They preferred it. I cleaned it about three times a day (morning, immediately after work and before bed). They have never showed any problem with it, but the box, which is actually a somewhat tall and large rectangular plastic storage box, is big.

    11. Wendy Darling

      My parents have one litterbox for two cats and they do fine as long as they’re diligent about cleaning it daily. One of their cats is very fastidious and goes on strike and pees in the houseplants if they don’t clean it well enough. The other one grew up in a hoarding situation and doesn’t care how gross the box is.

    12. Not So NewReader

      Not the answer you were looking for probably. I had two cats and one litter box. That was fine until one day it wasn’t. Someone started peeing in the hallway at the opposite end of the house from the litter box. After a couple instances of this, I got a second litter box and put it in the hallway. It was quite a while before I figured out which one was using it, but the hallway puddles stopped immediately. I did notice that cleaning the litter box every day was not optional. It had to be done.

      1. Natalie

        If that’s what works for you that’s fine, but plenty of people and cats do perfectly fine with fewer. I’ve never had two litterboxes for one cat and I never will.

      2. JSPA

        Minimum to be fairly sure it’ll work. Not minimum that can ever work.

        That said, it’s useful to get them used to a second option, in case you’re going out of town for a couple of days. If they’re not gorgers, you can leave food and water out, and know that the single litterbox isn’t going to become the limiting issue.

        One of my cats occasionally decides that both box 1 and box 2 belong to her (her poop box and her pee box, to be precise). I suspect it’s because boycat does not recognize the distinction. Anyway, we really need to have box 3 so boycat doesn’t get a UTI, on days when she’s howling at him for even looking at box 1 and 2.

        Cats.

      3. tangerineRose

        Jackson Galaxy also says to have number of cats plus one when getting boxes. He’s helped a lot of people who had cats with litterbox issues. You might be able to get away with less.

    13. Oxford Coma

      If you can get away with it, more power to you! I’ve had cats who would guard the box against the others, territorial cats who wouldn’t allow a box to be cleaned (would immediately p1ss in a clean box to establish dominance, even fighting my scooping arm out of the way), and cats who wouldn’t use a box unless it was completely clean and fresh. Take this gift and run with it.

    14. Tara2

      Yea, if you are noticing that they use the same litter than they don’t have the territorial issues that usually means you’d need two boxes. It should be fine if you cut back to just the one.

    15. AnonEMoose

      We have two cats and one litterbox. But ours are siblings from the same litter, so they’ve been together their whole lives. Still, if yours are mostly using the one box without issues, you’re probably fine to go down to one.

    16. RestlessRenegade

      Does anyone have experience with the opposite–one cat, two boxes? I’m (hopefully!) getting a new (first since I moved out of my parents’ house) kitty next weekend, and my sister suggested two litter boxes so that they don’t smell too badly, though I do expect to scoop the box at least 2x a day. Would a single kitty use two boxes? Would it confuse her?

      1. Book Lover

        I don’t think it will change odor issues, really, but I understand it is good to have one on each floor, though honestly whether we had one cat or two, one floor or two, we always just had one box.

        1. RestlessRenegade

          Hm, yeah, I only have one floor, so I think I’ll stick with one box. Thank you for the advice!

    17. mreasy

      I have two, one box, and clean at least twice a day, and it works totally fine.

  5. secret reader today

    Hope everyone is enjoying their new copy of Ask a Manager. I waited to order it and now it’s backordered. Pretty cool!

    1. ECHM

      Read three-quarters of it on Wednesday when I got it and the remainder of it yesterday.

    2. Nines

      I got my copy on Friday and was SO excited! Hope you get yours soon. That is pretty cool that it’s backordered. Go Allison!

    3. RestlessRenegade

      I made a special trip to the bookstore today to get my copy! Can’t wait to start reading.

  6. Dopameanie

    Controversial Opinion Corner:

    The seasons, ranked objectively in order from best to worst*:

    Late Fall
    Early Spring
    Early Winter
    Late Spring
    Late Summer
    Early Summer
    Early Fall

    Killing Season (2013 De Niro-terrible film)

    Late Winter

    FIGHT ME!!!!

    *allergies notwithstanding

      1. Dopameanie

        Midwest America. They are only punctual when it will be most inconvenient.

      2. KayEss

        Here in the midwest, we experience the Zeno’s paradox of season changes–increasingly close, but never truly arriving until it has already passed.

    1. Ali G

      Late fall
      Early spring
      Late spring
      Early summer
      Late summer

      All forms of winter can go F themselves

      1. Dopameanie

        Early winter’s saving graces are:
        Christmas
        The first snow day
        Children frolicking
        Sledding

        But….like….there’s an expiration date for all that, yknow? After two weeks of it, it’s all a slushy hellhole.

        1. Ali G

          I feel like the last few years winter has meant either cold and rainy (which then just makes ice) or we get pummeled like crazy. It sucks if you have to leave the house!

      2. Middle School Teacher

        Having just lived through the longest winter in decades here, I agree. Eff you, winter.

    2. Mananana

      From a desert-dweller where our temps during June/July range from 110-120, we don’t have season, we have “months when it’s glorious” and then the other months. That being said, here’s my ranking:

      1) Oct-Apr
      2)May (it will be 106 tomorrow)
      3) Aug-Sep (monsoon season, so it gets to be hot AND humid)
      4) June-July

      1. Dopameanie

        So, as Uncle Sam’s guest in a couple desert locations, I always loved summer at night, when it got down to about 90, dry as a bone, and the concrete is still warm to the touch at 3am.

        I did not love it in the day. At all.

        1. Mananana

          Yeah, I really don’t mind the heat (I’m a native to these parts), but it’s when those temps don’t go below 90 that it feels like summer.

          1. Dopameanie

            Interestingly, I never minded the cold until I left the desert. Now I am a total wuss when it’s cold outside. But I could comfortably live in my house at 84 degrees and be perfectly happy. Weird, right? I did not expect that.

      1. Dopameanie

        Ugh. YOU PEOPLE. What with your February tans, and your t shirts, and your “winter coat.” That is not a winter coat! That is a windbreaker, you spoiled spoiled resident of paradise!

        I loved it there.

        1. Wendy Darling

          The hills are green lasts 3 weeks, and the hills are brown is like 9 months of the year punctuated by periods of on fire. Where I grew up we didn’t have The Hills Are Covered In Plastic but we did have All The Neighbors Just Weed Whacked Their Hills And Now You Can’t Breathe.

      2. King Friday XIII

        In Portland, our two seasons are Rain and Summer, which is about three weeks of late July and early August.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger

      You are so close, as you put the coolest seasons at the top and the disgusting, sweltering seasons at the bottom, but then clearly go off your rocker about late winter, as it falls between early winter and late spring, both of which are in the proper positions high on your list. So close to being right, but yet so far!

        1. Dopameanie

          Nahhhh pecan all the way!

          You know what? Next week’s fight is ranked seasoning. Meet me here next week.

      1. Dopameanie

        In what unfortunate reality does post-Christmas sidewalk slush trump baseball games and water parks and driving with windows down?! Clearly you’ve been addled by a sled crash or three.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          I do not enjoy baseball games, water parks, or driving with the windows down if I’m losing a quart of bodily fluids every 10 minutes. If you are not hyperhydrotic, more power to you, but hot food (either spice or temperature) makes me sweat enough to have to wipe my forehead, to give you an idea of how bad it is.

          And stop whinging about the slush and just wear proper boots and you won’t care either. It’s kind of fun to tromp through slush and puddles if you’re dressed for it.

          1. Dopameanie

            It IS fun to tromp through slushy puddles!

            For a week.

            Then it is time for winter to be over so I can break out my sunglasses and v-neck t-shirt collection.

    4. Hannah

      No. No no no no.

      Late Summer
      Early Fall
      Early Summer
      Late Spring
      Late Fall
      Early Winter
      Late Winter
      Early Spring

    5. Dorothy Zbornak

      Late Spring
      Early Fall
      Early Spring
      Early Summer
      Late Fall
      Late Summer
      Early Winter
      Late Winter

      Seasons of Love (worst song of an awful musical)

      *non-allergy sufferer

      1. Dopameanie

        When I was a teenager I loved that musical. The older I get the more I identify with the creditors. It’s a fine line between Responsible Adult and Ebeneezer Scrooge.

        Actually, I’d totally watch a musical about that.

      2. Koala dreams

        Now it’s starting to look good.
        I prefer Early summer over both early fall and early spring, and late winter over early winter, but it’s close to your list.
        Late Spring (the best!)
        Early Summer
        Early Fall
        Early Spring
        Late Fall
        Late Summer
        Late Winter
        Early Winter

    6. Mimmy

      I love these threads!

      1. Late spring/early summer (May and June) – this is my favorite time of year because it’s when it really starts to get nice and warm and nature is at its most abloom in all its beautiful colors. Plus, it’s a time of celebration with graduations, both Mothers and Fathers Day and First Communion. I also enjoy the first week of July because my whole family gathers either at the Jersey Shore or another special destination for a week for some outdoor fun. This year, we’re going to a lake house in Georgia.

      2. Early spring (March and April) – The sun is getting higher, days are getting longer, and nature begins its rebirth

      3. Late summer/early fall (September and October) – Even though it makes me sad when it starts getting cooler, small leaves begin to fall, and the days are shorter, the weather can still be absolutely beautiful

      4. Early winter – Well, it’s obviously very cold, but Christmas time keeps this from being at the very bottom

      5. Mid winter (January and February) – Cold, gray and just plain gloomy

    7. Lady Jay

      Late fall
      Late spring
      Early winter
      Early fall
      Late summer
      Early summer

      Late winter

      (I’m okay with cold weather, but usually around March/April when we’re on our third straight month of cloudy days and 15 degree weather, I am so, so over it.)

      1. Dopameanie

        If it is 15• outside that is WINTERTIME. Spring is for the thaw. Unless you mean Celsius? In which case I plead American Ignorance (Extra Strength Formula)

    8. Kathenus

      I’m an outlier, but summer is by far my least favorite season. I hate hot/humid weather and would take a cold winter day over a sweltering summer one every time. I’ve never really thought about it with early/late designations, so just using the full seasons, mine is:

      Fall
      Winter
      Spring
      Summer

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        I agree with you completely. Summer weather is awful – though I do appreciate the long days.

        I’d go with mid-late fall as my favorite – the weather is finally crisp and cool, and at least here in NYC, it’s beautiful with the leaves changing color. Originally my favorite time of year was early fall, but now summer weather in this area tends to run until mid-late October.

        Then spring, then winter and summer essentially tied for me (I much prefer cold weather, but I’m growing to hate the super short days of winter).

    9. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Early summer
      Late fall
      Early fall
      Early winter
      Late summer
      Late spring
      Early spring
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      Tourist (which seems to be every month these days)

    10. Loopy

      Late spring
      Early Summer
      Early Fall
      Early Spring
      Early Winter (only because I love Christmas above all other holidays)

      Everything else is ehhh.
      Late winter is dead last though. (Ironically I’m getting married in late winter because I can’t afford an on season wedding, haaaa).

    11. Extra Vitamins

      Late Fall (brief pause in wind and pollen, sunny)
      Mid winter (sunny VERY cold, no geese)
      Early Spring (mud and excess goose poop)
      Late Spring (pollen and wind, aggressive geese)
      Summer (109 F + pollen)
      Early winter (gray and cold, geese are in my yard now)
      Early fall (WIND +WIND +why is there still pollen, geese and crows)

    12. Lissa

      Late Spring (my work schedule lightens up, my heart is full of happiness, I can go out for long long walks in the lovely not too hot weather)
      Early Summer (basically the same as above but I’m used to it now)
      Early Spring (my birthday!)
      Late Summer (I don’t live somewhere where it gets very hot but this is the only time it might be too hot. Still generally good though.)
      Early Fall (I never really got the joy of fall, though I do like salted caramel mochas at Starbucks. Unfortunately not outweighed by extreme work stress)

      SAD times

      Late Fall
      Early Winter
      Late Winter

    13. nr

      From the Pacific Northwest, the seasons are Damp (Halloween-mid- June), Summer (official start 4th of July-end of September), and October. They are all good seasons.

    14. Tau

      Somehow I suspect this list is strongly influenced by your geographic location. I’m in Germany and strongly influenced by over a decade in the UK, so on the one hand, “hot” and “humid” aren’t terms I’d usually connect with our summers. On the other…

      Early Summer
      Late Summer
      Late Spring
      Early Fall
      Early Spring



      What Is This Mythical “Sun” Thing You Speak Of Again?

      OK, maybe Early Winter/Late Fall can get a little bump because Christmas/Advent, but seriously, screw winter.

    15. Oxford Coma

      We only get maybe a third of these. There’s a reason they call it Shitsburgh.

    16. Merci Dee

      Living in the deep South, our seasons are a little different. In order if preference, they are:

      – spring (3 weeks)
      – fall (3 weeks)
      – winter (2 weeks)
      – summer (10 hot, moist, hellish months when you can’t help but ask yourself why in God’s name you still live here)

    17. Gingerblue

      Early summer: The air is soft and warm and smells of fresh cut grass, birds are singing, flowers are blooming. Grade: A+
      Late summer: Shimmering heat, thunderstorms, and baked asphalt. Yessssss. Grade: A+
      Early fall: Season which is most like summer. Also has apples and pretty colors. Grade: A
      Late spring: Summer is coming. Alas, so are finals and grading. Lilacs, bird migrations, fresh asparagus. Would be nicer if I were less tired at this point in the school year. Grade: B+
      Late fall: Crows and pumpkins and knitting briefly reconcile me to the passing of the seasons. Enjoyably bleak. Grade: B+
      Early spring: Mud. Probably going to wait until you relax a little and then snow again. On the other hand, crocus. It tried. Grade: B
      Early winter: First snowfalls and the glitter of the holidays make me temporarily forget that I mostly hate the holidays and I’m going to die alone and unmourned. Points for Thanksgiving, pinecones, and baking, but god I hate the cold. Grade: C
      Late winter: No. Grade: No.

    18. TL -

      Seasons, from best to worst

      First real snowfall of winter – snow is magic.
      the moment when spring has truly sprung and the trees are magically all green again and flowers are blooming.
      Fall when all the leaves have turned
      mid-summer, warm or hot and tons of sunshine and maybe a thunderstorm.
      early spring, when it’s all mushy and wet but you know winter is ending and your mood perks up
      end of summer, where you’re kinda over it but you also know winter is coming.
      February, dark, grey, fully into winter, cold, snowing constantly, feels like you’ll never see the sun again.
      Shoulder season – that awful stretch of time between late fall/early winter where there’s no snow on the ground, no leaves on the trees, it’s cold and the days just got shorter, and there’s frankly no point in existing.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Also for shoulder season – its too far out from the holidays so you can’t even put up decorations or do some early holiday baking because somehow it feels wrong? I guess thats why we now have Pumpkin Everything season to fill those grim weeks :) Oddly enough I really like that season here in the UK (tourists have left for the most part, leaves are finally turning, but its before the crazy of the Christmas season, the weather is cozy for the pub) but haaatteedd it in the US (upper Midwest) for reasons above.

    19. tamarack and fireweed

      It *really* depends what seasons are like where you are. When I lived in temperate central/western Europe, I liked fall and spring a lot. Now I live in a place where the seasons work very differently. Some say we have two seasons, winter and road construction. More realistically we have first winter (3.5 months, dark, not enough snow), second winter (3.5 months, more light, more snow, excellent for outdoors recreation if the temperature is above -20 F), breakup (1 month), spring (2 weeks), summer (3 months), fall (2 weeks), and things look VERY different. As spring is happening next week, I think, it’s currently my favorite. But both late winter and summer are highly recommended.

    20. Anonerson

      You have the order a bit off, but I’m far more concerned that you don’t know the proper names or numbers of the seasons. As one wise soul on Reddit wrote, there are in fact 11 seasons, to wit:

      Winter
      Fool’s Spring
      Second Winter
      Spring of Deception
      Third Winter
      Mud Season
      Actual Spring
      Summer
      False Fall
      Second Summer
      Actual Fall

    21. Marthooh

      Fall
      Spring
      Early Winter
      Early Summer
      Late Summer
      Late Winter
      “Seasons in the Sun” (70’s bubblegum pop + angsty self-pity)

    22. Lily Evans

      Mid fall, when it’s on the chilly side, but still comfortable, and all the trees are changing
      Real spring, which lasts for approximately five minutes but has truly lovely weather
      Late fall, still nice (sweater weather!) but it’s a reminder that winter is coming
      Fake spring, aka that one really nice week that gives you hope before second winter kills it again
      Early summer, when it’s warm during the day but still gets cool at night and you get that really nice sleeping weather
      Early fall, which is lower than the other falls because it’s still too hot for my liking
      Early first winter, because it does feel kind of magical when the winter weather coincides with the holiday season
      Icky season, which happens between real spring and early summer and just has icky rainy humid weather and the temperature fluctuates by 20 degree intervals every other day
      Fake summer, which can happen during the spring or the fall when you’re not feeling ready for high heat and humidity and it’s sticky and exhausting and you don’t have the right clothes out to handle it
      Late summer, because after a couple months of heat I’m just done with it
      Late first winter, because I’m even more done with the cold after several months
      Second winter, which happens after fake spring and causes snow in March can just go eff off, thanks

    23. Belle di Vedremo

      I’d have to argue differently for each region of the US I’ve lived in!

    24. Lissajous

      So, as some who lives in Western Australia:

      Snow! Eeeeee snow! Because if there’s snow, I’m on holidays, probably (but not always) on the other side of the world, and I get all of the awesome bits (skiing, being inside with toasty fires and hot chocolate, walking in the sunshine in the snow) without any of the grind of having to do every day life with this added complication.

      Winter (I love rain, and winter for us is: gorgeous sunshiney days where you nap on the grass and look up up at the clear blue skies and know, theoretically, this is the middle of winter; interspersed with proper downpours. None of this drizzling for days silliness, here it dumps it down and gets over it. It’s rare we get a night that gets below 0C -and if it does it’s headline news – and days are usually 16-20 C maximums.)
      Mid and late Autumn: the first thunderstorm to break summer, clear blue days, a little bit of chill in the morning (it was 8 C when I got up this morning! This is cold for us!). Don’t have to wear sunscreen!
      Spring: Just as good as autumn, with awesome flowers everywhere. Some flowers are always out, but we still get more in spring. No plums though.
      Early summer: The first day it’s warm enough to go outside in just shorts, a singlet top, and thongs and feel actually warm is amazing, just don’t get sunburnt. First day at the beach! Christmas, and having a swim at the beach before the chaos starts.
      Actual summer: Too hot. Hide inside in the airconditioning, never go outside without sunscreen and a hat.
      Early autumn: still summer, why isn’t autumn here yet?

  7. The Other Dawn

    Lately I’m feeling pretty apathetic about posting on my blog. I’ve thought about closing it down, but every time I think about it, I end up writing a post and then I’m fine for a while. When I started it I’d just had gastric bypass and was out of work, so it gave me something to do. I wasn’t out for an audience, and I’m still not really. I have a very small audience, which is fine. I’m thinking maybe I want to go a different direction, a more focused direction. Right now it’s just my weight loss, cats, back pain, whatever I feel like writing. I have a few ideas, but I can’t seem to settle on one.

    I’m not really asking a question, just thinking out loud. Any input is welcome.

    1. Ali G

      Isn’t that the beauty of a personal blog though? You can do whatever you feel like! Maybe think about what you like about other people’s blogs and try something like that? One of the blogs I read has interviews with interesting people (not famous, just interesting), and I love those columns.

    2. WellRed

      I think you should give a more focused blog a try. It will challenge you more. If you still feel apathetic, time to move on from it.

    3. Woodswoman

      I can relate to this. I have a personal blog and like you, I have a small audience and expanding it isn’t my intention. I can have long stretches without posting anything. What I realized is that it was only when I got stuck in the “should” thinking that there was a problem, thinking that posting was an obligation that needed to be done on a certain timeline or featuring a particular topic. It was freeing to recognize that it’s not journalism that’s time-dependent or has to have a specific framework. It’s okay to blog when you feel like it and no big deal if it sits in between. I hope that helps.

  8. Rachel

    Question: is it okay to talk about healthy eating tips / weight-loss progress here?

    I’ve been trying to adopt a more healthy approach to food/general health, and maybe lose a few kilos in the process (not a short-term diet thing, but actually doing that whole change-your-attitude-to-food approach). I used to think that was a pretty harmless topic but reading some of the past open threads it seems like it can be a bit of a sensitive subject?

    1. Mananana

      Since this is the weekend “free-for-all”, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be ok. Just be prepared for a lot of fervor!

      Personally, I think you can’t go wrong with the basics: eat more vegetables and lean protein, lay off the sugar, and keep an eye on your carb consumption (as in, don’t overdue the breads/pasta/rice). The most helpful thing I’ve done in relationship with food is to ask myself “am I actually hungry” before eating something. I’m finding that often, the answer is “no,” and I’m actually bored, tired, or upset.

    2. Ali G

      I think it’s fine as long as it is an open discussion and/or you are just looking to swap tips/recipes etc. I think it gets problematic if you go on a rant about meat eaters ruining the world or espouse that everyone should be Paleo, or you don’t believe people really are allergic to gluten, etc.
      As long as everyone can keep it light it should be OK!
      I’m currently trying to get my husband to embrace more veggies (and less booze/takeout) for weight loss. I have a few recipes I can get him to enjoy, but it’s a struggle. We both need to revamp our thinking about food and lose a few pounds, but it’s so hard because we work a lot and sometimes the energy is just not there to execute my plans.
      How are you finding the process?

    3. The Other Dawn

      Anything really has the potential to be a sensitive topic. As long as it doesn’t get into “my way is the ONLY way and your way is wrong,” then it’s fine.

      I’d say to not eliminate entire food groups. Have a variety. Go for whole grains, more veggies and fruit. Try to cut down on sugary drinks and junk food, if that’s your vice. Moderation. Do some walking maybe. It has to be sustainable over the long term and fit your schedule/lifestyle. Otherwise it won’t work.

      My husband just found out he’s diabetic and has high cholesterol, so I’ve started making salads for him with lots of chicken breast piled on top. He’s cut down a lot on fast food. He’s doing what is sustainable for him, and right now this is working.

      For me, I’m a weight loss surgery post-op, so my eating is a bit different. I try to stick to high protein, lower carbs. I still treat myself a bit, but try not to let that treat turn into multiple days of treats. I’m not militant about my diet plan. Some post-ops have to be because it’s what keeps them on track, but that doesn’t work for me. Life won’t end and I won’t gain back all the weight if I decide to have a cookie (key word: ONE).

      Good luck!

      1. Green Kangaroo

        For me, losing weight all comes down to what I eat. I enjoy working out and am a runner, but as the cutesy saying goes, you can’t outrun a bad diet. It’s so true for me. I take the approach that I can eat anything I want, just not as much as I want. I recognize that I eat when I’m bored, so I try to short-circuit that. Also, drinking water helps me a lot…I was skeptical but it really does work for me.

        My husband is one of those people who loses weight just by thinking about it, much to my chagrin. Last week he decided to add 45 minutes on the elliptical to his daily weightlifting routine, and give up beer (he drinks two, maybe three per week) and lost 11 pounds. I love him but that did not make me happy to hear.

        1. Myrin

          Ha, I’ll raise your husband one and tell you that I lose weight when I don’t eat anything after six PM. Really. That’s the only condition. I don’t really care about my weight and haven’t lost or gained any significant amount for ten years but I’ve experimented with that just for the heck of it and it’s 100% consistent. My mum and granpa are the same, although my mum sadly has an eating disorder so you can’t really see it that clearly.

            1. Loopy

              I’ve found this as well, because after dinner it’s all snacking/bad foods for me.

              1. nep

                Right — pretty much anything I eat past dinner calls for me looking at me and saying, “Really?”

    4. Dopameanie

      I don’t know if this is feasible for you, but if you have the ability to do any kind of garden I’d recommend it. It is a LOT of outdoor sweaty exercise, and you’ll learn a lot about types of veggies. Some are super easy to grow, and you will get really creative about how to eat them because they are ON YOUR COUNTER and they are LOOKING AT YOU. Plus eating fresh vegetables and fruit is miles more delicious and nutritious than store bought that grew in a different hemisphere. It made a huge difference in my family’s health.

      Things that REFUSE to not-grow once you plant them include:
      Lettuce, onions, turnips, kale, mizuna, radishes.

      1. hermit crab

        I had to google mizuna and now I’m really intrigued! How do you like to eat it?

        1. Dopameanie

          It’s an asian mustard green that has a spicy peppery kinda flavor. Reminds me of arugula. It’s in some salad blends, and grows like a CHAMP. The flowers and stalks are also edible, and very pretty as a garnish. It’s usually slow to bolt, but gets bitter in too much heat. Has a delicate crunch to the stem. I like to use it raw in salads, as a garnish, and sautéed under grilled meat with garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. It comes in a lot of varieties, but my favorite is always a purply one, because I am a sucker for dinner plate drama.

            1. Dopameanie

              You CAN. I buy mine from my local small business garden and flower shop. I can get 12 plugs for a dollar and not have to wait for germination or thin the seedlings. I would pay, like, quadruple that for that kind of convenience:)

      2. Natalie

        And heck, even if you don’t have outdoor space, lettuce, herbs, even green onions all grow fantastically in pots on a windowsill.

      3. LilySparrow

        Theres lots of veggies and herbs that grow quite happily in containers, on a vertical living wall, etc. Gardening is awesome for all kinds of physical and mental health benefits. Mild exercise outdoors is fantastic for depression, anxiety and ADHD, to name a few. Gardening is also linked to improvements in your gut health and microbiome, which improves your immune system (among other things).
        We’ve always known gardening is healthy and makes you feel good – the science is starting to show why.

      4. Oxford Coma

        Random gardening complaint: I can’t grow good radishes. They always taste like bitter cardboard. I’ve tried making raised beds from purchased bagged soil AND soil from a friend’s property, and still the radishes taste awful. I can’t figure it out.

        1. Dopameanie

          So what type of radishes are you trying to grow? And where do you live? If you’re already keeping them cool (they hate heat) and watering 2x a day (they hate drought) it might be your days are too long. Radishes are sensitive to light/dark ratios more than most other plants. You might check to see if the type you are trying to grow is compatible with your hemisphere. I, for one, can’t grow daikon for….manure…

      5. Lasslisa

        Let me add arugula to your list. We planted some last year, and let it go to seed, and now it’s everywhere. It needs some water but we got a little rain and I have sprinklers.

        On the other hand the lettuce I planted in my raised bed last year all just bolted and got eaten by insects. And the milder arugula I planted was eaten by rodents. But the spicy stuff is making these rambling bunches all across the rear fence, and it’s lovely.

        In short my suggestion is to try a lot of things and see what your yard and micro climate lend themselves to.

    5. Yams

      I found a fitness expert/coach/nutritionist (she’s a doctor who specializes in nutrition and fitness) and she’s been such a huge help. I struggle a lot with motivation and with actually eating more than once a day (I tend to go a couple days without eating for reasons unknown) and honestly, hiring her was great. I mean, it’s very expensive so it’s definitely not for everyone but since she and I have very similar lifestyles we get along great and she understand what I need and what I like to eat and she helps me with recipes and motivation! I guess my bigger point is a nutritionist can definitely help you build a more balanced diet, she helps me with a weekly menu that is very well balanced and adapted to my dietary needs (no dairy! no bread!) and since she partners with my favorite café there’s a whole line of tasty beverages I can buy guilt-free!

    6. Lissa

      I might start with a content warning: diet/food/weight talk and then people who don’t want to see it for whatever reason can collapse it. But I think it should be fine to discuss. I think most of the pushback you see here is around people talking about it *at work* which can be a real minefield of unsolicited opinions and pushing people into things.

      After I had a couple health-related problems due to weight I decided to do a whole lifestyle change – track my food so I can actually pay attention to what I eat, walk everywhere etc. I have lost weight and overall feel SO much better! I know I’ll feel even better if I cut down/out sugar, but that’s proving to be extremely difficult for me for some reason. And by “for some reason” I mean pastries. I’m at the point now where I am pretty happy with how I look, wouldn’t mind getting a bit more fit but I’m working on it, and am just trying to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. I do count calories which I know some people think is really bad, but I’ve never had a personality that is likely to obsess over that, and I love numbers and “seeing” things in black and white. I think the main thing is finding what works for you, which sounds cliche but that’s the issue I have with people who insist that ((insert their way here)) is the One True Way. The best diet/fitness plan is the one you will stick to. I am not going to stick to a plan where I have to cut out any food group entirely or get up at 6am for a run, so I’m not going to try that just to fail. For others keto, vegan etc. works great!

      1. nosilycuriously

        From other sites and forums I follow, the content/trigger warning at the beginning works really well and allows people to choose whether they want to participate or not in the convo!

        I’ve also been on a journey back to fitness over the last couple of months and one of the things that helped me was to remember that it’s 80% food and 20% exercise. I used to overdo the exercise, and tell myself that the extra half hour of running was burning off the three Krispy Kreme donuts I had that morning, but that just got me to a point where I was frustrated and close to injuring myself. Now I do a form of exercise once a week (HIIT, yoga, pilates, something) and keep a food diary to keep me conscious of what I’m eating.

        I agree with Lissa that it’s finding what works for you! I needed a way to create discipline and awareness for myself, without pushing too far on any one aspect, and found what motivates me. If you’re looking for an app, myfitnesspal is great, I can add all my favorite recipes and figure out if I should have one piece or five :)

    7. Emily

      I think it’s okay as long as you’re not a jerk! Different things work for different people and I feel like food talk can be fraught when people try to prescribe their own chosen lifestyle to others (or give unwanted advice/critique in general – no commenting on other people’s food unless they’ve asked you to!).

      On the note of healthy eating, one thing that I think is helpful for me (but might not work for some other people, depending on lifestyle/other limitations) is cooking most of my own food. A lot of my recipes come from places like Smitten Kitchen and Budget Bytes and are often heavy on things like beans and vegetables. I probably eat more sugar than advisable, but I mostly only eat high-quality baked goods (like things that I or someone else has made, not prepackaged snacks) and don’t drink soda or juice very often. I think the advice that others are giving about moderation is good, too!

    8. Leticia

      I quit smoking not long ago and it got me very hungry. I was gaining weight so I looked for a smoothie to have as dinner had not too many calories and was filling. I ended up developing my own recipe of Diet Fake (The most famous brand of powdered meal substitute in Brazil is called Diet Shake – in English, because English is fancier) It’s a blend of powdered milk, oat flour and wheat fiber. It doesn’t taste terrible and has been helping me not gain too much weight while I transition into my nicotine free life.

    9. Tim Tam Girl

      My wife and I have had great luck with the TiffXO program. Tiffiny Hall is Australian but the program online so available worldwide. It’s AUD$39/month or $99/three months, and it’s comprehensive: each week, you get recipes for three meals/day and six 30-min workouts (two HIIT, two toning/strengthening and two intensive stretching). You can trade out each meal if there’s something you do/don’t want so you can make your own meal plan, and once they’re set it’ll put together a shopping list for you.

      My wife and I have been doing it for about a year and a half, and though we don’t do the workouts as often as we should, we eat her meals pretty consistently because they are easy and DELICIOUS. Seriously. We’re healthier, we lost weight (useful for me in particular), our guts work better (we both have IBS), it’s cheaper because it’s cut down on take-away and – seriously – it saved our marriage, because if we’d had one more effing ‘I don’t know, what do *you* want for dinner?’ conversation I think I’d have walked into the sea.

      There’s no commitment or auto-renewal so you could easily try one month and see what you think. The only limitation I’ve found is that it’s all in metric, which was a bit tricky when we were in the US – but since you mentioned kilos I reckon that’s not an issue for you.

  9. DanaScully

    Spring has sprung in Liverpool, UK! People are panic buying paddling pools, every beer garden is packed to the rafters, and there is an unmistakable smell of BBQ in the air. Plus it’s a Bank Holiday on Monday so no work. Woohoo!

    I hope your Saturday is wonderful, wherever you are in the world and whatever you might be doing. Enjoy!

    1. Cristina in England

      Yes! I bought a sun tent from Decathlon the other day, and our local park is having its annual May Bank holiday fayre. The forecast is for 25 degrees and sunny, so we are very excited! Seriously, we’ve earned it after this long wretched winter.

      1. DanaScully

        What perfect weather for a summer fayre! I’m just sitting in the sun reading and it’s totally blissful. I almost feel like I’m just waking up after hibernation! It’s 21°C by us right now, but it feels much hotter with the lovely sunshine.

        Hope you and yours have a great long weekend!

          1. Cristina in England

            I’m American so I’m adapting to what I’ve seen locally but as far as I can tell a fayre is a fair. There are rides, stalls from local orgs, cows, sheep shearing, food stalls with fried foods, etc etc.

            1. DanaScully

              Yes, fayre and fair are the same thing, I believe. I’m sure fayre is just an archaic spelling of fair that we’re clinging onto.

              In Liverpool we would also call an amusement park with rides “the fair”. You often also see ‘fête’ sometimes used to describe a community event with food and entertainment.

              In the UK, any of the three terms (fair, fayre or fête) would be acceptable and understandable.

      2. Trisana chandler

        Here in Western Australia today was a chilly 24 degrees… had to get out my long pants and sweater!

