weekend free-for-all – June 11-12, 2016

Eve and Olive againThis 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: Modern Lovers, by Emma Straub. It’s about three former bandmates who used to be cool but now must deal with aging, teenage kids, marital strife, and New York real estate. Straub is funny and smart, and her writing locks into your brain in a way I find irresistible. I loved this.

* I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 830 comments… read them below }

          1. Mimmy*

            I think you’re right – it was the lighting that made it look like three. It’s okay – my eyes deceive me all the time, lol.

  1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

    I’m celebrating my first week of wellness all year, at least as far as cold and flus are concerned, it feels like a special welcome into summer to not be coughing, sneezing and miserable for once. 2016 has been an unkind year insofar as high-profile losses and on a personal front (being approx pneumonia-level sick for months!) so I’m borrowing a leaf from a friend’s book and asking people to share a happy thing that’s happened to them this year and who in their life has added to their happiness.

    Mine is: sharing the delights of Hamilton with online friends so that I never go a single day without hearing lyrics quoted to me in response to anything I say. And my fantastic husband has been a rock-solid shoulder to lean on during the worst days this year.

    1. danr*

      DW and I went to a night baseball game to help a dear friend celebrate her birthday. We had dinner in one of the club restaurants and good seats for the game. And the home team won. It was both exhilarating and exhausting and a good time was had by all.

    2. OfficePrincess*

      I’m glad you’re feeling better. It’s awful when you get into a loop and think you’ll never be healthy again.

      This year I’ve taken up running. I’m by no means elite and walk breaks are still my bff, but the stress relief has been amazing. My husband has been so supportive of it too. I can’t thank him enough for how much he’s nudged me on days I didn’t feel like getting off the couch or the spontaneous times he’ll say he’s proud of me. Of course, he tells me he feels the same way when I talk him up or get all excited for him that his band has started seeing success this year. Four guys from the middle of nowhere are charting! And getting invited to open for bands that people have heard of!

      Also, thanks for the reminder to think about the good things. It’s been a rough week, but now I’m thinking of how 2016 has been a good year so far for my husband and I.

    3. LawCat*

      A happy thing: We had to take our kitty off his chemo drugs about a month ago (he has lymphoma) because of an adverse effect. He had been taking them for about 8 months and treatment was supposed to be 12 months, but the vet took him off early because of the adverse effect and because he had otherwise been doing very well. She said we’d just keep him on steroids and monitor to see if he continued to do well or needed to go on another chemo drug. Well, he’s been doing extremely well over the past month! He has been gaining weight over the past few months and during his visit yesterday, it showed he had another gain. He’s also been his old playful self with his toys and tearing ass around the apartment after a poop (LOL, yes, I’m glad he’s doing that again) instead of lethargic. So happy for my kitty!

      1. nep*

        How great. What a relief to watch him start to gain weight and play again — nothing like it. Enjoy every moment.

    4. misspiggy*

      In line with your health theme, my happy thing is that my new physiotherapist at the hospital expressed sympathy for me several times. I was so blown away I almost cried (I never cry.) NHS physiotherapists and doctors have been brilliant in lots of ways, but they’ve never before given any sign that they recognise my problems are hard to bear. And she’s proving to be really great at helping me, so that’s two in one!

      1. Cruciatus*

        Oh Camellia…you’re in for a treat! Hamilton the musical. It’s about to win 16 awards tomorrow night at the Tony’s. It’s amazing.

    5. fposte*

      I finally got a chance to listen to Hamilton, and it reminded me of how wonderful a great musical can be. A colleague is about to see it, and I’m hugely jealous.

      1. Vulcan social worker*

        I just found out two days ago that tickets sold by the theater — not marked up on StubHub or anything!– are going for over $800 each. Is anyone else shocked by that number? I had no idea. I was thinking good seats for such things were like $150. Now I’m racking my brain about when I last saw any live theater and I’m thinking it was probably some Shakespeare in the park thing where admission was either free or $10 or something. Beyond Netflix, my small entertainment budget mostly goes to hear music these days.

        1. Cruciatus*

          Yes, I read that too–they are trying to stop the scalpers from buying up the tickets and selling them for $1500 and up. But they are also increasing the number of seats in the $10 ticket lottery. But yes, that is an insane amount of money, even for a show I am certain I will love. I know it’s a popular show, but it feels a bit like highway robbery.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          I actually bought orchestra level seats for Hamilton about a year ago for $150. The theatre kept marking them up the more popular it got and they raised it to $800 most likely because they predicted (correctly) that the show would win a lot of Tonys. They were reasonable prices at one point in time.

          It’s not unusual for megahits to have large ticket prices. Most of the other shows I’ve seen average $50 – $150 for seats.

    6. Liz in a Library*

      Hamilton? I like that Aaron Burr guy. He seems approachable, like you could grab a beer with him.

    7. Christopher Tracy*

      I had three really good things happen to me this year:

      – my promotion into a new division went into effect January, and though the workload is getting out of control again and our clients are driving me up an effing wall, the 10% raise I received almost makes it worth it. It definitely gives me a little more cushion to work with these days, so I’m less stressed about money.

      – I got a surprise bonus from my new division’s president in May that was based on how well the division did the year before, and I didn’t even work there last year. That bonus money helped with the next thing:

      – I went to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender event June 2-5 in Vegas and had a blast. The shows were (for the most part) creative and inspiring, and I got to meet a burlesque legend. I’ll talk about this more in a separate post.

    8. Mimmy*

      I hope to see Hamilton someday. Tickets have been impossible to get though.

      My happy thing is getting through that last class and finally receiving my disability studies certificate. Although I was an online student, I made several wonderful friends, one of whom I finally met a week before graduation, and who introduced me to other NYC disability studies graduates and faculty. All wonderful people!

    9. SystemsLady*

      I got a 10% raise, oodles of time with my family in between work spurts, and a 20% (on basis of old salary) bonus in return for my work representing the company in front of (and appeasing) an increasingly abusive and dysfunctional client.

      I could go on and on about *them* and how things might be soon heading souther than south, but the company has been going out of its way to keep me at the positive happiness level I’m at right now, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of it!

      1. SystemsLady*

        (also, trust me that there’s a good reason we’re in appeasement rather than firing mode, and it’s not just money)

  2. Curiosity Killed The Bridesmaid*

    I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in the near future. I’ve not been in many weddings but this one has definitely been the most difficult.

    A few quick tales…
    – Maid of honor making the bridal shower way more expensive and confusing than it needed to be (to the point that we were still setting up when people arrived and had to draft guests to help us finish everything before the bride arrived)
    – Sister of the bride continually saying that she has no money to contribute towards any of our bridesmaid responsibilities despite dropping well over $800 on a brand new tattoo a few months ago (nothing against tattoos at all, but don’t get one with a huge price tag right before your sister’s wedding that you know you’ll have to spend money on)
    -Lingering fear of another bridesmaid getting into a fight with her ex who was invited to the wedding as a guest with his wife (bad break-up from years ago and the bridesmaid has an out-of-control temper)

    So does have wedding tales to tell? I’m kind of curious to hear crazy wedding stories of weddings you’ve been in or been a guest at to prepare myself for the worst that could possibly happen.

    1. KR*

      Bridesmaid for my cousins wedding. Really low budget and she planned it herself so a lot of the last minute decorating was done by the bridesmaids and what not. That was okay but on the way to the venue I asked her if she had her marriage license – she didn’t and her wedding was on a Sunday. She didn’t tell the groom until after and the next day they traveled to see my dad who is a JP so he could officially marry them.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      I was a bridesmaid for my aunt . . .

      Gma took an extra antidepressant so she wouldn’t cry and wandered around telling us we could poke her with a pin, she couldn’t feel a thing.

      Father of the bride (estranged and not invited for reasons) crashed the ceremony. There was a wall of windows behind the minister and the guy was walking back and forth there trying to find the door.

      Random people crashed the reception and were the only ones dancing.

    3. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I think every wedding has its quirks!

      My ceremony and reception went really well despite a few dramatic before and afters. I think the bride really sets the tone of how the guests can feel at the entire thing. If the bride is relaxed and having fun everyone else seems to follow-suit. At least, everyone told me that I made it easy for them to have fun!

      So my wedding hang-ups:
      – My parents got divorced a month before my wedding, so my dads side of the family all decided not to come last minute. Not a huge deal, but it left me to do all my own flowers for the wedding with just a weeks notice.
      – My mom was so out of it with everything going on she forgot to record the reception, which was the only thing I asked anyone on my side of the family to do. Sadly I will never see my own wedding ceremony.
      – A bee pollinated my wedding wreath during the entire ceremony – it was glorious!
      – The woman delivering my cake, and wedding wreath, was an hour late and delayed our ceremony 1/2 hour.

      It was a great day full of fun!

    4. Dan*

      I think I’ve told this one before… ex MIL got drunk at the airport and hauled off to jail instead of getting on the plane to the wedding. If she hadn’t planned to arrive a couple of days ahead of time, she would have missed it.

      I found out that my ex recently got arrested on a domestic violence charge (I don’t think the +1 got arrested).

      Let’s just say that I’m happy to be out of that relationship.

    5. CanadianNatasha*

      Not all that extreme in comparison to some horror stories I’ve heard but here’s my wedding tale:
      We were invited by the groom to a wedding out of town. I traveled there with my sister(ex-girlfriend of the groom’s brother) and her friend(ex-girlfriend of the groom’s other brother). The break-ups were both quite a few years in the past so shouldn’t have been cause for any drama. We were all friends/acquaintances with the family and we had all spent our teen years & younger adulthood in the same church so we knew many of the people at the wedding. We sat together at a table and not a single person joined the same table. It felt like the pariah’s table. The father of the groom (who was also the pastor) didn’t speak to us the entire night.
      Oh and one of the brothers spoke at the wedding about how he’d liked the bride first.
      It was so awkward!

    6. OfficePrincess*

      About six months before our wedding, we went to my husband’s cousin’s wedding. We show up to the church on a Sunday morning while the service is just wrapping up. No big deal, the whole family decides to just hang out in the fellowship area. After the service lets out, we all start filtering in and find out that their wedding will take place during the regularly scheduled second service. We’re all blindsided but figure we’ll awkwardly roll with it. Then the sermon rolls around. The minister decided he has a prime audience to try to convert, complete with an alter call. No one took him up on the offer, but it was an excruciating 10 minutes watching him try. In the end, the couple got married and the whole thing was a lesson in what not to do for our wedding.

      Speaking of our wedding, less than half an hour before the ceremony, the photographer made a comment about how my dress was poofing/sticking out in the back. It was just my large ass. Thanks lady.

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        At my cousin’s wedding, the minister spent 30 minutes giving a sermon about how divorce was the worst thing ever (3/4 of the siblings in that family, plus the bride, were divorced), and how Jesus’ love was the only love that mattered. He specifically called out multiple times how marital love was no big.

        Then we discovered the entire wedding party was expected to help set up the reception, and there were no vegetarian options for food. And no liquor.

        Family was not sent invitations, but rather by asking aunts and uncles to call their kids and invite them. After the service, everyone was encouraged to donate at least $50 “to pay for the honeymoon.”

      2. Tris Prior*

        Speaking of photographers commenting on one’s body: I was my sister-in-law’s bridesmaid. We had dresses that were sleeveless and cut weirdly narrow throughout the shoulders and bust.

        During the pre-ceremony photos, the photographer kept commenting that we had armpit fat sticking out of our dresses – so he’d get each of us posed individually and then send one of the other maids over to tuck our armpit fat back into our dress, before he’d take the photo. ?!?

        None of us were the least bit overweight either – not that that should matter because EW stop commenting on our bodies and sending over other people tuck in our fat! WTF!

    7. AnotherAlison*

      My aunt (by marriage to my mom’s brother) puked her guts out at my reception, on the floor, not in the bathroom. The best part was the next weekend. We went to a different uncle’s wedding, and the puker aunt’s husband was there. She was not. My uncle said tried to give my husband a hard time and said, “Heard you got pretty trashed last weekend.” My husband said, “Not near as bad as your wife. At least I didn’t puke on the floor.” That shut my uncle up. Guess he didn’t hear that part of the story from his wife.

    8. Emmy*

      I think the most surprising was when the minister (chosen out of a phone book) mentioned the joy of the bride’s pregnancy. Which was a joy, married with three kids of her own now, but was a surprise to some of the guests as the bride and groom were not sharing that with everyone just yet….

    9. TowerofJoy*

      Which ones haven’t been crazy is probably the shorter list. I quit my own because I couldn’t deal with the nonsense and we eloped. Some really good really sane friends have gone crazy over weddings. I just don’t get it. It’s one day. My favorite was a maid of honor saying that she couldn’t attend the wedding because it was the day after her boyfriend of three month’s birthday the day before and he wanted to celebrate all weekend.

      1. V.V.*

        + 1 for eloping.

        Too much nonsense and too many demands. We’d been promised that if we eloped we’d never be forgiven, and some told us that they would never speak to us again.

        But, by the time we were pushed to that point, we were like “Well, only if you promise.”

    10. Chaordic One*

      I went to a wedding where, although I had long been friends with everyone involved, I thought it was odd that I did not recognize a couple of the ushers at the door to the church. They claimed to be friends of the groom. They and were polite and friendly.

      It turned out they were hired security guards, just in case certain crazy exes, attempted to crash the ceremony. An ounce of prevention…

    11. Camellia*

      We used Meatloaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” at our wedding.

      For the beginning of the song we did our couple’s dance, which I’m sure most of our guests thought was pretty strange. Then when it started with “We’re gonna go all the way tonight,” we moved to the chair for the garter removal and we hammed it up through all the ‘reaching second base’, etc. while I played coy, pulling my skirt back down, while he would inch it back up. Then I did the “Stop right there! I gotta know right now!” part right before he could remove my garter, and then he danced around while he tried to convince me to ‘let him sleep on it’. “What’s it gonna be, boy, yes-or-no?” When he finally swore he ‘would love me till the end of time’ I let him remove the garter. Then we both jumped up and starting singing the rest of the song, “Now I’m praying for the end of time,” on through “if I have to spend another minute with you,” and by the time we finished singing and pointing at each other and “praying for the end of time so I can end my time with you!” the entire reception was in hysterics.

      Thirteen years later we still haven’t “ended our time”! And by golly, I think I’m gonna have to pull out the DVD so we can watch it again tonight. :D

      1. Cruciatus*

        My friend and her husband used this song as well! I always knew her as shy and not one to draw attention to herself, but they were out there dancing, singing the whole thing. I had never even heard it before then (I wasn’t sheltered, but at the time Meatloaf was doing anything for love, but not that)! I think her marriage was also a way for her to get out of her parents’ control and I love that they did something a bit more out of the norm at their wedding and she broke out of her shell a bit. Now whenever I hear it it brings up a happy thought.

        1. Camellia*

          I had never heard it before either but when my fiance played it for me how could I resist??

    12. Oryx*

      So, “bridesmaids responsibilities” isn’t really a thing. It’s a false tradition set up by the wedding industry to make people spend more money, all a bridesmaid has to do is show up for the wedding in the dress agreed upon (which should have been picked with budget concerns in place). Being a BM or MOH is an honor, after all, not a job. (Google “Miss Manners and bridesmaid responsibilities” to get her rather scathing views on this sentiment.)

      If the sister is unable to afford the dress, then that’s the only responsibility she’s failed at — everything else is optional so if she can afford the dress and the $800 tattoo, more power to her.

      1. Mando Diao*

        It’s a problem if she “voted” for certain things at the bridal shower/bachelorette party/general bridesmaid stuff and now can’t pay for any of it.

        1. Oryx*

          She is only on the hook if she volunteered to pay for it and is now unable to pay. This is not an automatic cost that a bridal party needs to fork over by sheer fact of being in the bridal party.

          1. Mando Diao*

            I find this response to be really gauche and unhelpful. Someone asked a question about a wedding that she’s clearly happy and proud to be a part of, and your response is that her stance is wrong and weddings are stupid anyway.

            It would be tacky and immature if this one bridesmaid agreed to be part of a bridal party and then decided to make it all about herself and protest against wedding culture, but that’s not even what’s going on. We’re talking about a bridesmaid who is deliberately going against expectations and is obtusely pretending that she doesn’t know that she’s doing anything wrong. If she had a conscience, she’d drop out of the bridal party.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Whoa, wait. We’re reading this pretty differently! Oryx didn’t say that weddings are stupid; she just pointed out that there’s not an inherent obligation for bridesmaids to pay for things they didn’t agree to pay for, which is true. The OP made a later comment that indicates that the sister did push for additional expenses, but that wasn’t a detail we had when Oryx made this comment.

              (Without that context, I’d agree that it’s not really anyone’s business if the sister is paying hundreds of dollars for a tattoo, since being a bridesmaid doesn’t automatically commit her to paying for anything other than her dress. I can’t agree that she should drop out of the bridal party just because she can’t afford/doesn’t want to shell out more money! Although I do agree that it’s messed up if she was part of pushing for those expenses and led people to believe that she would be paying part of them, which is what it sounds like from the OP’s later comment.)

              1. Mando Diao*

                Agreeing to be a bridesmaid is about much more than committing to buying a dress. Traditional etiquette dictates that bridesmaids pay for the bridal shower; this is a known social rule. That says nothing about the details that this bridesmaid, the sister of the bride, should have known before agreeing to be a part of things.

                1. matcha123*

                  I was a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding. I know nothing about what is considered a “social rule” because many of my friends who are married got married in various locations around the world, no one in my family is married and I’m not interested in weddings in general.

                  All I did was ask my sister what she wanted me to do and what she wanted me to help with.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  Oh please–there are no hard and fast “rules” that people absolutely cannot change or else. It’s whatever people agree on. If she agreed to pay and then backed out, that’s rude, but if the bride still wants her there, that’s her decision.

                  And you can have a shower or other activities without spending a lot of money. All the encouragement to do so comes from the wedding industry. Nothing is required, and there are as many different ways to do these things as there are brides.

                3. the golddigger*

                  Traditional etiquette dictates that bridesmaids pay for the bridal shower; this is a known social rule.

                  Since when? I hosted a friend’s bridal shower and paid because IT WAS MY IDEA TO HOST AND PAY. I was not even a bridesmaid. I have never been expected to shell out cash for anything other than an ugly dress that no, I never wore again, as a bridesmaid.

                4. The Little Prince(ess)*

                  Traditional etiquette dictates that bridesmaids pay for the bridal shower; this is a known social rule.

                  No it is not. A shower can be given by anyone, although it *is* considered in poor taste for the MOB to throw it.

                5. YaH*

                  What? No.

                  And details that the bridesmaid “should have known about”? I was my sister’s MOH, and I’d never even *been* to a wedding before. I’m an introvert whose social interactions tend to be with coworkers who are 20-30 years older than myself, so I had no idea what I was doing. The internet helped somewhat, but I still look back and frown when I think of all the things I probably should have done but didn’t know any better because I hadn’t picked up the knowledge along the way anywhere.

      2. Curiosity Killed The Bridesmaid*

        The situation is what Mando Diao said. If the sister had said up front that she couldn’t participate in much because of finances, that would have been fine. But she was right alongside the maid of honor encouraging the big expensive bridal shower where all she wanted to chip in for was the favors (which she delayed in buying til the last minute because she’d paid for her tattoo session instead of favor supplies) and has ignored all my attempts to even out the costs with me and the other bridesmaids.

        Also all of us bridesmaids chipped in to buy one of the most expensive items on the wedding registry, which she agreed to do. I bought it and everyone paid me back (with our number, it ended up being about $30 each for the gift). The sister didn’t give me the money, the mom of the sister and bride was the one to give me a check on her daughter’s behalf.

        Again, if it was honestly just being short on cash in general, I’d understand. But making a huge optional purchase before her sister’s wedding, all the while encouraging the more expensive options for the bridal shower, it has really rubbed me the wrong way. I carefully budgeted for wedding expenses and yet I’m having to suffer through her lack of forethought.

      3. Gene*

        Yeah, I showed up a friend’s wedding and her mother handed me a boutonniere. Turns out I the Mantron of Honor.

      4. Ultraviolet*

        Regardless of how or how recently it came about, it is a pretty common expectation that your bridesmaids will throw a shower or something. If someone asks you to be their bridesmaid, I think a “reasonable person” would know there’s a good chance they intend the request to entail throwing the shower [etc]. So if you would absolutely not be able to help throw the shower, is it dishonest to agree to be a bridesmaid without clarifying that? (I don’t know, and I don’t like that this expectation exists, but I think it’s common enough that a lot of brides would feel kind of deceived if you agreed to be a bridesmaid but later said you weren’t going to help throw a shower, and it wouldn’t help at all if you told them it wasn’t dictated by traditional etiquette.)

