weekend free-for-all – September 12-13, 2015

Eve and LucyThis comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Book Recommendation of the Week: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is from the author of Interpreter of Maldies, which won a Pulitzer, but I will boldly assert that this one is better. (Also, that was short stories and this is a novel, and in a literary street fight, the novel will always win.)

{ 819 comments… read them below }

  1. Christina

    What would you make with 30 pounds of plums (damson, green gage, Italian prune) ? So far I’ve got the following planned: plum gin with the damsons, plum pie, pickled plums, plum chutney, and grilled plum and pork sandwiches. Anything interesting I haven’t thought of?

    1. Nashira

      Roast off a batch, puree it, and add it to your favorite vanilla ice cream base. If you can make it 2 parts plums:1 part figs, it’s even better.

          1. Natalie

            Oo, that reminds me of a dessert my friend makes with plums – halve and pit them, grill like a kebab, and top with whip cream or sweetened sour cream.

    2. Lore

      I like plums in salad with arugula and goat cheese and walnuts. My mom also makes a delicious plum cake–a basic coffee cake batter topped with sliced plums.

    3. Artemesia

      I love to make compote — throw in fresh peaches and either a can or a pound or two of fresh cherries. Tasty stuff.

      I once tried to make natural jelly from a tree of plums in the backyard of an apartment building. I faithfully followed the recipe for making jam/jelly without added pectin and ended up with a gallon of plum syrup. It was actually tasty and so we used it on French toast, pancakes, ice cream etc until we had finished it.

    4. Steve G

      Boiling them (putting) with cut up rhubarb in not too much water until its mushy, bulk it up with panko (unseasoned) bread crumbs. Yummy plain or with iced cream or on a cake

    5. the gold digger

      We have a pear tree that is producing abundantly this year. I have been making pie, strudel, compote, and cobbler. This pie (in next post) is amazing, which I guess is not surprising considering it has 3/4 lb of butter and lard in it.

    6. mdv

      I use italian prune plums to make plum butter a la my german grandmother… As one of my friends says, “worth killing for!” :)

      1. azvlr

        Can you really make umeboshi with end-of-season plums?! I thought you had to use a particular type of apricots, and the season for that was in May. I would love to hear this is possible!

        1. matcha123

          I can’t really say because I’ve never made it. From my friends it sounds like they keep it for a year before drinking it. You might want to check cookpad or another similar site:
          cookpad.com/us/recipes/155683-our-familys-umeshu

          To be honest, I never ate plums when I was in the US, so I can’t say if there’s any difference between American and Japanese ones. My impression is that if you have strong enough liquor and enough sugar it doesn’t matter :x

    1. pony tailed wonder

      That was a great movie. As soon as it ended, I drove straight to the bookstore to get the book it came from. The book was even better.

    1. Gem

      Agreed on both book and movie.
      “In a literary street fight, the novel will always win.”
      I just love this line.

    2. Jessica (tc)

      I agree that Lahiri’s novel is better than her collection of short stories, but I think it’s because she works better in the long form. Am I the only one that thinks that about writers sometimes? (I mean, Bradbury was a good novelist and F451 is one of my faves, but he was the master of the short story.)

      The movie was also wonderful, so I agree with everyone here. If you haven’t picked it up, you should check it out.

      1. Nashira

        Bradbury’s short stories have always struck me as being far better than his long work. I mean, his long work was great, but some of those stories were just so perfectly written, you know?

        1. Jessica (tc)

          I completely agree! There was just something about his short stories that were stunningly perfect. I think some people work better in the short form (Bradbury) and vice versa (Lahiri). “The Fog Horn” is achingly sad in an unusual way; “The Veldt” stunned three entire classes of sophomores I once taught (“Wait, did that just happen?”); and “The Sound of Thunder” always makes me think about how what I do, big or small, can mean something in weird ways that I may not count on.

          1. Nashira

            Have you heard deadmau5’s song The Veldt? It’s based off the short story and it reinterprets the haunting feeling pretty successfully imho.

    3. David

      I love The Namesake! I haven’t seen the movie yet. Her latest novel, The Lowland, is very good, too. Has anyone here read it?

      1. Valley

        I did, and I was really looking forward to it because I loved all her other books. But I was disappointed in The Lowland. I just couldn’t get into it.

        1. Aam Admi

          I read The Lowland last week . The ending was not as I expected. But I liked the story and setting – I lived near Colcutta for a while, learned to speak the language and appreciate the culture. In fact, when I need comforting music, I listen to Bengali songs and not songs in my own mother tongue.
          I devour everything Lahiri writes.

    4. Amanda

      I loved this book, and the movie was pretty great too which was a nice surprise. I didn’t care as much for her short stories, but I’m not a huge short story fan to begin with. I was very frustrated with one of hers in particular because I REALLY wanted to see more of the characters and their story.

      1. Jessica (tc)

        This, exactly! When I read her short stories, there were a few that felt unfinished or waiting for more to happen, which frustrated me.

  2. SandrineSmiles (France)

    I’m in a weird funk.

    The week was good Youtube-wise, but otherwise… Meh. For some reason, I’m just not feeling well at all. I have so many dreams, so many things I want to do… but then I look at everything and it goes blank. For example, who the hell gets semi-depressed about not being able to afford the Sims 4 to improve her gaming stuff ? (No, seriously, I don’t get it… I’ve been able to resist though.)

    There are potentially good things happening, though. I’m just crossing fingers for those. Ayyyyyyyyye.

    1. StillHealing

      I’m so sorry you are feeling in a funk. I’ve sorta been in one all summer. It’s both physical and mental for me. Does it feel that way for you too?

      Could it be there is just TOO much for you to fathom and your mind is overloaded? The blanking out is just the brain/minds way to cope? I’m curious because I think that’s what might be happening with me. I’m not having any problems focusing at work though. I’m thinking it’s time to structure my life outside of “work hours” as if it’s just as important. Breaking down my tasks to smaller, easier to accomplish within a set timeframe tasks. A weekly schedule of when, where and how to do what I need to do. Makes me tired just thinking about doing that though…..

      Sounds like you have a lot of positives in your life as well as goals, dreams and ideas. Could there be something physical medically you might check in with a doctor about? The ” feeling semi-depressed ” is definitely something to pay attention too. It’s alarming to you for a reason. No judgment from anyone here I’m sure.

      My life is full of positive and negative, possibilities and dead ends, work to do on all areas, full of opportunities as well. I have set up “rewards” for myself as a way of getting through some of the difficult tasks but then I’m back in a slump/funk once I complete a round. I find myself today again not even knowing where to begin again. I got to this weekend and I just need to rest. I don’t have energy to spare.

      One suggestion that’s been given to me by my Acupuncturist, it’s to get outside in the Natural World more and away from the digital electronic world. Seeing the sunshine and feeling the warm breeze today convinces me – she’s on to something. So, I’m going to start…outside.

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)

        Well, there are quite a few things to think about and, indeed, quite a few ideas and projects. I’m focusing on my “off time” life between resume revisions and stuff.

        As for the Natural World… The problem is that many opportunities reside in the digital world xD . And there are other, err, health reasons that make me hesitate to go outside for too long (but I’m slowly working on those) .

        And here I am, feeling blah but being able to list all those nice things happening. Huuuuuh xD …

  3. Stephanie

    (Alison, feel free to delete if too work related!)

    So I’m taking an engineering class at the local university (employer gives some tuition assistance, so I figured why not). And man…it has almost excessive levels of homework. Now admittedly, I am rusty and haven’t done a lot of the stuff in almost a decade, but even factoring that in, the assignments still seem crazy long, especially for an upper level undergrad course! And I got a pretty rigorous degree from a pretty rigorous school. Once you break the problems down, they’re not that deep conceptually (figure out which part of the formulas apply, solve, plug and chug…no theory or derivations), but there are just a lot of steps to get to that (for example. every problem has to be converted to SI units).

    So I went to office hours to talk to the professor to see if this was normal. And he said that yeah, the assignments take a while. He said the last one took him 5 hours (and he has a PhD and teaches this stuff).

    Anyway, more just a vent than anything. I’ve learned the hard way just to get started on these assignments ASAP.

    1. Dear liza dear liza

      The rule of thumb is that students should spend 3 hours preparing for every 1 hour of classroom time, so a 3-credit class should have 9 hours/week of homework. But that’s a heck of a lot to take on, on top of a full time job!

      1. Stephanie

        I wish the homework only took 9 hours! Professor said he figured it’d take students double what it took him. That was what I budgeted time wise and it took longer than that. Some of it is that there are concepts I’m just fuzzy on and have to go review. I at least now know how to pace myself on assignments. The first assignment was just a giant “WTF?!”

        (I’m also only at ~30 hours/week. My company hires a lot of people at my level just shy of full time. =\ )

        1. Dear liza dear liza

          Sounds challenging! Maybe the professor will lessen the homework a little as the semester progresses. I know I do. :)

          1. Stephanie

            Yeah, that was my mistake in undergrad–I didn’t reach out to professors soon enough in the semester for help. (I guess I was intimidated by them!) I met with the professor and he did say the first six weeks was pretty work-intensive and then it lightened up.

        2. Hellanon

          Can you track down any YouTube tutorials for those concepts? In my experience, whatever it is you’re trying to do, somebody there wants to teach it to you, and a lot of the big universities have entire channels…

          1. Stephanie

            Hmm, good idea! I ordered some Schaum’s outlines based on the prof’s recommendation and discovered one has errors. =/ (Although maybe it could be viewed as a good sign I can spot the errors?)

          2. A Teacher

            On that same vein, what about khan academy? They have some graduate level stuff on there as well. (Free online) I’ve used it for my 100 level courses I teach at a college.

        1. Dear liza dear liza

          True. I was thinking engineering wouldn’t have much reading, but I could be wrong.

          I also remember talking to a physics prof a few years back who said it was nearly impossible to estimate how long homework would take because so much depended on the student’s background. Someone very comfortable with the formulas might take a fraction of the time as someone with weaker math skills. (Not to say the OP has weaker skills, of course!)

      2. Honeybee

        You know I have often heard that that’s the rule of thumb, but have rarely experienced it. I don’t think there were any classes I took in college that approached requiring 9 hours a week of preparation (reading + homework), and I took classes like linear algebra, calculus and biology in addition to some reading/writing intensive classes like philosophy and sociology. For a 15-credit load that would be 45 hours a week of preparation.

        In fact, I always joked that I had way more homework and studying in high school compared to college, lol.

        1. undergrad_was_hard

          (more anon for this than usual, because I think my undergrad institution might be identifiable based on this)

          Yeah, this is hugely institution specific. I’ve been told as an instructor to never assign work that I think will go over this rule of thumb, which of course means I need to assign less because there are always some students who take much longer than others. So 80% students spend much less than that rule of thumb, and maybe 20% are there.

          Whereas my undergrad institution, the rule of thumb was about that for the intro classes, then suddenly the upper division classes (in multiple disciplines), I was told 5-7 hours of prep/homework for 1 hour of classtime was likely. I had never worked as hard before, nor will I ever work that hard again. It was miserable. I learned A LOT, but 80+ hour weeks do not make me happy. They did not make my classmates happy. Lots of people had breakdowns. But now lots of people I went to college are super high powered people.

    2. RG

      I generally have the impression that we went to the same school, but yeah, my problem sets were that long. Maybe you’ve blocked out those late nights doing homework.

      1. Stephanie

        Hoot?

        I wouldn’t doubt that I’ve blocked out the long nights or just otherwise forgotten how they actually were. :)

        1. RG

          Hoot! You know, I remember how it seemed like college was a lifetime ago just after a couple of months of working. Now it almost seems like something that happened to someone else.

    3. Natalie

      I’ve never taken engineering, but I am back in school as a working adult. That does sound like a ton of homework, especially for college. That sucks. :(

    4. Anx

      I’m wondering if maybe engineering has been hyped so much much in the past decade as being in demand (which makes me roll my eyes, because while it IS a pretty wise choice, nothing guarantees a job), that perhaps the programs are having to adjust for the influx?

    1. Mimmy

      BEST: Things are finally starting to pick up after a rather boring summer.

      WORST: My state council apparently can’t make up its mind on our special meeting this coming week. First it was to be over 2 days, then 1 day, then 2 days, now BACK to 1 day!! Gahhh!!! Lucky for me it wouldn’t have mattered one way or the other, but a lot of the participants are professionals with full plates.

      Note: I didn’t put this in yesterday’s “Best & Worst” because my work is all volunteer–nothing paid. Alison, please feel free to delete if you disagree :)

    2. Ruffingit

      BEST: Getting things done at home.

      WORST: Feeling blah about my weight. I really need to do something about it, it’s out of control.

      1. the gold digger

        :)

        I decided just to buy a new dress for my college reunion rather than try to lose the weight to fit into what I already own. My classmates are joining me in that strategy.

      2. Saucy Minx

        BEST: I baked chocolate chip cookies AND extra-spicy ginger cookies.

        WORST: I gained three pounds.

        SUMMARY: The consequences are painful, but the cause was sweet.

    3. Samantha

      BEST: Have a trip planned for next week to go visit a close friend who recently moved across the state.

      WORST: Trying to kick a nasty sinus infection before I leave!

        1. Samantha

          Thanks! I started using my Neti pot yesterday, which I had somehow forgotten about until then, and it seems to be helping a lot.

    4. Amber Rose

      BEST: I’m going to a Weird Al concert tonight! I have literally never been to a concert before, unless you count seeing orchestras, which I don’t.

      WORST: I got salmonella from those tainted cucumbers that were recalled. I’m only just feeling better today, I’ve been violently ill all week.

      1. Nicole

        I’ve never seen Weird Al in concert before but really like his work. Please come back with an update how it was – I’m curious!

        Sorry to hear you were sick.

        1. Amber Rose

          Update 1: We’re a half hour before the show and there’s so many people with tinfoil hats I feel left out for not having one. xD

      2. Cruciatus

        I saw him in early July–it was so fun! I heard the extended version of Yoda for the first time and still look it up on youtube every couple of days just to hear it again.

        1. the gold digger

          I loved that song! I saw him here in July and he was fabulous! I had no idea – my husband was the one who wanted to go.

          At work the next day, my (immigrant) boss said, “I was at the Crazy Al concert last night.”

          My boss cracks me up.

      3. StillHealing

        Sorry to hear you got salmonella!!! That sounds awful. Congratulations on your concert. Please do come back and post about it. Weird Al is awesome. I’d love to go see him in concert. He is so clever and intelligent.

      4. Amber Rose

        Oh man. No words. Should’ve brought a poet. /weeps

        No seriously though it was so amazing. SO AMAZING. He opened with Tacky from outside the building. Some random bystanders in the background were following him like wtf haha.

        He sang like, all his songs I swear. And he had a different costume for all of them. He did Perform This Way in a purple octopus costume with furry pink leg warmers and an ice cream cone hat. While he changed, the big screen played random clips of TV stuff he’s done. And he did White and Nerdy on a Segway!

        At one point he did a song of terrible pickup lines and went through the crowd giving lap dances to random ladies. He did a little striptease at the end!

        He ended with The Saga Begins and Yoda, with like a full backup of dancing stormtroopers. It was glorious.

        Best. Night. Ever.

        1. Mimmy

          Now I’M officially jealous!! He might’ve already passed my area, but oh man, that’s a show I’d see! Not my normal taste, but I loved him when I was younger. So glad to see he still has it.

    5. danr

      Best: new shed is delivered (finally) and now we can move the mowers and chipper out of the second garage bay, clean it out and maybe actually park a car there.
      Worst: still waiting for the big dumpster and new deck boards to arrive. Not so much ‘worst’ in the big scheme, but still annoying.

    6. VintageLydia USA

      BEST: A new (and the final) Dragon Age DLC came out this week and it was amazing. The emotions and stakes were high for my Inquisitor and the ending was a satisfying which should hold me over for a bit until the next installment of the franchise (most people estimate that to be 2018ish, though I’m sure there will be comics and books released in the meantime.)

      WORST: The rest of this week was really blah. Unproductive, just exhausted all week. It started in the upper 90’s and was super humid and now it’s barely 70 and been raining all day. Not a single day was one pleasant to go outside.

      1. Turtle Candle

        Aaaah another Dragon Age fan! I was so delighted with Trespasser. I was afraid it would let me down but I was so very not let down–it felt like a fitting stopping point for my Inquisitor. (And as a Josephine romancer, her scenes utterly delighted me.)

          1. Nashira

            Josie is amazing in general. I wonder how many players write her off, not realizing that without her diplomacy, the Inquisition would have failed utterly?

    7. Nashira

      Best: My depression/PTSD crud has started to lighten up, so I’m finally able to get back to programming as a hobby! I’m chowing my way through exercism.io and Codecademy and it’s so much fun. I missed this. Right now, I’m partway through coding Battleship in Python, and it’s so satisfying I want to use many exclamation points to describe it. I’m kinda thinking of trying to start a Women Who Code-type meetup in my town.

      Worst: Had to stop using a combined birth control pill because stupid estrogen hates me, so I’m having my first period in five years. With horrific cramps that began at work yesterday. I so. cannot. wait. to get an Implanon placed next month and have these things suppressed again.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        OMG, I have sympathy cramps for you. I know I will have to deal with that one day, and I dread it. I send ice cream, a hot water bottle, and lots of Aleve.

      2. Calla

        Ugh I feel you on the worst! I am “technically” supposed to have 4 periods a year but tend to just.. keep taking the active pills… except earlier this week I forgot to refill on time so I’m having like only my second one this year and I’m so crampy!

      3. Elizabeth West

        I can’t take any pills anymore–a couple of doctors ago, they found out I had a DVT fifteen years ago and wouldn’t renew my prescription. Even though I had no probs since and it was a rogue pill switch. So I’m back to having periods again. They’re shorter, so the cramp days are only a couple instead of a week. Last one, I had to take four ibuprofens and put my head on my desk until they kicked in. I feel your pain!

          1. Elizabeth West

            Like what you give kids? Ooh, I might try that. I guess it works faster, huh?
            A couple of months ago, I had one that was so bad it felt like tiny labor! I told my uterus, “Hey, there are no male gametes around here right now; stop practicing.”

        1. Nashira

          Oh no, I’m so sorry. My periods have always been so unpleasant (cramps so bad I pass out, whee fun) that I would be delighted to never have them again. Being stuck depending on pain meds alone sounds really awful.

    8. schnapps

      BEST: I took my 6yo and two of her friends to a movie and lunch today and we all made it back alive. The screeching in the car was excellent practice for the AC/DC concert :)

      WORST: work-related.

    9. Carrie in Scotland

      Best: I saw one of my good friends from my hometown and it was amazing! Although, our cake wasn’t all that :(

      Worst: Just about everything else (work, life, lack of time, lack of partner, lack of sleep, etc etc).

    10. Liane

      Best: Son – who seldom gets sick – has finally recovered, after like 3 weeks from this horrible virus with the worst cough you have ever heard. (Nothing works on it – not prescription cough syrup with Codeine, not the old-fashioned tea/lemon/honey/whiskey home remedy!) I haven’t caught it, amazingly.

      Worst: Daughter got it last weekend, plus fever, and has been out of school all week. And Husband got it about the same time as she did. They have been even sicker than Son was, I think.
      And a friend is quite ill with cellulitis and might need surgery.

      1. fposte

        I had that cough last year. It was *horrible*, and it was what led me to research coughs at 3 a.m. in medical journals and discover that it wasn’t just me (and your son)–codeine really doesn’t do much for coughs. Unfortunately, neither does anything else, really. Dextromethorphan (Vicks 66) sometimes helps a little bit in studies, but not much. Ultimately researchers were pretty much on board with the honey thing as about as good as it gets.

          1. fposte

            No, they prescribe it because they wrongly believe it to be a cough suppressant. Codeine isn’t a particularly effective sleeping pill either–if they wanted people to sleep they’d prescribe something designed for that.

            1. Observer

              What my doctor told me the one time he ever prescribed this stuff for me (it’s not something he does typically) was that it was the only thing that he thought would let me get some sleep. It’s not that he doesn’t know about sleep aids – he’s prescribed for me on other occasions.

              That did turn out to be the case for me, which in retrospect I find interesting. I’ve had codeine and codeine based medications for pain since (mostly post surgery) and although some forms make me quite loopy in a very unpleasant way, none have ever made me sleepy. I think that the effect was indirect – I didn’t need something to make me sleepy but something to keep the cough from keeping me from sleeping, which this seemed to do.

        1. Connie-Lynne

          I had the never-ending cough two years ago. After determining it wasn’t pertussis and that I was no longer sick EXCEPT for always coughing, the doc prescribed Tessalon pearls.

          MAGIC. Stopped the cough in 12 hours.

            1. Lindsay J

              The generic name is benzonatate. I’m on it right now for bronchitis.

              It hasn’t been a miracle pill for me; I’m still coughing a lot. However, it has stopped the occasional coughing fits where I couldn’t catch my breath and then vomited, so it is doing something. I can tell when it starts wearing off.

              1. Connie-Lynne

                I think it started life as an asthma med. According to my doc it addresses muscle spasms around the lungs; maybe that’s why it only stops the huge fits for you?

      2. Liane

        Thanks for the sympathy. Husband just started coughing again as I was reading your replies. He said he would go in to the VA Clinic Monday but I wish he wouldn’t wait. He called the last week and they ordered him the same cough prescription our son had. Bit when he wakes up he often ends up coughing for an hour.

    11. LSP

      BEST: seeing some beautiful public art in the park.

      WORST: having a sh!)ty workout yesterday.
      I never thought I would care about my workouts or fitness in general, but I am applying for a government position that requires a high level of fitness and this whole thing is stressing me out. Why didn’t I do track and field in HS?! (Thank you all who answered my Q last Friday about working out during work hours btw.) I am working with a personal trainer and everything. I want this so bad, but it’s as if my body cannot recover fast enough. Maybe I need more rest days/time in between? Maybe I need more sleep and better food? Can someone add 6 hours to each day? I wish I could just really focus on my fitness – not just for this job, but for me!

      1. Eva

        Hey LSP, you probably do need more sleep and lots of really high quality food! I can’t help you with adding 6 hours to each day ;) But I would highly recommend seeing a qualified dietitian for some really good advice on how to keep your energy up while working on your fitness.

      2. Annika

        Hey, as someone who is on again/off again with exercise, I know it takes time for the body to recover from the pain. I have found that having small amounts of magnesium – just what is normally included, in your regular multivitamin is enough to help the body recover. Have the multivitamin twice a day if you need to for about 2-3 days and you’ll feel heaps better soon. The magnesium does wonders !

    12. W.

      BEST: Part time work (paid) on the horizon (have been looking for months) – so this feels like a little relief
      WORST: General feeling of crappiness that I’m ‘behind’ in life. So many of my peers are in better places – jobs, homes, spouses, social lives and I’m not even at the starting point of any of these things, which is confusing and upsetting because at several points in my life I was equal to my peers and things looked good.

      1. Anx

        I can commiserate. I try to be positive, and I usually am. But sometimes I feel like tainted for life for not being able to acheive my goals in my 20s, like I’ve failed to launch completely. Professionally, I’m behind where I was at 22 at nearly 30, and that is bleeding into my personal life as well (not sure I’ll ever be able to afford kids, afraid I’ll be unable to contribute enough to a marriage to feel goo about myself, not as close to my family as I once was in part because I avoided them for years out of embarrassment about my unemployment).

        And it’s so hard especially because in my formative years, I was at least average, bordering on over achievement. I made more money as a full-time college student than I ever have since and I never wanted for a job and had a very rich personal life.

        1. W.

          Yeah I know I shouldn’t compare myself, and there’s lots more life to live, but unfortunately people judge as do employers and weird detours (even if they were necessitated by the economy) seem to be held against you. It does feel like something I’m going have to slowly claw my way out of – which I have been doing for who knows how many years already.

          I hear you with losing family over unemployment in my case I hid from friends – due to unemployment and then the job I finally got and everything around it. I think that’s the thing I regret the most, things might not be so bad if I’d tried to keep my friends.

      2. Eva

        Hey W. I hear you with the feeling ‘behind’ in life. I’ve definitely been there with those thoughts. It’s important to remember that A) it’s not a race, and B) while your friends might have their careers or spouses sorted out (or whatever else it is that you are comparing), you will have had different experiences that are just as valuable, and you will have learnt a lot from them. For example, I recently bumped into my neighbour that grew up next-door to me (we are the same age) and she had just finished her PhD in psychology, whereas I am only just getting through my undergrad and just at the start of my career. But in the time she’s spent doing that, I have had a lot of amazing experiences, including travelling, working in some really cool non-profits where I was able to affect lots of people’s lives, and generally enjoying my twenties. Those things are harder to measure but they are just as valuable!!

        1. W.

          Weirdly I wouldn’t compare a PhD to a undergraduate degree, but I see how you might feel small in comparison – but really that person’s been stuck at uni for a number of years and doesn’t have a great deal of real-life experience. It’s more like you two are passing the baton on to each other – and switching :).
          I feel like I’ve missed out on more basic things and part of me is wondering how I even managed to get here – what I should have done instead (and why I couldn’t see it at the time.) But I also know it’s one step at a time – which is why I’m happy about the part-time work.

          1. Not So NewReader

            “I feel like I’ve missed out on more basic things and part of me is wondering how I even managed to get here – what I should have done instead (and why I couldn’t see it at the time.)”

            Everyone who has ponder this one, raise your hand. [hand goes right up]

            Interesting point. My father said one day that when he was young he thought about this point: “I am going to walking from here to there. I can chose to walk on the sidewalks to get there or I can chose to cut through the neighbor’s yard. I will still get there. I will never know how much that simple choice of choosing one and not the other has changed my life.”

            I think it’s healthy thinking to realize this stuff. Of late, I have been seeing articles about successful people attribute their success to all the small things they do in a course of a day. The effect is cumulative over time- it adds up to something meaningful as the years roll by. Reflecting on our lives so far, as you mention here, can allow us to start to tweak what we are doing, so we can change the direction of our lives.
            I love Eva’s example of two friends and two different paths. We gravitate toward what we think is important. Both, you, Eva and your friend will make out well in life because of the knowledge you have gained on your different paths. Here’s were it gets interesting in watching how two people on different paths each leverage their knowledge/experience to influence how the rest of their lives play out. Something my friend could make work for her, I would never be able to make work for me. (I have specific examples of things friends have done. Thinking of me doing that same thing is very, very funny in some of the examples. It’s just not going to work out for me!) Differences in people. It’s very interesting to watch.

    13. nep

      Best – Another terrific session w a trainer. Working on the building blocks of Olympic lifting. Learning a lot. (And I’ve signed up for a (beginners!) snatch clinic — going way out of my comfort zone here, which is always good. Looking forward to it.)
      No worst

    14. Elizabeth West

      Best: Today, I got to see my former skating / YouTuber friend and meet her fiance. And her family. I haven’t seen them for ages. She’s the one who (#jelly) met the English guy and moved to London (#arrrrghh). He seemed nice but not really very talkative at all. I kind of felt like he didn’t like me, but hey, whatever. Maybe he’s just weird around new people. But it was great to see her and her family too. We met at the park where they were having a Japanese festival. I’d been to that park (a cousin got married there–#arrrghgghhg) but I’ve never been to the festival, so that was cool.

      Worst: I’ve gained so much weight back. Ugh. I hate myself. It’s my own fault; I’ve been lazy. No more. I have two skating shows coming up. Time to get back on the walks and cut my portions in HALF.

    15. Mallory Janis Ian

      Best: My college-freshman daughter spent Friday night and all day Saturday at home. She and her brother, who fought so much growing up, spent the whole time chatting and playing Minecraft into the wee hours of the morning. It is so gratifying to see that they are actually friends now.

      Worst: My mother in law’s two-day visit, which turned into a two-week stay, is extended again with no definite end in sight. Her attempts to evict relatives who are squatting in her mother’s house, while her mother is in the nursing home, keep requiring additional hearings that are set just far enough apart to make a return to her hone in Colorado (we’re in Arkansas) infeasible. She is a lovely, undemanding guest, but several weeks of being outside my normal habits had been wearing.

      1. Kate

        I was the same with my brother! Our relationship was greatly improved by a little more space for most of the year.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          I had almost given up that they would ever be friends. Now I’m hearing from so many people who “hated” their sibling growing up but are good friends as adults. Which is better than my situation; we were closer growing up but have drifted apart as adults. I always thought we’d be more like my grandma and her four closest siblings. They all made their careers spread out across the country, but they all planned and retired to the same area. They were always at each others’ houses, having barbeques, fish fries, and holiday gatherings. I wish I had that with my siblings, but then again, none of us are retired yet. We’re all so busy with our separate nuclear families and our own lives.

