Sunday free-for-all

samIt’s our first Sunday free-for-all.

Since we limited Friday’s open thread to work-related discussions, this comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. Have at it.

{ 918 comments… read them below }

  1. Random Reader*

    Thanks to everyone for all their suggestions about Nashville! It’s on my list of places to revisit. The food was amazing, and the people were so friendly! We went to the honky tonks on Broadway and Printers Alley.

    We tried to get into Bluebird Cafe (of Nashville fame) but it was full by the time we got there. Loveless Cafe and Pancake Pantry- well worth the wait :-) I’ve been craving BBQ all week!

    1. ProcReg*

      I really like living here. It’s a big city, but there are so many locals it definitely feels smaller.

    2. A Teacher*

      Random Reader, one of my friends just tried Pancake Pantry yesterday too…she had good things to say about it. My family that lives there says its a good place!

    3. Plaintiff's Side Bro*

      Nashville is a cool town. I really liked Merchant’s restaurant. Fantastic.

  2. Canadamber*

    Awww, your cats are so cute! ^_^;

    Anyway – I don’t know if adults watch this channel, but has anyone ever watched the YouTube channel danisnotonfire, or AmazingPhil? I have been literally procrastinating ALL WEEK so that I can watch their videos, and laugh and laugh until I choke (and hopefully refrain from dying). I am regretting that now, because YAY Calculus test in less than 32 hours, but, hey. They’re great channels! :)

    1. Bex*

      Oh, that was so not nice of you! (she replies after having wandered over to danisnotonfire and having to pull herself away a half hour later ;) Okay, I promise myself that I will not find AmazingPhil on youtube until another day! I will return the favor (with less than 32 hours before your calculus test ;) – the YouTube channels I can get stuck on for hours are Rémi GAILLARD, and stevecash83 (Talking Kitty .. why did I not have the Talking Kitty idea first? Bummer!). Enjoy!

      1. VintageLydia USA*

        I watch CommunityChannel and grav3yardgirl almost compulsively. Also JennaMarbles and most things the Vlogbrothers come up with (so Crash Course, Lizzie Bennet Diaries, etc. DFTBA)

      2. Canadamber*

        Well, duh. xD; Hahaha – thankfully, I shall not fall for that one! xD; I’ve already watched lots of Remi videos.

        Anyway, my stupid Calculus test will be failed because of danisnotonfire. AHHH that channel is just like THE FEELS and THE AWESOMENESS and WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE SO FUNNY and Dan is REALLY good-looking ;.;

  3. Canadamber*

    Oh, yeah, and another thing – due to danisnotonfire, I have been all inspired to start a vlog. Not to become all popular or anything (because that would kind of require dedicating my entire life to YouTube, and I don’t exactly want to – nor do I have the time to – do that), but some of my friends have done similar things, and I think it could be fun.

    Has anyone ever made one of these before? What’s the greatest obstacle in creating it, and then how did you keep creating content? Did you meticulously plan out what you were going to say about your day or your life or whatever beforehand, or did you just kind of wing it?

    Just curious!!! :)

  4. Super Anon*

    Has anyone here had a disagreement with their spouse that was so profound that it felt disturbing?

    My husband and I don’t always agree about political and social issues, and too often I get frustrated when his views don’t align with mine. It’s not fair of me, and it’s a thing we deal with.

    Recently we disagreed on something and I was so deeply troubled by his belief that it really rattled me. We talked through it, I tried to understand where he was coming from (and tried to get him to understand where I was coming from), and in the end we just set it down and went about our night, uncomfortably. It’s been days now and we’re fine, but it felt so terrible.

    His belief feels so profoundly wrong to me. I know him so well, and love and respect him so much, and I can’t reconcile this person I know and love and trust and respect with this deeply effed-up belief. Yuck. I don’t get how it can sit there in his head.

    Has anyone dealt with this?

    (I’m intentionally not sharing what the issue was so we don’t derail into a discussion of the issue, but please believe me that almost everyone would be on my side in this. It’s not a hot-button, controversial thing. It’s the kind of thing that you’d assume everyone would be on the same page about. Really. I’m not just blind to my side here.)

    1. EAA*

      I have had times where my husband has surprised me with something I didn’t expect. If this belief has no real effect on your marriage and future I’d just file it away as one of those quirks in life. I believe we all have things in our lives that others would be surprised by, that just doesn’t fit with the person they know. And sometimes you just have to agree to disagree.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This times 10.

        My late husband and I had discussions where I said “I married YOU???” How could I have missed this? How could I have been with him for all this time and not realized?

        It never impacted his actions or our marriage. Part of it is we believe things and never “do” anything about it- we don’t act on those beliefs. Another part is that we change. What looked like a solid idea ten years ago, pans out to be a bad idea now. I think that my husband just quietly changed his mind and the whole disagreement went away. But it took years for that to dissolve.

        I think that as a spouse it was important for me to make sure my own talk matched my walk. I think that by doing this it helped my husband to sort out his own thoughts on things.
        It could also be that maybe one of his friends spoke to him on the matter and he changed his mind because of his friends’ inputs.

        But, yeah, I believe that most couples go through something where they think to themselves, “Do I even know this person that I married?”

        If this is a one off, I would just be aware of it, but I would not let it be a deal breaker. Additionally, since you are saying society as a whole would disagree with him, I would say let society as a whole jump in an help him form a different perspective.

        I hope this part makes you smile: At one point my husband exclaimed, “Fifteen YEARS! It has taken you (meaning ME) 15 years to change your mind on this topic!” Yeah, I changed my mind.

      2. Chris*

        Generally, subjects that either:

        – have polarizing views (you either believe in / support subject X, or don’t)

        – have views where stating a different opinion on another person’s own said view calls into question their own lifestyle or moral code

        – having a view that goes against what society believes to be true (assuming the recipient agrees with society’s view)

        will always be uncomfortable conversations. Subject matter includes:

        – politics
        – religions
        – cultural issues of the day / month / year (gay marriage, feminism, the Washington Redskins name, etc.)

        Example: 2012: I come from an area where it is assumed everyone votes for Obama. If a person voted for Romney, they had to back it up logically or they would get badgered to hell and back (as one of my ex-classmates had to experience when he brought up the pork contained in Obamacare).

        Either way, the subjects above are going to produce uncomfortable conversations if Person A and Person B disagree. Compare arguments between whether or not Masahiro Tanaka or Felix Hernandez is the better pitcher where and Michael Sam and the NFL Draft. The former, even if you have a difference of opinion, it’s all in good fun and no one cares about the result. The latter will inevitably become an uncomfortable conversation (assuming his size and speed aren’t brought up with respect to his position) and will break people up, assuming the two people don’t share similar opinions.

        My suggestion in these types of things is to keep it light, keep it funny, and if you play with another’s emotional indignation, do it to fluff and ruffle feathers (which is fun) as opposed to making the other uncomfortable (which is not). It’s not necessary for a person to be open about their views and, in the case of society which seems to value openness, being open will likely be detrimental toward positive desirous relationships. You don’t need to know if another person regularly attends the Cult of Cthulhu to like them or not. However, if this is found out, it will not be forgotten and could end up harming Person A’s relationship with Person B if person B is a member of the anti-Cthulhu cult.

        People don’t forget things, and person’s views / outtakes on politics and life are much more memorable than views on Felix Hernandez since those views dimensionalze the person (person’s makeup, the brand by which you remember said person, etc.).

        tl;dr: Light, funny, pleasurable, emotionally exhilarating is always best and fun. Hot – button conversations (see above) are going to be divisive and uncomfortable. Society values openness, but it comes with a heavy price.

    2. A Bug!*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this; my heart goes out to you. This is one of those things where there are no easy answers.

      I strongly encourage you to see a counselor, either together or just yourself if he’s not willing. Not all relationship counselors are created equal, so you may need to try with several before finding one that clicks.

      If he is willing to see a counselor, let him have some involvement in selecting the counselor and obviously input into whether or not the two of you will stay with a counselor you do see.

      If you can’t afford a counselor and you aren’t able to get it covered through your or his work, there may be low-cost or free options if you contact local family resource centers or even churches. Failing that, you can work your way through the phone book, because some counselors provide services on a sliding scale that may be able to work with your ability to pay.

      I wish I could give you a hug right now.

    3. Celeste*

      Yes! It’s horrible when it happens, almost a feeling of, who ARE you? A good friend described it as a storm passing through the marriage, to have such a profound disagreement. I think it’s inevitable if you stay together long enough. But, unpleasant all the same. Nobody talks about this stuff, and I think we should–not so much the topic that made it happen, but how to deal and keep it from being a deal breaker.

    4. Lillie Lane*

      I get it, and why you are so upset. I’ve had friends where we’ve discussed something where we have wildly different beliefs and I end up deeply disappointed, upset, and thrown by their views. You eventually get over it, but it’s hard to let go.

      My husband has some weird quirks that are completely nonsensical (I realize these examples are likely far more trivial than the issue with your hubby). He cannot stand when people sneeze, cough, or hiccup. Ever. Even if you are sick, you will get a death glare from him until you stop. He will also never apologize. Ever. Even if he’s 100% in the wrong and you are screaming and crying. (Actually, he will apologize for one thing — if he has coughed or sneezed!)

      1. going anon for this*

        never apologizing–that’s not trivial IMO. My husband’s like that, step on my foot, accidentally hit me, it must be my fault for being there.

        1. Ruffingit*

          That is beyond not apologizing and actually moves into the emotional abuse category in my view.

      2. Canadamber*

        Well, some people do find it difficult to apologize, so maybe it’s just an ego thing?

    5. Ruffingit*

      Yes, I’ve been there in my previous marriage. I think you have to decide how much this matters to you. If it’s something that you profoundly disagree on, but that isn’t overall that important to your life, then I think it may be easier for you to just accept it and move on. If however it’s an issue that you feel goes to the very core character of a person, then you have a bigger issue and you either need to figure out if your husband’s other worthy characteristics outweigh it or if they do not. Marriage counseling may be helpful for you both so you can learn some good communication techniques.

      Also, don’t be afraid to just take some things off the table as discussion topics. A lot of people have the mistaken belief that spouses should align on everything or nearly everything. That just isn’t so and again, it comes back to what truly matters to you. Quite honestly, I’ve only got a few topics I really, truly care about and would have a massive problem being friends with or married to a person who felt differently on those topics. The rest I can let go because it just doesn’t matter that much to me regardless. So what matters to you? Is this one of those topics or is it a thing you can drop with the internal understanding that it’s OK if you disagree on it because it just doesn’t matter that much to your or your life?

    6. Yogi Josephina*

      I haven’t had this with my spouse, but I’ve had this with my mother. And yes. It sucks. It sucks horribly. I think the thing that is so awful about it is that you actually do, even just a little bit, lose respect for that person in some vein, and when it’s someone you’re used to loving and respecting, that is a HORRIBLE feeling. My mother and I were always mostly aligned on stuff (a few things we weren’t, but they weren’t big deals to me) but in recent years she’s changed her mind on some things that I just find…abhorrent. It’s disillusioning and so beyond upsetting, because we definitely have a tendency to think, “I couldn’t love/have a relationship with someone who thought that way about this.” We kind of attach ourselves to our convictions and consider them dealbreakers, and those who adhere to opposite convictions we REALLY enjoy labeling as jerks or gross or ignorant or horrible or whatever else, so that we can create an illusion of separation and feel like we’re “better people” than them. So when someone we love joins that club, we can’t reconcile the two.

      Recently, on here, actually, I read something that really struck a chord: someone can be a total asshole about ONE PARTICULAR THING, but that doesn’t mean that they’re an asshole OVERALL. That’s sort of helped me feel better about it when Mom expresses one of her views that, frankly, disgust me (there aren’t many, I should clarify – honestly there’s just one big one overall that really sticks in my craw). I can tell myself that, okay, when it comes to THIS ISSUE, she’s kind of a horribly ignorant jerk, but she’s not a horribly ignorant jerk as an overall PERSON. She’s a wonderful person, who CAN BE a horribly ignorant jerk when it comes to some things. Honestly? So can I. We all can. The key for me has been learning how to let go of my belief that we are always defined by a single opinion we might have about something. We REALLY like to do that in our society: define someone and ourselves by one single viewpoint, and say that it is a testament to our entire character. I empathize with WHY we do that, but honestly, if we really want to be honest, it really isn’t all that true. It’s an incredibly oversimplified stance we take to avoid having to handle a very deep, complex issue.

      Maybe this is something you can apply to your spouse too? A wonderful guy with this, in your opinion, deep flaw. But this one thing doesn’t define him as an overall person. That can be really hard to wrap your head around (it took me years) because it’s so opposite to how we normally teach people in our world. But if you can try to just focus on a person’s heart above all else, it can really, really help in cases like this.

      I sympathize. This is a really tough spot.

      1. Mallory*

        We REALLY like to do that in our society: define someone and ourselves by one single viewpoint, and say that it is a testament to our entire character.

        It’s really easy to hold this oversimplified stance, too, when we don’t actually know (or think we know) anyone who holds this viewpoint. We tend to isolate ourselves into groups of people who think pretty much the same as we do, and to extrapolate from there that all decent people must think the same way.

        Where it becomes more complex is when we know people whom we otherwise respect who hold these beliefs that we’ve been using as a litmus test for basic human decency.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, this is so true. And that’s why homogeneous enclaves can be so destructive.

    7. Schmitt*

      It’s also possible, if he’s a decent guy in almost every other way, that his response, if faced with a situation that required him to actually deal with it, would be better than what you expect. People are complex like that.

      1. fposte*

        Totally agreeing with this. I’m thinking of a colleague whose husband was, shall we say, limited in his feminism (wouldn’t want a woman president, that kind of thing); having daughters put paid to those attitudes long ago.

        1. Mallory*

          My husband was like that about gay people. He wasn’t a total homophobe, but he had a limited tolerance. Until his brother/best friend came out when he was in his forties. It sent my husband into and emotional tailspin for a few days, but then it made him re-examine every assumption he’d ever held on the matter and now he doesn’t even know why he didn’t just feel that way all along.

          1. Mallory*

            now he doesn’t even know why he didn’t just feel that way all along.

            Just realized this doesn’t read clearly. I mean, he doesn’t know why he ever held non-tolerant beliefs about gay people, as he doesn’t feel that way at all now.

          2. fposte*

            Yeah, the cultural impact of coming out was the thing I thought of–the wave when people went from “We don’t have gay people here and we don’t want them” to “Turns out my neighbor Bob is gay, and he’s a real solid fellow” is probably the main force behind the cultural shift toward marriage equality.

    8. Stephanie*

      Haven’t had this happen with a spouse/SO, but I did have this happen with a close college friend. We had a five-hour car ride where I realized we shared different viewpoints on nearly everything (even down to the road trip music—she wanted to listen to a Best of Prairie Home Companion box set*, I wanted to sing along poorly to music I have no business singing along to). I knew in college we shared opposing viewpoints, but in the years since we’ve graduated, we’ve both become more entrenched in our views. So we got into arguments about hot button topics.

      I just had to remember that while we may not share very many views, she’s a good person overall and that there were many other reasons we were friends. We just had to agree to disagree. Also, it is good to have at least one friend who does hold differing views.

      *Usually I’m fine with the driver controlling the playlist, but I had to draw the line at five hours of Garrison Keillor. I love NPR, but that’s one of the shows I find grating, especially if Garrison Keillor is singing. My friend did explain the appeal of that show—it’s a apparently a parody of Minnesota Nice/the Upper Midwest.

      1. C Average*

        Not to make light of a serious topic, but Prairie Home Companion would be a deal-breaker for me. So grating! And being a parody is no excuse. I have Minnesota Nice friends and relatives I’d happily road-trip with, but Garrison Keillor is not allowed in my car.

      2. the gold digger*

        RE PHC: It is hilarious to those of us who know these people in real life, but as much as I like PHC – at least when GK is not ranting about politics, I could not take five hours of it in a row.

        I do get along better with people when I don’t know what some of their deeply-held political beliefs are. I really like facebook for many reasons, but I would rather not know what people think about politics.

          1. Mallory*

            I would totally be the friend willing to listen to a 5-hour box set of PHC. Maybe it is the English major in me.

            *Don’t judge me, Stephanie!* :-)

            1. De Minimis*

              I used to really like PHC, but I guess I had too much of it over the years, I can’t stand it now!

              I volunteered at one of the NPR stations in the area for a while, and they were really frustrated by Garrison Keillor…he hems and haws about whether he’s quitting, and I guess they have to abide by a lot of restrictions if they broadcast PHC. It’s still too popular for them to just stop carrying it, but the program director told me they really want to transition into more contemporary programming to appeal to a younger audience.

              1. Stephanie*

                It’ll be interesting to see how NPR transitions in the next few years. I was sad Tell Me More was cancelled (but apparently I was one of the few people who listened to it). Thing is, all the shows popular with younger listeners (like This American Life, Radio Lab, among others) aren’t even produced by NPR.

                1. De Minimis*

                  They’ve had so many shakeups at NPR over the past few years that I’m wondering if they’ll get to where they just do morning/evening news programming and abandon everything else.

                  This American Life is having some kind of major change in its distribution now too, they left PRI and seem to be moving more toward how some of the “younger” shows function [it’s weird but TAL is probably considered more of an “older” show now!]

                2. Stephanie*

                  Actually, when I lived in Houston (from 2004-2008), all the local NPR affiliate ran was morning/evening news and the more popular weekend shows like PHC, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, and Car Talk. The rest of the time it was the classical station.

              2. De Minimis*

                The NPR station where I used to live ditched all classical programming a couple of years ago, and merged with an “alternative” internet only station which takes over the feed at night. They also have weekly programs like 80s post-punk and 90s alternative. The program director said a lot of people were upset by the change at first, but it’s been a success as far as getting more interest from people under 50.

                Where I live now the NPR station is really traditional and I feel old just listening to it. It skews old even for an NPR station…

        1. Ruffingit*

          I do get along better with people when I don’t know what some of their deeply-held political beliefs are. I really like facebook for many reasons, but I would rather not know what people think about politics.

          Same. I have found no good comes of debating about politics in general. No one is going to change their mind generally speaking and most of the time it does nothing but leave people angry and bitter at each other. No thank you. I respect the fact that my friends have different beliefs than I do. I do not feel the need to change their minds on those beliefs. Full stop.

          1. C Average*

            I got off of Facebook altogether for this very reason. I find I like certain people a whole lot better when I’m not privy to quite so many of their day-to-day thoughts and activities.

            1. the gold digger*

              I had to block my husband for a while a few years ago. He finally created a politics-only group. I am not in the group, so I don’t see the posts.

              We do not agree on politics, my husband and I. :)

              1. De Minimis*

                I block a large number of family members and people from my hometown for that reason….

        2. C Average*

          I’ve come to believe it’s a personal quirk, but I just can’t bear parody approaches to regional quirks, especially if I’m actually familiar with the region being parodied. The whole concept is just painful to watch. I live in Portland, and Portlandia makes me flee the room with my hands over my ears. I felt the same way about certain scenes in Napoleon Dynamite (I’m from Idaho) and PHC (my mom has Minnesota roots and so do many friends we’ve had through the years). It just feels coarse and unfunny to me. I love humor in general, and people tell me I’m funny, but this particular subgenre of humor just doesn’t resonate with me at all. Clearly it DOES resonate with a lot of people, though, because it continues to be made and consumed.

          1. Felicia*

            I don’t really like it either – Any time How I Met Your Mother, South Park, or pretty much every American tv show ever does anything to do with Canada, I find it so annoying and stupid. A lot of American TV and movies portray Canada is a major joke, and none of the stereotypes they use are even close to accurate in my perspective as a Canadian. I particularly hate the Robin Sparkles bullshit on How I Met Your Mother, even though Cobie Smulders is Canadian and apparently likes it – though she doesn’t have Robin’s “Canadian” accent in real life, very few real Canadians do and only in small subsets of Canada. So I guess you’re not the only one that hates it! It’s kind of like how I hated in the Babysitter’s Club when Dawn described California as all surfers, vegetarians and blonde people. I’ve never been to California and even at 8 I knew that stereotype was dumb

            1. Cruella Da Boss*

              It’s always open season on Southerners! From our accents to our traditions, nothing is spared. Like the South is just one big trailer park joke! (Coincidentally, did you know that California has more mobile homes than any other state in the country? ) I mean if you are going to portray us, at least do some research on the area!

              And for goodness sakes, learn how to pronounce our cities: I have to mute the t.v. every time we watch “RED” when Mary Louise Parker says “Mobile.” It’s “Mo-BEEL” y’all!!!

    9. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Sort of.

      I lean a certain direction politically, pretty strongly, and the husband and I were pretty much 100% aligned back in the day, at least when it came to social politics.

      He’s starting to come out with some weird (to me) stuff the last few years. I threatened to throw out his radio so he couldn’t listen to late night radio anymore. The other day we were talking about something that I just assumed we’d agree on and he said “well, there’s science on both sides…” and I kinda blew up because there most certainly ISN’T science on both sides if you actually READ the science.

      tldr: disturbed at what I see as a lack of critical thinking

      I’m scratching politics and social issues off of the list of things we talk about. I like harmony.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Lack of critical thinking: That’s what bugs me in these situations too. I’m actually fine if the person has taken a viewpoint I find ridiculous as long as there appears to be critical thinking going on and they have a reasoned argument for how they ended up there. It’s when there appears to be no critical thinking happening that I lose it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Oh God, me too. I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and I hear this kind of thing a LOT. I just keep my head down, my mouth shut, and am constantly plotting how to get out of here.

        2. Ruffingit*

          Agreed. If I see one more person passing around those stupid chains on Facebook that say things like “Obama has issued an executive order that allows him to become a dictator and take all our rights away…”

          First of all the person sharing that tripe clearly has no understanding of the systems of checks and balances or the constitution either. Secondly, I don’t care if you hate Obama or the Republicans, but for God’s sake, have one, just one degree of common sense. Do your research. It’s just not that hard. Instead, these people run screaming with torches and pitchforks in hand at anything that seems to confirm their beliefs in how awful a particular candidate is. It’s just disheartening in the extreme.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            I am always amazed at the dumb shit people will just hit “forward” or “share” on. Political or otherwise. A friend the other day emailed some stupid thing about how Goodwill is a scam of a charity because it takes your goods for free and sells them for a profit. There were other charities mentioned as well. With a 15 second trip to the google, I found the snopes article derailed the entire email, which I sent her and told her she should really fact check things.

            Seriously people, 15 seconds of google could save you a lot of embarrassment.

            1. Ruffingit*

              No doubt. Snopes is my favorite site ever. I too have seen those “This corporation hired a mobster who is stealing all the money you donate, but if like this post, Apple and Microsoft plusalso Proctor & Gamble will raise Steve Jobs from the dead to fight the mobster…”

              It literally gets that ridiculous and yet, people continue to believe it. It just makes me want to scream.

            2. Ruffingit*

              Oh and Katie, have you come across people who get angry and defensive at you when you completely debunk what they’ve shared? I’ve had that experience. I’m not mean about it, I just say “This is untrue/a hoax” and then I supply the link to prove that. That’s it and yet, I’m somehow the evil one for daring to break through their self-imposed bubble of idiocy.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Just noticed this. That is funny. Years ago a dear family member stopped speaking to me when I said his computer would not go up in flames.

                sigh. I thought I was being helpful.

              2. Vancouver Reader*

                It’s funny how people never thank you for pointing them to Snopes. I feel like saying to them “it’s to save you from looking like an ass in the future” but they never seem to understand.

              3. fposte*

                We used to talk about this on alt.folklore.urban a lot, for obvious reasons. For one thing, it’s a rejection of an offering that isn’t just “No, thanks, no cake for me” but “Nobody should eat that” (not saying it’s rude in the same way, just talking about why people get offended). Additionally, such passarounds are often shared with the kind of shared-humanity platitudinousness of “Hot out today, isn’t it?” and they see your response as being “Actually, the weather today is sub-average for this time of year by several degrees”–it’s not just that what they said is wrong, it’s that they’re being told it’s not the bonding thing that they’d sent it as.

                It’s not going to stop me sending the snopes link either, but I think when you consider the subtext to their actions, it’s more understandable that they don’t like the pushback.

                1. A Bug!*

                  On the cake thing, I see your point, and I agree, when it comes to debunking wrong things just because they’re wrong. But at least for me, it’s never so much been, “nobody should eat that cake,” as it has been, “FYI, this cake is under recall because it contains undisclosed ingredients. You can check the notice out here and decide if you still want to eat it.”

                  That is, the cake is potentially hazardous, either generally (the undisclosed ingredient is bleach), or specifically (the undisclosed ingredient is milk, and the person sharing it is vegan or extremely lactose intolerant).

                  In the former case, my primary motivation is to bring the presence of the bleach to the attention of those who’ve been offered slices of the cake, so they won’t eat it, and more importantly, so they won’t go buy their own cake to share with others. It’s incidental if the person sharing the cake stops eating it and chooses not to buy from that bakery any more. These are the situations where I’ll still sometimes get involved, if the issue is important enough to me.

                  In the second case, my motivation is concern for my friend, and any influence on others is now the incidental. Knowing that she’s said she would never choose to consume milk because it makes her sick (literally or figuratively), the only explanation is that she doesn’t know the cake contains milk. She’s already eaten one slice, but remaining ignorant of her milk consumption isn’t going to change that it happened – and if her issue is lactose intolerance she’s going to suffer the GI consequences even if she doesn’t know why. If I tell her about the milk now, at least she can make an informed decision about what to do with the rest of the cake, or about future cake purchases.

                  But let’s add a complicating alternative to the second. My motivation remains the same, but maybe my friend’s aversion to dairy isn’t quite as serious as she’s made it out to be. For whatever reason, it’s more important to her that she believe that her diet is dairy-free than for it to actually be dairy-free. So when I tell this friend about the milk in her cake, then as far as she’s concerned, I’m taking away her cake, because even though the cake would have had milk either way, she was okay with eating it until I told her it was there.

                  It’s these latter two cases that often look identical until after it’s already too late. So in these ones, I won’t stick my neck out unless I’m 95% certain that it’s not that last one. I’m insufferable enough without going out of my way to alienate people.

              4. A Bug!*

                I’ve had the same experience. I’m now very hesitant to correct misinformation except in the most egregious cases, unless it’s a person who I know will receive it well.

                Actually, the “last straw” incident for me was getting reamed out on Facebook by a friend-of-friend who I’d never met. My friend’s conspicuous silence told me all I needed to know.

            3. ChristineSW*

              Ohh I think I know which one you’re talking about. I actually believed it. Oops.

              I just ignore those types of posts whether I believe them or not, especially the political ones.

          2. Mallory*

            Gah. My mother forwards crap like this all the time. She drives me crazy with it. And one time she was praying for my brother because, upon his marriage, he had to convert to Catholicism. Yes, the mind boggles. (I’m not sure what my mom’s beliefs exactly are, but it’s some kind of mix, peculiar only to herself, and borrowing heavily from the Pentecostal.) And yet, despite these quirks and odd beliefs, she is a lovely woman who would do anything to help practically anyone.

        3. Lore*

          I’m actually on the other side of one of those argument: my SO finds a thing I think incomprehensible and appalling, where I think it’s an issue on which people can reasonably disagree and while I don’t think he’s evil or nuts for his view, I don’t share it. It’s at the root of all our biggest fights. And I often get into the position of saying, “If you can’t live with this, then you can’t, but you have to make that call.” I feel like claiming to agree just to get past the acrimony would be more dishonest and more of a trust issue than principled disagreement. And maybe one of us will think differently at some point. But maybe not.

        4. bearing*

          The thing that drives me crazy isn’t even a lack of critical thinking. I can accept that humans have biases that cause blind spots, and also that some humans are just not all that skilled in critical thinking. What I can’t stand is a constant assumption of bad faith: when people are absolutely certain that the folks who disagree with them must be

          (a) stupid
          (b) uneducated
          (c) malicious

          I abhor the assumption of bad faith even more when it comes from people who are ostensibly on “my side” of the issues. Being an uncritical thinker is part of the wide range of forgivable human error. Assuming bad faith is just mean and uncharitable and unnecessary (and it’s also a cause of uncritical thinking, since if everyone who opposes you is stupid or evil, why bother trying to persuade anyone?)

          1. Mallory*

            I’ve always been bothered when people dismiss people who disagree with them as “Idiots!”. Not just on the big political stuff, either, but just working in an office with people. There are some people whose views on How Things Should Be don’t leave room for the slightest whiff of nuance. There may be reasons, unknown to them, that a certain approach works versus how they themselves would do it. But no. If anything is out of alignment with How They Would Do It, someone — not them — is an Idiot.

            1. Mallory*

              I call them the “Who Moved My Cheese” people, because they’re usually the ones who seem to find change (any change, regardless of whether it’s for better or worse) completely unbearable.

      2. Kiwi*

        Ha! Yes! Have you ever seem comedy by Dara O’Briain? His full science show is on youtube. He highlights all the sublime and ridiculous of modern scientific debate – including our western media’s need for “balance”. As he points out, “balance” means that you have a well educated, knowledgable scientist from the field in question debating with a google-educated conspiracy theorist…who is, of course, given equal time and weighting on the air. Many laughs. :-D

        1. Betsy*

          And then you get people complaining about how the media’s bias is obvious because they only ever bring in these quacks to discuss their side, specifically to make them look bad…

    10. OhNo*

      Oooh, that’s rough. Could you try talking to him about it? Not about the issue itself, but rather why his holding that opinion/belief disturbs you so much. If you explain the impact his opinion is having on you, you may not get him to change it, but you could at least encourage him to think about why he has that belief and how it impacts both his thinking and how others think of him.

      I’ve had some limited success with that before with my brother (who held a very negative opinion on a group of which I am a part). I explained how it made me feel unsafe around him, that I felt he was pressuring me to modify my behavior so he didn’t have to deal with his own hang-ups, that he was prioritizing his comfort over my well-being and happiness, and how that would affect our relationship going forward (basically: no more putting myself out in any way for him, including lending/giving him money). But, I also had some back-up in the form of my friend and his GF. So maybe try that, too?

      Encourage him to ask other trusted family members/friends about their opinion on the topic (preferably without sharing his own opinion), and have him find out what they think of other people who share his opinion. It probably sounds kind of mean, especially if you know that others would really hate someone with his opinion. But the ultimate goal is just to get him to think about it and how his opinion impacts others that he cares about.

      I should state, for the record, that I believe there are some misalignments in beliefs that are worth breaking up over. If his holding this opinion is so disturbing to you that it is significantly impacting your relationship, definitely try couples counseling and seriously consider if this is a deal breaker for you. It may not be – some things can really, really bug you without being divorce-worthy.

    11. Student*

      Well, there are only a few options to pursue. Either talking to him more about X in hopes that he will change his mind, or considering X more in case you change your mind, or agreeing to disagree, or divorce.

      Assess how serious this is. First and foremost, how does this belief influence you personally, and your marriage. If this is the kind of belief where he thinks you are fundamentally and irrevocably inferior to him, for instance, that’s very serious. If he holds a belief that puts you in danger or causes you active harm, that’s very serious.

      After that, ask how this belief hurts others. First, others that you are close to, then others he interacts with, then others that he will not likely interact with. If there are or will be children in the picture, think about them – will this hurt a son or daughter who turns out to be “different” in some regard? If the children adopt this belief, will it harm their interactions with the rest of the world?

      Finally, consider how invested he is on this belief. Is this a cause he advocates for, volunteers for, and donates to? Or is this just some weird topic that comes up once in a blue moon when someone says the wrong thing at a dinner party? Is this belief something completely out of his hands, or something he acts on? How often does this belief drive his behavior?

      Also – just because you think something is commonly accepted knowledge that 90% of people will agree with, doesn’t make that true. There are some crazy beliefs out there with substantial followings, and the internet has made it easier for like-minded people to talk to each other. Plus, communities tend toward like-minded groups – how will you feel if you find out most of his friends also believe this thing? What about his relatives? His belief came from somewhere.

    12. TheSnarkyB*

      I understand why you don’t want to share it here, but knowing what it is would really change things for me. I’m the kind of person who is super open about things people don’t tend to talk about. I have certain views on things that aren’t publicly popular but that many people hold also, they just don’t discuss it. For instance, I am fiercely ethical and very loyal, but I don’t believe in “morals” for the sake of morals (some of this is pushback from religious family members, so I may regress to the mean later on). I’ve met people who seem disturbed by the lengths I would go to for someone I love.
      So as someone who is extremely anti-pathologizing about those uncommon thoughts, I wish I could somehow relate to you and tie some sort of thread or help you understand how someone could have that thought in their head but that’s just my empathetic impulses getting out of hand. :)
      I have had those conversations with my significant other. And I can definitely relate to feeling disturbed. It’s very emotionally hard to hear someone you’re committed to say something that, if ou were dating, would change the course of things. It’s kind of upsetting how the goalposts move re: “deal breakers” when you’re already in deep. After all, people don’t really accept “we had this one philosophical conversation and I just couldn’t believe where he stood on it” as a reason for divorce. (Not that that’s what you want or are talking about.)
      But beyond that I have no wise words for you. Good luck

    13. C Average*

      I can’t say I’ve yet had anything like this happen. (We’ve been married three years, together five years, so it’s probably just a matter of time.) It’s definitely happened between my parents and me, though. Lovely human beings, but they have sincerely held beliefs that are completely opposed to my own sincerely held beliefs. None of us are going to change each other’s minds. So we just don’t discuss these topics. As they’re pretty core to my politics and ethics and they aren’t abstract things but things that do come up in real life, it’s affected the relationship. There are topics we tiptoe around, and there are time I limit my contact with my folks.

      If I learned that my spouse shared these types of beliefs, I don’t know what I’d do. I can see why it would be really hard. Sorry, no good advice here, just lots of sympathy.

    14. A Teacher*

      I’m not asking you to share what the issue was but I also think sometimes it does matter what the issue is. In relationships there is give and take but in any relationships that I’ve been in and witnessed you can have differences–but some issues can be deal breakers (racism, sexism, suppressing another human’s rights are the big ones I’ve seen destroy relationships). As a few others said, you have to decide knowing what you know if this is a deal breaker or not. We aren’t in your marriage but weigh who you are, who he is, and ow this works or doesn’t for you and your family.