        1. Oryx*

          No, I don’t think it’s dishonest to agree to be a BM if you can’t afford to help throw a shower. For one thing, I’ve been in plenty of weddings where someone else hosted that. For another, the bride asks people to be in their bridal party as an honor — it’s saying “these are the most important people in my life and I want them standing next to me” so to ask and then turn around and say “Oh? You can’t throw me a party?” is not cool.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I am not sure it is dishonest not to disclose. However, it just plain does not make sense to withhold that information, especially if you believe it to be expected of you.

          The reason I say it does not make sense to withhold, is because this is potentially relationship damaging, as in permanent damage. If the MOH, knows a shower and other activities are out of the question, she can simply say, “I have X going on this means I cannot do a shower for you, nor can I participate in other wedding events. Do you still want me there?”
          I had this convo with a family member. Her response awed me. She said, “Thank you for telling me upfront so I know what to expect. Yes, I still want you there.” Some people value knowing what to expect more than they value the actual activity itself. Other people just plan around that limitation.

          1. Ultraviolet*

            That was a great response from your family member! And in case it’s not clear, I do think that if she hadn’t wanted a bridal party member who couldn’t afford to host a shower, that would reflect some weird priorities. I just think the expectation that you will host the shower is so common that you have to deal with it, as you did.

        3. Overeducated*

          This is news to me – and I am married and have been a bridesmaid. I thought showers were going out of fashion because couples usually live independently or with each other before getting married these days. (One of my friends had two showers, but she was a fairly young grad student from a very traditional background, and neither was thrown by bridesmaids!)

        4. the golddigger*

          I think a “reasonable person” would know there’s a good chance they intend the request to entail throwing the shower [etc].

          Nope. Being a bridesmaid means buying a dress and standing next to the bride during the ceremony. Period.

          1. SecinUK*

            Changing the subject ever so slightly, I’m interested that the bridesmaid is expected to pay for their dress. In the UK I think it is usually paid for by the wedding party (I eloped to Gretna Green to get married so sadly had no bridesmaids so my info may be out of date).

            1. Stephanie*

              Yeah, I’m not sure when that became the convention, but it is the US at least. My friend and her husband ended up going down to one attendant apiece. She felt bad that she cut me from the party and I’m just thinking “Whew. I don’t have to pay for a dress I’ll never wear again.”

              1. Jenna*

                For my wedding, I rented my bridal gown, and my maid of honor found something she liked so much(same place) that she purchased it! It was handy that I only had one attendant and I wasn’t set on anything before hand. Shopping for the dresses was fun. I loved the dress that she found and bought, and I wasn’t stuck with a wedding gown that I wasn’t ever going to wear again.

            2. Oryx*

              Yes, it’s super frustrating when they pick a $200 dress that will be worn once and then sit in my closet for the next ten years.

        5. Anna*

          That’s crap. My best friend is throwing her brother’s fiancée a shower and she’s not in the wedding.

          Man, there’s so much bullshit in these responses, I don’t even know where to begin.

    13. Pennalynn Lott*

      Not really a horror, but the most jarring (?) wedding I’ve ever attended was an out-of-town one where my then-boyfriend was the Best Man. We’d hung out with the happy couple several times before, and they were loads of fun (which, for us, meant being sand volleyball players who enjoyed splitting a pitcher of beer afterwards, then changing clothes and heading out dancing). So I was a bit shocked when the wedding featured no music, no flowers, no celebratory feeling; and the reception [held in the lunch room of the church] was only a Kool-Aid punch with a couple of sheet cakes. And even those seemed out of place. Cost wasn’t a factor, it was all because of the religion (extreme Southern Baptist) of one set of the parents. It was more like being at a funeral than a wedding. The photographs I have from that day are of a bunch of dour people with not one single person smiling, not even the bride and groom. So weird. (For me, at least).

      1. AliceBD*

        That seems really odd to me! My cousin and her parents are super Southern Baptist, although they sometimes drink, and her now-husband is a Southern Baptist pastor; they met when he was in seminary. I can totally see the having a dry wedding part. And there were some readings during their service that were…unexpected, and my mom still brings up a decade later. But in terms of dress/decorations/flowers/food/music/etc. it was a totally normal wedding.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          Not that anyone said to me. The couple had been high school sweethearts, dating for probably 10 years by the time they got married.

          The vibe I got from the church itself (its utter lack of decor except for some fire-and-brimstone sayings hung on the wall), and from the preacher’s words, was that solemnity was the norm because life is a horrible struggle to be endured until you finally die and get to be with Jesus. That everyone was a terrible sinner, so there’s no reason to celebrate anything in this life whatsoever.

          I remember thinking, “How the hell do they ever get new members with this awful message??”

          1. A. D. Kay*

            That’s weird. Could it possibly have been some other type of Baptist other than Southern Baptist? I was raised in that culture and the lack of music and flowers doesn’t sound like the norm at all.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Wow. That’s really weird. I would guess maybe this is some offshoot or splinter group of that church. I grew up Catholic in a sea of Baptists and I never went to any weddings like that, or heard anything of this nature from people I knew.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        That seems weirder than just religion; my grandpa was Southern Baptist and even their funerals were a giant party with tons of food (and no booze, although at weddings all the drinkers snuck flasks in and all the teetotallers pretended they didn’t know).

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          ” . . . all the drinkers snuck flasks in and all the teetotallers pretended they didn’t know . . .”

          Ha. My husband’s grandparents were teetotalers, so at holidays we’d always have to hide the wine and beer until they left. His grandpa would always give an anti-drinking, bible-thumping speech about the evils of “wine-bibbers”, so as soon as they’d leave, we’d get out the wine and announce, “It’s time to ‘bib’!”

      3. Different Cultures*

        Aside from the lack of flowers and the dour people, this does sound typical of all the Southern Baptist weddings I’ve been to. I had a traditional cake and punch reception myself. It was great for a young couple, because it was so cheap: no need to hire a DJ because there is no dancing, no paying for full meals because it’s at 2 pm, no alcohol. Now that I have attended some Catholic friends’ weddings, I can see how this would be jarring for people unfamiliar with the culture, but I’ve had lots of people say they loved my wedding because it was a great chance to chat with old friends. So my experience is that the Southern Baptist weddings are low key, but not somber.

    14. snuck*

      Some of the things I’ve encountered…

      My kid sister got married (she’s kinda … annoying princess type) and booked out the Zoo, the reception was in May (and about 8 degrees that night – I’m in the southern hemisphere), and she had us in these awful avocado green teeny strap bra impossible mid thigh chiffon dresses. With no shrug or jacket or coat…. for a night wedding outdoors at the zoo, next to a river that carries the evening wind into the city. I froze.

      Fast forward a couple of years to my wedding. She was freshly pregnant so I bought her dress a few weeks out, but even though it was tight she refused to go up a size because “I have never been more than a size 10 in my life” and insisted on a cardigan for my midday service “because it might get cold”… (Which I happily bought for her).

      A mere month later the dress was too small around her midriff, the day was warm and pleasant, and she played a completely different piece of music for my entrance piece than the one I’d asked for. (She is a 15yr violin veteran, but she chose to play Pacabel’s Canon – the music she entered to, instead of my requested simplified excerpt of Vivaldi’s Winter, which was one of my rare nods to my more gothic side. Ugh. Switching the music up on the bridal walk without notice was rude, and I’m still pissed about it.)

      1. Curiosity Killed The Bridesmaid*

        Changing the song would have infuriated me! Like I would have been tempted to stop the walk and yell at her to play the right music. Oh man, I can’t even imagine, I’m not sure I could ever forgive my sister for something like that.

        1. snuck*

          There are many many things to take issue with for this girl. She’s not my real sister, but we grew up together, and it’s a very long story.

          The short end to it is that we don’t talk anymore. Apparently I absolutely offended her when I saw her teeny tiny 6lb baby the first time and said something along the lines of (full of smiles) “Oh isn’t he gorgeous, and tiny!” and mentioning his size was apparently a reason to black list me from her life.

          Frankly … she was madder than a cut snake and my life is totally better for not putting up with her amazingly awful behaviour.

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            I once had a cousin stop speaking to me, for YEARS, because when she handed me her weeks-old son (who was a tad grumpy at the time) I said, “Awwww, he looks like a tiny Jack Nicholson.”

              1. BL*

                I think you just have to give people your expectations. When I was pregnant, I told my mom that she better tell me my newborn was beautiful even if she looked like an old man. So when she saw the baby a few hours post birth she said, “She beautiful! And I didn’t even have to lie!”. Cracked me up.

            1. SAHM*

              HAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, I always tell people that babies all come out looking like screaming red tomatoes, or little old men, when someone mentions they want to see my newborn. I tell them babies are much cuter when they’ve hit three months, which 100% they are waaaay cuter but also it lets me get a break from people and the baby gets first round of vaccines by then.

            2. Mallory Janis Ian*

              I had an aunt who always had at least one person among her friends and family that she was actively not speaking to. She’d rotate from one person to another who had deeply offended her. She was very troubled, though, and after several years of living like this she ended up committing suicide.

      2. Mike C.*

        F*ck Pacalbel’s Cannon. I was a violist for years and I absolutely hate that song.

    15. Ladybug's Nugget*

      My wedding was in the town I grew up in (which was out of town for me and my husband’s side of the family). My dad paid for my MIL’s hotel room – my SIL and BIL (sister and brother, both adults) didn’t want to pay for their own hotel room so they crashed with MIL. That night, after the wedding was over, in the middle of the night there was a fire alarm in the hotel and we all had to shuffle down to the parking lot. When we got back up, MIL had a panic attack; BIL and SIL had a big fight in the hotel room; DH had to go down there and get things under control while me and all the other guests on the floor stuck our heads out into the hallway in disbelief. Later, when my Dad got the hotel bill, we discovered that BIL had made numerous long distance calls on the the hotel phone that was billed to the room (i.e. my Dad) (this was before cell phones). So….good times.

    16. Cordelia Longfellow*

      I was 12 or 13 when my grandmother got married to my wonderful step-granddad. It was a very low-key affair in their backyard. My aunt kept refilling my mom’s wine glass without her noticing, and she and my grandma and almost my entire family got completely blotted. Except my granddad, because he’s a dry alcoholic; I just remember spending the night with him outside on the front porch, chatting away, while everyone else was inside breaking lamps and jockeying for the toilet. All turned out well, and they’re happily married twenty years later, but I think the two of us are the only ones who remember most of that day!

    17. MsChanandlerBong*

      I enjoyed my wedding, but if I had to do it again, I would have gotten married at the magistrate’s office. My husband’s parents went through a bitter divorce 20 years ago and are still so mad that they didn’t even say hello to each other. The day of the wedding, my MIL wanted to come to my cousin’s house and see me get ready, which was fine, but she is not from the area and stayed at the house until pretty close to the wedding time. The ceremony was supposed to start at 2:00. I was actually in the church vestibule and ready to walk down the aisle, but the pastor came to me at 2:05 and said my husband’s mother was missing! Turns out she got lost and didn’t bother to call anyone and ask for directions.

      The wedding itself was fine, but the lead-up to it was total nonsense. I had to tiptoe around trying not to offend my FIL’s wife, who is the type of person who is offended by everything.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I attended the wedding of 2 university friends, just after we had graduated, so it was not a massive do, but nice. They divorced about 5 years later and I only found out because another friend (who had been a bridesmaid) told me. I never heard anything from the bride herself, and had my friend not said, I would have assumed they were still married.

        The bridesmaid then got engaged herself. I then discovered the original couple were both being invited to the wedding as well and the bride had remarried. This meant I was on the table with the bride and her second husband and the first husband was on a table with all the other university friends at the far side of the reception room.

        The bride looked lovely, the groom looked dashing and it was a pretty boring afternoon, since my life is quite different to theirs now and I didn’t get the impression they wanted to hear about it. I also felt a bit insulted as the only single person invited, because the happy couple cheerfully informed me that “We were going to find somebody for you to sit with, then we realised we didn’t know anybody else who was single.”

    18. SusanIvanova*

      I sing in a choir; whenever a choir member gets married we’ll sing at their wedding. One time the bride was one of our instrumentalists – a truly amazing one; we’ve yet to find an instrument she can’t play, but her signature piece with us is a jazzy improv sax solo on Amazing Grace. We recorded it for a CD, which took many takes – for mistakes on our side, not hers :) – and I’m not sure she did it the same way twice.

      So of course for her wedding that was the closing piece, and instead of going out in the procession at the end she came down and joined us.

    19. ginger ale for all*

      Jumping on to this topic, for everyone that has been a bridesmaid, has anyone been able to wear the dress at another time? I am zero for three on this. All three brides insisted that they chose a dress that would be easy to wear again and all three were wrong. What are your experiences? The only outfit that I think comes close was one I read about in an old People magazine in the doctors office. Brooke Shields chose a aquamarine angora sweater and a long a-line silk skirt for her bridesmaids and I think that she doubled the odds for the pieces to be worn again. Separates are easier to work in to a wardrobe.

      1. Lore*

        I’ve been in three weddings but I’ve only had to buy one dress (one was pretty informal and they asked us just to wear something in a general color scheme; the other was a gay wedding and I was the best woman and wore a tux, which I bought at a thrift store). There were six bridesmaids of vastly different body types and coloring, living in four different states, and the wedding was outdoors in late September in the northeast, so the temperature could realistically have been anywhere between 35 and 80. We all talked and came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a dress that would work for everyone, so the bride picked colors–sage green and black–and asked us all to get some type of wrap dress. Sage green wrap dresses proved challenging so we all ended up with black. I got very, very lucky and found a genuine Diane von Furstenburg black knit wrap dress on sale at Loehmann’s for under $100. It’s a size too big but wrap dresses are forgiving like that (though it does tend to need a safety pin in the cleavage or a camisole underneath). It’s one of the best clothing purchases ever and I wear it regularly. (Though I was distressed the last time I had it out of the closet to see the beginnings of moth damage in the sash and one spot on the dress. I’ve had it for almost 11 years now but it may be nearing the end of its life…)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          They make cedar things that you can put in your closet. I have some hanging off of special garments to make sure nothing goes near that garment. I had a different bug bothering my clothes and this worked. I have seen some people line their closets with cedar paneling, too.

      2. Hlyssande*

        I’ve been in three weddings so far as a bridesmaid, with another on the horizon.

        For the first wedding (my cousin’s), we had to wear these hideous pale lavender things and the bridal shop ordered the dress according to the AVERAGE OF MY MEASUREMENTS AND NOT MY ACTUAL MEASUREMENTS (I was incredibly well endowed at the time) and there was panic. I hated the outfit and have no idea where the dress is now.

        For the second wedding, my bff turned us free in David’s Bridal with a colorway and a length requirement. David’s kind of sucks but the way they match dye lots across many different styles was wonderful. I love that dress even though I haven’t worn it again.

        For the third, I wore a dark blue number that made me feel like a greek goddess, all flowy and pretty. I haven’t worn it again yet, but if I had a reason to wear a formal somewhere, I’d go with it in a heartbeat.

        For the upcoming wedding, I’m actually on the groom’s side (my brother) and will be wearing some form of dress that I choose in ‘autumn colors’ that isn’t a formal. Haven’t gotten much more direction than that just yet but I’m having fun looking at dresses in red/orange/gold (that’s autumn-y, right?).

      3. Stella*

        With two bridesmaid dresses now, I don’t see me wearing either to a regular occasion. But I do plan to get some use out of them… only in an out of the ordinary kind of way.

        My friends and I left our high school prom halfway through because we were bored. We ended up bowling in our prom dresses and having a grand time. In that spirit, I really want to organize a ‘bridesmaids dress bowling party’. I’ve mentioned it to my friends and everyone on board with it. It would be a fun and silly way that we could reuse dresses we will most likely never wear again.

        Also I’m seriously thinking of sacrificing one of the dresses to a Halloween costume… bridesmaid zombie, anyone? :)

  3. BayBreeze*

    Does anyone have little tricks for saving up or making a little extra cash? Those websites that gift you points to turn into gift cards just for using the site, an easy side job like being a mystery shopper, selling things on sites like eBay or Etsy? Anything like that?

    I use the website Swagbucks, which gives me points for using their search engine and buying things through their links. I’ve made about $150 in two years. Not a lot but I’m not religious about using the site. Looking for other ways to give my wallet a little extra bump.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I make extra money (and sometimes get free gadgets) taking surveys and doing beta testing. Betabound is a very good site for that. I recently got a $100 gift code for a home improvement chain for testing one of their beta websites. The survey sites have gotten really annoying recently, but I am still part of a Communispace panel that pays at least $15/month for minimum participation, plus I did an extra $20 user testing session recently. Unfortunately, you can’t join Communispace (now cspace) directly, you have to take a survey at 20/20 Panel or Harris Online or something first, and as I’ve indicated, I’ve stopped doing that. I also secret shop a casual restaurant chain 1-2 times a month, which pays OK, but I’m thinking about quitting because it’s a bit of a hassle.

      Let me know if you want any more details about any of those.

      1. OfficePrincess*

        How did you get into secret shopping restaurants? My husband and I like going out, but that budget is always the first cut when something comes up.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          A couple of online friends secret shop with Ardent and told me it’s a good deal and a legit gig. They’re a decent company (depends on who supervises your area, my scheduler is terrific), and they shop Chipotle and Shake Shack. You can register and then you’ll have to wait for a training in your area, which are few and far between…you’ll probably have to travel, as they don’t hold many, but they will pay you for your training after you complete your first secret shop. They pay a flat rate that does not include your meal cost, but you can make $15 or so after paying for your meal, and you do get to eat, which I presume you’d have to do anyway. :) You can probably google for other chains.


          1. Kittymommy*

            I looked at that tonight as I eat our a lot! Only thing that gave me pause was they ask for your ss# right off the bat.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Yeah, I know. It bothered me too. But they very well might need to issue you a 1099-MISC. I’d really prefer they asked for that at your training, but oh well.

    2. periwinkle*

      I rarely use it anymore, but I’ve been a member of MyPoints (dot com, of course) since 1998. You get points for clicking on links, taking surveys, watching videos, and clicking through their site to shop at the usual stores (the big retailers, travel vendors, restaurants, etc). You redeem points for gift cards (again, the big names, plus you can get Amazon and PayPal gifts). It’s pretty painless.

    3. Caledonia*

      Over in the UK, many of our banks now do a ’rounding up’ of transactions which you can put into savings. So if you buy something for £1.49, it’ll round up to £2 with the “change” going to savings.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Wow, I have never heard of this. I love anything that tricks you into saving!

        1. Caledonia*

          Both my bank apps offer it Cristina (RBS/Nationwide), it’s worth checking to see if yours does too :-)

          1. Cristina in England*

            Thanks! I found out that Lloyds do it too, but not my bank. I will phone them and ask them about it on Monday. Maybe some customer feedback will encourage them.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              It’s not a bad idea, the more options the better, but we have 3 separate savings accounts that we transfer money into automatically. That’s after retirement contributions. Just set up automatic transfers and forget about it, then you’ll be used to having less money to spend. And you can bump them up every so often if and when you can afford to do so.

                1. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  One for each goal. One gets what used to be our car loan payment, so we can buy our next car for cash; one gets what used to be our home improvement loan, and that goes towards home projects or vacations; and one is our charitable giving account, since I realized that, one year, we gave a lot less than the year before because we were giving reactively instead of planning it out.

      2. danr*

        Some of our bank do that for their credit and debit cards. They round up to the next dollar. Search .. round up credit card .. in your favorite search engine.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      Not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but I use the Google Opinions Rewards app (Android only, so that may take it out of the running for you if you have an iPhone) to answer quick surveys that give me random Google Play credits, which I use for buying apps or movies (could buy music, too, but I usually get those on Amazon).

    5. AnotherAnon*

      My best tip is couponing! On groceries, at department stores, online, etc. It doesn’t generate money (most of the time) but lowers your bills so you have more money for other things. I’m happy to elaborate/point you to some good resources if you’re interested!

      Also, I’m dabbling a bit in travel hacking (via http://www.travelmiles101.com ‘s free online course) – though I’m not as heavily into it as the folks who post on the Facebook group boasting about free vacations they’ve taken via this method!