        1. Jemima Bond

          Ha ha this reminds me of talking to my brother who lives in Melbourne. In the U.K. we get all over excited when it gets above 20, but there it’s not summer if it’s under thirty. I’ve been to Cairns in January when it was 35 and it was like being constantly hit in the face with one of those hot towels they give out in Chinese restaurants. If it gets to thirty here it is all over the news and you’d think we were dying.
          On an unrelated note I am on my way back from Yorkshire and I really wish my boyfriend’s car had climate control.

  10. Lavender Gooms

    Anyone here collect fountain pens? How do you use them? I started using/collecting FPs and inks about 9 years ago back when I was a freshman in college and it was my main hobby all through undergrad and grad school. I’ve been out of grad school for three years now, and I work in a position where I don’t need paper 99.5% of the time, so I’m having trouble finding excuses to use them. Here’s a short list of writing activities that are practical for me:

    Journaling about feelings/emotions for mental health (I got out of the habit of this, need to start back up).
    Dream journal (I want to do this! I have weird and hilarious dreams all the time.)
    Short story writing prompts

    What ways do y’all use your fountain pens? I would love to see everyone’s uses!

    1. Neef

      I love fountain pens! I’m into the Bold nibs and love the different colored inks. I often don’t splurge on inks but sometimes I can’t resist, I had to have that Beatles psychedelic purple. I use it as my regular pen, my students always notice and compliment them. I’ve been practicing calligraphy since I was a little girl. I started with a Pilot Metropolitan and haven’t looked back, Diplomat, Parker, Montblanc, Pelikan. I don’t care if my job is 99% online, I go to the meeting with paper (I personally prefer paper for all things including books). No one ignores what the girl wrote if it’s written w/ the broad nib.

    2. KnottyFerret

      My job has me calling other companies a lot. I use my fancy pens (now I want to go find my fountain pen again) to jot down the names of the people as I get transferred around, take a note, or just doodle while I’m on hold.
      Occasionally I’m on hold for an hour, and ‘doodle’ becomes more ‘thumbnail layout for my next art project’.

    3. Windchime

      Awhile back (not sure how long ago), there was a super long and informative post in the Weekend Open Thread about fountain pens. Mike C. is a fan and collects them, if I remember correctly. I don’t use fountain pens but it always seemed like a cool thing to be into.

    4. Nye

      My partner has developed a fountain pen habit, and he was SO EXCITED to sign our mortgage paperwork with his Christmas present (Bexley Demeter).

    5. FPFan

      I’m on a budget but I do have a Pilot Metro and a Jinhao 750 with Goulet 1.1 nib and 4 inks. I use mine to BuJo since my journal has nice paper where the inks don’t feather. I BuJo every day so I use mine all the time to write dailies, dream a little, futurecast how to budget out my next paycheck, #rockyourhandwriting prompts, etc.

      1. Gingerblue

        Can I ask what journal you use? I’ve recently started to use a BJo as a planner, and as I come to the middle of my first book I’m wondering whether to get another or to try something new for variety. (I currently have a Scribbles That Matter A6 size, which I do like a lot.)

    6. Kuododi

      My Dad loooves all types of fancy pens. He waits eagerly for his catalogue from Levengers and spends about an hour lusting after the beautiful pens. He uses them for journaling, note taking, letter writing etc. He also is a self taught calligrapher. He will use his fancy pens while doing lesson plans for the spiritual development classes he teaches at his church.

    7. Gingerblue

      I adore fountain pens! I’ve mostly gravitated towards the inexpensive end of the spectrum, both because carrying something small and expensive makes me nervous and because I fell in love with the Lamy Safari/Al-Stars. The fun colors and swappable nibs do it for me. My favorite pen is a Lamy Safari with a 1.1 mm nib (their smallest calligraphy nib, which is small enough to use for everyday writing but still adds some fun).

      I find I often think better when I start on paper, so I begin a lot of my writing with a fountain pen. I do the first pass of editing when I type it up. Switching ink colors keeps me entertained. My original raspberry colored Al-Star is what I wrote a good chunk of my dissertation with.

    8. Juney Junipero

      I have been using a Hobonichi planner which has Tomoe River paper for the past two years, and it’s great. Also the Red & Black notebooks have FP-friendly paper so I use them in office as well.

  11. AnotherAlison

    I’ve had a lot of bad luck with service lately, but the one I’m writing about is my house cleaning.

    They came and gave an estimate a couple weeks ago, and yesterday was the first cleaning. First, they locked us out of the house. They were supposed to use the electronic keypad, which they did to enter, but they locked the door handle when they left. We didn’t happen to have keys with us.

    Then they did a terrible job. They didn’t wipe off the kitchen or mudroom counters or clean the sinks (at all!). My husband’s bathroom sink had beard stubble all over it, and my son’s shower had liquid soap on the wall. Overall, there was just no “sparkle” to it, and other than the vacuuming and mopping, it was hard to tell they were there.

    I’m going to fire them. I’ve used three other cleaners in the past, and this is really the worst I’ve seen by far. I’m honestly not that picky, but jeez, if I want someone to halfway clean my house, I can do that. I feel like it’s difficult to find people to do good work anymore. Seriously. I had a bad dog grooming a few weeks ago, and was supposed to have my AC at my corporate apartment (different house) fixed Thursday. Come home from work, no one had been there.

    Anyway, anyone have any tips on finding someone good for a cleaning service? This last one was a recommendation from a coworker(?!?). Do people have better luck with big chain franchises, local businesses, or individuals who do the cleaning themselves. I would kind of like to try the 3rd option, but I don’t know anyone.

    Sorry for the long vent. I’m feeling frustrated, and don’t really have time to deal with this.

    1. Fuentes

      Find an individual. Larger companies frequently treat and pay your cleaners horribly, and demand they work in time frames that are unrealistic. Even if they were still motivated to do a good job after all the bad pay/treatment, they’d be unlikely to have time to do it.

      An individual will take longer. But you can pay her a fair market wage for her labor, and the two of you can work together to determine the best schedule. Make the expectations reasonable and the pay worthwhile, and lo and behold, you’ll find someone who does great work and is committed to the job. (Which brings us around to most of Alison’s advice, really.)

      If you don’t have friends who can recommend, Nextdoor is often a resource. I’ve had good luck asking landlords/realtors, also.

    2. Mananana

      I prefer using the review sites (yelp and google, mostly) to find those types of services. It’s not been 100% reliable, but overall we’ve not had a problem with those we’ve chosen based on reviews. Except, ironically enough, when it came to a cleaning service. They did an okay job, but not great. Heck, I would have been satisfied with a good job.

      Even if we could find someone to do a good job, DH and I disagree on the logistics. I’m okay with the “lock up your really good jewelry” then leave the house for them to clean; DH wants to be present. Which consists of us trying to stay out of their way while they try to work. And I feel REALLY weird with sitting down and watching tv or working on my laptop while they’re cleaning. I feel like I’ve wasted the time if I have to be present. DH says he’d stay around (since it’s his quirk), but the whole thing doesn’t seem worth it.

    3. Temperance

      Look through your neighborhood’s FB group for recommendations. It was important to me to use a company instead of an individual for insurance reasons, but I found one locally owned and operated, and the woman who owns it is on the team.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger

      We have someone we’re very happy with, she is the owner and sole employee, but when we wanted a serious, multi-person deep cleaning, I checked Nextdoor and Angie’s List and found one that did OK. (Met expectations, but did not wow me. So I would probably try another highly rated service next time.)

    5. fposte

      I’ll agree with the non-chain suggestion, though I don’t know that businesses vs. individuals makes a huge difference (around here “businesses” are often a cleaner who’s expanded to hire employees who work alongside her), and I’ll also add Angie’s List and Nextdoor.com for possible recommendations.

      In my experience, there’s no perfect solution, and this is true for anybody you call to do anything around the inside or outside of a house. It can therefore be a question of deciding what bugs you least and settling on people whose weaknesses match up with that, and identifying what bugs you most when you’re asking for recommendations. (Around my area a tolerance of bad communication as long as the work is good would be really advantageous.) I personally think cleaning out the sinks would be a high priority for cleaners, if only for the showmanship value, so I’m with you in being taken aback on that one.

    6. The Other Dawn

      I have an acquaintance that I’ve used from time to time and she does an outstanding job. And I have 11 cats so that’s really saying something. It helps that she has multiple pets, too, so she knows all the little hiding spaces of dirt, hair and dust. I have her do it maybe once a year and it’s a deep cleaning, so she’s there for at least 6 hours. I can’t even describe how clean it is.

      I feel like you should get an individual and you want one that is similar to you in that he or she also has kids (or pets), so they’ll know which spots tend to need the most attention.

        1. The Other Dawn

          There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure! There are definitely personality conflicts between a few of the cats; one or two that are territorial; another couple that are wimps or bullies, etc., but it works for the most part. Some are bonded and hang out/sleep/groom together. Another few will sleep together once in awhile. And then there’s Emily. She’s about a year old and has a brother, Arlo, she’s bonded with, but for some reason she really wants to be close to the other male cats in the house. She’s always trying to snuggle with them, sleep or lay with them, or rub against them. It’s funny to watch. For the most part the boys put up with it. Feeding time is generally a game of musical plates. Then they bathe and settle down to sleep for most of the day. Just about everyday someone has left me a surprise on the carpet–never the hardwood or vinyl floors.

    7. Book Lover

      We have had good luck with an individual. We started out with one person and now with a couple, but they take the time they need and do a good job. The house does sparkle when they are done. But we have them come every week, also, so that helps keep on top of things.

    8. Not So NewReader

      When I ask for references I like to ask why they like the person/company. Some people are not able to explain why, which surprised me. “I just use company x, I don’t know why.” Asking a half dozen people or so can be really helpful. If you hit on the same name twice, you might have a lead on a good place/person.

      Sometimes I will use a bcc email to the handful of people, it’s easier than phoning or waiting until I see them.

      Another technique I have used is to watch to see who around me is having really good luck with something. My friend is a techie and all his kitchen appliances work well. When my dryer quit, I called him to ask where to get a dryer. He said he never uses big box stores. which was what I wanted to hear. He recommended a small well-known business a couple towns over from me. Long story short, I got a dryer, washer and fridge. Very happy with the service. The dryer failed right away, they fixed it no charge and it’s been running fine all these years. Look for people who are getting good results, find out what they are doing.

      This last one is kind of sneaky. Sometimes I will bring a lesser problem to a business or person and watch how they handle that smaller problem. I know I have similar work on a larger problem but I do not mention that right away. I watch to see how they handle this smaller task. I lost 30 plus shingles off my roof because of an evil wind. I called a new-to-me person who does handy man type work. He put the shingles back on within hours and in spite of the weather still being rather nasty. This lead to more work later where he put drainage in for me and put in new windows, etc. He got bigger projects because of how he handled the emergency roof repair. And for additional bonus points: When I told him the truth that I had other work but said nothing until I knew his work better, he said, “And that is how you SHOULD handle it. That just makes sense.” (We both agree that one should always do their best because we never know what could come out of doing a small, mundane task well.)

  12. Those Flowers Are an Institution

    We watched The Lion King. It was amazing and fabulous and stunning and beautiful. Wow. Just wow. The costumes especially were ingenious.

    1. Kathenus

      Strongly agree! Hard to watch the opening sequence without getting a bit emotional – at least for me.

      1. Kuododi

        Oh… I wholeheartedly agree!!! DH got tickets for us as a birthday gift for me when we were living in the Midwest. I was in tears during the opening sequence. The whole production was simply magnificent.

    2. it's all good

      It is stunning, isn’t it? We took our oldest daughter about 15 years ago, can’t wait to take our youngest.

    3. Windchime

      Oh wow. I would love to see that live. See my post below–I saw Elton John in Vegas earlier this week, and the closing song was “The Circle of Life”. It gives me chills to think about it.

    4. JeanB in NC

      That’s the only Broadway production I’ve ever seen (did not see it on Broadway!) and I absolutely loved it. The costumes were amazing – you really didn’t even see the people. I would definitely see that again.

  13. Laura H

    I can’t believe it’s already May.

    (This tangently mentions work and school but as the springboard.)

    Is there someone you never met but from what others say and you see about them, you kinda just know they’re a joy and important to a lot of people because of that?

    The founder of the company I work for passed away this week. But what a long life well lived. And I’m reading the comments people are leaving on that section of the website and I know that man was a joy to be around- even if I never met him.

    The company is headquartered where I went to college and the company founder was a trustee emeritus at the university.

    It’s a regional jewelry company and several designs we carry are designs he designed. I never met him but looking at the (pretty and shiny) stuff he designed- it’s kinda like meeting him.

    It’s lovely how things intersect that way.

    Have a great weekend.

    1. WellRed

      Some people just have that light and energy around them! You know it when you see it.

    2. OperaArt

      He sounds like a wonderful person. I sometimes think of such people as “people I don’t need to meet, but I’m really glad they’re out there.”

  14. Myrin

    Warning: mental health stuff ahead!

    As regular readers may know, my little sister has had pretty severe mental health issues for years – PTSD, anxiety, and depression. She’s been going to therapy for two and a half years, her therapist being a specialist in all trauma-related issues, and has been making great progress in that regard. Since her therapist will be going on maternity leave soon and they’ve worked through everything on the trauma-side of things anyway, they decided she’d stop her trauma therapy for now. It’s been working well and she’s doing great using the tools she learned over the years (happening to meet her rapist’s brother at the train station last week was still no fun though; like, really not).

    She’s still on medication for her depression and also for her severe sleeping problems, though. That prescription has to be renewed every… month? IDK, a fixed amount of time, anyway, and for that, she needs to see a psychiatrist who then decides on her medication going forward. And let me just say, to someone with her illness, meeting that woman must be one of the scariest things in her life ever, and she needs to do it regularly! It used to be a different doctor who was basically horrible (and pretty incompetent, if what my sister tells me is true; one would think that a psychiatrist would know how to deal with depressed people!) and then switched to a new one three or so months ago. She already knew that new doctor from her time as an inpatient at the hospital and said she’s very kind and sweet but she was still so afraid of her, or rather, of meeting with her every month. Like, I can’t even fathom the amount of fear she feels, she literally worked herself into a panic attack last week when thinking about having to face the psychiatrist.

    So I said I’d accompany her to her next appointment, not least of all because she apparently can’t bring herself to be honest with the doctor. She works in a supermarket and told me she can’t stop herself from putting on her “retail mask” when she’s with the psychiatrist and apparently just tells her she’s not feeling too well but also it’s okay nothing bad and no wonder they thought it would be okay if she stopped taking her sleeping pills, argh! (Spoiler: it’s really, really not.)

    The appointment was yesterday and it went exactly like I thought it would. We’ve had that a few times now, where a meeting my sister dreads with such literal anxiety and panic seemed completely ordinary and not at all surprising to me, which just shows the warped thinking her illness fabricates in her head. The psychiatrist really was very sweet and calm (and so quiet, my goodness, I know I’m loud but she was just. So quiet.) and also super understanding and very professional (the last two I didn’t exactly expect because of what my sister’d told me but it’s also not always easy to gauge what information they get to work with seeing how my sister confessed to feeling so bad for the first time yesterday and only because I told her to be honest). Sister is back on her sleeping pills and we’ll be going in for another checkup in two and a half weeks and I’m really hoping things are starting to look up in all regards now.

    I’m just really glad we as her family can help her and she doesn’t have to face these demons alone (as some of her friends do).

    1. Mananana

      Oh, I can’t begin to imagine what your sister is going through. But how blessed she is to have you and the rest of the family to support her.

      1. Ellie

        FYI: many psychiatrists suck- possibly most. They’re a source for pills and nothing more. They’re not interested in discussing issues or developing coping skills- just in handing out drugs. Oh, wait, is my bitterness showing?

        1. Someone else

          What I’ve been lead to believe is television and movies have lied to us and “discussing issues and developing coping skills” isn’t actually a psychiatrist’s job? Apparently they are only interested in handing out drugs because that’s primarily what their job is. Well, to first diagnose, and then if applicable prescribe and if prescription is not applicable or not desired, then to direct patients toward therapy, and it’s the therapist who is actually supposed to discuss and suggest coping skills. The psychiatrist is apparently only really there to diagnose, give drugs, and assess the degree to which they may need to be adjusted.

          1. Eliza

            It’s not quite that absolute; some psychiatrists practice talk therapy as well. But if you don’t need meds and you don’t have a specific reason why you need a formal diagnosis from a psychiatrist, there’s not much advantage to picking one over a psychologist, so most psychiatrists tend to focus on the stuff that only they can do.

            1. Myrin

              Yeah, that’s exactly our experience. Psychiatrists are doctors, not therapists. (And I don’t know how it is in the US but here at least, they are usually also specialists in neurology, so just by that they’re much more involved with the physical side of things.) I was still unnerved with the first psychiatrist (the one who was replaced by the woman we saw on Friday), because even if you aren’t specialised in dealing with the mental health side of things, you could at least show some compassion for the populace you’re dealing with all day long.

            2. Jules the Third

              In my area (Southern US), it’s *really* hard to find a psychiatrist who will also do talk therapy. Like, I’ve never seen one in 15 years of looking. I’m lucky that my therapist is really good, knew when to hand me off to a psych, and my OCD has responded ok to medication (thyroid, vit D for long term, zoloft for 5ish years post-partum).

        2. ThatGirl

          My husband had a real distrust of psychiatrists for a long time, after a bad experience as a teen. But he recently started seeing a psych NP and she’s been great; listens well, wants his input and knows more about the meds than his regular MD. But yes, most psychs are for med management, it’s therapists who help with coping skills.

    2. LilySparrow

      I’m so sorry your sister & family are dealing with this, but glad your sister is back in the meds she needs. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety and depression symptoms all by itself, never mind the s**t-storm when they all start complicating each other.

      Would it be possible for her to wear a Fitbit or otherwise track her sleep? That way she could give the doctor actual numbers, instead of just reporting subjective feelings. There are even journals and trackers for mood or other symptoms. Possibly that could reduce her anxiety around the appointments, because she wouldn’t have to think about what to say?

    3. Nashira

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m seeing a new psychiatrist in two weeks and I absolutely have acted like your sister with my last one, just to escape. I’m feeling better about needing my partner to go with me and keep me honest, now.

  15. Fiennes

    May the good lord damn those who set early-morning alarms on hotel clocks.

    Signed, someone on a business trip three time zones off her own who, unlike some crapmonkey who loves 4 am, has heard of a wake-up call

    1. Middle School Teacher

      Hahahahaha I hear you. I’m in a hotel right now too and my roommate and I just unplugged the clock and used our phones as alarms.

    2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      I’ve never once actually used an alarm clock at a hotel. But I was so, so disconcerted when the hotel we’ve stayed at every year for our anniversary got renovated last year, and they removed the clock radios from beside the beds. I called the front desk to inquire (because quite a number of things were missing), and they were incredulous that I couldn’t just use my cell phone to see what time it was. Times have really changed.

  16. Persephone Mulberry

    I got the best compliment yesterday.

    A woman in a FB group was asking for help with how to resign from a small org’s board of directors without burning bridges. I channeled my inner AAM and Captain Awkward and gave her a friendly but to-the-point script. (For some reason everyone else’s suggestions were dancing around avoiding the words “I resign”?) And also pointed out that if the board gave her the cold shoulder after that, it wouldn’t be *her* that burned the bridge.

    And someone else commented, “I would read the $#*+ out of your advice column.” So that pretty much made my day.

  17. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)

    Meeting my boyfriend’s parents and sister next Sunday. They seem like reasonable people from what he’s said about them (and a lot more normal than my family, lol), but I’m still really nervous about it. Anyone have any advice or horror stories to share?

    1. Combinatorialist

      My advice is to remember that its okay to be nervous and that everyone is probably nervous. You are nervous (you are meeting your boyfriend’s family who will possibly be your family some day if the relationship continues), your boyfriend is nervous (he wants you to like his family and his family to like you), his family is nervous (same reason you are nervous). Also remember that they want to like you (if they are reasonable people).

      1. TootsNYC

        My mom and her father-in-law (my paternal grandpa) loved to tell the story about their first meeting.

        As Combinatorialist said, they were both SO nervous. My mom, because she was afraid that if her boyfriend’s folks didn’t like her, maybe the romance wouldn’t go anywhere. His parents, because they knew how serious my dad was, and if SHE didn’t like them, they might not see much of their son anymore.

        There was some thing w/ the heel of the bread left on the platter; Mom grew up loving the heel, but she didn’t want to be greedy (and make a bad impression), so she waited bit to see if anyone else wanted it.
        My grandpa was from the mindset that the heel was the least fancy part of the bread–it was NOT something you gave to a guest! So when his son’s girlfriend said, “Did anyone want the heel?” he quickly said, “Oh, you don’t have to eat that!” and snatched it up, buttered it, took a bite as quickly as he could. And she never got the chance to say, “Oh, but it’s my favorite part.”

        I think they told that story right up until the day my grandpa passed away.

    2. WellRed

      My washing machine worked last night. This morning, it won’t fill with water, though the agitator is…agitating. Any thoughts to what to look for?

      1. fposte

        Won’t fill or won’t get any water at all? Could be a valve not opening properly with the water supply, could be a problem with the settings being “read,” could be a leak in a pipe. Check thoroughly for water, try different load-size and water-temp settings, try turning the water off at the shutoff valve and on again.

      2. Serious Sam

        In the UK, washing machines have a filter that is accessed from a flap on the front of the machine near the ground. if your washing machine has the same feature, make sure it is clear of debris & accumulated fabric lint before doing anything else. Often this is the cure to the problem.

        However, be prepared for water to come out when you unscrew it. Possibly a _LOT_ of water if the machine has not been draining properly.

    3. ThankGodTheyLiveFarAway

      So, my partner’s parents drive me insane (but luckily live across the country), but my parents are an absolute pleasure! Assuming you’re only doing a short thing, I imagine it’s fine if they sound great!

      I’d recommend a quick discussion about him having your back… in case any political/hot-topic issues come up, or they say something less than ideal. It’ll keep him on the lookout for taking care of you :) (obviously this comes in context of my inlaws that drive me crazy, but I think it’s a good idea anyway!)

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)

        Yeah, they’re here for a few days and it’s just a lunch thing (as far as I know, anyway–guess there’s a chance I could see them again while they’re still here). They sound…a lot easier than my parents, lol.

        I like the idea of talking to him about him having my back. We’ve had the “What should I not bring up for whatever reason?” discussion (his list for his parents is a lot shorter than my list for mine) and we seem to all be on the same side of the political spectrum (which helps), but I’ll definitely talk to him again with some more detail. And also because I kind of can’t believe how short his list is…

    4. KayEss

      The first time I met my (future) husband’s parents, they had me over for dinner… which was some kind of stovetop casserole that literally looked exactly like cat vomit. Pale gray, chunky paste. I was near tears trying to choke it down, actively gagging while everyone else hoovered it up like it wasn’t the absolute most disgusting thing I have ever had set in front of me as “food.” After a period of increasingly awkward dinner table conversation and me desperately pushing the mess around on my plate, my husband’s dad started making motions toward clearing the table. “Wait,” his mom said pointedly, “[KayEss] hasn’t cleaned her plate.” I really don’t know how I didn’t manage to actually burst out crying.

      Ten years later, she and I are great friends and talk on the phone for an hour every week. (Though I still bring a suitcase of emergency snacks whenever we stay with them for a visit.)

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)

        Oh no! We’re at a restaurant so that won’t be an issue this time, but I have to admit something like that is something I’m kind of worried about down the line because my GI issues make it hard to find things to eat here sometimes. Glad you’re friends now though. :)

    5. Andrea

      The first time my mother ever visited my grandparents was a surprise visit. She was so nervous that she talked and talked and talked and my grandmother had to go visit her own mother to give her ears a rest (they lived close by). But Granny had guessed that it was because she was nervous and once the nerves were won over, they got along spendidly. Still now over thirty years later. So if your boyfriend’s parents are reasonable, a lot of things will probably be taken as a result of nervousness :)

    6. MsChanandlerBong

      Not really a horror story, but when I met my husband’s stepmother, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Oh, you two should get married and have bi-colored eye babies!” 1) We’d been dating for like a month. 2) My eyes are two different colors. Bi-colored eye baby = baby with heterochromia.

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)

        Wow, lol. I hope things got less awkward over time.

    7. Traveling Teacher

      Since you’re not meeting during Christmas or any other major holiday, you have already given yourself a leg-up! So much less pressure!

    8. Jules the Third

      Advice for this specific event:
      1) Tell your BF you’re really nervous.
      2) Have a game plan for you to get a break after an hour or so. Even if it’s just ‘BF and I will run to the store for you’ or ‘BF is going to show me the back yard’. On the break, take deep breaths.

      Story:
      My parents and Mr. Jules’s parents didn’t meet for at least the first five years of our relationship. They lived three hours apart, and one side would show up regularly – moving in together, Little Jules’s birth, the 10 year anniversary (we eloped, so no one showed for the wedding). The other side, if we want to see them, we have to go there. They met eventually (iirc, Little Jules’s 3rd ot 4th bday party), were polite, etc – but we’ve been happiest not pushing it, and just accepting that these four people have nothing in common besides gardening and Little Jules. Since one side doesn’t like our dog, either, we’ve even been splitting Christmas – all of us + dog with one set of parents, Little Jules and the related parent for the other, usually on a 3-day weekend in January.

      Moral: Do what works for you. ‘Should’ is a dirty word.

  18. Be the Change

    I commented a couple of weeks ago, or maybe a week ago, that my father was very ill and I didn’t know if I should go or not. Well, his wife called and said “Come now,” so I did… he died within an hour of my arriving at the hospital.

    My brother and I are now here visiting with his wife for a few days. It’s good to hear her stories about him. She said, “He was the first man in my life who was kind and I could trust him not to hurt me.” He gave her presents, took her to shows, was always glad to see her or hear her voice on the phone, wanted to please her and to take care of her. He loved his little cairn terrier puppy. He adored his kids although he didn’t much know how to have a relationship with us after our family split up young. Memory eternal, Dad.

    (May I just say, though, that if you love your spouse or family, Get Your Shit Together and don’t leave a big mess for them to clean up when you are gone.)

    1. fposte

      I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m glad you’re getting some good takes on your father. My sympathies also on the cleanup.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      First, I’m sorry about your dad. It sounds like you got some wonderful new stories about him from his wife.

      Second, can I give an atheist’s HALLELUJAH, AMEN! to your last point? My dad was a borderline hoarder, and I wound up digging through his tiny apartment for a week making sure I had all of the important papers, and a few small miscellaneous things like his Air Force medals, old 35mm slides, and the like, and then paid a company to cart everything else to the dump, including furniture, which no one wanted. I did donate his clothes, at least, although some of those were probably thrown away anyway as many were threadbare or stretched out. That’s what can happen when you grow up with parents who just barely made it through the Great Depression.

      1. fposte

        I think it’s individual and people just take different things from their circumstances. My dad barely made it through the Great Depression, and aside from reusing plastic wrap, he had the most minimal personal items ever. I, on the other hand, had no such strictures and have struggled not to keep every piece of crap I’ve ever touched.

        An acquaintance is having a garage sale this weekend dubbed the Be Kind to My Executor sale. (“No imminent plans,” she assures us, but I like the idea.)

      2. Gatomon

        +1 My dad recently passed and unfortunately my mom has had to spearhead the clean-up and affairs-straightening herself. (I live on the other side of the country and only have so much PTO.)

        May I also add, if there’s any inkling of something happening, make sure there’s life insurance or funeral insurance or at least some damn savings? My father had nothing and my mom is barely making it out of this with her shirt. If his relatives hadn’t paid for the funeral we’d be screwed.

    3. WellRed

      My dad died 2 years ago. Grateful I was there. His affairs were in order. My mom has spent the last year systemically culling so I won’t have to deal with as much when she goes. I know who her attonerny us, I am on her checking account, etc etc in case she becomes incapacitated or dies. So I second you, Be the Change. People, stop laughing about all the crap your kids will have to deal with and Do.it.now.

      1. Windchime

        I’m so sorry for your loss.

        What a good idea, for your mom to put you on her checking account. I should put one of my sons on mine, just in case.

      2. OperaArt

        Your mother sounds like mine. She seems to view the culling, organizing, and form-filling as a way of taking care of us, her adult children. It’s a gift she is giving to us.
        Her father did the same, as did my father.
        My Mom’s in good health, but she’s 84. She wants to make sure everything is ready.

      3. Not So NewReader

        I made the mistake of saying to someone that if you leave a big mess people tend to lose respect for you.
        “Oh nooo, that NEVER happens” was the reply.

        Uh. Yeah. It does. As people spend months of their lives sorting through stuff they start talking about, “What the hell was Our Person thinking about when they kept all this crap?” And that is the start of the discussion, it can get much longer and more involved.
        So, I totally agree with you, It’s not funny to laugh at the kids having to clean up parents’ crap. As a childless person, I’d say “Would you still be laughing at those cleaners if you were NOT their parent?” If no, why the double standard? No leaving a big mess for someone else is not funny. Someone who is not my child will have to sort through this stuff I have here. This has motivated me to get the place weeded out and keep it weeded out.

        1. WellRed

          My parents moved hours away from me in…2001? They moved, from one attic to the next, an actual 8 track tape player which we unearthed this summer. I was so irritated by that one item.

          1. Not So NewReader

            That one item can be symbolic of other items or problems, too. I have seen it work in this manner also.

        2. Anonymous Ampersand

          My parents are unable to see that one day my siblings and I are going to have to clean out their shit. It actually hurts to think how hard that’s going to be. They are unable to see how hard it’s going to be for us. It’s not even just their own stuff: it’s stuff from other dead relatives.

          If my siblings don’t want to get involved I’m really tempted to build a bonfire after my initial trawl fit important stuff.

      4. Erin

        My mom is 60 and I’m fine health. But actively laughs and says “well that’ll be yours to deal with” every time I mention her rooms/garage full of junk. She gets miffed when my response is that I’ll junk it all but honestly. So much $hit.

    4. Kuododi

      You and your beloved sister are in my heart. I wish you grace and peace in the days ahead.

      1. Kuododi

        That was actually supposed to say ” beloveds” darn auto correct!!! Blessings!!

      2. Be the Change

        I do have a very beloved sister, actually :-) and she’s serving overseas right now. I’m glad I can be here to represent the daughters.

    5. Be the Change

      Especially Financial Shit.

      Although to be fair, Dad was having significant cognitive problems for a couple of years that his wife didn’t quite catch onto, so he made a lot of very poor decisions including falling for a ton of scams. The number of assholes in the world who will take advantage of confused elders — the zillions of you are scum, every last one.

      Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

    6. King Friday XIII

      I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad you were able to be there at the right time and have those moments with his wife.

      (And so many agreements with your last point. Also GYST is a great website and I recommend it highly.)

    7. Oxford Coma

      I feel your pain on the mess. My husband tried a dozen times to talk to his parents about estate planning, and his dad starts screaming that my husband just wants to steal his money. There is no will, no power of anything, and FIL absolutely refuses to do any of it.

      So sorry for your loss.

      1. the gold digger

        Echoing The Cosmic Avenger and everyone else who has had to deal with the absolute mess of an unorganized estate. Primo’s parents died almost three years ago and he is still dealing with the financial crap. It took him months to clean out their house. They had eight years’ worth of bills and EOBs and receipts tossed into one box that we had to sort through to get tax information. If I could dig them up (or reconstitute them from their ashes) to slap them, I would.

        My mom is really organized and thoughtful, but I realized after reading the article (in the link below) that I didn’t know a lot about her situation. I am on her safe deposit account. I am on her checking account. I have her financial POA and my sister has her health care POA – but I don’t know what credit cards she has. I don’t know what her limits are. I don’t know who manages her money.

        Primo, my siblings, and I are going to my mom’s next week. We are going to visit her financial adviser together and she is going to show us where all her paper files are (although I am pretty sure they are in her office, in the drawer next to her computer) and her online things are.

        PS Look for “5 Lessons From an Eldercare Emergency” on billfold dot com.

    8. ECHM

      My condolences on your loss, but what a blessing that you were able to be there in time.

    9. TootsNYC

      everyone–even single people, and even poor people–need a will. Even if it only says, “I leave everything to my mother. And my little brother will be my executor.” It just makes the paperwork easier.

  19. Yetanotherjennifer

    Physical Activity Thread!

    I’m getting it in early this weekend. Post your exercise and physical activity goals for the upcoming week. How did you do last week?

    I’ve got a boot cast on my leg and can put limited weight on it. I’m just trying to keep moving while minimizing pain and not do anything dumb. Like turning my other knee in awkward positions while trying to sit. It’s sunny out so I might do a little walking in front of the house today. And I think I’m going to find my fit bit so I can track my steps and set goals.

    1. Free Meerkats

      This weekend, except for the friends’ bonfire this evening, is do stuff around the house weekend. The lawn needs to be mowed and weeded, some bushes need their spring trim, windows washed, and some minor car maintenance.

      1. Free Meerkats

        Spot sprayed broadleaf weeds and horsetail, sprayed grass where it didn’t belong, used the weedeater to trim and edge, mowed until the battery needed to be charged, pulled the winter snow melt containment out of the garage, swept it and rolled it up for the summer, swept the garage, washed the outside of all the windows, finished the lawn after the battery was charged, swept the driveway, and put the tools and supplies away. The car maintenance can wait.

        Now a nice bottle of Thor’s Equinox dark ale. And a handful of Ibuprofen.

    2. CatCat

      My 5k training app crapped out on me on Tuesday 30 mins. into my 50 min. run and it doesn’t save partial runs, you have to do the whole thing. So I changed my workout schedule a bit and instead of doing strength on Wednesday, I repeated the running training and got back on track.