    15. Mallory*

      Today is my 18th wedding anniversary. When we were first married (like, just a few months into our marriage), I casually mentioned something in conversation with my husband that I didn’t think of as a big deal. He said that, if he’d known that before we were married, that it would have been a deal-breaker for him. I had always thought that having a man judge me in that particular way would be a deal-breaker for me (the people I really did not like in ye olde college days were the holier-than-thou “smut-busters”).

      My husband has become much more open-minded about a lot of things than he was when we first married. I’d thought back then that he already was pretty open-minded, and he has actually become, beliefs-wise, more the man now that I thought he was then.

    16. BritCred*

      Yep, his assertion that a rude comment to a friend who was seriously depressed can’t have hurt the friend since “he put a lol at the end, that makes it funny and obviously a joke”…

      Honestly, there are good reasons that I’m leaving him.

      Now that he asked for the divorce, asked me to rush it through on his adultery, signed the papers to admit said adultery he wants to walk out of the relationship with 400% of what he walked in and most of the physical assets whilst I should feel “lucky” to walk out with what I put in the (MUCH) larger share…..

      1. BritCred*

        Oh, And have no income bar state benefits partially due to his actions (delibrate or not – he says “its all in my head”) making my depression far worse and me unable to work for the foreseeable future.

        1. Sunday*

          Oh, BritCred, I am so sorry. Internet stranger hugs to you. I hope you have a support system to help you negotiate this stuff, and a lawyer to take on the rest.

        2. Ruffingit*

          I am really sorry to hear that, I know how difficult divorce can be. Please, please get a good lawyer to navigate this for you. I’ll be thinking of you!

        3. BritCred*

          Lawyer and support in place thanks guys.

          Its actually quite weird as I’m both accountant and debt collector trained so you’d think he’d realise ranting at me about being unreasonble to him would just make me laugh – which thanks to my amazing support it has.

          Still, due a nice holiday when this is, all over!

    17. Mints*

      It sounds like I might be disagreeing with a few people here, but this is sometimes a deal breaker for me. I realize it’s your husband, not a casual friend, but I’ve had friends I couldn’t really be friends with after learning some opinions. And it’s not that we have to be 100% aligned, but some things are so far from my world view, and so contrary to basic facts, I couldn’t see past it.

      Some of this might be due to being from a county that had significant political turmoil and civil war fairly recently, but it’s more than just philosophy to me.

      I’m not sure I have actual advice, but I wanted to say I synpathize

      1. Ruffingit*

        I do think there are things that are absolute deal-breakers. I think you can table the discussion forever of a lot of things and just live with them, but that is not true of everything. People need to know what their deal breakers are and act accordingly. I don’t think anyone would say that everything can just be put aside and you can continue to live in harmony with another person by just ignoring it. There are definitely things I would have to move on from a person for in terms of their beliefs or actions. And I have.

    18. Katie the Fed*

      You know, I haven’t really had this. Before we got engaged, my fiance and I had something like a day of interrogation where we asked each other our opinions on EVERYTHING -capital punishment, circumcision, was the moon landing faked, crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter, vaccinating children, etc. Literally anything and everything we could think of.

      That being said, I have some good friends who have some opinions I consider seriously wrong. But as long as they’re putting some thought into it and not just hitting “forward” on some random email they get, then I generally still respect them as people. There are few issues which would make me lose all respect for someone, but they’re out there.

      But if I found out my spouse believed something that made me seriously question his values? Yeah, that’d be rough :(

    19. Cautionary tail*

      My SO and I have topics that we agree to not discuss. SO is a fervent believer in witchcraft, aliens, and most anything on TV. SO goes to alien conventions, etc. I am science, fact and results based and I want proof or I consider it debunked.

      We don’t even like the same music. SO loves disco and back in the day I was a rocker. SO still loves disco all the time and I have so moved on from the 1970s and 80s.

      We love each other and we acknowledge each others views and we each have that part of our lives that stays out of our together relationship. It’s been that way for 30 years.

      And yet we couldn’t not be together.

      1. Mallory*

        Ha. I was into astrology, tarot cards, etc. in college. My husband has a derogatory name (“moon monkeys”) for people who are in to that sort of thing. I still like to use tarot cards when I’m having trouble making a decision, not because I think they have any mystic powers of revelation, but because they help me sort out what’s at the back of my mind that hasn’t surfaced yet. It’s like sleeping on a problem and waking up just knowing what to do, except faster-acting with the excision of the need to actually sleep on it.

  5. Ali*

    So I’m looking for some fitness/health friends. Don’t necessarily have to be obsessed about working out and eating clean, but I’m just curious if anyone else here has ever struggled with weight loss/getting healthy or is currently doing so.

    The background: I decided to get healthier and lose weight back in 2013. I’d lost 23 pounds by the end of the past year, but put some back on, so I’ve been kinda stuck for a few months and have now lost just 17 pounds when you consider what I gained back. I have the exercise part of this thing down pat, as I’ve tried enough things to know what I like (Les Mills classes, Zumba, walking…things like that) and what I don’t (I swear I will never be a runner!). However, I still struggle with the eating part, as I still like french fries, ice cream, cookies and all that other good food. It’s just that sometimes, temptation is too much and I end up giving in instead of picking something healthier. (Example: Had a bacon cheeseburger at Chili’s last night instead of going for something on the “lighter choice” menu. I did not, however, touch the fries that came on the side, so it’s something.)

    Furthermore, my dad’s side of the family has always been really into weight loss and such and even asking me and my mom (my parents are divorced) if we would do Weight Watchers (!!!). Whenever I go see my dad’s family, some of the first comments I get or questions I get asked are about how my weight loss is going, how I look or if I’m still on my plan. My grandmother even gave me a small lecture for gaining weight back and has expressed disapproval at my food choices. It has only gotten more annoying now that my dad has lost a ton of weight (he does look good and it was an accomplishment, so I’m not trying to not give him credit) and is running 5Ks, along with my sisters and my cousin’s girlfriend, who herself dropped 30 pounds.

    I really do want to get healthier, especially since I’ll be turning 30 next year and would love to look and feel great. But I just feel like I still give into bad choices more than I should and I hate the family obsession with what everyone weighs. And no I do not want to do Weight Watchers either. Plus it seems like everybody, not just in my family either, is eating way healthy these days, and I definitely eat “dirty” if you will.

    Rant over. I really hate being at a not-normal weight and all the pressure to lose, count calories, eat perfect, etc. But I have no one or nothing to blame but me for being in this position.

    1. Gene*

      If you don’t want to do WW, don’t do WW.

      Find something you can do consistently that is active. Whether that is walking, jogging, Zumba, Spinning, weights, cycling, whatever. Just something you can do consistently.

      Same thing with eating; find a way to reduce what you are eating that you will like. And don’t beat yourself up if you get a hankering for Chunky Monkey and have some; just don’t eat the whole carton!

      Personally, I’m now 58 and about 3 years ago I started walking at lunchtime and went full-on carb-free for about a year. I was down 70 pounds when I strained my achilles tendon somehow and haven’t been able to walk at lunch since last July. Then my wife got thyroid cancer (current tumor marker – undetectable) and my doctor thinks I got some second-hand I-131 while I was caring for her in September. I have been stable hypothyroid for decades, but a couple of weeks ago at my annual physical my TSH was way up, so my thyroid is essentially out of commission now.

      All that to explain why I have gained back about 20 of the 70 pounds. I’m now able to walk up to a couple of miles at lunch (thank you PT), the thyroid dose has been bumped up, and we’ll see where it goes from here.

      Find something that works for you, and if your family gives you grief about it, tell them it’s your body and you’ll handle it how you want to.

      1. Jill-be-Nimble*

        Agreed with Gene. For me, I’ve always had issues with weight. I’ve also always been very active (until the past year or so, when I’ve been deeply depressed, which has led to Weight Explosion and other fun stuff, but that’s beside the point. I’m working on getting active again. I’m with you on the age, too…just turned 30 and want to make a clean slate from the disaster that was my 20’s! If you’re in the DC area and want to work out, I have a Y membership and would be happy to meet you! I really want to meet possible tennis, racquetball, Zumba, and frisbee partners).

        I’ve been fat-shamed my whole life, especially by my mom. I’ve finally come to see that this is her issue, not mine. I know, however, that I am also not in a healthy place right now and want to make it better–not to lose weight so that I can look pretty for the people who think I only exist to ornament their world, but to regain the strong, confident, adventurous person that I have somehow lost in the past 7 years.

        My advice is, make peace with who you are now. Seriously. Find power in it. I say this as a person who needs to lose 80 lbs. to be anywhere NEAR a “healthy” body weight. But I’m also powerful–I can swim far and fast. I can catch a frisbee with the best of them. I can analyze dry scientific documents and write articles that capture an audience’s imagination with its possibilities. I have two MA’s. I can strip a hot wing of its flesh and down a beer faster than you’d believe. I am awesome, and if anyone disbelieves that, then I don’t have time for them. Yes, I want to be better–but that’s for me. Don’t do it for anyone but you, and don’t do it any way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

        1. Ali*

          I need to lose about the same amount to be considered “healthy” within the BMI guidelines, but I’d be fine going down about 50-60 so I’m at the top of those for my weight.

          I appreciate the workout offer, as I do belong to a Y, but I live in PA!

      2. Carolum*

        Swimming might also help. In the past year I’ve lost ~20 pounds dieting and swimming (with a little walking thrown in).

        1. Trixie*

          Any particular secret to starting a swimming routine, other than just getting in the pool and starting with a few laps? I’m in great cardio shape but swimming is a whole other animal.

          1. Jill-be-Nimble*

            If you can, take some classes. Even if you know how to do the basics, and can do them for a long time, it doesn’t mean that you have good technique, and that doesn’t mean that your muscles are gaining anything by doing just one stroke. Things like drills and flip turns and learning how to use all of the strokes–not just freestyle–will help you vary your workout to make sure that you exercise every muscle, and do it in long and short bursts.

            I grew up in a neighborhood where every social event was around the kids’ swim team, so I swam from a very early age. It’s always been my go-to fitness habit, even if I wasn’t as great at it as everyone else was.

            A big thing is to learn some of the language of swimming–A 25 = 25meters/yards = 1pool length. 2 lengths = 50; 3 = 75; 4 = 100. People will say “I did 100 fly” (Means, “I swam 4 lengths of the butterfly stroke”). “I swam 1000” Means, I swam 40 lengths of the pool.

            Find some workouts that will help you practice all of the strokes. It will seriously help you keep from getting bored. I’m actually very good at fly, breast, and back stokes, but not great at freestyle, which is what most people use 95% of the time to swim. You might hate swimming if you only know that one stroke. Good luck! And remember, swim lessons aren’t only for beginners.

            1. Persephone Mulberry*

              This is great advice! Our new place is a managed townhome, and there’s an on-site pool, which I’m so excited about. I know our local Community Ed has offered adult Swimming for Fitness classes that teach stroke technique and stuff (I don’t recall what the “and stuff” includes).

            2. Shell*

              Seconding the lessons! I can’t do fly properly. Well, I can do it, but I’m sure my technique is off in several places even though my timing seems right from all the Youtube videos I’ve looked up. My front crawl, backstroke, and breaststroke are all much better.

              Some day when my schedule clears up again I’ll go back for swimming lessons…some day.

          2. Jen RO*

            I would also love songs advice from experienced swimmers. I am doing it for my back problems right now, but if I could also lose a couple of kilos, it would be great

            1. Jen RO*

              “Songs” was supposed to be “some”, but maybe an advice song would be better :)

          3. krm*

            Water Aerobics is another fun way to work on fitness in the pool. It is low impact, but a great workout! I can almost always feel the workout the next day, and it is a great way to mix things up.

            1. Persephone Mulberry*

              I really need to get over my mental block that water aerobics is only for old people and that a) I’d be the only person in the class under 70 and b) so what if I am, because the logical part of me thinks it sounds like a blast.

          4. anon in tejas*

            there are a few websites that will produce swim work outs for you given what you are looking to do. I’ve found these as really helpful. most swim work outs have the same format…

            1) warm up 2-3 laps, good form, usual tempo
            2) form exercises – 3-8 laps working on drills for particular aspects of your form
            3) core– the bulk of your work out, sprints, distances, continuous swim, etc.
            4) cool down – 2 laps slower pace

      3. Annie*

        I agree with Gene as well.
        I loved WW, because I need rules (only since I was on WW do I grab for fresh fruit over cookies). I (at the time in my early/mid 20s) lost almost 50 pounds in about a year on the past program (not points plus- I was between jobs and wasn’t able to continue it when they transitioned) .
        My mom however HATES WW. It (she’s in her early 50s) just didn’t work for her- she lost only about 10 pounds in almost a year. She’s active (4 yoga classes a week), but it just isn’t for her. (She does a modified fast plan- juicing various veggies and fruit for breakfast and lunch with a light snack and then the regular dinner.) She lost a bit of weight but that for her is more about how it makes her feel better.

    2. Fruitfly*

      I don’t think it is possible for someone to stick on a diet forever. I think everyone falls off the wagon once in a while. It is okay to eat a bag of chips on occasion, but don’t make it a daily habit.
      As for maintaining a healthy weight, I don’t think we should focus on whether we lose the pound or gain the pound. Sometimes if you gain muscle, you’ll get heavier too since muscle weighs more than fat. As long as you’re gaining muscle and losing excessive fat mass, then it should be just fine. The weight of your body should not keep you from moving with ease; if it does, then it more exercise is needed. I would also focus on cardiovascular health, for a good heart is a more important indicator of health than just analyzing weight or fat mass alone.
      I don’t think there is an ideal weight for anyone. I think one should focus on their overall health.

      1. Stephanie*

        Oh yeah, I wouldn’t fixate on a scale number. I initially gained some weight when I started on a workout plan since I gained a lot of muscle in my legs.

        If you want a “number” to follow, I would measure inches of your waist or neck or arm. I also like the idea of a “Progress Dress”: you try on some piece of clothing (dress works well since it has to fit both your upper and lower body) periodically and observe how it fits. It’s an easy way to gauge progress without getting fixating on a number.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Definitely this. I lost 3 sizes. When I jumped on the scale I had lost a grand total of 4 pounds. Yes, 4 pounds. Muscle weighs more than fat.

          Watch your clothing size more than anything else.

      2. Anonymous*

        Muscle does not weigh more than fat. One pound is one pound. Muscle is denser than fat and so one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Whoops now I see your post.
          When I said that, I meant in the context of muscle takes up less space. So you can be noticeably smaller and not have much difference in your weight. I do agree, a pound is a pound.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Sometimes if you gain muscle, you’ll get heavier too since muscle weighs more than fat.

        This is why I don’t weigh myself, nor will I allow the doctor’s office to tell me what I weigh. It’s too confusing.

    3. Stephanie*

      Me! Me! Me! I also have the fun cultural aspect (my family is black AND southern), so there’s definitely the implied “humph, she thinks she’s too good for [whatever fatty food] and is looking down on us.”

      Food journaling helped a lot with my emotional eating as it helped me ascertain patterns. If you have a smartphone, my Fitness Pal is really good. I also like Fooducate. It scans package food and gives a letter grade about the quality.

      I didn’t like Weight Watchers. I liked the idea of portion control, but keeping up with the points was really hard as I like to make a lot of things from scratch. It was too difficult trying to figure out how many points my homemade salsa (or whatever) was. I also didn’t like how WW products were pushed at every meeting (because if I’m eating a cookie, it’s going to be a real one, not some mystery three-point aspartame-filled cookie).

      1. Jen RO*

        If you had that problem with WW, how can you use MFP? I tried and even adding a coffee was complicated, since it was home made and I didn’t know the weights! Most of the stuff I eat is either home made or comes from a restaurant, so I have no clue how much it weighs and how many calories it has. (Also MFP is made for the US and your measuring units make no sense to me.)

        1. Stephanie*

          Yeah, I’ve had that problem. I have a kitchen scale and weigh things. I also will measure things. Tedious, but it helped me to get a grasp on actual portion sizes.

          I usually estimate things with MFP. The catalog’s decent, so I can find estimated calorie counts for a lot.

          Exercise is harder. I take hula classes and those get added as “belly dancing.” If the burning in my legs is any indication, I’m pretty sure I burn more than 200 calories doing that.

          I don’t use MFP as gospel, but it’s good for tracking what I eat, catching patterns, and getting an approximate breakdown of nutrients.

          I can’t help you with the units. What’s so confusing about two cups to a pint or 16 oz to a pound? /sarcasm

          1. straws*

            As another person who loves cooking from scratch, I highly recommend sparkpeople for food tracking. They have a ‘sister’ site, sparkrecipes, that connects into the food tracker. The recipe site lets you load nutritional info on the fly, so you can play with ingredients & portion sizes at will.

        2. Laura*

          I love MFP, but I’m in the US and not much of a cook. It does let you input recipes; as long as they’re vaguely close, I consider it accurate enough.

          It will let you change the outputs to metric units. Not so much the inputs, but when you are adding something, there’s usually a drop-down to let you change the units, and grams is often an option. Not sure about the rest – I’m usually looking for the US measurements.

          Also, if you have a smart phone and a package of the product, you can just scan the bar code, at least here, which is awesome.

          1. Jen RO*

            Thanks Laura and Stephanie for explaining! Ar least now I know I wasn’t missing something obvious (changing to metric doesn’t help much, since the stuff saved in the database by other users is imperial mostly). In the end, I decided that for the measly 2-3 kilos I want to lose (5-6 pounds I think?),it’s not worth the effort of inputting the recipes and I can just cut back on the fries.

            Says Jen while munching on a delicious milk chocolate!

      2. Dang*

        I had the same problem with WW- it just isn’t as easy to do the program without consuming a lot of processed crap. You can eat an apple… or some WW bar for the same amount of points. I understand the appeal for some people, but it wasn’t for me.

      3. Persephone Mulberry*

        I used MFP a couple years ago, and fell off the wagon. I need to get back on it! I don’t know if you use the social/friends aspect, but if you want to add me, I’m Vibrant80.

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      I have struggled with my weight all my life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten into a great groove of eating better and working out, and dropping 20 or 30 pounds. Then somehow I get derailed and end up right back where I started. Ugh.

      About 8 months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. He has done an absolutely fantastic job laying off the sweets and junk food, and I’m really proud of him. I’ve been trying to cook healthier meals for us too.

      A couple of months ago, I decided to take a different approach. It’s my screwed up relationship with food, and my unhealthy eating habits, that have gotten me in the position I’m in, and those took many years to develop. I realized that when I do work out, although I feel great, I find myself rationalizing an extra treat here and there. “Oh, I worked out this morning, so I can have that cookie with lunch!” So while the exercise was doing me good, the underlying issue — my bad eating habits — were still there.

      So I’ve put a pin in the working out and just focused on what I eat, starting in about mid-April. I’m down 18 lbs so far. I have not had any fast food at all, and amazingly enough, I’m not craving it either. The next step was to see if I could improve what I was cooking at home. I was already doing a pretty good job there, but my focus was on getting rid of processed foods. I’ve found recipes to make things like cream of chicken soup, red enchilada sauce, and so on, that use ingredients right from your pantry. I’ve stopped getting a bag of baked chips and/or a cookie with lunch every day (although I treat myself to those on Fridays). And I do splurge once in awhile, because I think you have to do that. My husband made homemade pizza for dinner tonight, which I just love, and we don’t have it very often, so I let myself enjoy a few slices.

      What’s really amazing is that since I’ve started eating better quality food, and less processed stuff, is that I feel so much better. And I’m sleeping much better too.

      1. Esra*

        Cutting out processed food is key. I have a rule that if I want a sweet: cookies, cupcakes, pie, etc… I have to make it myself. 90% of the time I’m too lazy to do that and end up snacking on fruit or nothing.

    5. Trixie*

      Cut back on sugar as much as possible, stuff is pure evil. Your body and complexion will thank you.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I have always wondered this: When people say that, do they only mean obviously sugary stuff like sweets? Or do they also mean foods with natural sugars in them, like potatoes and bread (i.e., my favorite food group)?

        1. Stephanie*

          I always thought fruit was ok, provided you didn’t eat like 3 lbs of it in one sitting. My understanding was that the fiber (and other things) helped buffer the effects of the natural sugar. I do, however, remember my diabetic grandmother being very judicious with her fruit intake.

          And yeah, it’d be a struggle if I ended up gluten-intolerant. I love bread and beer too much.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          As I mentioned above, my husband was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, It’s been a learning experience for both of us. I’ve been doing a lot of trial and error with meals. I’ll make something, and then he’ll check his blood sugar in the morning.

          The most interesting (and unexpected) thing we’ve found is that white potatoes send his blood sugar through the roof more than anything else. Even ice cream! So those are off the menu now, except for Thanksgiving.

          1. Trixie*

            Is it starchy foods in general? Sweet potatoes and carrots, turnips, rutabagas? Have you tried mashed cauliflowers as a sub for mashed potatoes, pretty impressive.

            1. Ann Furthermore*

              I tried the cauliflower mash once, because I’d tried it before and it was really good. But I did something wrong because it was not appetizing at all.

              I’m trying to get my husband to embrace the sweet potato as an alternative, but that’s been an uphill battle. Those don’t do the same thing to the blood sugar….they are actually from a different family of foods. Go figure.

              1. Trixie*

                Sweet potato chips (mandoline sliced, hot even for a few minutes) are great. I also steam a batch in the microwave on Sunday and add throughout the week to hashes/sautees. I think more natural sugar than say butternut squash but also more fiber.

                1. Ann Furthermore*

                  I’m trying the cauliflower mash again tonight. I found a recipe on Pinterest that sounds great — roast the cauliflower first, along with some garlic, and then puree it with buttermilk and some other stuff. Yum!!

          2. Celeste*

            Read up on the glycemic index. It rates foods by how quickly they raise blood sugar. It’s about the ratio in a food of carbs to fat, protein, and fiber–all three of these will slow the rate. It’s illuminating. We are so used to looking at foods from a nutrition aspect (what is in them) vs metabolism (what they do in us).

          3. EG*

            I’ve gone through this with my husband who was diagnosed as pre-diabetic last year. It’s truly trial and error, but we now have several go-to meals he knows work well with his blood sugar. At times he’s gotten tired of eating the same meals each week, so we gradually try new foods like a few strawberries or something, but the overall realization that this is helping improve his quality of life long term. He’s lost a bit of weight and is feeling much better without the blood sugar swings.

        3. Trixie*

          Mostly the sweets but for me its also breads, crackers, things I pretty much can’t have in the house. Fruit juice, to0 many empty calories. I do enjoy fruit but try to stick with adding to greek yogurt. I like using bitter dark chocolate in the mix. Or frozen bananas dipped in almond butter, amazing.

        4. Nina*

          I think they mean sugary junk foods and certain processed foods. Ketchup and jarred spaghetti sauce for example, are loaded with sugar.

          Like Stephanie mentioned, fruit is fine in moderation. While the body doesn’t recognize the naturally occurring fruit sugar (fructose) from the sugar found in junk food, fruit is more filling, and you get a lot of vitamins and nutrients from fruit than a candy bar.

        5. James M*

          IANA biochemist/nutritionist/gastroenterologist, but I would assume natural sources of sugar (like fruit) are better than processed ones (like a double caramel mocha frappuccino with extra halitosis).

          Some time ago, I decided to drastically cut my intake of high-fructose corn syrup. The result has been very positive for me.

        6. Justmary*

          Cutting out anything with added sugar is the key. I would recommend seeing the new documentary Fed Up. You will get a lot of info on how the food manufacturers’ put sugar on foods and all the different names they use to “hide” it.

          1. Stephanie*

            I recommend Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss. It goes into the history of processed foods and all the crazy things companies do to keep the food addictive. There are all kinds of formulas that take into account the right amount of crunch, salt/sugar/fat, dye, and packaging to make you binge eat a food. The fat section of the book drags a bit, but overall it’s highly recommended.

            1. Professional Merchandiser*

              Yes, I read that book, and it was a real eye-opener!! I always considered myself a pretty savy consumer (read labels, ect,) but guess what? I had in some way fallen for nearly everyone of these tricks. Especially thinking sweetened with fruit juice was healthier. (Hangs head).

              Also the funny thing is, he really puts it to Kraft and Procter & Gamble. Guess who I do merchandising for?

              Yep, you guessed it. I seriously recommend this book to everyone. Thanks for reminding me of it. :-)

        7. ArtsNerd*

          I did a 30 day sugar cutback, and it really helped my sweet tooth.

          What it was for me was nothing with added sugar – sweets, etc. Cereal couldn’t have more than 5-6g of sugar, and I bought hippie bread so as to cut out the HFCS some bakeries use. I don’t really drink soda anyway, but those were disallowed. Fruit juice was disallowed… EXCEPT a little bit in cocktails. Whole fruit was fine and I kept a giant bowl of it on my desk at work.

          These were just rules I made up for myself, and just for a month. But I felt like my energy levels were MUCH more stable than when I was starting every morning with a donut! And at the end of the 30 days, I didn’t want to gorge on sweets nearly as much as I expected to. It actually wasn’t all that hard for me – but I think mostly because I was being realistic about eating natural sugars and not trying to cut all sugar out entirely.

        8. Not So NewReader*

          When I did my big weight loss I included sugar, flours and anything like potatoes, bread and fruit.

          So I lost 3 sizes in two weeks. The weight loss stopped instantly when I added a serving of carbs every day.

          My thing was to get better. I had gotten to a point where I felt so lousy that weight loss was the least of my concerns. If the doctor told me I needed to weigh 500 pounds to feel better, I would have done that. That is how irrelevant my weight became to me. I had to get out of where I was at.

          I learned that grocery shopping meant walking the perimeter of the store and not going into the aisles. I went to produce, fish, meat, and on to dairy to get eggs and cheeses. (Of course, I had to get paper goods, so that meant doing some aisles.)
          It was hard-hard. My cheat was watermelon. I let myself eat all the watermelon I wanted. I was able to stay with it because I got results almost instantly. The weight came off, I grew stronger, my mind was clearer, my physical problems went away or lessened dramatically.

          I checked with a doctor every week. And I had nutritional supplements to help balance things for me. I would not do this with out a doctor watching me.
          To say it was a journey is almost an understatement.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            This is really similar to my experience. The only time I’ve ever really succeeded in losing weight was when I started dramatically cutting all carbs (including bread, pasta, cereal, and sweets). It’s tough, but when you can eat tons of meat and full-fat dairy, that helps :)

            1. fposte*

              Just for a data point–two of my friends went seriously low carb, and I tried it but could not tolerate it at all; I felt really nauseated and couldn’t face food.

              I do my own meal cooking from scratch and tend to eat Mediterranean-esque, so I think my averages aren’t very high anyway. But I was not a nail for that particular hammer.

        9. Elizabeth West*

          One of the biggest problems with processed food (especially low-fat stuff) is that food manufacturers put sugar in EVERYTHING. If you avoid convenience foods as much as possible, it helps. I know it’s not practical for busy people to be all Leave it to Beaver and make home-cooked meals from scratch every day, but whole food is better nutritionally. It also doesn’t have all the added crap.

        10. Anonymous coach*

          A documentary has come out recently called Fed Up. It seems very well researched, and they say that all forms of sugar, including fruit juice are toxic and addictive.

          Refined carbs are also very bad, because they increase insulin. So that’s your pasta, white bread, potatoes etc.

          Also, we’ve been told that a calorie is a calorie, but that turns out to be a load of crap. The way the body processes 100 calories of almonds is totally different from the way the body processes 100 calories of soda. We don’t absorb all 100 calories from the almonds because of the fiber that we are also getting. So getting more fiber is really important (and whole fruit is much better than fruit juice).

          1. fposte*

            I’m not a particular adherent to the evil carbs/evil sugars belief, but fruit juice should be removed from the supermarket perimeter so that “shopping the perimeter” can still be a thing.

            I mean, I love the stuff, because it’s delightfully flavored sugar water, but any foodstuff that has been pre-engineered to eliminate the terrible burden of chewing isn’t on the side of health.

      2. Tex*

        I dunno about the whole sugar is evil thing.

        I weaned myself off a 20 year 2-a-day coca cola habit last July and I haven’t seen any difference in weight beyond maybe a pound and an inch off my waist. I’m not thin (about 15 pounds over what I should be) and there was no other difference in my diet.

        I thought I would see at least a 5 pound reduction over a year since the rest of my diet is fairly good (mostly home cooking, salads, a burger every two weeks, limited snacking and no sweet tooth).

        Any ideas on how a no cola diet positively changes a body? And how long it takes to adjust after 20 years? I don’t crave it any longer (took months to get over) but I do miss the boost of energy from the sugar rush.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Hmmm. I’m not a doctor, but I’d guess it would take a couple years to see a dramatic difference cutting two colas a day. I mean, it’s dramatic, and I think it would be faster if you were dramatically overweight.

          Before you cut the habit, had you been at the same weight for years, or been gaining weight? It’s totally possible that if you were gaining a tiny bit each year, the cut would just stop that, as opposed to causing any loss, or that the loss is really slight over time.

          It all just depends on your body and what’s going on with it. :) I will say huge congrats on kicking the habit… I’ve dramatically cut my side intake, but have never ended it, and I just feel better in general. Now a whole can seems like a LOT, and it’s sorta sickly sweet sometimes, instead of always being awesome.

          I think the biggest thing is that your brain is getting a chance to recover from your sugar addiction, which will have bigger impacts over item the further you get from it (is my understanding).

          1. TL*

            If they were a can of coke, with about 150 calories/can, you’d expect to drop over 10000 calories over a year, or about 3, 3.5 lbs.
            If they were bottles, with about 250 calories/can, you’d expect to drop about 18000 calories a year, or about 6 lbs. (Roughly.)
            So you may or may not have noticed that, or you may have just stopped slowly gaining weight or you may have done any number of a thousand little things to counter-act the small expected weight loss.

        2. Jen RO*

          On the other hand, my boyfriend stopped drinking 2 liters of Pepsi a day and lost 10 kilos without doing anything else.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I swear there’s a difference with the sexes here — I know so many men who just cut out a single item and easily drop weight. My husband will switch to soup for lunch for a few weeks and drop 5-10 pounds. I don’t know a single woman where it has that effect. I think our bodies hold on to fat differently.

            1. Vancouver Reader*

              That was in one of Erma Bombeck’s books; she said her husband could lose weight just by cutting out dessert for a week, and she’d gain 10 pounds just looking at a cake.

              1. Jean*

                I loved Erma Bombeck and still miss her columns! It helps for a bit to read one of her books, but in the end…she’s still gone. Sigh. However, she had a good life and made a lot of people laugh.

            2. Jen RO*

              If it makes anyone feel better, he put it all back by eating tons of chocolate (and now I get to have the “no honey, you’re not fat, the t-shirts shrunk in the wash, and that belly is just an optical illusion” chat every week).

            3. hamster*

              I actually lost 2 -3 kg just by cutting the two cans of daily diet pepsi. And i’m a girl . But cutting desert over three months was the same effect. I just guess differen stages in life?

            4. HMV*

              Absolutely! Also when it comes to fitness they have it so easy. My sister in law has been running competitively for years. Last year we were on vacation with her and her husband and the two of them would run together. (Think somewhere in the 4 mile at 7:30 pace range.) The first run of the week, he was struggling to keep up and was so tired by the end of the run. 7 days later, he was outrunning her.

              I swear I could run every day for a month and maybe increase my running abilities by 5%…

        3. James M*

          In my case, when I cut soda (and severely limited all HFCS foods) I didn’t notice any weight loss. What I did notice was that I just felt better: more energy more consistently, easier to wake up on time, less gas. Unfortunately, HFCS is everywhere (esp. BBQ sauce), so cutting soda alone only addresses one source of it.

        4. Tex*

          Thanks for the replies, y’all. I’m inching towards 40, so metabolism is probably starting to wind down.

          I did notice that I sleep less and more lightly than before. Energy was a problem though – I’ve always been low energy and I don’t drink coffee or tea, so also eliminating my only caffeine source was painful.

          For any other out there in the same boat, the Starbucks powdered drinks called Via saved me from no caffeine hell. I’m careful only to drink a half packet every other day though. No sense in creating another habit I may regret later

    6. Luxe in Canada*

      “I’m happy with my current plan to look after my health, but I’m taking a break from discussing my weight loss right now. Thanks for understanding!”

      The two best food control methods I can recommend are to build in your cheats, and eat your cheats slow.

      You are supposed to take rest days from working out so your muscle can rebuild and so you don’t get discouraged; I feel that it’s just important to have cheat food built into your diet, like rest days from dieting. It’s easier to resist chips at lunch when you know you get to have a cheeseburger tomorrow night for dinner. It’s easier to say at the beginning of the week “I’m only going to have three treats this week” and actually stick to it than it is to give in and feel guilty about that third treat because it’s supposed to be all rabbit food all the time. Figure out how much cheat food you’ll work best with, enjoy it, and don’t beat yourself up about it.

      And the second piece of advice: eat the rabbit food as fast as you want, but eat the treats slow. Give your stomach a chance to tell you it’s full, but also give your brain a chance to feel treated and sated and happy.

      I wish you best health, and I wish you peace with the process, but not in a new-agey kind of way.

    7. Trixie*

      I’m right there with you re: eating dirty. I eat extremely well 80% of the time but routine splurge 1-2 days a week. (usually movie popcorn (no butter), and Costco foodcourt. I will go to Chili’s or other but try really hard to go with something from the lighter menu where at least the calories are posted. Or if its a sandwich, save half for another meal. I will also check the menu online before heading out so I have game plan in mind.