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        My best tip is couponing! On groceries, at department stores, online, etc. It doesn’t generate money (most of the time) but lowers your bills so you have more money for other things

        Just remember that it’s not a deal if you don’t regularly use the product. If you want to save money, and are very disciplined about it, you could take what you save from the coupons and deposit that in savings. Or a big jug somewhere. Sometimes I save my change in a jar and roll it up. Since we have $1 and $2 coins, it can add up quickly.

        There are also some stores that will tell you how much you saved this week on the receipt. It’s not really a saving if you spend it on something else.

        Also, I think you can get your bank to automatically take money out and put it into a retirement/savings account. They say you should ‘pay yourself first’ about 10% of each pay cheque and that’s the recommended method, have it automatically transferred out of your account, preferably to somewhere you can’t see it such as another bank.

      2. Emilia Bedelia*

        Download the app for your local grocery store and see if they have digital coupons- my local chain has some amazing deals that you only get with the app. I do this all the time, and it’s easier than clipping physical coupons. They also send a weekly email of the deals for this week, so it’s easy to see whether it’s worthwhile to go or not.

        Also, do research to find the best food prices near you. I have a list of things I buy at one store that has good produce prices, and a list that I buy at the store with good grocery prices. One store near me does discounted close-to-sell-by-date produce, deli, and bread, so I look for deals there. Another store near me has consistently amazing prices on produce, so I go there for most of my fruits and veggies. I go shopping, then plan meals based on what was on sale this week, and that saves me a lot of money. Driving 10 miles out of your way to save 50 cents on your groceries isn’t worthwhile though, so make sure you’re planning grocery trips strategically.

      3. Girasol*

        If you don’t already, make food from scratch. It’s fun to make things like cereal and crackers and bread that are hugely overpriced for the cost of the ingredients in them. If you have a freezer, you can buy bargain family-size cuts of meat and inexpensive veggies in season, cook huge casseroles and soups, and freeze your own ready-meals for later. If you find ingredients that cost less – like inexpensive cuts of meat or odd veggies – but you don’t know how to use them, you can always find recipes online. If you have a yard or even a balcony where you can put some boxes or buckets, grow your own salad veggies to get fresher food and avoid the cost of hard to ship leafy greens. When you reduce grocery costs you get to be your own boss and you get to eat the goodies too.

    6. ginger ale for all*

      I have two part time jobs on top of my full time job. I sell tickets to sporting events at a university and I help out with special events (graduations, etc.) at the same university. Just watch their employment website for opportunities. Not every campus job is limited to students.

    7. Cristina in England*

      I have been decluttering at the same time as trying to make some extra money, and have sold off some unused craft supplies and barely worn clothes on eBay. I am not a natural salesperson but I figure that someone would like to get a deal on stuff that I would love to have out of my house.

    8. Nicole*

      Pinecone Research (https://www.pineconeresearch.com/index.asp) – They only accept new members occasionally so you have to keep checking their site, but they pay $3 per survey and they’re not very long. On average I get about 3-4 per month but what I like is when they send you one you’re already qualified to take it unlike other survey companies which will have you answer a ton of questions and say you’re not qualified so you earn nothing but a sweepstakes entry. Does anyone ever win those because I never have?!?

    9. Oryx*

      I’ve done Etsy but it’s not easy money by any stretch of the imagination. It takes work to make any decent money.

      1. The Little Prince(ess)*

        Agreed. It’s not like the early days of etsy anymore — there are now something like 40 million items listed so being found/standing out it not easy.

        Plus, the competition is fierce. Pick any category of craft — there are already tons of sellers selling it.

    10. AliceBD*

      Writing this out, I use a lot of different techniques! They’re all listed below. I’m not hardcore about any of them but they do add up to make a difference. Most of these assume you have a smartphone with a data plan.

      I also use Swagbucks. The things that I’ve found are easiest to earn swagbucks with the least amount of effort are below. I am also not super consistent now, but when I consistently did these things I could make about $25 a month.
      – Install the app on my phone. When it gives me an alert/notification for a Swagcode, visit the reddit page to get the code, which is the reddit web address and then /r/swagbucks. The reddit page is easier than following whatever instructions Swagbucks gives you, and you don’t have to sign up for reddit to see the info. The codes are generally only good for a few hours. Then enter the code into the app. Takes less than a minute once you know what you’re doing.
      – Install the video apps and let them run by themselves. I got the info for this from the Swagbucks reddit; it has step-by-step instructions. You can make favorites for the shortest videos and then set them to run and ignore them for a while and they get you a few points for watching x number of videos. I do it at home on wifi, so no data cost, and I have the phone on mute so there aren’t any sounds. I do it when I’m already not using the phone, like when I’m getting ready in the morning for work. Some people do this with multiple phones and make it a whole big thing but I don’t.
      – Check the site once a day and see if there are any Watch & Earn invites in my inbox that are not expired. For me I’ve found this is best if I do it between 9pm and 11pm but YMMV. If there aren’t, don’t do anything. If there are, put them on play while I go do something not on my computer for a few minutes. (Do the dishes, do a load of laundry, etc.) Most of these videos are only a few mins long.
      – If you get an email about a monthly bonus, claim it.

      If you shop at Target, use Cartwheel. If you shop a lot there, you may want to consider getting the Target RedCard so you get 5% off every purchase. There is a credit card version and a debit card version. If you shop at Amazon a lot and have Prime, you may want to consider getting the Amazon Store Card for 5% off every purchase if you already have Prime. (I am very responsible with my money and never carry a balance, and already shopped a ton at both of these stores. If you would be tempted to carry a balance, or you only shop there once a year, don’t get the cards.)

      Use ibotta. There are other cashback receipt places but I’ve found ibotta to be the best for me. You can google for other ones. You “unlock” (often by having a 15 sec video play while you ignore your phone, or the app tells you a fact, or some other minor thing) $0.25-$1 back on things you bought. They have a mix of “This brand of this product” and things like “1 dozen eggs any brand” or “carrots” that are generic, which is why I like them. After you unlock whatever you’re getting, take a picture of your receipt to prove you bought the thing and then you get money back. Takes $20 to cash out. I like that you can unlock stuff after you buy it, so you don’t have to preplan if there’s a deal on something.

      I use Shopkicks which is an app that gives you points when you walk into certain stores or buy certain stuff or scan certain stuff. I go to Target a LOT and you can get 30 “shopkicks” when you walk in. 500 kicks gets you a $2 electronic gift card; just have the cashier scan the barcode on your phone to redeem. I also scan stuff if I’m already there (oh, 10 kicks for scanning gum and I’m waiting in line behind 3 people already) but I don’t go out of my way to use this. There are lots of stores it partners with but I don’t go to malls a lot and that seems to be where most of them are.

      Use Swagbucks or eBates when you’re buying stuff online to get a few % cash back on stuff you’re already buying. I like eBates better than Swagbucks for this.

      I also sell things on eBay and on Facebook yard sale groups. Facebook is better for large things, heavy things, and breakable things — stuff you don’t want to ship. eBay is better for brand name items. I just take pictures with my phone for both of them. eBay I use whatever price they suggest for the item and also for shipping cost, as they have a better database than I do. For boxes/packing material, I already order a bunch of stuff online so I just save the boxes and bubble wrap etc from the things I’m already ordering to be used when I sell stuff. If you need extra bubble wrap go to the dollar store.

  4. Audiophile*

    Finally booked my vacation to FL next month. Going at the end of the month for my best friend’s 30th. I’m flying into/out of Tampa but staying at my friend’s place in Fort Myers. Since it’s unlikely, either of us is going to want to trek to Orlando, I’m struggling for ideas on fun things to do. Last time I visited, we trekked to the Miami area but I don’t think either of us would do it again.

    I’ll definitely have to rent a car in the next few weeks but I’m waiting a bit because prices were exorbitant (I looked at Budget, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise and AAA own rental site, nothing under $400-$500.)

    1. Research Assistant*

      I live in SWFL! Sanibel island is great and really close to Ft. Myers. The beaches are nice and famous for their shells. I have not been to Ding Darling nature preserve there, but I’ve heard it’s great. Other than Sanibel there are a lot of other great beaches in the area as well. Delnor-Wiggins State Park in Naples and Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs made a list of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in America within the last year or so. Both are south of Ft. Myers; Bonita Springs is closer. I haven’t been to Barefoot Beach, but I have been to Delnor-Wiggins several times and it is gorgeous.

      The Everglades are 1.5-2 hours away and I’ve heard great things about them, although I still haven’t managed to get down there, despite living in the area since 2007. If you want hiking that’s closer the Calusa Nature Center in Ft. Myers is really nice. I’ve also gone kayaking in Lakes Park in Ft. Myers, which was really fun. If you want to see alligators then I know people who have gone to places in both Immokalee and Everglades City specifically to see them, although if you look at enough ponds and canals you’ll see some anyway. Marco Island is pretty too; I spent a couple of days on the beach there two years ago.

      I know that the Edison & Ford winter estates are in Ft. Myers too. I haven’t been, so I don’t know how interesting they are. The first time I visited the area in 2006 I went on a sunset boat cruise that left from Tin City in Naples. We got to see the Gulf, a lot of giant fancy mansions, and dolphins. Tin City had a lot of touristy shops if that’s something that appeals to you. Naples is supposed to have a lot of good restaurants, but I can’t afford to go out to eat much, so I don’t have any recommendations. If you like thrift shopping Southwest Florida is great for that: lots of wealthy people donate very fancy things. (You can search for stores by location at thethriftshopper.com) If you like regular shopping then I think 5th Avenue in downtown Naples is supposed to be good, but it’s out of my budget, so I don’t have much experience with it.

      Writing out this list has convinced me that I don’t get out very much…

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        The Edison-Ford Estate is really cool. I highly recommend it! My parents live in Naples; the restaurants are pretty good, but they can be unnecessarily pricy. You can find just about anything while walking down 5th Avenue. I wish I had some good recs, but the only place I’ve gone to more than once is Truluck’s (fancy-ish seafood and steak place downtown). Some of the best Naples restaurants are a little off the beaten path.

        We went kayaking once in Naples Bay; rented kayaks at the Bayfront and just took off. I loved that. I’m trying to think of the park where we saw a ton of alligators, but the name escapes me (maybe it was Big Cypress); basically, we went east on I-75 and found the visitors’ center. Not very helpful, I know, but it was easy.

        If you’re feeling indulgent, there’s a Ritz-Carlton in Naples with a very good spa, and it’s right on the beach. The outdoor cafe there is very good.

        1. acmx*

          It’s probably Shark Alley for the alligators.

          You can rent a bike there. They are awful bikes. And July is a probably a miserable time to bike around there as the humidity is high and there’s not a lot of shade out there.

    2. Florida*

      If you like art, there is a Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg (near Tampa). I really enjoy going to that museum.

    3. alex*

      I lived in Tampa for 20 years (I fled awful family ten years ago and will never return, but it’s not a bad place per se). If you’re not willing to “trek” to Orlando (I wouldn’t either; I just mean in terms of distance and travel hassle), then I’d scratch Miami off the list; FL is huge and the highway drives from city to city are huge, boring time sucks. You might actually be better off driving to the east coast (Daytona, say) for a great Atlantic beach if you want to branch out. Driving time would be reduced by at least half. But the Gulf beaches are great, too.

      Sanibel Island’s lovely. Somebody mentioned already—there’s an amazing Dali museum in St Pete, which houses many of the master works of a really cool artist (second largest collection after Museo del Prado, I think). There’s also the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, which was cool when I lived there. Several amusement parks, if that’s your thing. I’d also recommend: Clearwater for beaches, touristy fun, and Frenchy’s restaurant. There’s the very interesting Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, very close to where you’re staying.

      Have fun!

      1. Florida*

        I forgot about the Ringling Museum – that’s a good one. (I’m a circus fan.) If Circus Sarasota has any performances while you are there, those are excellent. Circus Sarasota is made up primarily of retired Ringling performers. Most of them were in the circus back in the heyday when circus performers were household names. Those are the people who perform in this circus.

        There is a place in Polk County (about halfway between Tampa and Orlando) called Bok Tower Gardens. It’s a garden, but they have a carillon bell tower. That’s a cool place.

    4. Lore*

      There’s a decent amount of cultural stuff on Sarasota tho less in the summer I think. The Ringling Museum as mentioned but also a lot of galleries showing student work near the Ringling College of Art. Two decent regional theaters (Asolo and Florida Studio), ballet, a good art cinema (Burns Court), lots of good restaurants downtown and a lovely park at the marina. Siesta Key has fantastic beaches.

      1. Little Miss Cranky Pants*

        If you decide to hang in Tampa, and you Really Like cats, check out Big Cat Rescue, which house over 100 big cats like lions, tiger, cougars, leopards, etc. These are circus retirees or rescues from owners who realized that having a tiger in the backyard is a Bad Idea. They are awesome up close!!

        1. Lore*

          Oh yeah! I’ve been vacationing in Sarasota for pretty much my entire life (family down there and now it’s my parents’ retirement home), and we just went to the Big Cat Rescue for the first time this year. It was pretty amazing, especially hearing the stories of the family who runs it, who have been working with big cats for five generations.

          Also, there’s a brand-new Sarasota Museum of Art. I don’t know if it’s actually opened yet (it had not when I was last there in January, but it was close). They’re converting the old high school–a very cool building from the “modern gothic” era of high-school construction–into a museum curated out of the Ringling College of Art.

    5. kittymommy*

      Marco Island is beautiful (though I’m partial to the Gulfside of FL anyway). Deppending on how much time you have you can also get a day baot trip out of Ft. Myers to Key West. Leaves in the morning, comes back at night, and you don’t have to come back the same night if you don’t want to. Car is left in a fenced lot.

  5. Aurora Leigh*

    I’ve posted on here quite a bit over the last month or so, so I thought I’d give you all some updates:

    Kayaking — I love my inflatable kayak! I’ve taken it out a few times and it is so fun, and I haven’t flipped over! Thanks to the commenter who first mentioned inflatable kayaks (LawCat, I think?) I never knew they were a thing before this site!

    Container gardening — I got a bunch of cheap pots off Craigslist, spray painted them fun colors and planted lots of flower seeds. I have lots of sprouts now and the area is already more cheerful.

    Online dating — I took the plunge and signed up for a site. (Thanks, fposte!) Nothing much happened right away, but I’m talking to a nice guy right now, so maybe next open thread I’ll have a date to tell you all about :)

    I love how knowledgable and kind all the commenters are here, on so many different topics.

    1. LawCat*

      Inflatable kayaks!! :-D We’re going to buy another one so my step-son can go out with us when he’s with us. We’re hooked!

      I killed most things in our container garden (oops), but replanted last weekend have been diligent in watering this week. (The smaller pots really dry out quickly in the heat and that’s how I killed them.) Mostly herbs, but also a kale that I’m excited about.

    2. Felix*

      +1 to the amazing commenters on here!

      Also congrats on signing up for online dating. Good luck and have fun! :)

    3. Whichsister*

      I met my boyfriend of two years on an online dating site. Watch out for military guys and entrepreneurs… I never got duped but it was hysterical watching them maneuver. The military guys (usually widowers with a child) wanted quickly to say we were engaged! That way I could send money to help pay internet Bill. The entrepreneurs had some sort of import export business… Usually within a day or two it would get stuck in customs and would need cash to get it out. Part of the fun was watching it all play out.

    4. SophieChotek*

      Online dating – best of luck! I hope it goes well and is interesting. I keep thinking of taking the plunge myself (you know it’s bad when your mother is at least hinting she might food the bill)…but have not done so yet. I’m eager to hear more.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      That’s a very cool idea about the pots. I bought some annuals but they’re in the plastic hangy pots they came in, which aren’t all that attractive. Except the petunias, which I put in a giant pot out front.

      *sigh* Online dating yielded exactly nothing for me. I don’t know how other people manage to get anything out of it. Someone was encouraging me to try Tinder, but that’s for twenty-somethings looking to hook up.

      1. Tinderella ;)*

        Not sure your age, but there are plenty of 30-somethings on Tinder. In fact, I’ve had two boyfriends off of Tinder (and I’m over 30). They were well-educated (one was a Cornell grad, the other a master’s degree), had very good jobs, owned homes, the whole nine yards. Didn’t work out for various reasons, but they were very nice guys and I always recommend it to folks. The people looking for hook-ups are obvious.

    6. brightstar*

      I like your idea about painting pots. I have herbs in pots I purchased from Big Lots.

      I had tried online dating in the past with disastrous results but met my current bf on OKC. We’ve been together a year and a half and moved n together about a month ago. I had learned to not talk too long to people online before meeting because chats can be great with no spark in person.

  6. Lily Evans*

    I had the worst start to my day this morning. I was eating cereal on the couch with my laptop open in front of me and my parents’ super hyper cat was on the top of the couch by my shoulder and my mom decided to throw a toy for him to chase directly over where I was sitting. Does anyone want to guess how the hyper cat + bowl of cereal + laptop scenario went? Luckily, the milk mostly got on the edge of the laptop with only a little on the keys/trackpad, but I was still not very happy, but my mother’s reaction just made things worse. We’ve never had the best relationship (many a session with my therapist has focused on it) but it just pissed me off because she can never admit when she’s wrong.

    If she’d just said “Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking,” or something of that nature, I’d have gotten over it because we all do thoughtless crap on occasion and my laptop was okay. But instead I reacted with something like, “What were you thinking?” And she replies, “I would never do something like that on purpose!” (I wasn’t accusing her of that!) “You know I never do things like that!” (Well.. you did!) “Blah blah blah *defensive comments* blah.” Followed by me replying angrily and her saying, “Well what do you want me to do?”

    I told her that she could at least say she was sorry (that five letter word hadn’t made it into her “explanations” wildly enough). To which she replied, “How could you not think I’m sorry!?” (Um, maybe because you didn’t say you were???) “I am literally running to get you paper towels right now!” (She only started moving as she said that. I’d had time to move my bowl and the laptop and make it halfway to the kitchen at that point.) She brought me two paper towels and said, “I’m almost crying right now, how can you think I’m not sorry?” (Guilt tripping because it’s my fault she’s almost crying!) “I didn’t want this to happen!” I’m pretty sure I just said, “Well, I don’t know what you expected.” before I stopped engaging with her. She then proceeded to give me the silent treatment for the rest of the morning because I’m so mean to her.

    Thank goodness I’m moving out on Tuesday! And yay therapy because a year ago I would have wondered if the whole thing was somehow my fault, but now I have boundaries and I know that I don’t control my mother’s emotions. If she wants to be hurt because I asked her to apologize then that’s her prerogative.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Have you ever read the RaisedByNarcissists subreddit? I think you’d fit right in there. :) Lots of support and understanding and sharing of coping mechanisms regarding people who don’t get boundaries or that everything is not ALL ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME ME ME ME MEMEMEMEMEMEMEMEME!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Lily Evans*

        I hadn’t been on there before (I’m not super familiar with reddit) but it definitely looks like it could be helpful, thanks :)

    2. Catherine from Canada*

      I feel your pain.
      I have a “I did the best I could” mom too. (Long deleted rant with examples…)
      And, it’s taken me until 58 years old to figure out how to set and keep boundaries with her.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Ah yes, the “I did the best I could” is one of my favorites, right along with “That never happened/didn’t happen that way!” and “Well if you hadn’t…” all learned from my grandmother, who my mother never learned to set boundaries with. Setting boundaries is so hard with both of them.

    3. Yikes*

      That was an unreliable denial on her part. Wow. Ummm, just from what she said, I wouldn’t believe it was an accident.

  7. AnotherAnon*

    Does anyone have book recommendations of the nonfiction/educational/personal development variety?

    Here are some of my recent favorites:
    – Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade (like an expanded version of her TED talk about the 20s as a prime developmental time for adulthood)
    – Thomas Stanley and William Danko’s series of books starting from The Millionaire Next Door
    – Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power as well as his other books
    – Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect
    – Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (that book that was all-the-rage last year about decluttering through only keeping brings you joy and guiltlessly tossing/donating the rest – although I’m not quite there yet!)

    1. Not Karen*

      -anything by Peter Walsh (about decluttering various aspects of one’s life)
      -Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
      -Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud
      -The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau

      1. AnotherAnon*

        Thank you Not Karen! Those titles are all new to me – I’ll definitely look into them!

    2. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I’m currently reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s really interesting, I love brain science stuff.

      1. AnotherAnon*

        That one is definitely on my to-read list! I really enjoyed Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism, which I think is in a similar vein.

      2. Cristina in England*

        The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge was amazing. One of my favourite books ever. Phantom limbs, stroke recovery, using sense of touch to “see” (using visual cortex), why foot fetishes might be a thing brain-wise, it has something for everyone! And I just saw, when double checking the author’s name, that he has a new book out Called The Brain’s Way of Healing which I am going to put on my list right now.