      I did weights on Thursday and my lower back was sore in Friday (still did training run though) and is still sore today. I think Thursday’s dumbbell snatches might have made me over-exert a bit. Going to do some lower back stretches today. My calves are also tight so I’m going to suck it up and use the foam roller on them.

      1. CatCat

        This upcoming week starting Sunday, my goal is to get in my three training runs and on alternate days, strength workouts with Saturday as a rest day. I’m starting week 6 of my 5k training!

    3. Red

      I’m two weeks away from finishing couch to 5k! It’s a struggle lol. Here’s hoping it gets easier, because my first 5k is on the 20th! If there’s anyone reading this who runs, please tell me it gets easier…

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        It does! I mean, I started out running again about five years ago, and at first I couldn’t make it more than about half a mile at a time. It’s just a matter of being consistent, I think – once you adapt to a certain level of activity (and this goes for basically any physical activity), it becomes a lot easier to maintain that level.

        By the way, you’ll do awesome on your 5k. Good luck!

        1. Beth Jacobs

          It really does! I started running with C5K four years ago as a complete (library) couch potato. At the time, I couldn’t even run for five minutes straight – I loved that the regimen starts with short spurts of running with walking in between! I think I had to repeat a week at one point because it was difficult for me, but I did run the 5K at the end. Now, I generally run 7-9 km a couple of times a week – if someone had told me that four years ago, I never would have believed them.

          And I haven’t always maintained running regularly (life gets in the way), but once you’ve gotten to that level of fitness once, it’s much easier to build back to it again.

          Congratulations and good luck!

    4. Yams

      Taking a break this weekend, got a sore elbow/shoulder doing snatches! I got way more consistent this week, was able to do a full squat instead of half-squat which is nice. The weight was a bit on the high side but my control was better so that’s nice.
      The weather is terrible for a run, the sun is out and shining and the birds are chirping and the temperatures are reaching the 100F :(! I miss cloudy, rainy and under 60. Does anyone else feel like there’s a weather that makes you feel stronger and lighter? Sunny, humid and hot makes me feel like my performance goes down significantly.
      Gotta run out of work at 6 on the dot to hit the gym for a couple of hours, I’m aiming to do five days this week (maybe sub in a day of travel for Sat morning workouts! good luck to everyone on their goals!

    5. MindoverMoneyChick

      I’m so far behind in my exercise goals. I’m going for 10 minutes of cardio every day +30 sit ups each day this week. I find doing a little bit very frequently helps get me back on track. So that’s the goal – don’t do much.

    6. Overeducated

      I was pretty proud of myself because for the first week this year, I managed to bike to work every day (about 15 miles round trip), and also went on a short run Sunday. The last few days of biking were annoying because it was hot AND quite windy riding home, and with everyone passing me I wished I had a road bike instead of a hybrid. But if I can keep it up, and not overcompensate with snacking at work, maybe I can get back into pre-office job shape….

    7. dr_silverware

      Ups and downs–I keep trying the runs on my couch-to-5k app that don’t have any intervals, and keep not really making it. I have some plans, but still a little bit of a discouraging workout day.

      1. dr_silverware

        For next week I’m going to do more 7 minute workouts, and warm up much more actively before running.

    8. Gatomon

      Last week — took 3 walking breaks at work! I wanted more, but couldn’t quite make it happen.

      This week — going out for a hike tomorrow, plus hoping to keep up the momentum with walking breaks at work.

    9. Natalie

      Sooooo much gardening.

      I did test ride a couple of bikes on Friday, but unfortunately the particular model I want isn’t in stock anywhere so I’ll have to order it. I’m looking forward to being able to bike to work soon though.

    10. RestlessRenegade

      I did cardio 5 times this week! But I would like to do more each day; right now I’m averaging about 30 mins of cardio and I’d like to get closer to 45/50. I also took the (for me) very hard step of actually going to work out in the gym at my apartment complex, but I was a little disappointed to see they only have one elliptical and one treadmill. That’s good and helpful, I just hope no one else is in there when I go to use it!

    11. Handy nickname

      I shot at an archery range today!

      I’ve shot a half dozen times before, with a cheap (technically kids bow) that I had, and with friends’ bows, but not in quite a while. Since moving out, I have a lot more on-my-own time on evenings and weekends and I wanted to try archery again, but don’t own a now anymore or know where to shoot. There’s a few archery shops nearby that offer classes, so I decided to swing by today and see if they did recreational shooting too.

      The guy behind the counter looked at his watch and said there’s a birthday party coming at 3:00, so you’ve got an hour and a half, $20.

      Oh man that is way too long to shoot when you haven’t touched a bow in five years, but I loved it as much as I remembered, and I bought my own bow today (it’s basically $5/hour with your own bow).

    12. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Crazy work hours and stress for the last three weeks have put me off my workout schedule and into the arms of the Carb Monster – seriously, its bad. I haven’t seen my trainer in all that time, but I have given myself leeway that if I can get to the pool, even if its just for 45 minutes to get in and swim without the pressure of trying to get a workout in/times etc, then just do that.

      I did manage to get to swimming AND my favorite aqua (water aerobics with those foam weights) on wednesday which was fab. And I walk to and from work a half hour and started walking 45 minutes at lunch every day with a friend. Next week probably going to play catchup with trainer sessions and get back into all of this more seriously. I took this job to give me the space to get back in shape, so I am NOT about to reneg on everything!

    13. Jules the Third

      Got a new garden tool, to help me dig a bed in an area with lots of roots. It’s a 4-foot spike with a small blade on one end, you pick it up and drop it to loosen dirt and cut roots.

      15 – 30 minutes with that, for a few days. I needed to work on my upper arm strength…

    14. paul

      packing count? All my exercise equipment is boxed up.

      Took a hell of a day trip and wound up hiking 2-3 miles with the toddlers yesterday though so that was something. We’re all still recovering from the totality of the trip.

      Also got to try to explain to a 5 year old that trying to pet the porcupine is a *bad* idea…

  20. Anonyme

    Crafting thread!

    I’m knitting a (modified) Beeswax Cowl for the second time. I ran out of yarn the first time. I adjusted the pattern to reduce the amount of yarn I needed, ripped out the whole thing and started again. So frustrating.

    I am tentatively thinking of framing knitted swatches of some specialty yarns. Has anyone done this successfully? Should I use actual frames with glass (or without?), embroidery hoops?

    1. Teach

      Hoops would be very on trend! In frames, you could do a fabric backing with the swatch over. Foam core is a good backing you can pin into.
      Some of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments are glass balls that I stretched swatches of knit hand spun over. I only had a tiny amount of this lovely glittery yarn, but it covered six ornaments!
      I am starting a second Hermione’s Everyday Sock. Great mindless pattern for bright multicolored yarn and it makes a cushy boot-sock type fabric.

    2. MRK

      You could look for either shallow shadow boxes or frames that are made to fit stretched canvases. Either one would give you oh, 1/2”-1” so you could mount knitting to a backing without smooshing it against the glass. Or I do like the hoop idea.

      Also it can help to keep a consistency in frame/hoop sizes and/or colors for an easy way to make it look like a cohesive collection. I have a varied mix of sizes for my art but most of my pieces have black frames, as an example .

    3. HannahS

      Just keep in mind the thickness and size of the swatch–you’d need quite a small embroidery hoop, I’d imagine, and if you’re using anything thicker that sport weight, you’re really going to have to smush it flat to fit it into a frame with glass.

      I’m working on knitting a sweater based on the book “Knitting from the Top” which is all about just using gauge to design a pattern, instead of using a written pattern. So far so good! I’m still up at the raglans, but in a few rows I’ll be able to divide out the sleeves. It’s made out of Bernat Handicrafter cotton, which kind of looks like kitchen string but it softens up nicely and it’s $10 for enough 100% cotton to make a sweater.

      1. Anonyme

        How are you finding working with that yarn? I recently pieced together a blanket using it and found it hard on the hands. The price is lovely though. I have forbidden myself from buying more yarn as I have roughly a 5 year supply right now…..

        1. HannahS

          It’s a bit hard on my hands, for sure. I’m not used to yarn that has NO stretch, so I’ve really had to get used to knitting a bit looser overall. I find I don’t really work on it as much as I might if it was a more yielding yarn, because it tires out my hands, and I need to be able to use them (my hands) for other things!

          1. Windchime

            I knitted a cardigan out of linen and found the same thing. After working with wool for so long, it’s hard to work with a non-stretchy fiber. The cardigan is done but I don’t know if it’s going to fit; if it was wool, I would be sure because I know that I can block it a little bigger and wool is stretchy, but I have no idea how the linen will behave.

            1. HannahS

              Same! Like, I know that cotton stretches out, but does that mean it’s going to look baggy, or just longer? At least I know I can throw it in the wash and it’ll tighten up again. One day I’ll splurge on some Skacel Cobasi (cotton, bamboo, silk, +nylon for that rebound) and make my ideal non-wool cardigan.

    4. Tuxedo Cat

      If you’re knitting with wool, I would be mindful of moths. I think glass should keep them out.

      I’ve been having issues (again) with moths eating sweaters.

      1. Anonyme

        They’re the worst. I store most most of my wool in a cedar chest. I do have one wool felted scene (in an embroidery hoop) that I purchased and have had no moth issues with it, however, it gets daylight.

    5. Windchime

      I have a funny story.

      My sister and I occasionally have Craft Day. Usually it involves drinking sparkling wine, but not this time. Anyway, we bought all the supplies to make these flower things using a wire ring and this mesh stuff. I decided that mine was going to be blue and tan; hers was going to be yellow like a sunflower. We bought the materials and were off to the races. In about 30 minutes, she had something that looked very much like a sunflower and was cheerful and pretty. Meanwhile, mine looked like a wedding decoration gone horribly, horribly wrong. It was like something out of Cake Wrecks (Wreath Wrecks?).

      Anyway, I bought more materials and have been watching tutorials like crazy. Sis thinks I’m now obsessed because normally I’m a crafting savant, but this wreath was a very humbling experience. I’m going to try again today.

      1. Anonyme

        I recently unearthed some “paintings” I had done. They did not age well. One of my favourite threads on Ravelry is the Ugliest Finished Objects. I have so many things I could nominate for that.

    6. Gingerblue

      I’ve had the Beeswax hat in my queue for forever. What great patterns.

      If I were framing swatches, I might go for a glass frame with a mat, which would hide the edges and keep the glass from squishing the knitting. If you have any three dimensional elements in your swatch which need a bit more room (like cables or bobbles) you could do multi-level mats to give you more space between the swatch and the glass. I think you’d want a way to keep the swatch stretched–maybe if you had a backing mat and stitched it down to that as if blocking it, and then laid another mat over top to hide those edges? It’s a really cool idea for wall art and I’d love to hear what you end up doing.

    7. Sapphire

      I started a third pair of mittens so that I could procrastinate further on my cabled vest (all that’s left is the i-cord trim which involves picking up stitches which I loathe so much). But hopefully I can finish that vest before it gets too hot to have on my lap.

  21. WellRed

    My washer worked fine last night. Today, it won’t fill with water, but the agitator is agitating. Thoughts on what could be the problem?

    1. fposte

      Won’t fill or won’t get any water at all? Could be a valve not opening properly with the water supply, could be a problem with the settings being “read,” could be a leak in a pipe. Check thoroughly for water, try different load-size and water-temp settings, try turning the water off at the shutoff valve and on again.

        1. fposte

          Sounds like a valve along the way isn’t opening, then. However, I don’t do self-repair on that kind of stuff so I can’t give you any further guidance; it wouldn’t hurt to turn your shutoff valve on the plumbing supply off in the meantime just in case the situation decides to fail open rather than closed when you’re not looking.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger

      Can you get behind your washer, or move it away from the wall easily? If so, this is what I would do:

      Get a bucket. Shut off the water to the washer. (There should be a faucet-like shut off right near it.) Disconnect the hose at the shutoff, if you can. Have the bucket under the faucet, and put the end of the hose in it, so any water in the hose drains into the bucket. Then hold the bucket under the faucet and turn it on. Did it work? If so, does the water in the bucket have debris in it?

      If none of the above shows anything amiss, it is probably your washer’s water pump, although first, google your washer make and model and “clean filter”. My washer has a filter and a little drain hose in the front, and I drain that water and clean the filter regularly.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger

        Disclaimer: this may not be for everyone. And I probably left out some steps that seem obvious to me, like “don’t put the hose on the floor after the bucket, or the rest of the water will trickle out” or “use a skillet or large tupperware for the last of the water in the hose”. But this might help you troubleshoot the issue.

        I’d also google “no water [washer make and model]”, there are often complaints or even repair videos about the same problem you’re having. I should have done that when I replaced the belt on our dryer — the video would have probably been a viral hit, as I gashed my knuckles and got blood everywhere. Not as funny as being kicked in the groin, but I’m only willing to go so far for Internet fame. :D

        1. Windchime

          When I was a newlywed, we had a hand-me-down dryer that was probably 20 years old and had been through several families. The drum stopped turning but the belt seemed to be OK, so my young husband greased the outside of the drum with Crisco. We are so lucky that it didn’t catch the house on fire, but it worked and we got several more years out of that dryer!

        2. the gold digger

          When Primo and I were dating, he flew 1,000 miles to my house to replace the belt on my dryer and replace some piece on the agitator in my washer.

          1. We followed videos we found online.
          2. It is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me. Men who can fix major appliances are super hot.

    3. Free Meerkats

      Since the days of electro-mechanical controls is long gone, and it’s all electronics now, try the simplest thing. Unplug it and let it sit for a few minutes, then plug it back in.

      Confirm you have water to the washer as others have said. But since you’ve tried multiple cycles, it sounds like neither the hot nor cold valves are opening. That points to a control board problem.

      1. fposte

        Ha. I still have the very analog kind of washer, so I forget that there are control boards involved now!

        1. WellRed

          Analog here! It’s working again. I think it was confused somehow. Fingers crossed and thx for all the advice!

        2. neverjaunty

          I miss my grandmother’s old Speed Queen tub washer with the wringer. I’d buy another one if I could talk Mr. Jaunty into it. That thing got clothes CLEAN.

    4. Serious Sam

      Repeat of post upthread:

      In the UK, washing machines have a filter that is accessed from a flap on the front of the machine near the ground. if your washing machine has the same feature, make sure it is clear of debris & accumulated fabric lint before doing anything else. Often this is the cure to the problem.

      However, be prepared for water to come out when you unscrew it. Possibly a _LOT_ of water if the machine has not been draining properly.

  22. Lisa

    I was going over my budget worksheets today (it’s been a while since I’d updated) and realised I could delete a huge item from my expenses: I no longer have mortgage repayments! Hoorah!

    Although me being the boring, frugal person I am the extra income is just going into savings…lol.

    1. Anonymous Ampersand

      God I’m so jealous ;)
      Just had to put my mortgage back to just over 20 years but I should be able to overpay and bring it down relatively quickly.

      But more to the point: congratulations!! That’s an amazing achievement :)

    2. Melody Pond

      Whoa, you paid off your mortgage??? That’s awesome, congratulations! That’s on my list of goals, but I’m so far away from hitting that point, it barely feels real.

    3. Book Lover

      I find that all the money I used to spend on my mortgage goes to the amazing number of things that keep going wrong with the house :(. But congratulations!

    4. Not So NewReader

      Go, you!

      This makes me smile. I refi’ed 11 years ago with another 30 year loan. I have five more years, so I will pay off a 30 year in about 16 years. I am psyched, the light at the end of the tunnel.

    5. TootsNYC

      Several years ago, my husband got laid off and I didn’t anticipate that he’d get a new job very soon, if at all (I’ve been correct–17 years of iffy freelancing).

      I had NO idea how we were going to get by with the loss of an entire income.
      Then I realized, I’d just made the last $500/month payment to wipe out my credit cards, and we only had $2,000 left on the mortgage.

      It’s SO nice to not have that over our heads!

      (You should, every now and then, go look at the growing bank balance and do the “hoarding dragon” gloat. As a reward.)

  23. AnonGirl for now

    I felt like writing a about my little secret. (Remember when Lily Kane tells Veronica Mars she’s ‘got a secret, a good one!’ and then gets killed the same day? Well this is not at all like that.)

    When I was a teenager, I did a study abroad program where I met this other student from a third country. We became friends, we were in the same friends group, took trips together. We were very close.

    I think in the beginning of that year he had a crush on me. Then we became friends and I started to develop a crush on him. Okay, I was madly in love with him. He didn’t know, I only told him recently.

    During the study program he was harrassed by an authority figure. This has lead to drinking problems and mental health issues.

    When we both went back to our countries, he came forward with what had happened to him, he got into therapy.

    We saw each other once on holiday about a year after our program had ended. We have been in touch sporadically since then.

    Lately we have been talking a lot more. This is when I learnt about all his mental health troubles and his drinking.

    We are planning to meet up. I have really mixed feelings. Throughout the years he was sending some strange messages about how he loves me. I feel like this is an unfinished story and this is the right time to see if we are still compatible as friends (or lovers or partners) or if we have changed too much in this decade (!) since then.

    I am excited but also scared because it’s such a beautiful (but complex and sometimes sad) memory and I don’t want to ruin it.

    1. VIT (Scotland)

      I like hearing secrets, especially when they don’t end in murder!

      And I think that sounds like a really healthy attitude to have going into a situation like that! It’s smart to recognise that you’re different people now and who knows what it will be like reconnecting. I hope it goes well for you ;)

      1. VIT (Scotland)

        Gah – that was meant to be a benign smiley face and not a winky face!

    2. PolicyChick

      I think the very best thing to do is to have VERY LOW EXPECTATIONS. Ten years is a long time and you two have probably changed in many many ways, both small and significant. Concentrate on reconnecting and getting to know your old friend for who he is now. Even if you have great chemistry, I would try not to think about partners or lovers just yet – you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

      Good luck!

  24. periwinkle

    Woo hoo, I’m flying off to San Diego this afternoon! I’ll be staying in the Gaslamp Quarter and… once again, will see very little of the city because I’m there for a conference along with my boss and most of our small team. However, everyone else is flying in tomorrow and I’m on my own for tonight. On a Saturday night. On Cinco de Mayo. In a hotel whose in-house restaurant is high-end Mexican. And I don’t like Mexican food that much.

    Can anyone recommend restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter that are hospitable to solo diners even on a busy Saturday night? I’d normally dine early to avoid the rush, but won’t get to the hotel until 7.

    1. Anona

      I stayed in GasLamp for a conference a few years ago. If you like sushi, Taka was amazing but expensive. They have a live shrimp dish (where they kill the shrimp but it’s still wiggling), which sounds weird but was so fresh and memorable. The restaurant is tiny, but they have a bar- perfect for eating alone.

      I also really liked Basic, which was for pizza, kinda in a big warehouse. They had some with a mashed potatoes topping which was amazing. They also have a bar that I ate at.

      It’s been 4 years, but both of those places stand out! Found them on yelp, so if those don’t sound tasty, yelp it up!

    2. Another Lauren

      Panevino is reasonable Italian food, and there are a ton of pubs that are single-diner friendly.

    3. CAA

      Cafe Chloe is great and should be fine for a single person. Neighborhood is good and last time I was there they had a big table where you could make friends with anyone who showed up. I also like Searsucker very much. You can also eat at the bar in most any restaurant if you’d find that more comfortable as a single.

    4. Lightly-chewed Jimmy

      I went to both Brian’s 24 (diner/comfort food) and Gourmet India (Indian) as a solo and both seemed friendly. Both were quite tasty too.

    5. ..Kat..

      Cafe Sevilla (Spanish), Watergrill (seafood, meat, and vegetarian stuff) are both very nice. Both of these you can eat at the bar if you wanted, which is your best bet without a reservation. Also Sadat (Persian). J6 at the Hotel Solamar. Casual dress is okay at all these places. Yum. Let us know where you went and how you liked it!

  25. Free Meerkats

    I’m crowdstorming the backstory and superpowers for a superhero/supervillian – I haven’t decided which.

    To go with the Safety Monitor fez I got from Archie McPhee, https://mcphee.com/collections/fezzes/products/safety-monitor-fez , I’m having a seamstress friend make a hall costume for me for SF&F cons. It’s a three-piece suit in safety yellow and orange, you can see a fitting for the jacket and vest here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BiS-QDGF39F/ .

    The SH/SV is going to be The Safety Monitor (no cape, they are unsafe around moving machinery.) But I need a backstory and possible powers.

    Feel free to exert your imagination. I’m open to anything that is FYOSS (Fourteen Year Old Sister Safe.) Let’s hear what you have!

    And Thank You!!

    1. Aardvark

      My mind immediately goes to Paranoia (there’s something so cathartic about role-playing pointless bureaucracy and senseless slapstick violence). Plus, you’d confuse people with your brutal and rule-bending combination of both yellow and orange!

      Backstory: You’re the safety monitor, but you’re also colorblind. Now that your clearance has been raised, no one can know! Of course your yellow jacket has orange on it, it was assigned by Friend Computer. Why would someone question Friend Computer? Are you questioning Friend Computer? Only Communists/Terrorists question Friend Computer. Are you a Communist?
      Enforce as much safety as you can. Everything that is unsafe, tag it as unsafe. In fact, if something could potentially be unsafe, make sure everyone in the vicinity is aware. If your presence makes a situation unsafe (twelfth person on an elevator, standing in the middle of a puddle, blame the Hygiene Officer.) This level of attention to detail will impress Friend Computer, and ensure you(r next clone) do(es)n’t get sent back to Infrared Clearance, cleaning Cold Fun vats…or worse (Cold Fun Experimental Flavor vats…or maybe that’s what you did before? Until one mysteriously corroded through, drowning all of HX&$-Q sector?). Who can know? You’re Yellow Clearance now, you’re on top of the world! (Except for Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, and Ultraviolet citizens, but who’s counting?) Ride this wave (of potentially harmful substances) as far it it will go!

      Superpowers:
      — Citations
      — More citations
      — Authority to confiscate anything unsafe (or, tag it for Friend Computer to collect later)
      — Unsafe things you’ve confiscated
      — Corrosion

      — Extra clone (for safety reasons)
      — Secretly a member of the Death Leopard society (or a Communist)

  26. AMD

    Gross kitty advice?

    I have a 17lb Maine Coon mix who we adopted when she was 4 years old. Her previous owner thinks she may have suffered abuse from a groomer at some point, because she reacts violently to attempts to brush her. She has a ton of long floofy fur, and she generally maintains it well, except for her butt.

    I used to take her for regular hygienic shaves to the one groomer who can handle her, but it’s a 35 minute drive there, and the cat goes nuts in her cat carrier. I also haven’t been able to get in contact with her recently. We have tried various sedatives on the cat, but haven’t found one that really calms her yet.

    We recently had a baby, and I stopped going to the groomer, which was a mistake. The cat now has a layer of dry poop embedded in her fur around her behind. She won’t let us grab her to try to trim it off. We trim her nails, but she still scratches and bites through protective clothing. I feel like my only option is to call the mobile vet to be sedated while they shave her, but that is so expensive.

    I love my cat, but I am afraid of the germs she is spreading due to her unhygienic state, especially with the baby around! Is there a way to prevent this without shaving her? Is there a way to get her clean now without literally wrestling her to the ground and getting torn up in the process? Should I just suck it up and pay $175 for the mobile vet to shave her under sedation? Am I being a dolt and not seeing an obvious answer?

    1. fposte

      Short term, I think mobile vet, but I haven’t heard anything about retraining her in here, and that’s what I’d start work on pronto. You have to be very patient and work very incrementally, starting with her getting a reward for just being anywhere near clippers or brush (and you don’t even hold them–they’re just sitting somewhere).

      It’s a good idea to do the same thing for the carrier, since that’s identified as a problem. There are some decent guides floating around the interwebs, but since they’re mostly for training a kitten who isn’t carrier-anxious yet, you’ll need to go a *lot* slower.

      And people with kittens, if you start this way with training rather than just putting them into carriers or clipping them out of the blue, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of trouble and your cat a lot of stress over their lives.

      1. zora

        great advice. When I foster kittens, I leave their carrier open in their room and they use it as a bed and climbing gym, and then it’s never a big production to get them in it when it’s time to go somewhere.

    2. Pet sitter

      Sometimes it is just very hard. :( Maybe you need to look for a different groomer or get it done at a vet’s office.

      Can you and your SO try working together, with one of you holding her and one of you cutting the fur? Try wearing a thick sweater or hoodie under a denim jacket and wearing thick gardening gloves. If you have only tried this while holding her on your lap, try holding her in a sink.

      You and she both have my sympathy, though. I once had to give a pill to a cat who was “irritable” because of the illness the pill treated. She bit through my thumbnail and index fingernail. Never again. If trying to do it yourself is too stressful to you and her, by all means, skip my second paragraph.

    3. Teach

      We sedate and shave our scaredy cat at the vet – she gets gassed. It lasts for a good six months so the $95 is more reasonable. Is there a closer vet that you would use?
      She’s probably uncomfortable – we didn’t realize the extent of the matting our floofer had near her skin, and once she was fully clipped all over, it was like her whole personality changed! Maybe bite the bullet now, then immediately start some positive reinforcers for increasing her tolerance for home grooming?

    4. Melody Pond

      I have a cat who is like this about being touched, and she’s old enough that she can’t keep her own claws trimmed (I first discovered this after adopting her – when I finally got a look at her claws, they had actually grown into the pads of her toes!!). She also gets matted fur on her belly, and this morning, I realized she had some poop stuck to the fur around her butt.

      Our vet prescribed us a bit of gabapentin (50 mg – she’s a small cat), and gave her blessing to use the drugs at home once every 1-2 months to take care of these kinds of items at home. My cat’s normal diet is a wet food, and they get fed twice a day. So for breakfast this morning, I only gave her about 1/3 of her normal portion of food (so I could be sure she’d finish it fairly quickly), and I mixed in the gabapentin.

      Now I’m just waiting the requisite 1-2 hours for the gabapentin to kick in, so that my cat becomes a floppy, easygoing rag doll. Gonna check out her belly fur, look at her nails, and probably trim more of the fur around her butt. :)

      So, long story short – can you investigate the possibility of being able to drug/sedate your cat at home, so that you can take care of these kinds of items at home more easily? Your vet might be willing to prescribe something similar for this exact purpose.

      1. cat socks

        +1 to Gabapentin

        My big tabby boy gets very stressed when going to the vet. He has heart issues and his cardiologist says he is much more calm after taking the gabapentin.

        1. AMD

          See, we give her 200mg of gabapentin (with vet approval) and she tries to sneak off for naps, but as soon as we approach her she wakes up enough to fight!

    5. VIT (Scotland)

      General carrier advice – if you’ve got a place where you can leave the carrier out 24/7 try doing that as a way to desensitise her to it. You may be able to hide it under a chair or table and somehow make it look not too awful. When I fostered semi-ferals I would always keep a carrier out with a towel and some treats or catnip in it and when it was time for a vet visit and I had to start chasing them they’d run right into their ‘safe space’ AKA the carrier!

      This may be a totally unfeasible suggestion but with cats with poopy mats I’ve found a quick butt bath can sometimes be easier than shaving. If you’re at all able to get a solid hold (and don’t mind some intimate touching) I would plop her butt in some warm water and do a quick scrub with a little shampoo. Most cats don’t find this pleasant (!) but it can sometimes be such a strange experience that they’ll sit relatively quietly for it. Or it can be a very painful and scratchy experience, so feel free to ignore the suggestion :)

      And if you do end up back at the mobile vet, try to keep in mind that while it IS expensive, so is the cost of running a clinic, especially in a van! (not to mention the cost of education, qualifications, etc)

    6. PolicyChick

      Yeah you might have to bite the bullet on the groomer just this once, to get the immediate problem solved.
      There’s a product called Feliway that comes in a diffuser and a spray and can be very calming to cats. You could spray her carrier with it, might help.
      Once she’s trimmed up, I’d try to get in the habit of keeping her back end fur trimmed back. It doesn’t have to be a big event, but just whenever you can trim away a little. I had the same problem with one of my cats. You just have to stay on top of it. Sometimes I could do a pretty good trim while he slept (LOL)
      When it comes to sedatives – is the problem you can’t pill her, or is it just ineffective? Is the dosage taking into account her weight? If it’s a pilling issue, you can try ‘pill pocket’ treats, compounding the sedative into something savory (like juice from a can of tuna) or you can have the sedative delivery be in the form of a lotion/ointment that you rub into her ear flaps. Good luck!

    1. SoloFemaleBackpacker

      I haven’t done the Inca Trail in particular, but have a huge amount of experience as a solo female long distance backpacker (longest trip at 50 days). So if there’s any general questions you have, I could answer most of them I bet.

      IMPORTANT ADVICE: Emergency locator beacons are your friend. If anything along the trail is not highly populated, I cannot recommend these enough for people who hike. They’re expensive, but they save lives! Not taking one is foolish (and places rent them if you don’t want to be your own).

      Main advice: You realllllly do not need to worry about the details as much as people think. As long as you don’t hate your shoes, have some food/water, and find a place to sleep, you’re essentially fine. I’ve noticed people who are less “serious” backpackers (do it less often, more normal trips, not meant in a judgemental way) realllly worry about like “oh you need these shirts with this special material OR YOU WILL DIE” when the people who I know that are serious have great gear, but are aware that essentially everything can be half-assed a bit. You’ll be perfectly fine without that expensive shirt from REI (my shirts are from Target!)

      1. hermit crab

        My personal rule for backpacking is to gather as many clothes as I think I will need, then force myself to only bring half of them :)

        1. SoloFemaleBackpacker

          The only thing I take doubles of is socks and sports bra – other than that, only one set of clothing (usually layers). It works perfectly fine 99% of the time, in general if something gets wet you just switch out layers til it dries enough to wear.

      2. Mobuy

        Oh yeah, thank you! I have diamox, cipro, and a z-pack. I definitely believe in being well medicated!

      3. Mobuy

        Thanks for the reassurance on the gear. I’m going with a big group on a popular part of the trail so I probably don’t need a locator beacon, but I have been doing some agonizing about what I’m bringing. I shall stop forthwith.

    2. Alinea

      Yaaaaaaaasss!!! I did the Inca trail in 2015 and it still our favorite trip of all time. Truly amazing.

      My tips would be:
      -Use the porter service. My dad and I made it 3 hours in before we threw in the towel. They were kind enough to accommodate our request. The hike is hard. The first day is the hardest.
      -Bring a small daypack for your camelback and maybe a snack. Bring yummy snack for the porters as they run by you so nimbly :)
      -If I could do it again, I’d bring bring less than half my clothes. I should have just brought 5 underwear, 5 socks, 1 bottom, 1 sports bra, 2 tops, 1 jacket. Note, I went in July and was lucky enough to experience all four seasons during our hike, haha.
      -If you are sensitive to smells, make sure you go to the bathroom first after it’s been set up…you know…before anyone else has a chance to #2 all over it. Eeeeee.
      -Tip well. There should be a suggested tip from the group you are using. The guides and porters bust their a$$ in order for everything to run smoothly and safely.

      That’s all I can think of for now, but I’ll likely come back again.

    3. Sarah G

      Awesome! I was there last year, and did another Andes trek combined with the short Inca Trail, since the longer one was booked already. Anyway, here at the tips that come to mind:
      – Wear good hiking socks that cover part of your legs, treated with permethrin.
      – In addition to treating your clothes with permethrin, bring a couple types of bug repellant (deet-based and picaridin-based) to see what works best. Make sure to reply the repellant *after* sunscreen, or it won’t be nearly as effective. People get really eaten up on the Inca Trail!
      – Bring a good sun hat, and don’t skimp on the sunscreen!
      – Drinks tons of water — it will help with the altitude! I brought diamox as a precaution, but didn’t end up actually taking it, because I did okay with the altitude. Remember, diamox is a diuretic, and you don’t want to be taking a diuretic in altitude unless you need it, because keeping hydrated is so important. (If you’ve spent time at high altitude before and been fine, that is the best indicator for how it will affect you the next time.)
      – If you are someone who likes to take your time at museums and historic sites, book a second day at Machu Picchu if at all possible (it’s often an option with a lot of touring companies — if they don’t list it online, just ask).
      – Bring individually packaged disinfectant wipes for your hands, and use them after toileting and such (we had the Purell kind, and were able to get several uses out of each of them before they dried out).

  27. LCL

    Help! I needed to decompress so I clicked on ‘Epic Rap Battles of History’ even though I knew it would glue me to the couch. Am now glued to the couch.

    1. Loopy

      I’ve had this happen. Also happens with that hilarious lipsync youtube channel and drunk history!

    2. Torrance

      This is unhelpful in getting you back off the couch but, after you’ve finished all the seasons of ERB, you should check out Whitney Avalon’s Princess Rap Battles (they’re just as good, but there’s not as many).

    3. RestlessRenegade

      Love ERB! My favorite is Julia Child vs Gordon Ramsey. I think I have this one memorized!

  28. hermit crab

    Anyone want to talk about the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale? I watched the three new episodes last night. I don’t have anything in particular I want to discuss, but I’m interested to hear what others think.

    (Spoilers welcome.)

    1. SoloFemaleBackpacker

      I haven’t seen the series but I loved the book, I just am worried I won’t like it as much as the book! Any opinions on that?

      1. Windchime

        This is one of the times that I actually like the series more than the book. The first season covers the entire book, and now we are off to find out what happened after the book ends. Full disclosure: I had never read the book until after I watched the full season.

        Elizabeth Moss is such a great actor. Her face is so expressive and she breaks my heart with every episode.

      2. hermit crab

        I had the same concern — I wasn’t planning on watching it originally, but ended up going through most of the first season a few months ago because it was the best TV option on a trans-Pacific flight. :) Margaret Atwood is super involved (and even has a cameo!) and it shows.