    8. nep*

      People have made a lot of great points here — especially being at peace with who you are …Not obsessing over a number on the scale (go with how your clothes fit and how you feel)…Making steps to get healthy for yourself, not for someone else or to ‘live up’ to some societal dictate. You are not your body, your thighs, your waistline.
      It’s great that you want to be fit and healthy, simply for your overall well-being. I’m convinced that weight/fat loss is roughly 25% exercise, 75% what you eat. And ‘diets’ are doomed to fail; it’s about lifestyle change. For getting fit and healthy, the most important part of the anatomy is your head — you’ve got to make the decision, and you’ve got to know you can do it. You’re not a slave to junk food.
      I have been floored by what cutting out processed food did for me — mind and body (and I wasn’t even someone who ate much junk food/fast food, so there was not a lot to cut out). It’s akin to no longer ingesting poison on a daily basis. People have this idea I’m ‘depriving’ myself in some way; on the contrary, were I to eat something processed, I’d be depriving myself of feeling fantastic.
      Agree that writing down what you eat is helpful — you see patterns, and, when you sense you’re leaning out you can look back and see what has helped produce that result.
      Do you eat greens? From my experience, incorporating more greens can only do you good. Lots of water, lots of greens.
      Wishing you all the best in your health journey.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        OOO- good stuff here.

        Yeah, the thing I learned about weight loss is that food and exercise are maybe 50% of the problem.
        My weight loss process triggered emotions that I had to deal with. It’s not just about food. How come the only nice thing that happens to me all day is that double size sundae I have after dinner?
        I had to look at my life.

        Additionally, I learned that things like perfumes and household cleaners were blocking my ability to lose weight. Out the door those things went.
        I learned how thirst masquerades as hunger. That wasn’t hunger pains I was feeling…I was thirsty!

        Possessions. I learned that unfinished projects and/or having too much junk laying around can make a person feel bogged down and trapped. There is a possibility with some people that it could contribute to weight gain, because the clutter pulls their minds down. If the mind goes down, it can pull health down.
        I learned to watch out for people that I made close friends out of- good friends should lift you up, not pull you down.

        Sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will be drawn to eating more. You have to get energy from some place.

        In short, I found that so many things were tied into my weight loss, I was floored by it all. No wonder I had difficulty.

        1. nep*

          Great points about how there are many factors that affect weight and health.
          No quick fixes.
          AMEN to getting enough sleep. I think people tend to underestimate the importance of this — in weight loss as in all aspects of health. Every bodily function needs that time to rest and restore. Getting adequate sleep is essential to weight loss and fitness.

        2. Trixie*

          + Thirsty. Except for my weekly splurge, I’ve pretty much backed off soda or anything carbonated which only makes you feel more bloated. Keep a 1.5L jar of green tea in the fridge at all times, with mint or lemon.

        3. Phyllis*

          I understand the other points you made about things hindering weight loss, but how could perfume and household cleaners have any affect on that?

          1. Not So NewReader*

            This is going to sound simplistic because my understanding is simplistic.

            If you are experiencing allergies of any sort, your body is busy fighting the effects of the allergy. It should be doing other things such as processing foods, distributing nutrition and important stuff. Allergies can wear you down in ways that you don’t even realize. For me it wasn’t regular allergies- I am sensitive to chemicals, because of being exposed to too many toxic chemicals in a previous job. I hit chemical overload. (I knew something was wrong at that job because I was eating 4000 calories a day and LOSING five pounds a week. That was SCARY. I quit the job and gained the weight back.)

            So before the conversion to milder cleaners, I was eating a whole foods diet and not too much was happening.
            I got rid of all the fragrances in my house and changed over to simple cleaners. (Vinegar, Bon Ami, lemon juice, real basic stuff.) I also changed over to an organic bath wash. (This took me a while to do.)
            The first time I cleaned using all my “new” stuff, I found I did not have to go lay down after an hour. I could keep working. Later, I saw I could consistently do all the work I needed to do and not need a nap. (Cleaning exhausted me in a way, that I knew something was wrong but I did not know what.)

            My husband felt that things were just as clean if not cleaner because I was able to do so much more.
            This all works out well for me because I control things at home so some chemicals (perfumes, air fresheners etc) do not bother me at work.

            I started losing weight again, slowly. Then after that comes the part about eliminating fruits and potato type things. I just started dropping sizes. I did use a protein drink and nutrition along with my regular meals. And I did see a doctor each week. If anyone attempts this – I cannot stress enough see a doctor regularly. This is a much more emotional process than one would ever expect, nutritional support helps you to cope with the emotions coming at you.

        4. Mallory*

          For me, it’s telling myself that certain behaviors are “good” or “bad”. I get bogged down in moral self-judgement that I then feel compelled to rebel against. What I need to do is just make exercise and certain diet choices a neutral part of my routine, circumventing the heavy self-judgement about what I did or didn’t do.

    9. Schmitt*

      Two things have really resonated with me:

      1) If you don’t exercise one day, totally fine. But if you skip a second day, then you MUST go on the third day, no excuses.

      2) From last week’s thread – some people will binge eat everything if it’s in the house and be fine if it isn’t (that’s me) while others will feel deprived and go crazy thinking about junk food that isn’t in the house but are able to eat a small portion if it is there and be fine with that.

      So when I’m trying to eat more healthily I request that my SO only get junk food that I don’t like, or take the junk food to work, or put it away in her desk drawer.

      1. Trixie*

        Re: Junk Food. A lot of times I just have the munchies so I’m better about having batches of popcorn on hand.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I’ve been going up and down the stairs at work–it’s helped. I’m on the third floor and I go all the way down to the bottom, then go up and down six times, followed by thirteen pushups on the windowsill at the top. Twice a day.

        I’ve lost some weight but it’s SLOW. So I’m planning to add my walks back in three times a week. Then I usually skate on Saturday for an hour and a half, and most of the time, for an hour on Sunday (not doing it today because I’m having some problems with my left instep that skating is aggravating).

        The best thing is avoiding fast food–when I was eating it a lot, I put on weight really fast. I’m not always able to make a good lunch, but I cut down on the amount I eat and try very hard to avoid soda. And LOTS AND LOTS of water. That’s much easier, because walking the stairs makes me crazy thirsty, LOL.

      3. Mallory*

        . . . some people will binge eat everything if it’s in the house and be fine if it isn’t . . . while others will feel deprived and go crazy thinking about junk food that isn’t in the house but are able to eat a small portion if it is there and be fine with that.

        I have trouble with this because my husband is the former and I’m the latter. We are each the opposite of what the other needs in terms of support.

        1. Schmitt*

          Is there anything he really doesn’t like to eat and you do? My mint choc and PB choc are safe from my partner, and her disgusting sour candy and Haribo chewy stuff is safe from me!

    10. S*

      I’ve also struggled with my weight all my life, and my family (especially my mum) all like to fat shame me… And I’m also turning 30 this year.

      So here’s my story, and I’m afraid it’s going to be long…

      Two and a half years ago, I suffered a ruptured disc in my lower back, and although it’s not directly related to obesity (which my mum didn’t like hearing from the doctor she works for, ha!), I realized it was time to finally do something.

      My advice is: find a sport you really, really enjoy – if you don’t have to motivate yourself each time to exercise, there’s no chance of slacking off.

      So after my recovery (which was thankfully very speedy), I tried swimming – hated it. Signed up for the gym – didn’t go. Then there was badminton… I had been playing as a teenager until a very ugly ankle surgery left me in pain for about three years after the surgery, and as a result I didn’t play for 10+ years.

      I decided to give it a VERY careful go (because honestly, badminton is terrible for your joints and your back…), and it worked like a charm. So I started playing at a local open club every Sunday, and soon found out that that wasn’t enough – so I signed up to a badminton club that has training sessions twice a week. After a year of playing three nights a week, I had dropped three dress sizes ( I still couldn’t face getting on the scale, so I don’t know how many kgs I lost).

      I also realized by then that the muscles in my right arm and shoulder were getting much stronger than in my left side (visibly so, which was awkward…), so I finally started making use of my gym membership to get rid of the muscular dysbalance. It helps that a good friend of mine is coming along twice a week.

      And then last year, a friend from work mentioned how much she loved cycling. I remembered that I used to love it, too, but didn’t own a bike. She offered to lend me her spare one and we went on a 40km tour – I was surprised that I a) could do it and b) loved it! So I bought a bike. That summer, we took a cycling vacation together (about 350km total in 5 days). I have now started cycling home from work at least once a week in the summer (34km), and doing longer tours on the weekends, whether permitting.

      The results are amazing. I finally bought a scale back at the beginning of March, and as of yesterday, I lost another 12kg since I bought it. I’d estimate I lost a total of about 25-30kgs since I started working out. And then yesterday was the day a shop assistant said to me, “Oh no, that’s too big for you! Let me get you a smaller size!”, in a store where nothing would have fit a year ago. I quietly got teary-eyed in the changing room.

      Funnily enough, I now get cranky when I don’t get to work out for several days… Which recently became a problem because I had to go on a business trip. It’s really not feasible to take your badminton equipment or bike on a business trip, and the hotel didn’t have a gym… So on a whim, I got a pair of running shoes. It was great to jog along the river on site in Switzerland after eight hours in the car. :) And I just got home from running 5km early in the morning – I’m going to a family thing this afternoon and there will be cake…

      In addition to all the exercise (which I admit is a lot, and I should probably scale back a little), MyFitnessPal has REALLY helped keeping track of the calories. I eat around 1,700 kcal a day (1,500 on a day with no exercise), which is my basal metabolic rate. 1,700 kcal does allow for snacks, even the chocolate drawer at work is not off limits. But I have found myself thinking, “Do I really want to waste 500 calories on a snickers?!”

      I’m still fat (103kg as of yesterday), but I’m just going to keep doing what I have been doing and see where it leads.

      I guess what I wanted to say with all of the above is this: Start with something you enjoy, and don’t keep track at first – then when you see the results (which may or may not come quickly, depending on your body), they will motivate you to go on.

      And tell your family that your weight is none of their business. Also do not tell them you’re trying to lose it. If you do lose weight, do it at your own pace and don’t give a damn what they think about it.

      Best of luck!

      1. Laura*


        And that is one of my favorite things about MyFitnessPal: seeing what I’m really doing, and making choices from that. It really woke me up.

    11. Anonymous*

      I know I’m overweight, but my body and my eating habits are no one’s business but mine, ditto for everyone else. I trained a family member not to make comments about either by telling him to f*** off every single time he made a comment, no matter where we were. It took less than three months before he was trained that he had no right to comment.

    12. Jennifer M.*

      I agree with what everyone else here has posted. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a life of deprivation. Sometimes you just need a bacon cheeseburger. But maybe you can be satisfied with 1/2? I never actually did it, but I have a friend who would always ask for a second plate and as soon as her food was brought out, she would put half of everything on the second plate and have the server take it away and that seemed to work really well for her. Assuming you are in the US, restaurant portions are ridiculous and that strategy can help bring it back to something more reasonable.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, they’re too big. I can’t possibly eat all the food I’m usually given–my stomach is messed up (hiatal hernia). It makes me feel bad to waste it, but they really need to scale back a bit.

        1. TL*

          I just got in the habit of handing my plate to my brothers when I was done.
          When we were teenagers and in college, they were bottomless pits and it worked out really well – either they ate it or they took the leftovers.

    13. Rebecca*

      Sort of long, but this is a topic very close to my situation.

      I have been the “big girl” my whole life. I’ll never be thin, but my goal is to wear size 18 pants and an XL top. Right now, I’m down from size 26/28 (4X) in both pants and tops to 20W pant and 1X tops. I took a good look at what I was eating, and how much, and I was really surprised at how the empty calories added up! The actual weight isn’t so important to me as the clothing size I can fit into, how I feel, and my physical activity. I’m 51 now.

      I make a protein shake with whey protein and almond milk for breakfast, switched to fat free half and half in my coffee (those flavored creamers taste good but they have tons of calories, especially when the true serving size is one tablespoon!), and nearly eliminated bread, cereal, crackers, that type of thing. If I want a sandwich, sometimes I wrap everything up in Romaine lettuce leaves, or eat Arnold’s Sandwich Thins. I eat 2 whole fruits every day, always an apple with the peel and something else, and a ton of vegetables. I probably eat too much meat, but I’ve always loved beef, pork, bacon, etc. and don’t feel the need to give that up. Treats consist of Edy’s frozen fruit bars, unsweetened iced tea — Stash makes great flavors — and nuts like pistachios. I make almost all my own food to avoid HFCS.

      If I want potato chips, I buy the single serving size from our snack area at work. I can’t overeat if there’s only one serving available. Ditto cookies – I buy the snack size at work. I don’t keep that stuff in the house. If I really need a snack, I make air popped popcorn, spray it with my Misto with olive oil, and add seasoning.

      In the past two years, I’ve lost 70 lbs, but this past winter I put back on 8 lbs, have lost most of that again, and my goal is to lose 20 more lbs by Labor Day. I joined a weight loss group at work, we pay $1 per week, get weighed in, and at the end, the person who loses the most percentage of body weight wins the money. There’s no fat shaming, and I am clearly the largest person in the group. My junior high self was terrified at this prospect, but thankfully my adult self has learned that not everyone on this planet is a mean girl!!

      One other thing. I bought a FitBit and I wear it every day. My goal is to get in 10,000 steps per day, and most days I achieve this. I get 2 15 minute paid breaks at work, plus a 1/2 hour unpaid lunch break. Currently, I walk around my neighborhood at breaktime, and plan to add another round during lunch, so that will make about 45 minutes of walking during the work day. There’s no way I could ever run! Maybe if zombies were chasing me, or if I saw a poisonous snake and it was moving toward me, but that’s about it.

      Best of luck to you. I guess my best advice is to do this for yourself, and not because someone else wants you to. My Mom has been on my case about my weight my whole life. The last 30 years I just tuned her out. Other relatives who see me infrequently say “oh, you’ve lost weight”. It’s the first thing out of their mouths, and it bothers me because I am more than my size.

      1. nep*

        Bravo to you. This is love. Absolutely — we are not our bodies. And the healthy habits have got to be for oneself and in the interest of one’s well-being — not for somebody else.

      2. Zombies, Run!*

        Your comment jumped out at me – you should check out the app, Zombies, Run! It contains a story line, which is really quite good, that you listen to while you walk/run. I am not a runner, but there is a feature where you can turn on Zombie chase; a couple of times during an episode the zombies will chase you and you need to speed up. It is pretty realistic and scary as well!

        1. C Average*

          I have this app and have a funny story about it.

          One of the products I write support content for is an app for which this app is a competitor, so I’ve pretty much tried every app in this category. I was very excited to try out Zombies, Run! because it seemed like such a fun, crazy, interesting idea.

          I decided to take it for a spin on my lunch break and run in a local forested park area. The park is pretty big and has a lot of criss-crossing trails. It’s pretty easy to get at least a little bit lost, which is exactly what I did. I got so absorbed in the zombie story that I completely lost my way.

          I only had an hour and I had to be back in time for a conference call, so as my time dwindled down, I was starting to feel a little anxious about finding my way out of the park. I also noticed that, though it was a beautiful day, I seemed to be the ONLY person in the park, which is highly unusual. Normally, at that hour, the park would be crawling with runners, but I seemed to be all alone. And then, a black helicopter began circling overhead.

          I was so freaked out! I don’t remotely believe that zombies exist, but in that moment I was half convinced they were coming for ME at any moment.

          I finally found my way out of the park. It turns out the helicopter was a news helicopter covering a big story that had just broken that peripherally involved my company. I didn’t get out of the park in time for my call, so I called in on my mobile, with the sound muted for the first few seconds so my colleagues wouldn’t hear me gasping to catch my breath. I participated in the call while walking back to the office from the park.

          So, yes. Realistic and scary. Don’t take this app when you go running in the park by yourself unless you enjoy being scared!

          1. Rebecca*

            LOL so I’m guessing this wouldn’t be the best app to use in my rural area where there are narrow roads, woods on both sides, and it’s just very quiet all the time. When the Lifeflight Helo or State Police unit flies over, I’d panic! Thanks for the app tip – I love the zombie genre and will definitely check this out!!

    14. Algae*

      Me! I was told I needed to lose weight and lower my blood pressure last year. I’d lost 20 pounds but gained 5 back over the winter.

      Some the middle of March, I’ve started again. I use My Fitness Pal to calorie count, which I know you said you hate, but it’s really an important part of keeping me in check. It’s free, do that’s helpful.

      I also started Couch to 5k. Like you, I didn’t think I could be a runner, but I just wanted something that I could do. I didn’t buy any gear, just went out in layers and tennis shoes with my phone for music and the C25k app to tell me what to do. I’m slow and probably look funny, but I’m out there.

      I’m lucky that my family has been very supportive. My kids now know I go out for a run 4 or so days a week. My 3 year old gives me a good luck mommy and a hug before I go. My 8 year old is talking about doing it now, too. My husband has started running again.

      A month ago, I ran my first 5k. It was amazing.

      So, since March, I’ve lost 12 more pounds.

      If anyone is on My Fitness Pal and wants to friend me, I’m algae429.

      1. Dang*

        I’m finishing up week 3 of c25k and love it as well! I’m 60+ lbs overweight so I never thought I could do it, but I’ve even amazed at how fast endurance builds. And it’s motivating to have a concrete goal, too. Congrats on your first 5k!

      2. C Average*

        Good for you! It sounds like you’re making smart, gradual changes. Those are the kind of changes that stick. And the fact that your kids can see you making these changes is awesome. You’re teaching them so many valuable things through your example.

    15. saro*

      I’m sorry about your family. My brother has perfected the art of simply telling our family, “Please don’t say that. You’re being rude.” and then being silent while they talktalktalk themselves into a corner. It’s fun to watch but I have not learned this myself. Seems to me that your family issues are different from your weight issues, even though it’s the same topic.

      I think it’s great that you’re working out and maybe don’t beat yourself up on your eating habits so much. You’re improving, day by day. Enjoying life is important too. Keeping 17 pounds off is great!!

      I struggle with my health as I am 20 pounds overweight and show signs of being pre-diabetic. But I’ve never had luck with trying to make drastic changes or beating myself up over my choices. My mid-year resolution is to be kind to myself and it’s working. I’ve lost 7.5 pounds since last month. Maybe that would work for you too?

    16. matcha123*

      I loved doing sports as a kid. I was lucky that there were classes offered through my city so I didn’t have to use school as my only outlet (best soccer player in my grade, but always picked last because I just wasn’t that popular lol).

      My advice to you is to make opportunities to move! You don’t need to be at a gym to exercise. In fact, I started going to the gym semi-regularly last year. If the grocery store is close enough, walk to it and carry your items home. You can do it every day! I had to do that because, despite the grocery store being a 3 minute drive from my house, I had to pick up things every day since we didn’t have a car/didn’t have money to spare for gas.

      Do a little dance in the shower. Take the stairs. Do stretches while watching TV. And when you think about exercise, think of it as something to help you get more energy and as something to help you later in life. Don’t focus solely on weightloss!

    17. the gold digger*

      I want to tell your relatives to shut the heck up. They are being rude and almost mean. You don’t deserve that. Keep doing what you want to do to BE HEALTHY and don’t let them bother you. (Easier said than done, I know, but know that they are in the wrong!)

      My mom is 71 years old and I cannot have a conversation with her where she does not talk about how her diet is going. I try very hard not to respond – I just change the subject – because I do not want to be so obsessed with weight. I AM that obsessed with weight, but I decided a few years ago not to talk about it with anyone.

      I don’t know who’s bringing it up in your family – if it is you, perhaps maybe don’t mention it to your family? If you are not saying anything, then they are truly being obnoxious and you have my permission to bop them on the head.

    18. C Average*

      OK, a few thoughts and observations here, in no particular order.

      –Don’t hesitate to do something you know is good for you because you don’t want to let your family “win.” I’ve watched my sister make certain choices that aren’t in her best interest purely because my mother will not stop nagging her about making better choices, and it’s really hard to watch. I think to myself, “If you did the thing she wants you to do, you’d have to listen to her say ‘I told you so’ for five seconds, and then you’d enjoy the benefits of the better choice. You’re really going to dig in over this?”

      If you legitimately DON’T want to do what they’re pressuring you to do, that’s one thing. But it sounds like you know at least some of their advice and concern is valid, and you’re pushing back just to push back. Think about what’s best for YOU. Them being right might be what’s best for you.

      –Reasonable minds may vary, but I think Weight Watchers can be fun. It takes something inherently dull (tracking your food intake) and tries to make it interesting and community-based so it doesn’t suck as much. I have always found food tracking excruciatingly boring, and the one time I really did need to watch calories (I was getting married in a few months and had just had hip surgery and couldn’t exercise, so I had to really watch what I ate to avoid gaining weight) I joined WW for a few months and found it fun, motivational, and helpful. I’m not saying you should try it or that it’s for everyone. I’m just saying there are some reasons it’s popular, and it really can work for some people.

      –I share the sweet-tooth and junk food-craving tendencies you describe. You have my sympathy there. I find that the best way for me to curb my cravings is to think long-term about what I’m putting into my body and why I should be making better choices. I want to live to a ripe old age and stay healthy and active. My health will depend, among other things, on what nutritional choices I make. Are bad habits now worth problems down the road? When I think that way, I make better choices, and then choices become habits, and after a while the junk food I used to love just tastes . . . junky.

      Also, what’s your approach to habit formation? I know there are others here who share my appreciation for Gretchen Rubin’s wonderful blog, where she takes on (among other things) the difference between moderators and abstainers. I am a very poor moderator but a very good abstainer. I can give up chocolate or fried foods or some other thing I know isn’t good for me, but I really can’t moderate effectively. Learning that about myself has been key to learning to change my behavior. Check out her blog; you might gain some insights into your own mind and behavior.

      –Do what works for you with regard to exercise. There isn’t any one activity that everyone needs to be doing. I’m a runner because I’m too clumsy for everything else, and because most of the time I enjoy running a lot. If you find something that works and fits into your life, embrace it! It doesn’t matter if it’s not the same thing I’m doing or your family’s doing. You do you, as the kids like to say.

    19. nep*

      Just to throw this in there — don’t ever underestimate the importance of sleep (as mentioned in another exchange here), and the effectiveness of simple body-weight exercises — squats/jump squats, push-ups, planks in all their variations, bridge/seated kicks. Simple, effective, not time-consuming. Fitness does not depend on fancy machines or gym memberships. Everyone’s different and what works will depend on the person, but good to keep in mind these basic moves.

    20. EduStudent*

      Another thing that is related that I’ve tried to be more aware of recently is self-talk. Sometimes we talk to ourselves way more negatively than if we were speaking to anyone else. Ex: “I’m a terrible person for eating that cookie with lunch” or “I’m a failure because I couldn’t run that mile without stopping.” But we would never say those sorts of things, or probably even believe them, if the person in question was a friend rather than ourselves. I’ve been really trying to treat myself more like a friend lately, and I think that this is really important to health/fitness plans as well as more broadly.

    21. Vancouver Reader*

      I would never join a gym because I don’t like to exercise around other people and I’m horrible with group activities (I’d pass to the opposing team when I played floor hockey) so I tried to do things on my own. I didn’t think I’d get past my plateau weight, but when I got a Wii Fit, it made all the difference for me. It wasn’t all work, the games are fun and it helped me move in ways I hadn’t before. So I guess what I’m saying is find something fun that doesn’t feel like exercise.

    22. Mephyle*

      On the “struggling with eating part” (hello!): something that really resonated with me was the book Ditching Diets by Gillian Riley, supported by reading and re-reading the discussion here: . I found that her explanations and advice spoke to me in a way that any other “how to stop eating too much and the wrong thing” stuff never had before (as an example, what she says about emotional eating, which I never identified with. Her explanation of why you still comfort eat even if you don’t have emotions and trauma to get over really spoke to me.). The e-book is not very expensive.

      1. Mephyle*

        Link didn’t appear. It’s “Ditching Diets Discussion” on the website Happyeaters dot net.

    23. Kay*

      Honestly, probably what I would do if I were you is draw some very distinct boundary lines with your dad’s family.

      Everyone is different, but here’s what I’ve found for myself. (And I’m still overweight, but very very slowly changing some things about myself):
      1) Guilt or negative comments from other people (or from myself) end up affecting my self esteem which can make me binge eat. I avoid the ever-so-popular “one-up-manship” surrounding dieting at all costs.
      2) I don’t have to feel guilty or bad if I eat something unhealthy one day.
      3) Feeling beautiful as you are is a wonderful thing. Sure there are things I would change, but focusing on those breeds negativity. I would rather celebrate the positive.

    24. Sunday*

      One thing I’ve learned is how different we all are.

      For myself, it was a revelation to learn that I’m not wired for what are socially standard eating patterns in the US. Trying different patterns and looking at results was a remarkable exercise. For me, eating carbs (eg cereal, toast) without a straight protein (eg eggs, steak, etc) in the morning means I’m craving sweets ALL DAY, and means that I have a lot more cycles of fatigue during the day. Add protein to the mix and I’m a lot better. Skip carbs til lunch or later and my craving for sweets drops to easily manageable levels, and my energy is more consistent. Cut out processed sugars altogether and my mood improves, my energy is higher, my skin is clearer, my intestines are happier, and my menstrual cycles more comfortable. When asked, I suggest folks have a look at their patterns and then deliberately change them for a few days or a week to see what happens. One friend stopped eating red meat and dropped 30 lbs in a month. Another added red meat once a week and dropped 20.

      Caffeine plays into your insulin cycle. I’ve learned to moderate that by upping protein consumption when adding caffeine.

      Fats help me process sugar. I’m much better off with a piece of cake or a serving of ice cream than pecan pie or hard candies – more fat makes it all easier. (My ophthamologist clued me in on that one.)

      Timing. A friend lost 100 lbs by not eating anything after 7pm. She ate whatever she wanted during the day, just nothing after 7. Her doctor said that if that didn’t do it, she’d just back the stop time to 6. Heard a story on the radio of a woman who saved all her calories for big dinners with the family. She took those calories and spread them out throughout the day and (steadily) lost 100 lbs.

      Nothing beats feeling better, healthier, and clearer, and nothing looks better, either.

    25. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I want to extol the virtues of He looks at studies to attempt to make science-based dietary recommendations. I’ve had a lot of success with his model (low carb, avoid processed foods, enjoy full-fat dairy and lots of protein.) And it’s in an easy to read and fairly entertaining (to me) blog form.

    26. WeightlossAnon*

      As someone who lost 70+ pounds, I feel like I should lean in on this. My weight loss didn’t come at the expense of cutting sugar or processed food. I learned long ago that you can be fat and eating rabbit food and exercising (my father and brother). My brother does the no added sugar and avoid gluten too.

      So my whole diet was simple: I eat my cravings and indulge in restarant food once in a while, but I watch how much of it I ate. Restarants give you more food than you should have for the idea of having more bang for your buck. Don’t feel bad to stop eating it during the meal (and don’t let someone give you a disapproving look and say “I don’t like wasting food” like my mom ;) ). Take it home or trash it.

      Also experiment in the kitchen! Add spice. Look up healthier remixes of your favorite food. I make a mean protein pancake with mesquite honey and cinnamon, and I never knew how much adding chili pepper really adds to a tomato soup.

      My final bit is to check if you have vitamin deficiencies, it happens a lot while dieting. I don’t consume a whole lot of meat so I have to take iron to help out. Check ups are good in general too with your doctor, we found out that my leg was swelling up severely (as in an added 10lbs and not fitting in the pants leg).

    27. samaD*

      “But I have no one or nothing to blame but me for being in this position”

      y’know what? don’t even blame yourself. past you made the best choices they could at the time. present you is making their best choices, so throw your energy behind present you :)

      I know you say you’ve got exercise sussed, but I just want to throw bellydancing out there – it’s an awful lot of fun :) and stairs whenever possible and practical

      food….if I find I’m really craving something – not just kinda fancying it but it goes away in a couple of hours, but deeply craving it – it’s best just to have whatever it is or I just end up feeling cranky & deprived and eating something truly awful.
      Other than that….read labels and buy the best food you can (organic meat really does have more flavour – chicken should taste like chicken, not water, and beef should be flavourful enough you can tell why it’s paired with robust sauces – and organic veg does too. If you’ve got good local farmer’s markets they are a wonderful resource for fresh, local foods – I’ve had good luck getting meats from some too).
      An allergy test might be useful, if that’s something you want to do. We often crave foods we’re allergic to. (Or even just try completely eliminating a questionable food from your diet for a month and see if a) you feel better without it or b) you feel worse when it’s re-introduced.)

      Each day try the best you can – don’t punish or reward yourself for what you did or didn’t do yesterday, just aim to stick to the plan today. Life isn’t a series of makeup assignments :)

      as for family….I’m still working on that myself :/ Sometimes ‘ya, that’s not up for discussion, thanks! :)’ works, sometimes ‘my what a lovely shade of blue the sky is today’ does (especially effective if a) the sky is not blue or b) you’re indoors :) can be followed up with ‘and what a lovely shade of green the grass is’ if they don’t stop. (hey, if they’re going to break the social contract in their way, I can in mine :) ))

      1. A Cita*

        I have to really second reading labels. If you make a conscious decision to not buy anything that has high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients, you’ll be ahead of the game. It’s a simple thing that provides tremendous health benefits.

    28. Katie the Fed*

      I’ll be your weight loss buddy :)

      It’s VERY slow going here. Argh. My only saving grace is that the pools just opened up so I can swim. Yay!

    29. A Cita*

      I would be happy to support you in cleaner eating, if you need moral support (and recipe advice). I should say I’m pretty extreme in terms of eating clean/healthy and exercise for myself. However, to qualify that, a few things: 1. I’m health focused, not weight focused, so I don’t really have advice for losing weight (although eating healthy would probably help with that), and 2. I don’t judge anyone else at all. I don’t think one size fits all. Everyone has to find their own routine and plan that works for them and their goals. Lots of times when it’s the yummy bad for you stuff that calls you, it really is about a lifestyle change, not a diet. You can learn to prefer healthier options so you don’t feel deprived. I haven’t read comments to this, so it may have been mentioned, but a friend does this great thing for her that’s called VB6. It means vegan before 6 pm. If you can eat vegan (and healthy–not soy based meat products, processed foods) before 6pm, then you can eat what you want after six. It seems to really work for her (I’m already vegan–ish [I eat occasional fish under doctor’s orders but I don’t like it], so I can’t testify to it’s efficacy). One of the things about the VB6 eating style is that it’s supposed to also, slowly over time, help you to crave better for you foods.

      There’s a really funny website with delicious vegan recipes called Thug Kitchen. I’m not saying you should go vegan, but these are delicious dishes you could add to your rotation. For me, it’s about eating whole foods, no sugar (besides fruit), no processed foods (I’m actually even more extreme than this but I don’t want to scare you away :).

      1. A Cita*

        Also, fair warning if you do not like swears: Thug Kitchen is ripe with swears. :)

    30. KayDay*

      Regarding eating, 2 (moderately contradictory things) that have worked for me are: First, make concrete rules regarding things you don’t eat. I know this goes against a lot of conventional advice, but I find it is soooooo much easier to just not eat goldfish at all than to only eat some goldfish as a treat once a week. Be very specific and don’t go overboard, I’m talking about rules like “I don’t eat goldfish, cheesecake, or white potatoes” not “I don’t eat any carbs ever.”

      Second, and this is if you are closely counting calories or points carefully, is to not count calories/points on the weekends (but still eat healthy). So on the weekend instead of saying I can have no more than 600 calories for dinner, you say, I’m going to have delicious salmon with my favorite roasted veggies and a small cup of gelato.

      1. A Cita*

        Yes, I’m the same way. I had to completely give up sugar (except whole fruit). There was no way I could do that in moderation. When I moderated, I felt deprived. Not doing it all, I don’t even think about it now. But everyone is different.

    31. TL*

      My advice: Don’t worry about eating perfectly – just try to develop a healthier habit, one at a time, here and there, and keep it.
      If you’re having a bad cravings day, or if you know you’re going to splurge, don’t eat a lot of “good” calories to make up for it and then go eat a lot of “bad” calories. Seriously. When I’m having one of “those” days, I eat ice cream for dinner. Not in addition to it; I have Haagen-Dazs for dinner and nothing else. Yum. I do try to eat healthier the next few days, though.
      If you know you’re going out to Chili’s and you’ll end up with that bacon cheeseburger (and be realistic with yourself), just eat less for lunch and breakfast and try to eat healthier, and maybe just a little less, the next few days. Think of your diet as a balance, rather than an absolute – you’re going for a mostly healthy diet, not a perfect one.

    32. A.*

      I’m currently down 56 pounds (and counting!) Visit That site/blog changed my life and the entire way I approach weight loss and fitness. Seriously, go to that site and read it. It’s awesome.

    33. Mallory*

      Ali, I think I’m about in the same place that you are re: weight loss. I joined a program last January with the goal of losing 75 pounds. I lost about 20 pounds, and have gained back about 6 of that.

      My problem is thinking of myself as “good” when I succeed and “bad” when I fail. And then I internally rebel against the “good”/”bad” self-label and it ends up undermining my efforts.

      I’m at a point where I think I need to just add exercise to my routine as a neutral thing that I just do and try to not even think of it with a moral name-tag. Not sure if this even makes sense to anyone but myself.

    34. Who are you?*

      I am currently doing WW and I love it. I tried doing the whole “eating healthy” thing on my own, used calorie counting apps that were successful for friends, tried fad diets, etc. and nothing stuck. I hate using my phone to do anything more than texting or making calls, healthy eating seemed so restrictive, and fad diets were hurting me. A friend kept talking up WW and I finally decided to try it. One month in and I’m down 10 pounds. I’ll stick with it but only because it works for me. That’s what you need to do: find something that works for you!

      BTW I haven’t read all the comments but here are a few things that are working for me:
      * I buy produce once a week and immediately wash, prep and pack the stuff into containers that are ready to go in the morning. If it’s not prepped I can talk myself into a junky snack because there’s work involved for the healthy snack.
      * I actually look at the serving size of what I’m eating. It doesn’t always stop me from over indulging, but knowing that 2 cookies is a serving of 240 calories sometimes makes me think if it’s really worth it.
      * I look for ways to incorporate healthy items into my meals. I have this amazing cheesy pasta that I love but that, alone, isn’t a great meal for me. But I add lean protein, stir fried veggies, some creative spices and it’s a yummy and healthier version…and the added items means that I fill up faster on less pasta. :)
      * Drink lots of water.
      *Indulge occasionally. :)

  6. Variation*

    TelevisionWithoutPity officially died about an hour ago, and I still have the forum page open from when I was going to post a thank-you to some of the people there. It’s a shame NBC closed the website.