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          Yes, I loved The Brain that Changes Itself! And all of Oliver Sachs’ books (RIP).

      3. EU-RO-Cat*

        In brain science and personal improvement, beside Thinking, Fast and Slow, I have read:
        – Charles Duhigg – The Power Of Habit (about habits – structure, use and misuse, management etc). Well written, with lots of science to back it up
        – Mind Gym, by Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black (almost wrote Sirius…) – very practical ways of managing your own reactions
        – Switch How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip and Dan Heath – an example-packed book about introducing change at all levels (individual, company and society)
        – Small Move Big Change, by Caroline L. Arnold – an “I’ve done that” book about getting better at everyday life
        – Chasing The Scream, by Johann Hari – very well written book on addictions, with a new, controversial look on the topic (one that resonates with me – addiction as coping strategy for the lack of human connection)
        There are some more I can’t recall right now.

      4. Girasol*

        The Shallows by Nicholas Carr is a good brain science read, about how the internet is changing how we think.

    3. LawCat*

      I like a book called “Mini Habits.” It really helped me improve in certain areas by breaking a habit down into something that is so stupid simple that I will do it. So instead of something like, “Do 50 pushups,” your goal is 1 push up. Or if even that is too daunting, it’s just, get down on the floor. The idea is once you’ve done the stupid simple thing, you’ll do more, but you don’t HAVE to do more to get a win.

      1. Ladybug's Nugget*

        Someone referred me to him over Facebook and I tried only once, but it worked. I used it to get into the habit of rinsing with mouthwash every night. I had been avoiding it because it burned when I swished for so long, so my mini habit was to just swish for 10 seconds. Little by little as my mouth got used to the burning I was able to increase it and now I swish every night for close to a minute.

        1. Stardust*

          Nice! I found that I could never keep a routine of flossing on a regular basis until this last six months. I found by just doing a fast floss, instead of a slow long process, I now floss regularly (for the first time in my life! Yay)

    4. nep*

      I’ll always note Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
      And Turkestan Solo by Ella Maillart. Not a how-to, but just such a wonderful non-fiction read.

    5. Sami*

      I loved loved loved “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M. R. Covey. There’s so much in there that’s applicable for your personal life AND work life. Highly recommended!

    6. GOG11*

      Someone on here recommended a book written by a chef about keeping a clean work space and how that translates into othe professions (I think – I’m probably butchering the concept). It sounded really interesting, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to look into it yet and now I’ve apparently forgotten the title. Anyone know what I’m talking about? It seemed like it would fit well with what you’re looking for.

    7. Jenny*

      Just started reading “the marshmallow test”, and finding it quite fascinating. Basically it’s about harnessing willpower and delayed gratification its impact on life outcomes.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t have any recommendations, but I’d like to thank the commenters who mentioned Mary Roach a while ago. I am loving her stuff so much. She is FANTASTICALLY entertaining and informative.

      1. ginger ale for all*

        Mary Roach is going to be on a radio interview show called Think with Kris Boyd this week. I think it is a rebroadcast and you can listen to it if you go to the kera.org website and look through the Think past episode list. Kris Boyd interviews non fiction authors and she is terrific. You might find some great books from her show. Each episode is less than an hour long. Mary Roach is supporting her latest book Grunt in this latest episode.

    9. Be the Change*

      I really loved Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind.” Also Douglas & Heen “Thanks for the Feedback.” Neither is light reading but they have changed my thinking.

    10. The Cosmic Avenger*

      My favorite nonfiction books are not so much about personal development, although I suppose you could see them that way in varying degrees, but they’re about human perception and behavior, so they help me learn when I might be deceiving myself, intentionally or not.

      The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow
      Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
      Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt

    11. AnotherAnon*

      Wow, thank you so much everyone for the recommendations! Looks like I’ll have enough to keep me busy for a while!

    12. Pinkdolphins*

      I can’t recommend The Defining Decade enough! It really helped me to feel good about my 20s. I still re-read it whenever I feel like I need some vision or am having a down day.

  8. periwinkle*

    Did you know that June is Adopt-a-Cat month?

    The nearby shelter regularly brings up a whole bunch of cats from overcrowded shelters in California (there are more pet-loving Seattlites than adoptable local animals). The cats are all vetted, snipped, chipped, and prepped for adoption. They had about 24 kittens plus some older cats ready for adoption when they opened this Thursday morning – with people lined up outside. My husband was 4th in line.

    So we just went from 6 to 8 cats. We must be mad.

    1. DoDah*

      You are not mad–you are awesome. I’m in Cali–and the shelters are overcrowded.
      I just lost two cats in two weeks–one to FPV and the other was a feral/stray who died yesterday. I plan to adopt one cat once I get over my heartbreak.

    2. catsAreCool*

      I adopted an adult kitty last year, and he’s great! He’s young enough to be playful (4 years old), but I didn’t have to deal with all of that insane kitten energy. People usually talk about how good it is to adopt an adult cat, but I’d never realized how much easier it is to adopt an adult kitty than a kitten. Kittens are wonderful, but they get into everything and get underfoot and are so high energy.

      1. DoDah*

        Adult cats are so.much.easier. The remaining cat is 3. I adopted him at 2.

        I’ve also once adopted a senior kitty. I only had her a year–but she gave me ten years worth of love/purrs/kisses.

      2. periwinkle*

        We would have loved to have adopted older cats but our young male is territorial. He’s great with kittens – we adopted a high energy kitten in December as a companion and to distract him from bothering our senior cats. So now we have that male (2.5 years) and four youngsters (15 months, 9 months, and the two 3-month olds).

        The new ones already decided to explore the rest of the house by making a mad dash out of the isolation room. We’re consciously stepping back the introduction because the boy kitten seems a little overwhelmed at times (only a little, though). The girl kitten is fearless.

        Ah, chaos.

    3. KR*

      Not mad, just awesome. I wish I could have 8 cats. A cat and a dog is just enough for me to handle.

    4. Chaordic One*

      I have allergies to almost all animals, dogs, cats, horses and cows. However, I can tolerate being around certain breeds of dogs like poodles (that have hair-like fur) or some terriers (that have wirey fur).

      My question is, are there any breeds of cats that hypoallergenic? (I know about those hairless sphinx cats, but they’re so ugly that I don’t think I would like one of those.)

      1. JaneB*

        I think Devon Rex cats are better for some people? Their fur has a really different texture…

      2. catsAreCool*

        I second the Rex, and I think there are a few varieties. I think the Balinese cat (which oddly enough is long haired) is also less likely to cause allergies.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Thank you for the suggestions. I’ll do some research on them, and then see if any such cats ever turn up at the local shelters, or if there are any such breeders where I live.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Stray cat and kittens near my house. I don’t want them. I wish I could just take my outside cat and move. I have to feed them in front to keep them out of Psycho Kitty’s food, or she’d never get to eat at all. She won’t come into the garage, though if this keeps up, I’m going to have to force her.

      I did manage to pet the mama cat, so if she relaxes, maybe I can catch her and have her spayed. And I’d like to get hold of the kittens and tame them down so I can take them somewhere.

    6. the golddigger*

      Read the book “Love Saved the Day” by Gwen Cooper. I stayed up 90 minutes past my bedtime on Thursday because I had to know if the cat lived. It’s a story told from a rescue cat’s POV. Not cheesy at all. Hilarious and sad at the same time.

  9. Stephanie*

    Update! Pittsburgh housing figured out…kind of? Found a place that worked in Squirrel Hill and my roommate and I applied. The application process has just been a nightmare. Still waiting to get the final ok.

    1. Christopher Tracy*

      Good luck! Hope you guys get it – apartment hunting is one of my nightmares.

  10. Ruth (UK)*

    Hey, what are people’s views on etiquette when it comes to playing music living in a flat block (apparently an appartment in american english).

    I play the violin – it’s not electric or anything, just a normal acoustic violin, and I’m predominantly playing folk (mostly morris) tunes. I practice sporadically. Sometimes I’ll practice 3 or 4 times in 1 week, sometimes I’ll play once a week for a month, sometimes I won’t touch it for several weeks. When I play, it’s usually for 30mins or so, sometimes more (maybe up to an hour). I often play in the evening and am not sure how late is acceptable. I have played a few times after 9pm (but not after 10pm), but mostly more like between 7pm-9pm.

    I think my flat block is reasonably good for sound-proof-ness. I rarely to never hear noises from my neighbours.

    Oddly, the only complaint I’ve ever received for noise came at about 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. I was hosting a tea-party-and-bring-your-instruments thing and we had 1 squeezebox, 2 fiddles and an irish whistle (plus singing) but no electrical/plug in stuff, and no base/percussion. The person living below me complained we’d been going on ‘for hours’ (it had been 2 hours from about 3pm) and she had a headache. Since this happened I’ve been a bit more worried about my noise levels.

    How acceptable do you think my evening practice is, or should I cease? Or continue unless I gues another complaint?

    (practising earlier isn’t an option – I’m not home earlier. Between working full time, being in 3 [and a half] folk dance groups (plus another unrelated dance group), a historical re-enactment group and involved in 2 local volunteer projects, I’m almost never home before 8pm, and almost never home on the weekends at all… If I practise at all, it’ll be the evening.)

    1. Claire (Scotland)*

      As someone who lives in a flat, I think before 9PM is OK (if it’s just you – I can sympathise with your neighbour about the Sunday afternoon group event, 2 hours of that with no warning would probably piss me off too, I’m afraid). After that I’d get a bit hacked off if it happened more than very infrequently, assuming I could actually hear it. It might be worth asking the flats closest to you if they can hear you playing when it’s just you? That’s what my friend who plays guitar did, and only one neighbour could hear her and they didn’t mind as they practised piano themselves.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        It was a Saturday 3pm and it’s the only time I’ve ever had people over to play music (I’ve lived here a year) so it’s not frequent. It was a very spontaneous gathering (not a planned event) and I genuinely would not have guessed it would be heard in the flat below mine (I actually have never heard my neighbours so I figured they couldn’t easily hear me until then).

        Also, I feel it’s notable this flat is literally in the city centre (ie. it’s not an otherwise quiet area anyway). To make it slightly more awkward, I’ve never met (or seen) my neighbours so it’s sort of difficult to ask them :/

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          It’s worth noting that even in a loud area, people want their homes to be quiet. Noise outside is very different from noise inside. I lived in Manhattan, yet I still expected my neighbors to be quiet. People shouting on the street is tolerable, people shouting underneath me isn’t. So being in a city environment doesn’t mean your neighbors should simply deal with noise that makes them uncomfortable.

          I think before 9pm is ok, but the earlier you can do it, the better.

      2. snuck*

        I think I’d be frustrated by frequent practice sessions… especially if they were regularly after 830 at night and went past 9.

        I know this isn’t popular, and that different people will have different view points… but when I lived in apartments I worked long hours and needed to come home and decompress, and part of that was to a large extent not having my neighbours infringe on my space, including with regular noise. Yes, I’m the person that would ring building security and report the doof doof music (I like doof doof, just not when it reverbs through the concrete floor plates when I’m trying to rest).

        That said… I made a point of paying higher rent, to live in high end apartment buildings, where 24hr security, noise policies, quality privacy and quiet layout designs etc were in place to handle these things. If someone had regularly started practicing music I think a number of people would have complained. And now that I have small and noise sensitive kids I’d be actively fighting regular late evening noise.

        I guess it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Is there a chance you can practice somewhere else? (I used to walk through the city at night and over several years a man taught himself violin in the deserted street malls next to the main trainstation, not busking, just practicing.) The fact that you have all those other hobbies doesn’t mean that you can keep everyone else up because that’s when you get home… if your violin is a hobby and your neighbours are annoyed then you’ll need to work out what the priorities are. We can’t guess if your neighbours are annoyed, ask them! Stop in and ask about whether you are bothering them, whether there is a better time for you to be playing….? (I had a housemate who played cello once and when she practiced a neighbour used to play counter parts – it was beautiful, and I play piano, and try to be conscious of when… it’s a matter of when, and what your neighbours think. )

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          + 1,000 to your whole comment, especially the reverb thing. I’ve had to report the person who lives above me several times not just to building management, but to the police as well for noise. He or she was blasting their godawful house music at all hours of the day and night for days on end, and the sound was vibrating down into my apartment and making my floor shake. I can’t imagine their neighbors didn’t hear that shit and complain, especially since I went up to the floor to knock and the sound was deafening (and no, he or she couldn’t hear me when I repeatedly knocked on the door, hence the first call to the police).

          Yes, we live in a city and we live downtown, but that still doesn’t mean that we should be contributing to the city noise. This is my home, and I want my home to be quiet after a long day at work.

    2. DoDah*

      I’m pretty sensitive to noise–so you are probably not going to like my answer. I have to get up at 3AM for work–so an upstairs neighbor playing an instrument would be a problem for me. My upstairs neighbor likes to vacuum at 9 PM at Sunday nights–and I’ve had to knock on her door. She always apologizes –and eventually forgets–and so it goes.

      Do you have enough of a relationship with your neighbors to ask them–not for permission–but to agree on an acceptable “noise limit”?

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        unfortunately I’ve never met (or even seen) my neighbours apart from that one person who came that one time (who lives below me apparently)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Might be a good idea to get acquainted.
          If you’re going to have people over, you can always pop down and mention it, but that’s easier if you’ve already introduced yourself.

        2. Gaia*

          I don’t know my neighbors either, but I have a large dog who barks loudly during storms.

          Just before storm season I armed myself with a plate of cookies and went to each apartment that surrounded me. I knocked on the door, introduced myself, explained why I was there (large, scared dog who barks at storms), and asked that they let me know if there was an issue.

          It was weird, but it was effective and it got the point across that I cared enough about their ability to enjoy their home to make an effort.

      2. Nella*

        I understand the need for sleep thing, but I think you need to invest in some earplugs. Vacuuming at 9pm is not that late, and it is a pretty normal thing to do esp on a Sunday to get ready for the workweek ahead. I have the worst time falling asleep with noise and I do work nights at times. I found that headphones with music playing kept me asleep the best when there was outside noise.

        1. Alix*

          I don’t know. I think doing anything noisy after 9 pm is unreasonable, unless you live in a very soundproofed area, or everyone in your building sleeps during the day. An awful lot of people need to get up early in the morning – most people I know get up at 5 or 6, at the latest, and to get 8 hours of sleep they need to be sleeping by 9 or 10. I think it’s entirely reasonable to expect to be able to sleep, you know, at night, and to be able to get a full night’s rest.

          I think if your own schedule is out of sync with the majority of the building/your neighborhood, it’s up to you to accommodate them, not the other way around. (And I say that as the kind of night owl who literally can’t sleep at night unless actually sick.) So if everyone in your place is up at 9pm, you vacuuming is fine, but if most people are trying to sleep, the answer isn’t for them to get earplugs, it’s for you to be considerate and vacuum a little earlier.

    3. bassclefchick*

      Well, to be fair, ANY music when you have a headache (she may actually have had a migraine but was trying not to be too cranky about it) is too loud.

      I think you should be fine as long as you don’t practice for very long after 9pm. As someone who HAS to be in bed by 9pm to get up by 5am and not be in bitch eating crackers mode from the moment I wake up, I appreciate not playing after 1opm!

      But, I’ll take violin music over the rap and hip-hop my neighbors crank through their stereos any time!

    4. Caledonia*

      It’s a shame you’re not home earlier but anyway, you’re not so there’s nothing you can do/I can suggest. Is your block of flats, like mine (couples, students) or more family orientated? TBH, I don’t think I’d have an issue with your practice, I quite like people playing musical instruments :) there used to be someone down the street who played something like the sax and I used to pause to hear it if their window was open. Obviously, after 10pm is the cut off for antisocial behaviour and noise but you say you don’t do it after then…I think you’re fine :)

    5. Cristina in England*

      I think it is kind of a “know your neighbours” situation, to transfer some AAM advice to this. Since my kids are in bed by 7, I wouldn’t want anything loud enough to wake them coming through the walls (and through the white noise I play since we are already on a main road). I kind of think after 9 is a bit late even without little ones, but would absolutely love to hear some live music practicing on a Sunday at 5! In flats it can be hard to know what your neighbours are like, so if you can’t knock on their door to ask directly, maybe leave a note through the door with your email address? If I knew who was making noise and I knew that they were even a little conscientious about disturbing their neighbours then it wouldn’t bother me as much because I wouldn’t be worrying about how long it would go on. And that last part is KEY to how I deal with neighbour noise.

    6. Cath in Canada*

      Could you use a mute? (A rubber thingy that sits over the bridge and muffles the sound, for the uninitiated!) I seem to remember that they’re really cheap, from when I played viola for a while in high school. My parents bought the mute for me, lol!

      In general, my level of annoyance depends on how good the person is as well as how loud they are and what time it is. When I lived in Glasgow, someone a few doors down started to learn the bagpipes, and it was painful at first. Once they started to get good, it was fine as long as it didn’t go past 9 or 10 pm. And don’t get me started on the stoner guys who used to live below us in our old apartment in Vancouver who liked to play the bongos for hours on end on Sunday mornings… These days I occasionally still play my classical guitar, and although I’m not anywhere near as good as I used to be, at least it’s a relatively quiet instrument!

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        I already use a mute :) I don’t think it makes a huge amount of difference tbh.

        I’m not sure how good I am. I mean, I play for morris dancers and they’re happy for me to play for them when they’re performing in public so I’m not scratching out twinkle twinkle, but I know a huge number of people who player better than me… And I guess it depends if people like folk tunes :D

        1. OfficePrincess*

          When it comes to overheating musical practices, there are three main levels: a painful collection of squeaks, scratches, and sqwaks; recognizable as music; and omg amazing. As long as you hit at least level 2 you’re good.

          1. Ruth (UK)*

            omg you’ve just reminded me of a super awkward situation… I was once round the house of a … non-close friend. And they had a piano accordion which I noticed and I was like ‘oh cool, do you play?’ and they said ‘yeah, would you like to hear?’ and then put it on and… they couldn’t play at ALL. They would play one note, pause, play another random note, hit a few notes, pull it in and out a bit, pause… there was no possible way to know what they were trying to play and they kept asking if I recognised the tune and I kept being like “I.. don’t think I know this one” (and they went on for AGES!). At least you can’t make too many painful sounds with accordions, like you can with some instruments…

          1. Ruth (UK)*

            Yes, I actually possibly do more morris than is healthy. I dance several styles (Cotswold, of course, along with Northwest and Welsh Border. I’ve uh.. dabbled in rapper sword. I’ve never done Molly or broom dancing, but I occasionally do stepping). I dance for 3 sides, and play for one (hence I say I’m in 3 and a half groups…). May Day is a fantastic day to see Morris dancers. It’s… well, the biggest day on the Morris calendar really. I think a lot of people get quite excited about it.

            Did you see them in the daytime, or during a morning routine? (it’s traditional to dance at a high point at sunrise on mayday). Do you happen to know which sides you saw? Maybe Greenwich Morris Men? Or Blackheath? (People normally dance locally on mayday.)

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I have no idea–it was during the day, and I was actually faffing about on the deck of the ship when I heard the music. They danced round the corner and past the ship and then on into the park, I presume. The person at the front of the line was dressed as a tree. :)

              I got video but I don’t think I posted it on YouTube.

    7. salad fingers*

      I’ve lived in apartments for a long time now (usually three flats, and I’ve been on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors). I lived next to a band in my first apartment and they practiced until pretty late at night – never bothered 18 year old me, but I know things would be different if I were a mom or had to be up earlier for work. I can literally hear the people I live above now cough, sneeze, laugh etc. They occasionally play music, sometimes in the evening, and it doesn’t bother me.

      The only thing I’ve been bothered by is yelling/screaming, mostly because it’s really concerning and also just, in the case of personal fights, TMI to hear. The most concerned I’ve been was hearing the garden unit neighbor screaming (like in agony, and for 10 minutes straight?) from my current 3rd floor apartment at like 4am. I knew that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and struggled with depression, so I put on some slippers and headed downstairs to make sure he was okay.

      Not sure if it matters but I am in the US (aren’t we known for being a little loud culturally? Maybe we’re more lax about noise stuff?) and a big city (where everything is loud pretty much all of the time, it’s something you signed up for.)

    8. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I used to play the violin, I loved it! When I lived in an apartment, I would so much have rather heard a violinist than some of the heavy bass music my neighbors liked to play.

      I think stopping by 9pm is reasonable. And yeah, your downstairs neighbor was probably feeling cranky because of their headache (I know when I have headaches, every noise just feels amplified) and you were a good neighbor to accommodate their request. If you can’t generally hear your neighbors, it’s probably safe to assume that they can’t hear you either.