    16. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come

      Best: #1 Daughter came home today, and brought her roommate. Unfortunately, roommate is allergic to dogs the way I’m allergic to cats, so we had to call an abort on dinner. They were happy to take a bunch of crab legs back with them, though :)

      I took most of the week off and slept late and did some cooking and puttered around. Mostly I made some good progress putting my workstation back together.

      Worst: I didn’t get to take all of the week off as originally planned – work intruded a couple of times.

      Anticipation: Author&Punisher is coming to Austin in November!

    17. pony tailed wonder

      Best – I have been packing my lunch to take to work and my clothes have been getting looser. I was just doing it to save time and money but this is a nice benefit. I need to stop thinking that it is okay to eat junk when I come home now.

      Worst – my sleep habits are out of control. I have been having a tough time trying to stay consistent with going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time.

    18. asteramella

      Worst: Rapidly approaching burnout at my job. I love my coworkers but do not like where the c-suite is steering the company and am becoming disillusioned with the field as a whole. I’ve decided to spend this fall sorting out personal stuff and start seriously applying elsewhere in November. Hoping I can keep doing good work in the meantime even though my enthusiasm has waned significantly :/

      Best: This is the first weekend in a long while in which I have NO plans. All I’ve done is sleep, cook, and eat. It has been glorious.

    19. Allison

      Best: I got my leg casted after my ankle injury last week. I can finally start healing.

      Worst: I got my leg casted. Crutches (my knee is casted at an angle that I can’t use one of those scooters) and showering are a major pain.

      1. Finny

        Could you maybe use a walker instead of crutches? That’s what the husband and I have to use in similar situations, as our severe visual issues and lack of depth perception make balancing on crutches a seriously bad idea.

        1. Allison

          I suppose but I still couldn’t carry anything and would by just as hard on my arms. Plus, I would imagine a walker being much more difficult to use on stairs.

    20. Cath in Canada

      BEST: saw Alt-J last night, at a gorgeous lakeside outdoor venue in perfect weather. I wasn’t sure their sound would translate well to a big outdoor show like that, but it really did – they were perfect and the acoustics were stunning. I bought the tickets for my husband for his birthday and he declared it the best present since the time I got him the first Game of Thrones book for Christmas a few years ago.

      WORST: we were just about the oldest people there! And I got a ton of bug bites. Worth it overall :)

    21. QualityControlFreak

      Best: Tower of Power, baby! 48 years of screaming horns and Soul with a capital S, and I got to see them live! The energy in that room was insane. So much awesome.

      Worst: Ongoing work crap, with no end in sight at the moment.

    22. Connie-Lynne

      BEST: First real shower after three weeks of working/ camping in the desert. Also getting to see the husband and cats!

      WORST: My arthritis is still really painful which makes unpacking problematic.

    23. LizB

      Best: Tried out some new recipes and discovered my new favorite chicken salad (I’ll post a link in a reply).

      Worst: Just about cleaned out my savings account for some necessary car repairs. :( There’s still one problem they found that I didn’t have the money to fix right now, but it’s not urgent, so I’ll save up for a few months and get it done when I can afford it more easily. I knew car ownership was going to be expensive, but I definitely wasn’t emotionally prepared to shell out a full pay period’s worth of income in one fell swoop.

    24. Masters Degree JD Lady

      Best: My boyfriend gave me anti-stress tea, a journal to write goals in, and a quirky awesome art book that showcases sculptures from around the world. And a photo frame of us. My apt looks home-y er already :)

      Also Best: my (religious, conservative, previously anti-divorce/anti-my bf) parents realized how important said boyfriend is in my life, and have agreed to not cause us grief if: 1) we go to church/have religion in our lives, 2) immerse ourselves in my culture, 3) we both pursue our career goals to the fullest extent.

      Worst: People have been leaving the company in droves, ergo I’m doing the work of 5-7 people and very seriously considering leaving. Assuming last week’s in-person interview yields positive results….

      1. PaulinaB

        I’m guessing from the context that your parents’ new attitude is an improvement, but my hackles are up at all of their conditions. It’s your life – don’t let them dictate your spiritual/religious/cultural choices!!

    25. Hlyssande

      Best: I bought the most amazing pair of RED boots from Son of Sandlar at fest last Monday. If taken care of, their boots and shoes can last up to 30 years. Well worth the money, and also RED AF.

      (TW: Self injury)

      Worst: Serious depression flare. So much so that I catch myself thinking about how I could use a particular thing to hurt myself or deliberately burn my arm on the oven or something. I already have a psych appt scheduled in Oct so I’m just going to do my best to soldier through. Anxiety is worse too – I can’t stop thinking that I’m screwing up all the things, failing everywhere, and making all of my friends hate me. UGH.

  4. Kate

    Any recommendations / suggestions for motivating yourself to do stuff? I have so much to do and am not that busy, but can never seem to actually start anything.

    1. Ruffingit

      I make a master list of everything I need to do. Then I make a daily list with just one or two items on it. If I get more done, great. If not, it’s fine. It’s less overwhelming that way for me.

      1. StillHealing

        I’m not the OP but want to say, for many reasons, this is my default method. I’m unable to find a state of inertia. I’m tried “rewards” of fun activities to do after completing tasks but even that doesn’t keep me moving. I’m just so dang tired all the time working full time again. So, whats the secret to your inertia?

    2. Jill of All Trades

      Quick wins seem to work with me. Is there anything on your list that you could start and finish in about 20-30 minutes today? Have you made a list of what needs to be done, or do you have a moment of “I should really clean out this pantry/closet” and then close the door and walk away? With a written list, I can prioritize based on importance, time commitment, or money (if you need to buy stuff). And I can break them down (5 minutes to clean out 1 shelf during a phone call). Breaking them down to manageable chunks makes the list longer which can be overwhelming so that may not work for you. I like it because it’s little stuff I can do on the way to the bathroom.

      I redid my living room this week and part of the process from a few weeks ago as I was planning it was adding to the list to choose colors. An easy win that saved me the agony of trying to make choices in the moment.

      Plus, I got the little high that comes from striking an item off the list (why yes, I do add items I’ve already done just so I can strike them off. Why do you ask?).

      The most important thing for me though is deciding and committing to myself to I deserve for this thing to be done. I deserve an orderly pantry and one that doesn’t have a 7 year old box of Bisquik hiding in the back. I deserve an orderly closet to help me get ready for my day. Things like that help me get started when I’m lacking motivation or feeling overwhelmed. Good luck! And get going!

      1. The Other Dawn

        I do the same thing! I add things to the list just so I can cross them off. It helps me feel like im getting stuff done. When I’m planning something and writing the list I don’t always think of every single thing. I just start doing and then realize something else needs to be done that wasn’t on the list.

        1. the gold digger

          I love lists.

          And I reward myself once I have done the things I don’t want to do.

          1. Clean the bathroom
          2. Watch an episode of “A Place to Call Home.” (Thank you to whomever recommended that show – it is amazing!)

    3. Trixie

      I’m a fan of breaking projects into steps and just getting something started. I also like to check off boxes on a list or in my calendar. For writing, I’ll just get something down so it’s started, then come back the next day to edit. Organizing, pick a spot or shelf or drawer, and go it. Or if its something like cleaning, I’ll pick-up during commercials so its a few minutes at a time plus I’m up on my feet. Bigger things I may take a whole morning or couple hours for, turning up the music and diving in. Rest assured, we all struggle with this in some form or other and often is a matter consistent practice. The more often I just get something started, the more often it becomes habit to get it done.

    4. schnapps

      I’m all for the list making, but I’m more of an “eat the frog” type – I pick the think I least want to do, like changing the litter boxes, and do that. Then everything else is easier.

    5. fposte

      I suspect the “so much to do” is part of the never actually seeming to start anything.

      Along with the other people here, I love lists, but if they get too long they’ll sink me. If you want to keep the to-dos together somewhere, then have a master list, but don’t pull up the whole thing every time. Pick, say, three things off the list for the weekend, and by “things” I mean very specific things–not “clean fridge” but “Wash left fridge crisper drawer”; “Wash right fridge crisper drawer”; “Wash fridge floor below crisper drawer.” Feel free to start with the low-hanging fruit (“Move boxes to car”) or the stuff that you get some perverse satisfaction out of (“Weed spice shelf”). (Can you tell today was a cleaning kind of day? Feel free to substitute “Walk around the block” for “Wash crisper drawer.”) Then celebrate what you did. Woo hoo! Meant to do that for ages and finally did it! Look at me and my done things!

      It’s a lot easier to tackle the bigger stuff when you’ve rehearsed your brain into successful achievement on the smaller. I also find that sometimes I’m avoiding bigger stuff because it’s one big amorphous challenge in my brain. Work out? What does that mean? Where is out? How does such a thing happen? So then I think about the steps. Pull the workout clothes off the hook, put them on, turn on the music, pull out the dumbbells and ball and stopwatch. Oh, I know all that–that’s not scary after all, and music is nice.

      I also find it’s really useful to start that kind of mental step-taking for the next task while I’m in transition–like driving back home in the car. “Okay, when I get in I put my bag down and open the fridge to see how much is in those crisper drawers.” It’s those bridges between one action and another where I fall into the gorge.

      1. Kate

        How do you celebrate what you did? I always say I’ll read a chapter of a book or something as a reward, but then I have trouble just sticking to that reward. I know that when I sit down after doing the first thing, I won’t get up again for a long time, so then I only ever achieve like that first thing that I did.

        1. fposte

          I don’t reward (my couch also has those velcro tendencies), but I say stupid stuff out loud, like “Yay me!” “Wow, look how done that is!” “Woo! Getting things done today!”

          I would be a cringeworthy reality show.

    6. Tau

      I seriously struggle with to-do lists and have never quite managed to get them to work for me. Getting things done is a major problem, but for everyday routine kind of stuff (e.g. washing dishes) I have a set time every day where an alarm goes off on my phone and I have told myself I am to Do Something. Once I *start* doing something it’s easy to continue, it’s the actual getting started hurdle that’s the problem, so it’s easy to do a bunch of routine obvious work at that point. The less routine stuff, sorry, I got nothing.

    7. Kimberlee, Esq.

      I’ve been like this with my writing for a long time, so I’ve started doing what The Experts all seem to recommend… actually writing every single day. It doesn’t have to be good, or long, but you have to actually do it for some amount of time every single day. So far, it’s been working reasonably well for me! I haven’t even been marking days or anything, I just really try to make progress one time, even if it’s only a paragraph.

  5. Jill of All Trades

    This week I burned a bunch of PTO that was about to expire, so I decided that instead of traveling I’d redecorate my living room (the choices I made 9 years ago didn’t stand up to the test of time :/ ). I’m so pooped. I repainted the walls, trim, windows, and doors by myself. Plus I rearranged the furniture and painted some pieces. It will look so good when it’s all done, but I am reminded again that in the future I should really consider hiring painters because they are worth it. And never own a house again.

    I really don’t want to go to work Monday. Excuse me while I go Use peanut butter to get paint out of my hair.

    1. Sparkly Librarian

      Go you! That’s a big job. We moved into our house in January and painted 3 rooms before our housewarming in March. Haven’t done any of the other since then – life got in the way. But just in the past couple of weeks I buckled down, convinced my wife to decide on colors, painted samples on the walls and selected final choices, and got her to pick up the paint from Home Depot. We’re gonna take this one room per weekend as our schedules permit — plus extra just for the ceilings, that need to be scraped down first — and hopefully with the help of a new housemate we can get it all done (7 rooms and a hallway) by the end of the year.

      1. Jill of All Trades

        I also want to scrape the ceilings. Stupid stippling effect from the 60’s. It’s just such a pain I think I’d rather rip them down and replace the sheet rock.

        1. Lady Bug

          Be careful if its “popcorn”. Some of the older stuff contains asbestos. It’s not a danger umtil you start scraping it off and create dust.

        2. fposte

          Oh, maybe you’ll know! My ceilings are generally polite and plain, but I have one with a horrible swirl effect (it’s a bathroom, and my suspicion is that there was a leak from above that damaged the original ceiling). I was thinking I might be able to just get it skim-coated and make it less horrible that way rather than putting in new drywall. What do you think?

          1. Jill of All Trades

            If it’s just a swirl that might work. If it’s stippling which creates a lot of small stalactites then you’ll probably have to sand first. I don’t know if that process is better or worse than stripping the plaster or my scorched earth policy I’m considering.

      2. Jill of All Trades

        And good luck with it all! I took years to paint all of the rooms in my house the first time around. And the spare room where I put all of the miscellaneous stuff during my move didn’t get cleaned out until enough time went by to name it “the room of ill repute” because of my shame about it. Your timeline sounds aggressive but doable.

        1. NacSacJack

          Thank you for speaking up. Between my first roommate and my now-ex boyfriend, I havent painted anything in my house. Oh it will smell!!! Open a window, will ya?? The paint has low Vox now. What does that mean??? It means it doesnt smell as much. It still smells???

          I had hoped to get to it this summer but caught that 3 week cold.

      1. Sparky

        I have a tiny studio, and I repainted it in May and it was totally exhausting. I didn’t even paint the tiny converted porch bedroom. But it looks so much better!

  6. Cath in Canada

    Cat owners! Have you ever had a cat get suddenly a lot more vocal for no apparent reason?

    My “special” cat (falls off the sofa, gets startled by her own leg, once forgot how to lie down for two weeks) has very recently started making a lot more noise. She’ll “announce herself” when she walks into the room with a loud plaintive cry/squawk, and for the last few nights I’ve heard her wandering around the house making the same noise (we have a cat-free bedroom policy). She’s done the latter before, when we’ve come back home from a long trip (the tenant in our basement looks after them while we’re away, but doesn’t spend a ton of time with them); on those occasions she just wants to be reassured that we’re still here, but we haven’t been away lately at all, so I don’t know what’s going on.

    She seems perfectly healthy: eating and drinking fine, nothing untoward in the litter tray, coat in good condition, plays and wrestles with her sister, snuggles and purrs with me as usual. I’ve inspected her as well as I can, including inside her mouth, and she seems completely fine. But it’s a lot of noise, very frequently, when she wasn’t a particularly vocal cat before.

    1. onnellinen

      Maybe just a shift in behaviour as she ages? No other advice, but I have a cat who was very vocal when I first got him (he was about 12 when he moved in), with a lot of similar behaviours – announcing himself, wandering downstairs at night yowling. He seemed to stop for a few months and was noticeably quieter, but now I am finding that he’s back to his chatty ways!

    2. Hellanon

      When my last cat hit about 14, she started doing that thing where you walk into a new room and suddenly forget why you’re there. I kept finding her standing in the middle of various rooms, yowling piteously, and I started just picking her up & putting her in her box, where she’d pee happily and then go on about her day. Until the next time she forgot where she was going, poor little thing. How old is your cat? If he’s got cognitive issues anyways, they may be getting a bit worse with age…

    3. Anonyby

      My cat Cleo started getting a lot more vocal after I had to put down her adoptive brother last year. Jack was always the really vocal one, so I guess she feels either she needs to talk to me more or she needs to make up for what he was always telling me.

        1. Anonyby

          I ended up having to move 5 months after Jack passed. Prior to that there were no changes, and she’s pretty settled in to the new place now.

    4. Trixie

      My 12 year old tabby isn’t vocal but is a pacer. What the mood is right, he just goes from room to room making the rounds. Before long I’ll take him for some blood work, I think an overactive thyroid can cause anxiousness.

    5. Audiophile

      Cats are just…cats. Our inside cat has taken to living in hallway recently. She’s still her regular self, will only drink out of a mug in the bathroom and not out of a dish in the kitchen. She’ll eat in the laundry room, where her litter box is, but not in the kitchen.

      Did your cat really forget how to lie down?

      1. Cath in Canada

        Yes! It was hilarious. Rather than going from standing->back legs down->front legs and belly down->stretch out->roll over, she would try to get from standing up to lying on her back all in one go. She’d twist her head and slowly lower the back of her neck onto the floor, stop, look confused, straighten up, try again. After a while she’d get frustrated and just kind of throw herself onto her side. Then a couple of weeks later she was suddenly lying down normally again.

        When we got her at 8 months old, it was already clear that one eye – in fact one whole side of her head – is smaller than the other. It got more pronounced as she grew to full size. I wonder if she was dropped or squished as a kitten or something. But she is THE nicest cat – really snuggly. She had to stay at the vets for a few nights a couple of years ago and the vet and all his staff said she was one of their nicest patients of all time. I keep telling her “it’s OK, kitty, cats don’t need to be smart”.

          1. Elizabeth West

            AWW!!! She’s so cute!

            I laughed at “gets startled by her own leg.” Poor special cat! She’s like Allie Brosh’s Simple Dog from Hyperbole and a Half, isn’t she?

          2. Nashira

            Your Twitter feed is good enough that I sorta want to make an account just to follow you. I seriously spent 20 minutes just reading backwards.

        1. Dynamic Beige

          My cat does something I call “whump”. She’ll start with her head and just kind of roll her whole body onto the surface in one smooth move until she’s on her side. None of this lower your legs and roll over stuff. She doesn’t do it all the time, it seems like it’s a fast way to flop out.

          1. Nashira

            Our cat likes to do this at the top of the stairs when we come home. The problem: We have to go up the stairs to get onto the main level of the house.

            Thankfully, she has yet to fall down the stairs when flopping, as we Missourians like to call it. (Or just my husband and I, but I like to pretend to have a big head for comedic effect.)

          2. Jessica (tc)

            Our cat does that, too! Sometimes she’ll then flop around for a bit like a worm or something after she “whumps” (but only in very specific parts of the house, like on the edge of one rug or beside our bed). We call it roly-polying when she does it. The”whump” is just a “roly” until she “poly”s along with it. ;)

          3. QualityControlFreak

            So funny. We have a dog who does this, and we’ve always called it “whomping down,” as in, “Dogboy just whomped down in the living room.”

    6. catsAreCool

      It could be a problem with her thyroid. On “My cat from hell”, a cat who was suddenly more talkative had a thyroid problem. It’s usually not hard to treat.

    7. The Other CrazyCatLady

      Given your description of her head below, it may be neurological? That could explain any of the odd behaviors she’s exhibiting. By the same token, is it possible that the ear canal on the affected side of her head is malformed and affecting her hearing?

      1. Cath in Canada

        Oh, this cat can hear a bag of treats being opened from about four blocks away, so I don’t think her hearing is the problem, but something neurological is definitely possible

  7. Kate

    Also, ethical dilemma. Can I post about drugs here? If not, please feel free to delete. I have a friend, new to the city, who wants hard drugs (coke and ice). Has asked me to sort her out, which I can, easily enough, but would honestly rather not. But then I figure she’s going to get it anyway, right? And I’d rather her get it from someone I know, relatively safely, than buy online or explore dodgy parts. So maybe supplying, while normally dodgy, is actually the more moral option here? Can I do that with a clear conscience? Bit stuck at the moment. What would you do?

    1. Kate

      Sorry if that doesn’t make much sense. I am REALLY tired right now. Trying to formulate sentences and my mind’s just like tumbleweed. So if I’m not clear, let me know!

      1. gsa

        It made plenty of sense, at your question… Why you would consider makes no sense, non what so f-ing ever. If your friend is into that, you would be a better friend by helping them not do that.

    2. Amber Rose

      Except those are the drugs that can kill with just one use. And a good friend would not want to put you in the position of possibly being arrested so they can maybe kill themselves.

      Bluntly, rather than exploring relative morality, shouldn’t you be seriously questioning your choice in friends?

      1. catsAreCool

        “a good friend would not want to put you in the position of possibly being arrested so they can maybe kill themselves.” This!

      2. Kate

        Thanks but the relative morality really is my question. To be clear, I’m not talking about serious addicts, (I would encourage/ support a friend who was an addict and had lost control to seek help), but more casual party use. Everyone who plays that game knows the stakes.

      3. Honeybee

        Er, I know that’s the prevailing attitude about them, but truly the chances of getting killed in one use by either – particularly with someone who’s used them before – are pretty slim (unless we’re talking about overdosing). I’m not defending the use – meth and coke are, objectively, not good drugs to use (physically; I’m not talking about morals or anything). But most people aren’t going to drop dead from a single appropriately dosed hit of coke or ice.

    3. Apollo Warbucks

      You’re takng quite a risk for your friend if you start handling and supplying drugs, the legal consequences could be very severe if you get busted on distribution charges. If you’re happy to it might be better to make some introductions and let her sort herself out directly with the dealers.

      1. Kate

        Oh yeah, thanks, I wouldn’t risk any long term involvement. Would just make the intros or go with her a few times and then leave them to it.

        1. Not So NewReader

          All it takes is one time. You don’t have to do this repeatedly. You do it once and get caught once then that is your life and your livelihood down the tubes. To me, a true friend would not want to cost you everything you have and your personal freedoms, just so they can party hardy.

          1. catsAreCool

            “To me, a true friend would not want to cost you everything you have and your personal freedoms, just so they can party hardy.” This!

    4. NicoleK

      I would not consider supplying anyone with an illegal substance. I don’t want to deal with the legal, social, and moral consequences.

    5. Treena

      Public health professional here! From a harm reduction perspective you’re right, ensuring higher-quality drugs would help a lot in terms of your friend’s safety. But if you’re concerned enough to post here, it makes me wonder if you’ve explored other options as well. Has your friend done these drugs before (and needs the connection because of the move)? Have you done these drugs and now personally realize the reasons not to use them?
      In general, if your friend is of the I-moved-to-the-big-city-and-want-to-try-all-the-drugs type, a heart to heart may help persuade her to not try these. But if she’s already a user, definitely hook her up and let her know she can contact you if she needs help with anything (assuming that’s true).

      If you do decide to hook her up, I would listen to others’ advice and connect her to a dealer and not pass drugs directly, but I’m sure that’s what you were planning on anyways.

      1. Hellanon

        Legally you can still be at risk here, even just making an introduction like this. I would strongly advise backing away!

      2. Kate

        Thanks for weighing in from the public health perspective! Nah, I wouldn’t introduce anyone to hard drugs. Couldn’t forgive myself if something went wrong. The kind of use in my social circles is pretty occasional, usually just on nights of partying and she knows what she’s doing in that regard. And yeah, would definitely connect her rather than handle myself, at least in the long term.

      3. Way anon for this

        Thanks for the perspective Treena! I was once in the situation where I felt compelled to help a loved one obtain drugs. A legitimate need for pain meds, and doctors who would not prescribe the correct dosage.

        I felt at the time I was doing the right thing as I had seen the difference in quality of life when the pain was managed, such as it was. Having zero experience with this before, I remember feeling somewhat concerned that they were taking more and more and more. In hindsight, it was because they were seriously ill and not due to addiction. (Dependence, yes. Addiction, no.)

        We knew it couldn’t continue indefinitely, but you can’t go to a pain doctor because they test for that stuff before prescribing. I didn’t know where it would all end. An emergency trip + two month stay in the hospital and my loved one almost dying from pneumonia (bed-ridden due to pain tends to cause pneomonia, wouldn’t you know) got them clean enough without us getting found out. Other family members (who didn’t know our secret) advocated to get them on proper meds. I was too scared to push doctors to give them more, because I was doubting my instincts and thinking that maybe they were just a junkie.

        Long story short, they are on correct doses of real meds and pain is managed well. They take less each month, if anything. It has been more than a year. Now, the only thing I fear is if the pharmacy decides to decide they are a junkie and not give him his legally prescribed meds. My loved one’s medical condition is such that withdrawals could be life-threatening, rather than just annoying for a few days.

        Kate, while I can’t advise what you should do, I do empathize with your situation. I would never be able to forgive myself if they had died. I also think we did the right thing with what we had to work with at the time, but that’s another rant for another time.

    6. Cath in Canada

      Personally, I wouldn’t.

      If I had a Friend A who I knew had a lot of experience with using drugs safely, and a Friend B who was connected to a supply that seemed safer than other local supplies, I might put the two of them in contact. Maaaaaaybe. Depending on the drugs involved (I would think veeeeeery carefully about anything stronger than pot – I would never forgive myself if I was involved in making a connection that got anyone hurt), and especially on the friends. But I absolutely wouldn’t get involved in any transactions myself, in any way shape or form.

    7. Hellanon

      No no no no no. Such a bad idea, even if you’ve got the connections… moral issues aside, this is seriously risky for you, especially if they are a new friend. “Can’t help, sorry, and please don’t ask again,” is really your best answer (and I speak with some knowledge of what I’m talking about!)

    8. TL -

      I think, if you’re sure that your friends is going to use, and that the quality they’re likely to get is bad, I would be okay with giving them your contacts (with the caveat that you don’t endorse and maybe that you don’t want to be involved any further.)

    9. Diploma Mill grad

      Umm… Your information is still traceable and you are admitting to distributing drugs. That’s a bigger crime than doing the drugs. What on earth is wrong with people these days?

      1. Kate

        Eh, I’m not too concerned about a few comments on an unrelated blog, where I didn’t actually even admit to doing anything.

      2. Honeybee

        She definitely didn’t admit to distributing drugs – she said that it was possible to connect her friend to a supply.

    10. W.

      Don’t get involved – you’re acting as an enabler (or getting pulled into their sphere to do so), and if you start helping them fuel their drug use/addiction you’ll get caught into it and perhaps manipulated/used yourself.

      You’ve already said it makes you uncomfortable – it’s their habit – their problem, if they get it from someone dangerous – they are the ones that put themselves in that situation. It has nothing to do with you and you’re not responsible for their behavior/responses – this taking on of responsibility is dangerous because it can lead to someone unintentionally either having an unhealthy relationship or becoming an enabler.

      If you’re concerned for their well being express that you’re available to talk – or whatever you feel comfortable doing, but you won’t get them drugs. – Don’t give a reason – giving reasons could lead them into chipping away at your reasoning (and confidence) and it sounds like you’re already feeling that way.

    11. YaH

      I would drop her as a friend.

      Plus, what if something happens to her while she’s on it? Do you really value her friendship over an innate desire to stay out of prison?

    12. pony tailed wonder

      No. Be there if she wants to get clean but don’t get involved with this Russian roulette. Let her know that you are there for her when she wants to get clean but don’t help her self destruct.

    13. asteramella

      That’s a big favor to do for someone with no real upside and potentially bad consequences for you. If you’d rather not do it, don’t do it.

    14. Honeybee

      I don’t have any moral issues with drugs or drug use.

      That aside, I still don’t think you should do it. You said yourself that you would rather not. If they are going to get it anyway, let them. Your new friend’s an adult, and like you said elsewhere – most adults who use (even occasionally) are aware of the risks, including the risks of getting a bad supply. I mean, it’s one thing if you think the supply in your city is particularly bad/sketchy and you’ve heard lots of bad stories, but even then, I think you’re entitled to simply warn your friend of that and tell them to be extra careful.

      At the very most I might give them some ideas about where to look, but I would stop far short of procuring it for them myself.

    15. Kimberlee, Esq.

      I don’t think you’re under a moral obligation either way. As long as you/your friend/your dealer are even remotely careful, there’s probably not any legal implications. I do think you’re right that she’ll get it anyway. I was in a similar situation a couple months back, and I decided not to just because it was inconvenient for me, so I say, if you’d rather not and are trying to talk yourself into it by building a moral case that you should, just don’t! But if you would feel genuinely bad not doing so, that’s a tougher call… I tend to do more things to avoid feeling bad afterward, and I typically feel like I made the right decision.

    16. Not So NewReader

      Sure, she is going to do it anyway.
      We are not responsible for how the poor choices of other adults play out. This boarders on trying to be in charge of outcomes of people lives, and we are not in charge of outcomes in other people lives. She knows the risks and she willing to absorb that risk. It’s not your risk to take on.

      Okay, different angle but still food for thought. It sounds like you know a lot of people. This can be a huge asset in life. How do you want your life to go? Do you want to be known as a person who connects people for positive reasons or for dodgy reasons? All it takes is one time and the gossip goes right around. So even if you don’t get caught you still have no idea how this is effecting your relationships with other people. And you have no idea of the life span of the rumor, ten years from now people could be telling each other “go see her, she can hook you right up”.

      I would not do it for the simple reason that negative attracts more negative. I don’t want it in my life.

      1. Lizh

        Sore point for me. I say no, stay out of it. I have a family member who is an addict. The parent enables, and the issues have ruptured our family. The addict has stolen, lied repeatedly, been arrested numerous times and has almost died on 3 different occasions. Don’t get involved.

  8. Amber Rose

    I want to see a movie, but there’s nothing good in theaters right now. I’m craving overpriced popcorn and action sequences, darn it. /silly problems

    It doesn’t help that I’ve had the soundtrack for The Labyrinth stuck in my head. Husband is tired of hearing that he reminds me of the babe. :D

          1. Amber Rose

            Me too. I bought it on DVD a couple years back. I have trouble watching the sequence with the dudes who pull their heads off though. Still freaks me out like it did when I was a kid. =P

    1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus

      Have you seen The Man from UNCLE? It’s not the best movie ever but I thought it was super enjoyable, with great chemistry between the leads, fun action sequences, and AMAZING clothes and soundtrack. There are a lot of the fun, non-dire spy-escapade elements from early Bond films without the oppressive gender grossness.