    So, lest anything horrible happen to this place (and to put these emotions somewhere), I want to thank Alison and everyone who comments for creating such a wonderful, smart, and appropriately snarky community. I’ve learned so much from being here, and I really look forward to checking this place out every day.

    1. Al Lo*

      “This Community is Unavailable. This community is offline and no longer accessible.”

      It’s just so stark.

      1. Nina*

        I wasn’t even able to access it after 11:30, so I couldn’t do my farewell post. :(

        TWOP was controversial, but what I loved was that it had forums for virtually every type of show, from soaps to animation to DIY. I don’t know of any other website that has that. I’ll miss it.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I have discovered the site, which I really like. Many of us TWOP-ers have ended up there. Hope to see you there too!

      1. Al Lo*

        Yes, I’ve been reading for a few months now — ever since it first opened up — but haven’t made it onto the forums yet. I’m planning to head that way soon, though!

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          It’s a really cool site, and they’re alot more laid back than TWOP was. Each show (whether recapped or not) has its own mini-forum, and users can create boards. I think the only thing you have to request is the mini-forum for a show, if it’s not already there.

          1. Lore*

            Many of you probably know this, but in case anyone doesn’t: is created by the original, pre-Bravo/NBC owners of TWOP. A lot of the old-school writers have found their way over there as well. Worth supporting for that alone…

    3. Prickly Pear*

      I made my last post in the goodbye thread, refreshed it once to see it posted (it did) and that was it. I’m telling everyone I had the last post on TWoP, as one of the posters suggested we all do. And yes, I still have the last actual forum page I was reading open. I’m not closing it until I have to.

      1. Al Lo*

        My group and I went back to our Meet Market tonight and said our goodbyes to the site there.

        1. Al Lo*

          We just kept going until we got the temporary error message, which had been popping up sporadically through the evening, and about 15 minutes later, it changed to the permanent error.

    4. Felicia*

      I’m sad about TWOP closing just because it had such massive quantities of discussions on shows I watch, and I love talking about TV. But it was so heavily moderated that I was intimidated about posting myself.

      1. Harper*

        I had a couple of really bad run-ins with their moderators over the years so much so that I stopped reading it or posting there. Once, one of the moderators said something really sexist and disgusting and I called him on it and of course, got a warning/banned/can’t remember which anymore. So, I was done.

        However, hearing that it’s gone is making me oddly sad. I spent a lot of time there in the past, talking about TV and actually had some great discussions.

    5. Dang*

      I’ve never heard of that site, but it really sucks when a site you frequent shuts down. I blogged at for at least 10 years, met some amazing people, and it recently shut down. Still makes me sad to think about it! Funny how sites we love become a big enough part of our lives to mourn the loss of.

      1. Mallory*

        This site is that kind of part of my life now. If it ever shuts down, I’m going to need some talking down.

        “And nobody talks me down like myself talking me down in a video.” — Michael Scott

  7. Al Lo*

    Was anyone else on the TWoP final night of the forums tonight?

    I have a great group of friends that I met there years ago, and while we’ve all moved on to another online home, we’re still a strong community, so tonight a bunch of us went back to TWoP to hang out.

    I’ve already been missing new recaps — I haven’t loved the site as much recently as I did in its pre-Bravo days, but there are some recappers whose work I’ll read, no matter what — but tonight was a fitting sendoff to the forums, at least in my neck of the woods.

    1. Prickly Pear*

      I’m in a city that is pretty metropolitan, so we had enough people to have our own TWoPCons for a while. There are so many hilarious moments of misspent afternoons of sarcasm. TWoP, where people got me.

    2. Cruciatus*

      Yup, I was there. I checked at 12:00 A.M. to see if they were still up (it was). I had to be at work this morning, but I actually thought about whether I should stay up until it went down or just go to bed. I decided to go to bed, but was still really bummed to see “The community is offline and is no longer available” this morning.

  8. Jill-be-Nimble*

    Hah! I saw “Ask a Manager Sunday F—” on my tab and thought, “Oooh! Sunday, Funday on AAM!” Then saw that it was Free-for-All. Can I officially petition that the informal Sunday Open Thread be called “Sunday, Funday!”?

      1. Jazzy Red*

        Any reference to ice cream has my vote!

        Especially ice cream with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.

  9. Gene*

    What social goes does everyone here play? And by social, I’m talking about games where you interact with other people.

    For me, it’s World of Warcraft in two active guilds and my latest thing; Ingress. I spent 2 hours with a group of people today playing.


    1. Ruffingit*

      I get together with friends about once a month or so to eat and play games all night. Tonight it was Cranium.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      I was out with a bunch of girlfriends the other night, and learned about a game called Cards Against Humanity. I had never heard of it, so I Googled it and it does look pretty hilarious. But only if you don’t get offended by really, really, really politically incorrect humor. Really, really politically incorrect.

      1. Prickly Pear*

        I played Cards Against Humanity for the first time with my boss. I don’t recommend it, but oh my god, the fun we had.

      2. Brittany*

        We play Cards Against Humanity at New Years and it is hilarious! You do have to be careful about the group you play it with because it gets soooo inappropriate soooo fast. Thankfully, the group I was playing with found it all hilarious and it was a great time. A very adult version of Apples to Apples.

        1. Elkay*

          I can’t bring myself to look out cards against humanity because it looks like a less fun version of Apples to Apples to me. The fun of Apples to Apples is making your answers horribly inappropriate.

        2. Mallory*

          We mostly play Apples to Apples. I don’t know if we have any friends that we could play Cards Against Humanity with. For some reason, all our couple friends are people whose religious and political views are the opposite of ours. I think that’s because our couple friends are my husband’s co-workers, and blue-collar factory workers in the South tend to be religious and politically conservative. We avoid discussing religion and politics with them.

      3. Kai*

        Yes! My friends and I play Cards Against Humanity too, and it never gets old. But you really gotta know who you’re playing with for that one. I would never play it with my parents or coworkers, just a select group of friends I’m comfortable with.

        1. Catherine in Canada*

          Funny, I played with my family last Thanksgiving.
          I had a blast, the kids half and half, my husband hated it.
          I think everyone was shocked at the things that came out of Mom’s mouth though!

    3. Stephanie*

      Bananagrams–it’s like Scrabble, but without the scoring and it’s timed.

      Mafia is also fun (I think another variation is Werewolves).

      1. OhNo*

        Ooo, I’ve played Werewolves before! It was so much fun, but you really do need a group that you know well and that is totally willing to get into it. But with the right group of friends, it is great!

    4. SD Cat*

      I meet up with some people on occasion to play board/card games- Small World, Dominion, Guillotine, other games I’m forgetting the names of

    5. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

      Nerdy European strategy games!

      My favorites are Agricola and Dominion. My husband loves Powergrid. There are dozens of others, too!

    6. Shell*

      Super Smash Bros, StarCraft. We also play multiplayer RPG games together (both of the Final Fantasy-esque types and the pen, paper, and dice type).

      Board games are also very fun.

    7. Prickly Pear*

      I really like board games, both party/trivia type and more ‘serious’ pursuits like Ticket To Ride and Union Pacific. I tend to like co-op games like Pandemic and Last Night on Earth more than being competitive. I really dig Catan and Small World and wish I had more gamers in my circle than I do.

    8. Nutcase*

      I play runescape! I have tried Guild Wars and League of Legends over the years but seem to get sucked back into that game I started playing 10 years ago. Its like a warm hug from school summer holidays past.

    9. Jen RO*

      I’m on WoW break due to dead HDD, but that’s the only game I keep coming back to, even though I’ve tried most of the other ‘WoW killers’. I played Rift for a couple of months but even though it does have some nice features, WoW just feels like ‘home’. I’m a bit sad that I’m not raiding anymore, but the truth is that I stopped enjoying it a year or so ago… I wish I still loved it, because I’ve had great time and meet great friends. Actually, the bf and I are visiting guildies in Finland this summer!

      (I’m on Alonsus-EU Alliance and Lightning’s Blade – EU Horde. )

    10. Liane*

      1-I’ve been playing roleplaying games, the table top kind with books & dice, since high school. In fact I met my husband in a college group, and we still play. Our teens also play sometimes. Recently, I started running Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars roleplaying game via Skype for a good (but long distance) family friend and several members of the gaming forum I moderate. I also like Dresden Files (based on Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy books), Toon (old-fashioned Sat. morning cartoons) and Dragon Age (set in the video game world).
      2-Board games, especially Settlers of Catan, my new favorite Pandemic and the card games UNO and Plague & Pestilence.
      3-Artemis starship simulator, which lets up to 5 people play the bridge crew via 5 networked computers. Just like Star Trek!! Of course they can’t advertise it that way.

      1. Prickly Pear*

        Artemis is the best! I got to play at the last ST convention I went to- I felt all teamlike and happy when our mission was successful!

        1. Liane*

          We’ve only played Artemis at cons but soooo addictive! My 18 year old son loves it the most. Me, him and Husband went to a gaming con for my birthday and Son spent ALL That Sat. night on it, until events closed for the night. Luckily a Star Trek Crew (club chapter) starting up here so we can play locally. Yay!

    11. Elizabeth West*

      My Doctor Who fan group has game nights occasionally–we do trivia (using DW Trivial Pursuit cards and a horribly loaded Dalek die), and the last time we played Who-related Pictionary. We all kick in money for door prizes. I’ve won a cute little adipose plush and a very creepy Matt Smith action figure, LOL (seriously, it’s very corpse-like). We also watch episodes. It’s fun.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          It’s fun. It took AGES before someone made it–I was beginning to think there were no nerds here at all. Every time I went to the local nerdcon, almost everyone was from out of town.

    12. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I just finished Saints Row the Third, and that was pretty fun. Used to play LOTRO but just fell out of it for some reason… I liked it though!

      I really like Secret World for MMP type games, I highly recommend it!

    13. Mints*

      Ooh I’ve been going to a meet up group occasionally and I really liked Seven Wonders (competetitive deck building with a fun theme) and Sentinels of the Universe (co-op comic book style fighting) and Cards Against Humanity is fun in its own special way

    14. Littlemoose*

      Cards Against Humanity is always fun. For small get-together so we also like Telestrations, which is a drawing and guessing game. It’s available on Amazon. We inevitably stop keeping score and just giggle.

  10. Ruffingit*


    What was the best (non-work) part of your week and what was the worst (non-work) part? :)

    1. Scotto*

      Best: Meeting some new and old friends yesterday (Saturday)!

      Worst: Losing a friend to cancer. We weren’t super-close, but I still grieve his passing. He died the same day Maya Angelou died. Two deaths… who’s going to be #3? I hope nobody. (Although a friend’s mother died a few weeks ago…)

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: A fun girls night out at a paint-your-own pottery place with wine, girl talk, and gossip.

      Worst: Some neighbors were having a gathering for their son’s birthday tonight, and much of the neighborhood was at their house. We weren’t formally invited (which was fine…their son is turning 11, our daughter is 5…not like she was being excluded) but we did meander up there and hung out with everyone for a couple hours, and had a great time. This also meant my daughter was up running around and playing about 2 hours past her bedtime. Then she had a complete meltdown because she was s0 overtired and it took me an hour to calm her down. She’s finally asleep. Finally.

    3. Ruffingit*

      Best: Getting together with friends and having a great time!

      Worst: Just not liking where I’m at in life right now.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is silly. But I have a strong feeling things are going to change for you soon. Please keep your eyes wide open, keep looking around you. Look at things with fresh eyes or with a child’s curiosity. See what else is there that you have not noticed before. (okay, that was an odd thing to say. You can ignore me if you wish.)

        1. Ruffingit*

          Not odd at all NSNR, I really appreciate you posting and thank you for uplifting me! I needed that today.

    4. Stephanie*

      Best: I found and made a homemade hair product recipe that worked really well on my hair (it’s a little hard to find natural hair care products in my area).

      Worst: The gym accidentally debited my checking account (the admin thought I was a different Stephanie). That, combined with my car insurance debit, caused my account to be overdrawn. The admin was super apologetic (it’s a boutique family-owned place I attend) and said she cover overdraft/late fees too. The way the timing worked out, I can’t get the check until Monday, so I have -$9.25 all weekend.

      Granted, this was all accidental, but it did make me feel pretty sheepish to admit that just $70 overdrew my account. The whole situation just fed into the awful no money unemployment spiral (as in “Ugh, why can’t I even find underemployment?”).

      1. Trixie*

        Stephanie, is your gym/local Y hiring any PT help this summer? I found two options for working PT at mine and they both include a family metro membership as a perk.

      2. Ruffingit*

        Ask the bank to waive the fees. My bank has done that for me on the rare occasions I’ve overdrawn my account. So long as you don’t have a habit of doing such things, they are often willing to waive the fees. Just a suggestion.

        Also, I’ve been in your position when I was unemployed where even $5 would have overdrawn my account so I know the emotional spiral that can put you in. I felt the exact same way you do and it’s just an ugly, awful way to feel. Do what you can NOT to go down that path because the thing is, you’re doing what you’re able to do right now. You’re making the effort. You’re reading here, you’re putting out resumes and cover letters, you’re doing what can be done. Keep that front and center in your mind!

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Can you share the recipe for the hair care product?

        I’m sorry, that’s insensitive. I play the coin game myself. It is no picnic. I look forward to a day when my stomach is not in knots.
        I hope your income picture changes very soon.

        1. Stephanie*

          I can, but I should point out that I’ve got a coarse afro (and live in a dry climate), so what I whipped up will probably leave most people’s hair greasy. In general, apple cider vinegar’s really good for dandruff and getting rid of product buildup. Coconut oil’s good for adding shine and moisture, but I’d use it sparingly if your hair’s fine, thin, or straight.

    5. Prickly Pear*

      Best: Yesterday, Saturday, where the family and I went and had lunch and then went for a drive and ended up in one of our state parks. It was super pretty, we got to see some historical things (and a fudge place, yay!) and everyone agreed that it was pretty awesome.
      Worst: TWoP dying. Television Without Pity was my first online home, my home page for every device I’ve owned, and such a huge part of how I interact online (of course you read back so many pages of comments, 15/15!) that it’s a little mindboggling that it doesn’t exist anymore. This is almost as bad as when Showbiz Pizza closed.

    6. going anon for this*

      Best–met up with a few friends this week including a former coworker.

      Worst–not any one paritcular thing, just been feeling “off.” the mister’s been giving me the silent treatment and I have no idea why; I’m getting so sick of it, that after a day of trying to talk to him, figure things out, I’m now in my own bad mood and giving him the silent treatment. He expects me to put up with his crappy sour moods and then come running to him like a puppy when he’s in a better mood. I’m not a puppy.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        No one ever resolved a problem by not talking.

        Deal breaker? Counseling?

        Life doesn’t have to be that hard.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          But does Going Anon have to convince hubby there’s a problem to get him to go for counselling? Some people refuse to acknowledge they are part of the problem.

        2. OhNo*


          Please have a conversation with him about that, especially if its stressing you out. That kind of thing can sour a relationship fast.

    7. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Best: we made perm offers to 3 temps on Friday. All great, all accepted. 2 of 3 had been looking for perm work for a couple of years, one of those being a former Marine. It feels great to be able to provide opportunities.

      Worst: our dogs are driving my husband nuts. They are both older rescues whom we love to pieces but DH is tired of running around cleaning up after them. He’s the one home during the day so I need to do something to ameliorate the situation and I don’t know what. We are good dog lovers and crappy (heh, pun intended?) dog trainers.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Set a schedule for putting them outside?

        Limit their ability to roam the house?

        Usually dogs get restless when they have to go. Can you clue in on their restlessness more often?

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*


          Our most recent dog was 8 years old when we got him. Such a blessing (in many but not all ways O.o). He came from a woman with Alzheimers and I don’t think he was every really housetrained. He’s happy going outside and he’s just as happy to come right back in a go again also.

          After he came to us ,he was diagnosed with Cushings and we’ve been treating him for it (there’s a long process). He’s stable on that now but that hasn’t helped the way it was supposed to and the other male dog we have sees it all as a bit of a contest. I buy floor cleaner by the gallon.

          Anyway! We’re dog people. We like caring for older dogs. It’s just getting to the husband and I feel bad for him.

          1. OhNo*

            Any chance of putting together an outdoor run of some kind? Fenced yard or something maybe? Being able to put the dogs outside for a few hours when they are getting on his nerves might help. Plus, then you are guaranteed at least a few hours worth of no clean up.

    8. Jen RO*

      Best: Seeing old and new friends from the local sci fi fandom (they were all in town for a big book fair).
      Worst: Going to a boring wedding with horrible and loud music instead of hanging out with previously mentioned friends.

    9. SandraDee*

      Best: date night Friday night with my guy. Our schedules have been crazy lately, and haven’t had a lot of time, partly because of the sick dog.

      Worst: my dog with cancer is having trouble walking, getting up on his own. It’s so sad to see his health decline so quickly. But he patiently waits for me to help him.

    10. SD Cat*

      Best: Ate great authentic-ish Mexican food yesterday and heard a lot of people speak Spanish for the first time in a while. Haven’t completely forgotten it.

      Worst: The emotional roller coaster that is job hunting. Will probably need to move home for a while after my lease is up.

    11. Liane*

      Bests: 1–Son, the brand new high school grad, has finally started applying to colleges & financial aid!!! ’bout time!
      2-That Star Wars Roleplaying session I mentioned above. Can you say “stress relief”? With blaster bolts?

      Worsts: My Friday & Sat. work shifts. ‘Nuff said

    12. Felicia*

      Best: Seeing Flashdance the Musical!
      Worst: Friend ditching me at the last minute when we had plans for 2 weeks.

    13. Kai*

      Best: I took an extra day off after Memorial Day, so I only had to go to work three days this past week.

      Worst: got into a little fight with my fiance…on his birthday. It’s all good now, but that sucked.

    14. Mary (in PA)*

      Best: I was on vacation all week and got to take a class in goldwork embroidery taught by an instructor from the Royal School of Needlework. She worked on Kate’s wedding dress and runs a satellite RSN school in Rugby. And she was amazing and super, super nice and supportive of everyone. I HAD THE BEST TIME. Plus if was there with my good friend and we had a great time eating tasty food at nice restaurants and watching playoff hockey in the evenings.

      Worst: I had to go to the office yesterday and make cold calls. Not actually part of my job description, but something that had to be done nonetheless. It wasn’t too bad, though; since I had been on vacation all week, it didn’t feel like a big deal to go in on Saturday morning. And I wasn’t the only person there – the entire management team was there, too.

    15. Office Princess*

      Worst: More than one wedding related meltdown, one of which involved my third second degree burn from trying to be crafty in the name of the wedding.

      Best: We are getting married this coming Saturday, so we spent last night out at the bar celebrating being done with everything we can do until we get to where our wedding is being held. And bonus best- I’m not hungover :-)

    16. Persephone Mulberry*

      BEST: the sense of relief that came with making a decision on our interim housing situation (there is a month gap between when our current lease ends and when we can get into our new place). Now we just need to decide on a mover and we’ll be all set!

      WORST: The mover we had scheduled to come give us a packing estimate yesterday never showed up, and I haven’t gotten the quote from the one who came earlier in the week. So, with exactly two weeks till D-Day, I’m basically still at square one for the most important piece of the move…the movers. Argh.

    17. Julie*

      Best: Watching my baby brother graduate high school.

      Worst: Had relatives in from out of town. Thankfully they’ve since left. I don’t understand how people you can love so much can grow to be so hateful. “Your hair makes you look old.” “I don’t like any of this so-called food up here.” “Your cousin sure looked better as a ‘big’ girl.” I hate myself in some ways for being glad they’re gone since they are aging but as soon as they disappeared I didn’t need my backup anxiety meds. Hmm…

      1. Ruffingit*

        I totally get that. I’ve been estranged from a relative for the last six months whose negativity made me need to meditate or take a nap every time I got off the phone with him. It was just exhausting. I’ve found that with him out of my life now, I can breathe and have peace I’ve not had in many years. Just because they are getting older doesn’t mean you should feel badly that are gone. Their behavior dictates how you feel, not their age. Just saying.

        1. anon4this*

          Ugh, feel you guys. :(

          Not quite the same, but I’ve been struggling with my toxic sister for about two years now. We inevitably get into an argument every time we talk, most recently because I didn’t ask her to help me with something (if I had, she would have complained the whole time). I miss having a good relationship with my older sister, and I don’t want to not have her in my life, but it’s realllly draining to a. anticipate, b. participate in, and c. recover from the inevitable argument every time we see eachother.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Sometimes it helps to ask why you want her in your life. Do you want the person you wish she was or do you want the person she actually is?

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Very important questions here.
              If I am trying to remodel someone or remold them- I am the one who needs to get out of their life. This is not helpful and it can be down right insulting.
              A cool trick I have used is if something someone is doing bothers me, I check to see if I am doing something even vaguely similar myself. In other words, am I actually scolding ME, when I am talking to them? Sometimes I can hone in on something that I am doing that I need to change.

              1. anon4this*

                Ruffingit, I like aspects of who she is. I also mourn the relationship we used to have, and (maybe irrationally) hope we can rebuild it. I also am not really of the opinion that you dump family, except in pretty extreme circumstances. I’ve thought this qualified several times before, and we do talk and hang out wayyyy less than we used to, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

                Not So New Reader, I totally hear the “am I really annoyed with myself or you” technique. Can be very elucidating.

                What we argue about mostly comes down to this:

                She is totally unhappy with the way our family operates. We don’t help each other out enough, we don’t talk to each other enough, we don’t trust and rely on, support and prioritize each other enough. She has felt this way since her freshman year in college, when she didn’t get as many care packages, letters, phone calls as her roommate did. It was exacerbated when she started dating someone with the *perfect* nuclear family, and it really came to a head when we found out my brother has a debilitating drug addiction– no one ever did enough, she did everything. Her concerns are merited, but to me (and the other 5 members of the family) her perception is pretty skewed.

                I can handle criticism of our family unit, but I really can’t handle it all the time, in every conversation, and in particular, her approach. Two years ago, every time we talked, she talked about our relationship like there was a breakup imminent. “If you can’t give me the things I need from this relationship, I’m not sure it can continue. If I need to meet my needs elsewhere, I will.” And this was over things like requests to come over and help her clean her house because she has an important job that keeps her very busy, and I am the younger sister with a comparatively less time consuming, less high ranking and therefore cake walk of a job. Or over a perceived slight, usually having to do with me doubting her very dramatic and paranoid sounding work stories.

                To me, this is emotional manipulation. She wants to dictate how we relate to one another, and worse, she wants to delegate difficult aspects of her life to us — if we say no, we are uncaring and risk being dumped?? And I am seriously concerned about her mental heath. I struggle with depression, which she treats me like an invalid for, but her over the top criticism and constant doubt of everyone’s appreciation of her seems bananas to me. It seems so unsustainable and stressful to treat everyone in your family so combatively, and it makes me feel the opposite of what I hope for/value in the company of my people: comfort.

                I don’t know — I vacillate between thinking that I must be the most awful sister in the world, horrible and unkind, and that my sister is the horrible one and will never let up. I don’t know why I’m commenting at length about it here, but if I am clearly missing something, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

                1. Ruffingit*

                  I think what you’re missing is that you can do nothing about this situation that will ever make your sister happy. So your choices are to either live with it or let her go.

                  When your sister talks about maybe needing to get her needs met elsewhere, try something different and say “OK. I can respect that if it’s what you feel you need to do.” And then walk away.

                  She’s looking for you all to cater to her it would seem in every way – emotionally and otherwise. And now, to get what she wants, she threatens to dump you. Frankly, being dumped by someone like her sounds like it would be a relief. If she continues on as she is with no changes ever, would you want to have a relationship with her? If this was a friend, would you continue in this relationship? Some people get caught up in the “don’t dump blood relatives ever, ever, ever” but honestly that is often a way to tie yourself to a sinking ship. I can’t imagine it helps your depression at all to have this kind of negativity in your life.

    18. C Average*

      Best: Took a vacation day Friday and went to the coast with an old friend. Walked on the beach, talked about life, pondered how and when we got so damned old. Fun times.

      Worst: Learned that a big project my team has given its heart and soul to for quite a long time is going to get subsumed into ANOTHER project and will need to be redone from scratch. It sucks to have to re-do a bunch of already-good work because someone many levels higher than us made a particular decision. Ah, well. Job security, right?

    19. Mimmy*

      Best: Mentioned this on Friday, but I got into the Disability Studies Graduate (Advanced) Certificate program!!

      Worst: We’ve been having work done on our laundry room for the past week or so. Nothing horrible…it’s just long and tedious. Plus, we’ve been without use of our washer and dryer for that whole time. We did have a bit of scare though – In order to put some of the tile down, we had to have our 30-gallon hot water heater shut off and moved temporarily. When we got it reconnected, the hot water never came back. We were worried we’d busted it in draining it the night before. FINALLY yesterday morning, we had hot water.

      Having the room all done and put back together will probably be next week’s “Best”! lol.

      1. OhNo*

        I’m curious, what does disability studies entail? I’m disabled, and I’ve seen similarly named programs before but never bothered to learn more about them. Is it history? Sociology? Medicine? Some combination of disciplines?

        1. Mimmy*

          It’s a combination of disciplines, including the ones you mentioned. Disability Studies is a relatively new field, so I don’t know that there’s one standard curriculum like there is with “applied” disciplines, like social work or education. There are also various degree levels. I’m in the Grad Certificate program, but my program also offers a full M.A. in Disability Studies–same available courses, you just need more credits (the Grad Certificate is also taught at the Masters level).

          In general, Disability Studies looks at disability in society and how many advocates believe that disability is due to barriers made by society rather than the person’s own impairments. It also looks at the individual’s experience of disability.

          What I love about the program I’m attending is that there are a lot of possible courses from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. For example, I want to augment my social work / human services background, so I’ll probably take courses in policy and/or disability services administration. This will provide me a new perspective in shaping disability policy and service delivery.

          There’s also a course focused on students with disabilities in higher education, which I have been wanting to learn about for years (I can only take 4 classes, so—decisions, decisions!). Yet, other students may want to focus on how disability is portrayed in mass media, the arts, or in literature. Thus, there are courses for those folks as well.

          I’m so used to seeing disability from the “medical model” perspective–ie, the view that a person has a deficit and needs to be “cured” or “fixed”–so some of the DS concepts will take some getting used to. However, I’m beginning to really find it to be a very fascinating field.

          If you’re interested in learning more about these programs, I can share a link that lists and describes Disability Studies programs in the U.S.

          1. Mimmy*

            Ack! I just realized that what I wrote makes it seem like I subscribe to the “medical model”–my apologies to you and other readers who may have a disability. In fact, I do NOT favor that model at its core. I have a disability too and that is how I grew up. However, over the years, I’ve become in favor of positive and empowering perspectives.

            1. OhNo*

              That sounds pretty interesting, actually. I’d love to see the link you mentioned if you can post it! I’ve always been curious about the programs when I’ve seen them, so I would love to learn more.

    20. saro*

      Worst: Baby was sick and his antibiotic gave him diarrhea. I usually cloth diaper but the environment took a hit this week. so.much.poop. Thankfully, he was his cheerful self throughout it all.

      Best: Happy baby who is recovering well.

    21. Elkay*

      Best: We decided to book a trip to Disneyworld next Christmas.

      Worst: My Dad’s oldest friend died unexpectedly. They’ve been friends since they were 16 and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

    22. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Wednesday was my birthday and I had PTO to burn before the end of fiscal year, so I took Tuesday and Wednesday off and had a very short week. I also had a very very nice day (I’ll comment more below because I have a cute story for you). :)

      WORST: I had a dental appointment on Thursday. I haven’t been in some time because the last place I went was so awful. Though they were very nice, it sucked. I need the following:

      –Braces (not gonna happen anytime soon, but they were recommended)
      –Periodontal therapy (if the cleaning was any indication, arrghh)
      –Two fillings

      UGH. Well, I suppose it’s better than going on vacation looking like the Mouth of Sauron. :P

    23. Vancouver Reader*

      Best: Having most of the week off to do stuff around the house. It was also to get myself prepared for the interview I had Friday.

      Worst: Still not enough time in a day to get everything done, but truly, if that’s the worst thing in my life, I’ve got it pretty damn good.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        BEST – 4 sunny days in a row (!), some very good conversations had with people, writing thank you notes to my team at working, feeling generally quite happy with myself.

        WORST – flat maintenance stuff to be paid for this month, which will wipe out my very small amount of savings I’ve built up. Not feeling like I’m ready for the exam I am sitting on Wednesday.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Rain or not, I’m gonna invade Scotland one day. I’m toying with the idea of just hopping on a train and coming up while I’m there.

          Good luck on your exam!

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        Oh goodness! Congrats on success, and best wishes for a speedy recovery!

        1. QualityControlFreak*

          Thanks for the good wishes. I’m doing very well and am back to work. It was an interesting week, though.

    24. A Cita*

      Best: Seeing American Ballet Theatre’s current rendition of Coppélia.
      Worst: Seeing American Ballet Theatre’s current rendition of Coppélia.

    25. Jessica (the celt)*

      Best: We got the apartment that we wanted, so we’re moving!

      Worst: After the glow of excitement, we realized that we have to actually move everything. :( Blech.

    26. Sascha*

      I totally forgot about this open thread, so I’m terribly late. Oh well. :)

      Best: Had a lovely weekend to myself (husband went out of town with friends), where I watched lots of movies, drank lots of beer whilst sitting around in my pajamas, and did some shopping where I scored some great work clothing that makes me feel like a stylish adult.

      Worst: Made it to round 2 of the jury summons. Tomorrow will determine my final fate.

    27. anon in tejas*

      BEST- testifying and being a part of the crowd who watched the HERO (Houston Equal Rights Ordinance) pass in Houston TX

      WORST- finding out one of my brothers will not be at my youngest brother’s graduation from high school next week. It bothered me a lot more than I thought that it would on initially hearing that.

  11. Gene*

    Going to DC end of June for a conference. We have about a week for touristing and I haven’t been there since the Reagan administration.


    1. Scotto*

      The World War II Memorial – dedicated 10 years ago last week.

      Also, there’s the National Air and Space Museum, which opened in the late ’80s, IIRC.

      Just avoid the Newseum – $22 for admission?!

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Oh, god, I love the Newseum. I was so surprised by how much I loved it. Totally worth the price!

      2. kdizzle*

        We’re Newseum members. It is absolutely worth the price of admission; best museum in DC.

        1. Annie*

          The Newseum and the Crime & Punishment Museum both are regulars on GroupOn/Living Social/KGB Deals. Subscribe to the DC/Northern Virginia/Montgomery County (MD) lists and you’ll get the updates- most you can purchase and not use for a couple weeks.

    2. Esra*

      Have you been to any of the Smithsonians? My mom went on a trip to DC and is still raving about them.

      1. danr*

        They are worth raving about. Our favorites are the National History, Natural History, Air&Space and the Sackler Gallery of Asian art.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My favorite Smithsonian is the National History Museum — tons of cool old campaign memorabilia, plus interesting pop culture stuff (Fonzie’s leather jacket, all the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns, etc.). The Natural History is good too and has an insect zoo in it, which is pretty cool. And the National Archives. And if you’re at all into modern art, I like the Hirshhorn.

      1. Alice*

        I grew up going to the Smithsonian museums for everything.
        I love the Air and Space museum, but I love everything technical. You could spend all day in any museum, so even within one museum, I’d focus on one particular exhibit.

        Currently at the National Gallery of Art, there is an exhibition of the history of the Monuments Men (the program to rescue art from the Nazis, recently adapted into film). I would loove to go this exhibit.

        If you have a pretty penny (read: 30$ for 2) to spend on lunch you HAVE to go to the American Indian museum, their food court is WONDERFUL. Perhaps peruse the menu before getting in line? its a bit chaotic. The food is based on the traditional food of the major regions of American Indian.

        1. Kay*

          Ooooh! We’re leaving for DC tomorrow! (Belated honeymoon here I come) and we may have to eat at the American Indian museum. I had the museum on my list of places to go, but had no idea about the food court. Thanks!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Hirshhorn is AWESOME. They had an Alexander Calder mobile there when I visited. I was so proud of myself for recognizing his work and knowing who he was (from old Childcraft volumes that used to belong to my mom).

    4. Carolum*

      The Basilica on the northeast side of the district… even if you’re not Catholic, it’s worth a visit for the sheer beauty. (If you are Catholic, go to Mass there.)

      1. Annie*

        The Basillica is just off The Catholic University of America (CUA) campus – its the Brookland Metro station (its not always well labeled on the maps- I used to work off that station and the first time I took metro it was a mess trying to find your way.

        1. Cautionary tail*

          While you are at the cathedral please visit the nearby Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America. Even if you aren’t Catholic or religious its still really cool and showcases how in the past people couldn’t fly anywhere so they visited local replicas of those places, in this case the whole Holy Land in the space of one little church, complete with catacombs underneath and gardens outside. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to see this overlooked gem. 1400 Quincy Street Northeast, Washington,D.C. 20017

    5. Stephanie*

      I will try to suggest some things outside the Mall:

      If you can get out there, the National Arboretum (you either need a car or patience to deal with the bus).

      I really like the Aquatic Gardens, but the surrounding neighborhood sucks (you’ll be fine during the day). But all the water lilies are in bloom now!

      The Capitol Tour is interesting. I also like the Botanic Garden (it’s nearby). As you can tell, I have a thing for botanical gardens.

      I like the Walter Reed Military Medical Museum (I believe it’s moved to Silver Spring now)–it has the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln.

      Newseum is really cool, but I would look for a Groupon or try to get a discount (entry fee is $20, I think).

      Hirshorn’s cool if you like modern art. If you’re tired and just want somewhere to relax for an hour, the Portrait Gallery atrium is really peaceful.