        I re-read the novel after watching the first season and was actually amazed at the details that the show picked up and ran with, but that I had missed when reading the book previously. Also, the paperback I got from the library was a new edition, with an introduction that Atwood wrote after the series was in production – her thoughts on it are really interesting.

      3. LemonLyman

        I listened to the audiobook during nightly walks with the dog roughly the same time as watching the series. I don’t know which I liked better! Both were amazing.

        For anyone out there who hasn’t read the book but wants to, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook. It’s narrated by Claire Danes and she does a wonderful job!

    2. Windchime

      I’m loving it. This last episode was particularly heartbreaking and such a cliff-hanger–where will they take her? I don’t know if I can wait until Wednesday to find out what happens next.

      It was good to learn more about Emily in last week’s episode. Her backstory was really sad.

      1. hermit crab

        I agree! Did you watch Gilmore Girls? I didn’t, and I had never really seen Alexis Bledel in anything before. But I read a bunch of recaps of that episode after watching it, and it’s interesting to hear people’s reactions to seeing her in the role of Emily.

        I hope they do more Colonies-focused episodes. The set design/costumes/makeup blew me away.

    3. zaracat

      In a series full of scary references to actual things happening in the world, especially control and torture of a forced labour workforce, I find one aspect quite unrealistic. Given how scarce and valuable a resource the handmaids are as fertile women, I don’t think it is realistic that their captors would use methods of torture which would risk medical complications and even death when there are plenty of other (sickeningly) effective methods. Historically, the sort of casual brutality to which they are being subjected is more typical of a situation where the victims are easily replaceable.

      1. Natalie

        I think it makes sense if you look at the handmaid system as more of a theocratic model of control and less about fertility directly. If you look at other autocracies/oligarchies, they often make seemingly irrational decisions.

    4. Tris Prior

      I’ve really been enjoying season 2 – but am I the only one who, during the last episode, wanted to scream at June, “Get away from the effing window!” She’s supposed to be in hiding, FFS. They TOLD her that all the people around them watch and listen. And here she’s making herself visible? She should’ve stayed under the bed. Love you, June, but ARGH.

    5. Shannon

      I’m an episode behind but loving this season so far. I can only watch an episode or two at a time. It’s just too stressful.

      I find that the flashbacks are scarier and more unsettling than the Gilead timeline. Having to get spousal permission for birth control? Gay marriage made illegal again? It could happen, depending on who is in power.

  29. AlligatorSky

    Does anyone have any recommendations for good podcasts? Got back into them recently and I’m wanting to find some more to listen to! Currently the only 2 I’m listening to are Lore and Someone Knows Something. I’m open to all genres!!

      1. AlligatorSky

        So many amazing suggestions, thank you! All have been downloaded and added to my podcast list :-)

      1. Pollygrammer

        Levar Burton Reads makes me so damn happy.

        (Except for The Paper Menagerie, which should have had a warning about how sad it was.)

    1. Keanu Reeves's Patchy Beard

      I work in a lab and I’m alone most of my day so I constantly listen to podcasts. My current faves are:

      * Bunny Ears – remember Macaulay Culkin? He has a podcast about nothing and everything. Expect a lot of 90s/00s nostalgia, Simpsons references, and Devon Sawa jokes
      * WTF with Marc Maron – basic celebrity interview podcast hosted by a comedian
      * Science for the People – science podcast that’s not as insufferable as Neil Degrasse Tyson’s
      * My Brother, My Brother and Me – advice podcast from the McElroy brothers, who themselves run a podcast empire. I think they each host individual podcasts and they also have a D&D podcast called The Adventure Zone, which I also highly recommend.

      I also listen to a bunch of lefty political podcasts, but I don’t tend to recommend those unless specifically asked.

      1. AlligatorSky

        I’m so jealous. I wish I could listen to podcasts – I work in finance and need to be available to take Skype calls and other things, so I’m unfortunately not allowed to wear headphones :( Then again, it might be a good thing, as I NEED to be able to pay attention. If I write one wrong letter or number, our clients aren’t getting their $5million in stocks and shares. I tend to get distracted and miss things if I’m not fully concentrating).

        Big big thank you for these, you are my new favourite person! Also, virtual high 5 for that name!

    2. To your point

      Along the line of someone knows something – Missing and murdered. The focus is on First Nation women- the second season just finished a few weeks ago.

        1. To your point

          So I do have another one called Real Case Profile that has a former FBI Agent and NYC prosecutor, a world renowned expert and advocate for victims of domestic violence and stalking, and (the odd person out) the casting director of criminal minds talking about real life cases and profiling behaving based on what they know. There are very strong personalities in it though so it’s not the same kind of (weirdly?) soothing that SKS and Missing and Murdered are.

          1. AlligatorSky

            Listened to RCP last night – It was AMAZING. It was insanely fascinating, and I oddly looked forward to my alarm going off, so that I could listen to it when I woke up! Thank you for the suggestion, you’re awesome! <3

      1. AlligatorSky

        Generation Why!! Omg I loved their episode on Maura Murray, I’d completely forgotten about GW, so thank you!! GW and The Vanished are now on my podcast app, thank you very much! :)

    3. CTT

      If you’re looking for something funny, I recommend “My Dad Wrote a Porno.” A guy’s dad wrote an erotic novel and he and his friends read it aloud. It’s smutty, but it’s also so bad that it’s not sexy at all (case in point: nipples that are described as being as long as the rivets that held the Titanic together) (Side note, do not listen in mixed company!).

      On the less funny/more serious side, Breakdown by the Atlanta Journal Constitution is really good; it’s basically legal reporting in podcast form. They just finished covering the Tex McIver trial (guy shot his wife, claimed it was an accident, was charged with murder) and it was fascinating. It’s very process-y; there was a whole episode on jury selection, several episodes devoted to how each side was building its case. If you’re into crime podcasts, this is a very well-done look at the other side of things.

      1. AlligatorSky

        I’ve heard so many people talking about My Dad Wrote a Porno, I saw they’re doing a live show here (Scotland) too! “Nipples that are described as being as long as the rivets that held the Titanic together” – I just choked so hard on my cookies that my family asked me if I’m okay. THANK YOU so much for making my crappy day a lot better with that! Definitely downloading that podcast now!!

        Ooh, Breakdown! I feel like I’ve head of it before on the iTunes podcast store I believe. I recognise the logo. It’s now been downloaded and I’m going to spend my night listening to it, because I LOVE crime podcasts. Thank you!

      2. Cambridge Comma

        My Dad wrote a … (don’t want to go into moderation) is amazingly funny, but I wouldn’t listen to it in any company, mixed or not, and I think it could be dangerous while driving. The dad is actually spectacularly uninformed about several things which is part of what makes it funny rather than smutty. It’s also set in the business world (the “pots and pans” industry) and is also fairly wrong about most aspects of that, which is my favourite part.

      3. Meeeeeee

        Thank you for the rec on My Dad Wrote a P0rn0. Oh my goodness, this is the most hilarious thing I have ever listened to!

    4. Anonymous Educator

      Ladies, We Need to Talk
      Bad with Money with Gaby Dunn
      The Sauce Podcast
      Too Embarrassed to Ask

    5. Windchime

      My favorite is currently Pod Save America. Has lots of cursing, so this is one for headphones if you are at work or around kids. I also liked Serial (both seasons), S Town, and Dirty John.

      1. AlligatorSky

        Ooh Serial! I remember listening to that, I think I only got up to the 2nd episode I believe, I’ll need to start listening to it again. Thank you for all the suggestions, all have been downloaded!

      2. LemonLyman

        Love PSA and Pod Save the People is also amazing. PSA is definitely a politically left-wing, progressive leaning podcast. But it’s smart and they describe themselves as having a “no bullsh*t” conversation.

        Pod Save the People is incredibly educational when it comes to the intersection of race/equality and what is going on in the world. DeRay is thoughtful and a great interviewer. One of my personal favorites was the episode called Race to Zero where he interviews Mehrsa Baradaran about the racial wealth gap. Highly recommend the episode! He just released the first episode of the new season where he has a second interview with Brene Brown (she’s been on before). I look forward to listening.

    6. Lissa

      Ooh Lore is great. My favourite genre is audio-drama, here are some of the ones I like:

      Magnus Archives (at first seem like one shot Twilight-Zone style, but there’s a storyline that appears slowly over time)
      Welcome to Nightvale is really popular, and is fun, but I prefer the creator’s other offerings, Alice isn’t Dead and Within The Wires
      The Black Tapes, but don’t listen to season 3, it is very bad
      The Bright Sessions – about a psychologist who does therapy for people with supernatural powers

      1. AlligatorSky

        Lore is so good. I give Aaron Mahnke $10 a month on Patreon because I love Lore so much.

        Oh my lord, Night Vale! I went to see 2 of their shows back in 2o14. I don’t know why I stopped listening, but this is a perfect excuse to get back into it! I’ve heard of The Black Tapes, but never listened to it. Thanks for the heads up about season 3, I’ll make sure to skip it.

        Downloading all 4 podcasts now, thank you, fellow podcast listener! <3

      2. Ada Lovelace

        Ditto Alice Isn’t Dead; mystery, drama, and a touch of sci-fi. I found it after I binged Girl in Space a day.

        1. AlligatorSky

          Downloaded Alice Isn’t Dead and Girl in Space in a Day, LOVE them. Potential new obsessions, hahah. Thank you very much!

    7. only acting normal

      99 percent invisible
      TED radio hour
      The Geeks Guide to the Galaxy
      The Allusionist
      The Infinite Monkey Cage
      Strong Female Leads
      No Such Thing as a Fish
      Selected Shorts
      (and last but not least) The Tobolowsky Files

      (I have a long commute…)

      1. SuperPoodle

        I don’t listen to a ton of podcasts (I find them too distracting at the place we don’t talk about on the weekends, so I listen to music more), but I have a couple favorites, the top of which being being The Allusionist. It’s funny and charming and all about language and I eagerly await every episode.

        Also seconded on Levar Burton Reads (I love him so much!) and No Such Thing as a Fish (which is especially great for the trivia-minded!).

    8. Not So NewReader

      Off topic, AS: You’re BACK!!!
      Maybe you posted before and I missed it.

      I hope you are doing better. You sound good. I am glad to see you back.

      1. Cristina in England

        I actually don’t think this is the same AS because the writing is really different and her most recent jobs have been in different fields entirely.

        If you’re reading, AlligatorSky, we are thinking of you!

        1. Not So NewReader

          I thought “How many AlligatorSkys can there be?” Well, I guess there can be a few.
          You are probably right Cristina, thanks.

          To Original AS, if you see this, we are still thinking of you and hoping for the best for you.

          1. AlligatorSky

            Thank you! Can confirm it’s me, from the land of haggis and bagpipes! I’m not sure how I missed your comments, so apologies for the delay in responding!

            You *may* want to keep an eye out on the site because there *may* be an update from me soon.*

            *There will be, I’m terrible at hinting, hahahh. I emailed Alison with an update; I think you guys will like it :-)

            I’m still struggling a lot, there’s still aspects of my life that are exactly the same as my last update, and there’s other aspects that are completely different. I was really struggling (like borderline ‘I give up, I can’t do this anymore’ kind of struggling) a couple of weeks ago. I actually went back to my posts and read all the wonderful comments left by awesome people like you, and they helped me get through that tough period. Thank you so much for helping me through it. I even bookmarked the posts on my phone, and read the comments when I’m having a tough day. The support means a lot, thank you! <3 <3

    9. Lillie Lane

      Hostile Work Environment with Marc and Dennis (workplace/employment law but it’s very entertaining) is my favorite.

    10. Traveling Teacher

      “Stuff You Missed in History Class”–it’s my jam, and they have years and years of searchable archives on their site! Focus is on individuals, events, places–you name it–from history that are not very well known or completely obscure or from the other side of the story–minorities, women, LGBTQ, the side that lost the war/protest/ etc.
      -One of my favorite episodes is about a Portuguese woman from the 1500s or 1600s who became a pirate–so cool!
      -Another favorite is a fairly recent episode about the first women’s basketball team to win a national championship–it was actual an all-American Indian team of teens, very cool and bittersweet story.
      -One of my favorite recent episodes of SYMHClass was about the history of handwashing (yes, really, it was fascinating and also horrifying to think of how its effectiveness against germs was discovered…),
      -and their thousandth episode: The History of Sadako Sasaki’s 1000 cranes (that one is both sad and lovely).
      -They also do a bi-yearly series called “Unearthed” where they discuss many of the fascinating archaeological and other finds (“lost” items found in museum archives!) that have been discovered throughout the past half-year.
      -They go into creepy history sometimes, too, especially around Halloween, but their scariest episodes to me have been their history of the Eugenics movement, especially in the US. That gets dark real fast…

      “Dressed” is my new favorite podcast. Just ten episodes at the moment; the hosts are two fashion historians. I follow the podcast on social media to see all the pictures of what they’re talking about. One episode was about Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who became dressmaker to many famous and influential women of her day and was Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and close friend for many years, and another was “Smuggled in the Bustle”, all about transatlantic smuggling–primarily female smugglers–from 1860 to the 1890s.

      Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” is marvelous. There are some episodes free for download on his website, and the others are paid, though he rotates them from time to time.
      -The History of the Celtic Holocaust is one of the most recent and free ones–the other side of the Roman Empire’s conquests, so to speak, and
      -Painfotainment–a history of public punishments and executions wrapped up in their entertainment value. That one was chilling and fascinating.
      These are long, though, usually several hours long. I listened to one of these while I deep-cleaned my kitchen and bathroom. I actually kept finding smaller and smaller details to concentrate on cleaning because I was having such a good time listening.

      For something shorter: The Moth! True Stories Told Live is their tagline, and I have listened to their entire archive twice! I am an addict! Individual stories are from 5-20 minutes long.
      -For something funny, look up Michaela Murphy’s stories–I listen to both time and time again when I need a laugh!
      -Steve Zimmer’s are hilarious, as well, and most deal with his ADHD (he’s in his 50s now, I think, but his best stories are “Stars, Moons, and Rockets”, “Neighborhood Watch”–so good!!!!, and “The Case of the Pencil Case”, all of which deal with his growing up years).
      -And for some very NSFW hilarity, listen to both of Jessi Klein’s stories.
      -There are tons of stories on the sad/poignant end of things on The Moth, too, like “War and Ham Sandwiches” by Christina Lamb, where she talks about being a war correspondent but also a mom, but I figure that when you first listen, it’s probably to hear something to make you laugh!

      tl;dr: I clearly love podcasts way too much!

      1. AlligatorSky

        Woah! Loving how detailed this is – Thank you so much for taking the time to write this!

        I have a 30 minute train ride to work, then a 30 minute one back after work, plus walking time to work/back to my house. I like to kill the time by listening to podcasts. I also love learning new things, scaring myself to the point where I have to keep my light on when I sleep, having to distract myself at work so I don’t start laughing out loud at a podcast I’d previously listened to. I also like lying in my bed before/after work and starting/ending the day with podcasts.

        I’m travelling soon, and I like to distract myself (yay travel/motion sickness!) so that I don’t spend the whole journey feeling awful. Will be downloading all of these and loading them up for my almost 5 hour long journey, plus my work journeys and other podcast listening time.

        You are my new favourite person. Thank you so much fellow AAM reader – you are the best! <3

    11. RestlessRenegade

      I just started listening when Alison was on with them this week, but Han and Matt Know it All is really great! It’s a podcast about advice columns, which is TOTALLY my thing. They’re funny and have a lot of great reactions to various advice column questions.

    12. Tea, please

      2 Dope Queens: Comedy
      99% Invisible: Design
      Gastropod: Food/History/Science
      Code Switch: Race and Identity

      1. fort hiss

        Yessssss Gastropod and 2 Dope Queens! (I can’t think of two more tonally different shows, lol, but love them both)

        1. AlligatorSky

          2 Dope Queens!!! I’ve heard so many people talking about it – Now’s the time to finally check them out. High 5 to you guys for having a rad taste in podcasts!

    13. Fiennes

      Sawbones—medical history and/or information from a doctor and her underinformed-but-hilarious husband.

      I’m not proud of this one, but—“When Meghan Met Harry,” which is all things royal wedding.

    14. nosilycuriously

      I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History and really enjoyed it.
      I saw S-Town, Dirty John, and Ted Radio Hour mentioned here so I’ll second those.
      Slow Burn was a fascinating look at the Watergate scandal from different angles.
      Stuff You Missed in History Class.
      Unstoppable Women.
      WorkLife with Adam Grant.
      Shmanners (Extraordinary Etiquette for Ordinary Occasions).
      Code Switch.
      Adam Ruins Everything.

      1. AlligatorSky

        Yesss, so many amazing new podcast suggestions! Thank you so much! Also, high 5 for your username. I LOVE it! <3

    15. Cristina in England

      Hi AlligatorSky!! Is it you, from before? So great to see you posting again!!

      I keep it simple lately:
      -RuPaul’s What’s The Tee With Michelle Visage.
      -Kermode and Mayo’s Film review (I don’t go to the cinema, like hardly ever but it’s a classic and so great)
      -Ask A Manager (the episodes are short and informative)
      -WTF w Marc Maron which I save for when I have more time to listen uninterrupted. The others above are easier to stop/start as needed.

      1. AlligatorSky

        Hey, yeah it’s me! I totally forgot to email you back! (I did start writing one to your last reply, then realised last night that dumb me didn’t send it and instead saved it in my drafts! D’oh! I promise I’ll finish that email tonight!)

        So many amazing podcasts to listen to, thank you!! I have a 4 and a half hour train ride to London coming up, so I’m wanting to download as many as I can to keep me entertained!

    16. LemonLyman

      Love podcasts! Here are what I listen to:

      * Pod Save America
      * Pod Save the People
      * (Just about anything from the Crooked Media team)
      * The West Wing Weekly
      * Ear Hustle – Amazing podcast! And produced completely from w/in San Quentin
      * TED Radio Hour
      * How I Built This
      * The Daily
      * Stay Tuned with Preet
      * Note to Self

    17. Dragonista

      The internet seems to have eaten my first reply, so I will try again…

      All Killa, No Filla – Comedians Rachel Fairburn and Kiri Pritchard-McLean explore their mutual fascination with serial killers. Lots of humour in this one, but they are sensitive in their discussion of victims.

      Totes Recall – Molly, Beth, Dan and Dan talk about a film they watched a long time ago & try to remember what the key players got up to. Then they watch it together (off podcast) and come back to laugh about how wrong they were. I really like this one when I am feeling nostalgic, and I often end up rewatching the films they talk about.

    18. Damn it, Hardison!

      In the Dark – season one was about the Jacob Wetterling disappearance. Season 2 just started; it’s about a man who has been tried and convicted 6 times for the same crime.

      True Crime Obsessed – The hosts review “true crime” doctumentary each episode. I put true crime in quotes because it’s not the typical murder podcast; they’ve covered religious cults and other non-murder crimes. There is a lot of sarcasm and humor, so if you like your true crime straight up, it’s probably not for you.

      Crimetown is all about the mob in Providence, RI. Much of it focuses on the former disgraced mayor Buddy Cianci. Interesting stories and really well done. I’m eagerly waiting for season 2.

      Crimetown

    19. Denise

      Ask a Clean Person, a hilarious cleaning advice podcast; How I Built That, a podcast about people who have built successful businesses from the ground up (the Spanx episode is not to be missed); and The Hilarious Workd of Depression, full of lengthy, intimate interviews of famous people struggling with mental illness, with the intent to destigamtize it.

      1. AlligatorSky

        I suffer from mental health issues myself, so THWoD is a great suggestion. It’s much appreciated, thank you! <3

    20. PianoGirl

      My favorites include:
      Wait, wait, don’t tell me!
      This American Life
      TED talks
      Ask Me Another
      Judge John Hodgman
      And, of course, Ask A Manager!

      1. AlligatorSky

        Omg I LOVE This American Life! I often fall asleep listening to it on WNYC. Thank you for your suggestions, much appreciated!

  30. Trixie

    My sister and I are considering an espresso machine for combination Mother’s Day and birthday gift. Looking for any favorites or suggestions. I’m not a coffee drinker and can’t speak from sampling or experience. Excited to present it her!

    1. Temperance

      I have a DeLonghi that I bought at Target for around $100. It works pretty well.

    2. periwinkle

      You’ve got three basic options:

      1. Superautomatic espresso machine: It does all the work, all you need to do is load in the beans. Many models offer milk carafes that bring push-button ease to making lattes and cappuccinos, too. Supers are hella expensive, though. Base models start around $700 and go into the mid 4-figures.

      2. Semi-automatics are much cheaper, with the cheapest good models starting around $150 but going up quite a bit from there. My last espresso machine was a Breville Barista Express, which retails around $600 (but I bought a refurbished one for considerably less). The more expensive ones have a built-in grinder. If you get one without a grinder, you’ll need to buy one separately or stick with pre-ground espresso. Burr grinders are much better for espresso than blade grinders; serious coffee geeks spend far more on the grinder than the espresso machine. If you buy whole beans at a Starbucks store, they’ll grind them for no charge.

      The problem with semi-automatics is that it takes practice to become skillful at making consistently good espresso shots. I never got the hang of it. Which is why I bought…

      3. Nespresso. The drawback is that you are limited to using their pods, although they have a wide variety and the quality is quite good. Third-party ones do exist, but they’re hard to find in the U.S. (easy to find in Europe and Australasia). Pods are $0.70 to $1.10 each; Nespresso will give you free pre-paid shipping pouches to send the spent pods back for recycling. The advantage is that it’s a 1-touch system. I have a Lattissima Plus, which has a removable milk carafe. Turn on the machine, take the carafe out of the fridge, let the system warm up, and one button press makes a latte or cappuccino. The OriginalLine machines only do espresso; the VertuoLine machines do coffee or espresso. I’ve decided that life is too short to mess around with the “real” espresso machines for now, since what I need at the moment is a quick and reliable way to caffeinate.

      Nespresso is having a Mother’s Day sale (like, who isn’t?) and machines are 35% off through their website. Certain models show up on Amazon at a deep discount. Retail runs the range from about $100 to a little under $400.

      Lavazzo, Nescafe, and Illy also offer single-serve espresso machines with proprietary single-serve pods/capsules, but I don’t know anything about them.

      So the questions you need to figure out are how much do you want to spend and how much effort do you think your mother wants to put into making espresso/coffee.

      1. Temperance

        Your comment is awesome, but I have to point out that La Colombe beans are far, far superior to Starbucks!

        1. periwinkle

          A lot of beans are far, far superior to Starbucks! However, I’d rather go to a Starbucks to buy beans (Cafe Verona or Gold Coast make a nice latte) and have them ground there than buy pre-packaged espresso-grind or risk the supermarket grinder. And you can find Starbucks everywhere…

          But coffee beans are a whole separate discussion/debate/brawl!

      2. CTT

        US Amazon has a TON of third-party Nespresso options now, complete with free shipping, but they are only for the original line machines.

    3. Edea

      I have a DeLonghi Dedica (a semi-automatic machine that cost around $300). I am lazy and use preground espresso in it. I couldn’t live without a steam wand anymore! I make myself a soy milk cappuccino every single day!

    4. TootsNYC

      My MIL would say to get a stovetop espresso maker like the Bialetti.

      There are prettier-looking versions.

  31. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    A few weeks ago I asked people to talk me out of running another marathon, because I thought I might be running it for the wrong reasons and because my experience running my last marathon in 2014 was pretty negative.

    It didn’t work, guys! :-) Barring something unforeseen, I’m going to sign up for the Philadelphia Marathon in the coming days.

    I think I may have figured out what I did wrong in the last race. I looked at my training logs for all five marathons I’ve ran, and I think I may have overtrained in the years that my quadriceps melted early during the race. (When I trained for my first marathon, I did all the weekend long runs, but had a lighter mileage load during the week — and while I definitely exhausted myself on race day, I got to the start line that day feeling fresh and did not physically break down during the race.) I also went into the last race with an ambitious time goal and followed a pace group that was too fast for me. And to be honest, I might have also just not had it that day. I’m very curious to see if my guesses are correct. In any case, I’m going into this race not with any time goal, but just with the goal to be standing and in one piece at the end of a 15 round fight. I think I might be crazy, but I’m looking forward to training for it.

    1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      Good luck! I know you mentioned that you were probably going for it in the more recent threads – I’m glad you’re actually taking the plunge again.

      It seems like you have an idea of what went wrong in your last marathon (basically: a lot), so here’s hoping everything goes right for you this time. But just from your descriptions, it does sound like your guesses might be correct.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Thanks, Llama Grooming Coordinator! I am not a Star Wars person at all, but the best I can put it is that the force was just not with me last time. I’m not sure it will be this time either (being four and a half years older with more mileage on my legs), but I’m curious to see if I’ve at least learned something, and I’ll enjoy the long runs either way.

        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

          You also named things that were pretty concrete, though – you overtrained, and (probably just as important) you went out too fast. So you’re already pretty far ahead of the game in that you can fix those things next time.

          There’s also something to be said for experience. You might not be as fast as you were 5-10 years ago, but you don’t have to be. And if you are, that’s a pleasant surprise.

    2. runner

      Hey, I ran the Philly half a few years ago, the course is the same at the beginning and end. I really liked it overall but the thing that really surprised me was that I was expecting a more urban race but when once we left center city, there were vast stretches that were totally empty, even making me wonder if I was lost (I’m a back of the pack kind of runner), and I found the aid stations were more spaced out than I expected, even though I felt I had studied them up to plan for nutrition. So I’d pay attention to those things but of course, the marathon support might be different and I typically run in NYC so even my “empty” races tend to have a few people spectating so I might be a bit skewed. The after race food/drink though was amazing with hot and cold options!

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Thanks, Runner! I ran the Philadelphia half in 2014 and found it to be a great race – one of my favorites. Based on that, I’m going to take a leap of faith that the full marathon will work out. I don’t remember issues with the aid stations in the year I ran, but thanks for the heads up — I’ll have a support system along the course waiting with water just to be safe. Having water/Gatorade every mile seems to be pretty much exclusive to the New York Road Runners races, I’ve found. For various reasons, I don’t run many of their races anymore, so I’ve become accustomed to water/Gatorade every mile and a half or two miles. (But I liked every mile better!)

  32. Elodie

    I’ve been watching “Killing Eve” on BBC America. (It’s based on the book “Codename Villanelle” by Luke Jennings.) Has anyone been watching this? What do you think? Have you read the book?

    1. Lcsa99

      Gonna have to look for the books now cause I have been watching and been enjoying it.

      It’s weird, Eve is such a mess, she’s essentially Stephanie Plum. I feel like the only progress she’s made has been luck, or Villanelle’s (just gonna call her V cause I’m lazy) desire to make this a game. If V just left town and started up again somewhere else Eve might, maybe, find the pattern again but she wold have a much harder time.

      I can’t wait to see the next episode because I really want to go more into what drives V , and I think when Eve gets her talking we might get that.

    2. The Person from the Resume

      It is amazing. Sandra Oh is amazing. Honestly I wasn’t overly impressed by episode 1, but each episode since has just gotten better. I haven’t a clue how they’ll maintain the momentum but I’ll be along for the ride.

    3. DoctorateStrange

      I am loving it, I’m glad they went a different way of portraying a female assassin and Comer and Oh are amazing actresses. It’s criminal just how underrated Sandra Oh is, as someone once put it, in a better world, she’d be renowned as Cate Blanchett.

  33. Kj

    I’m pregnant and grumpy with all the horror stories everyone tells me about birth. Anyone have a normal pregnancy story? Like, I got pregnant, had a full term baby with reasonable labor and my kids is happy and healthy? Not “I went into preterm labor and my kid spent 10 month in the NICU and I never recovered from the pain of labor”?

    Sorry to sounds so grumpy, I’m just annoyed at the level of terror I hear. Surely most births are not horror stories- hard, but not THAT bad, right?

    1. Loves Libraries

      I had 3 mostly uneventful pregnancies and deliveries. Yea epidurals! By the time I had the 3rd one I knew what to expect and that each stage would not last forever. I knew that they would sleep through the night eventually and get the hang of nursing. Good luck!

    2. Book Lover

      First baby had a great pregnancy, delivery wasn’t fun but nothing exciting, I don’t think. Second baby had a great pregnancy, was sick with flu during the delivery so wasn’t a lot of fun either, and epidural slowed things down, but again no real excitement.

      Does that help? If you have an OB you like and feel comfortable with, I think most deliveries are pretty routine.

    3. Lurker Librarian

      Me, me!
      First baby–water broke at home, no progression at hospital, then Pitocin (not horrific like people swore it would be), epidural, baby!
      Second baby–labored at home during the night, progressed faster than I realized, hospital, baby! (no time for epidural)

      Healthy babies, healthy me (which I do not at all take for granted, but which I do think is WAY more common than it seems from the horror stories people love to tell pregnant ladies. Which I do not understand!)

    4. it's all good

      You got this! I had 2 uneventful C-Sections, that resulted in two happy and healthy daughters. Trust your body and your health care providers. My friend had an epidural and took a nap. Her hubby went to get a snack. A sneeze woke her up and her healthy baby slipped out! I hope you have an easy and uneventful labor.

    5. Adams

      Me! Pretty easy pregnancy and I was sleeping through the night all the way until the end. Water broke at home, labored at home for 5 hours, went to the hospital and 4 hours later pushed the baby out without meds. I’m sure it was part luck, but I also think it helped that I stayed pretty active (or tried to!). The shower was a great help at home, and the tub was great at the hospital.

    6. HannahS

      Not myself, but my mom, two grandmothers, three aunts, three cousins, and two friends all had multiple uneventful pregnancies and deliveries. There may have been one or two emergency C-sections, but emergency doesn’t mean “GET IT OUT RIGHT NOW,” and in the end all moms/babies were fine and at least one went on to have a vaginal delivery later. Nearly all had epidurals. All were able to nurse, though one definitely had a rough time of it. But because they were uneventful, they aren’t a topic of conversation.
      Also I recently had a course taught by an Ob/Gyn who recently had a baby herself, and while all the women in the room were flinching and shuddering as we learned about labour, she laughed and said, “It’s really not THAT bad, guys.”
      Obviously, things certainly CAN go wrong, and can go very wrong very quickly, but we are fortunate to live in a time/location where most women are able to have healthy pregnancies and uncomplicated deliveries.

    7. JessicaC

      I’ve only been pregnant once but I didn’t have much morning sickness or other terrible symptoms. On the day I gave birth, I felt my first contractions at 5 am, got to the hospital around 1 pm, gave birth at 10:30 pm. Had some pain meds through the IV but no epidural. Baby was fine and actually mostly slept through the night his second night so we got home pretty well-rested. It’ll be fine. :)

    8. Overeducated

      Yup! Man, it’s a boring story. The only bad part was that my labor started early on a Friday night after my last day of work, so I didn’t get the weekend to relax and prep like I’d hoped. But otherwise it was totally healthy, tolerable pain wise, uncomplicated, not too long, the medical staff all treated us wonderfully, and my kid came out perfect if I may say so. It happens! Hope it happens to you!

    9. Call me St. Vincent

      Not mine, but my friend just gave birth and she is SUPER squeamish and nervous about most things. She did it completely naturally and was done in a couple of hours and it was her first. She did NOT think she would be able to do it without meds and she just pulled through easy peasy!

    10. Ann O.

      Mine was long but fairly uneventful. I needed pitocin to progress, but all went smoothly after that. I was grateful for the epidural. Baby and I were both healthy (if tired) by the end. I recovered more quickly than I expected from labor.

    11. zora

      Both of my mom’s labors went so fast she barely had time to be stressed, she says she was over it pretty quickly and was so happy she had healthy babies. In fact, my sister, baby #2, came so fast they didn’t even have time to give her the epidural and she was surprised it didn’t hurt as much as she had built up in her head. So, I think you’re right that the vast majority of births are probably relatively easy and boring, and that’s why no one tells those stories! ;o) Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be fine!!

    12. CurrentlyLooking

      I was very scared during my first pregnancy about labor and delivery (and taking care of a newborn!)) but everything turned out just fine. My water broke at home, after one contraction, I called my doctor then went to the hospital, I got an epidural as soon as I was dialated enough, and the rest went very well.

    13. Forking Great Username

      I think this is kind of like most parts of life – in everyone’s life, there are really bad and really good parts. Pregnancy/labor and raising kids is pretty much the same. But yeah, people who like sharing the bad sure do seem to flock to pregnant women!

      Here’s the good version of my labor story: I went into labor exactly on my due date! It was a day long and I ended up needing a c-section, which kind of sucked, but the c-section really wasn’t bad at all! I couldn’t feel anything during it, baby was born perfect and healthy, and I recovered fairly easily. All in all, it went smoothly enough that I got pregnant again (and on purpose, haha) less than a year later!

    14. Margaret Cook

      I had an uneventful pregnancy followed by a normal childbirth. My husband and I took classes (Lamaze) and I practiced faithfully, which is a good thing, since consciously keeping your abdominal muscles relaxed during a contraction is not instinctive! But it really worked! Except when something interrupted (like being shaved) I was too focused to be aware of pain. The nurses were cheering me on and I felt like I was running, and finishing, a marathon. The OB got there just in time and my new daughter was yelling before her shoulders were out. It was an amazing experience!