      1. Amber Rose

        I wanted to, but it got kind of meh reviews and I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money.

        Maybe i’ll try and catch an early showing tomorrow.

        1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus

          The Vulture review is pretty on-point about what I thought made the movie so fun (the review is light on spoilers but does give you the whole set-up, in case you like to go in totally blind: http://www.vulture.com/2015/08/movie-review-the-man-from-uncle-shines.html). The emotional stakes aren’t super high and it’s not a life-changing experience or anything, but if you just want to get out of the house and ogle incredible mod fashion while eating popcorn in air conditioning, I think it’ll be worth your time :)

      2. Nina

        Yeah, I heard good things about UNCLE. It’s not groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a lot more entertaining than the reviews would suggest. I think box office wise, it was just released at a bad time.

        1. Margot, Terror of the School Bus

          Isn’t it the most fun? I’ve seen it twice and if this wasn’t the summer of endless resumes and financial responsibility I’d probably try to see it once a week until it left theaters.

    2. Trixie

      Our local budget theatre sells $20 popcorn buckets annually which we then fill for $2.50. I like the price break, just wish it wasn’t so salty from the seasoning.

    3. Steve G

      I concur, I am looking forward to The Intern (Ann Hathaway, Robert Deniro), coming out Sept 25th. I like a good non-violent movie about the world of work.

      1. fposte

        I’ve been looking at that one too. The trailers don’t blow me away, but I figure I can’t go too wrong watching De Niro have a good time for 90 minutes.

      2. OfficePrincess

        I just checked it out and now I want to see it too. The husband and I do have a Fandango gift card to use…

    4. Elizabeth West

      I probably won’t go see anything until Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out. December, I think. I don’t typically go to the cinema unless it’s something huge and loud, LOL. Mad Max fit the bill nicely. I loved it.

      In February, at our nearby tiny nerdcon, the special guest will be—Peter Mayhew. AKA Chewbacca. I wasn’t going to go but now I have to.

      1. Liane

        I doubt I will go to the theater for anything before then, too. I do so hope the 501st/Rebel Legions have some release appearances locally, I love being part of those.
        And Peter Mayhew is a sweet, clever man who is a lot of fun to talk to. Enjoy the con!

        1. Elizabeth West

          I’m sure I will, if I can manage to actually get anywhere near him! But he’s a friend of one of the writers who goes regularly and I suspect he has been nagging him to come. I’m thinking attendance will be through the roof with this one.

    5. Jubilance

      I second the recommendation for The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – my husband and I both enjoyed it. We saw The Visit last night which was very good – M Night Shamaylan is back!

    6. AnnieNonymous

      Do you have a mall with a movie theater attached? So you can walk around for a bit and then buy bucket of popcorn without having to pay for a ticket? Get the popcorn and then come home to watch the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries on Netflix.

  9. bassclefchick

    MasterChef finale this week!!! SPOILERS if you aren’t caught up!

    So, the final 4 last week. I was very sad to see who got eliminated. I really wanted him in the finale. Luckily, I really like all 4. Well, not REALLY a fan of Stephen, he annoys me. But I don’t HATE him. Unlike Courtney (I REALLY hated her and was NOT pleased she won) from last year or Krissi from the year before. I’ve really enjoyed this season. There wasn’t anyone that I “loved to hate” and I would have been happy if any of them won. Well, was rather glad to see Christopher go, but he was the only one. I was sad Tommy got eliminated before Katrina, but I didn’t think either of them would win anyway.

    I know a few of the boards I’ve been following have absolutely HATED Christina (the new judge this year), but I didn’t mind her. She wasn’t as snarky and mean as Joe, which was fine with me. The comments on the boards seem to think there shouldn’t be so many baking challenges since it’s a cooking competition, but I was fine with that. Better a baking challenge then the animal heads, I say. But that’s just me.

    What are your thoughts?!

    1. Jillociraptor

      We’re firmly Team Claudia! I totally agree with you: there were so many really neat people on this season and no “villains,” which I always find pretty contrived anyway.

      I have no feelings really about Christina, though I am curious to see how she does as a judge for MasterChef Junior. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Joe did with the kiddos. While Christina isn’t as snarky as Joe, she also hasn’t really seemed to have that same drive to coach and develop talented people, which is what’s made the other judges great (and particularly great with the little ones). Still, it’s only her first season and she definitely has potential–lots of screen presence and clear technical expertise.

      1. bassclefchick

        I was hoping for a Nick/Claudia finale, but I guess I got that already, didn’t I?! LOL I would be fine with either Derrick or Claudia winning. I wouldn’t be upset if Stephen won, but he wouldn’t be my choice.

        1. OfficePrincess

          Agreed. I don’t dislike Stephen, but I’m not really a fan either. I’ve liked Claudia from the start and Derrick grew on me throughout the season.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      I called Derrick as the winner on the season premiere. I firmly stand by that prediction! Do I have a reason? Nope, I just had a feeling… though I’m cynical enough to attribute that feeling to the way he was shot in the first episode.

    3. Nina

      I’m not a regular watcher, but I tune in sometimes. I prefer this to the constant screaming Ramsay does on Hell’s Kitchen.

      I think it will be between Stephen and Derrick in the end. I would rather Derrick win, because Stephen’s behavior makes me genuinely nervous. I feel like he would have a breakdown in a fast paced kitchen.

      While I don’t think of Christina as a judge one way or the other, I found her helping Claudia to be in poor taste (no pun intended) in the previous challenge. It’s way too late in the competition for the judges to be assisting the cooks, and if she helped Claudia, then she should have clued Nick in about asking for the missing ingredients. I actually thought those things weren’t allowed in the show (judges helping contestants and using anyone else’s ingredients) but apparently it’s not.

      I doubt Claudia would have won the challenge otherwise, because she wouldn’t have had any time to frost the cake, and that was imperative to the finished product. The way that challenge went down wasn’t fair to Nick, and I say this as a Claudia fan.

      1. bassclefchick

        I agree. Thought it was really unfair that they helped Claudia and left Nick to flounder on his own. On the other hand, at least we know they got a recipe. I always wondered about that. If someone told me to go make a souffle in 90 minutes I’d have no clue. I’ve never even made a souffle before! And yet, they all seem to just jump in and make one without any warning. Of course, if I took total leave of my senses and decided to audition for that show, I’d practice making the perfect scallop, a souffle, a beef wellington and learn how to make pasta from scratch. LOL

  10. Come On Eileen

    I’m starting the process of buying my first home, and I’m wondering when I’ll stop feeling anxious and start feeling excited. Any single women out there recently bought a home that can send me some good vibes? I’m worried I’m not going to find much in my price range or desired neighborhoods — definitely seems harder to rely on just one income for big purchases like this. Im in Northern California and prices have been bouncing back for a while, so I’m on the cusp of being able to afford a small/conservatively priced home.

    1. Jill of All Trades

      It was a while ago for me but good vibes anyway! It’s tough buying a house as a single person, but you can do this. To stave off the anxiety make sure you’re looking at houses you can afford without being house poor. That may mean the edge of your desired neighborhood or something smaller than you want. You can upgrade later when you can afford it.

      1. the gold digger

        It’s been a while for me, too, but I was so happy to have my own little house. I bought one that cost 25% of what the bank wanted to lend me because I am not crazy. And when I was laid off from my job four years later, I was fine – I could still make the mortgage.

        The great thing about owning your own house is you learn how to take care of your own stuff and you feel powerful. Like this week, in the ladies at work, the toilet started to overflow in the next stall. I heard my co-worker panicking and I was able to say calmly, “There is a knob behind the toilet near the floor on the left hand side that will turn the water off.”

        She did it. The toilet stopped. She called maintenance.

        It’s nice to know these things and you learn them because you do not want to pay someone $500 every time something goes wrong at your house.

    2. FutureLibrarian

      So I didn’t end up purchasing a home when I went looking as a single woman, but that’s because I decided to quit my full time job and buy a graduate degree instead ;)

      The first thing I will say is that you should never settle. Don’t buy if you’re not 150% ready to do so.

      Next, are you financially able to support yourself and pay for the house if you lose your job and are unemployed for a year?

      Last, have you actually gone out and looked at houses? I found that once I physically started looking, it helped me realize I didn’t want to buy yet. I liked what was in my price range, but I realized I wasn’t quite ready to settle down as much as I thought.

      Good luck!

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      Both times I bought, I bought as a single woman. Get online and start looking! You’ll get a really good idea of what you can afford and in what neighborhoods.

      And if you don’t yet know how much money you can spend, talk to a mortgage broker and get pre-approved or at least get a sense of what kind of mortgage you’re likely to be able to get. And of course, don’t just go for the highest number they’ll approve you at — get a sense of what your mortgage payments will be at different price points. But once you do that and you know your price range, online listings will help you see what you can get for your money (and are really fun and totally addictive).

      1. Come On Eileen

        I’ve been talking with a mortgage broker the past few weeks, which has given me a better idea of what I qualify for plus how much I feel comfortable spending (two numbers that are a long way away from each other, since I’m super conservative with how much I want to spend each month). I’m going to call the realtor she recommends this week and see what she can find for me in my price range. I’m not in any hurry, which is nice, but I AM antsy thinking prices and interest rates might soon price me out. But I really won’t know until I start looking, so that’s the next step!

        1. Honeybee

          I’ve been doing some mortgage calculations because I’m looking to buy a house in 3-5 years, and I’m an over planner. But one thing I am totally blown away by is how much the calculators say you can “afford,” and how much variation there is in that. The other problem is that so many of them do not include property taxes and homeowner’s insurance (and PMI, although we’d probably get a VA loan and not pay that) in their calculations. I found out that on a mortgage for about $500K the PMI alone can add like $500 a month to your payment, which is a not insignificant amount!

    4. Sparkly Librarian

      I purchased in that market last year and understand the frustration about budget. My wife and I both work, but only one of us took the mortgage (was evaluated and approved for credit based on one income) because of a number of factors (credit history, job instability, expected future earning potential). There are a lot of lovely homes that we will never be able to afford. The thing is: you only need one to be the right price/location/configuration/etc. It’s okay to be picky!

      I had a good idea of what I wanted from a home/neighborhood, and we’d discussed it frequently before a small windfall made it possible for us to act right away. We actively searched for a couple of months, picked a house that was for short sale, and then waaaaaaaaiiiiiited and went through a ton of paperwork to actually purchase it. That part was a pain, but we did get a good deal — came in way under market price for a pretty solid house that needed minor-to-moderate repairs but could be lived in right away. We intend to make this a long-term home (maybe relocating in retirement; we’re now in our early 30s). The actual monthly mortgage payment is much less than a comparable rental, and with taxes and insurance included we are paying on the low end of market rental. Plus we have extra space to offer for rent (although we can make the payments without depending on that). That said, we didn’t put down 20%, and would not have been able to put down as much as we did without a lump sum from an inheritance. We’d planned to save for a few more years now that student loans are all paid off (which is where the bulk of our money had gone in the past couple years), but who knows what the real estate market will look like then?

    5. Carrie in Scotland

      I’m selling mine as a single woman and I say, don’t underestimate how difficult it is to do everything by yourself. Seriously, it’s draining.

      But maybe that’s just me.

        1. the gold digger

          Get a husband who can do repairs! If he can’t, make sure he has enough money and is willing to pay someone else to do them. :)

          (I strongly recommend a husband who can fix things. I have let women on my block borrow my husband’s fixing ability. It gives me great status.)

          1. Diploma Mill grad

            I’m the most anti-feminist person ever. Mid-30’s. Female. Construction manager. And this is the most absurd advice ever. I pray you are kidding but I’m fairly certain you are not. Pick up the damn screwdriver and do it yourself.

            Your happiness in life should never be based off of the NEED for someone else. I’ve been happily married for 11 years. Mom of three girls. Husband has been deployed a ton of times. My life doesn’t stop because he has to go. Our strengths and capabilities are independent of one another, not dependent.

            1. W.

              That’s funny – that sounds pretty feminist to me. Indpendence and equality are important feminist concepts.
              I worked somewhere where a husband and wife divided chores into ‘pink’ and ‘blue’ tasks – made me want to scream.

              1. Former Diet Coke Addict

                One of my coworkers spends most of her time bitching about how her husband won’t do his “blue chores”–i.e., garbage, recycling, mowing the lawn, cleaning out the basement, and so on. She was baffled at the idea that my husband and I split our chores pretty evenly based on ability and what we prefer rather than just codifying it as “pink” or “blue.” It grinds me up.

                And yeah, independence, equality, and complementing one another’s strengths is a pretty feminist concept.

                1. schnapps

                  Exactly. Husband type will scoop the litter boxes before he feeds the cats (the man is so uncomfortable in a kitchen, yet his mom is an awesome cook, he will starve before he warms up a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce).

                  Opinion follows: any woman who claims she isn’t a feminist shouldn’t vote. After all, suffragettes and women, generally, risked their reputations and sometimes lives for the right to vote, and they continue to do so today all over the world. So if you’re a woman, and you think you’re not a feminist, you shouldn’t be voting

              2. Stephanie

                While I agree that Diploma Mill grad’s advice sounds pretty feminist, I could see what she means about being “anti-feminist.” Historically, mainstream feminism hasn’t been the most inclusive or focused on race or class (in combination with gender), resulting in offshoots like womanism. I think feminism’s gotten better about being more inclusive, but it can still feel like one fits outside the “feminist” label if she doesn’t fit the archetype of white, middle class or higher, left-leaning, and educated. Or at least this is what I always kind of guessed when women claimed to be anti-feminist.

            2. Jill of All Trades

              Gold Digger can, has, and will pick up the screwdriver. However, it’s nice to not *have* to do it, which I think is more to her point. I don’t think the snark is warranted.

              Also, some people are genuinely not handy, just like some people genuinely can’t do a lot of things. And no one can do absolutely everything, and it’s not a shortcoming.

              1. fposte

                I think being handy is more attitude and practice than anything innate, though. I was thinking about this today as it looks like I need to flush my water heater (and apparently should have been doing this annually–whaddya know?). And I wondered about getting somebody else to do this, since I don’t have a ton of free time and I don’t do a lot of work on the house these days, and I thought about why it is that I was reluctant, and I realized it was mostly the fear that I would damage something worse. But I was able to read enough to be clear that it was going to be pretty hard for me to blow myself up if I followed the basic guidelines, and that if there ended up being a lot of water in my basement–well, it wouldn’t be the first time. So that’s the plan next weekend when I have a little more flexibility and have figured out if I need to get a pump or not.

                There’s still tons of stuff that I don’t do, and I’m definitely not one of these people who believe that you’re morally obligated to change your own oil, etc. But for me that was one of the great things about getting my own house: not just learning how to do stuff but learning that screwing it up wasn’t the end of the world. I think a lot of “being handy” is about not worrying so much about failure.

                1. Colette

                  And the unwillingness to call someone to fix a mess you got yourself into because you thought you could do it yourself. IMO, that’s more embarrassing than just hiring someone in the first place.

                2. fposte

                  Sometimes when I think it would be nice to have somebody in the house who was better at this stuff, I remember my friends who found they were living with somebody who just *thought* they were better at this stuff.

                3. Natalie

                  @ fposte, or is slow as heck. My fiancé, God love ‘im, will volunteer to do many things, and I’m sure he would do them well. But I’d like them done this month, not next year.

                4. fposte

                  @Natalie–ha, is he the kind that won’t let you hire somebody else because he’s totally going to do it? I have friends who’ve lived in that limbo.

                5. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come

                  I think there *is* a ‘talent’ aspect to being “handy”. You can go pretty far without massive amounts of it. But I once had a roommate who was simply *bad* at anything that required tools or any kind of ability with machines.

                  Heh … If you really want to test your ability and your resolve, get a motorcycle and start modding it: a new seat, new grips, add saddlebags, etc.

            3. Elizabeth West

              I don’t mow my lawn because I have a bad shoulder and I don’t WANT to. I hire a man to do it for me. If I had a husband, he’d probably do it. Or he’d pay for it to be done, because I’m not doing it. I don’t like paying for everything myself and doing everything myself. I don’t have any kids to do the damn dishes–I have to do them.

              Just because someone doesn’t want to spend their life alone doing chores all the time doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong.

              1. schnapps

                Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem throwing money at a problem. Cleaning, yardwork, laundry, throw money at it. Hire a maid service, a gardene (er/law mowing boy, take your laundry to a laundromat that washes, dries and folds your clothes (a friend of mine swears this saves her marriage).

                But if you have kids and/or a partner, they need to pull their own weight as much as they are able (e.g – my 6yo can put dishes in the dishwasher, but no way in hell I am trusting her with my laundry). Ane if she puts all her My Little Ponies and shopkins on the floor, she has to clean the up before going to bed (or they get donated to kids who don’t have toys, because I am the meanest mommy ever).

                1. Elizabeth West

                  Absolutely. If (when please) I have kids, they will learn how to take care of their own things. Because when they grow up, they will have to. Even if I end up living in a palace (relatively speaking), those kids are going to have chores. I don’t want them going to university and being the whiner in the dorm who can’t run the washing machine (how many times I had to help a dorm mate like that, arggh!) or losing jobs right and left because they can’t do their own work. And I’m not doing all the work while my husband does nothing. Unless we have a housekeeper, but I still figure we can put our own clothes in the hamper like adults, even if someone else does the actual washing.

                  LOL I love your last sentence.

    6. Diploma Mill grad

      As a large production home builder in the south, we monitor new starts and sales constantly. Don’t buy a home in CA until the drought issue is resolved. The property will ultimately be worthless without a solution. We have Californians moving to the south building brand new homes by the tens of thousands.

      1. Come On Eileen

        Eek. Not the answer I was looking for, but I understand where you are coming from. Things are pretty brutal here right now, with the drought plus all the wildfires.

    7. Colette

      I wasn’t terrified when I bought, but I probably should have been. Everyone has good advice about finances – buy less than the bank says you can afford, make sure you can save for repairs, and consider what you’d do if your I come changes. If you don’t know how to fix stuff, the Internet is a wonderful gift, and stubbornness is almost as valuable as know-how (says the person who took three days to figure out how to change the cartridge in the kitchen sink a few months ago).

      And make sure you buy a place you’ll want to stay in for a while. Selling is really expensive.

      (Fifteen years in, I’m still glad I did it.)

      1. fposte

        Hey, sixteen for me this summer. And I’m going through another house-focused phase right now and getting stuff fixed and upgraded. Which I really enjoy.

        1. Colette

          I’ve done a lot of painting and a few small renovations (plank ceiling in the basement bathroom to replace the one I cut a hole in … eight? years ago, putting a hidden door on a closet) over the last couple of years. Next is the basement, which will be the type of project I hire someone for. There’s always something I can do, but there’s not often something I must do.

            1. Colette

              The former bathroom ceiling was low. It turned out that this was because the ducts are above it, so the people who built the bathroom built a framework below the ducts (and built it into the tops of the walls, so it wasn’t going anywhere). The old ceiling was the foam tiles you staple up, so when I had to cut into them, it wasn’t easily fixable.

              My criteria for the new ceiling and was that it had to be close to flush with the frame, it had to be easy and relatively cheap, and o had to be able to remove and replace part of the ceiling if necessary.

              I ended up buying construction grade 1x4s, painting them white, and screwing them to the frame. Since the bathroom is long and narrow with an obvious break about halfway, I put them up lengthwise to the break, then width wise afterwards. Then I caulked between them and painted again. I didn’t hide/cover the screws since I want to be able to easily take a board down if necessary, but I think it looks good anyway.

              If I were doing it again, I’d probably use wider boards, since it took a lot of 1x4s.

              You can see a picture here .

    8. Natalie

      Yes, I bought my first house this summer as a single woman. (Since engaged, but I wasn’t expecting that to happen quite yet.)

      The anxiety is totally normal. I have a little note I wrote to myself reminding me of what resources I still had after wiring the down payment, because that was scary as shit! I have never handed over anything like that much money to anybody, and probably never will unless I eventually need a bigger house.

      As far as being concerned about what you’ll find – I think it’s best if you aren’t on any sort of timetable. I renewed my lease, and as it happened I had an offer accepted weeks after the new lease term started. I wasn’t thrilled about paying the lease break fee, but I can’t see the future and it helped me to know that I wouldn’t be homeless. Take your time, don’t rush into anything because you want *a* house – make sure you want *that* house. When the right one comes along, you’ll know. I thought that was realtor nonsense but it really ended up being true. And I love my home.

      1. Natalie

        Oh, and I tended to shift between anxiety and excitement at every step – offer, counter offer, inspection, etc. I don’t think I stopped feeling anxious until about 6 weeks ago when I unpacked my last box.

        1. fposte

          My realtor teased me because at the walkthrough before the closing I still wasn’t ready to park in the driveway.

          1. Natalie

            I don’t have a driveway but I do have a parking pad in the back. Still not used to it! I park on the street, which is extra inconvenient because I have an alley house and the parking pad is 5 feet from the back door.

            Habits are funny.

    9. Meg Danger

      Just purchased my first home a couple months ago :) I live in a very affluent area and income diversity and affordable housing are def on community radar here. I qualified for an affordable home-ownership program that is exclusive to my county… so maybe you want to check if the communities you are interested in have similar programs? For me it was a way to stay in my community permanently.

    10. class factotum

      I learned how to do a lot of things after I bought my house as a single woman. I had my dad’s old Good Housekeeping home repair book and my own tools and I figured stuff out. There’s a lot a person can do just following instructions. I am sending you good vibes!

      When I got married and we moved into the house we are in now, we had to tear out the carpet in the basement. (Hint: You do not ever want to hear what carpet sounds like after it has been wet for three days.)

      The stairs looked awful. My husband wanted to pay to have them replaced, but I said NO WAY – I can refinish them.

      And I did. They are gorgeous now. Look! http://class-factotum.blogspot.com/2009/05/hoe-not-ho.html

    11. NDQ

      Doing this on my own as well. It’s rather empowering to know you’re not relying on anyone else to buy your home. Be proud and celebrate the achievement.

      Single women especially need to plan for their financial future. Provide your own security.

      NDQ

    12. Not So NewReader

      Good vibes heading your way~~~~~~

      I bought this house with my late husband. Uh, the tricky part here, is that husbands have to have time off from work in order to fix the house. A person who is working 12-14 hours a day does not have time/energy to do household repairs.
      I have been here for a few years on my own. In a way, it was kind of a good thing for me to see and get used to my husband’s long hours. I did learn some repairs on my own. I also learned that my ability to keep my house came from three things: having the finances to able to afford it, having the physical stamina to keep up with everything and having the mental strength to move forward when what I really want to do is sit down and ball my eyes out because the roof is on the lawn and the rains look more like a monsoon than a rain shower.

      Yes, you can do this. No, the nervousness never goes away entirely. It changes form and it changes focus, but it does not go away totally. The good news is that the lessons expand on each other. The thing with my roof spread out all over my lawn was less taxing than looking for a house and buying said house. For one thing I had more control over how the solution for the roof played out than I had control over the whole house buying process.

      Take your time. If it takes years, then so be it. Don’t let the fluctuations in the housing market push you into something that is not what you want or not what you are willing to handle.
      I have a little house here, everything is on one floor and my yard is small. It is easy for me to handle. I can find handymen that will come and do the stuff that is beyond my scope. Sometimes the man will show me how to do something so I do not have to call again. I learned to change the filters in my water softener this way. When you are looking at houses look for a house that just makes sense and it suits the way you want to live- that is the best way I can describe it. Also realize that you can feel anxious and excited at the same time, expect to have the two emotions at same time and it’s okay.

  11. Cath in Canada

    Mr. Robot finally showed up on Canadian TV last week! I’ve really enjoyed the first couple of episodes and have mentioned it to a few friends so I have someone to talk to about it :) Thank you to everyone who recommended the show on previous open threads – it’s the only time I’ve heard anyone mention it, and I might not have checked it out otherwise.

    1. Trixie

      I love this program, it’s like a quality movie every Wed evening. You might check out Atlantic Monthly who did a couple great reviews/write-ups as far as production, cinematography, directing, etc. They really craft and frame each shot so beautifully, not what I would expect from USA. Enjoy!

      1. Stephanie

        FX has some fantastic stuff, too! I always kind of assumed their programming was for bros, but they have some fantastic shows like Archer, It’s Always Sunny, The Americans, and The Bridge.

    2. Dynamic Beige

      It is a very interesting show. I have a theory about what’s going on which I want to see if I’m close or not (probably not). The logo of Evil Corp gives me a little chuckle.

      Weird as it is, I am strangely excited that Heroes is coming back. I thought the first season of the original was great, and then it just kind of went whaaaat? so when it was cancelled, not all that miffed about it. Should be interesting to see how they work it this time. Not often you get to see something crash and burn then get resurrected and a chance to fix the mistakes. All the other show reboots have been of much older lineage.

  12. Vanilla

    I’m curious to see what advice and feedback others have as well. I’m *thinking* of buying something in the spring, but it’s so difficult to find anything in my price range that I actually like and that’s in a decent area. Purchasing on one income can be difficult.

    1. NDQ

      I’m in a similar situation. I am buying on one income, but my plan is to buy several rental units to fund my retirement in six years. The challenge is doing this on one income, but it can be done.

      Good luck!
      NDQ

    2. Natalie

      If you have a stable place you can stay until you buy, it never hurts to look. You don’t even have to spend your own gas if you don’t want to – my realtor drove me around to showings. And it’s kind of fun.

  13. Fleur

    Has anyone has experience as an art newbie learning digital painting online? Links or recommendations for tutorials? Is it a bad idea to start digital if I have no traditional pen/pencil art experience?

    I just bought a shiny monoprice tablet that was on sale, and hoping to put it to use.

    1. Pipette

      It is certainly easier to learn digital painting if you have some traditionalart experience, since you already know how to “art” and only have to figure out the tools. I haven´t done digital art in ages, but check out Deviantart.com for tutorials and inspiration, and try to find an active oekaki board to get feedback.

      1. Fleur

        Yeah, I have some “art for beginners” books, and I’m kind of torn between learning to draw with a pencil first before moving to digital, or just going pure digital.

        I’ll look around deviantart and oekaki boards, thanks!

    2. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come

      Personally I think the important part is just *starting*.

      I don’t know what style you’re looking to develop, but you might want to search YouTube for FZD.

      Not to rain on your parade about the monoprice tablet, but I’m really excited about the iPad Pro (and the Apple Pencil) that were announced on Wednesday. It’s expensive, but it’s still cheaper than a Cintiq (and also a lot easier to carry around). Does the monoprice have a stylus with pressure and tilt sensitivity?

      1. Fleur

        Thanks for the FZZ suggestion! Looks great and I’d never think to search for it myself. I just want to start learning how to draw, like proportions, and the basics. Eventually I’d like to draw my own cartoons/comics.

        And haha, when I say sale, I do mean sale. I’m super cheap, and the Apple Pencil itself is more than twice the cost of my tablet ($40!). If I could do it over, I’d probably get the Huion 610 Pro ($70) for the better driver support and rechargeable stylus, but my monoprice tablet (essentially a Huion 610 rebrand) has a nice large drawing surface (10″x6.25″) + 1024 pen pressure. No tilt unfortunately and no Windows 10 support.

    3. asteramella

      Digital art is certainly different from traditional, but the advantage of digital is you don’t have to spend lots of money on art supplies!

      There are a lot of figure drawing websites and videos online–try doing loose gesture drawings of figures in different poses. It will be pretty tough to get a hang of and your taste will outpace your skill for a long time, but drawing can be a really satisfying hobby.

    4. Future EdTech

      Ctrl Paint is pretty good since it tends to start with the basics. As someone who does digital art on the side, practice both digitally and traditionally. Get a small sketchbook and use your favorite pencil (can be cheap) to doodle and draw when you’re away from the computer.

      Practicing traditionally will help you refine your technique, confidence, and speed than just digital (no ctrl+z). When you can’t refine, zoom, or fix certain aspects, you start to really think before making strokes. Digital practice is great when you want to speed sketch/paint (no long time being spent on mixing colors!) or try a certain style without investing in materials.

      Also for practicing drawing humans: try Pixelovely.

  14. LSP

    Anyone do the KonMari method recently?

    I read most of the book (thank you digital library/why your loan periods gotta be so short?) and enjoyed a lot of what she had to say. Side note: some commenters do not get the whole “spark joy” thing but it makes total sense. To those who do not get it: (read this in Michel from Gilmore Girl’s voice) you are lazy and I hate you.