      Maybe you can ask some of your nearby neighbors whether they can hear you and if they are ok with it? I’d think they would speak up if it bothered them, but they might not.

    9. LawCat*

      I’d talk about it with your immediate neighbors. I haven’t had a neighbor who plays an instrument, but I’ve had neighbors who have had parties and one who “wanted to watch Star Wars really loud” :-D and I most appreciated when they brought it up with me. I will bring up any IKEA furniture assembly with them. Then we all know what’s going on, how long its been going on, and can address anything about it with each other.

    10. Nicole*

      I think before 9 pm is acceptable just based on the fact that I happen to go to bed that early on work nights.

      I’m very sensitive to noise, but even I wouldn’t have complained to you about a single incident on a Saturday afternoon lasting two hours. Had this started happening every Saturday for hours then maybe I’d say something, but I think your neighbor jumped the gun on that one.

      1. KR*

        Yeah. Especially since it was a Saturday – not everyone has a m-f week but Saturday is kind of the socially acceptable time to do things later in the day and had fun

      2. Lily Evans*

        I don’t think the neighbor “jumped the gun” since they waited two hours to see if it would wrap up before complaining. Two hours is a pretty long time to be stuck listening to music when you have a headache, regardless of the time or day.

    11. Oh Fed*

      Not living in a flat but in a neighborhood with very closely spaced houses, when my children were babies to preschool age our neighbors daughter practiced her violin in the evenings and we would open the windows to hear the lovely sounds. We still call it the Music House.
      Like others have suggested, I would ask your nearest neighbors if it is bothersome.

    12. Mando Diao*

      You can’t coast on not knowing your neighbors. Knock on their doors and ask them. I’m a musician (I play violin, even), so I’ll plainly state something I’ve come to recognize as a truth: if you intend to play music fairly often, you need to accept that you might need to pay for rehearsal space. Either that or find an affordable electric violin that can be hooked up to headphones.

    13. Musicista*

      I’d also recommend asking your neighbours and talking it over together: that way, you could explain to them when you’re likely to be playing so that they know what to expect.
      I’m a viola player, and when I was at music college I shared a terraced house with 4 other music students. Our rule for practicing at home was between 9am and 9pm, although on Sunday mornings we would often use practice rooms at the university to avoid disturbing people. Even though we were not far off professional standard, 5 musicians all doing hours of scales, studies and exercises day after day really can’t have been pleasant to listen to!
      A few years ago I lived in a flat where one of my neighbours asked me not to practice between 1pm and 4pm, because she wanted to eat her lunch in peace and be able to take a nap: it was no problem for me, but if we hadn’t discussed it I would definitely have played during that time.
      When I moved into my current house, in a very quiet area, my neighbours said that they were happy to have a musician living here, although I hope they haven’t changed their minds: last month I was preparing for an instrument-making class for children and was testing out what the YouTube video calls a “sax balloon”… for me and the kids, the most appropriate name to describe the sound of the instrument was the “mega-fartmaker”!

    14. Ultraviolet*

      It can depend on the building, but honestly I think four instruments and one or more singers is almost certainly over the line for an apartment building. If I were your downstairs neighbor, I’d have been really annoyed too. Not sure whether I’d have complained the first time it happened, or if it only happened once or twice a year, but I think it would have been fair to. I know that incident isn’t what you asked about, but it makes me think you should consider the possibility that your expectations about apartment noise are far from the norm. (Or maybe mine are, or maybe it’s very location-dependent.)

      As far as your solo fiddle practice goes, I don’t think you’ll be able to figure out whether you’re annoying your neighbors without contacting them. If you’re uncomfortable meeting them face-to-face, you could leave them a note on their door. This could have a good outcome for you–if they’re truly not hearing your fiddle, you could practice much later.

    15. matcha123*

      Unlike a few other people, I wouldn’t mind the music. Maybe it’s because I used to play a string instrument. A few years ago I had a neighbor who would play the acoustic guitar on his balcony. He would often ask if it bothered me, but I enjoyed listening to him play when I came home from work or on the weekends.
      Another person in the neighborhood practiced the trumpet (or had a kid that did) and I didn’t mind either.

      I’d love to live near you. Well, as long as it wasn’t screeching.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        My building has a rule that it should be quiet after 10.00pm every night until 8.00am the following morning, but we do sometimes have noisy parties on Saturdays and there has been some building work in one of the apartments and so the drilling tends to start at 8.01!

    16. Ann*

      For your evening practices I’d do deliberate practice and work on low sound stuff – fingering, timing, bow direction, breathing etc. If you don’t have a teacher who taught you different ways to break down a piece and practice there are books on it now by neuroscientists and musicians that might be interesting

    17. Ruth (UK)*

      Ok, I’ve made a note to post on my letter box (all the letter boxes are in the same location and there are around 20 flats in this building. Sometimes people post notes on their letter boxes eg ‘i’ve found someone’s keys’ etc). This is because it feels too forward to knock on doors of people I’ve never seen or met.

      (Also, in retrospect I think I play less than I made it sound like in my first post. I probs only play for 15-20 mins in any one session and it’s unlikely to be more than once in a week (I often wish / intend to play more..). Maybe twice. The Sat afternoon incident (about a year ago now) that resulted in the complaint is truly the only time I’ve ever had friends over where they’ve made any noise or ever had more than my one instrument in use. Before that happened, I did genuinely believe it would not be easily heard due [in part] to the fact that there’s a baby in the next flat who I can hear crying when their front door is open, but not otherwise, leading me to believe that the walls were pretty soundproof. Anyway we did immediately stop when asked).

      Anyway I’ve written on my letterbox:

      “Can you hear my violin?
      I practice fiddle a few times a week and am not sure how much the noise can be heard in other flats. Please leave me a note in my letter box to let me know if you can hear / if it is loud / if there are times you’d prefer I not play. Ruth from [my flat number]”

      I also think that asking face to face would result in people telling me it’s fine EVEN if it wasn’t (because this is britain). So it wouldn’t really give me an answer. So I’m going for anon answers here. The people in flats beside me have boxes next to mine so they at least should see the note, and the flat below mine has the box below mine

      1. Ultraviolet*

        I really like the wording of your note. For what it’s worth, even though I definitely fall on the side of thinking apartment dwellers should be very quiet, I wouldn’t mind 20 minute practice sessions a couple times a week. If it’s that short, I can definitely deal with it, and would possibly even enjoy it.

    18. Jen*

      Ugh, I normally like hearing music practice, but i once shared a wall with someone that practiced piano from 7-9am on Saturdays and Sundays. The piano was up against the wall that my bed was up against. At the time, I was often exhausted and/or a little hungover on weekend mornings and this drove me CRAZY. I had to escalate to the landlord after asking nicely to move the practice time after 9am, and/or move the piano (I couldn’t move the bed). Neighbor was a doc who only had early AMs free, but seriously, my head is throbbing now just thinking about it!!

  11. Triangle Pose*

    We are planning a trip to Iceland and Copenhagen or Frankfurt in September/October. Any recommendations? We’re getting a great flight deal and planning on doing Airbnb. Any neighborhood or activities recommendations? We are both into streetfood, off the beaten path food, walking, museums, hiking and sightseeing. We are planning on doing blue lagoon in Reykjavik but don’t have much else planned. Thanks in advance!

    1. StudentPilot*

      How long are you in Iceland? It’s very easy to do day-trips out of Reykjavik – Golden Circle is good (geysers, waterfalls, and Thingvellir National Park), and I took one along the South Shore (from Reykjavik to Vik, stopping off at two waterfalls, and Skogafoss folk museum).

      Lots of great museums in Reykjavik – Reykjavik 871 +-2 is great, it was a long house discovered during an archaeological dig, and they turned it into a museum. On the weekends Kolaportid Flea Market is open, and it’s definitely worth a wander through.

      There’s also two places that show volcano documentaries – Volcano House, which is new and clean and nice, and Red Rock Cinema, which is very campy, 70s, and in some man’s garage (he’s converted it into a small theater. His father started filming volcanic eruptions, and he followed suit, and has edited the footage into a documentary)

      You should also check out I Heart Reykjavik’s website – she gives walking tours, and has lots and lots of info for visitors!

    2. Caledonia*

      No advice but if you want something to get you in the Icelandic mood, Trapped is a fantastic Nordic Noir tv series, if you can find it in the US.

    3. Dan*

      I’d do Copenhagen over Frankfurt, Frankfurt isn’t much of a tourist town. If you do want to stay in Germany, take the train to other parts. The ICE trains are quite comfortable.

      1. Triangle Pose*

        Yeah, I think we are going to settle on Copenhagen. My partner really wants to go there. I haven’t been anywhere in Germany, next time!

      1. Christine*

        Good cities in Germany to visit: Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Nuremberg, Dresden, Würzburg.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I have visited the Tivoli Gardens and the Rosenborg Palace. Also the Illum department store is worth a visit for danish design souvenirs.

      2. Triangle Pose*

        Thanks! Will take a look at your recs. The food tour sounds like something we would love!

  12. Ex Resume Reviewer*

    Update on auto repair estimates from last week:

    To recap, Shop A estimated $1500 in damage and Shop B came back with $2500 and some items that I thought were a bit off.

    This week I got estimates from Shop C and Shop D. Shop C came back with $1500 and Shop D with $1600. Both Shop C and D recommended an alignment for my car since I caught the wheel a bit with my damage. Shop D also suggested I request a replacement or cash value of the aftermarket rim, even though it was barely nicked, and even that I think is debatable since they were already a bit beat up. I bought the car with those rims and I… don’t care much. I’ll replace them someday.

    In the end, I’ve decided to go with Shop C. They’re a “smaller” shop but appear to be used by the local rental car outlets and came recommended from a coworker. Shop D couldn’t even get my car in until mid July and Shop A smells funny when you go in there. I don’t want a funny smelling car. Didn’t pick Shop B for obvious reasons and — an employee died there a few years back due to some serious OSHA violations. I wish I’d remembered that before even going in.

    Thank you everyone for your insight! Looking forward to getting my car fixed in a few weeks. :D

      1. Not So NewReader*

        On paper? That makes it tougher to click on the links for sure.
        I remember as a kid my school library changed over to Dewey. I don’t know what the system was before- alphabetical order? But it was a big deal setting up the Dewey system.

    1. fposte*

      Can you clarify? Are you looking for a Dewey chart to post? The ALA Store (at alastore dot ala dot org) has several. I presume you’re not just trying to print out the Wikipedia article that you’ve converted to a doc there.

  13. Anonymous Educator*

    Does anyone have recommendations for lesser-known pop/rock artists?

    Something along the lines of Jess Penner, Lily Holbrook, Minnutes, or Julandrew. I’m always on the lookout for new music to listen to that isn’t top 40 but also has a little bit of a hook or catchy riff (i.e., not ambient/trance).

    1. Cath in Canada*

      I don’t know those artists, but I recommend trying music podcasts. Search iTunes (or whichever podcast service you use) for the artist names you mentioned – the shows that play them probably also play other music that you’ll like. New free music every week! I’ve found tons of new favourite bands this way.

    2. LawCat*

      I love Mika. He had a hit in the US several years ago, but now I never really hear anything on the radio. (He looks bigger in Europe.) Super catchy and fun pop.

      1. super anon*

        Mika is my favourite artist!! I saw him live in Seoul 3 years ago when I lived there and it was the best night of my life. I cried like 5 times – I’m pretty sure the Koreans beside me thought I was insane. I met him after and he signed my CD – he was so nice!

        I never see anyone recommend him or even remember that he exists, he really did fade away here after Grace Kelly in 2007. He’s still really popular in Montreal, he did a series of concerts with OSM that was released as an album that was fantastic.

        1. Musicista*

          Mika’s very well-known here in Italy, as he’s been a judge on the Italian version of X Factor. Hoping to go and see him live next month!

          1. super anon*

            Yes! I wish I lived in Europe – he plays concerts there all the time. He’s pretty popular in Asia too, I think it’s just in North America he faded away.

            You’re going to love him live! He’s seriously amazing and puts on an incredible show. His voice is just as good live as it is on his records, if not better.

    3. nep*

      I wouldn’t put her in a category at all — Are you familiar with Sophie Hunger? Worth checking her out.

    4. Mando Diao*

      Have you checked out Carly Rae Jepsen’s E*MO*TION album? It’s phenomenal pop music.

    5. GOG11*

      I don’t know those artists, but when I’m wanting new artists (or, more usually, wanting to know how to describe a band/artist to someone), I use this music map thing I found on StumbleUpon. You type in an artist and it creates a map of similar artists…and then you can click on an artist on the map and it creates another map and so on and so forth. Link to follow.

    6. super anon*

      Coeur de Pirate is a French-Canadian artist from Montreal and absolutely fantastic. Most of her music is in French but her latest album Roses is a mix of French and English songs (I highly recommend Carry On off that album), and she did an album of covers that is entirely in English.

      Jack’s Mannequin is one of my favourite bands. Everything in Transit is an amazing album, even though it is over 10 years old at this point. Dark Blue and Holiday from Real are highlights off that album. The lead singer went on to do even more pop stuff in a new band called Andrew McMahon into the Wilderness that is a lot more pop inspired than his other work.

      If you like R&B and Rap you might like Childish Gambino. I’m specifically thinking of the song Sober, it’s a full on r&b song with no rapping, but if you like it be warned that it’s entirely different from the rest of his catalogue. Gambino can be a divisive rapper tho, you either like him or you don’t.

      A bit of an oldie, but I always really liked Frankmusik, especially his early EPs before he was signed. His first album was really fun. The original version of 3 Little Words is really catchy and his newer song I Remember is fun. It’s pretty purely pop music too.

      Oh and MNEK! He has an amazing voice and has been doing a lot of writing behind the scenes before he started releasing his own stuff. I knew of him circa ’08/’09 before he was signed and he’s just gotten better since then. Some of his new stuff might be a bit too EDM for you, but give it a try anyway. Every Little Word is super funky and different from a lot of pop music out there, very 90s inspired.

      If you like Canadian artists that are constantly played on our top 40 stations because of CRTC rules that say we have to play a certain amount of Canadian content. You might like Marianas Trench – they’ve gotten more pop over the years. Hedley has a certain charm to them too. Aleissa Cara has a track out here now called Wild Things that’s not bad either.

      I’m sure I have more, but I feel like I suggested too many things! I really like pop music, especially stuff outside of the main stream top 40. If I think of more I’ll come back and add to this comment. :D

    7. LadyTL*

      I recommend Miracle of Sound. You can check out his stuff on youtube or soundcloud without paying for it first and he covers a huge variety of genres.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I recently discovered a UK band called Coast. They’re sort of rock/folk and their leader Paul Eastham also does solo piano work that I love. I also really really really like James Vincent McMorrow. VERY folk–with some of the most gorgeous songs I’ve ever heard.

      I never thought I’d like this stuff because Coast can be uncomfortably close to country at times, which I hate, but both are very good.

    9. Anonymous Educator*

      Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I’ve got a lot of listening to do!

  14. Rebecca in Dallas*

    I’ve posted a few questions about pet-related stuff in the weekend threads, so I thought I’d give an update.

    One post had to do with dog training and some leash-aggression in response to seeing other dogs. My dog and I are taking a class called “Reactive Integration” with a trainer who specializes in reactive dogs. We will probably always have to avoid other dogs to an extent but we are learning some tools to get her to pay attention to us rather than her trigger. After the first few classes, I didn’t feel like I was seeing a difference, but then last week it was like everything clicked for her! Plus the trainer recommended a certain type of harness and leash and it’s made a huge difference with how much control I feel like I have. We still have work to do, but I felt comfortable enough to take her for a very early morning run yesterday. Yay!

    We were having some issues switching one cat to wet food. After almost 2 months of trying to slowly transition, using probiotics and trying different wet foods we ended up going back to dry food. Since then, we have had no more scooting issues or loose stools. He’s always been good about drinking water, so I’m not too worried. I’ll still bring it up with his vet and make sure they’re ok with him still eating dry food at 9 years old. His last checkup went great, the vet even commented that she wouldn’t have guessed he was 9. So for now we are back to where we were!

    1. Sibley*

      For the cat – yeah, wet food might be great, but if the cat doesn’t like it or it doesn’t agree with them, you’re outta luck. I wouldn’t sweat it much. You could try moistening the dry food a little, some cats like that (or not), though it tends to be messy in the bowl.

      Good luck with training. I know nothing about dogs, but it sounds like you’re doing good.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        He really liked one of the wet foods, I hated to stop giving it to him but his poor tummy just didn’t ever get used to it, even with adding probiotics. And when we tried another “easy digestion” formula, he wouldn’t touch it at first and then when he did, he threw it up. :(

        Meanwhile the 12-year-old cat has had no problems switching foods! So that’s good.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        One of our cats just won’t eat wet food; the other wolfs it down.

        Kitties are very personal about food choices! (Just like humans).

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I gave my cats only dry food for years, and then my vet said to start giving wet food to my older cat. She’s not thrilled about it, but she eats it okay. I also started giving wet food to the younger cat, and she looooves it. Like, she wakes me up early in the morning and yowls all the way to her food bowl, and when I give her the wet food she makes several loud meow-chirps as she gobbles down the wet food. If I’d known wet food was her life’s dream, I would have started her on it much sooner!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Psycho Kitty gets dry food in the morning and then wet and some dry at night. She LOVES the wet. It’s easier to feed her that way when the pet sitter comes, because she’s afraid of people but will come if she knows a can of Fancy Feast is on the menu.

            1. Connie-Lynne*

              We have completely taken advantage of this — Miz Kibble-Only is also the one who pushes the other kitty away from his own food dish and is a little overweight.

              We give them both kibble in the morning and at night, but Mr Loves Wet Fud also gets a half-can of wet for dinner. We put it into two bowls so that if Miz is really hungry she can eat it, and occasionally she does, but mostly it means Mr gets a private food session.

              This also lets us make sure that Miz continues to recognize wet food as actual food, in case she ever has to switch away from kibble (like if she has sudden weight loss or tooth problems or something).

        2. Vulcan social worker*

          Mine might eat dry food if she were starving to death. Might.

          Different cans make different popping sounds and she knows the difference. If it’s not the kind she wants that night, she’s slow coming over. And it varies! She knows what she wants. Sometimes she’s eager for one brand and sometimes another, even though there are multiple flavors in the different brands.

    2. Kitties!*

      This really gives me hope because my otherwise perfectly sweet boxer/pit mix has such extreme aggression with other dogs that we’re enrolling her soon into the same sort of class soon :/

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Don’t lose hope! The trainer told us that our dog will probably never be best friends with another dog, but her reactivity is manageable. Our neighborhood is *so* dog friendly, which is fantastic, but it’s really hard for us to be able to walk her because there are other people out with their dogs at almost any time of day. We have gotten to where we walk or run her super early in the morning, before the sun is up. The class has also helped me feel a hundred times more confident, which is a big factor. Plus it has improved the bond between us.

      2. Kitties!*

        Thanks! If you don’t mind me asking, what does it generally entail for you? And how did it begin? I’ve seen a variety of styles (all recommended by my amazing local rescue community). Some require a muzzle, which makes me squeamish but also my girl is on the pretty extreme end of the aggression. She cannot be anywhere near another dog — as in, if she sees one of any size she will immediately whine, bark her head off and do everything she can to get off her harness and full on attack them. She has even snapped at other dogs when we were hiking a narrow path and couldn’t get any farther away :/ Our building and whole neighborhood is very dog friendly and we share a wall with an animal hospital, so it’s impossible to ignore. Fortunately there are at least two other people in my building with big (75+ pounds) dogs with similar issues (all abuse cases) and we all generally help each other out, but we clearly need some professional help with her. How do you even go into a class on the first day with other dogs around? What do they generally have you do?

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          So I asked around for dog trainer recommendations and several people recommended a place near me that does all kinds of dog training: basic obedience, puppy training, agility, etc. I called there and talked to the owner and told her what our issues were and she recommended this class. It’s led by a trainer who is an expert in reactive dogs, either fearful or aggressive. The class is limited to 6 dogs and we are each put behind a barrier where the dogs can’t see each other. We stagger our arrivals so that the dogs don’t accidentally encounter each other coming in and there is usually an employee at the front door to make sure to let us know if we need to wait outside for a minute. I actually usually have to drive by a few times before I can pull into the parking lot, if another dog is arriving and my dog sees it, she will whine and growl at them. Our first class was humans-only so that the instructor could go over this kind of stuff with us. We’ll work on stuff behind our barrier and then she’ll have us come out one at a time to show her.