      If you’ve never had Ethiopian, there are a ton of restaurants in the Shaw/U St neighborhood.

      Great Falls National Park is out in McLean. Out there, you can see the rapids of the Potomac. You will definitely need a car to get there (I don’t think McLean would allow a bus to enter the city limits), but it’s only a 20-30 minute drive outside DC (and the GW Parkway is very scenic).

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, get Ethiopian! It’s delicious. Also, if you’re into splurging on food, Komi is an excellent choice. (That’s not Ethiopian. Those are two separate thoughts.)

      2. Jill-be-Nimble*

        Are you looking for things to see? Things to do? Things to eat? Places to shop?

        Things to see: Anything Smithsonian, of course–My favorites are the Natural History Museum and the Freer/Sackler Gallery and the National Art Gallery. But the National Geographic headquarters are there too, and usually have cool exhibits–so does the Crime and Punishment museum. Jazz in the sculpture park is free every Friday. Kennedy Center has free shows pretty much every day. Also, Library of Congress. ‘Nuff said.

        Things to do: Walking/running/photographing the Mall, sketching in any of the museums. Nationals and DC United games. Kayak on the Potomac in the DC harbor. You can rent them for $15/hr right by the Nats stadium.

        Neighborhoods: Eating and drinking is SO EASY around DC. The neighborhoods are pretty distinct. Georgetown and Tyson’s for high-end shopping. U-Street and H-Street for quirky areas and indie music and interesting food…there are lots of little micro-social climates around here. They’re easy to search and a lot of fun to explore!

        1. Stephanie*

          Kennedy Center balcony! Great vistas of the Potomac.

          (This thread got me excited. I used to live in DC and loved playing host.)

      3. Jill-be-Nimble*

        OMG, YES! Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens look like an alien landscape and are a 10-minute walk from a metro. Positively amazing. Beware the crazy geese.

        Arboretum…pure beauty. If you’re coming back from it, there’s an outdoor brewpub/dog park/movie theater called Bardo where you can stop and enjoy a pint.

        1. Stephanie*

          Those geese followed me around. So nuts.

          Another one–Gravelly Point. It’s just over the Potomac in Arlington and you can watch planes take off and land at DCA.

      4. nep*

        Second Great Falls. A quick drive from the bustle of DC metropolitan area — sheer beauty, quite revitalising.

    6. Gene*

      We’ll be near the Mall for the first part of the trip and in the Northwest part near the Zoo for the conference. No car, and wife will be using a mobility scooter. I’ll have one day completely to myself, so that is the day for Air & Space, SWMBO has no interest. Last time I was in the Natural History museum, it was all day.

      Museums with my Dad when I was young were a real problem for me. Not quite forced marches, but close; he could do the Natural History museum in under two hours – and have gone through every gallery. I was there, I saw him do it and we were expected to keep up.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        Museum pace is such a personal thing! I like to tear through galleries and then just say for yonks on a single item that grabs me. I’m careful about who I go with, and a lot of times we’ll just wander at our own speeds and meet up later. If you’re the slow and thorough type, then you could spend the entire week at the Mall museums, easily. I agree that the arboretum is incredible, but maybe not ideal for your wife. Metro’s fully scooter accessible, though – just keep an eye on elevator outages, listed on their website.

        Woodley Park is a great neighborhood. I used to practically live at Open City Diner.

    7. Algae*

      I went to the Holocaust Memorial when I was in high school and we were devastated by it. It’s amazing. I highly recommend it.

      As a family, we went last year, and visited the Library of Congress and I loved that. We also went to a few Smithsonian Museums, and we wanted into the Asian art gallery and really liked that one.

    8. Elysian*

      The Zoo is my favorite thing to do in DC. I would go to the Zoo every day if I had the time.

      1. straws*

        +1 My dad used to live right next to a metro station, and every time I visited him we’d go to the Zoo. It was the best!

    9. saro*

      Mike’s Best Ice Cream in Glover Park! The WWII Memorial is beautiful and the Smithsonian.

    10. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I don’t know if this will be as exciting to you as it is to me, but there’s a candy story in Chinatown (right by the gallery place theatre). Like, all candy, only candy (and weird candy-related stuff). I want to be buried there when I die.

    11. Annie*

      At the end of June they do a Jazz concert at the Sculpture Gardens on Fridays- the concert is free and you can bring a picnic but they sell food and drinks (sangria, beer & wine) {}
      The Natural History Museum took out all the dinosaurs (boo) because they are redoing the entire display- they’ll be out for 5 years.
      The Capitol Wheel just opened at National Harbor (technically in Maryland but with awesome views of DC) is brand new and there are tons of things at National Harbor- restaurants, shopping, they do a lot of weekend events.
      Also taking a water taxi to Old Towne Alexandria is fun- lots of interesting places to eat and a pretty walk around area.
      If you are staying through the weekend and have a car there are tons of wineries in Northern Virginia and Maryland- they have pretty good wine maps that can give you a few that are in the same area and also good hiking tails up in Northern Maryland towards the Pennsylvania border.

  12. Trixie*

    Looking for an online forum/blog similar to AAM but specific to divorce, and equal distribution. I recommended Reddit and possibly youtube but beyond that I drew a blank.

  13. Carolum*

    Someone on another forum asked if anyone was ever so unfortunate as to have a phone number of 867-5309.


        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          Maybe this will help:


          Guess what we watched last night (and boy child is watching again this morning)?

    1. Prickly Pear*

      We have a plumbing company here, Benjamin Franklin. (not sure if they’re local or national) They have pretty staid advertising, but someone got them the rights to an 1-800 number with the Jenny digits, so for a while I got to enjoy ol’ Ben singing the Tutones. “866, that’s the prefix! 867-5309!”

    2. Al Lo*

      It’s also a handy trick if you’re ever ever at a grocery store where you don’t have a membership. It’s pretty much guaranteed that someone will have registered with that number, with whatever the local area code is.

    3. Jennifer M.*

      Saw a random meme recently that said “What if Stacy’s mom was Jesse’s girl and her number was 867-5309?”

    4. BRR*

      My friend would give that has his number at bars when he wasn’t interested. To drunk people, if you say it like you would a normal phone number, they don’t notice.

      1. Awopdopaloolop*

        Our prefix is close to that and we have used it for years. It’s important to say it ‘Eight sixty-seven fifty-three zero nine.” And not sing.

  14. Ruffingit*

    Where are you from and in what time zone are you?

    I am from the USA and in the Central Standard Time Zone (CST).

    1. Stephanie*

      USA and in MST (UTC -7). However, most of Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) doesn’t observe Daylight Saving, so we’re on the same time zone as the West Coast right now.

    2. Prickly Pear*

      USA, Eastern Standard. We’re somewhat new to the whole Daylight Savings Time thing, and it still throws me.

    3. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

      New Zealand, NZ standard time. It’s 6:48pm on Sunday as I type this.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        Scotland, UK, GMT (summer time). It is 9.40 am on Sunday here, and what a nice day it looks outside.

    4. The RO-Cat*

      Romania (Europe), summer time (GMT+2, if I’m not mistaken, I think almost all of Europe switches simultaneously). As I write this it’s 12:50 here.

      1. Jen RO*

        And the US switches 2-3 weeks after us (I think), which messes up all our meetings with the boss who is in NY :P

    5. Onymouse*

      Being pedantic, but this has bitten me before – most of us are on Daylight Time – PDT, EDT, etc, not standard time. Most of the time people know what you’re talking about, but the whole world doesn’t switch to daylight time on the same date. so there are weird intermediate periods to be mindful of.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        I was just trying to remember whether DST is “on” or “off” during the summer. I can never keep that straight. Thank goodness for “spring forward, fall back.”

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, I think it hit the 70s this week- whoopee. Nights are still cold enough to kick on the furnace. I think I own an oil well somewhere.

    6. Mephyle*

      I am from Canada (S. Ont.) and I live in Mexico City in the Central Time Zone. We are currently on daylight saving time (or summer time as it’s called here) but we don’t enter and leave it on the same dates as U.S. and Canada.

    7. Jessica (the celt)*

      I’m from the U.S. and I’m in the Central Time zone as well. This is an interesting question, because I don’t think anyone’s asked it before but it is pretty basic for so many of us!

  15. Shell*

    My cousin found me a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist vol 27 in the specific language edition (traditional Chinese) I want. Bonus points for her: that edition only printed once around 2 years ago, and it’s sold out everywhere. The vendors that sell it online sell it with the rest of the volumes as a set, and not as a single volume. It’s the one volume I need to finish my collection and I’ve been missing it for the last two years.

    She, miracle worker that she is, got me a brand new copy still in its shrinkwrap! I am over the moon :D

    On another note, I reviewed my job application that I sent in on Thursday night and I noticed a typo. Not a glaring one…just a slight inconsistency of how I listed the date on things in my resume. But even though it may not be as obvious as a spelling error, it does not make me feel good. :(

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      WOOT! If this were my husband, he would be afraid to actually take it out of the package.

      1. Shell*

        My cousin offered to mail it to me (this happened in Taiwan, which is why I haven’t been able to look for it myself–I don’t know the online Taiwanese vendors like she does). My response was “Noooooooo, I don’t know WHAT I’d do if the post office lost it!!”

        It’s coming back to me in my parents’ carry-on luggage the next time they go back. Even if I have to wait another six months for it.

        Yes, I’m totally paranoid about it. XD

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      Hopefully the people reviewing your application won’t notice it and focus more on what you accomplished in the job. That is after all what’s important.

    3. Sascha*

      Congrats! That is awesome! Fullmetal Alchemist is one of my very favorite animes (Brotherhood version). I haven’t read the manga but I would like to one day. Project A-kon is coming up, maybe I can score some!

  16. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Will those of you mourning TWOP tell us more about what it meant to you and why it was so great? I only vaguely know it as a place with snarky show recaps, but it sounds like it was much more.

    1. Prickly Pear*

      Honestly, there were lots of shows that I followed, but it was never about that- it was more like, there were people that watched TV the way I did, with a highly critical eye. My nickname as a kid was Spock, because I was always declaring something illogical. TWoP let me know that it was okay to care the way I did about TV. Kinda like how your site lets me know that other people freak out about their job the way I do!

      1. Felicia*

        Pretty much that! I watch a lot of TV, but I like to analyze TV shows and dissect them to death which most people find weird, and then on TWOP I found other people who did the same! Some of them even came up with the same theories as me (and I thought I was the only one to have that many theories!)

    2. Al Lo*

      Yes, a lot of what Prickly Pear said. It taught me to analyze media in a different way, and the recappers loved the shows enough to hold them to exacting standards. AB Chao’s recaps of Everwood and Couch Baron’s recaps of Veronica Mars remain some of my favorite reading to this day, and even more recent shows, like Once Upon a Time, were dissected in long form by talented writers who loved the characters and stories, and who cared deeply that the writers and producers lived up to the potential in all these great shows (and had fun critiquing some not-so-great shows).

      Beyond that, the forums were insightful, grammatically correct, and expansive. The analysis of the shows carried through the commenters and community, and again, greatly impacted the way I consume media.

      And, for me, I have a great group of friends I met on TWOP about 8 years ago. We’ve seen each other through relationship, jobs, weddings, kids; we’ve slept on each other’s couches; we’ve met each other’s families and spouses… We’ve become much more than just “internet friends”. We’ve moved on to others discussion forums now, but it’s still bittersweet to lose the place with so many memories, and thankfully one of our number archived our entire Meet Market for posterity.

    3. Nina*

      For me, it was the variety. I only read the recaps occasionally, so I can’t speak on those. However, every type of show had a forum on TWOP. I could be discussing Orphan Black and then go a forum on House Hunters International. A lot of pop culture websites tend to stick with a genre, so TWOP was a godsend. Same with film; so many forums (Race relations, gender politics, actors who wouldn’t last long in the industry, movies you love to hate, etc) It was so expansive and very easy to waste time there.

    4. Stephanie*

      I came across it when it was still Mighty Big Television. It was the first place I encountered snarky humor and I dug it. The forums were generally intelligent and grammatically correct. I liked that the recappers watched shows with the same critical eye I did and were willing to point out inconsistencies in even critically acclaimed shows.

      I wasn’t too deep into the forums, but they could get interesting especially if there was a debate about an episode. I remember the forum exploded for the “Where’s My Dog?” recap for Six Feet Under (where David gets kidnapped) and the debate about whether it was terrible or amazing was fascinating.

    5. Harper*

      For me (before it totally lost it’s allure due to over-moderation and moderators on power-trips), it was having a place to go and REALLY discuss tv shows in sometimes a very deep manner. That’s kind of hard to find for me IRL when most people either don’t want the shows I do or think of TV of something beneath discussion.

      You could wind up talking about everything from what makes storytelling effective to social issues in our society. I just found that really unique. And then there was the time Alan Sorkin jumped into the forums to tell us why everything he’s ever written is perfection when we weren’t seeing it … Good times!

      1. Al Lo*

        The difference between Aaron Sorkin’s reaction to TWOP and Greg Berlanti’s (of Everwood) is one of my favorite contrasts. I know there are others who interacted, but those are the two that stick out to me. Sorkin wrote a while episode on the evils of internet commenters; Berlanti interacted with his show’s recapper and eventually was a key contact for get finding other writing work.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      I discovered it in 2005 when I was desolate about the end of Six Feet Under, my favorite show of all time. I still miss it (although it did have, without question (IMO), the best series finale ever).

      I just loved having someplace to talk with people about TV shows, characters, storylines, and so on in great detail, because I don’t have many people IRL that are as into certain shows as I am. Even 10 years later, we were still picking apart episodes of Sex and the City, for instance, and poking fun at some of Carrie’s ridiculous get-ups.

      I also loved how the discussion would naturally lead to discussions of bigger issues, although recently, the moderators would smack you down for going too far afield with that, and would edit your comments.

      To any fellow TWOP-ers who have not yet heard of, check it out. It’s a pretty cool site. Their home page is down today while they’re migrating to some new servers, but the forums are available and you can check them out.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I’m at but I really hate the multi-thread format in the forums. It’s one thing when it’s for each new episode, but then you have threads for each character and quotes you like and on and on. I just liked having one thread where you could discuss everything.

    7. Onymouse*

      I haven’t been on it recently, but I used to love their recaps, even after I watched the episode. I loved the humor. It’s a shame they’re going away.

    8. fposte*

      I went off it after the Bravo purchase, but loved it for years starting with Mighty Big TV.

      It was like the biggest office watercooler in the world meets decent artistic criticism; sort of a graduate program going out for coffee to talk about television. And the recaps were generally so amazingly vibrant, witty, and idiosyncratic that they often outshone the show they were recapping. My television review favorite has long been the Clive James (Australian-born reviewer of British television), and it had some of the same blend of dedication and irreverence.

      BTW, if anybody wants to trawl through British television criticism of the 1970s-1980s, Clive James has made most of his essays freely available on the web. There are a lot of American shows discussed as well, since many of them were imported to the UK.

      Here’s Clive James on Star Trek classic:

      Alas, not included is the essay where he talks about the show Dallas, noting that JR’s hatband is made of crushed budgerigars and referring to Lucy as a “neckless sex grenade half as high as everybody else.”

      1. en pointe*

        Oh, my mother loves Clive James. He’s very ill now, sadly. Can’t come back to Australia anymore because it’s too far. But he did actually just say that he’s adamant about holding on for season four of Game of Thrones. Champ.

    9. Lore*

      It also launched the writing careers of a number of internet cultural commentators whose work I continue to follow: Sarah Bunting from Tomato Nation, Linda Holmes from NPR’s Monkey See blog, Heather and Jessica from Go Fug Yourself, Jacob Clifton, who’s now at Gawker (I think), and I’m probably forgetting six or seven of them.

    10. Cruciatus*

      Everyone has pretty much said it all already–as a TV lover, it was a place where I didn’t feel weird about quoting Golden Girls episodes ad nauseum or wondering why Dorothy and Stan, who divorced after 38 years of marriage, didn’t have a child anywhere near that age despite her getting pregnant as the impetus for getting married! If something crazy/wonderful/terrible happened on a show, I sometimes couldn’t wait to get to TWoP to discuss it. One instance I remember was the infamous Rosie/Elisabeth “fight” on The View. The forums blew up that day! I just felt “at home” on that site, I guess. I know other people don’t get it (sister, friends) but I suppose they didn’t need to. Damn you, NBC Universal!

  17. Nina*

    Does anyone know good methods for staying motivated? I’ve been in a slump for a year now because of job craziness, and I can’t seem to stick to any kind of fitness plan. It’s troubling because I’ve tried several programs and lose interest after a few weeks. Same with eating healthy. I’ll do it for a few weeks, and just lapse. It’s impossible to make any progress.

    1. Prickly Pear*

      I managed to undo three years of good changes in one single year of suck, and while I’m so sad about it, I can’t seem to find the energy to start rolling up that hill again.

    2. nep*

      What makes you lapse on the healthy eating? As for fitness — what kind of physical activity / workout do you enjoy? Have you tried a personal trainer? Of course this is not something everyone can afford, but just putting it out there…I’ve seen people who work with (very cool, motivating) PTs at the local Y and they say it really helps them keep accountable and consistent with their fitness regimen if they’ve got regular appointments with a trainer.

    3. Graciosa*

      For me, the challenge with maintaining healthy eating is my habit of telling myself I “deserve” something that’s not the best choice. I’ve heard of people who manage this with designated cheat days or allowing themselves a limited number of treats, but I seem to be a little too rebellious for this.

      And yes, I know I should be telling myself I “deserve” to fit into smaller jeans more than I deserve tiramasu for dessert, but I’m not always up to that level of discipline.

      “Stressed” spelled backwards equals “desserts.”

      1. nep*

        I get that.
        For me it’s I deserve to feel fantastic all the time — and this is what clean eating does for me. Seriously the transformation is mind-blowing.

      2. Anon*

        Oooh, I do that. If you’re probably going to eat dessert every day, make it a part of your diet. Plan on it. Don’t set yourself up for frustration.

        Also, think about whether you’ll actually enjoy eating the whole serving of whatever it is.

        The first few bites of cheesecake are great, but then I only eat the rest because it’s there. Most desserts are like this. They’re the ones to split with somebody or find a small serving of.

        Then when you have a chance to love every bite of something, like tiramisu, get it! Enjoy it.

    4. Student*

      Give yourself permission to prioritize other things than how you look. If you have a serious health concern that you need to stay on top of, then perhaps you should give yourself permission to scale back instead of dropping it altogether. Settle for a walk around the block instead of a 1-mile run. Sometimes other things just take priority, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Sounds like you’ve got other, more important things to worry about, and that is okay.

    5. C Average*

      Having some kind of partner always helps me when I’m feeling unmotivated. It has to be the RIGHT partner. If they’re too rah-rah, it annoys me, and if they’re not motivated enough, it drags me down. But the person who’s consistently around to make the right kind of encouraging noises at the right time and to sometimes suffer alongside me can really make a difference.

      A side note: Make sure you’re getting enough iron, even if it’s from a supplement. Low iron levels can feel EXACTLY like lack of motivation.

      1. Editor*

        Also, have your vitamin D levels checked. My doctor has started screening fr this. Mine turned out to be very, very low and I felt unmotivated and depressed. I was also grieving and hibernating in the house, but getting the vitamin D levels under control has really helped.

        1. Nina*

          I do have low Vit D levels, and I keep forgetting to take the supplements for them. Granted, I didn’t notice any difference in behavior when I was taking them, but I still need to.

    6. Julie*

      For me its twofold.

      1) I have to give myself permission to make it about me. I try to say things like “Oh I have to get home to the dog or the husband” when really it’s about 40 minutes total in extra time away. My husband would probably be in the bathroom cleaning up from his exercise for half of that.

      2) I need constant rewards. The reward of just looking good isn’t enough when my body hurts or I want ice cream. I set up mini-goals with big goals for each month of completion. Month 1’s big goal might be a massage and to get that goal I have to complete 4 weeks of training.

      Then I break it down. Week 1’s goal would be 3 days at the gym to get back in business with 5 new songs for my mp3 player as a reward. Week 2 will require me to break out of my comfort zone and do a class plus those 3 days and I can get a new top from Target.

      Once I finish week 4 I usually have about a routine going. Then I set a bigger goal for month 2, something like a new article of clothing from Nordstrom or a day out. Keeping exercise as something positive that only requires participation and effort, not starving myself or wearing myself out, really keeps me focusing on my real goal which is overall health.

      I’m telling all of this to you since it’s time for me to do that right now. The #1 reason I stop working out is extra stress so you might also look at what your trigger is. I’ve addressed my stress trigger so I’m ready again. Just do it.

    7. A Cita*

      I read this in a blog and found it really helpful. On days when I don’t feel like running (you can insert going to the gym or whatever else you might do), I put on my shoes and make an agreement with myself that I’ll only run to the end of the block. If I don’t like it after that, I can go back home.

      I’ve never gone back home.

      If it’s the gym, you can do the same thing: if you walk to the gym, tell yourself you’ll walk halfway there and give yourself permission to go back home if you want at the halfway mark. If you drive to the gym, say you’ll walk from parking lot to front door and give yourself permission to turn around and go home if you still feel like it.

      A huge part of feeling motivated is just getting out the door.

  18. Sarah*

    Any tips for making friends in a new city in your mid twenties? I just moved across the country and I’m having a little bit of a hard time. I’ve joined a rec volleyball league which is how I made all my friends in DC, am doing a running club, and am looking into volunteer oops but I’m at a bit of a loss for what else to do.

    1. Yogi Josephina*

      This is probably going to be super depressing to hear, but honestly? Don’t expect to have any real, true, close friends until a year after you’ve moved. :-/ I did the same thing almost exactly a year ago and ONLY NOW am I starting to really feel like I have FRIENDS. I was very active this first year, constantly asking people to hang out, joining groups and activities, clubs, etc. And that’s all SUPER important, but it won’t be until around the 1 year mark where you start feeling super settled in and when actual real friends who you feel a true intimacy with start to emerge from the woodwork. It just takes time and patience. It sucks in the meantime, I know. Just keep pushing through. You will get there.

      Where are you living, BTW? It seems like you came to the west coast. That’s where I came too (the PNW from NYC). People in this area are kind of hesitant to open up. All my close friends now are actually other out-of-towners! LOL.

      Good luck. It will happen for you.

    2. Stephanie*

      On the off chance you’re in Phoenix, I’ll meet you for a drink or something!

      I agree with Yogi Josephina that you may need to find the other transplants. Some cities have a lot more lifers/long-time residents than others. DC was great (although there was an awkward lonely adjustment period there as well) since there were a lot of transplants and people fresh out of college or grad school. Phoenix, on the other hand, I find a lot more insular. Most of the state population is here (as well as the biggest university), so I kept running into people who already had established friend groups or all their family here. It felt like I almost needed an “in” to meet people past an acquaintance level.

      My best suggestion would be to keep trying different things that put you in regular contact with the same folks. Hopefully something sticks!

      1. C Average*

        My sister lives in Phoenix and has made a lot of friends through cycling. She’s joined a community cycling group, she volunteers a lot for cycling-related activities, and she’s become a bit of a community activist about bike lanes and such. She’s made a whole group of really great friends that way.

        1. Stephanie*

          Oooh, good idea! I just got a bike a few months ago (I don’t know why I didn’t bike when I lived in DC…) and have been looking for new routes. Thanks for the suggestion!

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Because bikes in DC mean death. I don’t know a single person who regularly bikes places in the city that HASN’T gotten hit by a car. I like the idea, but I just value my life too much!

    3. Kai*

      It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. If you’re a naturally social person, joining organizations and getting the know the people in them is probably the best way. But I agree with the above poster that it can take a while. At least you’re getting involved with things–being busy helps a LOT when you don’t know anyone.

      When I moved to Chicago all by my lonesome, it was getting to know coworkers and hanging out with my roommate and her friends that helped me create my own circle of friends.

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        This! I went to a school in Idaho, which had 800 students when I attended, and live across the county, and am perpetually shocked at how many alums live in my general area. And if you start a chapter, more may come out of the woodwork!

    4. Sarah*

      Thanks so much for the tips/encouragement everyone. I moved to Denver from the East Coast. I’m glad I did it- I love it here. I think I’m just being a liiiiittle impatient.

    5. Calla*

      Agreed with the others it will take a while. Clubs like that are a good idea. Two things I also did are:

      – Ask your existing friends! When I moved across the country, a friend introduced me to a friend she had in the same city. Which led to meeting *her* friends.

      – Think of it like dating! OKCupid can actually be used to meet people as friends. Believe it or not, Craigslist also has a “platonic” personals section and I actually met someone who is now a good friend there. This method is very hit or miss — I went on a number of super awkward “friend dates” — but if you’re just looking for other things to try, it can work!

      1. C Average*

        When I was new to Portland about 11 years ago, I made a whole circle of friends on Craigslist. I’m pretty outdoorsy and was even more so then, so I would often scan the Activity Partners section for people to run, kayak, and climb with. I also joined a writing group and a clothing exchange group I found on Craigslist. I’m still friends with some of the people I met that way! I know Craigslist doesn’t have a great reputation, but I’ve only ever had good experiences with it.

        In fact, it’s indirectly responsible for me having met my husband. I accepted a Craigslist invite to a marathon training group, and in the marathon training group I met a guy who belonged to a local running club. I joined the running club and met my now-husband there.

      2. Stephanie*

        I agree on Craigslist! I got some weirdos emailing me and a couple of awkward friend “dates”, but I met a couple of really cool people who I’m still in touch with via the platonic personals.

    6. Jubilance*

      Meetup groups! I run a Meetup group in the Twin Cities specifically to help new transplants find friends. I went through my own struggles of moving to a city and having no friends, so I understand how hard it can be.

      Join some groups – there’s a group for every type of interest out there. And don’t be worried or nervous about going, I hear that sometimes from new people. Best of luck!

    7. Kara Ayako*

      If you’re a reader, I would recommend MWF Seeks BFF by Rachel Bertsche. I moved across the country (for work) and realized that I ONLY had work friends. This was terribly depressing. The book is about a woman in the exact same situation and is her journey to find friends. She tries all kinds of things. The book made me realize that lots of people are in this boat when they move (that it wasn’t just me) and it even gave me ideas to try out.

  19. Stephanie*

    Venting here. As I mentioned before, I’m living with my family while I job hunt. I am really starting to go nuts.

    My mom keeps asking what my “plan” is. I keep saying “Keep job hunting? Job hunts take a long time nowadays, really” to no avail.

    My dad just retired Thursday. My mom works remotely and he is home during the day now, so someone is always home. Prior to moving back home, I lived in a studio alone and then had a roommate who was always traveling. It is definitely an adjustment. My dad also keeps complaining/joking about being on a “fixed income.” He has a pension in addition to 401(k)s (and my parents own our house outright). I sometimes want to yell “Gah! Your annual pension distribution alone is more than the annual salary of most well-paying entry-level jobs! And you got offers for other jobs! Take one of those if money is a real concern!”

    My younger sister’s autistic (moderate, but she’s verbal). Her behavior’s gotten a lot worse the last few months. Unsure why. I was on the phone with a friend recently and she kept hitting and grabbing at me. Granted, he understands (and his sister has Aspergers), but it still is tough being like “Ya, ignore the screaming in the background. How’s work going?”

    The dog isn’t bugging me at the moment, however.

    I find myself just leaving the house with no real purpose to get alone time. The other day, I just drove an hour into the mountains to clear my head (what summer gas prices?).

    Any angel investors want to invest in the “Pound the Pavement” job seeker halfway house?

    Anyway, it felt good to get that off my chest.

    1. Nina*

      Oh, I know that pain. When I moved back home to commute to school, it was hell. My mother is mostly retired (I can’t see her going back to work) and she and my brother drove me crazy. When you move away from home and develop your own rhythms and behavior, reverting back to your old habits just feels odd. Everything bothered me, and apparently I was a nightmare to be around. Eventually things settled down, but I am looking forward to the day I can move out. I’ve deliberately left the house just to get some alone time, too. I love my family dearly, but sometimes I just have to get away.

      Keep your head up! Sending hugs your way. :)

      1. Stephanie*

        I am all about the library. The regional one is really nice, actually. If only the wifi was better…

        1. Trixie*

          I avoid coffee shops because that can be an expensive habit, but have come to appreciate nursing a $1 large tea at McD’s with free refills. We’re lucky to have access to such great libraries but sometimes its just too quiet.

    2. nep*

      I hear you. That is tough. Bon courage and I hope you’ll find some peace there.
      Great that you’ve got the mountains to go to as a refuge — but yes, expensive these days.
      Local library appeal to you, as a place to study, job search, read, and just get away? I find it’s a nice break.
      What’s your space like in the home? Have you got some areas you can call ‘your own’ and get away from it all (to the extent that’s possible while living with family members)?
      Best of luck.

      1. Stephanie*

        Own space, not really. I’m in the converted guest room at the moment (half the clothing in the closet and dresser isn’t even mine).

        Library is good!

    3. Felicia*

      I am in a similar situation (we have similar moms!) And I too leave the house with no purpose to get alone time. I have found spending hours in the library reading books makes me feel better! I’ve also been known to wander malls, just to get away.

    4. Prickly Pear*

      I so understand the feeling of never. being. alone! that living with retired parents can bring. Both of my parents ended up retiring on disability (with two different illnesses, both with their own sets of issues) and my dad’s mobility issues leave to situations where they don’t leave the house for days at a time. I live with them to help them out, along with my sister- but since someone is always here, I get to points where I want to run and scream for alone time. I’d be perfectly content living alone, but their health won’t get better from here, and I’d be super selfish if I basically ‘abandoned’ them.

    5. Dang*

      Stephanie, I’m reading your posts today and wondering if we are living parallel lives. It’s SPOOKY! I had the overdrawn bank account issue recently, and I’m also living with my parents (coming up on a year now…) My dad works from home and is always here. My mom works in a school and in a few weeks will be home It’s not a big house by any stretch so there will be no alone time unless I lock myself in my bedroom like a sullen teenager. Just yesterday my dad said that we should sit down and talk about money when I get a job. I asked if he meant he’d like me to contribute to the bills, which would be acceptable of course.. but no. He wants to tell me how to pay my bills. I’m 30 in four days.. I think I can figure it out, Dad. And they are so nosy and want to know EVERYTHING. This has only gotten worse since my car died and I have to borrow theirs to go anywhere.

      It’s tough to draw boundaries when you’re under the same roof.

      I’d totally live in your halfway house. Let’s make this happen!

    6. In Da Cube*

      I sympathize! I work full time, but I don’t make enough to live on my own. I’m very grateful to my parents for their understanding and for letting me live at home, but I’m never by myself! And as an introvert, it just makes me want to scream sometimes. At work my desk is in an open area with the rest of my department, so I’m surrounded by chatty coworkers all day. At home, my parents are always there. My dad is retired and my mom works part time. They never go out in the evenings. Little things that shouldn’t bother me get on my nerves and it seems to be getting worse.

      Good luck on the job search. I know how frustrating it is.

    7. C Average*

      This sounds excruciating. I am so sorry you’re having to live this way, and I hope things improve for you soon.

      What kind of work are you looking for? I ask because my company does some business near Phoenix (Tempe), my sister lives in Phoenix, and I have a few miscellaneous connections there, and I’d be happy to keep my ears open for you.

      1. Stephanie*

        Mechanical engineering/mechanical engineering-related leads. Also interested in manufacturing engineering or process improvement.

        I admittedly have a slightly nontraditional background (this week’s earlier post about the ME wanting to take a year off hit home). I worked a couple of roles in IP post-college, but found I hated it. No interest in straight IP work anymore (please don’t make me read claim language), but I’d be ok if it was a minor part of a job or was used in a tangential way (such as doing market landscape studies or background research). When I was a patent examiner, I reviewed applications in heavy machinery, so I’m very good at reading machinery blueprints and understanding processes from written descriptions. I’ve also got a lot of volunteer experience with high school robotics teams–I was a volunteer coach for a team out here and one in DC.

        Just aside from the crappy market, my issue’s been that there’s not much hiring in engineering outside college hire or specific experienced.

        Thanks for the offer of help! Btw, open to relocation (not that tied to Phoenix as my family moved out here not too long ago).

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          When I moved back in with my parents after I left uni (I dropped out) and 2 years ago I had some major refurb going on in my flat so I moved back again, with my then boyfriend with my dad and his now wife, I found it incredibly difficult because I was so used to having my own space, being able to do what I want and answer to nobody. But it was all teenage-ry all over again with “are you back for dinner?” etc. I feel your pain and I really hope that things start to look up for you soon, Stephanie – they are bound to at some point.

        2. Tex*

          Houston…every company is looking for engineers over here, especially ones with some/ mid level experience. (They have entry level and senior level covered.) Even if you don’t have direct energy experience to work for the oil majors, there are so many other opportunities in supporting vendor manufacturing companies.

        3. C Average*

          Oh, man. What an interesting background you have! Unfortunately it doesn’t cross over much at all with my sister’s and my work (she’s an archivist for Arizona, I’m an html copywriter for a sportswear brand), so I don’t have much to offer beyond my sympathy with your situation.

          If Portland ever makes your short list of places to go and if Intel would be of any interest as a potential employer, we should chat. My better half works there and they employ a ton of engineers of various kinds in various roles.

          (And if you do want to make some cycling friends where you are, check out Phoenix Spokes People. They’re a great bunch. I ride with them whenever I’m in town.)

          1. Stephanie*

            Hey! Sure both Portland/Intel sound of interest. I went to Portland once back in college and enjoyed it. I even saw a sun break while I was there. :)

            Just so we don’t threadjack too much, feel to reach out via email (stephanie dot m dot jennings at gmail dot com) or the LinkedIn Group (my last name is Jennings).