    I have yet to actually organize my house, but I’m going to!

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        I did clothes and books, they were ok. Papers I started but have got totally stuck halfway through. THERE ARE SO MANY AND THEY ALL HAVE THINGS TO DO and that’s after getting rid of tons- my shredding pile is massive and i already recycled a load!

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I KonMari’d all my drawers and I love them so much. I don’t know if the objects themselves bring me joy, but looking at my perfectly folded and organized drawers does.

    2. Bye Academia

      I did my clothes, books, kitchen items, and a few other odds and ends, but then I got derailed by some travel. And also by the fact that 70% of the stuff in my apartment belongs to my partner, who has no desire to declutter anything.

      It does feel a lot better to have my own stuff under control, especially the clothes. If I see something new I really love, I can actually bring it home and put it away somewhere! There’s still more I want to do, though. I’m not at the click yet.

    3. NDQ

      Yes! My organized drawers and closet make me super happy. Still working on the rest of the house, but at least my bedroom is wonderful.

      NDQ

    4. nep

      Looked her up when I read about KonMari in another post on AAM a while back. I get the importance of organising, and how gratifying it is. But I wasn’t really feeling her odd approach. I’d probably benefit from giving it another chance.

      1. TootsNYC

        I think you may need to read *her* book to get the full effect.

        I know that was true of Dr. Richard Ferber’s “Solving Your Child’s Sleep Problem.” You really needed to go through his whole mental process and presentation of the tactic to truly understand him and what he was trying to help you do.

    5. LSP

      Re: Joy

      I feel like this somewhat lost in translation.

      For example, my workout socks. I have like 15 pairs. But in reality, I only really like 4 pairs and I wear them over and over again because they are the best. Why bother keeping the other 11? I should just buy 1 (or 3) more pairs and just wear the ones I truly like!

      Same with my t-shirts. It’s like I only wear the same 10 shirts even though I have 50.

      I don’t think shirts and socks necessarily “bring joy” (unless we’re talking about some super cute socks with baby squirrels on them) but I know you know there are clothes/items that are your go-to’s. I guess I read “joy” more so as “favorite”.

      I am motivated to organize now! Thanks everyone!

      1. fposte

        Yeah, for me it was another question to ask rather than the sole determinant, and it was in concert with the “pull together all the things of that kind.” Wow, I really use this pile of socks all the time, and I keep these others out of a vague sense of whatever and never wear them. Why not just keep the first?

    6. Roly Poly Little Bat Faced Girl

      I’ve started! Spouse and I finished our clothes in the last couple weeks and ending up donating about 20 paper grocery bags of clothes and shoes, along with throwing away some stuff that wasn’t good enough to donate. I’ll admit to moments of panic when I think I’ll miss something, but hey, it’s just clothes and I’ve haven’t missed anything yet. And like others, I love how organized my drawers are now! I’m more of a clothes-hanger person and we have a spacious walk-in closet, so not much incentive to fold. I’m a terrible folder too, but I’m actually finding it fun now. I confess to opening a drawer just to look at it and admire the organization of it. :)

      The KonMari approach is a nice, fresh perspective. There are lots of ways and motivations to declutter and I’m glad this one works for people.

    7. fposte

      Anything that evokes Michel sparks joy for me :-).

      I didn’t do the full KonMari, but I let the way she thought about it inform my summer house purge (that’s the purge of my house this summer, not a summer house that got purged). I love the no-piles thing (I have big closet shelves filled with vertically folded clothing now), I love the putting-like-things-together notion, and I like, though don’t religiously adhere to, the notion that stuff that you keep should really make you happy.

      I haven’t done the papers and the general stuff; I don’t know that I ever will, at least in KonMari terms. But I continue to weed the contents of the house down in a very satisfying way.

    8. Ruffingit

      Haven’t done the KM method, but my husband and I did do a massive clean-out of our closet and bedroom. We still have a ways to go, but it’s SO much better already. We got rid of several boxes worth of things. Dropped them at Goodwill. Now looking at selling a few things and we’ve started another donation pile. It’s unreal how much stuff I have (it was mostly mine, not so much his) and how useless it really is. I am so ready to pare down and love the things I have.

    9. Saro

      I have! I have paper, kitchen goods and sentimental items left. It really made sense to me and a number of my friends are reading her book now.

    10. Anx

      I like some of the overall points, but I didn’t find that much about the book or method groundbreaking. Well, I suppose I actually liked doing it all in one go.

      Or I tried. But then I decided to do things in batches. Not all at once, and not a little bit at a time (I’m far too inpatient for that).

      One thing I don’t like at about most decluttering and organization books/sites is that they seem a bit classist. I need a method where I’m not throwing stuff out that I may need again, because buying again is not an option, but that keeps me from hoarding things unnecessarily and lets me try to enjoy my house a little.

      I really couldn’t get behind the touching things for joy (sometimes you have to make do with what you have), but I did like the way she broke down clothes, books, paper, and other.

    11. Noah

      I read the book and really appreciated the approach. For me “sparks joy” can mean a lot of things. For instance, I kept a Halloween costume because my grandmother and I made it together the year before she died. It makes me happy to see it in my closet, even if I never wear it again. Sometime in the future I might feel comfortable getting rid of it, but right now it makes me happy.

      So far I’ve done clothing and books. I was amazed at the amount of clothing I own when I had to empty my closets and dresser drawers into a huge pile on the floor. It was a bit overwhelming but in the end it only took me about four hours to go through everything at a quick pace and decide what I wanted to do with it. I kept it simple and made two piles: keep or donate. I realized I own a ton of button up shirts but I only wear about 7-10 on a regular basis, mostly due to fit or color issues. I kept the ones that made me the happiest and got rid of the rest.

      She does address items that you have to keep for whatever reason. The best example for me is a work uniform. It doesn’t exactly “spark joy” and thankfully I rarely have to wear it unless I’m working in a customer-facing position, which only occurs every 2-3 months. However, the fact that I use it and it is a tool that keeps me employed does spark joy. Same thing with a winter coat. The one I have is ok, but not my favorite. However, I kept it because I need a coat but I will be on the lookout for one to replace it.

      I don’t think it is exactly life changing, but it does make me happy to look into a clean closet, a tidy bookshelf, or a neatly folded dresser drawer. I liked the fact that the rules were not as hard and fast as “if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, get rid of it”.

    12. TootsNYC

      I haven’t read the book yet (I bought it, bcs I knew it would take me awhile to get around to it–I want to read it right before I’ve got some time and freedom to actually do something with the lift).

      I did apply the “spark joy” thing to my clothes, and I get it there.
      I can totally get it with dishes and heirlooms (or “heirlooms,” LOL!)

      I’m having trouble w/ “spark joy” in the cleaning closet. I can easily do the other thing: “does this make you annoyed or guilty, or [insert negative emotional reaction here]? Then toss it.” But it’s a little weird to feel joy about stuff like Lysol.

    13. Christy

      I did my clothes and I love it. Love it. I don’t have any clothes I hate anymore. I got rid of backup underwear! I only own one sweater. I’m overjoyed.

    14. MegKnits

      I have!! While I don’t necessarily find ‘joy’ in everything I found the sorting process useful (mostly for my clothes). Do I like this item? Why am I keeping it? Will I need it in the future? etc. Some items like my suit I don’t find joy in but kept because I could need it in the future. I donated 3 bags of clothing and find getting dressed for work in the morning takes half the time it used to.
      I really need to KonMari the office/spare bedroom but it’s 70% of my husbands things and he’s not quite on board yet. (I swear he keeps every single scrap of paper he’s ever had).

  15. Jill of All Trades

    Random thought from my week: I need Gilmore Girls to make a comeback because my life will be enriched by what Lorelai has to say about The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Please and thank you.

      1. Jill of All Trades

        Is the actress still alive? I loved Hyacinth because physically she reminds me so much of my grandmother (and the resemblance ends there – my gma wouldn’t know how to be such a snob).

        1. Steve G

          Yup, I checked recently when watching reruns. She is 86. Onslow and Rose, unfortunately, are dead….they would only be in their early 70s if alive…….

          1. Charlotte Collins

            Patricia Routledge was also in a mystery series, “Hetty Wainthrop Investigates.” She plays a very different character, but I love her as an actress, and it’s a nice series, especially for those of us who like cozy style mysteries and don’t always need a murder to enjoy a mystery.

      2. Elizabeth West

        Stupid Netflix took off all but the first season. I wasn’t finished and now I can’t watch it at all because the YouTube videos are blocked in my country.

        I think that the BBC should charge a small fee to let us use the iPlayer here. I would pay for that. I tweeted at them and everything. With Netflix, Hulu, a Roku, and the iPlayer, I’d be set and not have to do a VPN that could get me in trouble or mess up.

    1. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

      I’ve just finished season 4 of my annual Gilmore Girls marathon rewatch. I miss this show.

    2. OfficePrincess

      I just realized today that I had never seen season 1 episode 1. I knew there were some episodes in the later seasons I missed, but I had always thought I had seen all of the early episodes several times. I finally got Netflix not too long ago and decided to settle in for a rewatch this afternoon and didn’t recognize the first episode at all. I always thought the one where Rory started Chilton was the first, but apparently not.

      1. AnnieNonymous

        The first episode is a bit odd – it’s a little edgier than the rest of the series, and Alexis Bledel’s acting was notably better. She’s always been beautiful and she certainly has a strong on-screen presence, but her acting is atrocious for the most part.

    3. Al Lo

      I’ve bee getting my Gilmore fix from the Gilmore Guys podcast. It’s probably the show that I’ve watched the most frequently of any show on TV, so it’s fun that it’s hitting the pop culture zeitgeist again in a way since coming out on Netflix.

      1. Blue_eyes

        I was just coming here to say this! Listening to Gilmore Guys while I cook is a great way to get an additional Gilmore fix since I already re-watched the whole series when it came on Netflix.

    4. Anx

      So this is probably way too serious, but I’m not sure there can really be a GG in 2015; at least not as we know it. So much of that show revolved class issues between the middle class and the wealthy. I wonder how the Dragonfly Inn would be doing now? Would a Walmart have made its way into Stars Hollow? How would the recession and crash have effected Stars Hollow? Rory very well could have ended up needing to rely on her grandparents for connections after her campaign gig to transition into a well-paying, full-time position. Her legacy/upper class classmates would likely be able to leverage their hard work and excellent education much more efficiently than the scholarship students, which I’m sure Rory would be pretty uncomfortable with (but ultimately take advantage of) Would there be less takeout? What about the mindless consumerism Lorelei partook in so often?

      I have thought about this before, as you may be able to tell.

      1. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)

        Nicole Dieker just restarted her “How (pop culture reference) Does Money” series at The Billfold, and she is doing Gilmore Girls this round.

  16. Alistair

    I want to say thanks to everyone who gave me advice and experience about Adderall last week. I finally got my prescription and started taking it. I think it’s making a difference already!

    Overall my mood has been better, I have more energy, and I have a major interest in [i]getting things done.[i] My usually jumpy brain can actually focus. I love it. And (sorry, quick work related) my coworker and I produced a product that both my boss and our client loved. Excellent turn around from the previous month or three on my part!

    I’ve noticed, though, some trouble sleeping, dry mouth, and some headaches. I hope the sleeping and the headaches are more work stress than medicine, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that. And the medicine has been suppressing my appetite. As an overweight guy, I can’t help but feel happy about that, though I know it could be very worrisome.

    While some part of me is upset that I need medication, I think over all this truly is Better Living Through Chemistry. We’ll see where it takes me.

    Anyway, TL;DR: thanks everyone for your thoughts last week, it was informative and helpful. Ya’ll are the best!

    1. Alistair

      Blast! I chose brackets instead of alligators! My italics didn’t work. I chose…poorly. turns into an old man, then a skeleton, then dust.

    2. Anonymous for this

      The trouble sleeping may be from the Adderall – I have that problem myself. I find that even after the intended effects wear off, there’s still enough in my system to keep me up for a few hours.

      Timing my doses so that the second one is mid-afternoon (about 8 hours before my bedtime) has helped a lot. Your doctor might be able to suggest a medication schedule that facilitates better sleep for your particular bedtime and wake up time.

      1. Alistair

        I’ll keep an eye on the sleep schedule; hopefully it was just stress! But good to know it might be a real thing.

    3. Nashira

      Sometimes better living through chemistry is a perfectly awesome choice, especially when it lets you live your life and do awesome things. I know it can be hard to get used to, but I’m so glad to hear that you’re already doing awesome stuff.

      Re: the dry mouth, you might try Biotene products. They help protect your teeth the way saliva does, as well as making it so you aren’t drinking 27599393 litres of water a day.

      Re: the sleep and appetite, that can be stress and can also be the Adderall. You might need to take your dose earlier in the day and practice good sleep hygeine. If it keeps bugging you, talk with your doctor about how to work around it, or if it means you need a different medication.

      1. Alistair

        Yeah, I’m really hoping that the sleep thing is just temporary due to stress and my body getting used to the medication.

        I already take some blood pressure meds, so I’m halfway to that better living through chemistry. Somehow this feels like a bigger step. It’ll pass, I’m sure, as things continue to go good.

        Thanks!

        1. I'schnapps

          I don’t know about adderall. I know that when I went to my doctor with depression and he put me on zoloft, it took two or three weeks before I could sleep normally. The first three nights, I was up all night. I would read in the living room until 3 am, then go to bed.

          Any of these meds screw with your brain. The lack of sleep was a minor problem compared to how much better I was able to handle the day.

    4. Noah

      That’s awesome! I resisted taking drugs for ADHD for a long time, I’ve been on Adderall for more than a year now and all I can say is that I don’t know why I was against it for so long. I ran into the same sleep issues at first, but it settled down after a few weeks.

        1. BRR

          I’m on vyvansse and try to not take it on weekends. A lot of times I need the energy and focus and will have to take it one day but an upside to a stimulant med is you can just not take it if you don’t want/need to (but ask your doctor to be sure). I have found my body does better having a little time without it in my system.

        2. Noah

          I don’t take it on weekends unless I’m at a work event or conference or something. I talked with my doctor and he was fine with that. He did say to watch out because the side effects can sometimes be worse if you are starting/stopping each week. Adderall is not like other psych drugs that have to build up in your system, it has a pretty short half life.

          The other good part about skipping weekends, at least for me, is that you end up with extra meds. Adderall, as a controlled substance, can be a bit of a challenge to get refilled sometimes. Each month I have to make a trip to the doctors office, pickup a physical prescription, and take that to the pharmacy. There is no calling in a refill or having the doctor fax it over.

  17. Treena

    Any AirBnB users who have gone through a dispute before?

    My husband and I stayed 2 weeks in an Airbnb last week and a few days later we were notified via the site that we “broke” the vacuum and it would cost $200 to repair. Problem is, we literally never touched the vacuum. As in, the host showed me where it was when we checked-in, I never touched it, and my husband didn’t even know it was there.
    We had some Amazon packages delivered, and left some bits of packaging on the floor, so I think our host thinks we tried to vacuum them up, clogged the vacuum, tried to open it up, and broke it in the process. She also claims that the electrical wiring to the power supply was damaged beyond repair, so I don’t know what her theory on that one is.
    So, we have to write in our “evidence” that we didn’t do this, but how do you prove you didn’t touch something? We obviously didn’t think to take pictures or anything like that. I was thinking of tracking down old landlords/neighbors where we broke their stuff and told them and paid for it. (Our neighbor let us use her washing machine/dryer and the ancient dryer happened to break with our stuff in it and we paid the $100 repair bill. Our first week in a house with a disposal in the sink, I shoved corn husks down. Called up the landlord and said I didn’t realize corn was a no-no, and she should let us know what the plumber cost her and I’d tack it onto the rent next month, etc.)

    Is that a good idea? Can you think of anything else we could do?

    1. A

      Not a good idea, because they won’t give a flying squirrel about it. Reach out to the site and find out what your options are for fighting it. Consider shopping/pricing some legal help in case it escalates.

      1. Treena

        The site is the one evaluating both our arguments and making a decision. I doubt a lawyer would help because I’ve already “agreed” (by using the site and clicking a check box) to defer to the site’s judgement on these issues. I just never imagined that this would happen.

        1. Diploma Mill grad

          The standard “we agree to arbitration” line item on these contracts is easily voided. Every agreement includes this clause and it is rarely enforceable. If that company provides you with evidence that you broke it, get a lawyer and bring it to their attention. I will say, too, there has to be intent to harm or cause damage. If the vacuum is a million years old and mummified but presented as usable and you touch it and it crumbles – not your fault.

          1. fposte

            You can seek compensation for economic damages, but it doesn’t sound like Treena is out any money because of this. There’s no economic compensation just for being exposed to stupidity; otherwise we’d all be owed money all the time.

            Other people may know better on the arbitration or no thing, but this seems like a situation where going to court would be to the detriment of the person *not* trying to get money–i.e., Treena.

            1. Treena

              Yea, I’m definitely not going the lawyer route. We just moved abroad and I’m busy settling in, job-hunting, and apartment-hunting. If they find us “guilty” we would be out the $150 (or whatever their judgement of the damage is) because it comes out of the deposit that we already paid when we booked.

    2. Diploma Mill grad

      As the accuser, that owner has the burden of proof. She must prove it was not broke prior to your visit. “Innocent until proven guilty” means just that. You are innocent unless evidence presented points otherwise.

    3. Apollo Warbucks

      All you can do is explain the situation and hope that they believe your version of events. If they see photos of the damage it might be obvious that the damage is older than they are claiming.

      1. Treena

        That’s what I’m hoping for. She claimed the vacuum is less than 2 years old, but somehow dropped in price from $300 to $150 to buy a replacement. She sounds so fishy hopefully the Airbnb team will pick up on that.

        Fun fact: She also told us we were rude for not leaving her gifts of candy and/or wine!!

          1. Kate

            That’s what I thought. Also, perhaps because you DIDN’T touch the vacuum cleaner? If she showed you where it was, she may have been expecting you to run it, at least at the end of the two weeks. And am I reading correctly that you guys left bits of Amazon packaging on the floor when you left? Considering you mention below she also made a massive deal about taking the trash out and the candy / wine thing, maybe she thinks you guys didn’t leave the place in a good enough state when you left and this is her ridiculous attempt at retaliation?

        1. Laura

          You’re supposed to leave gifts for the host for airbnb? Is that a common thing?

          (Like, I’d get gifts for friends I stay with, but for airbnb isn’t it enough you’re paying them already?)

          1. Stephanie

            Ha, that was my thought too. I thought the gift was the money. I’ll bring gifts for friends, but that’s usually an acknowledgement of “Hey, I know this might be an inconvenience and you could have told me to go get a hotel, but didn’t.”

    4. INFJ

      This might be a long shot, but do the owners have personal social media accounts? It might be worth looking if they’re public and one of them posted in the past something to the extent of “Damn vaccuum cleaner broke again” or something equally damning. You’d be surprised how stupid people can be about leaving that stuff online.

      1. Treena

        Oh my goodness thank you! No evidence of broken vacuums, but her page has confirmed that she is a super obnoxious human being. She has a Politeness Society FB page and this is one of the rants she posted! Literally LOLing

        The inspiration for this page happened a few days ago, when I held a door for a woman, for a solid five or six seconds. It almost became a standoff, between us: Me, the determined, polite holder of doors, vs. she, the perturbed reader of a sign, which was posted just to the right of the door, she evidently had no desire to pass through, at that particular juncture.
        So there we were. I suppose the woman simply hoped I’d stop holding the door for her, eventually, but I persisted! Finally, she spun towards me, making somewhat of a grunting noise, a look of perturbed disdain on her face. “Oh, so you wouldn’t like to go in? You’re all set? Okay!” I said, cheerily, as I finally relented and let the door swing shut. “You’re welcome,” I said, as I turned and walked away. Now, I know this last bit was less than polite of me, but my position is thus: If, as a society, we continue to allow this sort of behaviour to persist, it shall. We will eventually devolve into a society of brutish grunters, with a total lack of thoughtful public interaction.
        Furthermore, as our “filterless” use of the internet becomes more and more a dominant force in our cultural experience, we’re heading towards a disgusting reality, wherein it’s deemed socially acceptable to be a brash dispenser of rude insults, anytime and any place. I, for one, WILL NOT HAVE IT! Perhaps, if we stand united in this cause, we can inspire those around us to be more thoughtful, to speak to one another, politely and, well, frankly, to NOT be rude jerks! It might take some negative reinforcement, but I say, SO BE IT!
        Go ahead – post a story! Post a pic! Use the hashtag ‪#‎PPSS‬ ! Had I thought to take a pic of the woman I mentioned above, I might have captioned it “When someone holds a door for you, please say THANK YOU, regardless of whether or not you’d like to make use of their service. #PPSS .”

        1. fposte

          Oh, wow. Maybe reading somebody’s social media is a good step before using them for AirBnB, because that would have sent me a-running.

          1. Treena

            Yes! There were other signs in her profile (a lot of instructions/information in ALL CAPS) that in hindsight, indicates she’s had “issues” with people. When we checked in, she was very clear that if we didn’t take out the trash before leaving, it would be a Big. Deal. which I thought was super weird, but just thought she didn’t want the smell to gather if it took her a few days to come in and clean.

            1. BRR

              I can understand the why of the trash thing but not how she seems to communicate. All caps anything would have been a red flag for airbnb. Her Facebook post is just wow. She’s mad because somebody was reading or posting a sign and she insisted on holding the door for them? I’m feeling a little more now that you’ll be fine. I’d guess she’s communicating with airbnb this way too.

        2. Elizabeth West

          “I tried to force my politeness on a person who didn’t want it and was a sarcastic twit when she didn’t fall to the ground and thank me in grateful tears.”

          [insert extremely rude British curse word here].

          1. Treena

            Seriously! The woman probably didn’t even realize she was meaning to hold the door for her–she was reading a freaking sign!

            1. fposte

              I love the woman’s belief that this woman was merely pretending to read the sign out of cunning–it was literally impossible for her to grasp that somebody near her wasn’t noticing her at all.

              1. Treena

                Exactly! Your diagnosis is so spot on you’re going laugh…she’s a singer-songwriter! The epitome of “Look at me!”

        3. Honeybee

          I mean I think it’s obvious that she’s just obnoxious, but the first example is just SO baffling to me. It’s polite to hold the door for someone who is coming in the door behind you. If that person is not entering, you let the door close and let them open it themselves later. Why on earth would you get mad at someone who you thought was coming in after you but then ended up not for…not…following…you through the door?

          1. Elizabeth West

            I’ve held the door when I thought someone was coming in, but I usually ask, “Coming in?” and if they don’t answer or say “No, thanks,” I let it go and continue on. It’s really not that big a deal!

  18. CollegeAdmin

    I dyed my hair red two weeks ago and LOVE it (seriously, I’m obsessed with my own hair now) but it’s fading very fast. Any tips to bring it back to its former bright glory, and/or how to keep it from fading next time?

    1. Jill of All Trades

      I’m following this. Red dye fades so fast (and I’m a natural auburn so it’s not a stretch color). Even with the fancy color preserving shampoo.

      1. Come On Eileen

        I get my hair colored a reddish shade every two months — more expensive than doing it myself, but the color lasts longer and fades to a lighter auburn. I was never able to make my home-colored red last longer than a few weeks.

        1. CollegeAdmin

          This is the first time I’ve dyed my hair, and I went to a salon. The color it’s faded to is nice – a reddish brown – but the bright red I had for the first week was beautiful. It was such a confidence boost for me.

      1. CollegeAdmin

        Mine’s a natural shade of red – bright, but natural. Not sure if those would work for me, but thanks!

        1. Lady Bug

          I agree with the color conditoner. I’ve been various shades of red for the last 20 years or so and there is no way to stop it from fading in about 4 weeks. The color conditioner just gives it a kick that lasts a few days, it doesn’t deposit color. That said, I’ve only used it when I had light red highlights over dark red hair, to keep the highlights from fading, I’m not sure it will help hair that hasn’t been lifted.

    2. Amber Rose

      I get the same feeling when I dye my hair red. I love the super bright reds, so pretty.

      But mostly I’ve just resigned myself to re-dying every few weeks. Red does not have staying power.

    3. Calla

      First, I would explore different brands–some fade better than others!

      Shampoo doesn’t really make a difference. Here are some things you can do:
      1. If you wash your hair every day, think about trying out a dry shampoo!
      2. When you wash your hair, use lukewarm or cool water instead of hot.
      3. You can make your own color boosting conditioner–just mix any leftover dye in with your regular conditioner, let it sit for a few minutes when you use it, presto.

      Best of luck! Even the best dyes I can’t make last at full vibrancy past about a month, but you should be able to get more than 2 weeks out of it.

    4. Anx

      I dyed my hair red for a costume. It was supposed to be wash out color. It lasted forever! Especially in the baby hairs that frame my face.

    5. Tris Prior

      Long time bottle redhead here! Shampoo it as infrequently as you can stand. My hair is super dry and really doesn’t get greasy so I can get away with this; I know not everyone can. Maybe try a dry shampoo in between?

      Regardless, though, it’s going to fade quickly. Red is tough.

    6. LAMM

      I’m a fake red head and I get my hair done every 6-10 weeks (I aim for 6. Sometimes life happens and I have to go 10). A few things I do…

      1. I only wish my hair 2-3 times a week (max!). The less you wash it, the less it fades.
      2. When I do wash my hair it’s with luke-warm water at best. If you can stand colder, do it. Somewhere I heard that warm water causes dyed hair to fade faster (just like with clothing… wash in cold if you want to prevent fading).
      3. I use John Freda For Redheads shampoo and conditioner. It’s available pretty much everywhere from what I’ve seen (CVS, Ulta, Meijer, etc.). Even my hairdresser was shocked at how well the color held up using this shampoo.
      4. From what I’ve seen/heard, hair tends to “hold on to” certain colors. My hair loves the reds. I went without dying my hair for over a year and my hairdresser could see the red undertones still in it. My best friend’s hair can’t hold red to save her life… but it loves being blonde. So if you can’t keep the red from fading fast, it might not be you. It might be your hair.

    7. brightstar

      There’s a glaze you can get at most stores like Walmart, Target, etc; I think it might be John Frieda or something. When I had my hair dyed red my hairstylist recommended it and it did help, especially when I would coat my hair with it and let it set a while.

      1. Elizabeth West

        I need to try that. Mine fades out at the top faster. Also, maybe it will turn the incoming greys into highlights, LOL.

        I’m thinking it might almost be time to go lighter, since the evil greys are starting to come out in my brows, rawr.

        1. brightstar

          I have very dark hair with quite a bit of gray (I started graying at 28), and actually get a lot of compliments on it. But I don’t like the gray eyebrow hairs. No sirree.

          1. Elizabeth West

            Mine started about the same time. I read a book about thyroid disease, and it said premature greying was one of the symptoms that some people have. The symptoms began around then, too.

            My natural hair (was) light reddish brown. In one high school picture of me in a yellow cowl-neck, my hair looks SO auburn. That’s the color I dye it. :)

  19. AdAgencyChick

    Talk to me about what to do with okra. I’ve never made it before, some came in a CSA box that I ordered, and I have no idea what to do with it.

    Obviously I can Google recipes but I’m looking for people with experience to tell me what is un-screw-up-able!

    1. AdAgencyChick

      PS, stovetop only for me (although if roasted okra is awesome, feel free to say so for future reference). My oven refuses to turn on and my super refuses to come by outside of 9-5 M-F, so it ain’t getting fixed for a little while :(

    2. Jill of All Trades

      Slice really thin, coat in corn meal, and fry (I’m from the south so I grew up pretty much battering and frying every vegetable ever).

      1. Sarah in DC

        You can also pan fry without battering, which is my preferred method. Do it in a cast iron skillet if you have one, you want a hot pan so they get nice and crispy.

      2. Noah

        This is literally the only way I have ever had okra, fried and dipped in ranch. I remember seeing pickled okra but I’ve never tried it.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      Steam it for a few minutes, then let it cool. Slice it and add to bowl with chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped red onion, queso fresco, lime juice, cilantro (if you like it) and salt. Makes a delicious salad.

      Also, soak it in cider vinegar for about 30 minutes and stew it with tomatoes and Middle Eastern spices. I love okra! I also like it sliced, sauteed, and scrambled with a few eggs in olive oil.

      1. AdAgencyChick

        That sounds wonderful. I try (not always successfully) to avoid grains so although fried food is delicious, this cider-vinegar idea sounds much more like something I’ll do. Gracias!

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Martha Rose Shulman writes recipes for the NY Times’ Eat Well blog– both of the above suggestions are inspired by her. :) Find the blog and search for “okra”, and you’ll find some great healthy ideas.

    4. Be the Change

      When you wash it, make sure you dry it well before cutting. That helps it keep from getting all gummy if you fry it, like Indian style.