    15. Mephyle

      Three deliveries, back in the dark ages (late 1980s to early 1990s). The first was induced when it was almost a week past the due date. Hard work, but the only traumatic moment was at the time of delivery when her head tucked in instead of stretching back, so forceps were used. It hurt a lot, and it was very hard to obey the instructions to push when my body and mind told me that pushing will make it hurt worse. Snip and three stitches. Also, I learned, at the first sign of labour, go to sleep. I was awake all day waiting for the induction to take effect, and then all night through heavy labour, so by the time the baby was born, I had been awake for almost 24 hours.
      Second one, natural start to labour, hard work but shorter than the first time, snip and one stitch.
      Third one, hard work, but it all went faster. Slight tear and one stitch. Also memorable, was that the nurse assisting had been a midwife in WWII in Britain (later emigrated to Canada, where I lived), and she distracted me with anecdotes such as that she was in the habit of slipping the ID bracelet on the baby as soon as it was born because she never had got over the instinct that you had to do it right away because you don’t know when the hospital might be bombed. Strangely, it was a nice story to hear at that moment, and though I have forgotten many other things, I never forgot her and this anecdote.
      I liken it to a marathon that you have not been able to train for, and that you have no option of not doing. I hope this is comforting; it’s meant to be.

    16. Elf

      I’m pregnant with number two right now. It was really not bad with number one, even though things didn’t go the way I intended. He was super late, so they ended up inducing me, and eventually I asked for the meds because it took about 36 hours and I needed sleep. But once I had the meds, I slept, and woke up feeling great, and only pushed for about 20 minutes. Needed two stitches and the doctor debated whether it was worth bothering with them.

      I was just reading something about eating dried dates during the last month having very beneficial effects on labor and delivery. There was an actual clinical study. It may be utter bunk, but I like dates and they’re harmless, so I think I’m going to try it.

      1. Kj

        I read the date studies too and I actually am planning on doing this. There is some good evidence for it, not conclusive, but eating dates isn’t harmful for sure. Most of the studies have not appeared in english, but I read an article that had read a translation and they seemed pretty legit.

    17. Thlayli

      I heartily recommend one born every minute. It’s a british tv show that shows two births an episode. The majority of births are pretty uneventful. Will make you feel better.

      I had two relatively easy pregnancies and two relatively easy births. I recommend perineal massage. I did it and didn’t have any tears. My first birth my waters broke at 7am and I was contracting painlessly till about 12 noon. Baby was born by 7pm. Second birth they induced me at 10 pm and baby was born by 1:05 am. No epidural for either I was up walking and had a shower within an hour of each. No rips or tears or stitches.

      1. LilySparrow

        Yes, a great part of not having to have the epidural is being able to eat and shower almost immediately.
        I didn’t get breakfast the day of, because of the induction – only clear liquids. That sucked and I was HANGRY. Immediately after the birth, my wonderful husband brought me the biggest, greasiest, burger he could find. It tasted sooooooo good.

    18. Becky

      Oldest sister has 5 kids–none of the pregnancies had really much of anything out of the ordinary and no issues with labor or delivery. Three of them were even born on their due dates. I think she and her husband have decided to not have any more.

      Next oldest sister-pregnancy with her first kid was barely detectable–at 41 weeks she barely looked pregnant. She had to be induced because her body just did not seem to want to go into labor, but there were not any other complications. Her second delivery had some complications that resulted in an emergency c-section, but she actually recovered faster from that than the natural delivery of the first. Baby had no issues and went home within a normal amount of time.

    19. Clever Name

      Let’s see, I got pregnant 5 months after going off the pill. Had the normal morning sickness. Went into labor 3 days after my due date, and even though it was a long labor, I did not use an epidural and had my son vaginally.

      1. Clever Name

        Oh yeah, I did end up with an episiotomy, but I swear I didn’t feel it when they did it, and I didn’t feel the stitches either. Healing was easy and I really didn’t have much pain.

    20. The New Wanderer

      Not bad at all. My first was induced after 10 days past the due date (she was already a big baby). The induction failed so I had an unplanned C-section, but the baby was fine and the hospital stay and recovery went just fine. I had been worried about the delivery (epidural all the way) so ending up with a C-section was kind of a relief in some ways.

      My second was a planned C-section – the trade-off that time was that I was no longer nervous about natural childbirth, but I had more time to be nervous about the surgery and I was aware of a LOT more that time around because I was wide awake. Another healthy baby, hospital stay was great, and recovery was just fine again. That was over four years ago and my scar is basically gone.

    21. Traveling Teacher

      Honestly, I feel like knowledge is power in this situation (I’m preparing for my second pregnancy right now, in full preg-prep mode!)

      I was able to take a series of free birthing classes (yay for Europe!), and I loved my midwife’s perspective on the whole thing: prepare to have a healthy, non-eventful birth, but if something doesn’t go according to plan, that’s what doctors and hospitals are for! You don’t have to know everything, you just have to focus on your baby–that’s why all the lovely people helping you went to med school! (I’m talking about fully certified 3 and 5 year degree nurse midwives, in a hospital setting, with OBs standing by in case of anything going awry, like on Call the Midwife, but always in a hospital or clinic setting).

      Also, my midwife compared birth to running a marathon, which I personally found to be an excellent metaphor: you train for months, the beginning of the race is alright, the middle is okay, then you hit the seventeenth mile where you go well, I’d like to die about now please thanks!, and then it’s the end and you’re euphoric and so glad you did it! And then the pain sets in a little bit later, but you’re still glad you did it!

      Are you a singer/musician or athlete? Practicing my breathing helped me immensely, as corny as it sounds. If it’s helpful for you: put one hand on your stomach, the other on your chest. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm–the hand on your stomach should be the only one that moves. If the hand on your chest moves, try again! Then, once you’ve got it, breathe in deep deep deep and hold it in for around 5-10 seconds, then exhale and push push push all the air out. Then repeat 10 times. Very very helpful for me when I was in the midst of the contractions–they’re not constant, they come in waves, so I just breathed through each wave and then rested as things ramped up.

      My mom had three fantasy unicorn pregnancies–no morning sickness, “easy” labor, and no problem breastfeeding, so it is possible. Mine wasn’t quite like that, but quite “normal”, and everything turned out ok in the end, despite a last-minute C-section when baby was in distress. I hated it initially, but I followed all of the medical advice to the letter, and I am 100 percent OK now and fine with having had a section–that means that the medical people knew what they were doing and that my daughter and I are both alive and perfectly healthy (also, no NICU time, just a longer but totally survivable recovery!

      1. LilySparrow

        I forgot how to do push-breathing for #2? I kept trying to hold/push on each breath instead of taking cleansing breaths in between. Popped a bunch of capillaries in my face, but it didn’t hurt and cleared up quickly. I felt so silly because I’d done it perfectly fine before.

        The whole “coaching” thing really is important! You can’t really think straight or follow instructions well when you have all that going on downstairs.

        1. Traveling Teacher

          Oh yes, totally important to not go through it alone. Birth is “natural”, I guess, but it’s also super-terrifying!

          That’s good to know about the breathing/capillaries–glad yours cleared up swiftly!

          1. LilySparrow

            Well, emotional support is important, of course, but I meant specifically in the moment coaching by someone who knows what they’re doing.
            My poor midwife & husband were telling me exactly the right thing, but I just couldn’t understand what they were saying. Afterward, it was more funny than anything, because Baby looked all perfect, no pointy head or squish-face, and I was the one who looked all red and blobby.

    22. Merci Dee

      Yep, pretty uneventful birth. Started having some contractions the day before I was scheduled to be induced. Went to the hospital, got an epidural. The meds were fabulous. I did develop a hot spot while waiting to start active labor, but no biggie – they gave me a little more pain meds through the IV, and it was gone in just a few minutes. The nurses had to help me scoot down and get in position because the extra meds made my legs a little numb, but it didn’t affect the delivery. They helped me get in place at 12:25; I pushed through 3 counts of 10, and then had to stop half-way through the fourth count because kiddo was =there=, and my doc was filling out paperwork at the nurse’s station because he swore it would take about 6 hours for labor since this was my first. He zoomed into the door while shoving his hands into rubber gloves, and that was that. Laughed as he told me this birth was more like catching a football than delivering a baby.

      He was a great and thoughtful doctor, though …. He immediately sent one of the nurses out to the waiting area to talk to my dad. My doc and dad left the delivery room together about 10 minutes before; the doc to fill out the papers, and my dad to “get out of the way” in his words. The doc had told my dad that things were going to be slow, and it would take several hours. Then, a few minutes later, the nurse yells out that they need the doc, and he goes running into the delivery room … they both thought something had gone wrong at first, and didn’t cross their minds that kiddo was just really ready to be born. But the doc realized my dad would be in a panic in the waiting area, so sent someone out to reassure him that everything was fine, and his newest granddaughter arrived much sooner than expected!

    23. SAHM

      Well, I just had my fourth 3 weeks (4 weeks on weds!) ago. It was probably my easiest delivery and ended my pregnancy days on a happy note. She’s cuddled up nursing right now and is an especially good baby. 8lbs 14oz so her elder sister wins for smallest baby at 7lbs 7 oz, and I was pleased bc I didn’t have another 10lb baby! I had an epidural for 3 of the 4 (my third one I tried to be awesome and not get an epidural, I’m going on record to say that was stupid.) and Pitocin for 3 of the four as well, first time it made me ill, second and third time I had no issue with it. Go figure. Each pregnancy is different, each delivery is different, and each baby was perfect and 100% worth it!

    24. Lirael

      Labor and delivery went about as well as I could’ve hoped! The first five months of pregnancy were really, really awful, but delivery was just fine. I was so ready to be done being pregnant that I scheduled an induction the day after my due date. Went in, got pitocin started, then as soon as they let me, I got the epidural, so I felt almost no pain. Honestly, until the actual delivery part, being in labor with an epidural was the most comfortable I’d been my whole pregnancy. I napped! Delivery was over really quickly – maybe five minutes after 10 hours or so of labor. It was kind of a weird transition: I went from practically napping to being told the baby’s almost here, time to push. I was sore for about two weeks after, and very glad to have some help, but it was totally doable.

      My baby just turned three and she’s totally happy and healthy. Figuring out breastfeeding was a little stressful – we did settle in after about a week, but I wish someone had told me it would be fine if I did a little formula supplementation. The way people were talking to me, it sounded like if I gave her any formula, she’d never breastfeed again, and that just wasn’t true, at least for my little one.

      Good luck! You’ve got this!

    25. Brunch with Sylvia

      3 quick and fairly easy labors (1-4 hours after reaching the hospital), no epidural needed but I did have an episiotomy after my first. Not a big deal. I did find breastfeeding challenging for the first month with my first—didn’t feel competent and felt that the experts were judgey.
      FWIW I think your instinct to gain a different perspective is important. Wishing you the best!

    26. Rovannen

      Four children, vaginal births, longest labor was 5 1/2 hours from start to finish, shortest one was 30 minutes. All healthy. I went home from the hospital 6 hours after #4. I was one of those women who got a serious adrenaline surge postpartum (exact opposite of postpartum depression), didn’t come down for months, it was great. And yes to the epidural.

    27. LilySparrow

      I had 2 normal, full-term births. Both were over the age of 35. I delivered in the hospital but with a midwife, no epidural.
      With the first I was induced because she was hanging on a bit late. 7 hours of active labor, and I used self-hypnosis for pain management. I did ask for a shot of demerol right before pushing. She spent a half-hour or so in the “warmer” and was back with me before I left the labor room. 6.5 lbs and perfect.

      With #2, I called my midwife the evening before my due date and told her I was having fairly regular contractions about 10 mins apart, but I wasn’t sure when she wanted me to come in, because I hadn’t labored at home before.

      She said, “Drink a glass of wine and go to bed, call me at 8am or earlier if anything changes.”
      I woke up with serious contractions around 2:30, but they were over 5 mins apart so I took a shower because I knew it might be a while before I got one. That really got things moving, and by the time I got out I was a bit worried we were cutting it close.
      We got to the hospital around 4am and she was born about 7am.
      L&D nurses are a skeptical crew, by the way. They always assume you’re a moron having Braxton-Hicks. The one who checked me in with #2 was rolling her eyes when she told me to put on a gown so she could run a 10-minute monitor.
      “Hang on,” I said. I leaned on the table to get through a contraction, and my water spectacularly broke all over her feet. I wish I had a picture of her face.
      Baby was 9.5 lbs and born hungry – they handed her right to me and she latched on immediately.

      It’s not like I’d recommend labor as a fun vacation activity, or anything, but I was very blessed with positive, healthy experiences. I think the best thing I got out of the hypnosis and natural childbirth prep for #1 was a realistic view. There’s going to be some pain. There’s going to be some nakedness, and some blood, some unattractive and unladylike behavior, and quite possibly some poop. I think when you get your head around the idea that these otherwise scary things (blood, pain, yelling, etc) are not bad or scary in this context, it really helps you stay relaxed. And relaxation benefits the process.

      Good luck to you, and I hope you have an easy time of it!

    28. Amy

      Yes! Getting pregnant was the hardest part (IVF baby). After that it was smooooth sailing. Easy pregnancy, lots of sweet baby kicks, no scares. I loved being pregnant.

      The night I went into labor, just shy of 39 weeks, I noticed my mucus plug come out around midnight when I got up to pee. I went back to bed and the next day my husband and I strolled around town, chatted, and went to our favorite cafe while I had period-cramp-like contractions. I took an afternoon nap, then woke up to go see a movie with my husband, but the contractions were getting stronger and closer together so we went to the hospital and had a baby instead. :)

      Really, though, the contractions were totally manageable. I got the hospital and was dilated 4 cm. I got a “walking” (light) epidural so that the pain wasn’t bad but I could still feel the pressure. Within a few hours I was fully dilated, which was crazy fast but surprisingly not uncomfortable. I “labored down,” which is the best trick in the book if you can manage it (basically, as long as the baby is stable, you hold off on pushing as long as you don’t feel a strong urge to, and the baby descends on his/her own while you watch Netflix with a peanut ball between your knees). When they checked me around 7:30am the baby was already in the birth canal so they had me push. I pushed for about 20 minutes and she came out. She had her arms and legs folded up like a little potato which made it a bit harder to push her out, but thanks to the epidural it wasn’t that bad. All together it was about 32 hours from mucus plug coming out to baby coming out, and the vast majority of that time I was relaxed and not painful.

      She’s almost two now and she’s awesome. She’s a champion sleeper (and always has been) which makes a world of difference. We’re thinking about having another and I’ve been warned that based on how fast I dilated the first time, I need to go to the hospital pronto the next time!

      I never tell people how chill my pregnancy and delivery were because people who had a tough time don’t want to hear it. But I hope it helps you! You’ll do great. :)

    29. Jemima Bond

      My friend’s first baby:
      Saturday evening: Friend thinks the baby might be coming. Speaks to hospital who say don’t come in you’ll be ages yet.
      Early Sunday morning: wakes up now sure that baby is on way. Has cup of tea, goes to hospital
      Later Sunday morning: Has baby. All is fine.
      Sunday late afternoon: Comes home with baby. Friend’s husband (present throughout): “We were there and back so quickly I felt like we’d stolen it!”
      (They had not stolen the baby).

    30. neverjaunty

      *waves*

      I would give these people a very keen look and say “why are you telling me this?”

      1. LilySparrow

        Yes, indeed. Everybody needs to work out their traumas, but they’re not entitled to work them out on you.

    31. Kj

      Thank you all! This was really reassuring. I know 99% of women have fairly normal births, but the stories people tell you are all insane. I love reading regular stories. I’m preparing for birth by taking classes and reading everything I can. I’m not going to be upset if I need medical intervention, although I’d like it to be as natural as it can. My husband has a giant head and I’m small, so I do worry a little about that, but I know in the end, most women deliver just fine. Thanks for all the reassuring stories!

    32. Observer

      6 healthy kids, one semi-horror story delivery, but still healthy baby and I recovered quite nicely once I ran into a resident who realized that I needed some pain relief. Once I was able to sleep, things started improving quite nicely.

      Knowledge is you friend. Get up to date on what is ACTUALLY normal – a lot of practitioners are still using outdated guidelines which can be problematic and unnecessarily frightening.

    33. Mrs. Fenris

      My coworker had her baby 3 weeks ago. She felt fine throughout pregnancy, looked great, water broke on her way to work a week before her due date. 6 hours of labor, pushed twice. Baby is healthy, eats every 3 hours, she looks fantastic.

      I had a very easy pregnancy with my first, a few issues with my second. C sections with both, but as someone noted above, it wasn’t “OMG get the baby out now!” just more “ok, this problem isn’t going away, we need to do this.” Babies were both reasonably good sleepers and we all did fine. I lost the weight in 4 months with the first and more like a year with the second.

    34. FutureLibrarianNoMore

      I don’t know anyone who has had anything other than a pretty typical delivery. Sure, there was usually something with each that was not “perfect” (a friend tore, but it wasn’t unexpected…her babies have giant heads) (another person had to have C-sections instead of natural birth), but that’s pretty typical for babies. Nothing terrifying, and none of them would describe them as horrible or terrifying!

      A friend did have a baby in the NICU, but it was for a genetic condition they were well aware of, and I think she was there for just a day or two at most for monitoring. Her birth was totally normal, and she was fine.

  34. Also a DC person

    Any recommendations for treating vertigo?

    I’m having my second episode of vertigo since my first one in college (for some reason, I developed it younger than most vertigo patients.) I’ve been feeling dizzy/imbalanced/lightheaded for 6 weeks now. I’m waiting to be referred to an ENT specialist and have been trying the Epley maneuver at home in the meanwhile, though it’s not really working. So far, I have seen the general practitioner two times, but I she doesn’t specialize in vertigo so I’m waiting to see what the ENT specialist says. My episode in college was never technically diagnosed as vertigo, but I did do a bunch of other tests, including an MRI, to rule out more serious causes.

      1. Mickey Q

        I went to a physical therapist who did a different maneuver because she said it was a different ear canal that was out of whack than the standard one. All it took was one session and I’m a new person. She said it could come back but it hasn’t.

        I wish I would have avoided the standard doctors and went straight to the therapist. I had to suffer for 4 years and it wasn’t until I had a car accident and they sent me to the therapist that I got any relief.

    1. Green Kangaroo

      Make sure you’re hydrated. A friend of mine has identified dehydration as a contributor for her symptoms. She’s also had a lot of success with chiropractic and acupuncture.

      1. Also a DC person

        Definitely hydrated! We can rule out any nutritional causes as I got blood tests done. It’s most likely BPPV, though I am waiting for an official diagnosis from the ENT.

    2. fposte

      I’ve had that periodically, though never as bad after the first bout. I found it veeery slowly went away on its own and on the way I got better about dealing with/rolling with the symptoms.

    3. Allergic to Life

      My old boss did physical therapy for vertigo and raved about it. I am not sure how one goes about finding a pt who specializes in this, but she had good results.

      1. AnonyAnony

        I was successfully treated for vertigo with PT. I was given the name of a therapist by a doctor’s office that I was seeing for something completely unrelated; during the health history I mentioned the vertigo and was asked if I’d tried PT. I would think calling a PT center and asking if they have therapists that treat vertigo could be helpful. I had significant relief in one visit, but that may depend on the cause of the vertigo.

    4. blaise zamboni

      I recommend trying out physical therapy! Call your GP and ask for a referral to a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular disorders. Their office should have a bank of providers and the insurances they accept, so they can send you in the right direction.

    5. Kuododi

      My Dad went through the specialized PT for vertigo and found it very helpful. I did fine with a Scopolamine patch however my vertigo was milder. Good luck!!!

    6. Not So NewReader

      I thought I would never get a handle on mine.
      I don’t have great balance when I am not in vertigo so I had the additional wrinkle of figuring out how much was going on with the vertigo.

      Several things:
      I saw a chiro for some adjustments, this helped a lot.
      I learned breathing exercises and I learned to look UP. Looking up, as opposed to staring at my shoes, actually broke the intense vertigo and panic that came with it.
      I was dehydrated. I learned to drink water. Even now if it starts to come back, I know my water intake is low again.
      The clincher, the last thing that nailed it for me is eliminating gluten from my diet. I said, “No, I don’t have a problem with gluten.” But I quit gluten for a while and I noticed an immediate difference.

      These few sentences here took me decades to figure out. My best advice is try one thing at a time so you know how much result you are getting and if it helps at all. And keep trying things until you find what works for you. Granted my story covers decades but I was doing much better after a couple years. I pushed hard to eliminate this from my life because those previous years were a nightmare. I now see that once the vertigo starts we never quite get rid of it, but it does not have to dominate our thoughts and our life style.

    7. Thlayli

      I know someone why figured out that milk and dairy was causing the episodes – she cut out dairy entirely and hasn’t had an episode since

    8. Basia, also a Fed

      As others have suggested, you should try physical therapy. I’ve twice had vertigo so bad that I couldn’t drive, because I couldn’t turn my head. The PT was difficult – I almost threw up multiple times during it, but it was magical. Each time it was like a switch was flipped – I was 100% better by the end of one session. My doctor referred me to a physical therapist.

    9. Vertigo Sucks

      I use meclyzine for my bouts of vertigo. Ask your dr about using it if the head maneuver doesnt help.

      It’s non-drowsy dramamine and is sold over the counter. Drs also prescribe it for vertigo, but it tends to cost more that way.

      1. Circus peanuts

        Seconding this. Also, why do drugstores choose to always stock it on the bottom shelf? Where you have to bend down while you are dizzy to get that???

        I have Menieres disease so it also helped to give up alcohol and caffeine. I noticed my bad episodes always came after having those so monitor what you are eating and drinking and see if there is a pattern.

    10. Cambridge Comma

      I’m also a young vertigo patient and was originally misdiagnosed with benign positional vertigo, but the Epley manoeuver never worked for me. After three years of getting it the day hayfever season started, I figured it was related to that at least partially. I also have it as a migraine symptom though (sometimes not at the same time as the headache so it took me a while to spot).
      I never found a medication that works so I would suggest noting things that could be triggers and trying to find a connection.
      Have your hearing tested, though, in case it’s Ménière’s disease.

    11. Denise

      Physical therapy can make a big difference! Your primary care doctor ought to be able to refer you directly right now though they may have to hunt a bit to figure out which therapists in your are do it.

    12. A Nonny Mouse

      I had a horrible two month bout with vertigo last summer that put me out of commission – it was triggered by reading, by driving, almost anything really. Turns out it was a worsening of Ménière’s disease. Meclizine helped but made me so sleepy I couldn’t function. I cut out salt and caffeine and it was better within days. The ENT said to cut out alcohol, but I had already stopped that due to medication for another condition.

  35. Anna

    Yay! London finally getting another batch of sunny GORGEOUS weather, and just in time for the long weekend! So very happy about this! Thank you beautiful city! I forgive you for the last two weeks of cold and rain (for now lol).

    (This time last year I was too busy studying for my final exams to enjoy either a long weekend or nice weather, that whole period of time is a bit of a blur TBH. Right now I’m in a cafe and there are students all around me doing the same thing I was a year ago, I feel a weird sense of enjoyment. I think I may be a sadist.)

    BTW, anyone visiting London for the first time make sure you put Borough Market on your must-visit list! And be sure to go early (they’re open from 10am on weekdays and 8am on Sat, closed on Sun) before it gets majorly crowded because wandering through those food stalls is sheer delight. Just be warned you’ll probably end up eating way too much (or buying way too much food lol) because damn everything smells so good. Was very proud of myself for walking away from stand selling the rosemary/garlic roast potatoes (even though I’m still thinking about them now, more than 6 hours later, and planning my next trip around those potatoes).

    1. NYC Redhead

      Thanks for the advice! I’ll be in London in September & will try and schedule this. Is it mostly prepared food to bring home, or things to eat there? Are Saturdays better than weekdays?

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Its insane all the time – but I would argue a weekday is a bit easier. Mostly eat-there stalls, but there are some shops where you can take home (anything like spices, vinegars, etc). Unfortunately lot of the sausage and cheese you can’t take back into the US.

        Essentially – go to see it and as a good place to stop for lunch. If you find the cider stand, go down the little corridor next to it and you will come to a seating area where its nice to sit and eat, rather than standing around.

  36. Just Allison

    I have a fashion related question, how do we feel about work shorts. like 9in-5in dress shorts? It gets hot and I would like to wear shorts, they are the same length as skirts just with more mobility. Any thoughts on this?

    1. Temperance

      I firmly believe that formal shorts are Not A Thing. Why not just wear skirts?

        1. Temperance

          Sure, but you don’t need “more mobility” at work. Unless you’re Dwight Schrute.

          1. fposte

            There are plenty of work situations where skirts aren’t in sync with the kind of moving around you have to do, though.

          2. Just Allison

            So I work in the finance department at an auto dealership, so Im up and down all day long and just feel more comfortable in pants or shorts. Also I happen to be 5’1 so hoping out of cars can be a bit cumbersome in skirts and dresses

          3. Pet sitter

            Depends on the job.

            I don’t wear shorts or skirts often because I don’t love scratches on my thighs from jumping dogs, but anyway. Shorts are a better option than skirts if you need to move around.

      1. Pollygrammer

        I would look at lightweight, wide-leg gauchos or culottes. To me, shorts are just 100% incompatible with work.

        1. Just Allison

          I tried them on at the store but being vertically challenged (5’1) I felt like they made me look like a tiny potato.

          1. Merci Dee

            It might be worth it to find a service in your area that does good alterations. I, too, have problems with the length of new pants; I’m an average height, but even petite length pants can look like pants + socks on me. I found a great local service that hems my pants – from work pants on down to jeans – for $8 a pair. Not at all expensive, and then I’ve got pants I can wear for years!

      2. Kat

        They are a thing, though. They’re available to buy. Also, skirt isn’t the same as shorts.

    2. Middle School Teacher

      I think it depends on what for? If they’re just for hanging out, no problem. If for work, I think it really depends on your dress code. I wear longer, like Bermuda-length shorts to work in June quite a lot.

      For me skirts need to have little shorts anyway because I have the dreaded thigh rub :(

      1. Just Allison

        Our office is split with the admin/office girls upstairs and the handful of girls that work downstairs in sales, customer service, finance. Most of the girls upstairs Ive seen wear Bermuda length (9in) shorts, but I havent seen any of the downstairs girls where them so Im not sure whats allowed.

            1. Julia

              In this case, though, it does matter. Girls, especially little ones, will get away with wearing shorts to places that adult women don’t.

              1. LilySparrow

                Really? You found it confusing because you know a lot of little girls working full-time office jobs? Come on.

                1. Julia

                  We don’t know if they’re full-time jobs. “Office girls” could be high school apprentices – I actually had a friend in high school who did just that. Incidentally, she also wore shorts to work, something I have never seen an adult woman do.

                  Using “girls” when one means “women” IS confusing. Come on.

          1. Just Allison

            So all the women that work here range from 18-45 but the majority are 18-25. Unfortunately it seems I’ve picked up on our “office lingo” since we are a male dominated field every single person here refers to us as “girls” office girls, sales girls,finance girls, service girls…(Maybe this is an issue I didn’t even think of addressing?) even thought we are all grown women. I am 28 so older than most of the women that I’ve seen where shorts at work but again they are 9in shorts so more like Bermuda length, they aren’t casual shorts they are nice dressy looking shorts.

    3. Anona

      I’ve seen some people wear them with hose to up the formality, though I don’t love that look, they strike me as more informal than I’d be comfortable for work, but it depends on your office culture.
      But a quick Google sheets me that sometimes they can look ok, it just really depends on accessories. It’s not necessarily fair, but shorts read as inherently informal, so I feel like the other parts of the outfit just need extra thought.

    4. Green Kangaroo

      I love the Betabrand skirt styles that have built-in shorts. They look professional (although on the more casual end of the spectrum) but have the feeling of shorts. I can’t remember to sit in a ladylike fashion so these styles prevent me from showing my dainties to the world.

      1. Just Allison

        Just looked them up! They look like a nice middle solution to my skirt problem.

    5. Kat

      I think they’re fine as long as they look professional (e.g black rather than Hawaiian print!). I’m thinking of getting some too. With a nice white shirt they’d look good, but I’m not tall so I’ll need to find the right length for me.

      Skirts are a pain in the summer unless they’re floaty, which isn’t always suitable for work, so I’m with you. Whatever makes you more comfy!

    6. Taylor Swift

      Obviously know your office, but I think in the majority of workplaces they would look really weird and out of place.

  37. Bibliovore

    Work/Life Balance
    Did the grocery shopping.
    Cleaned the kitchen
    Hard boiling eggs in the Instant Pot for the week.
    Going to the movies and out to dinner

      1. Cat Person

        I have had some in the fridge for at least week, and they are okay. Will use the last ones tomorrow.

        1. Bibliovore

          I keep them for the week. I do about 10 at a time. Mr. Bibliovore eats them too. Sometimes I have them for breakfast. Sometimes halved in miso soup. sometime sliced in a salad for lunch

    1. nep

      Worked today 630-1230 — going to exercise for a while…looking forward to reading my book much of the day.

    2. Handy nickname

      Sounds really nice!

      I got up and threw my sheets in the washer this morning while I took a shower and cleaned out the fridge and freezer. Then I stopped by work (I do inventory management for a retail store) to do a couple 5-minute jobs to make Monday easier and chatted with a few work buddies. Returned some curtains that didn’t work on my windows, and used the money to buy tacos and an hour of shooting an an archery range (SUPER FUN). And then tonight, I went to my family’s house for brats and a really fun concert my youngest brother was playing piano in.

      First day off in a while that actually felt productive and relaxing, and I really enjoyed it.

      1. Bibliovore

        I don’t want to get cocky but…
        This weekend so far:
        Did a bit of anti-cluttering, saw a movie, bathed the dog, bought her a new harness, hardboiled eggs, cooked 3 meals, read a book, and slept until 8:30 am!
        Today- read the AAM Friday Thread. Read three Sunday papers, made BLT salad for lunch
        Will comb out the dog while watching listening to This American Life podcast.
        going to make dog food, do some laundry .
        Make cold soba noodles with dipping broth for dinner
        Do a small thing for “the thing that shall not be named” at around 7 while I watch television. Huge fan of Madame Secretary.

  38. Story ideas

    I’m about to start writing a new story, and I’m in the idea gathering phase. What are some things that could go wrong in the week leading up to a destination wedding?

    1. Free Meerkats

      The only airline serving the destination (let’s say, for example, Air France – not that they ever strike…) threatens to strike. But it’s not for sure, and there’s no timeline in if or when it will happen.

      Stealing from Big Bang Theory, pinkeye.

      The bride goes to the dress store to pick up her dress, it’s closed for no reason. No note on the door, nobody answers the phone, nothing on social media; just closed.

      Fire, Famine, Flood!

      1. Free Meerkats

        Thought of this while out shopping.

        Bridal party goes to the dress shop, only it’s now not a dress shop, never has been a dress shop. It’s something like a dusty old book shop that’s been in this location for decades.

        Yeah, it’s an old trope.

    2. Newtothisgame

      Volcanic ash cloud causing travel issues?
      Visa problems cropping up.
      Unseasonable weather
      Key member of the party gets locked up for breaking an obscure (or just different) law in the country they’re visiting?

    3. Middle School Teacher

      Bridal party does up to resort, no record of reservation and resort is full. Only place that can accommodate on short notice is new and kind of scrappy, a la Best Marigold Hotel.

      Or similarly, bridal party arrives at resort and it is definitely not as advertised.

    4. Not So NewReader

      Major protests in Destination City because of Horrible Thing. This works if you are writing something heavy/serious.

      Destination City has a name very similar to Other City. While no one else is confused by this, the groom however is confused and buys tickets to Other City for the happy couple.

      There is a rare archaeological find in Destination City. The place becomes flooded with reporters, scientists and curiosity seekers.

    5. The New Wanderer

      Not getting the license before the ceremony (this almost happened to us when the office was unexpectedly closed because a terrible accident prevented traffic from getting through on the only road in/out of town for 6 hours and no one made it to work).

      Flight delays or lost or stolen luggage

      Issues with any of the services (musician, photographer, flowers, caterer, cake, location, coordinator, hotel/rentals)

      Impending hurricane and no backup plan

      Location-induced illness (travelers’ tummy, insect bites that go wrong, food poisoning)

      For beach-based weddings, in a number of locations the beaches are open to the public/not reservable, so you can’t prevent swimsuit clad onlookers from walking around in the background or coming to watch or photo-bombing the proceedings.

    6. ..Kat..

      The groom has an active case of syphilus.

      The destination has an outbreak of scary new disease.

    7. Traveling Teacher

      Online ordering! Order wedding gown (or other important thing) online and the wrong dress arrives (Etsy miscommunication, clicked on the “hot pink” button while ordering…), or it’s totally damaged, or it just never shows…and there is no backup plan.

      The ringbearer eats the rings during the rehearsal–kid likes candy!

    8. Photographer

      I had one bride forget to schedule the groom’s ticket to the destination (they arrived on different days, but left on the same day). Small potatoes compared to an outbreak, but still a huge moment of panic.

      One wedding I photographed in Mexico had a large, hairy German tourist in a speedo swim up to the beach behind where the ceremony was going on and just loll around on the ground like a seal. I definitely took some photos of him for posterity before the resort security asked him to move along.

      Also, in general, resort weddings like that are not as remote as they make them seem in the photos. Just 10 feet away from the ceremony was a huge crowd of tourists gawking and taking their own photos.

      I’m always paranoid about my gear getting stolen, so maybe the photographer’s equipment goes missing and he tries to cover it up while using an iPhone?

    9. Aealias

      Party member didn’t get their travel shots.

      Natural disaster at destination.

      Resort disaster: chef quits, minor fire, shutdown due to national holiday, sudden dry-county status.

      Bridesmaid runs away with local surfing instructor or similar.