        4. K.FL*

          Would this be of interest? This is the most entry-level (less than 5 years/not industry specific) position we have for engineering:
          The Engineering Planner is accountable for the timing and status of the projects as well as building schedule templates and structure.
          Must have a minimum of three (3) years of Project Management or Engineering experience.
          Document the project milestones and deliverables of the project
          Accountable to the Engineering team to provide visibility of due dates and milestones
          Prepare and run the meetings as needed to support the project
          Oversight with outside vendors schedules
          Prepare status reports for reviews with the Engineering Manager and Supervisors

          1. Stephanie*

            Potentially sounds interesting. Could you contact me (listed above in my reply to C Average) via LinkedIn or email and we can talk further? Thanks!

    8. Stephanie*

      *Pound the Pavement halfway house and coffee house (pun is lost otherwise) with free, strong wifi.

      Thanks everyone for all the encouragement and commiseration. I really do get along with my family for the most part, it is just a tough situation at the moment.

      1. Trixie*

        A thought for PT income is paid tutoring through local schools. A couple friends who are teachers (public and private) who both teach make extra money for this, pays like $35-45/hour. No idea how this varies across the country but if you know any teachers in your area worth asking about.

        Another thought that provides some space and time away from house it pet/house sitting. I started with one friend, than another and another, all referrals. People pay a lot to kennel their pets and often would pay the same or similar to keep them at home.

  20. Stephanie*

    Oh, another post. (Indulge me. :) )

    Tips for remedying insomnia? I will get really tired, get into bed, and then be unable to fall asleep for a long time. I will feel tired, but not be able to drift off.

    Not on any medications (save for B12 and D vitamins, but I take those in the morning). I cut off my caffeine after noon. I also keep electronics out my room and keep from doing any work in my room.

    I’m guessing it might be anxiety related? Suggestions?

    1. Luxe in Canada*

      Fellow un(der)employed here. I also get anxiety insomnia. Here is what helps me: melatonin tablets (which often are intended to be dissolved under the tongue, not swallowed), meditation, sleep hygiene (don’t use the bedroom for anything but sleeping, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, try to get some outdoor sunshine every morning). Other options include chamomile or other herbal tea, bath before bed, or increasing your magnesium intake, but I don’t find these techniques help me as much as other people claim. I find exercising regularly helps, but it really depends on what kind and when — swimming in the afternoon will make me nap for hours but swimming at night winds me up. Scent therapy can help, I like verbena and vanilla before bed, and some people swear by lavender.

    2. nep*

      Do you wear a sleep mask? Even if anxiety is the cause, this could help. I find I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly with an eye mask, even though my room is already quite dark.
      An obvious one — but good to avoid eating something substantial within a couple hours of going to bed, too. I’ve got a much tougher time falling asleep if I’ve eaten late.
      (Do you tend to stay asleep once you drift off?)
      Best of luck with this.

      1. Stephanie*

        Hmm, no. I’ll give a sleep mask a try.

        Usually, once I drift off, I’m out. Last night was an unfortunate exception. I woke up after four hours of sleep and can’t get back to sleep.

        I may try some climate related things, too. My room is one of the hotter ones in the house, so I’ll try sleeping with the fan on. I also wake up with dry lips and hands, so maybe a humidifier will help.

        1. nep*

          Interesting you mention a fan — even when it’s not too hot, I turn it on as I seem to sleep more soundly with it. Something about the steady hum of a fan; it blocks out other noise that might wake me up.

          1. Cautionary tail*

            I implore you to be careful with fans. In South Korea, just having a fan turned on is known to kill people! They are vicious I tell you.


    3. BRR*

      Do you feel anxious? Towards the end of my unemployment time (I didn’t know it was close to the end, just that it had been awhile), I was sleeping horribly because of the anxiety, couldn’t fall asleep and up early. I also suggest melatonin (trader joe’s has it cheap) and exercise. Have you tried yoga? There might be videos on youtube or netflix.

    4. Dang*

      Melatonin, yes! If you find that problems staying asleep becomes a a pattern, there’s also an extended release version. Although I can’t speak to how long it takes to wear off (I’d be paranoid about having trouble waking up in the morning). Also trying to stick to a schedule is so tough but really works. I’ve been staying up all hours lately, and then when I get in bed I can’t sleep.. because I sleep until the darn cows come home.

      1. BRR*

        ooh set schedule yes!

        When I was out of work I made sure to set an alarm during the week, to stay in shape.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      B 12 will keep you awake if you do not need it. Sleep becomes impossible.

      Try moving the B 12 to every other day. See how that goes.

      1. Stephanie*

        I’ve got pernicious anemia, so I need to take it somewhat regularly (or eat mass quantities of red meat?). But I very well may be overdoing it, so I’ll give that a shot.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah- I remember the first time I took B12.
          I felt like a human being for the first time ever.

          As time went on, I got used to it.

          Then, I started not being able to sleep. After a bit I barely slept at all.

          I had waaay too much B12 going on.

          You may have shifted- you may be needed something else now. I know once I got up to speed with one nutrient another shortage would come to the foreground. I hope you are using blood work or kinesiology or something to assist you in determining your dosage.

          If you go into a rapid heart beat, please stop taking it even if it just for a little bit. People end up in the ER thinking they are having a heart attack. Nooo, it’s too much Vit. B.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I get into bed kind of early and then read for a while. It always makes me go to sleep. But I have to try not to read anything too exciting or cliff-hanging, because then I just stay up!

      1. Jessica (the celt)*

        This and the melatonin. I also wear earplugs, which sounds weird. I realized that if I couldn’t hear things to startle my mind (even little, normal sounds that I would otherwise ignore), my mind would drift along a bit before settling down to think about what I’d read (nothing exciting, as Elizabeth says) and then it would allow me to drift off a bit more. I take the melatonin before settling in to read a bit. I go to bed an hour earlier than I want to be asleep, so I read for about a half-hour, kind of drift around for about 20 minutes or so, and then I usually can get to sleep. There are a few odd days in a row here or there where nothing works, but those are always stress-related and I’m just getting used to it happening every so often.

  21. nep*

    Alison — I like this approach of Friday work-related open thread, Sunday free-for-all open thread.

    1. Mallory*

      Me too, because it makes it much easier to take advantage of the particular value of each thread when they’re separated out like this.

      Love it!

  22. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

    Television please. I’m a big tv geek.

    I’m a marathoner, mostly. I’ve given up on almost all television-as-it-is-aired, years ago, because I got tired of getting the rug ripped from underneath me. The best formula to get a show cancelled was for me to get invested in it.

    I did pick up some shows this year: The Good Wife (which I have always watched live/current DVR or on Demand), Scandal (which I Netflixed or Hulu’d and then *had* to watch current season live) and Blacklist (because, Spader).

    Usually, I prefer to watch whole series or at least whole seasons. Haven’t done the last season of Breaking Bad yet. Breaking Bad requires full concentration and a head space to be immersed in that world, ’cause I do love the whole “immersion” thing that happens with marathoning.

    Currently marathoning Big Love, nearly finished. Surprisingly challenging material! I’d watched the first season when it first aired and liked the show, but I thought it was much more soap opera-y than it turned out to be.

    What are you watching?

    1. Nutcase*

      I just finished my marathon catching up with The Good Wife, and catching up with Game of Thrones (I was convinced I’d hate it because I thought it was probably an overrated pop culture thing – but I’m hooked!). All of my shows seem to have ended for now so I’m binge watching Suits and its pretty good.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

        The Good Wife is one of the few shows that I managed to not kill with my love it. Watched it from the beginning. I recently re-watched it on Amazon (I think?) also.

        There are so many, many great thing about it – Alicia’s growth and development is arguably my favorite. Favorite character: Eli Gold. :)

        GoT true story: I recently marathoned everything to catch up to date, which, is a lot of immersion in a violent world. I’d just finished the marathon when we took a group of my son’s friends out to dinner for his birthday. Sort of mid-evil themed, cavernous restaurant with big round tables and set up not unlike I don’t know, a wedding. Server comes to the table with large loaves of bread, each with a knife stabbed in the middle of it.

        I absolutely jumped. O.o

        1. saro*

          Hahahah, Game of Thrones has frightened us all. I didn’t think they would have been able to pull that scene off as well as they did.

          I’m going to put the The Good Wife on my list as a result of this thread. My husband and I were watching Walking Dead but it’s so gory. I have an overactive imagination as it is.

        2. Nutcase*

          I know what you mean about getting immersed in these worlds! As sad as it sounds whenever I’m in an awkward situation at work I try to imagine how Alicia or Diane would react because they’re so badass, and in my mind they’re absolutely as real as any of my coworkers.

        3. Sophia*

          Good Wife hasn’t been the same recently (those up on the current season know what I’m talking about!) :(

    2. Stephanie*

      Oh Scandal. wtf happened this season? And looks like Harrison is gone since Columbus Short is having personal and legal problems. Harrison, we hardly knew ye. I’ll miss you and your power clashing attire. (Seriously, that character got no character development aside from sleeping with a woman every once in a while.)

      I’ve recently been watching Nurse Jackie, Veep, and Mad Men. I finished my rewatch of the Sopranos (brought on by James Gandolfini’s death last summer). My mom just started watching The Wire on Amazon Prime, so I’ll watch an episode periodically with her (I’ve seen the whole series).

      I’m also very excited for the return of Orange is the New Black.

      My “throwaway” show is House Hunters. It is brainless, but endlessly entertaining.

      1. Traveler*

        I’m not sure any character besides Pope gets thorough enough development and I am bored with Quinn’s story – it was boring and predictable (and ended as I imagined it would last season).

        I am super glad that Pope flew off into the sunset with the person I was rooting for, but I am sure it won’t last.

        1. Stephanie*

          Ugh, Quinn. I’ve never rooted so hard for a character to die. The writers seemed like they had no clue what they wanted to do with her.

          Mellie had some character development, as did Cyrus and Huck. Fitz is horribly written–why do all these smart, interesting, powerful, attractive women like this dude? He’s a whiny bore. Also, why do Olivia and Cyrus fight so hard for him to be president? Dude doesn’t even seem like he wants the job most of the time.

          I’ve accepted this show is just a modern-day, prime time version of my grandmother’s stories.

          1. Traveler*

            Yes. I have zero idea why all these women want Fitz so much. Mellie and Olivia both need to find someone else. True Mellie’s story has gotten better in the last year, where they’ve made her more relatable. Huck’s story has been pretty thorough but I also never know how to feel about him – maybe that’s the point? Cyrus just depresses me. Agreed about the prime time soap opera. I still watch it as a guilty pleasure though.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              Seconded and thirded on Millie. I really didn’t like her at all, and then they told us about and I just 180’d right around. I think her story was a strange island in Scandal, where everything is crazy and (literally) unbelievable and then her character became, to me, the most honestly normal and understandable progression of a character. Like, everything she’s ever done makes 100% sense now, and it’s a bit chilling.

    3. Felicia*

      Orphan Black is my favourite current show , if you haven’t tried that! I’m also really excited for the next season of Orange is the New Black. The current season of Shameless (US) ended not long ago, and I love that too.

      1. Elkay*

        I’m also very excited for Orange is the New Black but not sure when I’ll be able to watch it as my DVR is filling up and I need to clear it down before my holiday.

      2. Nina*

        I love Orphan Black, but I’m not in love with this season. I think they have too much plot going on, and all the clones are separated. I’m still a fan, but I hope they tune it down next year.

    4. JamieG*

      I’ve been big into Agents of SHIELD lately. At first it was just okay, but it ramped up pretty hard towards the end of the season. Really, it reminds me of why I hate watching shows as they air; I want the next three seasons right now.

      I’ve started watching Once Upon a Time via Netflix, and I like it. I wish I could marathon it, but I’m watching it with my husband and he considers two episodes in one day to be a huge deal, so that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

      1. Nina*

        Agents of SHIELD really improved after the Capt. America movie came out. They were finally able to ramp up the action and make the characters interesting. It was definitely a gamble (what if the movie hadn’t been successful?) but to their credit, it paid off.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          The thing that gets me about Agents of Shield is that they obviously knew about that big twist from the very start, since they had to structure the entire season about the Thor and Captain America movies. Just made it all the better!

          Also, I imagine that was weird because I think that’s the first time (at least that I know of) where a TV show has a major spoiler for a movie, and vice versa. Same twist, but you can only learn about it for the first time once!

      2. Felicia*

        I currently love Once Upon a Time, but it got really bad around mid season 2. That’s when a lot of people gave up on it. So if you get to mid season 2, just know that it does get way way better!

      1. the gold digger*


        Doc Martin
        Call the Midwife, as Elizabeth mentioned
        House of Cards, if you like the politics about politics. American version is better, but British version is worth watching
        Extras, with Ricky Gervais
        The Americans
        Homeland, at least the first two seasons
        Bletchley Circle, season one
        Veronica Mara

        Man. I watch a lot of TV for someone who doesn’t have cable!

        1. the gold digger*


          Life on Mars. Cool premise. Horrible ending – hated it – but loved the rest of the show. I want someone else to watch it so I can talk about it.

          1. Nutcase*

            I had to look up what the hell was up with that ending after I watched it. I was so confused! I found an article from the guardian newspaper I think that had the creators explain it a bit but I was really disappointed too after being intrigued for the whole thing!

            1. the gold digger*

              I think I read (it’s been a while) that it was a sudden cancellation and the writers had to scramble.

              Still worth it to watch. I couldn’t get the British version, so I watched the American one. Loved the music.

    5. Cath in Canada*

      Bates Motel – we started watching it because hubby worked on the pilot and we wanted to see the motel sign he built, and we ended up totally hooked.
      Vikings – season one was only OK, but season two was excellent. I don’t know what changed, but whatever it was, it worked.

      We also watch GoT, Walking Dead etc. We joke about how everything we like seems to involve lots of blood, guts, incest, and cannibalism…

      I’ve heard good things about Penny Dreadful and Orphan Black, but I haven’t checked them out yet.

      1. Lisa*

        Bates Motel – Seriously, that kid that plays Norman needs an Emmy, everything he does is so subtle and perfectly acted.

        Vikings – Floki is awesome.

        GOT – I cheat on my BF and watch it without him, but claim I didn’t see it yet.

        Walking Dead – If they kill Daryl, I will be one of the rioters. I was over over Rick, until that last line on the mid-season finale. I love the new Rick.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      The Walking Dead
      Orange is the New Black (new season starts next week! YeaaaH!)
      –Just finished the UK version of The Office (now to watch the US version)
      Once Upon a Time
      –I just found the best show on Netflix. It’s called Derek and is written by, directed by, and stars Ricky Gervais as a sweet old-folks home employee. It’s in mockumentary style, like The Office. There’s a lot of funny stuff but it’s mostly poignant and sweet and will make you cry. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! But I absolutely love it. I think Ricky Gervais is a genius.

      Friend also recommended Call the Midwife so I’m probably going to start that soon. And I need to rewatch Sherlock :)

    7. Vancouver Reader*

      Favourite show of the year so far: Almost Human.
      Also watching:
      – The Blacklist (James Spader plays such great quirky characters)
      – Marvel: Agents of Shield (agree with JamieG about the start of it)

      I’m trying to get hubby to watch more episodes of Breaking Bad (we’re only in season 2) but he finds it so nail biting he can’t sit through more than one episode every few weeks so sometimes we both lose track of what’s been going on.

    8. Skye*

      Elementary and Hannibal both finished their second season recently, so I’ve got nothing to watch til the third season for either one starts.

    9. Katie the Fed*

      If you guys aren’t watching The Americans, you should be. The second season just wrapped up. It’s amazing – great character development, interesting and complicated plots, spying, 80s music and fashion. Trust me on this.

    10. Mints*

      I know this is not at all similar to what you said you’re watching, but Attack on Titan is SO INTENSE. It’s an anime show, which is pretty niche, but I love it so far. It’s on Netflix instant in Japanese with English subtitles, and some random channel at like midnight dubbed in English.
      It’s really epic and exciting

    11. Mephyle*

      •Freaks and Geeks (oh! since the era and geography of this show were close to mine, I went to school with every one of the characters in this show!)
      •At this point I tried Buffy, because I was the only person in the world left who hasn’t seen it, and everything else references it but I think I left it too late in life, it just didn’t draw me in. First season only
      •Jonathan Creek <3
      •Foyle’s War (thanks, gold digger Currently at S06E03)
      •Next up, maybe Veronica Mars

      As for Game of Thrones, I’m reading the books.
      •From multiple comments by the TVOP people, it looks like I’ll have to schedule Six Feet Under

      1. Mallory*

        I watched the whole entire Buffy series with my teenage daughter a while back, and it was much better with her involvement. We both got a crush on Spike.

    12. samaD*

      in no particular order, and they aren’t all currently on, but:
      Agents of SHIELD
      Inspector Morse
      Inspector Lewis
      Inspector Frost
      The Bletchley Circle
      Scott & Bailey
      Call the Midwife

      I’ve heard really good things about Warehouse 13 too

    13. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’m a bit alarmed that nobody has said Justified yet. I think that it’s the best thing currently on TV (and was even when Breaking Bad was on). I like Scandal, the Americans, and House of Cards as much as the next guy, but Justified is where it’s at (and is about to go into a mind-blowing final season, so it’s a great time to binge-watch to catch up).

      At least I presume it’s the final season. I don’t think there’s anything official yet, but I can’t imagine they can follow up after two of the main characters from Day One going into all-out battle. Pumped!

      1. KLH*

        It is the final season. They announced that a while ago. :(

        I say you need to watch The Bridge when the Season 1 DVDs come out this month, and then join me for season 2 this summer. There’s a lot that was absolutely batshit about the plot and it kind of went on and on, but then you had the surprising Matthew Lilliard, the development of the charming relationship between his character and his protege (the also excellent Emily Rios), Lyle Lovett showing up in a hat and with a three bean salad, Demian Bichir, the female crime lord(s), beautiful shots of the desert. It’s a meaty show.

  23. Traveler*

    Hey! I love to travel to Europe, and I’m planning my next European adventure for next year. This is going to be different because I don’t know anyone who lives there, and it’s not a tour. I’ll be traveling with a friend who also doesn’t know anyone there.

    Has anyone been to Poland? If so, what advice can you share? I’ve got the tour books, but I want to know about places to stay, places to see, and overall about getting around (particularly from airport to inner city – that thought freaks me out a little bit). I’m a history buff, and I know some of the sights for Cracow and its environs, but what about Warsaw?


    1. Traveler*

      There’s two of us now. Haha. I would recommend going to some of the independent travel blogger sites for this information – they tend to have really good information thats current and on the ground, that the travel guide/tour books don’t have.

      1. Traveler*

        Oh, I only made this handle just so I wouldn’t have someone putting all the points together as to who I am. It’s not good sometimes to advertise on the web where you are/might be going. I’ll remember this, and not use this handle anymore.

        And thanks!

    2. Jen RO*

      I haven’t been to Poland, but I’m curious – why are you worried about the trip from the airport?

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Oh I’m jealous! I have a ton of friends in Europe from my chat, including Poland. Someday I’ll make it over there.

      TripAdvisor has tons of threads on almost everything–I’ve found a wealth of information about UK travel there. Some of the threads are kind of old but they’re still informative. Just check links.

    4. AVP*

      Ooh. I went to Krakow years ago, and my boyfriend just got back from a trip to Warsaw/Krakow. We both loved Poland.

      Warsaw is a fun, big city, with a lot of new architecture (for obvious reasons it was mainly rebuilt from scratch in the mid-20th century). Sadly I didn’t experience it myself so I don’t have any particular suggestions.

      When I went to Krakow I think I took the train from the airport to mid-city but can’t remember. My bf took the train from Warsaw, which he and his friends enjoyed. I stayed in a hostel (which I probably wouldn’t do at this point in my life…), they rented an apartment on Home Away. It’s a beautiful old city for just walking around. During normal school times it’s apparently full of students, but when I went in the summer it was a little deserted and I loved just wandering through all the alleys and getting lost. The architecture is really spectacular, especially if you’re interested in old churches. I remember there being way more nuns and priests walking around than I’d ever seen before in one place.

      Being a history buff, you might be interested in visiting some of the prefab Soviet towns that are near Krakow – if you hire a driver to go to Auchwitz and the salt mines (the usual Krakow day trips) they can also take you to see a town.

  24. Algae*

    We had a buddy day yesterday. We went to the boy’s soccer game and then the beach for a picnic.

    I put sunscreen on, but I think I got distracted by the the year old and never put it on my right arm. It is now red. And sore.

    Any recommendations for sunburn relief? I’ve been putting aloe vera on.

    1. Nutcase*

      Oh goodness, horrible sunburn flashbacks! I did exactly that last year. I put sunscreen on everywhere but my left arm and then sat in the midday sun watching a rugby game. I was wearing a strangely shaped top and I still have a really odd, very pronounced tanline there as after I burn bright red I turn very dark brown. As for the sunburn just keep it topped up with aloe vera or calamine lotion and drink plenty of water to keep everything hydrated and less itchy while it heals.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I feel your pain! I went on my first cruise last year and only used sunscreen in the Bahamas. (Stupid! I am white as white can be and always burn.) I had a terrible, terrible burn and all I could do for it was to use aloe. I don’t think there’s much you can do other than slathering on the aloe and drink lots of water. Once I started peeling I started using lotion for severely dry skin and that helped keep the peeling under control. I was peeling so bad that big flakes were falling off my face onto the table during meetings at work. Yeah, it was that bad.

    3. Liane*

      I SO empathize, I burn very easily and badly, and so does my daughter. Worse, my skin is the type with no warning redness, until Way Too Late. I will be only slightly red, if at all when we get out of the sun–then a couple hours later am neon red & in pain.

      Aloe vera gel with lidocaine, a local anesthetic, works even better than the regular. (Brand I have is Ocean Potion Instant Burn Relief ICE) Noxema is amazingly good too. We use both of these. Whichever container we get to first when it starts hurting–again.

      Back in college, a friend in medical school suggested also taking an antihistamine, suspecting there might be an allergic component to my bad sunburns and that helped too.

    4. Graciosa*

      There are first aid sprays that contain topical anesthetics which will help with the pain and itching. Solarcaine used to be marketed for this, but any first aid spray with anesthetic will work. Your body still needs time to repair itself (stay hydrated, cool, and out of any more sun) but the anesthetic can help make this process more bearable.

      Hope you feel better soon –

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Maybe some tea tree oil? A bit spendy and usually just found at organic food stores. Although, grocery stores with an organic aisle may have it.

      I use tea tree and ice on burns from like a stove/oven. Takes the pain out, no pus, no swelling, no scar.

      It does tingle going on. You may find a tamed down version for sunburns. It will cool the burning feeling.

    6. Mimmy*


      I’ve had more than my fair share of evil sunburns–it’s a wonder I haven’t sustained any major skin damage. Last year, I was with my family in Hilton Head, and all of us burned big time. There’s this green gel that helped cool the skin down, but I might have to try that aloe vera with lidocaine (that someone above suggested) next time.

    7. Cath in Canada*

      I have ridiculously fair skin. I once got sunburned in Scotland. In March.

      If you can find some of that aloe gel, put a bottle in the fridge for an hour then use that. Best thing I’ve found.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Second that advice. I’ve used cool aloe vera on stove top burns and it feels so much better immediately.

    8. Lore*

      Aloe is good. Clinique makes a moisturizer called After Sun Relief (I think?) which is spendy but magic. But in general–even though it hurts like hell to rub it in, keep moisturizing the sunburned areas. They heal faster and with less itchiness if you do.

    9. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’ve read that putting vinegar on sunburns is better relief than aloe vera. Haven’t tried it, but apparently science.

    10. Kay*

      They make aloe vera that has lidocaine (sp?) in it. It helps relieve the pain more… my grandpa got me some once when I was younger and my friend and I ended up with horrible sunburns and heat exhaustion after a trip to the beach. I don’t know where he found it, but it’s AMAZING.

      Also, take cool baths and make sure if you shower that the pressure isn’t too hard. Good luck!

    11. Algae*

      Thanks, all! I’m a pale-skinned redhead, but it’s been a while since I’ve burnt like this and couldn’t remember what I needed to do!

      I actually had lidocaine at home, so I mixed that with the aloe vera and it helped so much. I also took some Tylenol to help me sleep. It’s already much better!

      Now I’ll just keep lotioning up to try to keep from itching.

  25. a.n.o.n.*

    We finally finished hashing out the inspection issues on the new house and have a final sales contract. Now it’s onto the appraisal and mortgage.

    I can’t wait to move into the new house and start enjoying the property itself. Much more land than we have now; neighbors can be seen, but are pretty far apart; we have a small brook where I can sit under the trees and listen to the water. It’s very peaceful.

    The down side, if you can call it that, is I have 4 additional rooms to furnish. Lucky for me my friend is close to cleaning out her dad’s house and it putting it up for sale, so all the furniture is for sale. I went there yesterday and got tons of stuff, including an old white wrought iron patio set (can barely lift it!), living room set, dressers, beds, and several other things, for about $1,000. I’d spend at least 4 times that buying new! The wood furniture is older, but it’s SOLID wood. It won’t fall apart like some of the crap we buy these days.

    Everything is falling into place. Although my boss now knows my job isn’t the right fit and I’m a lot more relaxed and stress-free about it, I still won’t feel back to 100% until I get the job I actually want. Once the closing happens I’ll be calling the CEO of the other company I want to work for. That’s the final piece of the puzzle.

  26. The Other Dawn*

    Has anyone ever refinished wrought iron patio furniture? I just bought a used set from a friend (I can barely move it!) and it has some rust on it. It’s white with tons of scroll work. I’m guessing I can just sand off the rust and then use white spray paint?

    1. LadyTL*

      I’ve never worked with wrought iron furniture but I did have a wrought iron fence that had to be regularly repainted. I would recommended against spray paint. There is an enamel paint that comes in various types from matte to glossy. That’s what I used on the fence anyways but sanding off the rust sounds about right.

    2. Jazzy Red*

      That should work. There is also a spray primer which should help the paint adhere. Remember to keep your arm moving while you spray. Some people “mist” their items and do several coats, which dry quickly since their so thin.

      There is also a spray clear coat that can go over the whole thing when you’re done, and you’re absolutely sure all the paint is drydrydry.

      You can always check You Tube for videos on how to do this.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        “which dry quickly since their so thin.” should be “since they’re so thin”.

        I saw that as soon as hit the submit button.

  27. evilintraining*

    This is probably the stupid question of the day, but I’m dead serious. Has anyone successfully thrown out a garbage can? If so, how did you get your waste management folks to take it?

    1. Jazzy Red*

      Try leaving a sign with BIG LETTERS on it saying “please take this old garbage can”. I tried to throw one away years ago, and it took several weeks until I put a sign on it. It worked.

      1. Phyllis*

        This reminds me of an episode of “Designing Women”. Anthony was crossing the room with a small waste basket in hand and Julia said, “Anthony! I thought I asked you to throw that ratty old thing away!” He said, “I’ve tried! I finally put a note in saying “Please pick up this trash. Thank you.” When I went out the can was still there with a note that said “You’re Welcome.”

    2. Rebecca*

      Yes, I have! I had one that was split because someone backed into it with their vehicle on a very cold day. For purposes of this discussion, this person shall remain nameless :)

      I wrote a note to the garbage man, simply saying “can is broken, please take can + contents, thanks”. I taped it across the lid. It was gone when I awoke on garbage day (they start early, like 3-4 AM).

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I’m not sure if our garbage men would take it. I’m thinking we would have to bring it to the dump/transfer station. Probably varies by town.

    4. Traveler*

      You could also go to a local apartment complex and dump it in their dumpster if you get desperate and the garbage man won’t take it and there’s not an easily accessible dump you can drive to. I would not do this regularly – but one time, no one’s going to notice.

    5. Mallory*

      Imagining the catch-22-like situation of trying to throw out a garbage can: my first LOL of this thread!

  28. Jazzy Red*

    After spending my entire adult life in corporate America and hating it for many years, I finally retired. I’m a Christian and wanted to volunteer at a non-profit organization teaching basic computer skills to women who are tying to enter or re-enter the work force. I started observing classes in March, and 8 weeks ago started teaching on my own.

    I love it!! My students are wonderful women, and most of them are catching on very quickly. They’re all eager to learn, tolerant of my newness as an instructor and very encouraging to each other. It’s incredibly rewarding in a way that working for pay never was.

    Well, the serpent in the garden showed up recently in the form of internal politics (BOD vs ED). One of the biggest reasons I retired was to get away from stuff like that, and now here it is again. Things happened that I didn’t agree with, and I pretty much decided to resign after the semester is done. I thought about it and prayed about it, and suddenly had the thought that my commitment is to the students, not the BOD. If they will leave me alone, let me make the lesson plans and do the computer teaching, I will stay for at least one more semester. (The BOD is out of touch with beginners and has unrealistic ideas about what we can accomplish.)

    I’m actually getting hepped up about writing the lesson plans myself! I found out that I’m good at teaching, and I hope to be able to do this for many years.

    1. Graciosa*

      I hope that you are able to do this for many years, but please make sure that you’re realistic about your expectations.

      Internal politics are present in any organization with – well – people. People everywhere talk themselves into believing that what they want is somehow “right” whether their expressed justification is that it is better for the company, better for the shareholders, or part of God’s plan. This is very human, and the Christian nature of the organization doesn’t change the fundamental humanity of the people who work in it.

      You talk about the serpent entering the garden, but I think you were deceiving yourself if you thought it wasn’t there to begin with. If you begin with unrealistic expectations, you are setting yourself up for disillusionment.

      You have identified a number of wonderful things that you love about your teaching experience, including the ability to make a difference, and the interaction with the students. I think you’re on the right track by setting some boundaries in this job – you’re willing to keep doing it as long as you have x, y, and z even if you have to ignore or work around negatives a, b, and c.

      It may seem strange that I wrote out a long comment basically agreeing with your conclusion – but I think your real serpent is tempting you to walk away from the good you can accomplish because of your personal disappointment at discovering that the organization – and the humans in it – are flawed. Don’t give in to this.

    2. Student*

      If you have any means to do so, consider advocating for your position instead of leaving your job entirely.

      I can understand disliking politics and disliking conflict – but sometimes it is necessary in order to do a good job. I just don’t see how you are serving your students well if you don’t at least try to advocate for them.

      This may mean talking about your concerns to your boss, or possibly to people about your boss. It may mean getting your students (or their parents, if they are younger than I am guessing) to voice concerns about upcoming changes to someone at your organization.

      That doesn’t mean you can’t ultimately leave the job, if you can’t convince anyone to compromise with you. Just make sure you aren’t leaving prematurely.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Eventually, you may find the wherewithal to teach the BOD what a reasonable expectation looks like and why things go in this manner.

      See, it’s still teaching. But not in a way we ordinarily think of.

    4. S from CO*

      Great advice from Graciosa!
      Jazzy Red – I understand how you feel and I have been in a similar situation.
      I hope you would consider going back to teaching the classes, because I think you are making a big impact in the lives of these students. They can look forward to opportunities for better jobs and income.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        I’m absolutely planning to stay on, and I think the BOD will be agreeable to my writing up the lesson plans. I love the teaching aspect, and that’s about 90% of what I do.

        Just to be clear, I’m a volunteer. In fact, we’re all volunteers; we don’t have any paid positions.

        S from CO – that pretty much sums up our mission. These women deserve the best I can give them.

  29. Rebecca*

    Does anyone else use coupons and couponing/money saving websites to save money on groceries and household products?

    1. Hcat*

      I love Retail Me Not. You don’t need to register or give your email address to access and the coupons are easy to print. You can also download an App on your iphone or android for mobile use.

    2. JamieG*

      I do 95% of my shopping at Target since I work there (extra 10% discount in addition to always being there). I also stack the Redcard (5% off everything, free shipping, extra 30 days on returns) with the Cartwheel app, which gives extra coupons on your phone. The app is extra cool since you can stack it with other coupons.

      I sound like a walking billboard for this stuff, but it’s actually pretty legit.

      1. Nicole*

        I second shopping at Target for everything, including groceries. I don’t work there, but being able to stack Target coupons + manufacturer coupons + Cartwheel discounts + 5% off with my a Target Redcard = tons of savings! I get excited tracking my subtotal before all coupons and discounts and my grand total after. Sometimes the savings can be as high as 50%!

    3. Rebecca*

      I forgot to say I use SavingStar, as well as adding e-coupons to my store loyalty card. I live in a rural area, so my only choices without driving 45 minutes to an hour one way are Weis and CVS. I don’t shop much at Walmart or Kmart.

      I looked at ibotta but I’m not sure if it’s something I want to spend time on.

    4. danr*

      Find a local store that has good value to start with and has good sales. Then add coupons. Be careful with coupons though. You can end up buying a lot of stuff you don’t use and a lot of high calorie food… just because there’s good coupon for it.
      If you have the storage space and know your prices Costco or BJs can be a help. I use for fill in coupons and the ones that come in the newspapers. One thing though, don’t use Facebook or any social site to log into a coupon site, since you’re giving the site good tracking information.

  30. S from CO*

    I am looking for any advice about coloring my eyebrows. Any thoughts for or against this? And alternatives to coloring?

    1. Graciosa*

      Can you be a bit more specific about the change you want to make? The appearance of going darker is actually pretty easy (eyebrow pencils). Are you trying to go lighter, or a different color (like red)? I’ve seen this done professionally in conjunction with changing hair color, so I would be inclined to suggest you ask your hairdresser.

      I’m not sure how helpful that is, however, so maybe if you add a little more detail, someone else will be able to give you better advice.

      1. S from CO*

        In the past 2 months I have noticed gray eyebrow hairs coming in! And I figured in the coming years, there will be more gray eyebrow hairs!
        I color my own hair at home (brown) using a semi-perm hair color without ammonia that I buy at the local health food store.
        I was wondering if most people go to a hair salon to get their eyebrows colored?

        1. Trixie*

          May I ask what brand, S? My mother usually uses Clairol Natural Instincts w/o ammonia but its getting hard to find.

        2. the gold digger*

          I have surrendered and am now paying to Have My Hair Done. I had been using Clairol NI for years and it worked fine on my hair when the substrate was still super healthy and young, but now, my hair is aging and the color is looking flat. I do not want to be that woman with the weird-looking, all one color hair that has a weird shimmer under florescent light.