  20. Stephanie

    I feel horrible about this, but my grandmother’s moving out here Monday and I’m pretty ambivalent about it. From what I’ve gleaned (and what my mom’s told me), she was a pretty absentee mother to my dad. She had my dad very young, so he grew up with his grandmother. Because of that, their relationship has always been very strained (especially when my great-grandmother was still alive). And also because of that, I didn’t really grow up with her around and visiting that much (or us visiting her that much). They’ve gotten better since my great-grandmother died about a decade ago, but there’s still some tension.

    Where my ambivalence comes from is that I can sort of see a lot of caretaker duties shifted onto me. (My dad is retired, btw.) He has a habit of inviting relatives out here (these are the moochy ones I’ve mentioned before in open threads) like “Stay as long as you want!”, but not really meaning that (as in, they overstay their welcome). So what usually ends up happening is that he ends up getting tired of playing host and then I’m the one being asked to shuttle guests around town or cook dinner while he “goes to the store” for three hours. So I suppose I’m afraid her moving out here will turn into a more intense version of this (she has her own housing).

    But then I feel horrible because I know elder neglect is very much a thing (she’s healthy and pretty mobile, however) and that she was in kind of a mixed situation back in her Midwestern city.

    1. danr

      If she has her own housing and is still pretty mobile and healthy, do your homework and find out about senior activities in the area. Chances are that she will end up spending time with new friends rather than her family. Her family is there for support when she needs it for occasional dinners and if there are serious health issues. If your father issues a standing invitation to Sunday dinner, tell him that he’s cooking. If he disappears, take your grandmother out for dinner.

      1. Stephanie

        Isolation was definitely some of my concern, especially since she’ll be out in an exurb and had a whole network back in her former city. I’ll definitely look into and suggest some senior activities.

        1. fposte

          And I think you can feel resentful and exhausted about it and still behave well to your grandmother. Elder neglect isn’t people doing nice things while they feel ambivalent. You’re pressing charges against yourself just for feeling unwelcoming. You get to feel unwelcoming!

    2. Not So NewReader

      Maybe it is time to have a chat with your dad about how much care taking you can and are willing to do.
      The other half of the story is that the woman may have matured into a person who is likable and the few things that you agree to do for her you don’t mind as much. That sounds lame, I am sorry. But odd stuff can happen.

      I am looking at a story here of an absentee mom who has returned. Without going into too much detail there are parts of her return that are good stories. Some of it is not so good, that is true, too.
      Definitely though, consider drawing a boundary line with your father’s habit of volunteering your services. He will max you out at this rate.

  21. FiveWheels

    So I got asked on a Schrodingers Date last week by someone I really do not want to go on a date with. If the guy had used the word “date” I would have managed to politely decline, but it was just ambiguous enough that I couldn’t work out how to refuse without being very rude. It also didn’t help that he phoned me at work and my office is open plan so I didn’t really want to get into a lengthy debate with half the department listening in.

    I said I’d check my calendar and email him with a day that suited…. And then I found out I’m getting audited next week and have no free time so got to politely decline without making up a fake excuse or having an awkward conversation.

    Yes I know I’m an overgrown child and as a professional adult I should be able to decline a date without feeling like in kicking a puppy, but really, I have never been so glad about an audit in my life.

    1. VintageLydia USA

      I dunno. I think the real “crime” here is this person asking you out in such a way that social norms would dictate YOU would be in the wrong if you outright declined. And especially while you’re at work where dealing with the possible fallout of a “no” can be particularly socially hazardous.

      1. TheLazyB (UK)

        Yeah, being at work your easy get out was “I’m sorry I’m right up against a deadline right now” and repeat every time the topic came up. Then when/if he tried outside of work you can be clearer.

        (I know it’s much easier when you’re not in the situation! I never would have thought of this in the moment)

        1. FiveWheels

          The problem with giving the deadline excuse was I was asked to pick any day next week, and “I’m up on a deadline” wouldn’t have been believable. Did I mention the guy is a family friend of one of my bosses? Ha!

          Also I could easily picture the entire staff immediately wanting to know what deadline I was on, who I was trying to avoid, etc. That’s what’s so insidious about Schrodingers Dates – it’s easier to say “I don’t want to go on a date with you, although you are a nice and interesting person” than “I don’t even want to have dinner with you because the idea you would ask me out is horrifying.”

          People baffle me, too. If you want a date, use that word. The only point of being ambiguous is if you think the other person won’t agree to a definite date – in which case why would you want them to agree at all? Do people think they can trick someone into fancying them through proximity? Ugh.

          1. Ismis

            Can you ask a few more people? “Sure – sounds good – I think Bob was looking for something to do next weekend; I’ll ask him along.”

          2. TheLazyB (UK)

            “I’m trying to concentrate on something right now, let me email you later”?

            I would leave out the “nice and interesting” part. Too much chance that the guy won’t hear the no as he gets too wrapped in hearing the compliment :-/

            1. FiveWheels

              Hah, a friend did suggest that I invite multiple co workers along, perhaps some of my male hockey team, and a fake boyfriend just to increase the awkward factor.

              Had I been free next week my tentative plan was to say I was only available right after work, so I’d be wearing a very non sexy business suit. Extra advantage – in flats I could out run him if he insisted on driving me home :-P

              (Yes, I am socially awkward)

      2. BRR

        Totally agree. People use methods to try and “trick” people into going on a date. If you have to resort to something shady, why do you think it will end up as a healthy relationship?

    2. BRR

      I’m just brainstorming but what if you were direct and asked him to clarify which I can’t figure out good wording for.

      Or could you decline him once by saying you have a date? I’m not sure if that would work though. If he’s part of a group of friends you could turn it into a gathering instead.

    3. Pineapple Incident

      To be honest, no one ever really teaches us how to navigate these weird kinds of requests. It’s kind of left to you to figure out a clever off-the-cuff way to be like “I’m sorry, but I’m pretty booked up with work and family obligations for a while,” or something more intelligent sounding. That’s IF, of course, you can manage a clever response on the spot when you’re asked (I’ve never been good at that and end up yammering). It’s okay to kind of awkwardly amble your way out of this one, especially if you felt like this person was dancing around saying “date.” Glad you ended up with an easy out though!

      By the way, I adore the term “Schrodinger’s Date”

  22. nep

    Interesting people’s varying takes on books. I realllly liked Interpreter of Maladies, so I was excited about The Namesake. Didn’t like the writing in The Namesake nearly as much.

  23. Anonyby

    Here’s a light-hearted topic! What shoes do you have/want that have surprised you?

    Mine! When Crocs first came out, I swore I would never own a pair. Ugly plasic things were not on my desired shoe list even when I wasn’t fashion-conscious. However, earlier this year I saw a pair of boots online from their A-Leigh line, and I just had to get them. Actual leather boots, with a wedge heel. And they’re as comfortable to walk in as any pair of flats I own. And so this summer I also got a pair of leather sandals also from the A-Leigh line. I’ve been wearing the boots and sandals more than any other pair of shoes in my closet.

    I also purchased a pair of Grace pumps… While leather, those weren’t nearly so comfortable. They’re a half size up and my heel pops out even with those thick pads from the store…and yet the edge of the toe box is too tight and digs in to my skin. Bah. I’m considering donating them.

    1. Stephanie

      I’ll second Crocs. I also thought the clogs were hideous and then I tried on some of the sandals (that were adult versions of jellies basically) and loved them.

      I’ll throw in Doc Martens. I had to get boots for work. They didn’t have to be steel-toed or otherwise ANSI certified, so I figured I’d try to get something vaguely fashionable/low profile. I saw Doc Martens had some pairs that were relatively low-profile and not as clunky, got them, and love them (and they’re surprisingly versatile). I also found a pair of booties also by them at a consignment shop and they were great. The break in was kind of rough, but the shoes are great now.

      1. Blue_eyes

        Oh man, I have the rainbow crisscross jelly sandals from crocs and they are awesome. I wore them at my wedding reception as back up shoes after the heels had to come off. If I didn’t have foot problems that necessitate orthotics most of the time, I would wear them a lot more.

        1. Stephanie

          I have those in blue and green! Crocs do lose their comfy squishiness after a while…but the sandals are pretty cheap to replace.

      2. Kate R. Pillar

        Crocs also! I have used their “Malindi” ballet flats as house shoes since 2010 – great for quickly popping out of doors to take the trash out, too – soo comfy! (Am on my second pair; the first lives at the in-laws’ now, and would probably still be good.)

        1. Kate R. Pillar

          Oh, and looking to be as comfy as Crocs, but more eco-conscious: “Chung Shi Dux” The brand is German, their shoes are generally even uglier than CROCS, but I have just purchased their ballet flats and they are super light and comfy.

    2. LSP

      In a bad way? Toms :(

      I initially loved my first pair about 7 years ago, but then I got a hole in the toe box. I don’t even have eagle talons as toenails, I have nice lady toenails! So that was disappointing and I never bought them again. Then I got some last Christmas as a gift, but this time my feet hurt so bad after wearing them. Disappointed x2.

      In a good way? Payless dexflex Comfort flats. They are cute and comfortable. Downside: some styles can look a little cheap.

      Shoes that are TBD: Tieks. I am going to buy Tieks as a gift to myself if I get that internal promotion I’m applying to.

    3. Calla

      I own a pair of Crocs flats and would like to get another pair! They’re the usual croc material, not leather since I’m vegetarian, but some of them have patent-like cap toes for a bit of shiny. No one ever guesses they’re crocs.

    4. schnapps

      Take them to a cobbler and see what they can do! I have this issue where one foot is a half size larger than the other so I have to buy the larger size. I bought these Clark’s Indigo sandal pumps (they’re so freakin’ comfortable) and the bands were just too big so I took them to the cobbler and they cut them down.

      A friend of mine took a pair of Gucci pumps to a cobbler after her feet grew while she was pregnant and they stretched them out. I plan on taking my Salvatore Ferragamos heels there to get the toe straps stretched out (these are a half size down from what I usually buy, but were on super clearance. And they’re Ferragamos)

      1. LSP

        Preach! I got some Lavin flats on sale. Half size too small, waaah. Plan to wear with socks to stretch out, otherwise off to the cobbler they go!

      2. Lillie Lane

        The cobbler in my area retired and pursued his dream of moving to rural Maine. I’m super happy for him but bummed at the same time. He was a master at stretching and re-soling. Don’t know where I’m going to go now! :(

        1. Natalie

          Mine has not retired yet but apparently has no apprentice. What will I do when he finally hangs up his tools!?

    5. Be the Change

      A couple of times I have been *so lucky* with thrift store shoes. Brand new pair of Sofft sandals that I wore for years for “nice” until the footbed wore out. Dansko clogs, in good condition, but oiled leather so I wore them for kicking around not for nice.

      Mistake: wedge espadrilles. Painnnnful. Must donate.

      Excellent purchase: Borns with 4-inch heels and 2-inch platforms so they are perfectly stable and comfortable; love my Borns and they make me tall.

    6. Ruffingit

      I bought a pair of Tevas sandals in 2003. I still own them and they are still in great condition even though I’ve worn the heck out of them.

    7. Nina

      Good: A pair of Steve Madden getta platform pumps. I don’t ever wear heels, but the moment I tried them on, I was in love. I wish I had worn them more during the summer, but they’re not every day shoes. Besides adding height to my frame, I feel very “adult” in them, if that makes sense. A rare impulse purchase that actually worked out.

      Bad: I posted about these a while ago, but: a pair of Dansko clogs for my job a couple of years back. Despite the great reviews, they’re easily one of the most uncomfortable pair I’ve ever worn. They’re far too narrow and since there’s a slight platform, I fell down in them ALL THE TIME. There were also times when my toes felt like they were going numb while I wore them, so I think they were poor for circulation. Not good when you’re running around an airport all day.

      I bought a cheapo pair without a platform and stuck with those. The mule-style Danskos look surprisingly good with boot cut jeans, but overall, I found them to be a waste of money. I would not buy them again, nor recommend them.

    8. Elizabeth West

      Good surprise: I too bought a pair of Crocs leather Mary Janes to wear at Exjob; the concrete office floor was killing my back. They were FABULOUSLY comfy. I liked the clogs for wearing around the house and in the yard already. Very nice shoes (the leather ones) and they are still in good shape. :)

      Bad surprise: I finally got a pair of low-rise Chucks and they are so uncomfortable I can’t even. They kill my feet and that makes me very sad because I’ve wanted a pair of Chucks since I was in high school. :(

      1. Stephanie

        Oh, Chucks are horrible. They look cool, but they have zero support and can give you trench foot. I have no clue how anyone played basketball in those.

        Now Converse did come out with a new version recently that actually has like arch support. You could perhaps try those?

        1. Nina

          Yeah…I felt so badass when I finally got a pair of Chucks, but they really are just for show. They’re so flat I had to wear inserts with them, and they offer no insulation. My feet froze in them the other day when the temperature dropped :(

          1. Stephanie

            Yeah, I learned about the no insulation the hard way when I lived somewhere that actually had winter. I have a couple of pairs now (one even in a slip-on ballet flat version that’s really cute). Basically, I wear them if I know I won’t really need to walk very far.

        2. Elizabeth West

          I might, or try inserts of some kind. I have very high arches. I can wear the Chucks if I don’t go anywhere I have to walk much. But my feet are weird–they blister SUPER easy. I had a pair of Bass sandals way back when everyone was wearing those, and they rubbed my feet raw. Grrr.

      2. FiveWheels

        My feet aren’t Converse shaped, it sucks. I have very narrow heels and very wide toes (like a duck!) and they kill me. Makes me so happy that Vans now come in funky patterns

    9. LCL

      Best-Chaco sandals, they have a weird infinite adjust system and a (compared to other sport sandals) heavy vibram sole. I’m on my fourth pair, they are durable but not pointer-proof.
      Biggest disappointment was the pair of custom timberland work boots with initials and all. I ordered my true size, woman’s eleven, and they are too small to wear. I had worn men’s timberlands for years, still do, they tend to run a bit large.

      1. Blue_eyes

        Have you had your chacos re-soled? I’ve had the same pair for over 10 years including re-soling them once. You can send them away to the manufacturer and it’s fairly inexpensive. I may need a new pair soon though because the straps are wearing quite a bit and my feet have gotten a bit bigger so I could use the next size up.

        1. LCL

          I haven’t had a pair survive the ravages of the dog to get them resoled. I think this pair will make it, doggie is 9 years old now and seems to have gotten over his shoe eating fixation.

    10. Lillie Lane

      Good surprise: FitFlops. I don’t for one second buy the fitness/wobble board stuff, but a friend told me they were good for plantar fasciitis (I started getting symptoms but they went away). I have some and wear them around the house constantly; 2 pairs — 1 platform flipflop for the summer, and one suede/shearling slipper for the winter. They were expensive but worth it for longevity and cost per wear. They also came in extended sizes (I wear 11, which can be hard to find).

    11. Natalie

      I bought a pair of strappy sandals in Paris, on vacation, because my feet hurt. They somehow felt amazing in the store and have continued to be my go-to shoes. I’m sort of bummed that they don’t have any pretty heels available this season. Seriously, they are that comfortable.

    12. BRR

      I used to have uggs (I’m the only man I’ve known to own the boots). My feet have poor circulation and I loved how they kept them warm. Also during the summer I love just throwing on flip flops to run out for errands and uggs were my winter flip flop that way.

      I was very disappointed in a pair of cole haans. I bought them online on sale but definitely still a treat yo self moment. More expensive than what I usually spend I got them and they were gorgeous but hurt. I thought they just needed to be broken in. Nope, still hurt. And even not wearing them as often because they hurt the shoelace became damaged. It was surprisingly difficult to find a brown dress shoelace that matches.

      1. Stephanie

        Cole Haans are so hit or miss for me. I had a pair of wedges, which I got a good year out of and were super comfy. I found some of the loafers and those have been pretty comfy as well.

        I found some Cole Haan saddle shoes at Buffalo Exchange and they are SO uncomfortable. You wouldn’t guess this, but after a couple of wears, I got why they were at Buffalo Exchange. They rubbed against my little toes and cut into my Achilles. And they were really hard and didn’t provide much support.

        1. BRR

          Yeah I got sneakers by them from DSW on clearance and they’re amazing! They’re right now the most and least comfortable shoes I own.

    13. BrownN

      Keen – I thought they were the ugliest shoes I had ever seen. So ugly, in fact, that I had to buy a pair. Could not buy women’s because the size fit smaller than US standard, so bought men’s. Love the roomy toe box and that’s why I buy them. They’ve updated their stock since I first bought them over ten years ago.

      Been thinking of Crocs because a lot of people swear by them, but the ones I saw were very expensive.

    14. AnnieNonymous

      Uggs. I would never wear them in a “fashion” way, but they are seriously the best thing for your feet on super cold days.

  24. Steve G

    Book recommendation: Bill Bryson, “At Home.” A meaty book about the history of houses and everything in them – the materials used to build them, the history of certain pieces of furniture, why certain rooms exist, a history of food over the past few centuries, the lives of maids in England over the past few centuries and their day to day work, etc. etc. Believe me, much more exciting the way he explains things and turns around what you think of as fact. He is really good at explaining what you would have been thinking and what your priorities were if you lived in the past………

    1. Merry and Bright

      I have a copy of this book and agree. I just absorbed so much information without even trying. He has a knack too of telling you those things you had wondered about. “Oh, so that’s why…”

    2. Charlotte Collins

      I agree. I really enjoyed this book – it’s very thorough, and great for history nerds. But you have to be interested in historical details, or you’d find it boring. But there are great explanations about how and why older houses are the way they are.

  25. Former Diet Coke Addict

    I suppose this is the place to confess that for the past few years I confused Interpreter Of Maladies (Lahiri, 2009) with The Emperor Of All Maladies (Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2010 history of cancer and cancer treatment). When Emperor Of Maladies started getting all its amazing buzz and its Pulitzer I kept going “Why is everyone so excited about a book of short stories that came out a decade ago???” Turns out, it pays to listen more attentively to things people say.

    Luckily I figured it out and both books are phenomenal.

  26. AvonLady Barksdale

    My boyfriend is away at a conference this weekend and I am on my own with the pup for the first time in our new state (we moved a year ago). It’s WEIRD. I never mind being alone– in fact, I crave it, per the open thread two weeks (?) ago– but I’m having trouble sleeping and I miss him. This is good, because I haven’t missed him in a long time. This gives me the opportunity to remember why I love him and like having him around.

    But besides that, I am SO unmotivated to go out. It doesn’t help that the people I’ve met here who I like are all out of town this weekend, or that the weather is kind of gray. So I spent today making round challah (first time! Came out ok) and tzimmes (stewed veggie and fruit dish), then I went to the wine store to hang out for an hour or so (I’m friendly with the people who work there). I kind of have to admit that I’m kind of lonely and I miss my NYC friends, especially the ones I adored who lived close by and were always up to come over for a glass of wine. I am very glad this thread exists so I can check in on it and connect.

    Tomorrow will be better. I have an afternoon chorus rehearsal and Rosh Hashanah starts in the evening. L’shana tova!

    1. W.

      Can you call up your NYC friends – just because you’ve moved away doesn’t mean you can keep in touch (although I’m very bad at it.)
      Have a good holiday and enjoy the pup – walkies could be a way to meet ppl or get a little more social contact :)

  27. Carrie in Scotland

    This month is being brutal on me. I can only hope that October is better to me.

    Anyway, what’s with delivery companies, doctor’s surgeries, installation people etc not appreciating that it’s a modern world out there, a woman has got to work during the week in order to eat and buy pretty things (in theory). She is not in her flat at 3 pm on a workday waiting on a delivery. She does have to take a half day from work in order for internet to be installed because nobody seems to do it after 5 pm – or weekends. She does have to phone up and set up all the utilities by herself.

    To paraphrase Lorelai Gilmore – it’s not always I feel like I need to have a partner but right now, I really feel the lack of partner-ness in my life.

    1. Elizabeth West

      I know this feeling very well. I’m at the point that whenever something breaks or I need to move something and can’t, I just start crying. I CAN do all these things myself; I don’t want to. Dear Universe, I’ve proven that I can so now quit making me.

      I hope we both get really hawt sexy fabulous boyfriends who love us madly for early Christmas presents. :)

  28. the gold digger

    1. “The Namesake” is an amazing book and is far better than the movie.

    2. To everyone I doubted in the thread about whether shoes make a difference to hurting the tops of your feet. I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I just walked the top of my foot into the rocker of a rocking chair and IT HURTS. It hurts way more than it would have if I had been wearing shoes.

  29. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)

    Six weeks tomorrow until I head to the US! And I’ve managed to squeeze a quick trip to D.C. to visit a friend. I get one full day there (fly in the evening before, leave the morning after) so am basically just planning to wander the National Mall all day. I’m so overwhelmed by how much is there, though! What are the can’t-misses?

    1. Wrench Turner

      National Museum of the American Indian. Beautiful exhibits by and about our indigenous peoples – and the cafeteria on the lower floor is AMAZING OMG.

      1. Stephanie

        Seconding this!

        Also, I like the Hirshhorn. I think the modern art is enough of a turn off that it’s not as trafficked as the other Smithsonians.

        1. Elizabeth West

          Ooh yes, the Hirshhorn is cool.

          I really liked the National Gallery and Natural History Museum. And the Air and Space Museum. Moon rocks!!!

          Who am I kidding; I am a total museum nerd. :)

          1. Nashira

            I cannot believe I forgot the National Gallery of Art. The Room of Thomas Coles is one of my favorite places ever, and I would squee every time I saw their Bird in Space. Constantin Brancusi is one of my favorite sculptors, and the Bird in Space series one of my favorite things ever.

      2. Nashira

        YES. Oh my yes. NMAI is full of amazing wonderfulness, and that cafeteria… Husband and I still drool over this Carolina-style bbq buffalo sandwich that we ate there, eight years ever.

        And since he’s Cherokee (his grandma was full blooded), it was really powerful and meaningful for him to go and see the exhibits and the respect shown and the focus on Native voices.

      3. Jill of All Trades

        I…have never heard anyone rave about the cafeteria of any public institutions. Ever. What makes it amazing? I’m genuinely asking because I can’t imagine this. People usually compare cafeterias to airline food.

        1. Nashira

          They draw inspiration from a mix of regional American cuisines and foods specifically associated with Native American tribes from those regions, and then make sure it’s fandamntastic tasting. A lot of the Smithsonian restaurants have good food, actually. NMAI’s is just the best.

        2. Cath in Canada

          I raved about the cafe at the V&A in London when I went for the first time in February. Not so much for the food, but the main room is incredible! There was plenty of space in the main area, but some people were eating in the super bland modern add-on area. WHY?!

          1. Elizabeth West

            I went to V&A my very first visit, long ago, and meant to go back and see the dolls’ houses this time and didn’t have time. DAMMIT. Next visit. I’ll eat there too, on your recommendation (and that cafe was actually on my list!).

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      I actually think that’s a great plan– the museums on the Mall are all pretty cool, and big, and free. :) My favorite of all time is Air and Space. It’s a bit dated, but I still love it. Can’t miss? Astronaut ice cream in the gift shop.

    3. Nashira

      If you enjoy Asian art, the Freer Gallery is great. For modern art and an excellent statue garden, Hirschorn!

      1. katamia

        Yeah, the Freer and Sackler are my favorites. Great gift shops (well, the Sackler, anyway), and they’re small enough that they leave lots of time to see other things too.

  30. Evil

    Fall is coming and while I’m excited for it to be pretty outside, I don’t like the prospect of the nights getting cooler, especially because I like to walk outside after dark and I can’t if it’s super cold out. What’s one thing you like and don’t like about the weather changing at this time of year?

      1. Merry and Bright

        Yes to this. I don’t like it when I leave home in the dark, get home in the darķ and only see my flat and street in daylight at the weekend.

    1. nep

      Second that — It’s so nice when it gets light early and stays light later…alas, that’s coming to an end (for now). This is perfect sleeping weather, though. A window slightly open, two blankets — perfect. This transition time as we move into Spring or Autumn — less energy consumption as no need for heat or AC.
      And the colours — magnificent.

      1. Sara

        So perfect for sleeping. There is nothing I like better than sleeping with the windows open under a zillion blankets.

    2. Michele

      I love cool weather and snow, but I hate short days. Winter around here is very gray. We go weeks without seeing the sun. I go to work before it gets light and leave after it gets dark. I run during lunch most days, but sometimes it is so overcast that I can’t find the sun in the sky. At noon.
      This is really hard on me and affects me both physically and mentally. This year, I bought a solar simulation lamp, so I hope that helps.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        As someone who’s been in those shoes (except the running part) — look into some Vitamin D supplements. Last winter was so much easier for me and I think that was the main reason. I bought one of those light simulators and it didn’t really seem to help that much. YMMV.

        1. schnapps

          Yup. Vitamin D is water soluble so you can’t OD on it. I take a 10,000iu (or mg, whatever it is) in the morning during the winter. Also, vitamin B.

          1. Shell

            Vitamin D is fat soluble, so you should eat it with food. Are you thinking of vitamin C?

            But I agree some D supplements will be good to try.

            1. Dynamic Beige

              Seriously, we had a winter up here where we broke some kind of record — I can’t remember the exact number but it was over 30 days with no sunlight. It was constantly grey and overcast for over 30 days. By the end of it, I was fit to be tied. It was the weirdest feeling and I hated it. Then I started hearing a lot about Vitamin D insufficiency and thought I would give it a try/what could it hurt? I can’t really go out in the sun anyway and I don’t drink a lot of milk any more, so I’ve got to get it from somewhere!

              1. Michele

                A couple years ago I started taking vitamin D in the winter. It does help with the physical symptoms, but it definitely doesn’t fix everything.

            2. schnapps

              Oooh, probably. But I’ve never had issues with the high dosage pills, probably because I take all my vitamins with food. :)

              1. fposte

                That might help with stomach upset but it won’t make any difference to toxicity–but the best documented toxicity case was taking 50,000 IU daily for some time, and you’re well below that, so I don’t think you have much to worry about.

      2. Nina

        My mother has one of those lamps and she really likes it. If nothing else, it’s a softer light than what you get with a traditional bulb. As someone with seasonal depression, I’m looking into getting one myself.

        Hate: The shorter days. That just reminds me that we’re heading into winter, which I do not like.

        Love: The changing colors of the leaves, and Honeycrisp apples which are only around for the fall.

          1. QualityControlFreak

            I used to. Head injury -> lost/damaged sense of smell/taste -> now all apples taste bad. Still love the texture and juiciness, but…. :(

    3. LCL

      Like-longer walks with mr dog, I don’t have to worry about him overheating, can leave his water at the car.
      Hate-the big spiders are looking for other big spiders to make big spider babies, so they come out of hiding and hang on the wall.

    4. asteramella

      I like everything about fall :) It’s still 90+ degrees every day where I live, though. Fall can’t come fast enough.

    5. Chorizo

      Like: walking the dogs without coming back soaked in sweat and bug spray

      Dislike: I can feel in my joints when the weather is going to change

    6. Honeybee

      I love most things about fall, but I really love fall clothes. Sweaters and boots!

      But I don’t like it getting darker earlier, especially since I live relatively far north for my country and it’s going to start being dark most hours I’m not at work.

      1. Kate

        Hands down the fashion for me! Coats, skinny jeans, boots, scarves make up the bulk of my wardrobe so I’m usually there inappropriately dressed in summer too!

    7. FiveWheels

      I like that it means hockey is back and I can now spend all my free time hockey-ing.

      I don’t like that I now have no free time due to hockey.

      I also don’t like that the garden is going to sleep for the winter… But I like that I no longer need to tend it all weekend!

    8. Tris Prior

      Having to get up when it’s dark out – and also the fact that we can’t control when the heat goes on in our apartment and our landlord never turns it on early enough. I mean, it won’t be on for at least another month and it got down to the 40s last night. brrrrr.

    9. Stephanie

      I miss fall! (It’s not really a thing out here.) I have all this cooler weather clothing I can’t really wear (maybe in the winter–but a lot of that stuff gets too warm during the day).

      1. abby

        I’m with you! I live in so Cal, and it seems to get more and more like AZ every year. I love fall and wearing sweaters and sleeping under blankets. Can’t remember the last time I wore a sweater or jacket, even in winter, and we’ve been sleeping with just a sheet for months. Might add a blanket eventually … we used only one light one last winter.

        1. Stephanie

          Yes, I have a fantastic scarf collection that is pretty much gathering dust. I can break out the lighter ones for winter…that’s about it.

    10. Anx

      It’s not getting colder here yet, but it does get wetter. And my shoes have holes in the bottom and our umbrella is broken. And I walk to one of my works. I am crossing my fingers for that 2% COL raise they keep talking about because then I can get a new umbrella!