    10. Dirty Minded

      The destination turns out to be a nudist resort for swingers. And there’s a sunscreen shortage.

    11. Detached Elemental

      A member of the bridal party is hospitalised with something that might make them unable to fly/travel, eg suspected appendicitis.

      A sudden legislative l change in the destination country means the wedding will no longer be legal.

      The wedding venue is accidentally double booked with something hideously offensive.

    12. mreasy

      The restaurant where the rehearsal dinner has been booked for 6 months could suddenly go out of business a week before the wedding. (Ask me where I got that idea…)

    13. Another person

      Ooh, one of my dad’s friends went surfing the morning of his wedding and got stung by a stingray. He was almost late to his own wedding because of it and I think showed up in shorts because his legs was so swollen, but luckily it was a beach wedding so it wasn’t too bad casual-level ness.

    14. DDJ

      The couple start to get really fixated on trivial things that ultimately don’t matter all that much, and forget about big-picture stuff.

      IE: the couple wanted to get personalized shot glasses for everyone and the colour of them is slightly off what they thought it would be, it is the END OF THE WORLD. But they completely forgot to schedule the beach for their wedding, and now the only place available is the gazebo, and the groom absolutely hates gazebos (for A Reason).

      Someone important (parent of the couple, bridesmaid/groomsman OR bride or groom) forgot that their passport was almost expired. Or just recently expired.

      Bridesmaid dresses or groomsman tie/vest/pocket squares show up in the absolute WRONG colour. Like, you ordered grey, but they’re brown. Or you ordered purple, but they’re maroon.

  39. Newtothisgame

    Anybody got any tips for using Tinder? I joined on a whim the other day as I thought it might be a bit of fun but I’m constantly worrying myself about whether I’m breaking any sort of etiquette! (I’m female if that makes any difference)
    Also any suggested ways to say ‘no I don’t want to exchange numbers after 3 messages’ without sounding too blunt? I’m happy to keep chatting but on the app.

    Thank you :)

    1. Effie, who is pondering

      Just say that! “I’m happy to keep chatting through the app! [I don’t give out my number until after meeting in person]* Thanks for understanding!”

      *This part is optional, since it could lead to the other person pressuring you to meet up.

      If they get aggressive about you not giving your number out, block block block and move on. Life is too short to spend time with people unaware/uncaring about others’ boundaries.

    2. Anona

      I’ve never used tinder, but what about something like “I’m enjoying getting to know you through tinder. I’m not quite ready to move to phone, but I’d like to keep chatting here.”

      And then when you’re ready, share your number, since it will be more in your hands at that point.

    3. VIT (Scotland)

      Be picky! Be super picky!

      Full disclosure – I was only on Tinder for about two weeks (my first date ended up being extremely successful) but I never had anyone be inappropriate or jerky to me in messages at all, I had a really positive experience and I think it was because I swiped right very selectively. I was also pretty upfront on my profile with what I was looking for (not a random hookup) and I only matched with people who seemed to want the same thing. I know I’m suspiciously lucky but seriously I think online dating is so great because it gives you a chance to say ‘hey I’m looking for this’ and see if you can find someone who wants the same thing.

      Good luck!
      – Someone celebrating two years in a really really good relationship :)

    4. zora

      My tips:
      – Be super honest up front. The first sentence in my profile was something like: “I am looking for a serious relationship.” And I had almost no guys being all ‘wanna bang?’ and wasting my time. Whatever you are looking for, put it right up front.
      – Don’t worry about breaking etiquette!! Take control and make it work for you. I personally proposed in person meetups for people I was clicking with, because I don’t find too much back and forth is helpful. But also, if a guy was annoying me or freaking me out, I just ‘unmatched’ immediately, with no announcement. The benefit to me of Tinder is that I had a lot more control of the situation, and if you unmatch someone they can’t talk to you anymore. Also, the risk is too high of getting a frightening freak out from a guy if you try to ‘let them down easy.’ Just unmatch and move on to someone else, that’s what the men are doing!
      – Decide on your own ‘top rules.’ I found Tinder a little overwhelming with so many people and I am indecisive. So, I had some rules like
      –“If every picture is a bathroom selfie, swipe left. (He should have at least 1 pic that shows that he interacts with other humans in the world)”
      –“If there is no text at all, swipe left”
      –“If he makes it clear he’s looking for hookups, swipe left”
      That really helped me narrow down my choices. When I first started I realized I was swiping right on almost everyone and then I was too overwhelmed. Online dating is really a numbers gamed (actually, I think all dating is, but that’s just me)

      And for encouragement: I never went on a *bad* date on tinder, every guy was nice and fun even if I knew I wasn’t super interested in them. And I met my boyfriend, we knew we were both into it on the first date, and we’ve been together for 2.5 years! Good luck, I hope you find exactly what you want!!

      1. LaurenB

        And for encouragement: I never went on a *bad* date on tinder, every guy was nice and fun even if I knew I wasn’t super interested in them. And I met my boyfriend, we knew we were both into it on the first date, and we’ve been together for 2.5 years! Good luck, I hope you find exactly what you want!!

        Seconding this! I feel like the internet is full of such terrible horror stories that people expect that online dating will be years of misery that, if you’re a woman, you’re lucky to make it out of alive, possibly redeemed by finding the love of your life. I have met a lot of nice men and the last time I posted a dating profile, I replied to about five guys, met the first one who asked me out a week later, and we’ve been together a year and a half. It CAN be easy, too. (It might not be, but I’m just saying that it’s not a given.)

    5. Clever Name

      I got a google voice number for this. A friend also pointed out that you can block numbers on your iPhone if necessary. And I know this sounds dumb and obvious, but don’t meet with someone who you don’t think is at least cute in their photo. I’m recently divorced after getting married really young. I went on a date with a really nice guy, but there was no attraction on my side at all. The most recent guy I dated I was instantly attracted to his photo, and I was even more attracted to him in person. I was surprised.

    6. Felix

      Female tinder user here. I have tons of advice. I’ve been on something ridiculous like 18 first dates in the last three months. And maybe 15 second/third dates. Met someone recently that I want to focus on exclusively

      Sometimes ppl want to exchange #’s early on bc Tinder uses data. Also, sometimes the app can crash and you can loose all your matches (this happened to me). I use this other app called “kik” which is basically like “what’s app” free texting, but you can find ppl via user name instead of phone number. I often transitioned there and then only gave out my # after meeting someone in real life that I was still interested in. Some guys will be like “‘nah I don’t want another app” but most are more than willing to make you feel comfortable.

      I also have a “safe date” policy. I let a friend know where/when I will be when meeting someone new with a planned check in time (usually 1-1.5 hours in, If we change locations and then again when I get home). I also send them the guys photo and his name. This has worked SO well, it’s great to gauge a guys reaction when I say something like “hang on a sec, I just need to do a quick check in with a friend” the good ones will say something like “that’s such a great idea! I should do that too.” I typically keep this up for the first 3-4 dates or until I feel like I know them well enough. Friends seem to appreciate this too, and get less worried about the online dating thing when they are kept in the loop. Try to have a couple friends to rotate through so you aren’t burdening just one if you are planning on doing a bunch of dating!

      I’m all about safety so some of my other policies are: don’t go in cars until you’ve been on at least 3-4 dates, stay in public places for the first couple of dates, have fun!

      I also found a lot of great advice watching Matthew Hussey’s dating videos on YouTube. I would say his advice really turned my experience around and I started getting way better matches and having more fun. His text scripts are genius!! I was skeptical at first, but stick with him, it really helped me.

      1. Newtothisgame

        These are great tips, thank you. I already had things like public place and making sure people know where I am but the others are really useful too.

        1. Felix

          Glad this was helpful! If you have other q’s I’m happy to chat more :)

          P.s. it can get kinda lonely online dating bc you are surrounded by all these possibilities but maybe not finding the connection you are hoping for right away. This definitely happened to me. Make sure you are still doing things that make you happy and fulfilled- make sure you still make time for friends and family etc.

    7. matcha123

      I don’t use tinder, but I am using OK Cupid. I worry about the same things. However, I try to be polite when I am asked for a full-body shot or my whole face. Honestly, I don’t like exchanging chat information with people I’ve only just met online. I wish texting apps weren’t connected to a phone number.

    8. Newtothisgame

      Thank you all :) It seems fun so far. I’m gradually refining my swipe criteria as I go, things like ‘every photo is clutching a drink in a club’ probably isn’t going to be a good match.

      I ended up just unmatching with the guy who asked for my number after half a dozen messages. I wasn’t overly keen based on what he had said and it put me off. Felt a bit chickeny but if it was someone I was enjoying the conversation with or seemed to have more in common I’d have happily told them I wanted to wait.

      Currently having a great conversation about baking! Absolutely not what I was expecting but in a good way.

    9. neverjaunty

      Also, if you don’t already, use Google voice or get the Burner app for when you do give out your phone.

    10. Kat

      I don’t think Tinder has etiquette, certainly none that the men I come across seem to observe.

      My main tip would be don’t get upset or take it personally when someone un-matches you when you say you don’t want to exchange numbers, or even for no reason at all. It’ll happen, people are fickle on there with short attention spans, so you just need to adjust expectations in that respect. It doesn’t mean there’s no chance of success – it can just suck when it happens if you’re not prepared!

  40. Going Anon for This

    Mental health + pets: I have some pretty bad depression. It’s under control with medication, but sometimes just going to work uses up all my spoons for the day. I know that exercise and fresh air helps me, but I just can’t bring myself to take myself for a walk.

    Which leads me to my question. I can’t get it together for myself, but I’m always able to do it when I’m dog sitting, and I feel so much better afterward. I live in an apartment (1200sqft) and my work schedule is pretty easy. Is it a terrible idea to get a dog?

    My apartment isn’t pet friendly, and I floated the idea by my landlady who was less than enthusiastic. I know I could push for an exception for emotional support, but I really don’t want to be a jerk about it. I would definitely *not* be claiming the dog is a service animal, and I wouldn’t expect to take it into public places that aren’t dog-friendly. Thoughts? Am I being a selfish jerk?

    1. Anona

      Can you try fostering a dog, as a trial? That way if you like the dog (or it seems like it works), you can adopt that dog or another, but you’re not immediately locked in long term.

    2. SoloFemaleBackpacker

      Is there anyway you can do a trial run with a friend’s dog? I LOVE dogs, and I know that they often help people with depression, but at the same time, they are *a lot* of work, and sometimes depression makes it hard to get that sort of thing done.

    3. Little Bean

      Dogs are the best and my life is a hundred thousand times better since I got my pup. We lived in a small apartment with no yard for YEARS, which meant years of walks multiple times per day. My advice is to get a dog at least a year old so that he is housetrained or very easily housetrainable. Even then, I used to talk my dog 3 times a day (before work, right after work, and before bed). Not sure what the implications are of convincing an unenthusiastic landlady – I’ve always screened for places that are pet-friendly (which, by the way, severely limits your housing options).

      1. Green Kangaroo

        I would recommend a breed that doesn’t shed…I have two very large dogs who shed like it’s going out of style, and keeping on top of hair containment is a lot of work. They’re lucky they are cute and we love them.

    4. VIT (Scotland)

      Getting a dog can be a really great addition to your life! It can also be really stressful and unpleasant sometimes and it’s great that you’re taking the time to really think about it – I definitely agree with suggestions to try fostering if that’s an option.

      I love my dog – she’s the best. But I also hate her sometimes. Well, not her specifically, but the fact that she’s there, needing things from me that I’m not sure I can give her. And the reasons could be anything – depression, stress, the flu. But it’s not fair to her to not give her the exercise she deserves, and that’s where dog walkers come in! For me, that works as a way to give her what she needs when I can’t. But if I didn’t have that option, I think I would really struggle sometimes. I also have a dog with high energy needs so that’s something you can consider – a smaller dog with lower energy might be a good option for an apartment.

      Finances are also something to consider – adding food and vet bills to your budget can be a lot if you don’t prepare for it. Pet insurance is also really worth looking into (or at least calculating how much it would cost you and then putting that amount aside each month to put towards those expenses).

      And I’m seconding the advice to get a dog over a year old – puppies are adorable but they are also poop monsters and training is Hard.

      1. Natalie

        The best puppy is someone else’s puppy.

        An additional plus with finances is the ability to spring for a dog walker and/or doggy daycare during busy times, or just for fun for your dog.

    5. VIT (Scotland)

      Oh and you are the opposite of a selfish jerk – you’re clearly taking the time to really think this through and that’s awesome.

    6. LemonLyman

      Dogs are awesome! I’m over here with mine cuddled up next to me. You’re not being a jerk, but if find that you don’t want to put up that fight, can you advertise yourself as a dog walker to friends or coworkers?

      It sounds from your post that it’s getting you out and walking where the dog could be most helpful. Maybe someone who is elderly or a new parent could use a dog walking volunteer? I mention because for a few years I had some bad health issues that kept me from walking my dog. He was wonderful support for me around the house but I felt bad that I couldn’t walk him. Spouse was busy and couldn’t do it every day. The older single lady across the street loved dogs but couldn’t have one so she volunteered to walk mine every Monday morning. It was great for the dog, she loved having the company, and I was glad for the help! Win, win, win!

      Another thought – volunteer at a local shelter as a dog walker!

    7. LilySparrow

      I live in a 3bedroom house, and it’s barely over 1200 square feet. I wouldn’t think we have room for a big dog, because of all the furniture. But room for a small dog, certainly.

    8. Another person

      My dog is great for my mental health. I am so much better when I go outside and walk multiple times a day, but I could not make myself do it. I live in a 600 sqft apartment and have a 50lb decent-sized dog. It was much easier having him in my 3rd story walkup than when I lived on the 8th story with an elevator, but that’s partially because my dog doesn’t like other dogs, so sometimes we would have to wait a few elevators so going out could take a while.

      I got him as a 3 year old, so he was a little chill at that point (and already housebroken), but still needed to be walked 2x a day (plus taken out at least one more time, but that’s not really a walk, just going out to the nearest tree). Sometimes on days that I struggle it’s only a walk around the block, but we always get out. Also, I ran into a lot of problems where I would forget to eat, but my dog is very insistent on his 3 meals a day, which helps remind me to eat as well. My housing is narrowed by dog-friendly apartments, though (especially dog-friendly for dogs >30 lbs, which seems to be the cutoff in my city).

  41. Little Bean

    We bought a house! I’m a little overwhelmed by what we just did. It’s a complete fixer-upper – I estimate that we’re going to need to spend around $75,000 to get it in shape. All the carpets need to come out, everything needs to be painted, holes in drywall need to be patched, windows need to be replaced. The deck is actively falling down and needs to be rebuilt. The yard is just fields of weeds right now. The previous owners sold it as is, with years worth of junk in it, so the first thing is that it’s going to be probably thousands of dollars just to clear it out. We are going to be working on this house for years (maybe forever). Oh yeah, also planning a wedding for next year and trying for kids soon after. NBD.

    1. periwinkle

      With summer coming up, maybe you can hire some students on break to clear out the non-hazardous areas of the house?

      1. Little Bean

        Good idea! My fiance is a teacher, so he will be off for the summer in a few weeks. I’m sure he would want to hire some of his students except his school isn’t that close and most of them don’t have cars. But we can probably find more local kids. We also have friends who are willing to help out in exchange for beer and pizza.

        1. TootsNYC

          it’s probably better for him to not hire his own students. But maybe he has a colleague in a school closer to the house who would help him hire local students.

    2. RestlessRenegade

      This sounds like so much work, but it also kind of sounds really fun? Cleaning out and freshening up a space, especially where you get to choose all the colors, materials, etc. for your living space sounds so awesome! I hope it goes well for you.

  42. Puppy Lover

    I have never been in the financial state I am in and obviously its freaking me out. I have already burned through so of my savings, maxed out credit cards, applied for personal loans, and cashed out all of my retirement accounts, waiting on those checks to arrive. I’ve cut every unnecessary expense but I have little children who require diapers and formula. I don’t qualify for any assistance as I make too much. All of this occurred as a result of child support not being paid for MONTHS. I would have gotten a second job but I’m already in a salaried position working 60 hours a week.

    I’m just stressed to the max and hoping that every thing is going to work out.

    Anyways, my question was has anyone used those payday advances as I am a little short for rent?

    1. Dopameanie

      So. I recommend listening to Dave Ramsey.

      YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO DRINK THE KOOL AID

      He has a podcast and some YouTube videos. And I think the best thing he does is help people recognize the fear that is impacting their decisions and shows a simple way to think about money as a monopoly game and not this big….hairy….overwhelming….THING. I don’t ascribe to everything he teaches, but I really think that if you are feeling overwhelmed and scared, it’s a good place to start.

    2. MindoverMoneyChick

      Hi Puppy Lover,
      Please be very careful with the payday loans and only use them if you are 100% sure you can pay them back by the date required. One of my clients was involved with such things they have rates that wind up being in excess of 300%. It was a real burden for her.

      If you can’t pay them off on time they will likely be a long term drain on your income. I realize there’s no great way to solve your problem without extra income, but a very good book on how to prioritize your debt when you really can’t pay for everything is Surviving Debt by the National Consumer Law Center. You may well be better off being late on some debt rather than taking out a payday loans. Please get it and at least read Chapt 1 before you take out a payday loan. There’s something very soothing about reading it too- because they actually get that the math is what it is, and encourage you to take legal steps in your best interests, not your creditors.

    3. MindoverMoneyChick

      Oh and I like Ramsey too for coming up with a longer term plan, but right now in this crisis, Chapt 1 of Surviving Debt will help you figure out what to do over the next week or two.

    4. Koala dreams

      Sorry to hear about your stressful situation! Maybe you could talk to your landlord about a pay plan, for example paying half now and half next month, if you’ll have money then. Or try to negotiate a respite with some other bills. I also agree with the advice about prioritazing. Obviously rent is super important, especially when there are kids involved. Good luck!

    5. AnonyAnony

      Have you looked into ways your state may be able to assist with child support collection? In my state, there are methods for having the child support withheld from the paying parent’s paycheck and forwarded to the receiving parent on a regular basis. That was the only way my spouse was able to receive the support they were entitled to, including the back support amount that hadn’t been paid.

      1. Thlayli

        Getting the cchild support including backdated child support is absolutely the long term solution and make this a big priority. Short term solution is more difficult. If you have any legal paperwork proving you are owed the money and will get it eventually, you may be able to get a bank to lend you money.

        Depending on your relationship with your exes family you could always tell them the situation if they are unaware – they may be able to put pressure on him to man up and pay for his kids. Or they may be willing to help out and pay some of his debt – the kids are their family too after all.

    6. ..Kat..

      Because of their high interest rates, payday loans are a great way to get into even more debt very quickly. I am sorry that you are in this position.

    7. Yetanotherjennifer

      If you’re short this month, how is next month going to be so different you’ll be able to pay it back AND meet all your expenses? It sounds like your well is going dry from prolonged overuse instead of a one-time catastrophy. I know you’re in a scary position right now, but there isn’t an ethical payday loan company in the bunch. They are modern day loan sharks and prey on the desperate. And hope is not a good game plan. I think asking for an extension on your rent is a good start. Are there legal avenues you can pursue to get that child support? Would your ex be willing to buy things in lieu of some of that support? How about the grand parents? Are there any food shelves nearby? I believe the national consumer law center also has lists of the right kind of credit counselors who can help you find options you don’t see right now. Does your employer offer an employee assistance program that might include financial planning? What about even just googling how to avoid a payday loan? I sincerely hope you aren’t out of other options.

    8. Kuododi

      Oh honey…. I would sell blood before I went to a Payday loan place! DH and I have been all kinds of broke in our time. At one point we were working 5 jobs between us to keep the rent paid and beans and rice on the table. Things are better now but we are still one medical emergency away from bankruptcy court. Like others have said… payday loans are set up for a snowball effect. Interest so high it’s next to impossible to keep up with the payments until you find yourself in the weeds and unable to find your way out. I would second, third and fourth using Dave Ramsey’s material to help organize yourself as you make plans to dig out of this situation. Best wishes!!!!

    9. neverjaunty

      I am so sorry you are going through this.

      Check with your county bar association – they can often get you a free referral or help with low-income or Modest Means legal help to get child support orders enforced. You should not have to be getting in debt to payday lenders because someone else is not meeting their obligations!

    10. Traveling Teacher

      First off: I’m so, so sorry that you are in this situation.

      Second: Please don’t get a payday loan! Those are like a riptide, ready and waiting to pull you under. I second those commenters who have spoken about getting extensions on your deadlines instead. Is there a different bill you can negotiate pushing back, like a student loan payment or the phone bill? Even just moving scheduled monthly payments around to get another breather?

      Also, do you friends and family know about your situation? It’s so tempting to hide money troubles–so taboo in our society to talk about money, unfortunately, but I’d wager that there are people out there who would loan or gift you this money, especially if they know you are so desperate you are truly considering a payday loan.

      Also, below are a couple of thrifty suggestions I used myself during financially difficult times, but feel free to skip if you are not interested!

      For a couple of thrifty suggestions I have personally used when my husband did not receive his paycheck for months (company nearly went bankrupt but survived), and we were scrambling while waiting for child assistance payments to start up for our newborn: Have you ever heard of the Dirty Diaper Laundry site? It was a very helpful resource for me during that time. I assume your children are in childcare, which probably requires disposable diapers, but DDL has a wonderful post on how to make your own no-sew cloth diapers and washing by hand so that the costs are truly minimal: 15 dollars for making a functional set of 24 diapers (seriously. It involves thrifting, but it is truly cheap) and washing either with a bucket and plunger (camp style) or by stomping in a bathtub, a la grape stomping. Absolutely dirt-cheap, and I’ve handwashed cloth diaper flats myself out of economic necessity. It can really save you a boatload if you are physically able to do it, and it does take physical energy that you may not have after a sixty hour work-week, so YMMV, but it could be worth a shot to save some serious cash on diapers when your children are with you/another carer who is willing to use cloth diapers.

      If diy diapers aren’t an option for you: have you tried checking with food banks to see about diapers and formula? The food bank a dear friend of mine works at also has connections to local groups that give assistance to moms and dads in your very situation and has contacts in emergency social and legal services.

      Also, if you are open to it: Have you contacted local places of worship? Churches, temples, mosques, and the like are likely more than willing to help you in some way, whether food, clothes, diapers… lots of compassionate people, possibly some lawyers, too, who could help by donating a few hours’ time to helping out with your child support situation? There are exceptions, of course, and you should only do what is comfortable to you. Personally, at my local place of worship, we have several down-on-their-luck and refugee families and individuals who we are helping both person-to-person and have also helped get connected to relevant social /legal support and nonprofit support (lots of social workers/lawyers where I worship!), even people who are non-believers and have just shown up because they needed help. For me personally, I was embarrassed to bring it up, but we really needed help for the sake of our child. Once people knew our situation, they helped us in ways too numerous to count!

      I wish you the very best of luck and peace across the internet waves: you will get through it. I’m sure you are a smart, capable, brave person who is doing their very best!

    11. Observer

      Revisit the assistance piece – there are different thresholds for different types of assistance. Also, if you can prove that you are not getting the child support payments you are entitled to that often changes the eligibility. And it often means that the state gets involved in getting those payments started again which can be a HUGE help. Also, in terms of assistance, many private organizations provide assistance, and their criteria are not necessarily the same as government assistance. Lastly, there are some programs that provide emergency assistance that can help you through a bad patch.

      As others have said, a payday loan is likely to make your situation worse. That stinks, but it’s unfortunately true.

    12. LilySparrow

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this.
      I haven’t dealt directly with payday loans, but a dear friend did when she was in grad school and her husband lost his job.

      It turned a many-months problem into a many-years problem. The interest and fees were so high that they kept having to borrow more to cover basic expenses.

    13. bo bessi

      If you’re still reading, I would encourage you to check with community organizations in your area too. Your local United Way likely has a huge list of these and can refer you to those that can help with specific things, especially for your kids.

    14. Moosic

      I haven’t heard anything good about payday loans, so check up on some more assistance. In addition to formal assistance programs, there may be local churches, charities, or nonprofits that can help with rent, utilities, and diapers and formula. Check 211.org to get referrals and connected to resources (that’s the national one. Oregon has a statewide version, 211info.org, and your state may too). Also, check with your local library. They may have a resource directory or be able to connect you with a resource that is better than 211.org in your area. I hope that helps.

  43. Mimi

    What’s a good food option to bring to a small picnic (probably about a dozen people)? Needs to be something that’s okay out of the fridge for at least 6 hours, I can’t think of anything more creative than crisps or pretzels (which I believe they already have plenty of).

    1. Effie, who is pondering

      Clementines/cuties are yummy and easy to peel/clean up and your hands smell good after eating them :)

      1. TootsNYC

        Someone once suggested peeling them at home and bringing them in sections, ready to eat (maybe mist them and seal air-tight so they don’t dry out?)

        I’ll say that sometimes I will pass on a Clementine precisely BECAUSE my hands will be coated with orange oil (“smell good”), which isn’t a pleasant feeling and there’s nowhere to wash. (Plus you can get pith under your nails.)

    2. Tuxedo Cat

      I’ve brought cornbread before and people enjoyed that. Probably any kind of bread would work.

    3. Anona

      Some kind of pasta salad or potato salad, but not cream based. More like oil/vinegar/mustard based.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Grain and lentil salads are good for this too! I do one with quinoa or bulgur, lentils, carrots (cooked with the lentils), red onion, and a tarragon vinaigrette.

    4. MindoverMoneyChick

      Mini ham and turkey sandwiches with those mustard or mayo packets from fast food restaurants. The meat will be fine for that long. I’d just worry if you had mayo on them already.

    5. Overeducated

      If there will be plates, salad: pasta salad with tomatoes, cheese, herbs or a jar of pickled veggies, etc; green bean and potato salad with a mustard vinaigrette; a hearty kale salad; a bean salad with peppers, onions, maybe corn and tomatoes; cole slaw; sesame or peanut noodles with carrots and cucumber; a grain salad like tabboule…there is a whole genre of hot weather food just made for this!

      Or if there are kids or picky eaters, or it has to be finger food, three failproof solutions: bring fruit, rice crispy treats, or sandwiches like pb&j or cucumbers and cream cheese with the crusts cut off. There, now you have all my family secrets.

    6. The Other Dawn

      How about a wheat berry salad? I make this quite often and I love it. You can just leave the chicken out of it and maybe try a different cheese (or omit it). You could add more spinach to give it more bulk.

      Cranberry, Chicken, and Wheat Berry Salad
      Serves 4 people

      3 TB olive oil, divided
      2 TB apple cider vinegar
      3/4 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
      1/4 tsp sugar
      1 1/2 cups cooked wheat berries (see link above for cooking the wheat berries)
      1/4 cup pecan halves and pieces, toasted
      6 ounces shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast
      1/2 cup chopped onion
      1 tsp thyme
      1/2 cup dried cranberries
      1 ounce baby spinach leaves
      2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

      Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add wheat berries, nuts, and chicken; toss.

      Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme; cook 3 minutes or until tender. Add to wheat berry mixture; toss. Stir in cranberries and spinach; toss. Sprinkle with cheese.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Ha. Forgot about the link for cooking wheat berries. Just go to thekitchn dot com and search “how to cook wheat berries.” It’s easy–you basically boil three cups of water to one cup of wheat berries and then simmer, covered for a little over a half hour.

    7. Traveling Teacher

      Cut veggies with peanut or other nut butter as a dipping sauces!
      Unless there are nut allergies, then omit the nut butter!

  44. Aphrodite

    Me too! I have this recipe planned for Christmas morning breakfast. It originally had alcohol but I removed it.

    3 cups vegetable juice (I like TJs vegetable juice far better than V-8)
    3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
    1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
    2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
    2 teaspoons Tabasco
    1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Garnish with a celery stalk, carrot stick, one shrimp and one slice of crisp bacon

    Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive container and mix well. Cover and refrigerate and let the flavors meld, overnight is best but not more than 24 hours. Pour into large glass mugs with a celery stalk and bacon.

  45. Windchime

    Olive is so pretty. She reminds me a lot of a cat my mom had, years ago. Her name was Suzie Piddles, and she was named that because Mom adopted her when she was very young (like 5 weeks) and she once peed on Mom’s lap when a visitor was over.

  46. anxious anon

    So I’ve been an anxious person my whole life, but have managed to keep it under control without meds. However, I’m having an outpatient surgery next week and I am a wreck. At times, practically paralyzed with anxiety. Can’t get in to see my therapist (hoping for a phone appt). Any tips that worked for you in this situation? Thank you so much!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Oooh, I hear you! I just went through something like this. I had a very typical outpatient procedure (turbinate reduction) but the idea of general anesthesia upped my anxiety to 11. I happened to have a therapist appointment the day before, but I’d been doing so well, it was the first appointment in four weeks and I didn’t even think to reschedule because my anxiety was getting in the way of that very practical matter. She even said, “Well, I could give you exercises, but you don’t really need them since you’re going in TOMORROW.”

      So here’s what helped me a bit. I planned my recovery as tightly as I could. For me, a well planned schedule goes very far towards managing the anxiety, and if you’re like that at all, think of your surgery as a project. In my case, it was planning what I would binge-watch while I recovered (I curated my Netflix and Amazon queues), doing laundry, and making sure all of the bedding on our guest bed (where I spent my recovery weekend) was washed. I also laid out schedules for work, making sure I had everything in order.

      Sleep was the hardest thing. I have a low dose of Ativan if I need it, but I didn’t want to take it, so I was up in the middle of the night for a few nights before the surgery. I kind of… gave in. Got out of bed and slept on the sofa, watched a movie, cuddled my dog.

      Extra walks helped me too. I made sure the aforementioned doggy was well exercised, and I took some time out of my work day to walk around the building a few times.

      I also reminded myself that people come through this all the time. That doesn’t always help, but I tried to focus on it. One of the worst (ugh, WORST) parts of my procedure was that it was scheduled at 11-freaking-30, so I had all morning to be a wreck. I will tell you that in my case, everything went splendidly and general anesthesia is exactly what they tell you– you close your eyes and wake up a moment later and it’s over. Although, in my case, I started dreaming and they had to yell my name a few times to wake me up. I also did not say anything bad or weird while I was coming to.

      Best of luck!!!

      1. anxious anon

        thank you for the tips and taking the time to answer! mine is in the afternoon, so that morning is my mountain to climb. I’ve had general anesthesia half a life ago when I got my tonsils out. I do remember counting backwards and then immediately waking up. So I know I can do that ok, it’s just getting there! I’ve become more anxious since becoming a mom, so the thoughts about not being here for my kids is paralyzing.

        1. blaise zamboni

          This may be a tool you already know about, but have you tried the ABC game? A friend recommended this to me when I had surgery recently, and it’s proven helpful in other situations in the few weeks since then. It’s a distraction tool for when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Pick a relatively broad topic, and then come up with examples of that topic in alphabetic order. My go-to is fruits and veggies, but the topics are basically infinite based on what you know and like.

          And try to remind yourself that you’ll be okay! In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’re in the best hands you could ask for. You can do this! Good luck! :)

          1. anxious anon

            Thank you for ABC tip. I have used it quite a few times already. And thanks for the support. I can’t wait for this to be over with and I’m back home recovering.

    2. Lily Evans

      If you’re open to medication just for the short term you could try contacting your doctor and explaining the situation. They ‘d likely be able to get you a once off prescription just to keep things under control for the week.

      1. zora

        Yes, this. Call your doctor’s office and explain. This is something they want to help with, having you in the hospital having panic attacks is not useful for them!! They can either get you a short term prescription, or they might have some other suggestions.

    3. ..Kat..

      If you have a smart phone or tablet, there are some lovely calming apps out there: simply being, breathe2relax, meditation, calm, and Pacifica to name a few. A podcast to distract yourself while you are trying to fall asleep: Sleep with Me.

      1. anxious anon

        Thank you. I will be checking these out later today or once i find my headphones.

    4. TootsNYC

      someone recently mentioned tapping–you tap yourself to distract from anxiety.
      “EFT tapping is an alternative acupressure therapy treatment used to restore balance to your disrupted energy. It’s been an authorized treatment for war veterans with PTSD, and it’s demonstrated some benefits as a treatment for anxiety, depression, physical pain, and insomnia.”

  47. Kali

    I posted about working on my impulsive anger a few weeks ago, and I’ve made some progress. The first thing I tried was noticing when I’m angry, giving it a grade out of 10, and then reducing that number. That’s working pretty well, but I’ve had to add something to it. I noticed that there were a few old memories that that didn’t really work on, and I’ve been doing some reading, and those would be labelled as revenge fantasies. I’ve basically got a few old memories which I rehearse over and over, to try to get a different outcome. That isn’t possible; there isn’t a magic set of words I can say to make my parents or others acknowledge their faults. With those, I’ve just started explicitly labelling them as revenge fantasies and distracting myself. That works pretty well. I’ve been practicing more mindfullness, which helps.

    I feel like I’m being more impulsive in other areas, but that’s probably okay at the moment. If I spend a bit more, or eat a bit more, or chatter a bit more, that’s an okay price for working on this.

    In other news, I got my grade back for my dissertation recently. For context, at my university, that’s a 9-page literature review that we write in second year, as practice for a full project and literature review to complete in third year. It’s worth 10 of the 120 credits for the year. I’m in the UK, so anything over 70% is a ‘first’, the highest grade possible. A broad rule of thumb for converting UK grades to American grades is to add 25% on to them. That’s not really possible in this case…because I got 87%, which may potentially be the highest grade in my year. :D

    1. Not So NewReader

      Your good grade may not be a coincidence.
      When we start to deal with anger we can gain back some mental clarity and mental agility. Our minds work better.