        3. TheSnarkyB*

          Yes, I’ve heard never never never try to do your eyebrows at home, regardless of the success you’ve had on your hair. Partially bc the color choosing part is tricky but also for some other reason? I just remember hearing a strong warning.
          Good luck with it!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            If you get haircolor in your eyes, it can blind you. That’s why.

            I do it, but I put Vaseline all underneath and around and make sure the color has thickened up and apply it in very thin layers so it doesn’t drip. I still probably shouldn’t be doing that, however.

    2. Hcat*

      I do this from time to time, usually after an eyebrow wax at the salon, (get a professional to do it- Do not try it at home – you don’t want your eyebrows to turn green or orange) It doesn’t take that long, and lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. I was advised that your eyebrows shouldn’t match your hair. If you have if you have blonde hair your eyebrows should be two shades darker and if you have darker hair your eyebrows should be two shades lighter. Something along those lines.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      I tried this for a while – my stylist at the time was a personal friend so she threw it in as a freebie when I’d have them waxed. But my brows are sparse enough that I didn’t really see a big difference and I always ended up supplementing with brow pencil or powder anyway, which kind of made it pointless.

  31. EduStudent*

    Bringing this back: what books have you read recently that you really enjoyed, or what is on your summer reading list that you’re looking forward to?

    If you could give genre or even a short description, I’m sure that would help anyone who wants to peruse the comments narrow down what they’d be interested in.

    I just started Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn after finishing Gone Girl a few weeks ago – similar rural setting, another mystery-type book.

    1. a teacher*

      I loved Sharp Objects and even more so, GF’s middle book, Dark Places. Both are superior to Gone Girl, IMO, which I also liked.

      Summer to be read:
      — Wally Lamb’s book from last year, We Are Water
      It’s a complex character-study about marriage, toxic families, and modern living, I think. I love his other books.
      — Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
      Final book of her super smart dystopian trilogy (not YA); pursues “what if we keep going the way we’re going…” questions
      — Jurassic Park
      It’s been too long! I reread this every few years, haha.
      — The Fault in our Stars, John Green
      Teen lovers have terminal cancer and twee, profound experiences. I dunno…I just have to…probably so I can snark on it.
      — Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
      finally, maybe? Quintessential literary fiction/”hysterical realism.” Darn the opening passages are cumbersome, though.

      Halfway read & abandoned:
      The Goldfinch (the writing in this grated on me; maybe I’m dumb, but I do not get the hype at all) and The Cuckoo’s Calling (detective fiction by JKRowling writing under a pseudonym; this was really disappointing…a whodunit but I just didn’t care)

      1. TL*

        TFOIS is amazing. Seriously amazing. It sounds like it should be snarked at, but you really just can’t.

        1. Jessica (the celt)*

          I agree. I kept not reading it (based on the basic hype and storyline) until a good friend whose opinion I trust suggested it, and I couldn’t snark. The writing is just beautiful as well.

          I recently finished the Pure series, which is technically YA dystopian, but it’s one of the best I’ve read in that genre and holds up throughout all three books (unlike other recent ones that shall remain unnamed). I am, however, getting kind of sick of the “all books must be one of a trilogy” thing, though. Blech.

          1. Kat*

            I read Pure when it first came out. Absolutely loved it, slightly different take on dystopian YA. I’m behind on the series now. I can’t seem to get into Divergent though

            1. Jessica (the celt)*

              Kat, that’s how I felt about Pure, too. I loved the differences from traditional YA dystopian literature, and I feel as though the characters’ actions — although they may sometimes do unexpected things — have arcs that make a lot of sense and help you understand the characters better. It remains pretty true to being different from others of its sub-genre (and from much current YA literature) throughout all three books. (Julianna Baggott was at my husband’s residency for his low-res MFA program this winter, and I was pretty jealous that he got to meet her and talk to her. I don’t usually feel that way about authors or other people, but any author that can hold me through a trilogy deserves some kudos, because I can be a harsh critic of bad literature. ;~) I also love really well-written dystopian novels, which are very hard to find.)

              I loved Divergent (the first book of the series), but the second book slowly went downhill and the third wasn’t nearly as good as the first book promised it could be.

    2. Jen RO*

      Reading at the moment :
      * Dark Tower (book 7 of the series) on audiobook, re-read number 5 or so. Dark fantasy, western, lots of stuff, in my opinion King’s best, next to The Stand. It’s not horror, so don’t start reading it expecting Shining.

      For the people who have read it: the ending, yay or nay? I am one of the few who liked it, except Susannah’s part.

      * Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer (first time reading it, halfway through at the moment). An experiment at the LHC causes everyone to see the future (year 2030) for 2 minutes – how do people deal with it? I find the plot interesting, but the writing pretty boring.

      1. Elkay*

        Did you watch the TV show based on the book? I thought it had potential but it got cancelled and I can’t remember if they even bothered trying to tie up the loose ends.

        1. Jen RO*

          I haven’t and I probably won’t – I’d hate knowing that it’s not ‘finished’.

      2. EAA*

        I couldn’t get thru 3rd book of the Dark Tower. The Stand I think is the best thing King wrote and I read it the first time before anyone knew who Steven King was. I actually found a couple of his books unreadable; Insomnia and Needful things. Eventually realized that I didn’t like the books he wrote just before and when he first got sober.
        And I will read just about anything and gave the above books a real (multiple chapters) try.
        I have series written by authors that I read as they come out. Mostly mystery types. Also considering going to the library and pick a shelf and just start reading the first book there and then continue with that author or just go to the next one on the shelf.
        Figure as good a way as any to try something new. In 8th grade I did this at the school library. I started right by the door with biographies (Abigal Adams) and read about a third of the library before school ended. Small library and voracious reader.

        1. Vancouver Reader*

          Do you have any mystery authors you recommend? I’m always on the lookout for new ones.

        2. Jen RO*

          I think Needful Things is the only one of his books that I didn’t like… but I have no idea why, and it’s been many years since I’ve read it. I should give it another shot soon!

          Also, something occurred to me yesterday while reading Flashforward, where part of the plot revolves on the people who died when the entire world blacked out (planes crashing, car accidents, etc): there is just no emotion. In The Stand, King made me empathize even with the most minor characters, even when 99% of the world died; in Flashforward, it feels like Sawyer is just ticking boxes – “child death, check”, “planes crashing on takeoff – check”.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I’m watching more TV than reading right now (boo!), but I have a bunch of stuff in my Kindle I need to get to. Though I’m reading George Takei’s latest, working my way through The Lord of the Rings again, and trying to get through all of Sherlock Holmes.

      Soon, I’ll begin writing a new Detective Pierce novel and won’t have time to read at all, other than websites.

    4. Mints*

      I’m reading the Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a fantasy series set in modern england. It’s really funny and the plot is quick moving

    5. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I recently read The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. It’s the story of two brothers who are outlaws in the California/Oregon gold rush days. It was funny and dark and gripping, and I especially loved the voice of the narrator (the younger brother). Also, since I live in California I got that “you are there” feeling from reading it – especially since I was in the middle of it when I took a group of fourth graders on a gold-rush-themed outdoor education trip! (Book definitely not recommended for fourth graders, though…)

    6. salad fingers*

      On a African memoir kick, most recently have read The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper and Let’s Don’t Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, both really awesome reads. Also, a biography about Josef Mengele that I can’t remember the name of, and to sate my historical fiction tooth, all of the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr. I’d recommend any of them, but would warn that reading about Mengele is not for the faint of heart.

      1. salad fingers*

        ack, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight*

        Shame to mess up such a neat title..

          1. salad fingers*

            Fuller’s honest, unapologetic account of her mother’s racism, alcoholism, general foibles- something I won’t soon forget.

      2. AVP*

        Since you’re on an Africa kick, I also loved Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with our Families and Andrew Rice’s The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget. Not as memoir-y as the two you mentioned, but beautifully written and well reported.

        I’ve also been reading Chimamanda Adichie lately. Her recent novel Americanah is about a Nigerian woman who becomes Americanized after moving to Philadelphia for college, but bucks expectations and moves back to Nigeria later in life. And her early novel Half of a Yellow Sun stays in Nigeria through the 1960’s and covers the Biafran war and the years leading up to them. Both are gorgeous, one is more heartbreaking than the other (I’ll let you guess which).

        1. salad fingers*

          Thanks for the recommendations, AVP! MY boyfriend owns the Gourevitch one and has suggested it too, but the rest are new to me. Awesome!

    7. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I freaking LOVED The Hunger Games. The whole trilogy. Loved it. It should be required reading in middle schools.

  32. KnitWorthy*

    Anyone care to provide tips/experiences with driving a UHaul with car in tow? After trying to wrangle another driver, it looks like I’ll have to do it myself. Trip will be about 350 miles.

    1. JamieG*

      Don’t back up! Seriously. My husband and I drove a UHaul with a car tower on the back of it 2,000 miles across the country. (It sucked.)

      But the number one tip is to do your best to never back up. The truck is big enough on its own, and the trailer on the back adds an extra dimension of awfulness. Also, be very careful when you’re getting gas. I got one of the tires stuck on a barrier at the gas station, and we were lucky enough to have a kind stranger un-stick us, or we could have been there all day.

      1. fposte*

        If you do need to back up: move your hand to the *bottom* of the steering wheel. Then move it in the direction you want the trailer to go.

        1. fposte*

          Sorry, in this case it’s the car, but it’s a way to get to tow-ee movement without having to reverse your brain.

    2. Traveler*

      Yes – Drove cross country with a massive UHaul and car in tow. I was horrified and was wringing my hands for days but it’s not nearly as difficult as it seems. I wouldn’t call it fun but it actually ended up being an interesting adventure.

      A few tips:

      Find the big gas stations and food stops that allow truckers to park – they make it easier for you to navigate since they’re already designed for big vehicles.

      If you stay at a hotel (I assume you won’t for such a short trip but just in case)- check it out on google maps satellite view ahead of time (or call and ask) to make sure there is a big parking lot where you can park it out of the way.

      Make sure you can open the car doors once you get it on the tow. We couldn’t and that ended in a series of acrobatics that ended in one of us crawling through the trunk twice.

  33. kas*

    Anyone have friends that are completely obsessed with dating? They’re constantly asking me questions to see if I’m seeing anyone and it’s super annoying. One of them always has a new boyfriend and the other calls me crying about how she misses her ex and she’s lonely. I’m close with them but don’t feel the need to tell them any time I meet someone I may be interested in. At this point I’d just like to tell them to back off but don’t want them to feel like they can’t talk about their own dating lives in front of me/make things awkward. I can’t even comment about a cute guy in public without them wanting to go over to him to introduce us. It’s very annoying …

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Not sure if I count. I am a middle aged, widowed person.
      I don’t wait for the conversation to even start. I just tell people I am happy with my life and not that interested in dating. If the right person comes along… well maybe I will think about it.

      You could do a similar thing: “I am happy with my life and when the right guy comes along, I will know it.”

      You may have to point blank say “I don’t mind talking about your dating life, but I prefer that we don’t talk about mine.”

      1. Anon*

        This is a great response. I use something like this.

        Nobody’s been able to argue with “single and happy.”

    2. Tomato Frog*

      “Please stop asking me if I’m dating someone. You’ll be the first to know when I have a boyfriend, okay?” If a straightforward, unemotional appeal doesn’t work, I would probably try to lay on a bit of guilt. “When you ask me these questions it makes me feel like you look down on me for not having a boyfriend. I know you don’t mean it that way, but that’s how it makes me feel. Would you mind not bringing it up?” Or with the situation of your commenting on a hot guy and them trying to make you talk to him: “Please can you not do that? I just want to be able to ogle a guy with my friends, without it being a big production. If I want to talk to him, I’ll do it, okay? Now can we just focus on hanging out together?” If you draw people’s attention to how they’re making you feel, they sometimes get defensive in the moment, but I find that usually in the long-term they ease up on the offending behavior.

    3. kas*

      Thank you for the suggestions, definitely going to use them – especially something like “single and happy.”

      I’ve said things like “you’ll be the first to know” but even when I say I’m not seeing/dating anyone they never believe me which is frustrating.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        If they aren’t going to believe what you say then there is really no point to them asking or talking about it.

        It is really a time thing. My hubby had been gone a few years and a couple good-hearted people gently suggested they had someone for me to meet. I just comfortably said “no, thanks”. More time passed and the same people said “your walk matches your talk”. Some people really get that and respect it.

    4. Felicia*

      Yes! The only friend that does it though is the type that feels she can never be happy single, so when she’s not in a long term relationship, she’s constantly and consistently dating multiple people. Nothing wrong with that and she’s wonderful otherwise, but she can’t understand why Im not actively dating, because just not dating is something she’d never be happy with.

    5. TL*

      I am the always single one – haven’t dated since high school – and most of my friends and relatives just seemed to accept pretty quickly that this is just how I am.
      Things that I think have helped: Looking surprised when they ask me about romantic prospects, and answering questions like, “do you have a boyfriend yet?” with “No, why?” Just treating it like a non-issue often makes people stop bringing it up.
      Saying things like “I’ve yet to meet anyone who seems like they’d make me happier than I already am” or “Not really looking” when appropriate.
      But keep it boring and people’ll move on pretty quickly.

    1. fposte*

      I think she’s been coming in later on threads and being a little lighter on the contributions. Possibly related to the stunning advent of nice weather in the Midwest!

    2. Jamie*

      Oh my gosh you guys are so sweet – and I wish it was due to the warm weather!

      Super crazy at work lately – times like this I work so much it more than makes up for some days with too much time posting. :)

      I miss it here, and you guys, when I have to spend too much time in the real world – I’m not a huge fan of the real world and if I could upload my brain into some virtual reality I so would.

      It’s weird how real you all are to me – and some days I swear I want to play a game of red rover and swap all the people I work with for people here. :)

      When is Alison going to get that teapot factory going anyway? I don’t need to run IT, I’ll just do tech support and write policy. That’s my happy place.

      (Seriously, seeing this got me all warm and fuzzy – making a bad Monday better!)

      1. Ruffingit*

        Glad you checked in Jamie! I don’t think you understand that you are NOT allowed to leave us to do something as silly as work. Just…no. You get your hello kitty butt over here no matter what! That is all :)

  34. The Other Dawn*

    Anyone have experience using a Pod to move? Seems like it would be so much easier than renting a truck and the cost would be worth not having that hassle.

    1. Dang*

      I don’t, but when I moved I did a lot of research on the topic- ABF Relocubes are the same idea and apparently much cheaper? I think when I ran the numbers, it was less expensive than renting a truck and paying for the gas, but I guess it depends on distance. I ended up only taking stuff that would fit in my car because I moved back in with family and had no room for all of it anyway, but that was a tough decision.

    2. Persephone Mulberry*

      As Dang said, shop around. PODS is one of the most expensive (yay brand recognition!). In my area, we also have 1800Packrat, Dart, Big Blue Box, and Mayflower. Their monthly rental was about the same, but delivery charges varied widely, and only one company pro-rated the monthly fee beyond the first 30 days.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve looked around a little, but I’m not finding anything that will fit a house’s worth of furniture. Seems like they’re much smaller than what PODS has. And I don’t need storage for more than a couple days.

    4. TL*

      I used Uhaul’s pod things (TX->MA), and they had a list of discounted movers to work with – all I had to do was pack the stuff in boxes and call when I was ready for them to pick up – they packed all the things in the pod for me. It was really excellent and I would highly recommend it if you have the money.
      It also took the stress of out of moving in – I got a whole month of storage, so I waited for a good weekend, got some rest, and then had my stuff delivered when I was ready to unpack. I also didn’t have to worry about fighting traffic, getting lost, or getting vehicles turned in by X date at Y time when I was already exhausted from a 3 day drive.
      Also, I moved in the middle of winter and it rained all the freakin’ way from Louisiana to Boston so I was really glad to be driving my trusty little car and not some big ol’ moving truck.
      They have a variety of sizes; I used the smallest one and between that and my hatchback Yaris I got most of an apartment’s worth of stuff up to Boston. (Shipped two or three boxes and threw out some stuff, but I did the whole move in less than three weeks. So it wasn’t the best planned of moments.)

  35. Harper*

    So, I’m really feeling like I need to make major changes in my life and I’m seriously considering moving across the country. Does anybody have any advice about that? It seems so daunting, which is why I’ve gotten stuck where I am, but right now, I’m starting to feel like it’s really time to go. Success stories would be welcome! :D

    1. Ruffingit*

      I did this 12 years ago. I moved from my home state halfway across the country to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I did it to attend law school, but still it was a major undertaking so I have some advice:

      1. Give yourself at least a year to plan this. You need to save more money than you think to cover moving expenses and miscellaneous expenses that will come up that you haven’t even considered.

      2. Use that year to ruthlessly get rid of things. Donate, toss, purge with an eye toward what you really need and love because you’ll be moving this stuff with you. What do you care about and really want?

      3. Start pricing moving companies and/or U-Haul or whatever method you’re going to use. Quite often, it becomes cheaper to have a moving company do the work while you buy a plane ticket because once you factor in gas for the U-Haul, hotel stays, food on the road and so on, it evens out or is even cheaper to have a moving company.

      4. Use an apartment locator (if you’re getting an apartment) in the city you want to move to. I did that and it saved me a ton of work. Apartment locator’s are paid by the apartments so their services are free to you. Make use of that.

      5. Look up groups for things you’re interested in in your new city. Look up Facebook groups about your new city. That’s also a way to start meeting people before you even get there. Find groups for your new city online (just Google “New City Message Boards”) and start talking to people.

      6. Get a map of the city itself and start figuring out major streets, etc.

      Hope that helps. Moving to a new place and starting fresh was one of the best things I ever did for myself and it will be for you too. I think everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. BON VOYAGE! :)

      1. Harper*

        Thank you so much for that reply. That really, really helps! Great ideas about the Facebook/Meet-up ideas. I hadn’t really thought about that. I am planning on giving myself a year, but if I don’t start thinking about it, I won’t be making progress! Again, thanks!

      2. Jillociraptor*

        This is so helpful! We’re moving from DC to the Bay Area after a kind of sudden job offer (we have less than 6 weeks to move…hooray!) and this is all very helpful.

        Wishing you luck too Harper and hope you get to spend more time than we do plotting your next step!

        1. laura*

          Where in the bay area? I’m a bay area native and would be more than happy to help out. :)

    2. Traveler*

      Moving cross country is easy once you get past the mental block. I’ve done it many times and it gets easier as you go. Just make sure you visit the area first – I’ve moved sight unseen before and what might seem like your dream destination/life in theory is not what its made out to be when you get there (though I had fun anyway). I disagree that you need a year – I’ve done it in 2 weeks for an opportunity, but it is stressful. Give yourself time to plan and visit, and save money though – I think a few months is a good start. I am also against moving companies – they charge a lot of money and I can tell you from professional experience using them (and one time of personal use), that my experience has been that they are not that careful with your stuff in transit. If you can sell everything and just ship a couple boxes and fly, that’s best, but I’d say doing it yourself after getting rid of as much as possible is next best. Do you have any specific questions/concerns? I’d be happy to help!

      1. Ruffingit*

        I’m not saying you have to take a year to do it, just that if you can it’s really helpful because it gives you time to go into massive saving mode, plus you have time to sort through all your stuff and do some recon/online searching of the town. Of course it can be done in much less time if need be, but a year was a good enough amount of time for me not to feel stressed and pressured by all that I needed to do to feel prepared. YMMV.

        1. Traveler*

          True. The first time I did a cross country move I took 6 months of saving like crazy and planning, and a first timer probably needs a lot more than anyone else. I also think it depends on your personality. For me a year would be too long, I’d be itching to hurry up and go, and I’d get impatient. For other people, even a year wouldn’t be enough to not feel stressed by the prospect/savings needs. I apologize if it came across as though I was saying you were wrong – just my personal opinion – as you said YMMV.

          1. Ruffingit*

            Oh no, it didn’t come across at all as saying I was wrong! Didn’t read it that way. Just wanted to clarify my own position that a year was good for me for reasons stated, but that it’s not something I feel is necessary for everyone. The year was also something I needed because of the school application cycle so that factored into the choice of taking the whole year as well. It’s very dependent on where a person is in life, what they are moving to (new job, school, etc.). If you can go sooner than a year, by all means feel free to do so. New adventures are awesome :)

    3. Celeste*

      This was just the weekly topic on Tomato Nation! I don’t have the link, but it is on The Vine at tomato Good luck!!

    4. Student*

      I’ve done this. Going across the country is not any different than other moves. Don’t psych yourself out about the distance; much shorter moves can have exactly the same effects as long-distance ones.

      Also – you said you want to move because you want a change. Moving does not guarantee you a big life change. Identify exactly what it is you find unsatisfying about your current circumstances, otherwise you could easily end up repeating it in a different town.

      Further, identify what moving will accomplish. Focus on something positive that the move will give you. It helps me stave off general anxiety to focus on what I’m gaining, rather than what I’m losing.

    5. TL*

      Hi! Six months ago, I moved TX->MA (three weeks from the time I accepted the job to the time I got up here and I took less than a week off in between jobs.) My parents helped with moving expenses, though – I’m going to pay them back eventually. I moved sight unseen, with no place to live, and I’m really loving it and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And I’m definitely going to do it again.
      Purge! Purging is a big deal! But be realistic – a friend followed me up here and she got rid of all her furniture/car and now she’s having to repurchase a lot of it, which is fairly expensive and time/energy consuming, plus she’s relying on my car and me to do it because public transportation here is wonderful but not all-inclusive.
      She’s also not into buying used furniture or bargain-hunting, so she’s probably not going save money in the long run, plus she wants a lot so that her home feels like a home, which is all starting to add up. I wish I’d gotten rid of more stuff before I moved; she wishes she’d brought more stuff. Be realistic with the type of home you want to create once you get there!
      If you’re big into making a home home-y, purge less, move more stuff. If you’re like me and don’t care that much, purge more, move less stuff. Also with furniture – if you’re going to have the time/energy to find cheap or used stuff, you can probably save by leaving a lot behind. But if you’re not an enthusiastic bargain shopper, you’ll probably end up paying full price and not saving a whole lot of money while spending a significant amount of time.
      Don’t commit to an untried lifestyle change unless you absolutely have no choice. I thought about selling my car before I moved – everyone was telling me I wouldn’t need it – , but then I thought, “no; I’ll wait and sell it in MA if I don’t need it anymore. Much better than buying a car if I need one.” Turns out, I really, really love having my car here, even though I drive at most 1-2x/week – I take a lot of weekend trips and it allows me to be flexible with my schedule. So, if it’s a decision you can make after you’ve moved and figured out your new life, do it then.

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Does your friend have a Costco membership? They often have reasonable pricing and free delivery.

          1. Vancouver Reader*

            You’re welcome! Hopefully she can get set up soon and you can get back to not being a chauffeur/delivery person.

    6. KJ*

      At one point in my life, I did 4 interstate moves in the span of 8 years! Yes, that was a bit much, but they were totally the right choices at the times I made them.

      Move 1: Post-college, moving to a new city in the same region for a new start. My friend drove me and my stuff in her car. I have cool friends.
      Move 2: Off to grad school, halfway across the country. I shipped my stuff, and flew to my new city.
      Move 3: Off to first post-grad school job, halfway across the country. I hired movers for my stuff and my car (I was a timid new driver), and flew to my new city.
      Move 4: Off to another new job, halfway across the country! I hired movers for my stuff, and drove myself to my new city.

      Some of the moves I planned in about 6 weeks; others took about 4 months to plan and carry out. The great thing about moving solo successfully the first time is that it gave me tons of confidence for the later moves. When I was nearly laid off during the Great Recession, thanks to FILO, I was able to say, “Screw this, I’m leaving this job for one with more job security, even if it does require moving!” And I’ve been with that organization for 4 years and haven’t had to move since!

      My main advice would be to save up. Moving is expensive! It’s also one of life’s most stressful experiences, so having the ability to pay for convenience is totally worth it. But it’s better to pay for the move with cash in hand (or in the bank) rather than to put it all on cards. And remember, moving expenses related to jobs can be tax deductible. That was a nice bonus with Moves 3 and 4!

  36. Ruffingit*

    UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT OFFICIAL POST. Or non-official official post :) I’d like this to be a place where you can talk about the emotions and difficulties involved in unemployment/underemployment. This sounds work-related, but I’m talking more the everyday difficulties associated with this that can bring you down. Sometimes it helps to know you’re not alone and that others understand. So have at it if you’re in the category of unemployed or underemployed.

    1. Stephanie*

      Ooh. Big thing recently is that it’s been hard seeing other friends hit career/personal milestones. I’m in my late 20s and friends are starting to hit their career grooves now–finishing up grad school, getting promotions (or advancing to better jobs), getting into business school, getting jobs that pay more than seven cents, etc–so it can be hard to be excited for them (which I legitimately am) and not feel some twinge of jealousy. Same thing with friends buying houses, getting married, and so on.

      It’s hard maintaining this zen “things will work out when they work out” attitude.

      1. littlemoose*

        This was so me about five years ago. Almost all of my other friends were married, had good jobs, etc, and after law school I was working retail and literally living in my parents’ basement. You are so right about being happy for others while at the same time feeling tremendous envy. As I said to a friend back then who was in a similar situation, it’s not that I think getting a job will magically solve all of my problems, but I am at least ready for different problems. I am tired of this problem.

        I can commiserate for sure. But I did find a good job and things are much better now. If you’re reading AAM, you’re on the right track for sure.

        Also, working retail with a law degree sucks. People assume you’re stupid or lazy for working a low-wage job. Also I was pretty ready for a job that didn’t involve picking up other people’s trash.

      2. Felicia*

        I think that’s the hardest for me – at first a lot of my friends were struggling with the same thing, but then they all found decent jobs so it’s like “why am I the only one that’s such a total failure? What’s wrong with me?”

        Then it sort of becomes life consuming, and even t hough I have a few volunteer activities and have joined 2 fairly enjoyable clubs, I feel like I have nothing to talk about. I think I’m in the “what the hell is wrong with me?” stage, which is probably damaging my job prospects – I get dozens of interviews, so resumes/cover letters aren’t the problem, but I think the fact that I can’t help feeling hopeless about my prospects might be.

        This is mostly with extended family, but I hate that the first thing they ask me when they see me is “so do you have a job yet?” and then t hat’s all they can talk about. It makes me not want to see them. The second I get a job, I am sending a mass email to all of them so they stop.

        1. Dang*

          I can definitely relate to this- while I’ve always tried very hard to not compare myself to others personally and professionally (we’re all on our own timelines, of course…) being unemployed has really made me do this. I’ll find someone to commiserate with and BAM, they have a job within a month or two. And it’s hard not to take that as “yeah.. something is wrong with me and I can’t even see what it is.”

          And I struggle with the ‘nothing to talk about’ thing too… but I tell myself that I wouldn’t be talking about work much with friends anyway. Right?! WHo wants to be that person who sits around with friends and talks about their job the whole time when no one else cares?

      3. Dang*

        AHhhh I’ve been in this death spiral for the last week about it. I get angsty about it for a week at a time, and during that time I have a lot of trouble keeping a regular sleep pattern (so of course it seems ever MORE dramatic). I also have the post-interview letdown feeling. I had a great interview on Tuesday that was rather intense but went better than any of the other 25+ I’ve had in the last year. They are checking my references and the whole thing makes me so ridiculously anxious because while I’m trying to not get my hopes up, the last year has been so awful that I can’t NOT hope.

        I’ve also been seeing a lot of people who I haven’t seen in awhile, so I”m having that sheepish tail between my legs feeling when I have to tell them “yep, same old…”

        1. Felicia*

          I’m in the same boat right now in that I had a really good first interview on Wednesday (they’ve checked 2/3 of my references) and a good second interview on Thursday (i must have done well in the first interview to get a second). I will hear about both of these jobs anytime from tomorrow to Friday. I don’t want to get my hopes up because I’ve been rejected after having an interview 5+ times. I want to be able to pretend I definitely won’t get it and forget about it. But that’s easy to say and very difficult to do. I don’t even desperately want either of those jobs, they’re just decent, pay ok money and are better than nothing. So I’m going to be anxious until I hear, and devastated if i’m rejected, like usual.

          1. Dang*

            Sending you good vibes and good luck!!! Something will pan out eventually. Waiting is so hard. And I know it doesn’t feel like it, but getting this far in the process is a great sign! Your interviewers are obviously seeing good things in you, so it’s only a matter of time.

            1. Felicia*

              Thanks! I really hope one of those 2 works out, because I’m just so exhausted of looking. I am a natural pessimist, so I keep thinking of the other times that i’ve gotten this far in the process and been rejected (there have been several). I know it’s not my references, because I had a friend with experience in hiring call them, and they said nice things. I hope I know tomorrow rather than Friday.

              Good luck to you too! Maybe next open thread we’ll both have good news.

    2. CanadianWriter*

      “You’re just not trying hard enough” is the worst part. I’ve applied at every restaurant, hotel, and resort that’s within a one hour commute, trying to get a full time, year round job. (I just work seasonal contracts right now) My mother wants me to apply for jobs in Toronto, which would require acquiring a private plane and flying myself to work (?????)

      I laugh so I don’t cry.

      The only good thing to come out of this underemployment disaster is that it made me start writing for cash money, rather than just for fun. Profit!

      1. Ruffingit*


        You’ve mentioned writing for money before. I do a little bit of that for an online site, but I wonder if you would mind sharing how you’ve found paying gigs doing this.

        1. CanadianWriter*

          I write both fiction and nonfiction, so I will tell you about both.

          For fiction stuff, I use this site to search for markets:

          For nonfiction:

          I also look for submissions guidelines on various websites so that I can torment the editors. (I mean, wow them with my amazing words).

          I know writers who do pretty well with elance, but I can’t personally recommend it.

      2. Felicia*

        I live in Toronto and our unemployment is super high, so don’t bother applying for jobs here unless you desperately want to live here or anything. Things are bad here, you won’t have any better luck

        1. CanadianWriter*

          I live in what you would call cottage country, and have no intention of returning to Toronto. My mother is just delusional. :)

          1. Felicia*

            Yeah, sounds like it! I like living in Toronto, but I would never tell anyone they have a better chance at a job here. I just thought she was suggesting it because you’d have a better shot at a job here, and she just doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

            It’s like how my mom tells me I should move to Edmonton, even though I’ve never been there and don’t particularly want to live there. She thinks it’s the type of place where they just hand out jobs to everyone. I think it is better there, but not as better as she thinks. I also don’t have any desire to live there, but apparently our mothers think that doesn’t count.

                1. Felicia*

                  *move to Saskatoon! Wish I could edit :)

                  I actually know someone who lives in Saskatoon! She’s a teacher and couldn’t find a job anywhere in Ontario other than tiny towns way in Northern Ontario. It was really important for her to live in a city with a population of at least 100,000. I think Saskatoon is twice that! I don’t think the job situation is wonderful there outside certain industries.

                2. Vancouver Reader*

                  Why can’t I reply to your comment below? I love the typo, maybe it’s the type of town where they should make more movies. ;)

                  I read in one of those airline magazines that it really is the “It” place of Canada now. I still don’t think I could move there though.

                3. Felicia*

                  i’d watch a Saskatoon movie :)

                  I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with Saskatoon, but I don’t think it’s a popular place to want to move. I don’t think it’s much of an “it” place to visit either. No offense to Saskatoon!

                  I think Calgary is a bit of a new “it” place to move, at least for those of us in Ontario. I don’t want to move there either, but I sort of get it

                4. Felicia*

                  I am! The over apologizing is the only Canadian stereotype that fits me perfectly. I wouldn’t be a proper Canadian if I didn’t worry about offending Saskatoon!:)

                5. Vancouver Reader*

                  So true! I’m a Chinese Canadian (former) Catholic so I apologize to the nth degree.

    3. Anon*

      Underemployed. I’m bored and frustrated with work. It requires just the bare minimum of thought and effort. I want a challenge!

      And money.

      Money would be nice.

      1. Ruffingit*

        I’m in that same position with being bored and frustrated, plus not making enough. It is difficult.

    4. Homeiswherethefrustrationis*

      One of the toughest things is living with parents or having them paying your bills either in full or just somewhat while you’re job searching. It feels so demoralizing to not be able to do that for yourself. Not to mention the continual helpful suggestions that aren’t helpful at all.

      1. Felicia*

        Ugh I hate the non helpful suggestions…Like “why don’t you just apply for a job at McDonalds or something?” Well I’ve tried that, but they won’t hire me because I have no retail or food experience, andd the only people they hire without that sort of experience are in highschool. The local McDonalds and other similar fast food places, or stores at t he mall, aren’t easy to get jobs at if you’re not in high school and don’t have that type of experience ever. They have at least dozens of applicants (the local McDonalds has over 100). It’s like they think you can just walk in and ask for a job, and then get one. It doesn’t work like that.

      2. Trixie*

        A thought for PT income is paid tutoring through local schools. A couple friends who are teachers (public and private) who both teach make extra money for this, pays like $35-45/hour. No idea how this varies across the country but if you know any teachers in your area worth asking about.

        Another thought that provides some space and time away from house it pet/house sitting. I started with one friend, than another and another, all referrals. People pay a lot to kennel their pets and often would pay the same or similar to keep them at home.

        1. Trixie*

          And another option, driving for your local school district. Pay is eh but often great benefits and of course flexible schedule. A girlfriend got into this in CO, paid training even, and I never would have guessed she’d like it or stay with it. She said she’s seen a huge mix of retirees (looking for good benefits), stay at home parents, etc.

    5. Mimmy*

      Long-term unemployed.

      As I’ve talked about here many times, I have been keeping busy with volunteering with the hope of at least getting back into the workforce via a part-time job, although I truly do want a career.

      The hardest part for me is the guilt. My husband has been so patient with me and does not pressure me to just find anything, probably because he knows I can’t really handle most of the fallback jobs a lot of people end up in, such as retail or fast food. However, I want to feel like I’m contributing by supporting myself and my husband through income. I almost feel like I’m mooching off of him, and I feel so rotten about it sometimes. I just have to keep reminding myself that the traditional working world has not been accessible to me and that I may end up in non-traditional roles. Besides, I am doing work–albeit not paid–that I enjoy very much and am about to go back to school.