      In a few weeks it’s going to get cold, and then they will start blasting the heat on 80, after keeping it at about 68 degrees all summer at work. Ugh. I literally have to defog my glasses because the difference between the indoor and outdoor temps starts fogging them up when I walk into the 90 degree weather.

      I’m looking forward to some relief, but I don’t like how quick fall is here. There’s maybe about a 3 weeks between running the AC and having to put on the heat. Plus, roaches make a mad dash into houses. Every September-October we have to be on high alert for invaders.

    11. Pineapple Incident

      Fall and winter clothes are so comfy :)

      On the downside, the sun setting early gets my internal clock all thrown off, and my roommates use the heat indiscriminately despite warnings that they are NOT the ones fronting the electric bill.

  31. Wrench Turner

    I just finished the Maryland Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course, and after a 2nd attempt, passed the test and will be getting my M license Mon or Tuesday. It was a very fun, very challenging class, which I took out of Harley Davidson of Annapolis. I got to train on brand new Harleys on their closed range near Ft. Mead

    The classroom bit was super easy – mostly common sense stuff. You’re way, way more vulnerable on a bike. Be extra careful, use common sense. The class part was 2 days in the 96 degree humid sun (brutal) and after I failed the test at the end on Wed, I came back to re-test today with a different instructor -and in the rain, no less- and finally passed.

    This is one of those life goals for me; I was given a bike by my father in law, and now I’ll have a license to ride out to the beach, which I’ve always wanted to do. Be safe out there.

    1. Michele

      Congratulations. I got my motorcycle licence when I was 16. Even though I haven’t ridden in about 20 years, I have been renewing that M just in case. It has been so long, though, that I would want to take a course before going back out on the road.

    2. Evil

      YAY!! Congrats! :) My father just bought a motorcycle – Honda CB500 X. He and my mother are very excited about it, and although I don’t like motorcycles, today we went to an event where I rode a Honda scooter and ATV, which was cool. The scooter was somewhat scary as I don’t like motorbikes at all. We went dirtbiking a couple weeks ago, and it was just not my thing, but the scooters were okay, and the ATVs even cooler. :D

    1. Lizabeth (call me hop along)

      Coming to end of PT for my knee (meniscus surgery) this month. Now for the hard part of doing it on my own! Knee is feeling better but have decided against ACL reconstruction for the time being. Starting to research knee braces that would let me ski and play volleyball. Ortho doc’s office suppose to get back to about a brace. The only bummer is that there is still stiffness and some swelling that I’ve been told could take a year to completely go away. Ice is still my friend and patience.

    2. Emily

      I’m getting ACL reconstruction surgery in October and am very much not looking forward to the crutches period afterwards, which will be about six weeks long. I’ve also been told that it’ll be four weeks post-surgery before I can drive my (manual transmission) car, so I’m hoping that my boyfriend will be able to manage it by then.

      Right now, though, my injured leg is mostly functional. I’m not supposed to run or jump, but walking and biking are fine.

  32. Michele

    I am so excited. I have a hard time meeting other women that I have much in common with. I work in a male-dominate field, have male-dominated hobbies, and don’t have kids, so this is something that I really struggle with. I recently joined a multisport (triathlons and such) club, and probably half the members are women. They are open and welcoming, and we have activities in common. I am thrilled. I really miss close female friendship and hope to make the most of this.

    1. Lulubell

      I have the opposite problem – I have a hard time meeting men my age that I have much in common with. I work in a female-dominated industry, play on a women’s tennis team, volunteer with a women’s group, etc. I don’t have time for many more hobbies but I really need to find an interest that (single) men share. I do run but not marathons/triathalons or anything that would necessitate a club.

      1. Rowan

        Our running shop has an all-abilities running club that isn’t focused towards event/competitive running. Maybe you could see if there’s something like that in your area?

        1. Nom d' Pixel

          Good suggestion. The running store here in town has a weekly group run for all abilities. That would be a potential place to meet people.
          If you had time for more hobbies, I would suggest cycling. I am outnumbered at least 5:1 around here. I am hardly the most beautiful woman in the room, but there are a lot of men who ride and are looking for women who share that interest, so I get hit on fairly regularly.

  33. Calla

    Another cat thread :)

    We adopted a massive Siamese boy cat at the end of August. He is an absolute doll, very chatty and loving. He’s also pretty overweight (25 lbs when we adopted him, 22 as of yesterday’s vet checkup) so we want to make sure he loses weight BUT not too fast. The thing is he’s being super picky about food and not eating a whole lot! The vet wasn’t too concerned since he’s still acting normally and IS eating, just not a ton, but I figured I’d get some input on his quirks.

    – He looooves treats.
    – It COULD be that he’s still nervous but he seems to have settled in very well, the vet thought he was the chillest cat ever.
    – He is obviously hungry because he will follow me into the kitchen and yell.
    – We have tried: Science diet (what the shelter had him on), Blue Buffalo (the same brand as the treats he liked), Nature’s Variety and Wellness (what our girls are on) wet foods, plus Wellness kibble.
    – Food has been presented cold, room temp, and heated up. It has also been mixed together.
    – We have tried a stainless steel bowl, a shallower ceramic bowl, a plastic bowl, and a small ceramic plate.
    – He can occasionally be coaxed into eating the wet food if you put it on a plate right under his nose and watch him.
    – He will more frequently eat the kibble if it’s hand-fed or placed directly on the living room rug.

    Any suggestions? Are we just doomed to having to buy a small rug to put his food directly on? Ha.

    1. schnapps

      Some cats have eating quirks. I have one cat (who is more than a few sandwiches short of a picnic) who will only drink out of cups or the toilet (from a bowl in a pinch), and when it comes to dry food, takes it out of his bowl with his mouth and drops it on the floor. THEN he eats it. I found pet placemats (microfibre, non slip) at Dollarama.

      And Siamese are yowly. My other is (probably) half Siamese and when something makes him mad or he hasn’t been fed in a timely fashion, you know it. You’ve only had him a couple of weeks – I’d say give him more time to get used to your habits.

      Also, with our half Siamese boy, it took him six months to get comfortable with us so that we’d see him every day without having to look in every place he could hide. I suspect Siamese may take a bit longer to get adjusted than DSHs.

      Was he a big boy when he got to the shelter? If he was only fed once or twice a day at his previous home, and then had open access to food (kibble) at the shelter, he may have just eaten too much.

      1. Calla

        Yes, he was big when he got to the shelter! I think he had only been there a few days when we got him. They had no idea what his previous owners were feeding him to get him that big.

        Thanks for the reassurance! The vet also suspected it was part of him still settling, but I am a worrywart cat-mom :) The microfiber placemats are a great idea.

        1. schnapps

          Urghhhhh, I wonder if his previous owners didn’t just leave a big bowl of food out and just refill it every once in awhile. If that’s the case, you’re in for some retraining. He’ll get used to it.

          Opinion follows: I think most cats are easily susceptible to feline PTSD. It takes them time to get over it. Toby (my half Siamese) gave me a Christmas present of sitting beside me on the couch. Then around new years he decided I was OK and sat on my lap. About 4 months after that, he started sitting on husband-type’s lap once in awhile.

          His story: for the first 12 years of his life, he lived with one human. That human had to move away for work and couldn’t take him (and if I found that human, I would punch him in the neck because in my opinion, if you have a cat for that long, you move heaven and earth to take him along). He gave Toby to a family and one of the kids turned out to be allergic, so Toby ended up at the SPCA in a very short time. He was there for 6 weeks before we got him home, and he hid in the litter box. Then he hid for 6 months behind various pieces of furniture and appliances (but ate and used the litter box). He is a gorgeous cat with white and grey markings, the long Siamese tail, and bright green eyes.

          Toby will now sit on my lap for about 30 minutes at a time, and we adopted him in July 2014. He’s not a snuggler by any stretch but he now complains to me when he’s hungry or something is wrong. And it’s taken over a year to get there.

          My point is, who knows what happened to your boy and how he’s processing it? If only they could talk, right?

          1. Calla

            Yeah, it’s very possible he’s used to grazing — he needs to get ready to stick to a schedule now!

            His previous owners mentioned in the surrender form that they got him as a stray so there’s even less we know about his past, true. (He’s six, by the way.) They also claimed they had to give him up because he would not stop coughing and vomiting and they couldn’t afford the vet bills… but since he was surrendered, it hasn’t happened and two different vets found nothing wrong with him. So who knows! And he’s a beautiful seal point that our vet was pretty sure is a purebred.

            Anyway, he seems so at home already — not a lap cat yet but sleeps on the bed with us, cuddles with us, loves being brushed, is playing with toys, etc — that it seemed odd it would still be some kind of shyness of nervousness, but not impossible. I really do wish they could talk!

            1. The Other CrazyCatLady

              Coughing and vomiting plus his size might indicate he had a tendency to gorge. One of mine will do that periodically – she’ll eat too much kibble too fast, then throw it up a few minutes later.

              Your new kitty may just be a social eater – you mentioned he’ll eat if he’s hand-fed or you ‘watch’ him; it may just be that he prefers to eat with his people nearby. Get comfortable somewhere with a book and put his food within reach and see if directing him to the food while you’re there (and/or petting him) encourages him to eat.

              1. Puffle

                Our cat can restrain herself with other flavours of cat food, but she loves rabbit so much that she’ll wolf it all down much too quickly and then throw up straight away. We avoid giving her rabbit now, or only give to her a little at a time.

            2. Harriet

              He could still be nervous even if he doesn’t seem it – he sounds quite similar to my cat when I first got her from the shelter. I had prepared my OH for her hiding away for the first few days which was my experience with other new cats, but instead she seemed to instantly settle in – very cuddly, playing, sleeping on my bed. As the weeks and months went by and she gradually relaxed I did see a lot of changes that made me realise that she hadn’t been as settled as she had seemed to be at the start.

              She also liked having someone next to her to eat when she first came home, and she still prefers being hand-fed kibble or treats (she now has kidney disease so keeping her appetite and weight up is a challenge sometimes).

              I’d say you’re doing everything right, and to just stick with it. It’s still early days in the adjusting process and you’re doing great :)

            3. abby

              He probably has food sensitivities. If he is that overweight and was coughing and vomiting, likely the food they were feeding contributed to that. Especially because the vets cannot find a problem. (I went through something similar with my male cat, and changing his diet resolved all sorts of problems, including weight gain, coughing, vomiting, and a lot more; vets could not find a problem with him, either, even though he was clearly sick). Gorging, as mentioned below, could also be a problem, but I would bet that is secondary to a food issue.

              So what to feed him? It’s too bad he’s picky. My male eats almost anything, so we were lucky. We currently feed him a combo of about 80% commercial raw and 20% canned Nature’s Variety Instinct. This works for him, but it is a little more work for me and kind of expensive. But better than vet visits and vet bills and medications.

              You might have to experiment with your guy. I like the Instinct canned foods because there are a variety of proteins (mine cannot eat chicken) and the foods do not contain carrageenan or other gums/thickeners/binders that are linked to intestinal issues. Those are also problem ingredients for my guy. Can you try offering your new Siamese a “novel protein”? Try rabbit, it’s a mild and lean protein and most cats really like it. Pork is also supposed to be good, and my cats love it. These are both available in the Instinct line.

              1. Calla

                Ooh, the rabbit is a good idea! We have tried crab/shrimp, chicken/turkey, and duck (the same flavor of the treats he liked), but not that one.

    2. LeRainDrop

      I think he likely just needs to get used to a routine. Perhaps switching up the food types and serving dishes is contributing to his delay in just settling into the food routine, as it gets switched up too often for him to get secure in it. I have a 6-year-old (12 pound) female Siamese and a 6-year-old (10 pound) male Tonkinese. Both can end up in the barfing situation if they gorge. Also, one had food sensitivities and so was on a special vet diet for a couple years, but then we transitioned to Nutro Natural Choice Grain-Free Duck & Potato dry food. That’s what both of them have been eating for at least a year and doing very well. They each have their own ceramic bowl, which are put about 8 feet apart from the other, and I give half their daily dry food in the morning, and the other half in the evening. Portion is based on caloric intake that my vet recommended. Both cats prefer that I am nearby, getting ready in the bathroom within eyesight, when they eat their breakfast.

    3. Not So NewReader

      I had a Balinese that we adopted when she was age five. We were told that the family who had her also had a child that was allergic. As time went on, we started to realize there was probably more to the story. The most concerning thing I saw was that she did not trust us to set her down gently. It probably took well over a year to teach her that we would never, ever throw her down anywhere.

      When we got her she spent the first three weeks under our bed. When she hit day number 21, I thought she has to start eating/drinking and eliminating very soon, or this is over. Well, sure enough, she came out from under the bed. Getting her to eat regularly, walk to the litter box where I normally keep it and so on took a while longer.

      I am guessing that you have had this cat for 2-4 weeks, so I think the cat is doing grrreat and you are doing a great job with him. You say he loves snacks. It could be the snacks that are interfering with his regular meals. Additionly, and I could be wrong, but I think he is training you to hand feed him. The Balinese had a personality and a half and we did not know that right off. It took a while for this to become apparent. She would do something like this, train us to her wishes.
      My thought is that he may not need a lot to eat right now, maybe he is still a bit nervous/wary. The snacks you give him might be enough to sustain him for the moment and he does not need additional food. This could be why he is not eating full meals.

      1. Calla

        Thanks for this! All my/our cats before had been rescued as kittens, so while I am used to cats, we’ve never dealt with an adult cat settling in before. And yes, we just hit 2 weeks this weekend. Since I posted, he hasn’t gotten any more treats (primarily, he had been getting them to make sure he had ANY appetite or to coax him into the carrier to see the vet, not all the time) or hand-feedings, and he’s eaten kibble off a paper towel (instead of just the floor). So while I still would like to see him eat more, we’ve made some progress!

  34. Gene

    Home from doing the Beat the Blerch 10k. I set a decent, steady walking pace at the start and finished with my side trips (I play Ingress and there were portals…) at 6.7 miles with an average pace of 15:59. Slowest split was 16:36 in mile 2, and quickest was 15:13 in mile 6.

    1. fposte

      I had to Google to see what the hell a Blerch is–who knew the Oatmeal had a marathon! Congrats at completing the 10k.

  35. OfficePrincess

    I’ve recently started a new walking routine and it seems to be sticking. I feel so much better during the day if I start it off with a brisk walk. Right now I can comfortably do a 20 minute mile (I’m out of shape, but I have to start somewhere). Does anyone have any suggestions or resources on how to start buikding it up? I really can’t get myself out of bed much earlier, so 20-30 minutes is really my max. Also, suggestions for cheap ways to stay warm as it gets colder would be extra appreciated! I’m in the northeast, so this morning was chilly but I warmed up as I got going. In a few weeks though, my current workout wardrobe isn’t going to cut it.

    1. Kirsten

      You could do 20 minutes before work but then longer walks on the weekends to build up. Or maybe during lunch/after work? I am also in the Northeast and walk every night but will probably need to switch to the mornings soon once the sun starts setting earlier. In the winter I usually just wear long sleeves and pants with a big coat and wear gloves to keep warm.

      1. OfficePrincess

        I was thinking about longer walks on the weekends, so I’m glad someone else thinks I have the right idea. I pretty much have to stick to mornings since we’re getting into the busy season at work. In a few weeks, I’ll consider taking a break to pee and fill my water bottle a victory and then come home at night to collapse.

    2. Rebecca

      I live in PA, so cold dark winters are no stranger to me. I dress in layers, and experimented quite a bit last winter with how many layers and what layers kept me warm without being too warm. Layering is key, and if you are too warm and start to sweat when it’s really cold, that makes for an uncomfortable walk. I like to layer Cuddl Duds, Cuddl Duds fleece, and my Fila Sport leggings, with wool socks and a down parka, and that served me well even on below zero days, of which we had many last winter. I also wear a face mask. For warmer days, I wear Cuddl Duds tops and bottoms, Fila Sport leggings, and a thin fleece layer plus lightweight jacket, a head band or hat, and fleece gloves. I just experimented, and now I can just grab stuff based on the weather, so if it’s 35, sunny, but windy, I wear different things than 25, sunny, and no wind at all. For shoes, if it’s snowy and yucky, I wear my GoreTex Addidas trail shoes (found on 6PM). Love my wool socks, my feet never get cold even if they sweat.

      I have an old bright yellow fleece lined parka, and an orange safety vest, and flashlight for walking after work, since I don’t get home until after 5. In December, it’s already almost dark then :(

      Hope this helps!!

      1. OfficePrincess

        I’m also in PA :-). I’m on a pretty tight budget, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to accumulate right away, but I do see a few things on sale from Cuddl Duds that could be a good starting point. Thanks!

        1. Rebecca

          I hope you check back – I was able to get things over time at WalMart, and their website has free shipping when the order is over a certain amount, is it $35 now? I’m also on a budget, so I’m always on the lookout for sales. I’ve accumulated quite a few things to take me from over 90 degrees in the summer, to under zero F in the winter. Good luck!

        2. Pineapple Incident

          I have some running gear from Walmart and Target sales. I was totally where you are in terms of starting slow! I started to jog my junior year in college and just said as long as I go out and try it every day (fewer days a week now because college students have time in spades), it doesn’t matter how far or how fast. Some days I would throw in some strength or core training as well. I have found that with that, not having a deadline or a goal is kind of empowering, at least for me. It enabled me to improve at my own pace when I felt stronger.

    3. schnapps

      Can you walk on your lunch break or later in the day, even if it means leaving the office/house earlier or later in the day? If you download the MapMyWalk app it’ll show other walks people in your area have done and logged. I’ll often do my exercise videos at 2 in the afternoon because that’s when I can get a free room at work.

      To stay warm: gloves or mittens, a warm hat (we call it a tuque up here in the great white north – in the US it’s a watch cap or beanie, according to google), a scarf, a running jacket that has thumbholes in the sleeves (I got mine at a thrift store for a for about $8), a short or long-sleeved t-shirt under it depending on the weather, long yoga pants, warm socks and a good pair of shoes. Layer leggings or longjohns under the pants if you need to.

      The hat is really important – your body will divert resources to keep your brain warm and fed so the rest of you will feel cold. Keep your hands, feet, neck, and head warm and you should be good for all but the most extreme cold. A fleece might help too (usually available at thrift stores).

    4. fposte

      Fleece and fleece and wool socks and layering and fleece.. If you’ve got the budget, Sierra Trading Post has a ton of deeply discounted outdoorwear. For the coldest days, I have old Cybersilk longies, running tights, and fleece pants; upstairs is Cybersilk with a sport wool turtleneck and two fleece jackets.

      There is something deeply satisfying about going out in really cold weather and just not feeling it, at least for a while.

    5. nep

      Great that you’re doing this. Bravo.
      None of our burdens ever seem as heavy after a good walk. Terrific way to start the day.
      Re the colder weather — Layers, layers, layers. And get some good quality socks that will help keep your feet warm.
      Even if you’ve got just 20-30 min, doing higher-intensity intervals during that period could help you build up your stamina and overall fitness. For example, after you’ve walked a while and warmed up, add in some intervals in which you speed-walk — really all out as fast as you can walk — for 30 seconds, then go at a relaxed pace for a minute or so; you can see what kind of intervals work for you.
      Good luck to you.

      1. TL -

        Yes to the intervals – they can make all the difference.

        Try having one day/week where you really push yourself for as long as you can, and maybe a weekend day where you set a comfortable pace and go for longer but without pushing yourself. Vary your route, do intervals some days, and have fun.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale

      Get a dog! What? Not realistic? Oh. :)

      My doggy was actually my main motivator to get walking. We do at least 5000 steps every morning, and without him to focus on, I don’t know if I could do that much. I need a reason, I guess. So in your place, I would listen to podcasts or audiobooks, and I would try different routes every couple of days. This will take your mind off the “chore” of walking and may help you get moving faster. My buddy and I have about seven routes to choose from– I let him choose– and it keeps the walk from being boring.

      As for keeping warm, it’s all about layers. I wear yoga pants all year round on my walks, but tops vary by season. Once it gets a little cooler here, I’ll start with an old hoodie over my t-shirt and eventually put on my Old Navy fleece zip-up. Old Navy is good for stuff like that. Come mid-winter, I just throw my down coat on over my clothes and go.

      Be sure you get a good pair of shoes, and check on them! Once I started walking my 5000 steps a day, I had to start replacing my sneakers every 3 months or so. A bit of a pain, but so worth it– my feet, knees and hips would be quite unhappy otherwise.

      1. Weekend Warrior

        Envious of people who have a dog to get them out. I try telling myself that my inner dog needs to get outside so going to see how that works. :) Making sure my inner child leaves work at a decent time has been helpful so…

      2. OfficePrincess

        I would LOVE to get a dog, but my apartment complex is strictly no pets. I’ll definitely check out Old Navy though. I’ve found it to be super high quality, but their prices will definitely accommodate experimenting to figure out what I like.

    7. skyline

      Is your goal to build of distance or pace? I like the suggestion above to do longer walks on the weekend. If you can walk faster, but not for long stretches, you could do intervals of fast/slow. (That’s the basis of most run/walk programs, like Couch to 5K, but I think the principle would apply even if you don’t have any interesting in running.)

      What are you currently wearing for workouts? I would invest in layers, rather than in single bulky items, as they are more versatile. An example might be a good moisture wicking base layer tee. And if you’re not already wearing a hat and gloves, those definitely make a world of difference!

      1. OfficePrincess

        Right now I’m wearing sweatpant capris and a tshirt with sneakers. I’ll definitely look into getting some things to layer. I’m not at hat and gloves weather yet (even 6am is in the 60s still), but I have a stash that I will pull out for winter.

        I did try C25K a couple times, but my knees just can’t take running. Maybe someday…

    8. Stephanie

      You can totally do intervals of fast-slow for walking. Or you can up your distance incrementally on the weekends. You definitely want layers. If you’re going to get spendy on something, get good things for your extremities. You’ll want good, thinner gloves, hat (or just something for your ears if you have a lot of thick hair like me), and good socks.

    9. Gene

      As others have said, layers for warmth. Just remember that cotton, while inexpensive, isn’t your friend here, especially as a base layer. Performance fabrics, silk, or wool will keep you warm.

    10. OfficePrincess

      Thanks everyone for the ideas! Weird question if anyone is still around though – how often do you wash walking gear? I can’t do laundry every day or afford to buy more than a couple sets of clothing. Since it’s still fairly warm out, I can select from a drawer full of tshirts and a few different pairs of shorts and capris, but I’m going to be almost starting from scratch for cold weather clothes.

      1. skyline

        Depends on how much I sweat, but I am open to rewearing everything but socks. I do make a point of hanging up anything I want to rewear so it can air out a bit. Also, technical fabrics and wool tend to do better on the smell front than, say, cotton.

  36. Sparky

    What happened with the termite infestation from last week? Poster, would you care to update us? I hope it all is working out well for you.

  37. Shell

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice about their Fitbit experience last week! I ended up buying a Fitbit One. It’s scheduled for Wednesday delivery and I’m super excited. I’m already tracking all the things I can via the app and feeling like a dork.

    My conclusion: I can walk quite a bit on the weekends, I drink a lot of fluids, and I eat too much. (Although the diligence of the first two might be due to how shiny and new this is.)

    Will check back next week!

    1. Rebecca

      Keep hydrated! That’s very important. And I eat too much, too, but not as much as I used to :) I have the Zip, and love the motivation it gives me.

      1. Shell

        I’m not sure if this will be motivate me into exercising or guilt me into exercising, but hey, whatever works. :-D

        Wednesday needs to come faster!

        1. Cruciatus

          For me it’s a little of both. I better get my steps in! …or else my Fitbit won’t give me the happy green face! If you have friends/family with a Fitbit, I recommend setting up challenges or even just connecting with them through the program so you can see their step counts. Seeing your friend is 1000 steps ahead of you will make you go into the driveway and walk for 10 minutes until you catch up. Then she does the same when you are winning. Next thing you know you’re back in the driveway… Though I will admit, just trying to get to my own goal every day was motivating enough. But it’s fun with friends too. Usually when we get together we start the night off at the mall getting some laps in!

    2. YWD

      Congrats and enjoy! I was a recommender of the One :)

      It doesn’t help you this time but Fitbits are sold in a lot of stores and for the same price as online. I bought mine at Best Buy and was surprised to see them at Bed, Bath and Beyond last weekend.

      I’m going to post separately about starting an AAM group on the Fitbit community, please check it out!

      1. Shell

        I had to get it from one particular store because I had a gift card there, and their online prices are cheaper than their in-store prices. Believe me, if I could’ve gotten it faster than my week-long wait I would have! I am a very impatient person when it comes to gifts. :-)

        An AAM community sounds awesome, none of my friends or coworkers seem to have one! I need more motivation. :-D

  38. Revanche

    My smartphone (Nexus 4) is getting to the point where I ought to replace it soon. I’d like a phone that’s not any bigger (the Samsung Galaxy 6 is frighteningly large), has a great camera, works as a phone of course! and maybe doesn’t cost more than $500. I prefer Android over Apple but it’s not a deal breaker. Bit leery of buying used but willing to consider if it’s not awful. Does anyone has any recommendations?

    1. schnapps

      I second the Sony Xperia Z series. I have the regular sized Z2 and it is 17 kinds of awesome. It’s slightly bigger than my FIL’s Nexus 5, but way smaller than husband-type’s One Plus 1. I have small hands and can easily hold it.

    2. Anonymous Educator

      I wish I had a recommendation for you (and for me too). I absolutely love my 2013 Moto X, but the camera is terrible. Well, it’s decent (not great) is natural light and bad in dim light. The new 2015 Moto X is supposed to have a better camera, but it’s enormous. Too many enormous phones!!!

      1. abby

        I have the Motorolla Droid Turbo and the camera is great! I also like the long battery life. But it’s also a large phone. I’ve adjusted and it’s slim enough to fit in my bag or larger pockets.

        1. Anonymous Educator

          Yeah, I may just bite the bullet and get a big phone. It’s sad that phablets have become the norm.

    3. Noah

      I really like my iPhone 6, but if you’re used to Android I would imagine iOS is an adjustment. At one point I had a Galaxy S3 and I liked it as well. I agree with you on most of the new phones being huge. I don’t want to lug around a tablet all day, the only reason I was ok moving from the iPhone 5 to the 6 was the 6 is a much thinner device and it still fits in my pocket.

      I don’t know if every carrier does this, but AT&T will allow you to return a device to the store within 14 days if you don’t like it. I tried a Galaxy S5 before I went with the iPhone 6 and the exchange process was easy at an AT&T store.

      1. Revanche

        I’ve had both before, I just didn’t enjoy my experience with the early iPhones. I just got the chance to compare the 6 to my phone and it’s only a little taller so that’s not terrible.

    4. Persephone Mulberry

      I killed my Samsung S3 this summer and upgraded to the LG G4. It felt huuuuge at first (I have small hands/short fingers) but I adapted pretty quickly and now my old S3 feels wee by comparison. Excellent battery, SD slot, very good pictures.

    5. Observer

      The new Moto X might work for you, but I don’t know how big it is.

      Some sites that I have found useful:

      Phonescoop
      GSM Arena
      Specout

      All of them let you do some phone comparisons by various features. I would not make a decision just based on these sites, but they are good to get a sense of which phones you want to follow up on.

    6. Aknownymous

      I have the Galaxy S4, and I love it. It takes amazing pictures, it’s fast, and you can upgrade the memory substantially if so desired. And even though it looks delicate, it’s built like a tank, and mine has survived numerous crashes into any hard surface you could think of with nary a scratch. The price depends on where you buy it, but I’ve seen it from $250-400 online.

      1. Aknownymous

        I also wanted to add the battery life is great – I charge it every night, but I could go a day and a half with higher-than-moderate use without charging if needed. I would also advise you against buying used, unless it’s pre-certified and comes with the same warranty as a new one, otherwise it’s too risky in my opinion.

  39. Dynamic Beige

    Mosquito bites. Does anyone have a great anti-itch treatment/idea/old family recipe? I don’t know what it is, but I managed to avoid getting bitten a lot earlier by practically bathing in Off! but recently, it’s like the little blighters are in my house, biting me while I sleep or something. The bites on my legs are just… ugh. I want to scratch them right now and I’m trying not to! I’ve tried After Bite in various “flavours” and something I can’t remember the name of from a health food store and they just aren’t seeming to work. Aaaugh!

    1. Former Diet Coke Addict

      For the worst mosquito bites I try to take a bath or shower as hot as I can stand it–it seems to overload the itch sensation for a while? Paste-style toothpaste (not gel) also takes the edge off, as does cortisone cream (you can find it at the drugstore near the Band-Aids).

      1. Dynamic Beige

        I’m going to have to see if there’s some of that cortisone cream next time I go… not sure if I’m desperate enough to go to the 24 hr Walmart and everything else would be closed right now. I need stronger will power or something that will take my mind totally off of it. Must. Not. Scratch!