      Anger can really clog our thought processes, not much different than clogged arteries.

      We have to take back our power. Abuse/trauma steals our autonomy, we notice the lost of power. It’s the wins in life that can give us back our power. Here’s the key, some attempt gives us some level of benefit and more attempt gives us a higher level of benefit. We don’t talk about incremental improvements much, we tend to think “If I don’t do this perfectly, then it won’t work.” And nothing could be further from the truth.

      Wins are like stepping stones, we can use a win to help us get to the next win. I am betting that you will have another win pretty soon. It sounds like you are on a good path.

  48. Windchime

    I saw Elton John this week in Vegas! He’s only got a few shows left before he retires from the concert scene, so a few of us flew down from Seattle for a quick overnight trip. We stayed in Cesar’s Palace (which is also where the show was). Our room was really nice, we had an amazing (expensive!!!) dinner before the show, and then spent two hours with Sir Elton to watch him sing and play. It was really, really nice. The next morning, we got up and had breakfast at the airport before flying back home to Seattle.

    Elton is not a kid anymore, but he still gives an amazing show.

    1. Matilda the Hun

      This is awesome to hear! I’m seeing him next year, for the first time, and I’m glad it’s going to be a great show :)

    2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      My wife and I would love to see Elton’s farewell tour. We’ve never seen him, even though we live in the NYC area and he’s played Madison Square Garden a gazillion times. But wow, the prices for good seats (or even bad seats!) are making my eyes pop out of their sockets. I really, really miss the shows I saw in college that were $15 or $20. Granted, I was a metalhead, and there was nowhere near as much demand for those shows as big names like Elton John.

      1. Windchime

        I saw him 10 years ago at Washington State University (mom’s weekend). Tickets were $50 each. We ended up way at the top of the stadium but it was still awesome. For this show, we were on the main floor and paid just about $250 per ticket. That’s a lot, but I really wanted to see him.

  49. Junior Dev

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    I’m proud of riding my bike to work twice this week, and running once after work. I also rode my bike to a friend’s house on the ride home yesterday, so extra workout there. Exercise is so so important to my mental health and I had been struggling for a while to do it consistently.

    Struggling because my parents are planning to meet me at the coast to stay in a vacation home tonight and I’m excited but conscious that I’ll need to set boundaries for my own well-being, and let go of most of my expectations around them being on time or communicating clearly. But hey, I get to go to the beach either way.

    How are you doing?

    1. RestlessRenegade

      I’m so glad that you are doing well and setting boundaries with your parents! That’s such a hard thing to do. Also I really miss the beach.
      I’m doing better today. I’m getting used to living alone (which I have never done before!) and trying to enjoy all the freedoms and little joys. (I have discovered that I am an excellent decorator on a budget!) I also saw my ex for the first time in over a month today–we had to go to the bank together to sort some stuff out. It was hard, but I was really happy when it was over. I know I made the right decision.
      I’m learning that I thrive with routine, so I’m working on setting up a weekday routine that will help me get everything done and give me a little time for BSing around. It’ll help once I’m done unpacking and organizing, but I’m honestly shocked at how quickly I’ve been able to get most of it done, so I’m willing to let the rest slide a little. :)
      I hope everyone is doing well!

    2. Some Sort of Management Consultant

      Nice to hear you’re doing better!

      I had my first work week after 3 weeks off due to mental health (so worn down) and it was good. I took it very easily, and honestly didn’t have much I needed to do, so I spent a few hours per day in the office and then the rest at home. Tuesday was a bank holiday here so I had that off as well.

      Next week is also a short week (half day Wednesday and off on Thursday) and I don’t start back up at my project until the week after.

      I’ve been feeling ok. My family got some very good news on Friday, after 9 years of terrible anxiety, so that’s helped.

      I’ve not been eating well or exercising though.

  50. nep

    Anyone see that BBC documentary about addiction to / trafficking of codeine-laden cough syrup in Nigeria?

  51. Lissa

    I was going to throw out the week-old chili leftovers, but they looked/smelled fine, so I ate them instead. My partner got really freaked out and is convinced I’m going to get very ill – after that I did start to get a stomachache but I think it’s psychosomatic from him worrying….I hope!! Am I gonna die guys!?!

    1. Cruciatus

      If eating week-old leftovers was deadly, a lot more people in the US/world would die every day (including me)! I ate week old lentil soup today. Passed the smell and looks test. I feel just fine. Assuming your fridge is in good working order you will be OK. A week is only starting to be the point where I maybe think of throwing something out if it otherwise looks/smells OK.

    2. The Other Dawn

      Nah, I think you’re fine. You did the look and smell tests.

      I’m a little more picky with leftovers than my husband is; however, I would have probably eaten it, too. Certain things I’m a little more strict with, like sushi and lunch meat, whereas things like pasta I’m OK if it goes longer. A week is usually my cutoff, though. Period. My husband, on the other hand, I often have to tell him, “No, don’t eat that, it’s been in the fridge for three weeks!!” (I don’t normally let things go that long, but occasionally something escapes my notice when dumping food out.) His parents have palettes and stomachs of steel, and weren’t great about tossing stuff out when he was a kid, so he’s never really learned to check expiration dates or smell the leftovers before he partakes. I’ve had to teach him to do that; however, even after 28 years he will still eat/drink without checking.

      My cousin drives me nuts. She typically won’t eat lunch meat beyond two days. When people come to visit she buys pounds and pounds of lunch meat and then starts throwing it out after a couple days because there’s so much of it and we can’t eat it fast enough. She also puts my butter in the fridge, so when I make toast, I either have to nuke the butter or just let my toast get torn to shreds by the hard butter.

      1. Parenthetically

        Are you me? This is exactly the dynamic with me and my husband — add the fact that he abominates waste and it means he’ll eat everything always. He’s made himself sick a time or two eating stuff I would have long since thrown out (he makes sandwiches for lunch every day and I never eat sandwiches so I don’t check those things), but certainly never off something that was only a week old.

        My sister-in-law throws milk and eggs away on the expiration date. Like ?!!

        1. The Other Dawn

          Oh yeah, eggs are good for a long time after the date! As for milk, I drink the ultra filtered stuff since it’s lower in sugar and higher in protein. It has a very long expiration date so it never is around long enough to get anywhere near that date. But regular milk is fine after the date, too.

          1. Parenthetically

            Eggs are good for WEEKS after the date in my experience. It blows my mind that people would throw away perfectly good food because of a bunch of numbers a machine stamped on a carton/jug!

            1. Becky

              I’ve had eggs two months out of date still good. Always test them–put them in a full cup/bowl of water to about twice the depth of the egg, if they float, its bad, toss it. If they do not float, they are safe to use-you can even use the ones that are slightly standing up from the bottom on their own–just as long as they are not fully floating.

              1. Traveling Teacher

                +100! I do this all the time! Also, “old” eggs are best for making hard boiled eggs. They peel so much better!

      2. Just a Concerned Third Party

        I’m like your husband! I regularly eat two- to three-week-old sketchy leftovers from the back of the fridge. I will and do immediately throw out anything that looks or smells really wrong, or contains certain ingredients like meat, but otherwise it’s fair game. No food poisoning from any of it yet, as far as I can recall.

    3. Not So NewReader

      It’s got beans in it, right? So probably the lower digestive track would have been a bit active anyway?
      Have some Pepto or whatever you take for your stomach. We won’t tell anyone.

    4. Natalie

      You’re almost certainly fine. Most food poisoning happens with stuff that starts and stays raw – lunchmeat, green onions, lettuce, stuff like that.

      1. The New Wanderer

        Or in my case, a shrimp that didn’t get quite as grilled as the rest. Ugh.

        My cutoff is about a week for leftovers and I regularly eat stuff that old, if they pass the look and smell tests. We have a composting program which really lifts the guilt about tossing old or suspect food.

    5. Mrs. Fenris

      You’ll be fine. If you were going to get really spectacular food poisoning, it would have happened within hours of eating it…a friend of mine got up from the table while still at the restaurant and had an, um, interesting session in the restroom. The only time in recent memory that I really pushed it was with some chicken that I had reheated and left in the oven way too long. It didn’t make me violently ill, but I definitely didn’t feel great the next day. I’ve eaten week-old cooked leftovers many times and it’s generally fine.

    6. Cruciatus

      Does anyone have any advice to reduce prescription costs (in the U.S.)? My mom’s prescription drugs (I think mostly for pulmonary hypertension) cost, after insurance, $9000. A month. When she was first prescribed the drugs she received all sorts of phone calls for people trying to help her but in the end the consensus is she “makes too much” or there was something about her lack of copay with her insurance being a problem somehow (she didn’t really understand and therefore I don’t either). She’s a retired university professor from a small, local school. She does receive a pension but it’s not $9000 a month!

      She may switch to Medicare because they will pay 80% but, of course, there’s a catch! They have a cap of a million something and that includes prescriptions and medical costs and at $9000/month (if not more), and a hospital stay here and there she will be over it in no time and back to square one. I talked to a person I know that’s a pharmacist for the elderly (though my mom’s issue isn’t just an “old person” thing) and the only advice she had was to talk to the manufacturer which I had already told my mom. I can’t believe there isn’t more advice out there than that. I’ve seen some prescription subsidy programs but are they really legit? I fear she and my dad may make too much for those too (they are definitely middle class, but not rich–definitely can’t afford $108,000 a year in prescription costs, let alone all of my mom’s hospital costs from December and January). So if anyone has any experience with prescription costs I would appreciate hearing it!

      1. Cruciatus

        Gah, my turn for a nesting fail and I even double checked it. Reposting below–this one can be deleted!

      2. Emalet

        Who told you there’s a million dollar limit on Medicare? A private plan might have a limit, but if they’re compliant with the ACA, there shouldn’t be a max. Regardless, regular A and B Medicare does not have a dollar cap/lifetime maximum. Also, Medicare A and B don’t cover prescriptions, she’d need to sign up for a Medicare D plan along with her A and B plans. I’d start with the CMS gov website for more information (as well as your local social security office), and reach out to places like AARP, or maybe even the hospital social worker for advice and direction.

  52. Amelia

    What are your favorite recipes to make on the weekend and reheat and eat for lunches during the week?

    1. NYC Redhead

      I just made Smitten Kitchen’s pizza beans and it was a huge hit & easily reheatable. Also the ktchn’s Chickpea Casserole with Lemon, Herbs & Shallots, which someone here recommended for a vegetarian potluck. It’s delicious!

      1. Amelia

        Chickpea casserole sounds amazing! My mom used to makevegetarian tortilla lasagna for holidays, it was a favorite of mine. Thanks for the idea!

    2. BRR

      Simply recipes meatloaf. It takes a bit of time and reheats super well. I’ll do it with all beef or turkey.

      1. Amelia

        Wait you can make meatloaf with turkey! How cool! I’m off to go google this, thanks!

  53. amanda_cake

    What is everyone doing this weekend? I have the rest of the weekend free from the two places we don’t name, so I’m trying to think of cool ways to spend my Sunday (because realistically I won’t get anything else done today).

    There’s a new Aldi, so I might go check that out tomorrow morning.

    1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      If you have other options on cool things to do, I’d pass on Aldi. It’s cheap, but really low quality stuff, poor selection, and long, long lines (in my experience).

      1. amanda_cake

        I have been to one once before but haven’t really shopped there since there wasn’t one in my town. Seems that all my friends love it.

        Staying home doesn’t sound horrible but I might get stir crazy.

        1. Green Kangaroo

          I’m in the Midwest and my Aldi’s experiences have always been great. I’m very picky about groceries and there’s only been a few items I haven’t been pleased with. I love Aldi’s!

          1. Elizabeth West

            Yeah, mine too. I do almost all my shopping at Aldi. The Librarian must have been to a shitty one, or been there a while ago. They used to be kind of meh but now are much better.

        2. VIT (Scotland)

          Agreed! Plus they carry a bunch of high welfare meet – I always look for the RSPCA-Assured meat and Aldi has loads of it!

      2. Lady Jay

        I find Aldi has mixed quality things; even in the States, some of their items are European brand (jam, some breads, chocolate), and others are just good (cheese, hummus). That said, I second the long lines and general disorganization. It’s never the place I go first.

      3. Mrs. Fenris

        I think I’m the only person in my city who really, really dislikes Aldi. It’s really tacky and low quality. My favorite thing to do when I have a day off is head for a walking/hiking trail, and the weather has been awesome here lately.

      4. nep

        From a recent thread about stores, it seems that quality at Aldi varies quite a bit from store to store.

      5. Kat

        Is Aldi different in the US? Because here it’s much better quality than the ‘better’ supermarkets. More selection of local stuff, especially fruit.

    2. AnonEMoose

      We went to our friendly local gaming/comics shop for Free Comic Book Day today. Free bag of special issues of comics, a 20% off everything in the store sale, snacks, and a prize drawing. Always a good time, plus we generally see a lot of people we know. Very fun, and we picked up a couple of items that will be useful to us.

    3. Fiennes

      Work trip. The long plane ride seems to have effed up my back, too, so it’s pretty much nonstop bliss over here.

      After I get home tomorrow, I intend to make life better with soup, snuggling with my partner and my dog, and “Cobra Kai,” which I hear is SUPER RAD.

  54. Bibliovore

    So my old lady rescue Bijon is suffering from allergies. Benydryl does nothing. She has been bathed in prescription shampoo. She is has had a round of steroids. She is on her second round of antibiotics and a new allergy med. (her skin had infected spots from scratching, picture weeping sores)

    He doesn’t think it is food that it has just been a crazy bad allergy season for dogs.

    Your thoughts? Home remedies?

    1. CurrentlyLooking

      If you have changed her diet in any way recently, it could be food allergy.

    2. KR

      Apoquel has been really helpful for our dog, who has severe allergies and has had a hot spot for over a year in varying degrees of inflammation from open sores to nearly healed. We do daily Apoquel, medicated baths every couple of days (just his hot spot), he wears a cone to prevent him from licking whenever I’m not available to watch him one on one, eats wheat free food/treats, and if he’s really inflamed or going to be alone/in a cone for a long day he gets a Benadryl to make him sleepy. The vet seems to think food isn’t a factor but I’m going to try switching his food up to see if there’s an improvement. I’ve heard Royal Canin is really good and there’s some super expensive allergy specific food I’d be open to trying. Also since she’s small it might work if you can put her in a little onsie/jumpsuit with the tail cut out. I tried it with my dog but he has a barrel chest and I can’t find kids clothes that fit him. My vet also says some dogs are really flea sensitive, like one bite from a single flea will make them inflamed all over so make sure she’s on a good flea/tick treatment. Good luck.

    3. Not So NewReader

      Is she losing hair in a dramatic way? I am wondering if she has mites in her hair follicles. They said my old dog had allergies and gave him pred. It did nothing. I started treating him for mites and he was all fixed up in about six weeks and never had another occurrence.

      1. KR

        Oh this too! I completely forgot to mention that my dog had scabies in the middle of this whole debacle. It might be worth it to have your dog “scraped” where the vet scrapes their skin and tests for mites. The medicine is super easy to give and you should see dramatic improvement if she does have mites, OP.

    4. Rogue

      My pit has awful allergies. He was losing his fur, had bumps all over that would bust and ooze. I did a combo of things. First, I started bathing him with Phytovet CK Antiseptic Shampoo and started cleaning his ears with the flush of the same name. That helped – he had a skin infection due to allergies (and been given antibiotics too). I then switched his food to a limited ingredient one, made with a protein he’d never eaten before (just to rule it out). Pretty sure he’s allergic to chicken and eggs. I also noticed that during the winter, with those changes, his fur started coming back and the bumps stopped popping up, but as soon as it would get warm, back the trouble would come. Pretty sure he’s allergic to grass. We travel a lot and wet from a place with no grass to grass when this trouble started. Benadryl helped, but knocked him out, so I talked to our vet about OTC options for allergies and was told to try Zyrtec. My vet told me “You can give dogs Zyrtec once a day and it would be 1mg/2.2lbs.” I double checked the dosage with a different vet and they confirmed. For his size, he can take 3.5 10mg pills. I started him out taking one a day (to see his reaction) and worked up to 3. He is doing SO much better! His fur is coming back and those darn bumps *knock on wood* haven’t come back.

      1. Bibliovore

        Thanks for all of the advice. She just started the Apoquel. I will try to be patient. Ordered up a pack of oneses .
        she has been tested for scabies and mites. She is wheat free and eats holistic canned food and hasn’t had any changes that.

        1. Rogue

          You’re welcome! Keep us updated and let us know how the puppers does. Give the Apoquel time, I hear it works very well. Some dogs, like people, can developers allergies as they age and if you’ve had her on one single protein for an extended period of time, that could be something to check, if the issue doesn’t seem to go away completely with the treatment you’re doing. Another tip, wipe her off when she comes inside, helps remove pollen from her. Wash her bedding frequently too. I use a sensitive skin laundry soap for us, so I use that for the dogs’ stuff too, but I don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets on their stuff, just in case. I noticed FaintlyMacabre mentioned fish oil – I know it helps some dogs, with mine, it caused loose stool. Touching on the otc allergy meds mentioned by the same poster – be careful (I’m sure you know this, but ask a vet first). When I spoke to multiple vets (not saying they can’t be wrong) but the only OTC allergy meds the three of them said were okay for dogs were Benadryl and Zyrtec (and generics/store brands). I specifically asked about Claritin and was told it was not okay for dogs (again they could be wrong – and you obviously know to ask your vet, but in case someone else reads this who may not think about it and just do it).

      2. Enough

        My daughter’s pit mix only eats chicken dog food. Can tolerate small amounts of beef mixed in. Absolutely can’t eat lamb.

    5. FaintlyMacabre

      Long term, I use fish oil for my dog’s bad skin. It has really helped. When she had allergies, I had to try a couple of different aalergy meds before I found one that worked- I think it was the generic of Claritin? But if you look online, you can find the different kinds of human otc allergy meds that are safe for dogs and dosage instructions.

    6. LCL

      Oh, poor pup. Bichons are known for being itchy dogs. With my itchy scratchy dog, at my vet’s instructions, I concentrated on flea control. He felt her issue was flea allergic dermatitis. That was 30 years ago, before any of the modern drop treatments. I was vacuuming the spot where she lay on the carpet every day, and dusting her with flea powder weekly. I did the diatomaceous earth in the carpet. And I was bathing her in some shampoo I got from the vet. It all helped somewhat.

      The final piece of the puzzle was changing her to a lamb and rice food. It was new on the market, and considered a miracle by many dog people for allergic dogs. Of course it helped, it was a new product and dogs hadn’t been exposed to it before.

      So if she were my dog, I would consider changing her food again to one that has ingredients she isn’t eating now. Make sure it’s a complete food. And, flea drops, either advantage or something else. Your house can be white glove clean, that doesn’t matter for a flea allergic dog because they get bit when they go outside. And, per my vet, it only takes one bite to start the itch scratchy cycle again.

    7. School Psych

      Maybe asking for a referral for a doggy dermatologist? My rescue dog had skin and ear infections that just would not go away no matter what we tried and what finally helped was a visit to a vet that specialized in those issues. We had to take her in 2x a week for two weeks, so they could treat her skin/ears with some kind of foam and they also did allergy testing. The infections cleared up and they made some food recommendations for us based on the testing and she’s had zero problems since. She does get itchy during allergy season, but we’re able to manage it with Apoquel. The specialized vet was a little on the pricey side, but since it solved the problem it was worth it. I’ve heard good things about putting a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the dogs water to help with allergy/coat issues, but it didn’t work for my dog.

    8. HB

      Our 10 year old german shepherd has had terrible itchiness, scratching constantly, raw and scaly patches, chronic ear infections etc. his entire life. We tried all the same stuff: medicated baths for months, apoquel, fish oil, coconut oil, etc. We changed his dog food (a good one with no filler or grains) to a raw meat diet and it is seriously AMAZING! He had scaly black skin all over his tummy/bathing suit area and armpits and it is now almost all pink. His coat is softer and he doesn’t shed as much and he has so much more energy. It’s expensive but worth it. We originally started on BARF World but now are doing Stella and Chewy’s. You could also check out Steve’s Raw Pet Food. If you know a hunter they might be able to give you meat. We live in NYC so it’s just easier and cheaper to order it frozen. Barf World has amazing customer service. Good luck to your little lady!!

      1. Bibliovore

        Thanks- I am switching her food over to home made today. We will see if that helps.

        1. Bibliovore

          If this round of meds and lotion and food doesn’t help, I will get her an appoint at the university vets with a dermatologist.
          Here is the food that I am making today that I used to feed my “high needs” Wheaton. My brother feeds it to his Bedlingtons too.
          By volume: One third vegetables. One third Rice. One third Chicken.

          Frozen store-brand vegetables in equal amounts to each other:

          Carrots (I use crinkle cut because I’m too lazy to slice carrots.)
          Peas
          Broccoli Florets
          Cut Green Beans
          Yogurt:
          Full fat yogurt (Purchase a quart per 7 to 14 days.)

          Chicken
          I buy deboned thighs. You can buy bone-in and remove the bones after cooking.
          Chicken Thighs are usually inexpensive in family packs. You will be freezing whatever is not used in the first batch.

          Rice
          (Instant or regular – it does not matter)

          Equipment:

          Crock Pot: Over the years, we have used both regular and extra large crock pots. It does not matter.
          Pot with Lid: This is for the rice
          Multiple pint or quart plastic containers and lids to freeze the resulting dog food.
          Your largest mixing bowl.
          A large spoon or ladle.
          Gallon size baggies for excess chicken.

          Directions:
          Chop, mince, or otherwise shred the raw deboned chicken thighs.
          Fill your crock pot half way with the chicken thighs. Freeze the remainder with no more in each baggie than you put in the crock pot. (This will ease future adventures.)
          Fill the remainder of the crock pot with equal amounts of the 4 listed vegetables.
          Cover the crock pot.
          Turn the crock pot temperature to low.
          Some people don’t like the smell of cooking chicken If you are such a person, cover the entire crock pot with plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. If you are exceptionally sensitive, consider moving the crock pot outdoors or to the garage.
          Let cook for 12 hours. (We do this most often overnight.)
          When the crock pot is within an hour of ending the cooking, follow directions on the bag or box the rice came in and cook the rice in a covered pot on your stove.
          When the crock pot is done cooking, mix the ingredients in the crock pot with each other. If the crock pot is too full to do this, spoon the ingredients into the mixing bowl and then mix. Pour the mixed meat and vegetables back into the crock pot.
          When the rice is done, spoon some into the now empty mixing bowl and add meat and vegetables where one third is rice and two-thirds are the mixture of meat and vegetables.
          Once completely mixed, spoon into your plastic containers. Repeat until all of the Blue Stew is in containers.
          Let the mixture sit on your counter for about an hour to let the food cool. Then, store 2 containers in your refrigerator and all the rest in your freezer
          At any given time, you will have one open container in the fridge, one defrosting container in the fridge, and all the other containers in the freezer. With two bedlingtons each being fed twice daily, this will last for two or more weeks. With two Bendlingtons fed once daily (with dry dog food for the remainder of their diet), this will last about a month.

          At meal time, spoon a portion suitable for your dog onto a dish and top with a couple of tablespoons of full-fat yogurt. (Alternatively, you could have previously mixed the yogurt into the blue stew.)

          If you have a dog who needs to eat some hard dry dog food to maintain dental health and who refuses to eat hard dry dog food, mix some of the blue stew some dry dog at mealtime. (Doing so previously would have made the dry dog food mushy and defeated the goal of added dietary crunchiness.)
          Some dogs will eat the yogurt only after eating all of the rest of the Blue Stew.
          Some dogs will eat around or spit out the dry dog food bits.

  55. Not My Normal Name

    How do you know if you’re having an emotional affair?

    Someone I trust told me that I was having an emotional affair with my work BFF, but I disagree as we don’t talk about anything sexual or inappropriate, and I don’t complain about my spouse to Work BFF. I am just trying to see if I’m in denial or not.

    1. Lissa

      I think some people jump to “emotional affair” any time it’s a friendship between a man and a woman, which is sexist and annoying, so it could be that, or the other person projecting. I am not sure about that criteria even, because I talk to my BFF about sex and complain about my SO to her, but nobody would ever be like “you’re having an emotional affair!” because we’re two women so it’s seen as normal to have “girl talk”. So I don’t think that’s even the “line”.

      I would ask myself a few questions – do you have a crush/romantic feelings for this person? If you legitimately don’t, you’re not having an emotional affair, IMO. Are you hiding any interactions you have with this person from your spouse? If not, again I think you’re fine. If “yes” to either of these questions you might have a problem though.

      1. Not My Normal Name

        I used to have a crush on Work BFF when we first met, but it went away. For several reasons I won’t mention here, Spouse and Trusted Person think Work BFF is into me.

        The emotional affair claim is because I’ve found I sometimes prefer talking to Work BFF than Spouse even though we’ve never crossed any lines, and I sometimes do not let Spouse know how often I talk to Work BFF because it would bother Spouse. If Work BFF and I were the same gender, it wouldn’t be an issue; I’m having a hard time figuring out how this is different than a platonic friendship.

        1. fposte

          For me, I think it’s a warning sign no matter what the gender if you wouldn’t let Spouse know how often you talk to Other Person because it would upset Spouse.

          1. Not My Normal Name

            That’s actually what made me wonder if Trusted Person was right. I started to feel guilty about talking to Work BFF outside of work and not mentioning it to Spouse when normally we tell each other everything. But, since we’re not talking about anything inappropriate, I wasn’t sure if I was overthinking it.

            1. Merci Dee

              One thing to keep in mind – you don’t have to be talking about sex or anything along those lines for it to be an emotional affair. It’s not the topics you’re bonding over that are important, it’s that you’re cutting out your spouse and hiding how much/often you talk with this work friend. Don’t let the word “affair” get you trapped into thinking that only sex talk qualifies.

        2. Lehigh

          In my opinion, lying to your spouse about your relationship with another person is the biggest possible red flag. Personally, if I have a relationship that makes my spouse uncomfortable it is a very high priority for me to change that. But at the very least you need to be able to be honest.

          1. Thlayli

            Yes – this isn’t just a normal friendship. You’re lying about it to your spouse, you used to fancy him and he probably fancies you now, and you prefer talking to him than your husband. Not saying it’s an emotional affair, but it’s borderline at least.

        3. Crash Landed

          If you’re keeping things from your spouse, then I’d say it’s into pretty risky territory. You are getting emotional needs met outside your relationship in a way that your partner would be unhappy about. I can definitely see why your trusted person thinks this is an emotional affair – it may not be all the way there, but there are definitely some warning signs.

        4. Parenthetically

          “I sometimes prefer talking to Work BFF than Spouse”

          This is no big deal, but this:

          “I sometimes do not let Spouse know how often I talk to Work BFF”

          is definitely something you need to flag in your own mind, IMO. Deception and stonewalling are death-knells for a healthy relationship.

          1. Not My Normal Name

            I did. I felt really guilty about not mentioning it, and that’s what prompted me to think I might be in denial as Spouse and I normally tell each other everything. There are other factors at play, but I won’t get into them as I want to remain anon.

            1. Lehigh

              FWIW, it’s not too late to mention it! “Hey, I was talking to X the other day [at Y time/ for Z duration / whatever made it weird]. I didn’t mention it to you because [reason] but I realized I don’t feel good about keeping that a secret.” Then you can have the conversation with your spouse, and possibly get a feel for where they think the line is–which, at the end of the day, is more important than anyone else’s opinion.

              1. Not My Normal Name

                This is a great idea! Thanks! I’m going to do that and also work toward turning Work BFF into Another Work Friend because I feel like this instance was a red flag.

        5. Forking Great Username

          Try putting yourself in your spouse’s shoes here. Let’s say there’s some girl you think clearly has a crush on them, and others think so too. You find out your spouse isn’t telling you the truth about how often they talk to this girl, and they even admit that sometimes they would rather talk to her than you!

          How would you feel? I would definitely feel like my spouse was having an emotional affair if it was me.

          1. Not My Normal Name

            Fair enough. This was the first time I hadn’t mentioned it, and, as I said above, I felt guilty about it and plan to take Lehigh’s suggestion as well as scale things back.

        6. Observer

          I don’t know if it’s an emotional affair or not, but it sure raises red flags. It would, even if there weren’t the issue of of WDFF being possibly into you and the potential for an actual affair.

          The reality is that you are keeping something significant from your spouse which is always a red flag. Also, you seem to be describing a level of emotional intimacy with this person that is higher than what you have with your spouse and which may be excluding them. That’s another major red flag.

        7. Julia

          Sometimes, I prefer talking to a good friend or my mother over talking to my husband, because depending on the issue, they’re better conversation partners. I would never not tell my husband that I talked with the other person, though, so that seems like a red flag to me.

    2. The Other Dawn

      The caveat here is that I’ve never had an emotional affair, but a friend has. The way I would define it is that you’re going outside your relationship to get your emotional needs met by someone else, and you come to depend on that person to meet those needs. You think about the person all the time and when you have a question or a problem, you go to them first rather that your partner.

      1. Not My Normal Name

        Thanks for the response. I resemble some (but not all) of those remarks, so maybe Trusted Person has a point.

      2. Anonymous Ampersand

        My ex had an emotional affair with someone he worked with and I cosign all this.

      3. Natalie

        The way I would define it is that you’re going outside your relationship to get your emotional needs met by someone else, and you come to depend on that person to meet those needs.

        Interesting, to me this would be totally normal and healthy, even desirable. I don’t want my spouse to rely on me for all of their emotional needs, I want them to have other people as well. I actually requested my husband make some friends because I felt uncomfortable being his only support.

        1. The Other Dawn

          I agree, there’s certainly more to it than what I mentioned. Nothing wrong with getting support from a variety of sources. But I think if someone is always favoring one particular person for all their emotional needs and never going to their partner, along with some other signs, then it could be an emotional affair.

        2. Lissa

          Yeah, I think personally there needs to be an element of romantic/sexual for it to have an “affair” connotation. There are times I prefer talking to my friends than my partner, he’s not great at everything and neither am I, so we have other people to meet “certain” needs, but those aren’t going to be the romantic/sexual ones!

    3. Triple Anon

      I think it’s very much a person by person thing. People have different views on that kind of thing – what’s a friendship and what’s not, what’s cheating and what’s not, how much partners should tell each other about what’s going on in their lives, etc.

      1. Observer

        Something does not have to be an affair or even formally cheating to be a problem and dangerous to a primary relationship.

        Think, for example, about people who can’t separate from their parents. That kind of relationship is generally not remotely sexual nor is it anything like having an affair. But it’s still toxic to a marriage and similar relationships.

    4. Fiennes

      I trust your judgment it’s not an emotional affair. The real issues here are with your husband. Are there other things going on that would make you less willing to talk with him? Is his jealousy reasonable—not a constant thing? What I see is that you’re leaning on this person for emotional support, which isn’t the same thing as an affair (though it can take you to the danger zone) but is definitely damaging to your relationship with your husband.

      I would taper off communications with Work BFF—at least for now—and concentrate on rebuilding bonds with your spouse. If those are strong, you’ll be able to find balance in your friendships.

      1. Not My Normal Name

        Your first paragraph pretty much summed it up. Spouse and I have a lot of stressors going on right now. For reference, I’m at a 418 on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory and Spouse’s score would be even higher. Spouse tends to shut down under stress. It’s something being addressed, but in the meantime, I found myself talking to Work BFF more.

        However, none of it matters anymore. Work BFF did something that made me realize I had been in hardcore denial about Work BFF’s interest in me. Spouse and I just had a deep conversation about all of this. Not being in denial has made me realize why everything was getting so confusing, and I have agreed to scale back interaction and set stronger boundaries with Work BFF. I just hope things don’t get awkward at work. It’s also a lesson for the future.

        1. Nic

          Good for you for having that conversation. Sounds like the timing of this post was quite appropriate.

        2. Fiennes

          Kudos to you. It sounds like you weren’t having an emotional affair, but Work BFF was. The greater clarity will help your marriage, I think.

        3. Lehigh

          Hey, great job talking to your spouse. I’m so glad you were able to get some more clarity and make good decisions for how to handle this going forward. I’m sorry to hear things are so stressful right now, and I hope that this helps and that other factors settle down soon as well.

    5. PolicyChick

      Here’s my definition:
      If you are investing time, emotion, sharing personal vulnerabilities, or supporting them significantly, then yes, you are probably too involved. The crux of it is, Are you and your friend sharing intimacies that you would typically only share with your partner? And in turn, if you told your partner everything you share with friend, would your partner feel hurt?

      Look at it this way: The definition of cheating (to me) is a deliberate action taken that the person (the actor) knows would violate a previously agreed-upon boundary with the partner. So if you are sharing with friend to the detriment of your primary relationship, then Yes, I’d say that’s an emotional affair. My two cents!

  56. Stephanie

    Running my first half marathon tomorrow! Any tips? I’ll report back how it goes tomorrow.

    1. Green Kangaroo

      I’ll give you the advice my kids always do before a race: “Start fast. At the end, run fast. In the middle, you should also run fast.”

      In my experience, miles 7, 8 and 9 suck, no matter what. The first six miles, I can tell myself it’s just a 10k, no biggie, and once I hit mile 10, I’m happy to be in double-digits. It’s the ones in the middle that get in my head, so I just have to grind them out.

      Good luck!

    2. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      Not that experienced (I’ve raced two half marathons and a full, doing my third in a couple of weeks):

      -Pace yourself. It’s a long enough distance where you can risk going too fast too soon. I’m not sure what distances you’ve run before but you should probably go somewhat slower than your 10k pace. If you have a specific time goal, aim for that pace or even a little slower to start.