      The other hard part is describing to people–at networking events, family gatherings, etc–what I do because my volunteering isn’t traditional either! I may need some help with that.

    6. SD Cat*

      I’m a recent grad, unemployed, and need at least a part-time job of some type soon. I’m kind of crap at getting those though, since I haven’t held many and am not sure where to look. The whole master’s thing is also likely to hurt my search. I’ll need to move back in with my parents soon unless something changes in the next two weeks (so I likely will be).

      It’s hard to motivate yourself to apply sometimes when you know there are thousands of others like you with about the exact same qualifications, hundreds of whom are are applying to the same jobs as you. Yay entry level. I’ve also been making myself go to as many networking-type events as possible to interact with people I don’t already know, to get better at networking. I think I’m improving, at least. As in I don’t hide in the corner anymore.

      So, yeah – It could be a lot worse, I know, but it’s really screwing with my emotional balance.

    7. Liz*

      Depression! Laid off in December, actively looking at this point to take anything to tide me over. I was turned down for a part time position at Lowe’s. My unemployment up at end of this month, and nothing on the horizon. Seriously, this week I am going to go apply to IHOP, just to try to get some money coming in. I feel useless, as I have always taken care of myself. I have been working since I was 12. Now, I am 52, and afraid of losing my house. So, so discouraged, and hard to stay positive.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      What I LOVE (not) the most is statements such as “Oh, it’s only $20 for a night out. That is so cheap.” OR “The weekend getaway was only $300. who can’t afford that?”

      I can’t jump on the person. They have no idea what they are saying.

      But even when my household income was much better, I was pretty careful not to talk about how much things cost with people or indicate that “anyone can do this”. You just don’t know all the ins and outs of what a person is up against.

      When it comes to friends and neighbors, I am probably the richest person on earth. Or at least it feels that way to me. But the bank account says “no-no-no”. And definitely no $20 nights out on the town.

      1. Dang*

        I had to decline an invitation to Vegas for a close friend’s 30th celebration. It was a “deal” at $700 to them since they got wholesale rates (hell, a last minute flight would have probably cost almost that much) but to me, that was more money than I even had access to. You’re right, people don’t realize what they’re saying. I will never ever make any assumptions about anyone else’s financial or employment status after going through this.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Oh amen on the not understanding how much a certain amount of money really is for some people. So many people do that. I’ve even seen people here comment on how, if $5 for a company raffle would cause you serious issues, then you’re not managing your money right. And I just think about the positions I’ve been in previously where I was trying to dig myself out of a massive debt hole due to being laid off during the recession and how tight my budget was. $5 for anything that wasn’t absolutely needed was just too much. Plus, once you’ve been unemployed for a long while, you end up having to save as much as possible so you can pay back people who helped or try to get your own place since you moved in with parents or whatever. Even $5 can be a lot for someone so I don’t judge circumstances where people aren’t spending money that might seem like a small amount. I get why.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I hate the judgey stuff. Don’t tell me what I can afford. Don’t tell me how to spend my money. The example here I felt was indirect, so I let it go.

            What works for me is suggestions/explanations/first hand experience. “Hey, NSNR, I found this cheaper phone company. Here is some info. You might want to check it out for yourself.”
            Thank you, very much. I will check it out.

    9. Hcat*

      I just finished reading the book “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington. In the book, there’s a good quote, something like, at the end of your life, no one will remember you by your resume..something like that. A person is so much more than how much money they make or what they do for a living. All of that could be taken away at a moments notice. Things like kindness, having integrity and having strong moral values take us much farther in life and you never lose those attributes.

      1. Liz*

        True. However, when you can ‘t seem to get a job to save your life, it is discouraging. I have never lived extravagantly, and hate debt.
        Have always used coupons, and lived as frugally as possible. But now I am seriously starting to wonder if I will be even able to get a job that will allow me to take care of my basic needs. So much of our identity is tied up in our work, rightly or wrongly.

  37. Not So NewReader*

    Just an observation. I can’t remember seeing this many posts on a Sunday. I just thought everyone was busy getting ready for the work week or whatever.

    1. Jen RO*

      I thought the open thread would be a dead zone on a Sunday, but I’m glad it’s busy! (And not *that* busy that a three hour nap would make it impossible to catch up.)

      1. EAA*

        Yes – both Friday and Sunday have been much more manageable. It also doesn’t feel like the posts are jumping all over the place so it’s easier to transition to new subject/post.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      it’s easier for me on Sundays because normally I’m at work on friday and have to sneak over. :)

      Of course today I was at the pool this morning.

  38. Anonymous for this - Autism spectrum question*

    For those of you with adult kids who were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum (like Jaime and Wakeen Teapots, Ltd, and others):

    My four-year-old son was kicked out of his large daycare center recently. The reason they gave us was that he needed constant reminders to do things like busing his plate and washing his hands after using the bathroom. He is also extremely interested in numbers and often does not look people in the eye or participate in back and forth conversation.

    I wanted to hear your thoughts on the benefits of having the autism label placed on my child. I am leaning against not getting him officially diagnosed because he would receive the same services in our school district regardless of the medical label. (Also, his pediatrician has always been unconcerned about his development while providing referrals if we wanted them – basically, she left it to us to decide.) At the same time, I’m wondering if I am doing my son harm by not getting the diagnosis? I’m just torn about the whole situation because I see a happy, healthy boy who is just socially awkward like his parents.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Having worked with some kids on the spectrum, I can offer this – I don’t know if you’re doing him harm by not getting a diagnosis per se, but you may be able to get him some help by knowing what the issues are. If it’s Asperger’s for example, there are some things to be done that can help with poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness (if that is an issue). Your son is young enough that it may help him in school later and in life in general to address the issues that you see as social awkwardness.

      1. Anonymous for this - Autism spectrum question*

        Yes, we are currently working with the back and forth of holding conversations and have in the past worked with him on turn taking while playing games. He is scattered and dawdles much of the time when directed to do something so we are practicing having him respond immediately when he is asked a question. He currently has an IEP with our school district but I haven’t seen much progress from that.

    2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

      Oh hugs!

      My son is 22. It was a very different time 20 years ago. I was scared to death because the only thing I knew about autism at the time was from Movies of the Week with non-verbal several autistic children wearing helmets on their heads.

      There was a lot of movement toward aggressive intervention which I wasn’t close to comfortable with for my son. I held him out of the school system as long as I could, which, I’d never advise today as services available are so very much improved (and less aggressive) than back in the day.

      What does happen with the label is this:

      You get federally protected rights. You have a federally protected voice in all of the everything that happens with your child’s education. One of the fundamental responsibilities of a special needs child’s parents is to understand those rights thoroughly and to (every single person will tell you this): advocate, advocate, advocate.

      Now: I have a good friend with an 8 year old asperger’s child and she has chosen not to, as of yet, have him classified formally. This child is *exceedingly* bright and high functioning. He’s probably genius level. So, he has serious social impact and many of the behavior challenges that come with spectrum children, but he is functions so well academically that my friend has made this choice.

      I don’t disagree with her choice. I’ve encouraged her to keep the dx in her back pocket and to use it when and if her son does need accommodations.

      Challenging, exciting road ahead for you.

      Story of joy:

      My 22 year old is outgoing (counter to the spectrum myth) and has three good buddies, all aspergers, with whom he hangs . We took them all out to dinner the other week and just had the *best* time.

      One of the greatest fears you have as a parent on the spectrum is that your child will end up isolated in life. Such joy we had, spending a couple hours, laughing, talking with our adult son and his group of close buddies.

    3. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*


      I do encourage you, no matter what you decide re the schools, to find a pediatric neurologist . Our saved my sanity. Intensely familiar with all points of the spectrum, his counsel was always calm and wise and I’ll credit him a nice chunk of how well things have turned out for our son. He was our partner.

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*


        The lack of back and forth conversation, especially if it is replaced with only rote speech, is a pretty big developmental issue. My son was 10 before we could have any kind of conversation with him. In his case, auditory processing disorder, which is very isolating, was a contributing factor. Auditory process disorder is a significant impediment to learning. You are much better off looking into that when is four than when he is in second grade. Auditory processing disorder makes speech in the world around very confusing and contributes to children on the spectrum retreating inward.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*


          And I see further up that you are already operating with an IEP. IEP’s are informed by a physician’s diagnosis and recommendations. So, our pediatric neurologist wrote the guts of all our son’s IEPs, based on very specific issues and then what teachers should do to accommodate. Our special ed coordinators and teachers were excellent, but they needed the doctor’s recommendations to know exactly what to do. I wouldn’t fly an IEP for a spectrum child without a doctor in charge.

          1. Gerri*

            please listen to Wakeen and do everything she says
            As a mom of a 15 yo autistic boy, getting the Dx does protect your child. My son is sweet and not an aggressive kid, but b/c he has a Dx, he is heavily protected from discrimination.

            When he was in 4th grade, and having a hard time and screaming, the principal said he would need to stay at school and do work while the rest of the 4th grade went on the field trip. The Dept of Education sent a federal lawyer within 24 hours to straighten it all out.

            I am also a preschool teacher with 8 autistic kids in my classroom!

            educate yourself at Wrightslaw – google it!

  39. Cath in Canada*

    I wasn’t sure if an impostor syndrome discussion belonged on the Friday thread or not, so I saved it for today.

    A friend of mine was asked at very short notice to give a talk to some superstar high-school kids about careers in science. She wasn’t really sure what to include, and I suggested that briefly introducing the idea of impostor syndrome might be a good fit; I think the kids who do the best at school and undergrad are the most prone to it, and knowing to watch out for it before it hits them might help to mitigate its effects. (It really hit me in the first year of my PhD, when I thought that for sure “they” were going to find out that all I was good at was passing exams and I’d get kicked out. It wasn’t until a fellow student drunkenly confessed to the exact same fear that I knew I wasn’t alone; I didn’t hear the term “impostor syndrome” until about five years later).

    I was surprised at how strongly some people in the group where I suggested this disagreed – they thought it was far too negative a thing to bring up, even though every single person in the group admitted to having experienced IS and agreed that knowing they weren’t alone would have helped. Others in the group thought it was a good idea though, including the friend who’s giving the talk, although I don’t know what she eventually decided.


    1. Ruffingit*

      Include it absolutely!! So many people have this fear and being able to put a name to it and know that others share it is life changing in some cases. I certainly felt this way when I was in law school and I now know others did too. Would have helped to know it before or during that experience.

      I also think there’s something to be said for talking about the opposite problem too – the one where you think you are a rock star and then you get involved in things where you’re now the small fish in a very big pond. That also happened to some people I knew in law school. They thought they were awesomerockstaroftheuniverse and then were rudely awakened by the fact that law school contained several awesome rock stars of the universe. Knowing how to deal with that would help a lot of people who think they will always be the super stars.

    2. Anon*

      I think bringing up imposter syndrome is a great idea.

      I was a psychology major, so I learned about it before I graduated. I saw it as a normal part of a new job. I didn’t feel alone or scared by it. I’m grateful for that!

      1. Anon*

        By the way, here is a huge benefit to learning about imposter syndrome before beginning a new job: You can look around at all your perfectly competent coworkers, and you know some of them felt like this. Your teachers and managers, too, and everyone you look up to.

    3. Gilby*

      Apparently I am one of the few here that disagree…about using Imposter Syndrome wording. I think we give out to many labels.

      We need to stop telling people …. “You might end up getting…Imposter syndrome… and that is why….” “. Or You have ” this… syndrome… so therefore…..”.

      Now, I AM NOT saying to tell them life will be perfect. But don’t LABEL that stuff. Just talk about it. We don’t want people going into jobs, life thinking that everything that is done, said, and so on has to have some psychological meaning and give it a name.

      I think it sends a negative connotation that might not even be a problem. We are telling students right off the bat that IF this happens…. “Yeah.. you have might have a syndrome…..”?

      Why not address the issues as they are. “You might feel that you are in over your head…. here are some suggestions on how to handle it…..”. “ You might feel that since you got straight A’s in college that work will be smooth sailing…….but…. requirements and culture are different in the work world”. ( just samples of stuff) . Yes addressing the negative but no labels with it.

      Personally if I had a co-worker or subordinate ( I have been a manager of 20 ) that came to me and started to tell me they had Imposter Syndrome ( or the like), I’d say…. OK fine call it what you want, but lets take care of it and go on to the issue. I’d be wondering what else they’d be “labeling” themselves if they had other problems. ( or what they feel are problems)

      We need to tell people at a new job to just address it….. “ I am having problems with…….” . To me labeling kind of gives an excuse for behavior. We don’t want people new to the work place thinking “ OK I have must a syndrome so that is why…..”. Or I need to be treated differently because I have a syndrome.

      Don’t get that into their heads to start with.

      We want them proactively SOLVING it. If they need help then teach them how to ask and how to effectivly explain what their issue it WITHOUT a syndrome mentality.

      By the way… I am not suggesting that people SAY they have a syndrome to co-workers/managers. But don’t give the the idea they have this problem to start with.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t this is something people think of as a syndrome in the way the word is used in other contexts. The reason that knowing about impostor syndrome is so useful is that it’s hugely eye-opening to realize “oh, other people in my shoes feel this way; it’s not something about me.” It’s a powerful epiphany when you discover that.

        1. Gilby*

          So why not just say…. when talking to students, people new to the working world… anyone…

          ” Hey… we have all been in your shoes… we know exaclty how you feel” or ” I can TOTALLY relate…… here is what I did to help myself…”. Form a bond. Give suggestions.

          Why give it a name?

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Why give it a name? Because when you tell people “I can totally relate to what it’s happening to you,” most peoples immediate reaction is “no, you can’t, you have no idea!” Or at least a lot of people react that way, especially teenagers (who, if I recall my time there correctly, are pretty sure that everything is new, crazy, ground-breaking and totally beyond the comprehension of anyone above like 22).

            Whereas when you give something an interesting, easy to remember name people are interested and want to learn more.

            I suspect this is especially true when adults are trying to give advice to younger people, which is so difficult to do anyway.

            Plus, I think given even the tiniest bit of context, even high schoolers will know they’re not talking about, like, a medical disorder. :)

            1. Cath in Canada*

              Yes, this was my experience too. Learning that my friend also thought he was a fraud helped a fair bit; learning that it was so common that there was actually a name for it was the most helpful thing in starting to get over it.

  40. C Average*

    There are always comments about Alison’s cat pictures, so I’m wondering: who else here has a cat?

    I have a four-year-old patched tabby named Mitzvah. (We call her Mitzy.) She likes to read AAM with me . . . and by “read AAM,” I of course mean she likes to walk across my keyboard while I am reading AAM.

    1. littlemoose*

      I’ve got a rotten little Maine Coon mix. She’s only nice to me and sometimes the boyfriend. But she loves snuggles with me and purrs like crazy. Attempting to sit on my laptop while I’m working is one of her favorite pastimes.

    2. Anonymous*

      I have a little brown tabby named Almond. She’s scared of new people and other animals, but instead of running away and hiding, she curls up like a pill bug and hides her face. She lets people pick her up, hold her, and pet her like that. She warmed up to me but I still think pill bug mode was pretty cute :)

    3. Mimmy*

      We have one cat–used to have two cats. They were sisters born around 9/11. We got them from a rescue organization that came to my husband’s work in 2003. One died last year from cancer. I don’t remember what type they are though.

    4. SD Cat*

      My parents have 2 kitties, and my roommate (and several friends) have cats. So I don’t technically have a cat, but spend plenty of time around them :)

    5. Elkay*

      Two cats, siblings, boy and a girl who will be 4 in September. I asked a few weeks about getting the girl to eat wet food to help her put on weight and despite the advice on here the stubborn little thing turned her nose up while her larger brother scarved the lot and he does not need the extra food.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      One outside kitty, Pig. She looks a lot like the kitty we had growing up. :)

      Her former owner had called her Miss Piggy, but I didn’t like that so I shortened it to Pig. She’s afraid of everyone but me and my neighbor, who feeds her occasionally. She won’t come in unless I drag her in during a tornado warning, and then she lets me know about it, loudly.

      I’m going to have to pay an insane amount of money for a pet sitter to feed her while I’m in the UK. But I don’t want to saddle my neighbor with that–he’s older, and he’s been having some issues getting around.

      1. Jessica (the celt)*

        Pig looks so much like one of my former kitties, Meenie (as in Eenie, Meenie…), and it just made me miss her so much! She’s adorable!

    7. Rebecca*

      I have multiple cats, because I am a softy and I can’t find anyone to adopt them!

      I have two elderly sisters (15 years +), and 3 just over 1 year old cats. Last summer, we had a kitten explosion in our neighborhood. One of the mother cats was poisoned, I believe, and had to be put down when her 4 kittens were 7 weeks old. I cared for them, got them spayed/neutered & tried to home them. One person took 2 of them for 2 days and brought them back. They were active, but only 10 weeks old at the time, and she didn’t know what to expect. 2 of them were hit on the road, and I brought the other 2 inside because I couldn’t bear to bury another one.

      Another mother cat had 5 kittens; they were really feral. 2 hit on the road, 1 simply disappeared, probably a coyote, and the other 2 (who are mirror images of the 2 surviving kittens mentioned above) were too wild to pick up. I provided food and shelter outside, and finally was able to catch the female for spaying. It was well below zero when she came home from the vet, and well, she’s been inside too :) Her brother disappeared and I think he’s deceased.

      There’s one more – he’s our neighborhood “go from house to house and mooch treats” cat. He was dropped off several years ago, starving and thin. I fed him and gave him shelter, he’s now neutered with shots, and he spends his days laying about outside and just comes and goes as he pleases.

      At least no new kittens so far this summer. I’m glad about that.

      I love them all. If I won the Powerball, I’d buy a huge lot of land, build a house in the middle of it with multiple cat friendly outbuildings, and I’d take in the stray cats in my county. They’d be neutered/spayed/fed/watered and have vet care, and could live out their lives in peace.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        I have a cat – she is black & white (a bit like that cat from the Felix adverts/cat food) and called Paige. She is 5 now and still a little naughty cat. Found of randomly meowing. Her place to sleep of the moment is right up on the side of my pillow.

    8. Jen RO*

      I have two tomcats: Squeak (Scârț în Romanian, the noise a door makes – because he couldn’t meow properly) and Loki. Scârț is 3 and we found him next to our block of flats; Loki is 8 months old and was found by a friend under a car. I love my little bastards.

      1. cuppa*

        I have a seven month-old kitten that also squeaks, although this morning I heard my first proper meow from her!

    9. Hcat*

      I have 2 cats, a British short hair named Humphrey and a Persian named Hubert (my gravatar). Hubert is a certified pet therapist. We do volunteer work and he creates a whole lot of happiness for people at the end stages of their life.

  41. Shell*

    Site question instead. Alison, I think you’ve answered this before but for the life of me I can’t find where you answered it, so my apologies.

    Out of curiosity, Alison, what’s your turnaround on questions? I think you said that you cull interesting questions into a queue and then answer whichever one you feel like, but I can’t remember if you’ve said what’s the average time it takes for you to clear out the entire queue.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I never clear out the entire queue! I wish I could, but it’s impossible. The lowest I’ve ever gotten it is 30, but often it hovers around 100. At one point it was routinely higher than that, but I’m resolving not to let that happen anymore.

      Turnaround time varies widely (and doesn’t necessarily correlate to the size of the queue; it correlates more to what grabs me the most at any particular time, which can vary by day). Sometimes turnaround is as soon as the next day. Sometimes it’s as long as a couple of months (although I try not to do that). Average time for stuff that ends up getting answered is probably a week or two, but there’s tons of variation on both sides of that.

  42. Ruffingit*

    Would just like to take a moment to BEG AND PLEAD for an edit button. This is me, begging and pleading. OK, thank you for your time.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd*

      why wuold you want an edit button?.

      Iveonly found about ten typoss in what I’ve reitten today.

    2. Vancouver Reader*

      You guys are hilarious and I wouldn’t want that to change. Editing takes the fun out of spontaneous responses.

  43. Ruffingit*

    Anyone else relate to changing careers and having people be idiots about it? I used to be a lawyer. I hated it. HATED IT. It was just not my thing. So I went back to school for a grad degree and now I love my profession though I am looking for more challenging full-time work with more money.

    When I decided to move on from being a lawyer, I heard some comments like “It’s a waste for you not to practice law, I mean look at all the effort and money it took to become a lawyer…”

    WTF PEOPLE?? Just because I have a law license, it means I must now be stuck forever after in a profession I can’t stand? Thankfully, I was able to toss those comments aside, but it’s amazing to me how certain professions of which one is law have this idea attached that once you do that, you can never do anything else ever.

    I have a friend who got a Ph.D. and decided she didn’t want to teach at a university or research and she has now become a Yoga instructor. And she loves it! She related to my dilemma about people and their weird comments about advanced degrees/professions. So that helps.

    1. Mimmy*

      Well, not really the same, but when I was going into social work, I got the “they don’t make a lot of money” or “they take away children” comments. UGH. First of all, social workers are NOT in it for the money (though many agree that the profession as a whole is underpaid). Plus, social workers are more than just those who come in and take the kids away. Social workers work in every setting and with every population you can think of. Plus, they do more than just work in child welfare. Heck, some social workers go on to do legislative work.

      That said, yeah, I hear ya about feeling stuck. Most people are only familiar with social workers just working with children in school or with the elderly. I do not want to do that, but those not familiar with the profession, combined with my difficulty in describing my interests, leave people to have few suggestions for future career options when I ask. So no, it’s not the same type of comments you’re getting about “what a waste of money….”, but the common denominator is that most people don’t understand the nuances of many professions.

      I could definitely learn from you and your friend. It must take a lot of outside-the-box thinking to figure out how your background can be useful in roles most people don’t think of. I’ll be starting a Graduate Certificate program in the fall, and I’m going to really dig to find a way to combine the two and work from there in building a career.

    2. Dang*

      My old boss had a Phd and now has her own fitness training business.

      My moms friend hated corporate law and is now a teacher.

      They both love their jobs now, and are a lot happier with their lives too. The “waste” argument you’re hearing from people is very stupid. The waste would be your professional life if you kept practicing law and hated it. Life is too short for they.

      1. Dang*

        Also, it’s like saying you should stay in a bad marriage because of that expensive wedding you had.

    3. Shell*

      Yup, my parents, although they’re well-meaning. For one thing, they come from a time where doing something you like (note I didn’t say love) wasn’t even an option, especially since my father grew up poor and in a culture where money was more or less communal–the younger siblings’ money got handed to the parents, and a lot of it ended up being given to the oldest sibling for his university degree at the time. For another, with the economy as it is, great jobs that have that perfect balance of money/benefits/challenging work/great coworkers/great bosses/etc. are kind of like a unicorn.

      My parents are also from an era where a bachelors = instant gold (they had certificates from technical school instead…two year program), so commentary from them includes both “well, you never find a perfect job” and sort of assuming that of course I’d get any job I’m interested in.

      It’s mellowed out now that my temper is better, I’ve gone into occasional rants about the state of the economy, and I don’t really get too much grief ever since I left my last job for Very Legitimate Reasons (injury).

      1. Shell*

        Missed a part! They definitely thought it was a “waste” that I left my old field after that injury and burnout, and there was a lot of “well, you better find what you want to do, because every year you flounder around ‘trying stuff’ is another year a competing applicant gets relevant experience” (which, while depressing, is still true). Although now that I’m considering going back to my old field again they’re quite enthusiastic about it (since I’ve made it clear that my current job is not a career one).

        1. Carrie in Scotland*

          Not jobs but education, yes. I’ve previously dropped out of not one but two university courses, both wildly different (international relations followed by publishing and journalism) before having some “wilderness years” as I call it when I did nothing education-wise but have now since started on a part-time long distance course, which is different again (humanities). Many people have said I should have stuck it out and that I would have a degree by now but they don’t realise how difficult that was for me, to stay and try to complete something that I just hated.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      A friend recently said a very kind thing. I explained to her that I was enrolled in prelaw before the wheels fell off of my life.

      My friend got her law degree, practiced for a bit then let her license go. (She did not keep up the CE.)

      She said that a huge percentage of women who get JDs never use the degree. Law is not a job. It is your entire life, she said. You do not have anything going on outside of your job. It consumes you.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The post got away from me….

        I found her words very comforting, that maybe everything went the right way after all.

    5. C Average*

      I think when people lash out like you’ve described, it’s fear talking. People like to believe there’s a formula: Go to school for Career X, get a job in Career X, pay off your degree in Career X-ology, work in the same line of work for decades, retire and live happily ever after. Older people in particular like to believe that this formula still exists. Hearing that the formula doesn’t work–that you could study for a field and not like it or not find a job in it or opt to repeat the whole process in another field–is scary. It means planning has limited efficacy, and experiences and mistakes and false starts have to occur.

      Of course, if you really think about it, it’s liberating to know that you’re not trapped in one path for life. But if the one-path approach is the one you’re used to and the one you want, people who don’t adhere to this model look like a threat.

      Side note: I went to law school for a year and, despite working really hard, I flunked out (straight Cs). I was devastated for a really long time. Now I thank my lucky stars. I hear from so many people who finished law school and wound up hating the profession.

    6. Lamington*

      my mom just asked me if i plan go get my law license… ugh….. most of the lawyers that i know and practice it hate it or they get burned out.

    7. anon in tejas*

      another lawyer here….

      they say that because they are jealous. a lot of people stay in jobs/careers/fields where they are unhappy because that’s what they went to school with. sometimes they have the choice to try to change their career, sometimes they don’t. but I think that it really is jealousy.

  44. LPBB*

    Does anyone have any suggestions for books, youtube videos, podcasts, etc about dealing with your not-quite-toxic-but-definitely-not-functional-and-completely-in-denial family?

    Some chickens are coming home to roost in my fiance’s relationship with his parents and he is close to cutting them off entirely. (To be honest, those chickens have been roosting for a long time, they’re just squawking too loudly to be ignored now). Obviously, if he feels like it’s best for his mental health to cut them off then I’ll support them. I’m just hoping he can try some other tactics first, before using the nuclear option.

    For a little background: My fiance’s parents are very committed to the narrative that they are just one big happy family. Any resentment or conflict is the fault of the other party, not them. They constantly edit out any kind of unpleasantness from the past in order to maintain this ideal. They are also very locked in to seeing the adult children in terms of their preassigned roles, rather than individuals capable of change. My fiance is the angry a-hole screwup who will never be an actual competent adult, his next sister is the bossy know-everything who will always choose the wrong man and never listen to sense, and his youngest sister is the golden child who can never do anything wrong. Like everything, there is a little truth to these ideas, but his parents are so committed to the roles they’ve assigned, they can’t or won’t acknowledge the people that their children actually are.

    My fiance has been trying to drop his end of the rope, but his folks aren’t making it easy for him. Anything that offers strategies or ways to reframe what’s going on would be great. I found reading Deborah Tannen’s book about mother-daughter communication to be really helpful with my own relationship with my mother, so I was hoping there might be something similar out there for sons/adults dealing with their parents.

    1. Estranged*

      I’m sorry for what your fiance is going through. I have experience myself with toxic parents who will not allow you to move on from the role they’ve assigned. A book I can recommend is

      Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward.

    2. Student*

      “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

      I don’t think you’ll find a magic bullet on the internet or on bookshelves. Maybe talking things over with a therapist would help him consider his options clearly.

      You should stay out of judging whatever he decides to do. I’m warning you about this because you’re saying you don’t want him to pursue the “nuclear option”. Sometimes, that is really the best option. Would he want to interact with these people if they were not blood relatives? Why do you feel that a blood tie obligates him to put up with something he otherwise wouldn’t tolerate? Also, nothing is ever truly nuclear with human relationships – people reconcile later even after long periods of no contact.

      I cut my parents off for several years. Now, as their health has deteriorated, I’ve eased up to contact them occasionally – as in we’ve gone from 1-per-year contact to 1-per-3-months contact, only rarely in person. I am so happy about the minimal-to-no contact. I have no regrets. It has made me a happier, better person. Of course,

      I was also mostly honest with my spouse about how horrible they were, and so he’s been very supportive. If the nuclear option seems extreme to you, then maybe there is more you don’t know about (likely because your spouse fears you disbelieving him or siding against him, not out of dishonestly).

      1. Estranged*

        Thank you for saying this. It’s vitally important that you trust your fiance’s judgment on what he needs to do for himself. You have no way of knowing what has gone on for him because you weren’t there. Some people will tell others that actions by another are not that big a deal or they should just let it go, but only he knows how this feels inside. What seems nuclear to you may be his only chance at emotional salvation. Please do not question his decisions. Be supportive of whatever he decides to do and let him know in no uncertain terms that you trust his ability to make this choice and that you are there for him in any way he needs you to be.

      2. LPBB*

        Thank you for that Student! I *have* been trying to be very careful not to judge and to support what’s best for him. I didn’t even think about what using the term “nuclear option” revealed about my unconscious bias, so thank you for pointing that out! That was a very necessary reminder.

        1. LPBB*

          Replying to myself just to expand on something.

          I am not personally invested in the idea of maintaining a relationship with his parents. In fact, I often get very angry on his behalf due to their behavior and their treatment of him and their absolute unwillingness to even admit to decades of anger and resentment, much less why that anger and resentment exists. Like I’ve said, whatever decision he makes I am 100% behind.

          I just see the pain that he feels because he doesn’t have a good relationship with his parents and how very badly he wants one. I guess I just got caught up in trying to heal that pain without thinking it through. Thank you guys for helping me realize that my whole question, not to mention my attempt to problem-solve, was flawed and where it was flawed.

          1. Student*

            That feeling of wanting a normal family will never go away. I’m about 10 years into my estrangement from all my relatives. I still have occasions where I cry on my husband’s shoulder because my mother doesn’t love me. It is very much like a death, when you finally come to terms with it – but messier, because it doesn’t provide the finality of death.

            He will need to fulfill his desire for a normal family in another way. For me, my husband fulfills most of my needs for direct emotional support. Beyond that, I accepted that my parents were never going to give me what I wanted out of them, and that the fault is squarely on their shoulders because they are limited people. I’ve also looked very hard at myself to mitigate or manage any issues I have that mirror the undesirable behavior of my parents. I am happy with who I am, and confident that I’m mainly a good person who is capable of giving love and worthy of receiving love.

    3. BRR*

      I would have the siblings approach the parents on a united front and say people are capable of change and they all don’t appreciate being associated to a persona of the past and that if the parents will not see that their children have changed then they won’t be apart of their children’s lives. I would end with they will be welcome back if they change their attitudes.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Boundaries. Anything about setting boundaries with people would be good to read.

      I have read a number of mother/daughter relationship books and found them helpful, too. One thing that made a big impact on me was the concept of thinking about what my parents’ childhoods were like. What was their home life like as a kid? What was going on in this country during the time they were growing up? What is (was) their relationship with their parents?
      This isn’t to make excuses for poor behavior. It is to see what is driving the behavior. What makes them the way they are?

      What I liked about this is that I knew my parents would not change and my only hope was that I could change something inside me. This did give my brain something else to chew on, that seemed a little more productive than previous trains of thought. So, as an odd thing to say, I would say read up on the era his parents grew up in. Keep an eye out for anything that talks about attitudes of that time or what popular ideas were for child rearing.

      This one is a sad one: My father grew up in an era where beating your child was just a fact of life. Matter of fact, it was socially acceptable. Children were inherently bad and therefore needed beating.
      My father never laid a hand on me- not once. Thinking about this made me realize that he was a radical thinker for his time and his peer group. He lived what he believed on this matter. (It was not acceptable to tell your sibling not to beat their kid, for example. But he would try to say something.) The older I get the more in awe I am of his decisions on this stuff. Holding that up against my own life- I question myself: Have I stood up for something in a similar manner? I hope so.

      Context is huge. Look at the context of their homes, schools, lives as they were kids and as they became young adults.

      He may still decide to move away from a relationship with his parents. But knowledge is a tool. He can collect up tools to build himself a different type of life with you. To me, half the battle is being able to put into words what went wrong. Getting that far is a major win. Then start looking for new ways of handling old problems.

      1. C Average*

        I love this comment so much. There’s so much patience and compassion and perspective here. Thank you!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I think you have to go through the fist pounding first. It’s almost a necessity. At some point tears get into the mix. Then the progression continues to “I just want to set this suitcase down and not carry with me through life.”

          I can still pound a fist once in a great while. I can still cry occasionally. But I have developed a fascination for the history of child rearing and the changes that have come about. Also for the development of psychology. (I grew up in a time when pedophiles were thought to be curable. wow.) What the people before us when though… just mind-bending.

    5. anon in tejas*

      captain awkward has been really helpful for me in figuring out weird family dynamics. that and spending a lot of time at my university counseling center (for me a lot of it came to a head while I was an undergraduate student)

  45. Persephone Mulberry*

    Testing, testing…for some reason my last few posts are not showing up (ever since I tried to post a pic of my kittehs).

  46. Profound Chicklet*

    I’m thinking of moving to NYC but have no idea as to how to go about finding a decent place that is safe, clean and central. And within a budget. Is that too much to ask for? Would sincerely appreciate any guidance whatsoever. Have heard housing horror stories and ….ugh! Ugh. Guh. Rodentia. Noisy coitus. Faux rooms divided by sheets. Flat mates vomiting in sinks and bathtubs. But it seems way too exciting to let all the peripheral stuff get in the way, but I need some help. Thanks!

    1. TheSnarkyB*

      Hey! I’d love to chat about NYC. I don’t know if people are still on here today, though. Anyone? Lily?
      But in answer to your question, yes it’s too much to ask. You won’t find a place that’s decent, clean, central, and budget-friendly. But if you take out “central” you can get a lot of things on your list. If you want to say more about yourself or what you’re looking for, maybe some questions you have, I’d love to help :)

      1. Profound Chicklet*

        Ahh, how did I guess you’d say yes?! I live in another major global metropolitan area and have found my groove as far as all of the above in housing, but NYC is a beast! How far out are you saying? Long Island? Princeton? Thanks.