        1. fposte

          Cortisone cream. I’m a longtime favorite dessert of mosquitoes, and nothing helps like cortisone cream. The other thing is that nothing is a one-off and you’re done; you have to reapply the cortisone cream every four hours or so. (It’s also worth taking a Benadryl if you don’t get sleepy or don’t care if you do, though the topical Benadryl apparently doesn’t perform as well as cortisone.)

          1. Elsajeni

            Yep, especially when I have multiple bites, oral Benadryl is the only thing that really helps. (I also mostly only take it at night — I react badly to bites and the itching will sometimes get bad enough to keep me awake — so the drowsiness is a feature, not a bug.)

          2. Lore

            I find the topical Benadryl cream is much less good than cortisone but the gel is great–it’s cooling as it goes on and then the antihistamine kicks in.

    2. schnapps

      So if you take your fingernail and make an X on top of the bite, it’ll stop itching for a bit (make sure you don’t break the skin). It separates the poison cells and they’ll drift back together, but the relief is immediate – and you can repeat it.

      How long do your mosquito bites last? You could take an antihistamine if they’re really long lasting or really big.

    3. Calla

      This is slightly unconventional but Lush has a spot cream called “Grease Lightning” that I find works great on itchy bites for me. The main ingredients in that are thyme, rosemary, tea tree, lavender, witch hazel, and aloe. You could easily get some aloe gel and tea tree and witch hazel oil at the store and add that to the aloe, then apply!

    4. Ruffingit

      OK, so you’ll look like a drug addict doing this, but I swear it works because both my husband and myself have done it. Get a lighter/match/source of fire and a metal spoon. Heat the bottom of the spoon with the lighter. Give it a few seconds to cool so it’s not burning hot, but then press the bottom of the spoon against the bite. The heat takes all the itch out of the thing.

      1. The IT Manager

        I run the metal spoon under hot water or near boil water and dunk the spoon in the water. Heating the bite does work

        1. abby

          Ah, a different twist on the heat remedy! I posted about using a hair dryer below. These are both good alternatives. Heat works, it really does!

      2. Kate R. Pillar

        Yes, yes ,yes, heat!
        We own a small gadget for this called the “Bite Away”, made by Riemser Pharma. Not sure if you can get this elsewhere but in Germay. It runs on batteries and has a ceramic tip that heats up for six seconds (for adults) or three seconds (kids, adults with lower pain threshold).
        You press it on the stitch and it feels quite uncomfortable for these few seconds, but I have never had any itching afterwards, which to me is nothing short of a miracle.
        A little pricey at ca. 25 EUR, though.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        Oh, I wish I could do that, I’ve got a big bottle in the cupboard. I’m going to have to train myself to not scratch and just put on some alcohol (or whatever works). I just scratch and then they either start to bleed or weep. Putting alcohol on that would be a whole new kind of pain.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale

      Take an antihistamine! Benadryl might make you sleepy, but Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra shouldn’t. I get eaten alive every summer, but no (well, very few) itchies because I take an Allegra every day for my seasonal allergies.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        It’s not so bad as that, exactly. There’s one behind my left knee and another on my right ankle and I’m trying very hard not to scratch them right now. Very hard. Erk. I think with the cool nights we’ve been having, I’ve gone out to the car/put out the trash and the mosquitoes have just gone “Banzai!” because they know that their time is limited. They’re only on my legs below the knee and in perfect scratching reach. I’ve got to get to alcohol/witch hazel/whatever before I just automatically scratch.

        I had heard of the “make an X with your fingernail” but the heat up a spoon… that’s a new one on me! Interesting how many of the cures involve heat of some sort.

    6. skyline

      Sympathies. If there is a group of people, and a mosquito, the mosquito will always choose to bite me–usually multiple times.

      I also recommend taking an antihistamine. If one type doesn’t work, do try another kind. Allegra and Benadryl work for me, but Claritin and Zyrtec do not. (Benadryl makes me sleepy, but definitely works, so it’s my last resort when the Allegra is not helping enough.) I also use cortisone cream and ice packs (the reusable, refreezable kind) for temporary topical relief

      1. fposte

        We should get all us mosquito-beloved folks together to see if there’s like the supreme mosquito meal among us or if they just go nuts like they’ve gotten access to a dessert cart.

        1. Stephanie

          I’m the same. If there is a mosquito within a five-mile radius…it will find me. I get bitten in Phoenix! It barely rains long enough here for them to even nest.

        2. skyline

          We had a 10-person family reunion and only 2 of us (my sister and me) got bitten. Everyone else was like, “There are no mosquitoes. How great!” My reaction was, “I hate you all.”

    7. Sparkly Librarian

      Mine used to be Rhuli-Gel, which was bought and marketed as Band-Aid brand Anti-Itch Gel for a while, but now they have changed the formula and I was devastated before I found out that I could buy the chief ingredient – camphor – by itself. I use a cotton swab or a fingertip to dab it on the bites, and it’s the only thing that brings relief. To repel, the thing that works best for me – and I’m allergic to mosquitoes, so I use multiple methods – is Jungle Juice from REI. It’s some very high percentage of DEET. That plus a beekeeper’s mask and a sonic repellent when I sleep outdoors make camping/wilderness bearable.

    8. Lizabeth (call me hop along)

      Vicks Vapour Rub. I think I just read somewhere that they did scientific tests and it really does work,

      1. Honeybee

        It’s got menthol and camphor it in and both are well-known topical analgesics, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    9. Bye Academia

      Someone I know swears by putting tape over them. She has tried all the other things mentioned and they don’t work as well. No idea why it works (or if it’s just placebo effect).

    10. Noah

      My grandma always put Chiggerex on bug bites and that stuff is amazing. I’m not sure what exactly is in it, but it works.

    11. Amanda

      Aveeno makes an anti-itch cream, you’d find it with the cortisones. It ha cortisone and calamine in it I think, it’s pinkish and smells like calamine lotion. It’s the only type of cream that ever helps me when I have bites or rashes – I’m allergic to mosquito bites so I swell up and the bites get gigantic and torturous, and I get heat rash super easily and it makes my skin break out in an awful rash. Benadryl to help you sleep if necessary, though I don’t do it unless I am absolutely miserable – it takes about 16-20 hours for me to recover from benadryl, no matter how much sleep I get I’m in a total fog the next day

      1. Honeybee

        I forgot about calamine. Calamine works wonders. One of my first memories is being slathered with calamine lotion at age 5 because of the chickenpox, and so I associate calamine lotion with instant soothing and peace lol.

        I agree with your observation on Benadryl; I only take that if I’m having truly miserable allergy issues and it’s the weekend. It just knocks me out so thoroughly.

        1. fposte

          I grew up on calamine, and I think it was something to keep bite victims occupied until cortisone cream was developed.

      1. Bluebirds Fly

        Menthol alcohol also worked for me. And if I have to scratch, I use a sick or towel and skin the top instead of digging in with my fingernails.

    12. abby

      Maybe someone has already suggested this. It sounds crazy, but works for me and for my husband. He was very skeptical, but it’s now his go-to.

      Assuming you have a blow dryer for hair, put it on the hottest setting possible. Blow it on the bite(s) until you can’t stand the heat. Stop, then do it again. Depending on the severity of the bites, you might need to re-treat after a few days.

      Supposedly the heat kills off (or damages) whatever is in the bite that makes you itch. My husband is a mosquito-magnet and this works for him.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Love arnic gel. And you can use it for sore muscles, too. At night I put arnica gel on my neck because sometimes it can really ache. The pain does not bother me during the night and the next morning I am still getting relief from pain. I like things that have more than one use.

    13. Ghost Pepper

      This may sound really really weird. But I found that super-super hot sauce will get rid of the itch.

      Not Tabasco sauce. I’m talking habanero or ghost pepper-level sauce. You will feel a burning sensation where you apply the sauce to your skin (I apply with a q-tip), but the burning is so much better than the insatiable itching of a mosquito bite. After the burning wears off, it no longer itches. Perhaps this is why some anti-itch creams have capsaicin in it.

  40. Struggling with Church

    I just want to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments last week. It gave me a lot to think about.

    A few things happened this week. We had a meeting, as I’m on a committee that is a go between for the parish and the pastor, and had every intention of going and asking how I could resign, but instead I thought about what I could do to try to guide positive changes. So I summoned my courage, and stated what I’ve been wanting to state for a long time: we can’t go on with multiple separate small congregations and maintain multiple buildings, multiple property taxes, utilities, etc. and need to face the realization of shrinking numbers. I framed it by stating we want to help to feed and clothe people, and we could do a better job together than separately. Some people agreed with me, and I was very surprised, so for now, I’m going to at least serve out my term.

    Regarding choir, I confided in another member, and she knew exactly what I was talking about. She feels much the same way, and unfortunately it’s one person that causes the issue. Isn’t it always? Her theory was that she is not going to let one person get in the way of her doing something she enjoys. So, again, putting on my big girl panties and will put Miss Perfect Pants (my new name for her) in her place when she needs it. You don’t need to know how to read music or sing perfectly to make a joyful noise. This will be my reply to her each and every time.

    So, now if we can get the pastor to talk more plainly without all those long history lessons, well, I guess that’s the next step.

    Anyway, thank you again for your comments. I just want to be part of something that helps to feed people, keep them clothed and warm, and helps to keep them clean and dry after natural disasters. Maybe speaking up and not staying quiet is the way to go.

    1. Not So NewReader

      Well done. Sometimes all it takes is one person to voice an opinion and others climb right on board. I bet you will be surprised to find out how many agree with you.

  41. V

    Been having a rough time lately :(

    My best friend starting dating a guy who is a huge jerk and extremely possessive of her time, so I never see her anymore. He apparently sold her on the idea of moving across the country, and she felt the appropriate way to tell me was to gleefully bring it up when we were out one day. I was so shocked I didn’t even know what to say. Since then (several months ago) she’s been making all these references to “our plans to move away” like it’s a trip to the supermarket. It didn’t even occur to her that this would be shocking to me and something I need to process. :( And our friendship has suffered in many ways since then.

    Crappy friend #2 started declining all of my requests to hang out about 6 months ago, but is always posting pictures/check-ins of her and other people going out and having fun. These are people I’ve met several times, but she still doesn’t invite me.

    I’m starting to write both of these people off at this point. But it’s hard and it’s been a boring, lonely Saturday. :(

    1. Rose of Cimarron

      I can relate to this. For whatever reason, the people I consider my best friends have no time for me this year. They’re “too busy with work” when I reach out – although I’m the one who works 55-hour weeks and have a long commute (after previously being much more available), so I thought my friends might step up and find ways to spend time with me on weekends. Nope. And they too are always on social media not being too busy to have fun with other people.

      1. V

        Yeah, up until this past May I was working a full-time day job while taking four classes at night, but still had time to see the people that mattered to me. So I have a tough time being sympathetic when people claim to be too busy, but at the same time I don’t want to be that person who is trying to one-up everyone, so I don’t mention it. I just figure I know what I need to know about them, and that’s what matters…

    2. Book Person

      I’m really sorry you’re going through that, V. It’s so hard when people you’re close with suddenly forget your emotional needs in their excitement about their own stuff (because it’s hard to point out that hey, it’s going to be sad when you leave for me! when she is honestly excited) or go completely radio silent.

      I’ve been there–very close friend who I thought was happy at her job and in our city from all of our conversations up and quit and moved four hours away last year; then the friend I grew close to after she left got married and became completely flaky (canceling plans only 10 minutes before, or after we were supposed to meet so I was already there, etc).

      I’d suggest unfollowing crappy friend #2–no point torturing yourself over social media pictures that don’t involve you, right? There are some great posts on Captain Awkward about building a Team You when your friendship circle has imploded too. In the interim, if it helps, you are not alone, oh internet stranger.

    3. fposte

      I’d let go #2 but urge you to give some time on the #1 thing. It’s totally understandable that this would be a big thing for you–a couple of my best friends have been on the verge of leaving town and I’ve held my breath.

      But it’s a much bigger thing for the person who’s going than the one who’s staying. She’s got to handle the logistics and the leaving of everybody and the setting up a new household and the financial challenges. In general friendship terms, she’s the primary supportee right now, not the friends who will be staying. The way she’s talking about doesn’t sound wrong to my ears.

      It sounds to me like the problem isn’t how she’s talking about it, but the fact that she’s going to leave and you’re going to miss her terribly; maybe a separation like that makes you angry and afraid as well as sad, which is pretty common and would definitely be my reaction. And I think if she’s been a good friend that that’s worth a conversation where you tell her how much you’re going to miss her and how sad this makes you, and even, if you can make it not blamey, how it’s hard for you to be happy about Algernon because he feels like the reason why she’s leaving town. It’s possible too that she’s been wanting to talk about some of her uncertainties about the move and got the “I don’t want to hear about it” vibe from you, and maybe you could find some intimate friendship space to talk about concerns on both sides. But I wouldn’t immediately toss a best friendship over the emotional reactions, by both you and her, to a stressful life change for both of you.

      1. Colette

        Definitely agree. I’d add that she’s been living with the idea of moving longer than you have, and she probably knows that no matter how good this is for her, it’s not great for you. She gets a new adventure, and you lose a friend who’s close by. (This is also probably why you’re finding out after the decision is made – sometimes friends you value make it harder to leave.)

      2. V

        Thanks! :)

        Truthfully, I’m not even sure she’s thought through the logistics; she only brings it up when she’s talking about how excited she is to leave (e.g., she gets stuck in Boston traffic and then says ‘I need to move!!’). So it feels more like throwing it in my face than anything else. I am certainly upset that she’s leaving, but I am also truly shocked that she threw this at me in the car with 3 other people there; I saw that as extremely disrespectful. It’s basically like she got into this relationship, stopped being available both in terms of time and attention, then in the middle of a car ride said “we’re moving to Portland!!” She’s also a pretty snarky and negative person and that’s grating on me too. When we hang out I leave more stressed than when I came. The whole friendship just seems really strained. :-\

        1. fposte

          Well, if the friendship isn’t that great, then the departure might be a good time to let it drift, and maybe you can shift to “eh, probably a good thing for both of us” rather than feeling left behind.

          Though it sounds like maybe she’s talking about a someday move rather than a move with a date, so who knows? It also sounds like you might want to go out and find some new friends. Sometimes it’s just time to find new ones–that’s pretty common in your later twenties, for instance, when you find some friends from the wilder days aren’t a great fit in your tamer times.

        2. Honeybee

          I just moved across country from all of my friends recently so this is salient to me.

          It’s possible that she only brings it up when talking about how excited she is because she’s dealing with logistics privately and wants to remain upbeat and positive in front of friends. My move went pretty smoothly, but I didn’t discuss all of the stresses and worries I had about moving with my friends, either – even the very close ones. We did talk about some of them, but mainly my contribution was about how excited I was about the new job and new city.

          Also, I’m having a difficult time understanding why you think it was disrespectful for her to tell you in front of other people. Perhaps she didn’t realize that you would have such a strong negative reaction that would require private processing (I certainly didn’t anticipate that from any of my close friends when I told them – I expected they’d be happy for me, although sad to see me leave).

          I think it’s a combination of factors that’s influencing your reaction to her news – which is perfectly okay, I want to add. Your irritation and concern seems to be primarily stemming from the fact that the move is so sudden and doesn’t really seem like a great idea, since she’s doing it to be with this guy she only recently got into a relationship with. And combined with the snark and negativity, the inconsiderate or ambiguous bits of her messaging might be amplified whereas with any other friend they wouldn’t bother you as much.

    4. Not So Sunny

      I’m sorry… one thing I’ve realized over time is that some friendships just don’t last. It can be painful but it’s a fact… I know it hurts, though. It’s not easy.

    5. VintageLydia USA

      Oof I was that friend who up and moved away quite suddenly though the circumstances were a bit different. Still, Mr. Vintage decided to look for work in the DC area which was (and still is) much more lucrative than our home region and within a few months we were up here. It’s only 4ish hours away but it might as well be several days drive considering how often we can come home and visit old friends, and how often our friends can make the return trip. In fact, my best friend is the only one who’s visited more than once but it took a lot of work on both sides of the relationship and several periods of us fading in and out but she’s still my best and closest friend. I do feel a little bad since the time period we moved was the probably the worst few years for her best friend to not be a quick call away but because of other rough patches in the past based on miscommunications and just plain NOT communicating we were able to navigate the fact that as much as we love and support each other, neither will need to absolutely depend on the other exclusively. It helps to have other friends, though I know they’re harder to come by once you’re no longer in school/college. I joined a few MeetUp groups and also a few online forums (by happenstance, some commenters from totally random blogs live in my area and now we get together pretty much weekly and talk several times a week. Seriously don’t stop looking for opportunities to make friends. You find them in the weirdest places. And I’m not even particularly social.)

      I think the big thing you can do right now is talk to her about your concerns. Don’t try to convince her not to move because that will likely just push her away more. But talk to her about how you feel your relationship has changed. That said, when someone is in a more serious romantic relationship it’s common and expected they would take more time out for their SO than anyone else. If he’s forbidding her from seeing you or her other friends that’s a huge red flag and I’d bring it up, but if she’s just opting to see him more, well, that’s how this usually goes. And I’m curious how you think she should’ve handled announcing her move? It’s an exciting thing for her. Maybe it’s because I grew up military and even though our family was lucky enough to not move around much after I hit school age, I had friends coming and going all. the. time. So moves can be disappointing but nothing to be devastated over. Shoot, my best friend from 3rd grade moved to NY and later Seattle and we STILL talk a few times a year. I’m just used to most of my friends being a pen letter/email/phone call away and not someone I can pop over and just see whenever. Shoot even my local SAHM friends I can’t just pop over to see since we all got stuff going on.

      And it’s also possible that y’all are in a new life stage and moving in different directions. It’s not a bad thing, and neither of you are in the wrong if that’s the case. If you still care about each other on some level you’ll still talk on whatever social media you have but this might be a sign to look for friends who you may have more in common with. I seem to be more the exception than the rule when it comes to holding on to friends from as early as kindergarten.

    6. Revanche

      I’m sorry. I once had a bestie who was always so wrapped up in New Guy (whoever it was) that it felt like I’d lost her until the relationship was over, and it kinda sounds a lot like what you’re going through. I hope you find other people whose company you enjoy and can appreciate you back.

    7. AnnieNonymous

      I’ve been dealing with the friend #2 situation lately, but at least I know why she’s doing this…all of her statuses and check-ins feature her boyfriend and HIS couple-friends. They don’t hang out with single people anymore, and they only hang out with his friends. I’d feel bad for her if she hadn’t completely ignored my few attempts to get in touch. At this point I don’t think I’d even welcome her back into my life if her relationship ends. You can’t ignore me when things are good and then expect me to do the emotional heavy lifting when your favored options aren’t there anymore.

    8. Not So NewReader

      I kind of get this. It’s like “can’t she take a minute to say ‘I will miss you’?” Apparently, not.

      Telling you in front of others, provided a handy shield for having that conversation. And now the extreme joy is another handy shield. Meanwhile, it looks like this dude has some abusive tendencies and she is going to a place where she knows NO ONE with this guy? Not exactly the best plan.

      She’s got a bunch of denial going on there. Denial about missing her friends, denial about what this guy might really be like and denial about how making this move is a bfd. I hope she does not become a news article, but this isn’t looking good, at all.

      Back to your side of this story. She’s snarky and negative. Has she always been this way or is this new? If it’s new then you can say, “Gee, you been sounding pretty negative lately. Do you want to talk about what is going on?” If she has always been this way, then this is no suprise to you. Maybe you have changed and you have subconsciously decided that you want friends that are positive people.

      Last question. Have you mentioned your concerns about this guy? Maybe that is the deal right there, she has decided to shut you down because of that. She is going to do this move and she does not want to hear that her man, might not be a safe person to be around.

  42. fposte

    For dinner tonight, I finally made the Afghani pumpkin and ground beef appetizer I’ve been dreaming about for ages. (The internet was *full* of recipes for it.) And boy, is it good! Beating the pumpkin into submission took a little more effort than my usual dinner, but it’s soooo tasty.

    Link with recipe to follow.

      1. fposte

        The link is still in moderation, so I’ll say you can find it if you Google “Kaddo Bourani.” I used the recipe on the Habeas Brulee blog. (I ate waaay too much of it and don’t regret it at all.)

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      There’s an Afghan restaurant around here that I love, and anything they make with pumpkin is incredible. (DC area people: Bahmian. Go there and eat everything they have.)

    2. Today's anon

      Oh, there was an Afghan restaurant close to work that I loved, and it sadly changed management and closed. Every time I walk past the place (not a chipotle type fast food) I feel sad. The food was so delicious.

  43. Book Person

    On the subject of good books, I just read Ann Leckie’s /Ancillary Justice/ and /Ancillary Sword/ back to back, and AHHHHH THEY’RE SO GOOD. I want to go around and yell or write in capslock everywhere about them. She does a gorgeous job of world building without hitting you over the head with superfluous detail or long exposition–a picture of the worlds form through the narrative through hints and glimpses, which makes everything feel so real and established and full of history. That in top of a fascinating story and an interesting take on language and gender and I can see why /Justice/ was nominated for every single science fiction award in 2014. I have a total book hangover from her prose and her characters.

    The last book doesn’t come out until the end of next month, though, and I do not know what to do with myself until then.

    1. Nashira

      YES YES YES. Uh. Seriously, Ann Leckie makes me want to do my flappy hand excited dance. I’ve re-read the first two books so many times, since it’s just… such a relief to have a book where the main character really hasn’t got a gender, as a person who also does not have a gender. And the writing is so good, and the story, and I am dying for the third book. Just dying. She is WONDERFUL.

      1. Book Person

        ALL OF MY FEELINGS ABOUT SHIP: LET ME FLAIL THEM AT YOU IN CAPSLOCKED FORM. SO MANY FEELINGS. SO MANY SQUEAKING ALOUD AT THE PAGE FEELINGS.

        If you’ve not read it before, I’d highly recommend Ursula LeGuin’s /The Left Hand of Darkness/ for another great social commentary sci fi novel that involves some interesting twists on gender and sexuality. Leckie’s prose reminds me a lot of her, too.

    2. katamia

      I haven’t read those yet (I have the worst memory ever for books, so I try to marathon series because otherwise I have to reread each preceding book as a new one comes out), but if you’re looking for recommendations, Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem is wonderful (and I’m both annoyed that I didn’t know there were sequels until I started reading it and glad that I have an “excuse” to reread it).

      1. Book Person

        Thank you! I’m always happy to have book recommendations. I’ve heard good things about that one, but not in connection with it having any sequels! That’s great to know!

        Set a reminder timer or something in your email for when book three of this trilogy comes out, though, because you may need to take a weekend and just read all three of them like I just did with the first two. So good.

  44. Steve G

    New tenant drama. OK so the realtor was useless, she didn’t explain to any of the prospects apparently that no pets and it is month-to-month, which kind of defeats the purpose of the tenant paying her a fee. We didn’t need help getting people in, we needed help getting people with no pets and no parties and who want to do month to month, at least for the beginning.

    So now we have a tenant moving in and they tell us they have a dacshund. So the question is, do they all bark? How much/often? If yes, I’m gonna have to be an a-hole and annul this lease. I can’t have another tenant with issues

    1. fposte

      Oof. I love dogs, and wiener dogs are adorable, but I’ve never known a really quiet one; in addition, their bark is very loud for their size.

      Don’t you have a lease with terms that they have to read and sign? Or is the point of month-to-month to avoid the hassle of a lease?

      1. Steve G

        They didn’t read the lease apparently (urgh, that is the whole point of a lease!), dogs are mentioned, but moreover, I am PO’d that the realtor “forgot” to tell them. THAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF HAVING HER. There are no shortage of people in NY looking for freakin’ apartments, we didn’t need help finding warm bodies, we wanted specific types of people.

        OK that was my vent.

        The month to month is to avoid any inadvertent issues like with the last people, like high heels on back and forth at 6:30AM and 10PM-past midnight. Random loud bangs on the floor and a kid that liked to play-hammer on hardwood floors. Very frequent parties. Very loud music. Not recycling, then not washing it out once they finally started.

        I’m trying to decide whether to be nice and say the dog is OK, or whether to give them a trial run or to say no thank you….if they bark now and then, IDC, I just don’t want a dog going on barking fits in the middle of the night or really early/late.

        We only ever had English springer spaniels, and they only bark at people coming or deer

        1. Steve G

          We even put “must recycle” and other what-should-be common sense things in there to avoid misunderstandings.

        2. fposte

          Sounds like your realtor sucked all right.

          If you’re on a month-to-month anyway and they’re already moving in, I’d be inclined to go with a “look, there wasn’t supposed to be a dog, but I’m willing to try it for the month and see if it works out.” (And also you may want a pet deposit for future months if they stay.)

        3. Treena

          I can’t imagine the types of people who would move in without reading a lease. Maybe the realtor told them it wasn’t a problem, but that would really concern me. It would almost not matter how well behaved the dog is, if the owners are that irresponsible.

            1. BRR

              Yeah it incredibly dumb to not read a lease. Dogs depend on personalities and their owners as well. The biggest thing is how often is it walked.

          1. Tris Prior

            +1. I mean, when we’re looking for an apartment the first thing out of my mouth is “are cats ok?” Because that’s something you need to check on, BEFORE you take a new apartment!

        4. Honeybee

          FWIW, my dog rarely barks and I would not take a “trial run” in an apartment. I would much rather a potential landlord just tell me “no, thanks, no dogs” than face of uncertain housing and the prospect that I’d have to look for housing again in a few months – particularly since there’s no objective measurement of “barks too much” and I’d just have to hope that my definition of “now and then” was the same as theirs. Of course, if this person really wants your apartment the trial run might be fine for her especially if her dog doesn’t make a peep.

          Also, you say you are in New York and with “no shortage of renters” I’d guess New York City. You probably already know this, but tenancy law strongly favors tenants in New York. The law on dogs:

          In multiple dwellings in New York City and Westchester County, a no-pet lease clause is deemed waived where a tenant “openly and notoriously” kept a pet for at least three months and the owner of the building or the owner’s agent had knowledge of this fact. However, this protection does not apply to public housing or where the animal causes damage, is a nuisance, or substantially inter- feres with other tenants

          Of course you could always argue that the dog is a nuisance, but your definition may not match the city’s. Moreover, I have heard that it is a long and expensive process to evict someone.

          1. Steve G

            Thank you for the language, yes this is NYC, so that does apply.

            Of course if we didn’t know of the fact, there won’t be an issue.

            This building is only 2 units, so from what I hear, its easier to evict, but my SO has a 6 unit building, and an eviction case took months, and once it got to trial, the judge gave the tenant 1 year to move out! It is in Greenpoint, BK, so you know how much $$$$ a 2 1/2 bedroom could be making….there were 3 women sharing the place and paying below-market rent because it was pending renovation. They were each short term migrant workers, so they didn’t care if the apartment was outdated, they just wanted a place shortterm in NYC, where they didn’t need to have credit in America to rent. So the other 2 moved out, but one lady stayed…so she had the 800sq ft apt. in a prime area for only $350/mo (which she was behind on) and would not leave. This went on for a year before the trial, then the judge said she had a year to move out from the court date. She is older, and pretended to be senile (I met her a few times, and from what I hear, she is a bit off, but its not senility, she is just a dramatic person) whilst applying for NYC public housing (even though she has a house in Europe to go back to). Well, she was finally deemed of sound mind and body and lo and behold she is walking without a cane and not sick anymore, and found another place to rent! My SO still sees her around (and always marvals at her speed walking when she was applying for city housing and welfare for being disabled, and the city even paid for her to have an aid once per week to do cooking and cleaning!!!)!!! All in all, about $40K in lost rent because of that one tenant’s shenanigans.

        5. Jerry Vandesic

          Steve, you need to tell them that they are not allowed to have a dog on the premises. You should offer them the option of cancelling the lease. You also need to tell them that you will immediately file for eviction if they do bring a dog. If they do bring a dog, you need to file for eviction. Immediately. You are in charge. It is your property. You need to keep control.

          It sounds like you don’t really know what you are doing. That puts you at a disadvantage. I’d suggest checking out the Mr. Landlord forum: http://www.mrlandlord.com/landlordforum/. They have a lot of experience, and are happy to answer questions for new landlords.

          1. Dan

            I’ve got really strong opinions on mom and pop landlords, particularly in big cities where there are tenant protections up the ying yang. I’ve got these opinions based on some stunts I pulled as a tennant in LA, renting from small time land lords who didn’t know what they were doing.

            To add to what Jerry says, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are SCREWED. I think Steve even referenced a former tenant who got to live rent free for a year, which sort of makes my point.