          The first few classes, we worked on some really basic things and had lots of homework. One of the first things the instructor wanted us to work on with our dogs was “relax on a mat.” Search for that on YouTube, there are tons of videos on it that can explain it better than I can. We bring our mat with us to class and have it behind our barrier, so our dog can feel safe there. We also worked on hand-targeting and targeting with an object (you can use a wooden spoon or something like that). All that stuff felt so basic and my dog got those right away and I didn’t understand what it had to do with other dogs until last week when we finally got into a little more of it. You’re teaching your dog these things so that you can distract them with those if they see a trigger. We also started with an “emergency u-turn” phrase. So if I’m walking with my dog and I see another dog coming towards us, I can say our “emergency u-turn” phrase and turn around and she should follow me.

          Last week the trainer brought out a life-sized stuffed dog. My dog has the largest threshold (meaning she gets very stressed if the dog is anywhere in her field of vision, it doesn’t even have to be that close), so the trainer would stand across the room and bring the pretend dog out while I fed my dog treats. Once the pretend dog went away, the treats stopped. And repeat until every time the pretend dog came out, my dog looked at me for treats, not at the pretend dog.

          We still have 3 more weeks of class, then we might take the second level of this class series. This instructor is fabulous! A huge part of it has been building my confidence as well. Our dogs can pick up on our stress and anxiety and I just know that every time I saw another dog on the horizon, I was immediately tightening the leash and basically letting our dog know that there was a reason to be scared. So I was not helping the situation! But now I feel much more confident, plus switching from a regular collar and lead to a freedom harness gives me much more control.

          1. Kittens*

            Amazing! Don’t know if anyone reads these on Mondays (I work insane hours Saturdays/Sundays, so I often don’t read answers until then), but I appreciate the write-up! I read it to my fiance when I got home last night – I think we realized it’s finally time to do some research and get on this :)

            1. Rebecca in Dallas*

              Sure thing! Sorry about the wall of text, but I feel like it has been so helpful! Yesterday at class we took it another step further. This time, I waited until my dog turned away from the trigger to give her the treats and backed away as I did it. She did really good! When dogs bark, growl, lunge, etc, they’re telling the other dog, “Go away! I don’t want you here!” What we’re teaching them is that instead, they can be the one to go away.

              Now that I know this will work with a fake dog, I just need to find someone with a very calm dog that will let me try it out. LOL I don’t think anyone is going to be lining up to help me with that!

    3. GOG11*

      My one cat didn’t like wet food until we tried the one he’s currently eating and he won’t eat it if it’s cold so I heat it up very briefly in the microwave (like 10 seconds, then I stir it and make sure it’s not too hot). Maybe you could try heating it up a bit?

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        The problem we were having was that wet food was giving him loose stools and making him “scoot” on the carpet. He ate it like a champ, it just never agreed with his stomach, even after adding some probiotics to the food.

        1. GOG11*

          Oh! Okay. I misread it and thought that’s why you were going to wet food. Sorry about that!

          1. Rebecca in Dallas*

            Oh no worries! I can imagine heating it up would help if a cat didn’t like the cold food. Probably really brings out the aroma, too!

    4. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      Cats: My cat is 9 and we have not been told anything about needing her to eat only wet food. She gets a spoonful of wet food every night but that’s it. Also – what types of wet food have you tried? Our senior is really picky about her wet food and will not touch pate. She will only eat shreds and chunks and even then it has to be chicken or salmon only. She also really does not like the fancy stuff so we stick with the cheap ol’ friskies. Our Tom will eat any wetfood.

      Cats are funny. Our senior needs wet food but is really picky about it. Out tom needs vitamin treats due to having herpes but is really picky and will only eat temptations chicken flavored treats whereas our senior will eat any treat we drop on the floor. ^_^

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        We’ve tried a Purina one and Royal Canin, both of which were chunks in gravy. We also tried one of the less expensive brands (can’t for the life of me remember) that was a pate. He loved the Purina one and that’s the one that we tried mixing in some probiotic to help with his tummy. The Royal Canin (which was supposed to be an “easy digestion” formula) and the pate both made him barf. The Royal Canin didn’t appeal to him that much, it took a couple of tries for him to even eat it before he barfed it up.

    5. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      I lived with a leash aggressive dog once. When I took them for walks I would stop when they got aggressive and say in a calm voice “It’s OK”, “Your fine”, etc. I would wait there until the aggressive dog relaxed. After a few weeks of this he was better about other dogs but still a problem. It got to the point where he would only growl and we could walk past other dogs with me comforting him.

    6. cat nution*

      Sure sounds like perhaps some additives that are common to a lot of wet foods did not agree with your kitty. Our male cat was similar and pretty much the only canned food he could eat was Nature’s Variety Instinct. We’ve since transitioned him to raw, which has done wonders for improving his health. Even so, he still has minor dehydration issues, so no dry for him.

      For your guy, try making homemade broth with no salt or seasonings to tempt him with extra liquid. Someone mentioned wetting dry food. I would only do that for food he will eat within 20 minutes or so, as bacteria can develop on dry food that has gotten wet and sits for too long. You can also buy goats milk for cats and dogs, which is easy on the tummy and most cats really enjoy- a good way to get extra hydration.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        He’s actually pretty good about drinking his water, he has his own water dish (long story, but he and the other cat live in separate rooms) and I refill it with fresh water every day and he’s usually drank a good amount of it. The probiotic is a powder and the instructions say you can just mix it with water to make kind of a gravy. I might do that for him as a treat every once in a while!

  15. bassclefchick*

    Here’s a question for the British and/or Anglophile readers. Went to Door County a few weeks ago and they have an AMAZING British themed store. We stocked up on all sorts of yummy treats! I’ve heard so much about clotted cream and I wanted to try it, so I bought a jar. When I first opened the jar, it was great. Loved it on my crumpet with a bit of jelly. The jar said “refrigerate after opening”, so I did.

    Was it SUPPOSED to turn into a hard, crumbly mess?! I did finally figure out that if I let it sit on the counter for a bit and come back to room temperature that the consistency was better, but it still seemed a bit strange.

    Just call me another crazy American. Give me cheese in any form (yes, fresh cheese curds are SUPPOSED to squeak, and they aren’t fresh if they don’t) and I’m a happy girl. Clotted cream, however, confused me. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Cristina in England*

      It has been awhile since I have had clotted cream but that doesn’t sound right. For one thing, I only ever see it in the refrigerated section, never on the shelf with a “refrigerate after opening” on it, and I would describe it as smooth and creamy in texture.

        1. bassclefchick*

          I don’t mind! Yes, it was clotted cream. It was Devonshire and the label was green. Of course, I didn’t check the expiration date on it.

          1. bassclefchick*

            Saw a picture of the jar online. It’s from The Devon Cream Company and it’s called English Luxury Clotted Cream.

    2. Mander*

      It’s usually a bit crunchy on top but creamy underneath. I’ve never had it in a jar, though. Maybe the process of preserving it makes it more homogeneous so that the fats harden?

    3. misspiggy*

      We used to go on holidays to a Devon dairy farm, and the clotted cream they served up straight from the cows was hard, crusty and crumbly on top, and the bottom half was thick and smooth, but almost solid. The clotted cream you can buy in supermarkets is depressingly smooth and boring. Sounds like you might have got a jar of only the top layer of the best quality stuff! The taste would be the key – it should be rich but not at all cheesy. And I wouldn’t keep it for all that long or it won’t be as delicious – no more than a day or two after it’s opened.

      1. bassclefchick*

        Made in Britain! It’s in Egg Harbor. There’s a cluster of shops on Higway 42. We loved it. They also had lots of Yardley products and other neat stuff, not just food.

    4. SophieChotek*

      What was the name of the store in Door County? Where in Door County–Sister Bay, Ephraim, Fish Creek, etc.? I’ll probably be going there in August and it sounds like a place I want to visit.

    5. Merry and Bright*

      I wonder if the clotted cream was made with long-life milk? I haven’t had clotted cream made with this. But in supermarkets you can buy long-life milk in cartons which don’t need refrigerating until you open them up. I know my mum usually keeps a supply in her store cupboard, especially in the winter in case she can’t get to the shops. It does make nice creamy porridge and coffee.

  16. bassclefchick*

    One more topic! Can we talk about infusion pitchers? I have one, and I want to use it more but I don’t know any good recipes. I need to drink more water, but I really struggle with it. I HAVE started cold brewing coffee in it so I can have iced coffee, but I really need to cut out all that caffeine.

    Does anyone else use an infusion pitcher and what’s your go to beverage? Much as I’ve tried, I just don’t like iced tea.

    Will post a link to a photo, too.

    1. bassclefchick*

      Oops, I have to leave to catch the bus. It’s a Prodyne Fruit Infusion pitcher.

      1. Nina*

        I like that combination as well, although I’ll omit the lime sometimes because it can get too tart and I prefer my drinks to be sweeter. Pineapple can add sweetness.

        One thing: some fruits can go a long way. The first time I tried infused water I added a bunch of orange slices, lime slices, along with some cucumber, and the citrus flavors really overpowered everything else. Less is more. You can add things for taste, but you can’t take them away.

    2. Rebecca*

      I have a Sharpro infusion bottle, and I love it. So far, I’ve only used lemons and limes in it, and I haven’t had any soda since I bought it. I think I’ll make refrigerator iced tea in it for a change. I know there are a lot of fruit and veggie combinations to try. One of my workmates likes cucumbers and limes.

    3. Oh Fed*

      Strawberries and basil; oranges and rosemary; mangoes and blueberries are my most current favorites!

    4. bassclefchick*

      Thanks, everyone! All these suggestions sound great. Will start to try these once we finish the coffee I’m currently brewing.

    5. Jenny*

      When you say you struggle with drinking water, do you mean you never feel thirsty or that you prefer drinking other flavoured drinks instead? If it’s the flavour thing, I’ve been told that if you start with stronger infusions (like sweater fruits or honey etc) and gradually tone it down you will start to get accustomed to plain water after a while.

      1. bassclefchick*

        I prefer other flavored drinks. I’m doing pretty well at not drinking soda anymore, but just drinking a plain glass of water is hard for me. I’m getting better at it, but I know I need to drink more water.

        1. Cruciatus*

          This might not help you, but when I was trying to drink more water and stop drinking cans and cans of regular Pepsi, the only thing that made the water tolerable was to make it super cold in the fridge. Even though our water is fine, I bought a Brita pitcher so I always have cold water available. To drink water just from the tap is somehow “blech” to me. This could apply to the water infusions as well. These days a glass of super cold water usually hits the spot. I drink mostly water throughout the day (though I have juice in the morning and a diet pop in the afternoon–the rest of the day it’s water).

    6. Kyrielle*

      When you say you don’t like iced tea, what sort have you tried?

      I ask because I hated standard teas. If you’re trying Lipton or another black or green tea (the kind that taste sort of grassy to me), that’s different than trying some other flavors. There are floral and fruity herbal teas – a sampler of fruity flavors might also find you one you like.

      (I now drink almost-standard teas, I rather like the Constant Comment green and the jasmine greens. But I started exploring fruits and odd flavors. Tea Forte had a really nice chocolate flavor one too – I assume they still do but don’t know for sure.)

    7. Diluted_TortoiseShell*

      For longer infusions skip the rinds otherwise it will get bitter.

      Some of my favs:

      Lime or lemon no rind

      Strawberry basil

      Cucumber mint

      blueberry mint

      blueberry basil

    8. Alix*

      Blackberry and lemon! Really, any combo of berry + citrus is great. My mother’s preference is to go with whatever fruit’s in season – she gets stuff that’s slightly overripe (so usually sweeter) and uses that.

    9. moss*

      I have an infusion bottle for tea. I was experiencing some IBS symptoms and the internet recommended marshmallow root. Now every day I make an infusion for tomorrow (the marshmallow needs to sit for at least four hours.) My IBS symptoms have been reduced. So, I buy marshmallow root, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and dried ginger from the herb store near me. I put a large pinch of the marshmallow root into the infuser along with whatever spices I feel like and let that sit in the fridge until the next day. Like you I also don’t much like drinking plain water or most teas. What I end up with is a mildly sweet, mildly spicy (faintly cinnamon, usually) cold drink.

      The marshmallow won’t be filtered by the fruit infusion but I bought a tea bottle from aliexpress and use that. You could put a piece of cinnamon or ginger into your fruit infusion bottle. Ginger helps settle the stomach, I was getting a lot of aches and the ginger helped.

      Just my experience. :)

  17. Weight training*

    Does anyone here do weight training? I want to begin training, but I don’t know where to start. Hiring a personal trainer doesn’t fit in my budget right now.

    Second question: How do I get over my fear of going to the gym? I have social anxiety and the thought of working out in public makes me anxious. I worry that I won’t be using the machines correctly or I won’t last on the treadmill etc. I know this is a stupid thing to worry about, but I don’t know how to get over it.

    1. Rebecca in Dallas*

      I do strength training in a group setting, but I’ve heard great things about The New Rules of Lifting, there is also one specifically for women called The New Rules of Lifting for Women. Everyone I know who has used it says it’s great and they also had a lot more confidence in the gym because they feel like they know what they’re doing.

      Every gym I’ve ever gone to offers you a tour with a trainer who will show you how to use all of the machines. If they don’t tell you about it, ask! That’s their job, to make sure everyone can use the equipment safely. As far as thinking you won’t last as long as other people, I can assure you that nobody will be judging you or even pay that much attention!

    2. Be the Change*

      I’m one of those annoying crossfit groupies. Both gyms I have been to have been very supportive and kind, extremely welcoming of newbies, and developmentally rather than competitively oriented. If you can find a place like that, you’ll learn a huge amount.

      I don’t know what social anxiety entails so I can’t predict if a CF workout environment would be good for you. Small classes and everyone’s paying attention to their own activities and trying to do their own best not judging others. I’ve never felt like anyone was watching me and thinking “God, Be the Change is a total ploop.” However, CF *can* be very social, with lots of encouragement and camaraderie, so that might make you feel even more exposed. I don’t know.

      1. First Initial dot Last Name*

        +1 for CrossFit classes.

        I do have some social anxiety… and I have done a lot of weight training before going to CF. I’d go to a 24 hour gym so I could go in the middle of the night, (I’m a night person); I’ve also gone to women only sessions at various gyms to lesson the occurrences of mansplaining; I’ve trained at home on my own weights, and I have found that I prefer having a coach, such as in a CF class. The close attention from a coach helps with establishing good habits with your form. A lot of CF gyms have bootcamps, or a power lifting club at different price points than the regular class rates. You say you don’t have the budget for a personal trainer, if that’s true crossfit may be out of budget, it is expensive.

        Some of the things that got me over my fear of going to the gym are the simple understandings that 1) I will never ever in a million years be a tiny, lithe woman (I’m 5’8.5″), so I went for big and strong, like draft horse strong. 2) Everybody who wants to be draft horse strong has to move heavy things around. 3) Everybody else in the gym is doing their own thing, worried that someone is looking at them, in reality, everybody is looking at themselves. 4) Folks at the gym very likely respect you because you made it to the gym that day.

        If you have access to a free gym, I suggest pinching some pennies to utilize a trainer on occasion, or find a workout buddy to hold you accountable to your goals. Check out Jen Sinkler’s youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/jensinkler

        If you don’t have access to a gym, there are lots and lots of body weight movements you can do at home to get in the groove, eventually you’ll top out on what you can do at home, and you’ll have to suck it up and go to a gym.

      2. Coffee Ninja*

        I’ve done CrossFit off and on for four years and I also have social anxiety. CrossFit has done wonders for my self-confidence and anxiety, both social & in general. OP, I think it might be worth looking into – CrossFit has a really strong sense of community and most gyms are extremely positive atmospheres. Classes are small but not overly so, so you get a good amount of direct instruction but you can also blend into the crowd so to speak.

        Bigger gyms will have a Foundations class, where you & other newbies will do classes together for a few weeks to get the hang of everything, then join the general population. Other gyms will integrate you right away and the coaches will tell you how to scale the movements to your ability. (I *still* scale a lot of stuff!) Pretty much every gym will let you drop in for 1 class free so you can get a feel for their coaching style and the general atmosphere. I recommend doing this at a couple places to find one that feels right to you. The best part is it’s only one class, so you never have to see those people again if you don’t want to :)

        I’ve also found it to be a lot more cost effective than personal training. My gym is $125 a month and it includes unlimited classes and yoga 1x/month, plus some seminars (we recently had a gymnastics one, for example). Most places also have “punch cards,” where you buy a certain number of classes for $X and can use them whenever.

    3. Grumpy*

      My lazy arse follows a Jillian Michaels video on the iPad twice a week. Used to go to the gym but got annoyed by people offering unsolicited and often wrong advice. She can be hard on the knees though, be warned.

    4. Bentoro*

      My gym does free personal training session / program refresh every 6 weeks, so if yours does then that’s really good to take advantage of.

      It depends on your goals, mine is to get stronger and to increase fitness. So I do some intervals on a cardio machine then some kettlebells which are great for an all over workout. If someone could show you the ropes on those then I highly recommend that for a good start. At my gym not many people use them so I can just find a quiet corner and get on with my own thing.

      I was a bit anxious to start but I find having a plan before I go helps a lot with that and lets me focus on what I’m supposed to be doing and not worrying. I also listen to a podcast which I find works better than music to keep my brain occupied.

    5. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      I would look for a gym that has a pretty diverse clientele in terms of age, level of fitness, activities, etc. because your inexperience will stand out a lot less and it might lessen your anxiety. One of my favorite experiences was using the community center at a largish town– lots of age ranges, fitness levels, experience levels, etc. I used to joke that I liked it because there was always SOMEONE I could lap on the track. My current gym looks super hardcore at first glance, but it’s mostly used by personal trainers and their clients and there is a huge variety of levels of fitness and ages — some are competition level body builders and some are clearly just starting out with a regimen. You could also try looking for a group training session (around here they are know on as boot camp classes) — they are cheaper and usually you pay by the class. There are two I would join in an instant if I ever stopped individual sessions — one is a small group of sixtyish women who are really friendly that do boot camps with my trainer and another is a group of women of varying ages and fitness levels that work with an awesome woman trainer at my gym The number of women fluctuate but they are all working hard and she is attentive to everyone even with multiple clients. And if your prospective gym doesn’t have a free introduction, you could just ask if a trainer would work with you once or twice. Rebecca in Dallas is right, most people are concentrating on their own regimen, not on yours. Honestly, if I happen to notice someone’s short stint, I’m thinking “I used to only be able to do 15 minutes too, and look at me now.” It’s just a reminder that it takes work to get anywhere, and we all had to put it in.

      Also — YouTube. Good luck! I started strength training two years ago and I love it, it has been very satisfying.

    6. nep*

      What are your goals in starting weight training?
      I lift weights. I have gotten extremely valuable information, insights, and experience by taking clinics offered by weightlifting coaches. An expense — but you might be able to find one or two that are not too pricey.
      Smart of you not to dive into lifting weights without a bit of guidance — proper form is indispensable for progress but more importantly for preventing injury. Many gyms offer a free orientation with a trainer — does yours?
      I’ve been working out for a long time; I still prefer to work out alone — still uncomfortable in front of people, and I can’t really get into my desired mindset, if you will, when others are around. When I do anything in a crowded gym, it helps me to remember that most people are so wrapped up in themselves they’re generally not worried about what anyone else is doing.
      (Also remember that you don’t need a gym to start doing some quite effective bodyweight exercises.)
      Best of luck to you.

    7. nep*

      p.s. I have found that once I make myself move past my self-consciousness and do something in the public gym, it’s empowering and the anxiety lessens. Baby steps.

    8. Jane*

      I do weight training. Are you planning to use a gym? They may have a free intro session where they show you how to use the equipment, which you can then use on your own. Or the gym may have a strength training class that uses body weight exercises and dumbells. If you’re planning to do something out of your home, I’d look for a book that had dumbells and body-weight exercises.

      Crossfit can be great, especially if you want to learn the more complex barbell exercises (squats, snatch, jerk, clean, etc). They always have some teaching of the movement when when you’re doing the exercise, there’s an instructor watching to correct any errors you make.

      But Crossfit has downsides. For one, it’s pricey. One session with a personal trainer per month is going to be cheaper than Crossfit. For another, the cardio portion is intense, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Also, because it’s a class, you may notice that you are weaker and slower than everyone else. No one ever said anything bad about me always being the slowest, but I always felt a little uncomfortable about that.