      -On that note, be reasonable if you do have a time goal. Slow down if it’s a hot day.

      -Stay hydrated! The races I’ve been to have had water stops every 2 miles or closer; you might not need them that often, but I’d aim for at least every other one.

      -Count up, then down. Break the race down into smaller chunks. To me, it feels less difficult to deal with a 10k, another 10k, and then a 1200. Or even a 6 miler, a 6 miler, and then a 1 mile run.

      -If you normally run through, there’s no shame in walking. I ended up stopping in my first half and my first full a couple of times. I finished both.

      -Most of all, enjoy the race! Even if it’s local, you’re still getting to see things in a different way. And as long as you finish you’ll end up with a PR.

      Good luck and tell us how it goes!

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      I’m sorry I missed this my first time through the posts, but Llama Grooming Coordinator nailed everything. Good luck tomorrow!

      After doing this distance 36 times, the most valuable advice I can give is not to start too fast. I’ve fallen into that trap a few times. Make sure you stop at the water/Gatorade stations (and know how far apart they are in advance, if you can). If there are hills early in the race, don’t overspeed on the downhills. Most importantly, enjoy the race!

    4. Stephanie

      Back home and showered and about to go eat a real meal.

      Pretty much went as planned–finished at around my goal time. Eating some electrolyte gummies around mile 8 helped a lot. The first 7 miles weren’t too bad–it was between mile 8 and 9, I was like “Mehhhhh.” There was also a long, uphill bridge at mile 11 that wasn’t fun (the Birmingham Bridge, for anyone who lives in Pittsburgh). Weather mostly cooperated–got a little drizzly, but it ended up being nice and cool.

      Course support was really great–it was a fun race. Had to turn down the shot of whiskey someone offered me around 12.5 miles.

      1. Stephanie

        Also, thanks for the tips! Yeah, starting slow was a big help and kept me from feeling like death toward the end. I aimed for a bit slower than my 10k pace and that helped.

      2. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        It sounds like you had a great race – congratulations! Honestly, you lucked out with the cool weather – if Pittsburgh was anywhere like New York this past week, it was REALLY hot out. Take it easy, and relax – you’ve earned it! (And also – I’m glad the advice helped.)

        The whiskey thing actually reminds me of a video SB Nation did about the 1904 Olympic marathon (which was equal parts fascinating and horrifying). You displayed…a fair bit more restraint than I might have (although I’d be a little weirded out from taking anything from someone who wasn’t a volunteer, which I’m presuming Whiskey Person was not). I’m ALL about free beer/alcohol after races, though.

        1. Stephanie

          Haha, I love whiskey, but yes…Whiskey Guy was just a random dude. Although if that bottle was full at the start, someone accepted those shots.

          Yes, I really did luck out. I put a trash bag on over my clothes…except I accidentally grabbed a kitchen sized trash bag, so I basically had a trash bag crop top. I ended up not needing it, thankfully.

      3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Good going Stephanie! I’m not sure I would have been able to turn down the whiskey shot myself.

  57. AdAgencyChick

    Poll: how often do you see your parents, and how long does it take to get to them?

    Basically, I’m trying to figure out whether I’m a horrible daughter for not going more often. Mine are about 100 miles away (I don’t have a car, so the trip by mass transit and car service is about 3 hours), and besides holidays I probably go about twice a year, so 4x total.

    I have some guilt about this…but it’s also not fun to stay with my parents since their marriage has been a total mess for years and they don’t really do anything — so sitting in a two-bedroom apartment with two people who don’t talk to each other is super awkward :/

    1. Parenthetically

      Two or three times a year including Christmas, and they live 1100 miles away.

      You don’t sound horrible at all. Why not invite them to come visit you separately? My folks, even though they have a healthy marriage, usually come visit me separately.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        They’re elderly and don’t travel. (It does annoy me that in their world, children visit and call parents and not the other way around, the only exception being a call on my birthday)

        1. I'm A Little Teapot

          Relationships are a two-way street. If they’re not willing to make the effort to call you, then they’re not interested in maintaining the relationship. I understand if they’re not able to travel, but they can certainly dial the phone.

          My parents don’t really call, they prefer to wait for us to call them because they don’t want to interrupt. However, they will email. They also don’t try to guilt us because we don’t call as often as they’d like. (that is emotional manipulation btw, and you absolutely do not have to put up with it.)

    2. Red Reader

      I see them about 4-5 times a year – once at Christmas, 1-2x on vacation overlaps, and 1-3x per year they stay one night at my house on their way somewhere else. They’re about 3 hours away, straight up the interstate.

      1. Red Reader

        Vacation overlaps as in, my parents and I are all annual pass holders at Disneyworld, so we regularly schedule our trips where we have just a couple of days overlap to hang out, but I’ll be on my own for a couple days before they get there and they’ll be on their own after I leave or whatnot.

    3. zora

      In my world, I think 4x per year is a lot, so you’re a great daughter! Most of the people I know see their parents an average of 2x per year. I’ve been trying to do more like 4 because my parents are getting older and my sister has young babies, but I used to average more like 1.5 when I didn’t have much money, and some years I skipped it entirely. I think 4 is pretty high and you should not feel guilty about living your own life as an adult. That’s the Circle of Life! (cue Elton John)

    4. nr

      This is a totally reasonable number. Mine are much farther – I have to fly – but I haven’t been since October, and that was for a wedding.

    5. Lcsa99

      I can’t remember the last time I saw my parents. My father it was probably sometime the year before last – I want to say in the fall but I could be crazy. Could be longer. My mother it’s been maybe 5 years or so – actually might have been longer. She was here for my wedding and I don’t remember either of us traveling since then and that will be 7 years in June. But I live in NY and both of my parents live separately in Oregon. My mother can’t really travel.

      My in-laws we see – I guess it would be a little more than 6 times a year but I am not sure. Feels like more (I don’t mean that the way it sounds, they are awesome people).

      For us it makes sense. There is a huge difference in the physical and emotional distance between parent/child in each family. I feel bad that I don’t see my family more often but I don’t feel driven to change it either.

    6. Book Lover

      Perhaps this is cultural? In any case, several times a week and the same is true for others in my extended family. But in most cases we have grandparents helping take care of grandkids and live very close.

      1. Alinea

        Agreed. Cultural and situational, for sure.

        I live ~75 miles away, it takes me about an hour fifteen with zero traffic. I see then every 4-6 weeks.

        Only child, married. I typically go when my spouse has his military commitments so it’s not disruptive to us spending time together.

    7. Gatomon

      Well we’ve been on opposite sides of the country for a decade, roughly 3,000 miles one way, so only once every few years. Transit time is 8 hours of flight time, plus connections and security screening and travel to/from the airports. I would usually stay for at least a week though.

    8. Nacho

      Every Friday, but I live about 4 miles from them, so not really the same situation as you.

      1. Merci Dee

        I’m with you – I see my folks at least once a week when we meet up for church and lunch on Sunday, but it’s not unusual to see them again at some point during the week. We live about 30 miles away from them (kiddo and I live in the city, and they live in a small area right outside of the next town over).

    9. Julianne

      My parents have lived 1,000-1,500 miles from me for the past 5 years, and we’ve had 6 visits in that time. Four involved me going to them, two involved them coming to me. I do have this sense that I should see them more often, but it seems infeasible, especially since my dad hates traveling. It’s not reasonable for me to spend all my vacation money and time off traveling to see them.

    10. Natalie

      If funds allow, I heartily recommend staying in a hotel rather than with them. We do this when we visit my in laws and it’s an enormous stress reducer for both me and my husband.

      It was a little uncomfortable at first because they are really good at taking things personally, but that’s okay. They got over it.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        Ooh, they did? Do you mind sharing how the conversation went the first time you told them you would be staying at a hotel?

        The funds are not the problem in my case. But I can’t say I think that conversation would go well.

    11. Agent Veronica

      I go 2-3 times a year—holidays and one other trip, generally. It’s a 7-hour drive, so I feel like that’s what I can do. They would like me to visit more, which makes me feel guilty—but just like someone else on this thread, when I go home to my small town there’s zero to do that doesn’t involve another 2 hours in the car, plus my parents have an unhealthy relationship that makes extended time in their presence awkward at best, deeply painful at worst. Of course, this is the one reason for not visiting I can’t tell them.

    12. Becky

      I live 2000 miles away from my parents. The last time I saw them was Thanksgiving 2016. I generally visit about once every 18 months to 2 years. I do wish I could see them more often but a cross country flight and the time off needed for the travel to be worth it is difficult.

      I have 2 sisters that live in close proximity to my parents and another sister who a year ago returned from living abroad for 5 years during which time my mother visited them once, my father not at all.

      Oldest sister and her husband have been contemplating moving to Washington (state) to be nearer brother-in-law’s side of the family (they’ve lived near my parents for 13 or so years). If they move then my parents would most likely follow. That would put my parents about 850 miles from me.

      I actually am kind of desperate to move from where I am and be closer to family but moving is so expensive!

    13. Jasper

      My mom lives 16 hours by car from me, I’m lucky if I see her once a year. If I lived 3 hours from her I’d go at least every other month, but I think it’s a little different since my mom’s house isn’t an unpleasant environment for me. I don’t think you’re a horrible daughter at all.

    14. RestlessRenegade

      Now, my parents live about 50 miles away (1 hour by car) and I see them usually twice a month, but often that is because they come up to see me, which I know is not your situation.
      For a few years, I lived about 200 miles away (3 hours by car) and I visited usually 10 times a year. However, there were a lot of reasons for that number: 1) I had a car and a job/grad program with flexible hours, so usually had weekends free; 2) my sisters were a huge motivator–I love spending time with them, so sometimes seeing my parents was only incidental; and 3) I really enjoyed visiting them (I hate to say it, but it doesn’t sound like you’re enjoying visits much.)
      I don’t think you’re a horrible daughter. It sounds like your parents aren’t making much effort either, and it’s hard to motivate yourself to do things you don’t really want to do or feel obligated to do. Make sure to take care of yourself!

    15. Handy nickname

      I live about 20 minutes from my parents and siblings, who all still live at home. I’m usually go over on Sunday afternoons or else for supper one night, but if my friends are busy & im lonely I’ll stop by more often. I see my family a lot compared to most people, but we’ve always been close and I just moved out recently, and I live so close by that it’s just happened that way so far. Also, my dog stayed when I moved because it was technically a family dog, and I miss him so friggin much, so as often as not I’m going over for supper just so I can cuddle with the dog on the couch.

      1. Handy nickname

        And more relevant- I don’t think you’re a horrible daughter at all. If visits are really awkward and uncomfortable for you, and sounds like a not overly pleasant travel time, I wouldn’t go more often either.

        I’m in a transition period with a lot of friends right now (either in school or getting married), so it can be hard to find times to get together with people, and there’s enough people at home that someone is usually there if I want another human to eat supper with, and my siblings are pretty cool people that are some of my best friends.

        All that to say, I’m home a lot because I like it and it’s a good place for me, not because I _have_ to, so don’t feel bad if it’s not a good place for you.

      2. ronda

        love the dog part.

        I took my parents dog to live with me when they didnt want to keep her anymore.

        everytime we came in the door everyone (parents and siblings) spoke to the dog instead of me. :)

    16. LAMM

      My mother, step-dad and siblings are 750ish miles away. I probably see them every 18-24 months. Occasionally it gets as frequent as every 9-12 month, which honestly is a bit too frequent for my tastes for seeing my mother. My siblings and step-dad I’d gladly see all the time. Luckily the kids are getting old enough that we can get away with “sibling only” activities (we are 28, 27, 18 and 14, with myself being the oldest).

      My dad however lives only like 10 miles from me. I try to see him once a month for lunch, but that doesn’t always happen, especially with my new work schedule. We probably average about 10-12x a year between lunches, family gatherings and the occasional hockey game. And honestly, I’m pretty ok with that too.

    17. matcha123

      I see my family when I go back to the US, which is about every other year. I would like it to be more, but plane tickets are expensive from the Other Side of the Word.
      I am a horrible daughter for not spending every holiday at home, for not living close to home, for not being there to chat when Parent needs to talk. My younger sibling who lives a 45-minute drive away is also a Bad Sibling because they don’t visit enough. And why? Because literally everyone else in the world loves and adores and respects their parents and lives close by and has lunch or dinner with them multiple times a week. “The families on TV..!!!” “My coworkers’ kids…!!!”
      So, not much I can do. I would like to be there, but Parent also doesn’t like people and doesn’t want to expand their network or make new friends.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        Haha, sounds like Parent should see this thread for proof that literally every other child does not adore and pay regular homage to her parents :)

        1. matcha123

          Yes! Butttt….”everyone else…” (an argument, strangely, I wasn’t allowed to use as a kid. hmm…)

      2. Traveling Teacher

        Are you me? ” …about every other year. I would like it to be more, but plane tickets are expensive from the Other Side of the Word.” and “I would like to be there, but Parent also doesn’t like people and doesn’t want to expand their network or make new friends.”

        I would go more often if it meant I could do something else other than stay at home/in hometown for the 2-3 weeks’ holiday I take, but clearly that would provoke many more cryings and meltdowns from my parents who just don’t understand why we would leave now that we’re finally there… Next time we go, though, we are going to lie and stay with my friends in another city for the first week–sad it has to come to that, but I am so freaking excited about seeing them for once!

        Yeah, I’m the number one Bad Kid now, but I’ve recently decided that I’m okay with that.

        My spouse and I have recently made the decision that our next holiday will be a true holiday, just for our little family, no other family from either side involved. But that’s what we say every time and then we either get guilt tripped hard (my side), or another Terrible Thing happens (his side) that we need to be there for (which is fine, by the way, just frustrating that its been nearly a decade of this vicious cycle…).

    18. Chaordic One

      My parents live 280 miles away and I see them just about every time there’s a 3-day weekend. It’s a 4 and a half hour drive to where they live and it’s in a rural area where there’s no train or bus service. Flying there takes almost as much time as driving. They’re quite elderly now and I’m not sure how much longer they can live on their own. When I’m there I seem to spend a lot of time doing house and yard maintenance that they can no longer manage to do on their own and they don’t want to hire someone else to do.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        This is part of why I feel guilty and like I should go more — my parents are approaching their 80s, they’re not in good health, and who knows how much longer they’ll hang around? They are in a retirement home now so at least there isn’t much house work they’d need done (and my brother lives 30 minutes away so they mostly ask him for that stuff anyway). But I always wonder, am I going to regret the time I didn’t spend with them when they’re gone?

    19. only acting normal

      Mother 2 hrs away by car – visit maybe once or twice a year (I visit her), used to be more but she doesn’t really like visitors or travelling.
      Father in another country – recently saw for the first time in 3-4yrs (he visited me).
      Our family dynamics are awkward and get strained after more than a few hours. But, hey, life is like that sometimes, so cut yourself some slack.

    20. Dan

      Parents are a 2 hour plane ride, I go for a major winter holiday every year and that’s it. My brother and his wife live near my part, so for me, it’s more “seeing family” as opposed to just my parents.

      If it was just my parents, I probably would visit every couple of years.

      OTOH, we talk regularly.

    21. neverjaunty

      Why would any of this make you a horrible daughter?

      Stealing from your parents, abusing them financially, or making demands while giving nothing back – that’s how you become a horrible daughter.

    22. Kj

      My parents come to see me 1x/year and I go to see them about 1x/ year. Once or twice, I haven’t gone to see them and they have come to see me twice. I’m in Seattle, they are in Arizona, so it is about three hours of flying, plus two hours of driving to get to them. They live in a fun town (actually, the town where I went to college) and I enjoy being there with them. If I didn’t enjoy it, I’d go less.

      Don’t have any guilt about not going more often. 4x/year sounds like more than enough. Also, they could come see you. Cars work both ways, right? If holidays aren’t fun, consider staying in your city and having a holiday with friends. We stopped traveling for thanksgiving because it SUCKED and thanksgiving with friends has been so much better and more relaxing.

    23. LilySparrow

      My dad lives two suburbs over in the same metro area, about 20-30 minutes. I see him a couple of times a month.
      Before I moved here and when my mom was living, I was about a 3-hour plane ride away (so call it a half-day of travel) and saw them a couple of times a year but spoke on the phone several times a week.

  58. Sparkly Lady

    I have a weird emotional situation that I would love advice on.

    I teach a dance class at a small studio that focuses on recreational dance for adults. None of the teachers are professional dancers. We’re all very serious hobbyists. It’s not a zumba studio, but if you think along those lines, you get a pretty accurate image of the students and teachers. I’ve done occasional fun performances with another teacher, both as a duet together and as connecting her as a soloist to some small, community fundraiser shows. I thought we were friends.

    But starting this year, she’s been organizing student showcases for the studio using guidelines that have the effect of leaving out most of my students. She’s also been bringing her students and a few of the other teachers into some community dance events.

    This stuff is all great for her students and the studio, but it’s put me in an awkward place. I don’t know why I wasn’t invited to participate in the other events. I don’t know what to tell my students about the student showcases. Some of them have asked about why they’re being done in this way that leaves them out, and I genuinely don’t know the answer.

    The studio doesn’t have staff meetings, and I teach on different days from this teacher. It’s clear that I badly misread our previous interactions and the other teacher does not actually consider us friends. So I’m not sure how to go forward. There’s no logical setting to ask about (at the very least) the why of the showcase guidelines, much less to advocate for changing them to be more inclusive of my students.

    1. miyeritari

      It doesn’t seem that unreasonable to me that this teacher would mostly want her students to benefit from her doing any extra work, especially if she only thinks of you as a colleague. Maybe she’s thinking that if you wanted your students to also get community showcase dance benefits, you should also be organizing, rather than just having your students show up to her showcase?

      Alternately, maybe you could offer to take some of the effort of handling the showcase as a trade for making the showcase more inclusive for your students.

      1. Sparkly Lady

        I think what I wrote was unclear. The student showcases are supposed to be for the studio’s students, not for her individual students. There is not an option to organize my own showcase for my own students.

        I would absolutely love to help with organizing, and that is part of what is frustrating and also emotionally difficult to me. I am being kept so out of the loop, there is no opportunity for me to volunteer to help. In further context, I was also part of the small group of teachers who advocated for the studio to start hosting showcases in the first place.

    2. Nacho

      It doesn’t sound like Other Teacher doesn’t consider you a friend, just that she considers her lessons to be a little more serious than you do, and a little less along the lines of a zumba studio. How are your classes being left out of the showcases? Is it a time thing, or an experience thing, or are they just being created without asking your students if they’d like to compete?

      As for logical settings to ask about these things, you’ve obviously talked to her before if you considered yourselves friends, so why not bring it up the next time you see her?

      1. Sparkly Lady

        I’m not willing to get into details lest this become too identifying. But it is not an experience thing; I teach one of the advanced classes.

        We used to rehearse together when we were doing duets. Now that this no longer happens, there’s not the same logical time to talk. We don’t teach on the same nights.

        1. TootsNYC

          call her at some NON-logical time to talk.

          It’s OK to make this a Thing. You can be polite, and ask questions and gather info before forming judgments.

    3. Triple Anon

      I hear you, Sparkly Lady. I think the fact that she’s excluding your students by setting guidelines that leave them out is not cool. Is there any kind of leadership? Anyone you could talk to? If not, could you move your class elsewhere?

      1. Sparkly Lady

        I have debated talking to the studio owner. I feel weird about it because we have no staff meetings, so I would have to set up a special time with the owner. I worry that would come across as too stresssful/high drama for something that’s supposed to be recreational.

        1. lychee

          Since your students are the losers, I suggest you need to be a little aggressive in understanding the situation. Go on a night the other teacher is teaching to talk about how your students can be included and in parallel set up a meeting with the owner where you can present the entire situation including the other teacher’s response.

        2. TootsNYC

          students are commenting. It’s already a Thing. Think of this as giving the owner a head’s-up.

    4. Stellaaaaa

      This strikes me as one of those things that isn’t technically wrong to do but is a weird omission between friends. She might want to open her own studio or use these events as opportunities to promote her own dance classes. I can’t speak to the showcases at your dance studio, but as for the community stuff, she might have used her own connections for that and there might have been limitations that you don’t know about. This may sound cold, but if I went to the work of organizing events outside of the school, I’m not sure I would pull in another teacher’s students. Why not organize your own community events? It’s not like you planned anything for her students. She’s doing all of this for her own PR and her own students and no one’s stopping you from doing the same thing. Please ask her about it but be prepared to hear that she has put a lot of work into events that she’s passionate about and simply doesn’t feel like having anyone else benefit when she’s done all the work.

      1. Sparkly Lady

        I feel like I must have explained things badly because everyone who’s responding seems to be imagining something pretty different from what I was trying to describe.

        So try #2: students come to the studio–not a specific teacher. They become mine, hers, or another teacher’s based on which day an appropriately-leveled class fits into their schedule.

        *I’m* the one who originally developed the community event connections, and I brought *her* in. I don’t want to get into the identifying details, but for good reasons that I supported, she was asked to organize some additional stuff. As part of that, she used students from her classes as well as some of the other teachers, but not me. So she was fine being the one benefiting from my work and my connections, but for whatever reason, when she had the opportunity to reciprocate, she chose not to.

        Is that clearer?

        1. Stellaaaaa

          I think I’m going to need some more specific details because my advice is still that you should just organize your own events. If she’s doing projects outside of classes I’d say she’s entitled to include whichever students she wants. I will reiterate that there may be background information that you aren’t privy to. You don’t have a lot of information about the planning of these events and you haven’t even asked her yet. You’re getting well-reasoned answers based on the information you’ve provided but you’re rejecting them all. I don’t want to be blunt, but you either need to accept that your understanding of the situation is biased or that you haven’t provided enough information for other people to grasp why you’re so upset. You gave her access to resources and she used them in the way she wanted. She probably doesn’t expect you to always organize events with her in mind, so she’s not including you in her projects.

        2. ronda

          it doesnt sound like you have asked her about the why of the ‘rules’ and let her know that some of your students are interested in participating but feel they can’t.
          you dont have to set up an in-person meeting for this or wait till you cross paths. just set-up a phone call to discuss.
          and this is an information gathering discussion, not a complaint about how she has mis-treated you.
          hear her reasons then take a break and think about them.
          Then decide if they make sense and just explain them to your students or decide that you want to approach her or owner with other options.

        3. Aly_b

          Maybe I’m being a millennial here but can you just text her or email her? Honestly, getting your students able to be involved in these should be something you’re both on the same side on, since it is clearly good for the students and the studio, and I think you can approach the conversation that way- “hey, I don’t know if you realized, but the way these showcases are set up ends up excluding my students, and they’re really interested in getting involved! Any way we can re-jig the setup so they can participate as well? Happy to drop by on [other teacher’s day] to chat about how we could make this happen.”

  59. Red Reader

    Graduations accomplished. I now have two masters degrees. The speaker keeps referring to “bachelorette” degrees, regardless of who they’re going to – I don’t even know why.

    Really looking forward to my celebratory cookout tomorrow, and will be glad when all the pomp and circumstance is done. (Because I will be humming the dang song for three weeks.)

        1. Red Reader

          Right? I was in the first row that got called, so afterwards I was not paying as much attention, so the first time I heard it I was like “did he just say… I must have misheard …. nooooope.”

  60. AvonLady Barksdale

    My partner’s sister is getting married this fall. Yay. She’s getting married on a Caribbean island that suffered a ton of damage from Irma and Maria. Not so yay, but tourist dollars are good. They did not reserve a block of rooms or offer any kind of guidance as to where guests should stay (the links on their wedding website are to booking sites like VRBO). She’s been bugging him for our details, so he started looking into accommodations, and… there is very little that works. Half of the hotels are severely damaged, the other half are either completely booked or $500/night, and with flights no cheaper than $650, that’s prohibitive for us. I’ve started looking at AirBnBs, which are… fine? But she also hasn’t sent us any details about the location of their wedding venue (which, incidentally, is where the wedding party is staying but it’s a large house, not a hotel), so it’s tough to plan without knowing how far or close we would be– he asked for an address, she doesn’t have it or didn’t know it or something. We’re both completely unwilling to book something nonrefundable at this point because if there’s another hurricane, we don’t want to deal with the logistics of fighting for a refund. My partner is not in the wedding party but is apparently expected to participate in certain events, but I say “apparently” because no one has given him any details and things have only been mentioned to him in passing. (As a member of an over-sharing, over-planning family, I find this really unsettling, but I’m working on accepting it.)

    Sigh. I am just annoyed. I am also extremely sleepy from flying in on a red eye this morning, but this is putting me over the damn edge.

    1. Loopy

      I’d be annoyed! Expecting people to fly to a wedding location usually means you should at least make an attempt to make it easier, not harder! I’m 9.5 months out from my wedding and only have one hotel block booked and am kind of freaking out over it, wondering what to say if family ask. I clearly fall on the other end of the planning style spectrum!

      Also, October seems a little risky in terms of hurricane season. I live in SC and wouldn’t have felt super comfortable with that month after last season!

    2. nonegiven

      I think I would nope the f out of that until they come through with more details. “Sorry, without more information we can’t commit to coming.”

      1. Not So NewReader

        Yep. This.
        She will never tell your partner but others are telling her the same thing. And you will have proof of that when she says, “No one is coming to my wedding!” In the details you will find out that several people said they could not come or they had to wait for more information.

        It sounds like she is not straining herself to set this up, so I would not worry too much about not putting a lot of effort in myself. I might go with “it’s not in our budget”.

        Under the heading of “differences in people”, a friend got married on an island half way across the world from Mom and Dad. The couple skyped Mom and Dad in so they could watch the ceremony. In this case the couple realized that everyone has limitations, Mom and Dad can’t travel for several reasons. The couple went into problem solving mode, decided “Skype!” and that is how a plan came together.
        This is all to say, her solution does not have to be bro and you pay through the nose for air fare and lodging. There are other ideas available.

    3. ..Kat..

      She is being selfish expecting you two to spend this kind of money. And if she does not have a wedding and reception site yet, is it really going to happen? I recommend telling them you can’t afford it (people who demand that others spend a lot of money on destination weddings are awful). And don’t let them push you into putting it on credit cards. Plus the island still has major hurricane damage! In the immortal words of Our Fearless Leader, “I am sorry. It’s just not possible.”

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        She has a venue and reception site. All of that is set. She just didn’t think about anyone else’s accommodations beyond, “Here are some links.”

        When I found out the wedding was being planned for the fall in the Caribbean, I said, “Um… hurricane season?” And that was before Irma and Maria!

        1. ..Kat..

          Sorry, I misread about the venue and reception site. But I stand by my comments about destination weddings and demanding that your loved ones shell out for this. I realize that this is “family,” but she sounds like someone you might as well start enforcing boundaries with. Sorry, I know this is difficult to do.

    4. Traveling Teacher

      Just say no, not in my budget, workflow, etc. It’s really ok to not go and not waste your hard-earned money and vacation time on such a poorly planned situation. Take a vacation somewhere you want to go instead and watch the video after!

      (I got married on the other side of the world from my family–because that’s where I lived, no hard feelings on either side, I knew people wouldn’t be able to come).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I wish. I’m seriously leaning towards not going because it only makes financial sense for one of us to go, and he’s her brother. I haven’t outright asked him if he truly wants to go; I think he feels obligated, which I completely understand, and I want to support him. But my goodness, this whole thing is making me insane. I’m not against destination weddings, but I am against destination weddings where the bride and groom expect the same kind of turnout they would get if they had the wedding close to where they live.

        1. Traveling Teacher

          Oh dear, that sounds even worse. From someone who sacrificed a lot of time and money to go to a sibling’s wedding herself, just don’t do it if you’re not all-in, otherwise you’ll just be resentful!

          If your husband also doesn’t want to go, I hope he can just say no and maybe get her a nice gift to soften the blow if he really feels bad about it? Or, any way you can throw a newlyweds party for them when they get back or something? That’s bound to work out cheaper and might be appreciated by older relatives especially who couldn’t make the trip?

          That’s what we ended up doing in mine and my husband’s countries, just a big backyard barbecue for him to meet my family and then one in his country for me to meet his family. (…hence getting married in our country-of-residence: choosing one home country over another just wouldn’t have been fair to our families, and we didn’t want/couldn’t afford the travelling circus of two imitation weddings!).

    5. Lcsa99

      I honestly think some people do destination weddings specifically to get a smaller wedding. They know a lot of people won’t be able to go so it forces a smaller crowd. And they do this instead of just cutting down on the guest list or freaking eloping. It’s possible that’s the situation here. Especially since the plans are being treated as such a state secret.

      1. Middle School Teacher

        I agree with that. I know a lot of people who have destination weddings because “everything is done for us” but I also see the subtext as “we don’t really want people at our wedding but we don’t want to say it like that.” It’s fine if people are truly understanding if people can’t attend (which I have seen) but not so great if they take the attitude of “if you really cared about us, you’d come” (which I have also seen). There’s not a lot of people I like enough to spend $3500 on their wedding.

    6. TootsNYC

      Two things:
      for you guys: travel insurance (which will cover hurricanes but maybe not a cancellation of the wedding)
      for the bride: event insurance (which would reimburse wedding party and family for airfares)

      Also, probably time to be firm with her. She has an obligation to provide this info.

  61. Super Anon For This

    I’m part of a creative community where I’ve always taken a lot of abuse. It goes all the way back to my childhood. An abusive family situation led to more of the same at school and then trouble with housing and employment, which led to some really bad situations. I faced violence for doing creative work early on and then I ended up in some really bad situations in that community. I never had the option of pressing charges or telling my side of the story.

    I’ve gotten back on my feet to a large extent, but a lot of the people in my community are really horrible to me. I’m nearly forty and I’ve never had a friend who I could just talk to about life. My creative projects are my only outlet. My health is in bad shape because of the disability that my family rejected me for having, and some of the stuff I went through later on. I know a lot of people, but no one talks to me. They only talk at me and then walk away, or talk about me. How do you turn things around?

    I can’t socialize that much because of time, health, and the fact that I need to avoid people who’ve been violent to me in the past or recently threatened me. It’s overwhelming. I just want to have a voice and get to contribute to the world. I’ve spent my whole life having my work copied by other people who simultaneously try to push me out of the community – prevent me from getting opportunities to share my work (long story). But it’s all I have. I need it in order to keep going, and people really enjoy what I do when I get opportunities to share it.

    I’m also really different from what I look like. That makes it even harder to connect with people. They expect me to be one way and then they distance themselves when they find out that I’m not what they expected. Is there hope? What can I do?

    1. Not So NewReader

      Because of the length of time this has been going on for you, I have to ask have you considered or done counseling?

      Is moving to a different area a possibility?

      I have a friend who says, “I want to help people when I see them broken down by the side of the road. My problem is that I look like your average ax murderer.” And it’s true. He does. He’s always worked outside and time/sun/nature have taken their toll. I recommended to him that he use body language and words to off-set his first impressions that may/may not be happening. Take that preemptive strike. This can be a simple as a cheerful “Good morning!” when you approach someone. This way right off the bat, you will telegraph that you are friendly and kind. And that is what most people care about, they don’t care how we look.

      Have you thought about teaching your art to children or adult novices? Can you do something in that regard?

      1. Super Anon For This

        I have taught and I’ll probably do it again. I’m taking a break from it right now for a number of reasons.

        And it’s funny that you mentioned body language because that’s part of the issue. I try to off-set this by being friendly, but I usually look abnormally tense (read as uptight or uncomfortable) or abnormally relaxed (read as indifferent, bored, bad attitude) and lately I’ve been having some nerve issues in my face, which just adds to it all. This is related to the physical problems that I have. It’s kind of a subtle thing. I also look really young. I look like an awkward, indifferent teenager even though I’m a lot older. The fact that I look this way yet act my age (often older) and have physical limitations always attracts negative attention.

        I’ve tried to break that cycle by talking more openly about my physical abnormalities, but that tends to create other issues.

        I have moved around a lot. I’ve tried counseling. It’s never been helpful. I tend to get the same condescending attitude from counselors. And it’s just not what I need. I’m trying to logistically sort out these issues so I can keep painting teapots, as the saying goes.

        1. Kj

          Can I offer some tips to find a good fit, therapist-wise, if you want to go that route in the future? I know you say you don’t need it, but from what you are writing, you might want to consider it, as therapists can help with the body language stuff and provide feedback as to how you come off to others (if you ask for that feedback). I’m a therapist and I get it- I have had some terrible therapists in my day and know some now that aren’t great. Bad experiences make it hard to go back. If you wanted to try therapy again, these tips might help.

          Many urban areas have programs that allow you to interview 3 therapists and pick the one that works for you. Many therapists offer a free consultation, either in person or over the phone. Take advantage of that. Ask about their approach and decide what you are looking for- do you want active help (if so, try more CBT or DBT) or do you want to be listened to (more person-centered or Rogerian is the term you want then). You might look at some videos of different therapy modalities and think about what feels right to you. You also should look for someone with a specific background in domestic violence, since you seem to have grown up in a household that was not safe. Many therapists are shamefully ignorant about DV and its impact on people. I’d also consider group therapy- it is great place to get feedback on how you seem to others in a safe, caring, respectful way. Group therapy is both intense and helpful- I hated it when I did it, but it helped a lot. If you are an artist, consider art therapy or drama therapy approaches as well.

    2. Thlayli

      I’m really confused – it sounds like you’re in a cult or something? You live in the middle of a bunch of creatives who have abused you since childhood and you want to stay friends with them?

      Don’t walk- run! Run away from this crazy cult.