            1. Steve G

              Just got home so can type without the tiny keyboard. See my comment below. The building I have is only 2 units, my SO has others, so I am only in charge of mine, so if I am not expert, it is OK. Also rent control in NYC depends on the # of units in the building. 2 is below the threshold. And I didn’t want to rent, and didn’t want to buy a apartment. I wanted a yard and some privacy, but the problem we found when looking was that the vast majority of houses in NYC (excluding those above $1M or above 2500sq ft or too far from the actual city) were multi-unit. So it’s not so much about me wanting to be a landlord and not being great at it, it’s like….that’s all I can afford, even though we can afford well over 1/2 a Mil.

              So with so many 2-family houses around, it is inevitable there will be thousands of mom-and-pop landlords here, and actually, that isn’t a bad thing. I know NYC very well, and there are certain areas with lots of 2 family houses that are run down because the landlords own multiple buildings and live somewhere else, and do minimal repairs and no landscaping. At least where I am now……yeah, we aren’t all expert landlords, but the buildings are in great shape, people plant bushes and flowers, and there isn’t a speck of trash in the street……

              1. NacSacJack

                Can you just not rent out the other unit? Can it be turned into a 1 family house? About half the upper/lower duplexes here were at one time single family homes. Others were deliberately built that way. I once lived in a side by side 1 bedroom each duplex that I dreamed of buying and converting to a single family home. Years later the owner of the house next door with the same design was having an open house (selling) and I got to see such a renovation. Boy am I glad I never went through with it.

                1. Steve G

                  Didn’t see this last week…..yes, we can technically not rent it out, but I want to because I want to buy a big property in the country for when I get older (and bequeath part of it to the state as a nature preserve when I pass). So I’m not trying to play victim here that wo is me it is so hard, I am willing to put up with some inconvenience for the rent, I was just wondering about the dog.

                  The non-eventful (but exciting!!) news is that they didn’t really care when I told them No to dog. Of course karma is a b**** and this week I also had to do a late night repair on their door……….but its worth it in the long run.

    2. confused

      I am confused: if you lease says “no dogs” and they signed (it’s on them to read it), and they bring a dog, aren’t they breaking the lease? I had once a lease that said “no pets” but had been told verbally cats were ok and I had them amend the lease because I had cats and would not move with them.

      1. Steve G

        Tiz true, but its hard to just want to get rid of people because of one thing….also I was happy to find only 2 people to live there, there were families/groups of 4 people wanting to look at it, and I was happy we found a couple. Less people, less likelihood of problems IMO…..

        1. Dan

          Steve,

          You really can’t pick and choose what parts of the lease you wan to enforce. If you waive certain parts of it long enough, you legally just can’t decide to start enforcing them because you want to get rid of the tenant. Others have referenced NYC’s specific exception for pets, which quite clearly makes my point.

          You made up the lease with the terms you did because you want people to abide by your rules. At the same time, you’re willing to actually look the other way? I thought these things were actually important to you. As one of those literal engineering types, I will admit that I find it confusing that people draft up rules and then decide not to follow them.

          I don’t know anything about NYC’s rent laws, but in the rent controlled parts of LA, a month-to-month lease doesn’t mean much. Reason being, a landlord can’t terminate a month-to-month lease “just because.” If they do, they owe the tenants a rather substantial move out fee. So I’d double check and make absolutely sure that the month-to-month lease actually gives you the protections (or flexibility) that you think it does.

    3. Tris Prior

      Our landlord (who lives in the building) has a dachshund and she is Super Yappy. He lets her out in the backyard early on weekends for her to do her business and it’s yapyapyapyapyap right under our bedroom window. :(

      1. Older not yet wiser

        Some dachshunds bark a lot. My friend has three and they bark. All. The. Time. They start barking when I get out of my car parked at the curb in front of her house. They amp it up to a barking frenzy when I get to the door. They do not stop barking the entire time I am there (usually only a few minutes to pick her up to go somewhere or to drop something off). She has to put them in a back bedroom whenever she has company. I had neighbors a few doors down with a dachshund and it barked quite a bit as well.
        Right now our next door neighbor recently adopted-rescued a German Shepherd mix with some issues and he barks a lot, but she is really working with him and there has been some improvement already.
        I would recommend nixing the tenant with a pet. Not just because it might bark too much. in such close quarters you don’t need all the issues that go along with pets. ( The click click of their paws overhead maybe?) (Or the damage to the apartment if not house-trained?)

    4. Beezus

      Every dachshund I’ve ever known (four? five?) has been an excitement piddler. My sister used to have to scoop hers up and take it outside immediately anytime visitors showed up, because his reaction to new people was to glee-pee everywhere. She told me that was characteristic of the breed, I dunno, but I’d worry about that at least as much as the barking.

      1. steve g

        Oh…..ok thanks for the answer to my question.

        Can I also just make a general comment to other commentors that in the name of the friday thread to be nice to OPs, telling me I don’t know what I’m doing isn’t helpful and is kind of rude. I asked about a dog breed so I can make an informed decisions on said decision (in a non rent stabilized building if it matters), not for general opinions on what I’m doing based on a story of one hellish tenant. But since that came up I have to say it is very hard to find a one unit house in nyc for less than half a mil but most are closer to a mil…the vast majority of houses are multi-unit. So there are always going to be a decent amount of “mom and pop” landlords here.

  45. onnellinen

    This is going to sound weird (maybe all home remedies do?) but when I was a kid we used to use a mixture of water and seasoning salt. And it worked! I googled it, and it looks like the common mixture is part water, 1 part seasoning salt, and 1 part garlic salt.

    If you have calamine lotion, that would also help to stop the itching.

    1. Honeybee

      That’s not weird, at least not to me. I had a huge recurring boil that would be extremely painful for days on end before it would either burst or I had to go to the hospital to get it lanced and drained – like seriously, it came back like 6 times before I got it surgically removed forever. Anyway, after about the third or fourth time my mom (who’s a nurse) recommended making a paste of turmeric and water and applying that to the boil. It worked like a charm, on both the pain and the boil itself in terms of drainage. Turns out turmeric is an anti-inflammatory!

      Garlic also has antibacterial/antifungal properties. Seasoned salt has both turmeric and garlic in it, so that’s probably why it’s used (and people are more likely to have seasoned salt in their cabinet than turmeric).

    2. Not So NewReader

      You made me realize I had forgotten that I was given baking soda and water paste. The problem was the paste fell off once it dried. But for years baking soda and water made me think of summer and smile.

  46. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)

    I am in love with Cassidy and Topper over at TinyKittens feral cam. The property owner and Shelly trapped a pair of kittens–Cassidy has no back feet, and Topper is his fiercely protective brother. The medical drama around a starving kitten with badly infected stumps, and his will to live and love and play and cat is so inspiring.

  47. Bobby is Awesome

    Jagua temporary tattoos are really cool. They are not black henna, and they last 2 weeks. It is dark blue/black in color. If you have a B&W image that you find online, you can make a stencil using a sharpie and clear deodorant. SO FUN!

  48. Kate

    My living situation *sucks* right now.

    I had to move over a break up and it turns out one of my new housemates plays music all the time…and I didn’t know they lived here until it was too late. My other housemates also didn’t tell me the air conditioning and washing machine was broken until after I was here AND they are also very loud music listeners themselves.

    These are all things that would have been deal-breakers if I knew and now my deposit as hostage with them since it’s a private arrangement and I can’t afford to just move out. Ugh.

  49. SandrineSmiles (France)

    Random post of the day since I didn’t want to add this to my mopey post :

    Anyone here playing Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends ?

    HOTS : Ellinor#2219 (I also play WoW from time to time – Horde, Uldaman at the moment but I can try a new character on any server if need be)
    LoL : SandrineSmiles

    I consider myself a beginner in both but I figured I’d ask :)

    1. Kate R. Pillar

      All this sounds unfamiliar and unachievable to me, and I am an introvert, so it probably is extrovert stuff ;-)

  50. YWD - AAM Fitbit Group

    There are a lot of Fitbiters here, anyone interested in starting an AAM group in the Fitbit Community? I find the group dashboards and daily challenges are a great motivation for getting my steps in.

    Reply to this post if you’re interested and I’ll set it up.

    Alison, are you ok with this? I can tweak the name if you have any concerns.

    1. YWD

      OK – the group is active with the super creative name of AAM Fitbitters. Anyone who is interested head over to the Fitbit community and search for it.

      *Right now I am #1 on the leaderboard (because I’m the only member). See you there!

    2. OfficePrincess

      I’m so in…tomorrow since I realized I didn’t put mine on this morning and won’t be getting credit for my day :-(

  51. Frustrated

    Oof, just had the worse conversation with my mother, and it is my fault. It is just so hard to see her suffering because she cannot set any boundaries whatsoever and sees everything in a way where she is the victim, and I just kind of lost it. She got sick because she could not say not no to hugs by someone who comes in to help in the house who was sick?! “he will get offended”. I am just like.. now you are sick!!! who cares if he gets offended!! I really know better than to get sucked into these conversations.

    1. Colette

      Have you tried asking questions? I.e. “Have you thought about how you can change that?”, “is there anything you could have done differently?”

      Your other choice is to end your conversation everytime she starts talking about it. She’s doing it because she’s getting something out of it.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Yep, I agree. Don’t wear her emotions for her. All you can do is remind her, “Well, mom, if you let a sick person in the house then you might end up sick. That is how that cookie crumbles and you pretty much already know that.” All the while, refuse to get emotionally invested in her upset.

        She may not control her boundaries, but you can control yours. Hopefully, in doing so you might even role model how to set boundaries and keep those boundaries. But, more than likely, the outcome you will get is that you save yourself from being worn down by the constant parade of one poor decision after another. Don’t let her poor decisions wear on you. We are each responsible for how our own lives play out right up to our last day. You can suggest, but the bottom line is what happens to her is her responsibility.

  52. The Other Dawn

    So I’m trying out a new gym today. It’s much closer to my house than the other one (which I haven’t gone to in a long time). The gym used to be really close to my old house but with the new house the gym is almost 10 miles away. Not much but it’s not conducive to getting my ass off the couch. So anyway I found one three miles away and am making my first visit now. Literally. On the treadmill as we speak. I was hesitant to try this gym because the reviews weren’t great: rude staff,dirty, etc. I find its fine. Carpeting really needs to be changed and there needs to be seen updating but it’s ok for me for now. And at 10.00 a month and three miles away I can’t beat it. Now I just need to make sure I actually come.

    1. BRR

      Oh wow that’s a good price. My gym theory is to factor in a lot how likely you are to go when picking where to join.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Much more likely now that it’s just three miles away. The other one was almost 10 miles away and not on the way home from work, but I kept the membership because it, too, was 10.00 a month and I was able to transfer the membership from my old town to the new town.

    2. Sherm

      I was in a similar situation. My gym was an inconvenient drive away, through a busy part of town, so when it was dark out and I was tired from work and I just wanted to rest — surprise, I didn’t go. I got a closer gym and work out more now. I’ve been in dingy gyms and flashy gyms, and I get the same workout. As long as it’s not unsafe or unsanitary, I don’t care.

    3. nep

      Good for you. Hope you have a positive experience and get enough out of it to want to keep coming back. (Raise the incline on that treadmill — walking at a good clip on an incline does wonders.)

  53. Blue_eyes

    Book recommendation: A List of Things that Didn’t Kill Me: A Memoir by Jason Schmidt. The title is more literal than you can imagine. It’s definitely a dark book, but somehow not depressing (at least for me). The tone manages to hit a great point between totally honest, and quite humorous that makes it very easy to read. I particularly enjoyed it because I grew up in Seattle and a lot of the book is set in Seattle, so I recognized many of the locations and neighborhoods.

    Has anyone else read it? I’m curious to hear other people’s reactions. I heard Jason Schmidt on podcast Savage Love at the beginning of the summer and had to wait for months to get it from the library because they only have 4 copies.

  54. NicoleK

    A coworker is celebrating her birthday today. She had invited us (spouse and myself) to a birthday dinner with her and her spouse, and another couple. I’ve worked with this coworker for over a year. We get along fairly well and have gotten together for happy hours and such. This will be the first get together outside of work. In a situation like this, should I get her a birthday present?

    1. BRR

      I wouldn’t but it’s a know your crowd thing. Do you know the other couple and if yes can you ask if they’re getting a present? I feel as an adult I reserve presents for special people/occasions and slip by a lot by getting something creative and meaningful but cheap.

  55. Today's anon

    Inspired by the hair dye post above. I’ve always been one to do lots of things to my hair, mostly in how it gets cut, and had funky cuts and so on. But alas, my days of overly thick and abundant hair are gone, and now it’s thinning and I don’t have a lot of it, especially on top, and I really miss not being able to do things to my hair. I keep it pretty short. Would I be able to dye my hair? I have brownish hair. Would the process be too harsh on my scalp? Are there different kinds of dyeing processes? What would I ask at a hair place? Or is this something I could do on my own? I don’t want a purple scalp! LOL

    1. Colette

      I’ve had hair dye on my skin and it washes off. Home dyes are not the same as professional dyes. I’d recommend explaining what you want and asking whether it was possible, how long it would last, how often you’d have to have it done, how you would take care of it, and whether it would be likely to irritate your skin.

    2. Weekend Warrior

      Same here! I always had fine hair but now it’s ” thine”, ie thin and fine, and it has been difficult to accept the change. I have a kick ass short haircut and I get highlights, including a strong bleached streak at the front. Color definitely picks the look up and also roughens the hair shafts a bit for a thicker look.

  56. Kimberlee, Esq.

    OK, guessing this is a long shot with this group, but… anyone play Fantasy Football? Playing for my first time ever! I don’t fully understand the rules of football or anything, but now that it’s officially Week One I am finally remembering who I have on my team without looking them up constantly, and I’m actually having a lot of fun!

    1. Sherm

      I’ve played it a few times in the past. It really made football more interesting to me, because I had a bit of a stake in the outcomes. Of course choosing players is the critical step (probably past that stage now). Don’t be afraid to substitute players — look at who’s still available to be taken. You could easily find that the guy who is getting you a lot of points is suddenly injured and out for the rest of the season. As the season goes on the pickings of available players can be slim. So it pays to be watch for good available players like a hawk and swoop in when necessary.

    2. Dan

      Yes, I play. You don’t need to know much about football itself to play FF. TBH, I think a poor draft can easily be overcome. As Sherm says, there will be injuries throughout the year, and other players just won’t play at the caliber that they were expected. So there will be room to improve your roster as the season goes on.

      Even if you can’t get into it that much, do the rest of your league a favor and keep an eye on your roster when the bye weeks start coming around. You will have players on the bench that you must substitute.

    3. SaraV

      I’ve played fantasy football for 10+ years. Sherm and Dan give good advice. Be aware of the bye weeks, especially for your quarterback and defense. Also, watch out for injuries. I’m assuming you’re using a website for your league. Any of them worth their salt…ESPN, Yahoo!, CBSSports…will show you when the player has a bye, or if their injured.

      Also, if you have a smartphone, see if there’s an app you can download from where your league originates. (I know ESPN has a specific football one, and Yahoo! has one that covers fantasy sports, if not one just for football) It helps if you happen to be out and about, and you forgot one of your players are playing on a Thursday night.

      That’s another thing…be aware of what teams are scheduled to play on Thursday nights, and if you have any players you want to start on one of those teams. Once that game kicks off, your player is locked-in where they are. (Starter or bench)

    4. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come

      I don’t play FF, but on the off chance that you’ve not seen or heard of it, there is a television show called The League that you might enjoy. Or possibly not. But it just started its 7th season. I think it’s on NetFlix and starting from the beginning would be a good idea. The show is about a group of friends who take Fantasy Football very seriously.

  57. TheLazyB (UK)

    So here’s something I just started wondering- how much are you guys in the U.S. hearing about the refugee crisis in Europe?

    It’s really huge, mostly horrible news over here but I know sometimes that kind of stuff doesn’t make it over the pond.

    1. Noah

      It has been all over the news. Lately they seem to be focusing more on the potential terrorism aspect of it, specifically that ISIS has agents mixed in with the refugees. It has also become of bit of a talking point in our presidential election about whether or not we should allow refugees to come to the US.

    2. Elizabeth West

      I hear it, but I’ve been reading your papers online and Buzzfeed UK, etc. My computer also refuses now to load the US version of MSN in any browser–it defaults to the UK one. Plus I have family in Britain and Ireland who post stuff on Facebook.

      Re Noah’s comment–we’re still far too focused on potential terrorism, to the detriment of other issues that need addressing, IMO.

      1. Noah

        I completely agree about the US obsession regarding terrorism. I work for an airline, specifically in the safety department. Although security is separate, we still hear about everything and it gets old quick.

        1. steve g

          I’m seeing loads of stories having nothing to do with terrorism, actually this crisis is surprisingly unpoliticized like everything else right now with our presidential campaigns (as opposed to the Iran deal story, for example). I think it’s because most of the candidates don’t know what the right answer/solution is.

          But as per terrorism, its not so much an “obsession” as a part of what is going on. Just this morning there was a story on ISIS recruiting from somali refugees living in Minnesota. Believe me, I’m sick of hearing about terrorism too and wish it didn’t exist, but it would be quite irresponsible to not be monitoring influxes of people from a country being ravaged by terrorists, for terrorists!

    3. TheLazyB (UK)

      Wow really?! I haven’t heard anything about the potential terrorism thing. Wonder if I’ve just missed that or if it’s a U.S. view rather than a UK one. Either possible.

      1. Sara

        I’ve also missed that angle, apparently. (I’m in the U.S.) But I guess that’s not totally surprising – I have a lot of friends/acquaintances who work in fields related to refugee issues (social work, immigration law, public policy), so most of what I see, whether it’s specific to the U.S. or Europe, is in favor of providing refuge. I’ve gotten most of my news from NPR or articles reposted by people I know with professional interests in the crisis, including both U.S. and European news outlets; the only other American news outlet I follow very closely is the Boston Globe (because I live in Boston) and they haven’t had much coverage of the refugee crisis.

      2. Mimmy

        I’m in the US too, and all I’ve heard are the humanitarian aspects – how some countries were trapping the refugees (Hungary is one I think?) and how European countries are trying to figure out how to handle the daily throngs of the refugees. I think Obama said the US wanted to take in 10,000.

        I did not realize that there was a terrorist concern. Granted, we only watch news on the major TV networks, so they’re probably not as likely to get into sensational areas like that. But it’s an interesting point.

        1. lay your head down child, I won't let the boogeyman come

          This has been what I’ve been seeing, too: very little on terrorism, but a lot on the humanitarian aspects. And on how most refugees don’t want to go to a camp because they fear they’ll be trapped there. Which, I gotta say, seems like a very real concern. A lot of what I’m seeing seems to portray the Hungarians in a poor light.

          I’m in the USA, and this is what I’ve been noticing on whatever network television news my wife flips on. Mostly CBS, I think.

          1. Mimmy

            Yup, we watch CBS too. My husband must’ve read about the terrorist aspect because he pointed out how easy it could be for terrorists to blend in with the refugees, which could explain the camps. They’re being awfully brutal about it though.

    4. Cath in Canada

      It’s become something of an election issue in Canada – the father of the two boys has a sister in Canada, and she’d been trying to get other members of the family in. The immigration minister had a rather spectacularly disastrous interview on the CBC that was big news for a few days.

      1. Dynamic Beige

        That’s funny, I had read that the sister hadn’t been trying to sponsor the father of the boys who died at all, she had applied to sponsor another brother.

        It’s a freaking mess. There was that interesting post on Facebook where someone was holding a piece of paper that said that the Arab States (Oman, Qatar, Saudi etc.) take in no refugees at all. Things that make you go hm….

    5. Not So NewReader

      Our news media over here reports what they want to report and that is it.

      I think our churches here are very in tune with what is going on. My church passed out websites for reputable organizations that are accepting donations. We pray on this situation, also. It’s very moving/emotional. My pastor’s wife and I said the same thing, “There but for the grace of God, go US! We could be walking to Canada.”

      Personally, I see the pics on the web and damn near start crying.
      If you have links to reputable organizations that are looking for donations please post them for us. I was also wondering if there was a way a person could stay with a particular family and the donations would follow that family. Although no longer Catholic, I was very moved when the Pope said that each parish should take a family.

      I will check back to see if you have seen my post here.

      1. fposte

        I’ve also found it poignant to see these reports at the same time as the Katrina Ten Years On stories, where it’s clear that a lot of refugees from Katrina haven’t recovered.

    6. Charlotte Collins

      NPR (National Public Radio) has been doing regular weekday reporting. They are broadcasting interviews with the refugees, officials, and other people who are somehow involved. It is harrowing to listen to, but I’m glad they are doing it. I listen to NPR at work, and I am glad that the reports come late in the afternoon, when I’m the only one really around my workspace, as it does bring tears to my eyes.

      Some of it has been mentioned in light of political campaigning that has been going on, too.

  58. The Other Dawn

    So which exercises or weight machines would be best for firming ip under my arms and the tops of my thighs? I had gastric bypass and lost 140 pounds in less than two years. I know have flabby skin under my arms and at the tops of my thighs. I know there’s no fix for the skin itself because it’s so stretched out after years of gaining and losing, but I’d like to build a little muscle in order to improve the appearance. Any suggestions?

    1. the gold digger

      I have been working out to the gymbox (I think that’s the one) sessions on youtube on roku. They have weight sessions targeted toward different parts of the body. In general, free weights that you pull over the back of your head to above your head or above your torso is what works your triceps.

      Not sure about the top of the legs, but squats for your butt. And really, work all the muscles. :) Just get some ten or 15-lb weights (check Goodwill) and use those.

        1. nep

          Indeed — buying weights new is expensive. I always look for dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells when going to moving sales. Thrift stores too. Great idea.

      1. Stephanie

        They’re only in about a dozen states, but there’s a consignment shop called Second Wind Exercise Equipment that sells treadmills and the like at a discount.

    2. nep

      People with more expertise or experience will likely have other recommendations but I’ll say: Lift weights. And don’t hesitate to progress to lifting heavier and heavier. Start lighter, of course — you don’t want to make the mistake of too much, too soon. But lifting weights will go a long way to enhancing your fitness and — bonus — changing your body.

      1. The Other Dawn

        I should have specified just weights and weight machines, rather than exercises. I’m not big on exercises; I prefer the treadmill and elliptical machine, sometimes the bike. I’m fairly comfortable with using weight machines, just haven’t done it in quite awhile and I never targeted an area. At some point I want to have skin removal on my abdomen, but that’s a long way off; it’s expensive and I’m not quite at my goal yet anyway.

        I did 3+ miles between the treadmill and elliptical today and burned 500+ calories. It was so nice to be able to do that and not be out of breath. Actually, I felt like I could have gone much longer, but my leg/hip joints were bothering me since it’s been a long time.

        1. nep

          That is terrific, building that endurance. Good for you.
          Not sure what you mean — specifying ‘just weights and weight machines, rather than exercises’. Do you mean which resistance machines you should use? If yes — leg press machine can be good for lower body. Does your gym have cable towers for resistance moves? You can do some good biceps and triceps work on those.
          In any case, the cardio is great and it’s terrific that you’re building stamina. But you’ll benefit from adding strength training, be it on the machines, free weights, or bodyweight exercises.
          All the best to you.

          1. The Other Dawn

            What I meant was I’d prefer to do strength training rather than squats, sit ups, lunges, etc. I tend to get bored with that.

            Yes, I saw a variety today: free weights, barbells, towers, machines, etc.

            I was so happy that I could go 1.69 miles on the treadmill and 1.51 miles on the elliptical. Probably not much to someone who does it all the time, but it was a great start for me. Couldn’t believe how much of a difference it made to lose the weight. The last time I went to the gym was probably 3 years ago, and I was extremely overweight at that point; it took a lot more effort then to do what I did today.

            1. nep

              First and foremost — it is huge and what matters is how far you’ve come, not how you might ‘compare’ with anyone else. (You already know that — I just wanted to put that out there.)
              I wonder whether your gym offers a session w a trainer to guide you on use of the resistance machines? I think most do.
              Good luck and keep up the great work.

    3. Kirsten

      I would buy 1-3 sessions with a personal trainer and have them show you the exercises/what to use to target those areas then do it on your own. Depending on where you live you can usually pick up a few personal trainer sessions for cheap on groupon or living social.

    4. Aknownymous

      The specific exercises would depend on exactly where the skin is looser, but a few starter exercises on machines that would be beneficial (and may tighten the skin a bit as well) are:

      Legs: Leg press (quads, hamstrings, butt if you keep a wide stance and angle your feet outwards) and inner and outer thighs
      Arms: Chest fly (upper chest and the front of your arm and shoulder) and a tricep pull where the rope or bar is behind or above you, and you pull it forward or down

      The most important thing is to to to a stable and thorougly executed movement, to isolate the muscle and avoid injury. A lot of machines have instructions on them, but if it’s your first time using them and you are unsure if you are using them correctly, it may be worth it to pay a trainer for a consultation. Congrats on your weight loss, and best of luck!

      1. The Other Dawn

        Thanks! Yes, I’m familiar with the machines and how to use them. What you say about controlled movement is so true. I see so many people pumping out reps so fast, it makes me wonder how they’re getting any benefit. I used a trainer years ago and the one thing that always stuck with me is up for a count of two and down/against the weight for a count of four. That’s supposed to give the most benefit. That’s what it was taught anyway.

    5. Not So NewReader

      Lifting stuff is the best thing for arms and it also helps to make the boobs less saggy.

      I was lifting not more than 25 pounds through out the day at my old job. It was not the heaviness of the items, it was the frequency of the lifts. My arms were good. I have been out of that job for over ten years and my arms are still good. No flab. A friend recently commented, “for someone with a desk job you have muscles on your arms”. Yeah, I sit a lot now and the muscles are still there.
      My suggestion is to incorporate something into your life where you are lifting regularly. This could be something like gardening or even painting a room where you have to reach and push and pull. Pick something that is a pleasure not a torture. I also cut out a lot of carbs and added a protien drink. That protien drink made a big difference in the muscles, too.

  59. nep

    Just back from a snatch clinic at a local Olympic lifting facility — my first time there. Learned a lot. It’s great to step out of one’s comfort zone whenever the occasion arises. Good stuff.

    1. fposte

      So does that mean you’re learning from Olympic coaches? That’s cool. Around here trainers tend to be kinesiology majors fresh out of school.

      1. nep

        People who have been coached by Olympic coaches. The place is strictly an Olympic lifting facility. The only equipment: platforms, PVC pipes, barbells, and bumper plates — and bars for pull-ups.
        What I like is that I come away with very fundamental things I can work on / practice. Just being in that atmosphere was great.

        1. fposte

          Oh, that sounds really amazing. I love people with real technical knowledge who can provide takeaways. Was there an array of people attending, or was it for a pretty specific skill level?

          1. nep

            Wide range of skills in the people attending. Four men, six women — wide range of skills and backgrounds. The coaches capped it at 10, which was great as they were able to really give each of us some personal attention. It was a clinic designed for beginners — but I was certainly the novice of the group. It was ‘good-bye, comfort zone’ yesterday and that was great.

  60. Mean Something

    I haven’t gotten much done today, but in my web surfing I went back through the AAM archives, reading posts I hadn’t read before, and was amused to see that of the “most popular posts of the year” in December 2010, none had more than 64 comments. Compare with this very thread…740 comments and still going.

  61. Serpen-Teapot Belt?

    I think there’s something wrong with the serpentine belt in my car.

    I was driving down a street this morning, and all of a sudden my battery light came on. Then the temperature light came on. Then my steering became very difficult. Luckily I was able to get the car into my driveway.

    This is a 1997 LeSabre with over 127,000 miles on it – and it’s had a few other problems this year. I was thinking of getting a new car during the winter or spring, but now I might not wait that long.

    1. the gold digger

      My timing belts (isn’t that the same thing?) have always gone at about 60,000 miles. Get a new belt before you are stranded somewhere and have them replace the water pump at the same time, as it is the same labor to get to the pump but the pump itself is pretty inexpensive. I ignored the mechanic’s advice to do that – it would have cost me an additional $40 on a $400 bill – and two months later, the pump went out and rather than paying just $40, I had to pay $440 again. The labor on that kills you.

      (And if my dad, who was an auto mechanic, had still been alive, he would have told me to replace the water pump and the belt at the same time.)

      1. Cable Mount Longframe Military Patchbay Style TRS

        > My timing belts (isn’t that the same thing?)

        No. *shrug* people are always trying out new designs, so maybe someone has a combo serpentine + timing belt on some vehicle. But – again, I’m not Mr Gearhead – to the best of my knowledge, timing belts and serpentine belts are two different things on the vast majority of vehicles produced on Earth.

        And, of course, when you are running away from people who are shooting at you, it is considered best to adopt a serpentine motion.

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