      Personally, I started weight training in college in a weight training class. I used mostly machines. I hired a personal trainer when I got my first real job, but she turned out to be useless. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine showed me squats, deadlifts, and overhead press, and I started doing those regularly. (I like free weights more than machines.) Then I joined a Crossfit gym for a year where I got a lot more comfortable with those movements. Now I kinda follow the strong lifts 5×5 (http://stronglifts.com/), and do squats, deadlift, overhead press, assisted pullup, and bench press. The strong lifts site has really great info, but it really helps to have someone watch you and tell you what you’re doing wrong at first.

      I know about the fear of the gym thing; as an overweight 30-something old women, I used to feel I didn’t quite “deserve” to use some of equipment. But I’ve slowly gotten over that.

    9. AliceBD*

      I don’t know where to start with weight training either, but a personal trainer does fit my budget so I have just signed up for one. If you’re a woman, I have heard good things about Strong Curves and about The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

      For the fear, does your gym have a free orientation to the machines? Not a personal trainer, but 30 mins of “this is how you use this machine”. You could ask about it if you don’t know. Also, I’ve found going to a more diverse gym to be really helpful. In my previous city I went to a health club that was very close to work, between work and my home, and we got a discount as one of our benefits so it was actually the most economical place. But I’m overweight and not not in shape, and I felt very self-conscious there because everyone seemed to know what they were doing and were super fit. I’ve had the best luck at YMCAs (never lived by a YWCA, but heard good things) in terms of being affordable and having all body types there. I currently go to a YMCA and I definitely see people who look like me working out. I go before work, and I don’t use the locker rooms (I have to pass by my apartment going from the Y to work, so its easier to just shower at home), so everyone is basically not awake yet and minding their own business which also helps.

      Also, if you’re a woman, there is a reddit community called xxfitness that is all women helping each other with fitness stuff and they are a great resource. I am not actually on reddit, so I am part of the “reddit xxfitness” private Facebook group, if you’re on Facebook. You can request to join, and as long as you look like a non-spammer and female, you’ll be approved (sometimes it takes a few days for approval to be done).

    10. Jane*

      I do weight training. Are you planning to use a gym? Gyms often have a free intro session where they show you how to use the equipment. A gym might also have weight training classes.

      If you’re planning to work from home, I’d look for a bodyweight + barbell routine, perhaps from a book.

      Crossfit is good, especially if you want to learn some of the more complex barbell movements (squats, deadlifts, snatch, etc). They teach the movement each time, and then when you’re doing it, there’s an instructor watching to correct you if something goes wrong.

      But Crossfit is pricey–you’d be better off paying for a few personal training sessions to get started over monthly Crossfit fees. Also, the cardio portion is intense, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. And it’s a class setting, so comparing yourself to others is hard to avoid. Everyone was supportive, but I still felt a little bad about being so consistently the slowest.

      Personally, I started weight training by taking classes in college, and I did a routine using mostly machines. When I got my first real job, I hired a personal trainer, but she was useless. I next changed things up when a coworker showed me how to do squats, deadlifts, and overhead press. Then I ended up attending a crossfit gym for about a year. When I moved, I started following a modified version of the stronglifts 5×5 (http://stronglifts.com/). The stronglifts site has a ton of details, but it’d be hard to get started from there without having someone to watch you do the lifts.

      I know what you mean about being uncomfortable in the gym; as a 30-something overweight woman, I almost felt like I didn’t have a right to use the equipment. But I’ve gotten over that with time.

    11. Dalia524*

      I started weight training by looking over ExRx.com. There’s lots of tips, gifs of a ton of exercises, and sample work outs.

      Most people aren’t paying attention to you in the gym, they’re worrying about their own workout. I have social anxiety, too, and realizing that most people really aren’t paying attention to anyone outside their little bubble had helped a lot…

      1. Coffee Ninja*

        +1 for ExRx. They also have pages for specific exercises (like back squat, for example) with gifs to show you correct form.

    12. AnotherTeacher*

      Les Mills is pretty popular in my area. One class is called Body Pump, and it focuses on strength training. It’s a good way to learn weight lifting techniques that you can use on your own.

      The more you go, the more comfortable you should feel. Fitness is about personal goals. As someone else said, too, there should be someone on staff to at least provide an overview of the machines.

    13. RedBlueGreenYellow*

      When I first wanted to start weight training, a friend loaned me the Weight Training got Dummies book. It sounds nuts, but it was really helpful to me, with tips for using proper form and for setting up routines. It also helped when I eventually did look to hire a trainer to spot red flags.

    14. Alix*

      As someone who just recently started working out and had to get over her own gym anxiety, what really helped me was just checking out gyms, going to visit them with the thought firmly in mind that I was allowed to be super-picky. At least in my area, a lot of gyms let you try a day or so free, and some even let you talk to a trainer for one free session, and I found those free days were really helpful for getting an idea of the vibe of the place.

      Some things I found useful:
      -if you want to know how to use the equipment, ask! Most gyms understand not everyone knows how to use stuff, and they usually will explain how to use something safely. They don’t want you getting hurt on their property! And if they’re not nice about it or insist you have to pay for personal training, cross them off your list.
      -if the gym does have a free trial, or even if you’re just popping in to look around, go in at the time(s) you think you’d normally go. That way you get the best sense of what it’d be like regularly.
      -honestly, I found it helpful to be very upfront about my anxiety over email. The people at the gym I ultimately chose were very understanding (among other things, they told me what times are usually least busy, and pointed out that they only had one windowed wall, which faced a pond, not the road), while the folks at one of the gyms I crossed off just stepped up the high-pressure sales stuff. I felt no guilt about blocking the latter guys’ emails, lemme tell ya.
      -the thing I’ve found useful with actually doing gym stuff is staying super-focused on what my goal is. I also remind myself that I’m a beginner at this, so I’m allowed to make stupid mistakes, because nobody’s perfect when they’re just starting out. That doesn’t necessarily help everyone, but the way my anxiety works I often quit because I’m not perfect from the word go, and so reminding myself that I’m not supposed to be has kept me going.

      I can’t help on the weight training stuff specifically – my goal is learning to swim! – but I hope this helps a little.

  18. LawCat*

    I signed up for a running training group last weekend and have been doing solo training during the week. Today was my first group workout with people at my same pace. It was great! Nice to meet people that are in the same place I am right now (15 min/mile! yep, at a run). The run route was beautiful. I’m very glad I signed up and am looking forward to next week. My husband gave me his old running watch, but it needs a new battery so we’ll be walking to a watch repair place to get it a new battery (and a new battery for a watch I’ve been meaning to take care of for over a year). My goal is to run a 5k in under 42 mins and it feels achievable!

    1. Felix*

      Congrats on joining the group- that’s awesome. And- in my opinion, any running at any time is a big deal!! Keep up the awesome work :)

    2. OfficePrincess*

      Hi from a fellow 15min/mi runner! I’ve thought about joining a local group, but worried about whether “all paces” really was a true statement. I’m glad you’ve found one you like!

      1. GOG11*

        I’m currently running at 13ish minutes/mile and, at least in my area, all paces means nobody gets left behind. I run with people who have placed in hundred mile races and who have run the Boston Marathon (to even qualify, you have to be pretty darn fast) and they never make me feel like I’m holding them up. To them, miles are miles and they need all the time on their feet they can get. I’ve run with various groups and found that to be true elsewhere, as well. I experienced apprehension/reluctance, but I’m so glad I gave it a go, so I wanted to share my experience.

        1. Stephanie*

          Good to hear! The group I’m with is definitely “all paces”, but I was pretty apprehensive about joining some of the groups through running stores for that reason.

    3. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Awesome! I love my running group, I made so many friends that I still run with.

  19. Felix*

    Any suggestions for blogs/resources on shopping more ethically? I’m starting to look into this for clothes, but am feeling overwhelmed as it truly does impact EVERYTHING one can purchase. Don’t want to feel pressure to be all or nothing, but am tired of not doing anything.

    1. misspiggy*

      Not really, but there are schemes in the UK where retailers can sign up to relatively OK codes of conduct. If there’s something similar where you are, you can look for the logo on their websites.

      It’s generally better to buy from places that are a bit higher priced, especially if they use organic cotton and natural dyes. Those companies are more likely to offer decent wages or at least abide by minimum wage laws, and to pay their taxes. More money going into countries that desperately need the business is going to raise living standards.

      I’ve been assuming that by ethical you mean treating people well, but if you’re more motivated by environmental concerns, then yes, thrift shops is the way to go.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      The best advice I read was select your targets. For example, maybe you feel strongly about fair wages or maybe you are sick of plastic in everything. If you try to do all of them, you won’t come home with much.

      I think targeting clothing is hard, especially if you are just starting this. It might be easier to target personal care products or home cleaners.

      It helps to be aware that everyone has their own definition of what is ethical. And it helps to be aware of terminology. Many people do not realize that free range beef is not the same as organic beef. It also helps to know that some words have no legal definition under the FDA. “Safe” is an example of one of these words.

      When I decided to use my dollars for shopping ethically, I chose to target chemicals in products. I tried to chose products that had less chemicals or that were known for not out-gasing. I did not get very far, shopping this way is expensive. Try buying a rug. ha! However, when the opportunity comes up to buy an organic product cheaply, I grab it.

      1. Felix*

        Yeah I think that’s my problem right now, I started out with the idea of ethical = fair wages but now have been bombarded with facts from my research about everything from the inhumane treatment of sheep raised for wool to environmental factors like plastics and chemicals. It’s really overwhelming,

        I like your idea to focus on one thing, master it and then move on to another.

        1. Marcela*

          Please remember that _everything_ is made from chemical elements (from the Periodic table of elements).

    3. Emily*

      Check out the blog Ecocult. Some of her shopping recommendations are specific to NYC, but she covers a lot of different topics—food, beauty, clothes, home, etc.

    4. LizB*

      The blog Already Pretty (dot com) is pretty great for this. Sally, the blog owner, has decided within the last year or so to decide to shop more ethically/sustainably, and has written some great posts on how she came to this decision and what her strategies and favorite sustainable brands are. She also does regular round-up posts of different types of items requested by readers (e.g. 3/4 sleeve plus size cardigans, floral wrap dresses, literally anything someone asks for she will try and hunt down for them), and she now adds a section to each post about where to find that type of item from ethical/sustainable brands. Her blog was already welcoming to people of all shapes, sizes, genders, etc., so the new(ish) sustainability focus just fits right in to the general ethos. :) It’s my favorite fashion blog, hands down.

    5. Hypnotist Collector*

      Learn to sew! And make a few things yourself. Your perspective on clothing costs will change when you understand what’s involved. If that’s not appealing or realistic, start with just a t-shirt, but something that goes beyond weak “eco-friendly” labels. I like the organic cotton US-made t-shirts at tsdesigns.com. Look for certified organic fibers, GOTS certification ideally, and Fair Trade or domestic production. The textile production system is incredibly complex, and some certification with teeth is important. But if everyone bought just one certified organic or wool garment each year, the impact would be meaningful.

    1. Caledonia*

      !!!! Is this *actual* cats? Or just a name of a circus troupe? Please let it be actual cats!

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        Actual cats! Google “Tuna and the Acro-cats” for YouTube and pix!!

        We got to volunteer with them the last time they were in town. It is the happiest I have ever been to clean litterboxes!!

  20. LizB*

    I’m not very good at planning social things, but I’m turning 25 at the end of the month and would like to celebrate a bit. My mom (and possibly my sister) will be visiting from out of town on my actual birthday. My birthday is on a Thursday this year, and my apartment is not super large but I’ve fit up to 15 friends pretty comfortably for other events. Possibilities I’ve considered:

    A. Go out to dinner at a fancyish/expensiveish restaurant on my birthday, with mom, sis, and boyfriend.

    B. Go out to dinner at a less fancy/reasonably priced restaurant on my birthday, with mom/sis/boyfriend and any friends who are available.

    C. Start with option A, then have friends over to my apartment for cake later in the evening.

    D. Have friends over to my apartment for cake on the night before my birthday (so, a Wednesday), then do either option A or B.

    I need to decide soon if I’m going to invite friends and have any chance of having them be in town. I ran out of time last year and ended up doing nothing, which was a bummer. Don’t want a repeat of that this year. Thoughts, ideas, things to consider?

    (Also, for anyone familiar with the Minneapolis area, restaurant suggestions for option B? There are lots of places I want to try right now but they’re all fairly fancy or expensive. I need less pricy options!)

    1. TL -*

      Will your mom put a damper on your friends’ behavior – will they feel like they need to be more well-behaved and watch what they say/do? If so, I’d do cake the day before with friends and family at a nice restaurant the day of.

      If not, it comes down to do you want an intimate family dinner (which I would follow with cake) or do you want a larger, more social dinner where everyone gets to be there but you don’t get as in-depth conversations?

      1. LizB*

        She hasn’t met most of my friends (this is only the second time she’s visited me in this city — I usually go to her), so it might be awkward, and I know I would stressed about everyone getting along. Probably best not to mix mom and friends, then. I think I’m liking option D.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Keep it simple so that you actually do it. If you enjoy it, you can do something bigger for your 30th.
      Have everyone over for cake. Maybe do like an open house, so people can come and go as they wish. Set a time limit. Birthday cake at your place between 5 and 7 pm. Show up any time between those times or something like that.

      1. LizB*

        Very good point about simplicity being key to actually following through! Cake at my apartment is sounding better and better, and I like the open house idea.

    3. Mando Diao*

      How come you’re not waiting until the weekend to get together with your friends? Trying to fit dinner with family and then drinks with friends into the same worknight evening means that you’re not going to be stretching the drinking way later than might be wise. Either that or you’ll find yourself rushing your mom and sister through an expensive dinner, and you don’t want to do that.

      Your mileage may vary, but I like to avoid the “I’ll text you when I’m on my way to the bar, after this other time-consuming thing I’m doing” scenario as often as possible. Most of the time people end up not showing up because the first stop on the train of stacked events takes too long.

      1. LizB*

        My boyfriend is going out of town that weekend, so I can do stuff with friends but without him. Plus Monday is 4th of July, and many people around here go out to the lake/cabin for holiday weekends. I could do something the next weekend, though; I forgot to list that option.

        I think you’re right about stacked events and not really being able to enjoy either one. Option C is off the table, then.

    4. Jana*

      Brasa!! Super yummy & you can do it ‘family style’. Seriously anytime I’m in the twin cities, I make sure to go.

    1. MaggiePi*

      Watching it right now! But I just started it on netflix today so I’m not very far in yet. Is it still running?

      1. Cordelia Drexel Biddle*

        Yes, they just finished season 11 and is renewed for next season, too. Its fantastic to binge (how I got addicted.)

    2. Cruciatus*

      I’m not normally affected by shows, but I had to stop that one because it was just too damn depressing. You’d think that women and children are constantly being preyed upon by super psycho killers who are around every corner. But I do sometimes miss Reid…

      1. Cordelia Drexel Biddle*

        Yeah, I hate ones with kids. But the characters are so great that I can’t helped but get sucked in.

      2. bassclefchick*

        Yeah, I had to stop watching it too. I agree that it was just too depressing. And the Emily Prentiss storyline just didn’t work for me. I thought when Mandy Patinkin left the show would never work, but I did like what they did with it. I’ve missed 3 or 4 seasons now and I don’t miss it. Though I was sad to learn Shemar Moore left. That man could call me “baby girl” any time he wants!

    3. SophieChotek*

      Yes, love original series.
      Not so enthused about Beyond Borders. I liked Gary Sinise in CSI: NY, but feel like he’s playing the same part in CM: BB. The character I like the most in CM: BB is Mae Jarvis (the M.E.)

      I’ll miss Morgan on CM, but I’ll be curious to see if SA Lewis will be made permanent now.

      Love Dr. Reid and Penelope Garcia.

    4. MsChanandlerBong*

      LOVE Criminal Minds. My only complaint is that half the scenes take place in the dark, so I don’t know what is going on half the time (I have trouble seeing).

    5. Maxwell Edison*

      No, but my house was used as a location in one of the episodes (not sure which one – I never watched it because it dealt with child abduction/murder, and I’m not up for that).

      1. SophieChotek*

        How did that happen? did producers come up to the door and say ‘we love your house, can we use it?”

        1. Maxwell Edison*

          There’s a lot of filming in my part of town, and Criminal Minds is one of the shows that films around here the most (I know this because every time a production company is doing stuff nearby, they send someone over with a waiver I have to sign). A location scout checked out our place and they ended up using it. We got paid nicely for a couple days’ inconvenience.

          I’ve never seen the show and several friends and family members assured me that, while it was cool to see the house on TV, the subject matter of the episode was icky and I was better off not watching it. (I like my procedurals to be lighthearted and fun (Castle before it jumped the shark) or batshit crazy (Hannibal).)

  21. Felix*

    Oh- also does anyone else use the style book app? I’ve been using it for about a month and love it- really helping me figure out my personal style. For instance, I can see from my calendar that I NEVER wear any patterned shirts. Will now stop buying more patterned shirts ;)

    Would love to share tips/tricks of anyone has any!

    1. CoffeeLover*

      No, but that sounds really interesting! I’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of cloths I have and the amount I buy. Every year I donate boxes of cloths and yet I never seem to have enough closet space. Maybe this will help me stop buying things I dont really wear. Plus it could help with packing (especially in when you’re packing in an off season).

      1. Felix*

        It’s super helpful for packing lists and seeing what you have that’s in boxes from the off season! Best $6 I’ve spent in a while.

        To be fair, it takes some time to get photos of all your clothes into the app, but when there in, it’s SO helpful!! You can even plan your outfits for work for the whole week and see what laundry you need to do etc.

    2. Al Lo*

      Yes! I just using it a few weeks ago. I love it, but I haven’t explored everything yet. One thing I did was to take a few hours and photograph everything in my closet. I set up a couple of heavy duty worklights to get decent light, and just hung everything up and took pictures of all of it. I’m also getting into the habit of finding a photo on the website for anything new that I buy. Actually, before I took all the photos, I went back through my email confirmations and screen grabbed pictures of anything I had recently bought online. Their photos are obviously way better than mine.

      I work at a performing arts organization, and we’ve been looking for something to help us with costumes. I think this one might be a great option to help us with inventory and brainstorming in an office, rather than storage room.

      1. Al Lo*

        I also perform with a couple of groups where I need specific looks in a certain colour palette, but it can be interchangeable, and I may wear the same colour palette five times, but it doesn’t need to be exact same outfit. All black, grey and orange, denim and pink, etc. The outfits option would be a great way to put those combinations together.

      2. Al Lo*

        Actually, I found online photos for a bunch of things that I had bought in person. Google image search can be pretty powerful.

    3. fposte*

      You convinced me to download it, so now that’s going to suck me in :-). (Can’t make the Shop thing work, though–it swears it can’t get on the internet.)

      1. Felix*

        I don’t use the shop feature at all, don’t find it useful. The rest of it though! Sorry, it’s probably going to eat up your weekend taking photos, but will be worth it if you do use the app!

    4. Mimmy*

      Funny you mention Style Book because I was looking at this just a few days ago. The idea of taking all. those, pictures. was definitely a deterrent, lol.

      1. Felix*

        It’s definitely a lot of work upfront, but they suggest to start with your current seasonal wardrobe. I’ve spent maybe 8 hours total on it so far and have about 80% of my wardrobe in the app now. It honestly was super worth the time for me, and as long as you don’t buy copious amounts of clothes, once there in that’s it! I also like it because (God forbid) anything happen and I need to use my house insurance, I have a total amount of what my wardrobe is worth and I know exactly how many items of clothing I have etc.

        1. Al Lo*

          My biggest tip is to find manufacturer/store photos wherever possible. They’re nicer than what you take, and will likely have a cleaner background to cut out. Also, I found it easier to search a few photos at a time rather than set up and take pictures of all my items. Even now that 80% of my wardrobe is photographed, I’m still finding replacement photos online for some items.

    5. Stephanie*

      Interesting. I may need to give this a try. I’m also really bad about wearing plain shirts (um, guilty as charged at the moment) and would like to change things up.

  22. Soupspoon McGee*

    I’m in the middle of painting the bathroom, so I left the plastic drop cloth on the floor yesterday, as well as the paint roller tray with some paint residue (hoping to dry it out and use it again today). This morning, I woke up to little white kitty paw prints on the hardwood floor and very clear, bloody signs of a kitty UTI on the plastic drop cloth. My old sweet girl made darn sure I knew she had an issue. Thankfully, the vet is open on Saturdays.

  23. Cristina in England*

    Has anyone with a front loading washing machine washed trainers / sneakers in there? Do you put them in alone? With a towel? My front loader will leak if I only wash one or two things because it gets unbalanced and there is some stupid design flaw and… I stopped paying attention at that point when it was explained it me.

    1. Sibley*

      I don’t have front loader, but wash shoes with the load of towels. I’ll hose off the shoes if they’re really dirty.

    2. Nicole*

      I’ve never washed shoes in the washing machine. I use some Dawn dish soap and scrub them with a toothbrush, rinse them, and let them air dry.

    3. fposte*

      I wash canvas sneakers in a top-loader, which is supposed to be harder on stuff than a front-loader, so I’d think you could do it in a front-loader. Putting them in with towels, especially if you’ve got some grubby, non-bathroom towels, sounds like a good plan. I use cold water, but then I pretty much always do.

    4. Dangerfield*

      Yeah, I’ve washed shoes in there a bunch of times. I usually just throw them in with a regular load and then leave them out to dry. I’ve only had problems if I then forget about them and put them in the tumble dryer!

    5. DeadQuoteOlympics*

      I do in my front loader — I stick them both in one of those fabric shoe bags that come with some brands of shoes (you could also use a larger mesh laundry bag) so they aren’t hurling around separately and then do as others suggested — wash with a full load of towels. Usually with the category of towels known around my house as “dog towels” — the old ones kept around for any dirty job, including toweling off muddy or wet hounds.

    6. Cristina in England*

      Thank you! I will give it a try, but maybe I will clean them first with the hose. They aren’t too bad, I just want to donate them since they don’t fit anymore so I want them to be nice and clean. I just hope my machine is up for it! I love top loaders. As far as I know they are virtually nonexistent here.

  24. Anonyby*

    I bit off way more than I could chew this week. On top of what’s quickly becoming my normal-and exhausting- work schedule, I decided to to an over-the-top dessert for this month’s board game night (friends host, but encourage others to bring edibles to share) as a bit of a gift to myself for my birthday last week.

    Not such a great idea. Outside commitments forced me to start a couple days later than what I planned, so everything was rushed… I ended up staying up until 4am one night this week trying to get back on track, and I pulled an all-nighter last night to get everything ready for transport (it’s a three-tiered cake, with two of the tiers being actually rice krispie treats covered in ganache and fondant, with a bunch of fondant figurines to go on it). Roommate ended up also needing to do major baking last night, which I didn’t know about until yesterday morning and we had to quickly figure out a gameplan so that we could both get what we needed to done without stepping on toes.

    I’m not happy with a lot of things on it (I KNEW better than to use chocolate chips for the ganache, but it was the cheapest way to get enough chocolate for a triple batch), but at least most of the flaws were things that couldn’t have been helped (worked in a hot kitchen, was covering cake in fondant for the first time in non-ideal conditions and using a fondant that is known to be tricky to cover with due to a friend’s health issues, etc etc).

    Right now I’m at that stage of tired where you’re numb to the normal tired symptoms and not in danger of nodding off randomly, but are feeling it in other ways…

      1. Anonyby*

        It would be awful of me to talk about it and then not post pictures!





    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      That sounds amazing! I really want to make the chocolate-espresso dacquoise featured on America’s Test Kitchen, but I just know it’s going to be a pain in the butt. It has layers of meringue and German buttercream covered with a chocolate-espresso ganache garnished with sliced almonds.

      1. Anonyby*

        The cake recipe I used is by ATK! And yeah, you really need a day when you can spend as much time as you need working on something like that.

    2. Nye*

      You have my sympathy! I know what it’s like to over-commit on baking and end up cursing at fondant in the small hours of the night. Your cake sounds impressive, though! And I’m guessing your friends were immensely impressed and didn’t even register any of the things that you weren’t as happy with.

      As a side note, if you live in an area with a Trader Joe’s handy, their Pound Plus bars are great for baking/candy and are pretty inexpensive.

      1. Anonyby*

        They loved it! One took a bunch of in-progress pics as I was setting it up, too.

        I’ll have to check those out! We do have TJs around here.

  25. Nicole*

    The Cure concert in Chicago last night was nothing short of amazing! OMG, if you love them and they are coming to your city, you must get tickets. You will not be disappointed! They pulled so many songs out of the archives that I’ve never heard live before, including one that hadn’t been played in 30 years!!! It was the best show I’ve experienced and this was my sixth time seeing them live. I’m still hyped up today just thinking about it.

    Incidentally, they play Chicago again tonight at UIC Pavilion and even though tickets are sold out via Ticketmaster there’s still people selling tickets online, including fans who aren’t able to make the show.

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      Oooh, I went to see them in Hollywood two weeks ago and they were so fabulous; by all reports their Bay Area and Vegas shows were also wonderful.

      I’m hearing that they’re really changing up the playlist each night, so it’s worth going multiple times if you’re a big fan.

      1. Nicole*

        Yea I like how the shows vary. If they had played somewhere close like Milwaukee or Indianapolis I would have gone to multiple shows. Instead I’ve been watching the shows on Periscope.

  26. CoffeeLover*

    After graduating, working full time for a year, and living alone for a while… I realized I don’t quite have the adult thing down yet. My fridge is empty, my place frequently looks like a tornado went through it, and I couldn’t throw a dinner party to save my life. I’m starting to realize being an adult isn’t just about paying the bills, and I’m starting to think about what I want my life to really be. I realized need to focus more on the activities I do outside of work and have a more well rounded approach to life (ie, go grocery shopping regularly, volunteer, excersize, etc.). Anyway, I would love to hear from some of the adults out there! Did you experience a similar quarter life crisis? When did you really start to feel like you had the adulting thing down?

    1. Dan*

      When I got divorced and found a job (after a layoff three months after my separation) making a lot more money. It’s hard to feel like an adult when you’re broke and have to constantly watch what you spend.

      I feel like an adult because I can afford to live by myself, own my car, and do the recreational things I want.

      1. Victoria, Please*

        Eh, for me being broke didn’t stop me from feeling like an adult at all. Maybe because I grew up with a single mom and we were *always* broke, but my mom totally kicked ass and of her two daughters, I’m in a leadership position in a university and my sister is a military officer. Being a broke adult means that you have to be EXTRA adult, to me. That said, I’m very grateful not to be broke now.

        1. Christopher Tracy*

          Same here, Victoria. Grew up poor, so being broke and still managing to pay bills and keep a roof over my head has always been the very definition of adult to me.

    2. Not Karen*

      IMO one of the primary attributes of an adult is knowing what it is YOU want vs. what others expect of you.

      My fridge is empty – do you actually like to cook, or do you prefer to eat out?
      my place frequently looks like a tornado went through it – do you care about having a neat place, or are you worried about what others may think?
      I couldn’t throw a dinner party to save my life – do you want to throw a dinner party, or is it that you feel you should be able to?

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s about figuring out how to arrange your life in ways that make you happy (while also meeting whatever responsibilities you have — paying bills, taking care of kids/pets, whatever it may be — and being a generally considerate person). So step one is figuring out what kind of life does/would make you happy. Maybe you feel unsettled without a reasonably clean house and a well-stocked kitchen. Or maybe you’ll try prioritizing those for a while and find it stifling. I think the 20s are often about figuring out what you like and how you want to live, often through trial and error. But if you pay attention to what makes you feel the best and what makes you feel kind of off, you’ll get really good information about yourself that you can start building around.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep, that hits the nail on the head. You are developing life habits. Figuring out what is important to you and what is not. I can’t hack a dirty bathroom or fridge, but the vacuuming can slide a couple days and that is okay with me. I won’t let laundry pile up for longer than a week, but mail can pile up for two or three weeks on a regular basis.

        I figured out that money and safety issues are the most important things to me. The bills have to be paid on time and if the furnace burps or coughs I call for repair immediately. A pearl of wisdom I heard was to keep your car and your furnace in working order. Those are two things that you could have serious issues if they do not work when you need them to work.

        I got a little discouraged as the years rolled by, because I could see my priorities changing. Then I realized that just makes sense, our needs change as the years go. But there are those core things that we need in order to function: safety, health and steady income. That part does not change.

    4. Lady Kelvin*

      I still struggle with the clean house part, but as for the grocery problems, we make a list of what we are going to eat during the week on each day for dinner based upon what we have/what is on sale/what I think I might be able to eat (I have the cravings of a pregnant woman full time, some times I can eat things, sometimes thinking about eating something will make me nauseated, and sometimes I feel like I’l die if I don’t get that thing) and then make a shopping list and shop for the week on a Saturday or Sunday. It makes the week go so much smoother because we don’t have to come home every day saying, what should we have for dinner? We already know, and we know we have all the supplies. Plus if we decide to hit a happy hour or go out to dinner one night, we just move whatever we were supposed to make to another night and that’s one less meal we have to plan for next week. We even have a plan for what type of food to eat each night, so there is less to plan, for example Monday is Chicken night, tuesday is pork, wednesday is leftovers, thursday is pasta, etc.

    5. Perse's Mom*

      I felt like an adult in high school (“thanks, Mom!” she said sarcastically). Feeling truly secure in my own space (both mentally and physically) took a lot longer.

      But a messy house, empty fridge, and an inability to throw a dinner party (?!) aren’t a gauge for whether or not you’re an adult or behaving like one. If those things bother you – for whatever reason, do something about it. It’s great that you’ve had an epiphany about your own life, but seriously – some of us are pretty content adulting with ramen in the cupboard and a dirty dish in the sink and having absolutely no desire whatsoever to throw a dinner party.

    6. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Hahaha, I’m 33 and am just now starting to feel like an adult! I think my husband and I buying a house made me really feel like a grown-up. We have food in the fridge most of the time. The house is reasonably clean but a lot of that was us deciding to have a cleaning service come in once a month. I exercise regularly because it’s a hobby of mine that I enjoy.

      For me, a lot of it is just getting into a routine. For example, I always do the grocery shopping on Friday evening or Saturday. On Sunday (or sometimes Saturday, depending on how much time I have), I’ll do some food prep for the week. I’ll make a big batch of something that I can bring for lunches all week (soup is a favorite, or maybe a grain salad) and plan out which nights I’ll make which meals depending on what plans we have each night of the week. I have a regular workout routine (ex: do Camp Gladiator M/W/F mornings, run T/Th evenings, hot yoga M evening).

      I’m making myself host things now that we have the space. I don’t feel like it comes naturally to me, but we’ve done a few low-key things to start. For example, I hosted a sip & see for a friend. I did it on a Sunday afternoon and just had some appetizers, make-your-own mimosas (put out a few juices and inexpensive champagne) and bought a cake. I had my book club over a couple of months ago and put together a baked ziti ahead of time, all I had to do after work was pop it in the oven and put together a salad. I asked people to bring wine and/or an appetizer. I don’t think I could throw a whole formal dinner party, but maybe one day I’ll feel like it!

      Like others have said, it’s all about figuring out what’s important to you. And I can promise you that the people you think of as adults don’t feel like it! Or at least don’t feel like it all the time.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I think you nailed what I struggle with, and that’s doing things on a set schedule. I would like to be more proactive so I’m not buying food because my fridge is empty or cleaning the entire weekend because the place is a disaster. Being able to host is very important to me culturally. It’s something I would like to eventually be good at, and I like your examples of baby-step hosting. I think I might trying inviting a few people over for a settlers of catan night! Thanks for sharing.

    7. Jillociraptor*

      I re-experience this crisis on the regular! Every so often, I break out in a cold sweat upon remembering that there is no one out there monitoring my adulting to make sure I’m not messing anything up. In fact, this comment just reminded me to email my accountant–after the freelancing thread this week I realized I am probably not managing my income from independent contracting correctly, tax-wise.

      I think with most things where you’re trying to build a habit (or a bunch of habits), it’s important to take it slow, take manageable steps, and plan how you’re going to succeed. Schedules/checklists work really well for me, and I know that unless I write down that I’m going to do something, it will just end up on the mental list of “things adults are supposed to do that I will feel guilty about not doing, but definitely will not act on.” Pick a few things you want to see change, and take little steps toward doing thing — have a standing appointment with yourself for grocery shopping on Wednesday nights, start with planning to exercise every Sunday, and pick somewhere to volunteer the first Saturday of every month. Something like that. Not a ton, just enough to build a habit and your own confidence that you can Do Things!

    8. Emmy*

      I still don’t some days and I am well past the 1/4 mark headed determinated-ly toward that 1/2 a century mark… I do remember some well-meaning co-worker telling me On My Birthday, knowing we’d struggled with infertility, that turning (I can’t remember if it was 25 or 29) that the day was horrible for her when she had turned that number as she “knew then she’d probably never get to be a mother.” She was decades older than me and options at that time were limited. As it turned out, I didn’t get to be due to an undiagnosed medical thing, but golly, who says that and it was so very wrong!! Anyway, we do laugh about it now. So if anyone tries to tell you something silly about any milestone, ignore it. We’re all growing up all the time. One of the things that makes me feel grown up is to give. I can’t “do” a lot to help those who have needs but I can give. Most local charities will have wishlists. We’ve picked two and do what we can. For example, our local Ronald McDonald house frequently needs the makings of chocolate chip cookies. I’m going to buy those ingredients anyway, I’ll just buy two at a time instead. (Not all at once because the budget can’t always stand that) Our homeless shelter needs white socks. I’m going to buy those in bulk anyway… I can’t change everyone’s circumstances, but I like to think that a sick kid or a sibling of a sick kid can have some warm chocolate chip cookies. And that some person somewhere has warmer, safer feet. The stuff goes in a box and when we are in those parts of town they’re ready to get dropped off.

    9. LizB*

      I’m turning 25 in a couple of weeks, and I definitely don’t feel like I have the adulting thing down yet… but I think I’m getting there, slowly. It kind of comes in stages. I lived in four different apartments in the last three years, and feel like I now have a good handle on how to look for a place, what questions to ask, how to deal with a landlord and be a good tenant, all that stuff. I’ve been meal-planning on a weekly basis since mid-college, and I’ve finally learned to accept that some weeks are going to be excellent and my plans will all pan out, and some weeks I’m going to subsist on cheez-its and takeout and leftovers from the freezer and just be okay with that. I’ve figured out what I need in order to work out regularly (it has to be in the morning but can’t be too early, I have to be able to shower there and head to work right afterwards, if I’m running I need audiobooks, not music, the Pact app that makes me pay real money for skipping the gym is a huge help). I’ve scheduled appointments with several types of doctors. I’ve done my taxes successfully. Just this week I took my car into the shop and was prepared both financially and emotionally to pay for a pricy repair (that it didn’t end up needing, thank goodness). My apartment still frequently looks like a tornado hit it, especially my closet. I’m still building my social circle, and sometimes I feel like I barely have any friends. I have extracurricular activities that I love, but sometimes I overburden myself and have to take a break. It’s a trial-and-error thing, and a constant learning process, and I honestly doubt I’ll ever feel totally comfortable but I feel pretty okay with where I am right now.

    10. super anon*

      I started working at 16 and moved out at 17, so I’ve been doing a lot of the typical “adult” things for 10 years now. For me, I didn’t really feel like an adult until a few years ago when I did a presentation for new admits coming to our university from high school as part of my job. afterwards a lot of them came up to ask me questions and advice and really took what i had to say seriously. when i realized that they say me as someone in a position of authority with experience that they should listen to it blew my mind a little bit. it was the first time i ever really felt like an adult.

      i don’t know if i’d say i really have the adulting thing down now despite having a lot of the markers of adulthood success, but i definitely feel a lot more like one now that i realized i’m a person people actually take seriously on a professional & personal level.

    11. AnotherTeacher*

      Agreeing with everyone who advises it’s about knowing what you want and being comfortable with what “adult” means for you.

    12. Cristina in England*

      I am 36 with two kids and I am still learning how to live my life according to my own values, which is what marks mental adulthood to me. I still have a hard time separating what I think versus what my mother thinks. She isn’t NPD or anything, but she has strong opinions, a sharp tongue and a martyr complex and as a kid I guess I learned not to disagree with her, or express any opinion at all.

  27. CMT*

    If you know somebody going through a rough time and want to say something but are unsure what, just tell them you’re thinking of them. Some bad stuff has happened in my life recently that unfortunately has been fairly public (otherwise I’d just ignore it for an unhealthy amount of time). A number of friends, from BFFs to people who are really more acquaintances, have reached out to me and it’s been very touching. On the other hand, some close friends haven’t even acknowledged it. I’m sure it’s because they’re not sure what to say, but to be perfectly honest, it hurts a bit. So anyway, a short and sweet “I’m thinking of you” message can really make somebody’s day.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yep. It does hurt a bit. And sometimes it hurts a lot. This is gonna sound kind of cheesy but I have found it helpful to think of each and every interaction as a gift to me. This helps me to focus on those who do reach out and dwell less on those who don’t. And sometimes I wonder how many times I have failed to reach out, myself. It’s tough, it really is.
      Curiously, of the people who do reach out they seem to be carrying just the right message at the right moment. I find that very odd and very interesting.
      It is surprising though, who does not check in. People are not as predictable as we would think initially. It’s okay to grieve that lost connection, even if the loss is a momentary disconnect.

      May your path get easier very soon.

      1. CMT*

        Thank you. Your message is also very kind.

        Being in this position has made me certain I’ve dropped the ball on this kind of thing before. Hopefully this new awareness will mean I don’t in the future.

    2. Mando Diao*

      I know what you mean, but I wouldn’t be too hard on the friends who haven’t reached out. Those are the people who personally like to handle things alone. There’s no norm or etiquette for this – it’s about 50/50 that people either acknowledge this stuff or don’t.

      1. Oryx*

        Yup, this. I’m one of those people who personally likes to handle things alone but when a friend was going through a rough time she did mention that she was hurt I (and another friend who also is the alone type) didn’t say anything. It made me far more aware that I can’t project my own preferences on other people and I do try to reach out to people because even though I do keep things close, it’s still appreciated when someone says something.

    3. Mirilla*

      I’m glad you posted this because I often say “Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you” in times like that, and it’s good to know that it’s an ok thing to say.

      By the way, thinking of you! I hope things turn around soon.

    1. Stephanie*

      Oh no! This happened to me in college. And I slept through the home invasion and my roommate recounted it all to me once I woke up.

      Honestly, time. And just changing the locks. My roommate went home for the weekend. My family lived too far away and I was like “Ehhh, it’s not worth the $800 airfare. I’m fine.” I pretty much just stayed with friends for the next couple of nights so I wouldn’t be alone in the apartment. It took a while to feel ok being at home. (Moving wasn’t really feasible at the time.)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      The Norman Rockwell home in Massachusetts gave me an idea.

      There is one stair part way up the flight of stairs that is not the same height as the other stairs. The idea being that those who lived there knew about the stair and would navigate that with ease. Those who broke in during the night would stumble, maybe fall and wake the family.

      I don’t oil the hinges on my doors. My floors creak and I don’t get them fixed. If I keep letting this stuff slide my house is going to be damn noisy. But my surroundings are helping me.

      Think about your surroundings. How can you modify your surroundings to assist you? Can you hang bells on doors? Can you put an extra stick in the window so it cannot be raised up from the outside? How about lights? Maybe even some little night lights plugged in around the house would make you feel safer.

      Here you can ask the police to patrol your neighborhood at random times.

      If you were robbed while you were out, can you have a friend on your cell phone as you walk in the door at the end of the workday?

      Maybe you can get your neighbors to agree to be watchful. My neighbors know to call me in the middle of the night if something is amiss and I can call them.

      I got robbed at work decades ago. It’s still fresh in my mind in some ways. It’s okay if you become a more cautious person and more aware of your own safety.
      I am sorry this happened to you.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Knowing your neighbours is so, so important. So is keeping a clear view of your house from the street. There was a story up here of people seeing a moving van in a driveway, but no one could remember the house being for sale. The family pretty much kept to themselves, so no one knew that they were just away on vacation (this was on another street). When I friend of mine bought a house, I rather bluntly said that if I owned it, I would cut down all the trees out front where there was a line of dense spruce trees. They commented about how much they loved that feature because it was like there was no one else on the street. Several years later, they went away for a month and their house was burgled extensively. Those burglars knew somehow that they were gone and they went through everything. The elderly neighbour next door had thought she heard something, but hadn’t been sure. They quickly sold that house and moved. It was a shame, it was a very nice place, except for those trees.

        My thing, aside from what NSNR said about extra locks/sticks in windows, is motion activated lighting. It makes it easier for you when you get home at night and it also lights stuff up, which may make someone not so keen to get close to your house. I’ve also known people who have put signs on their lawn or in their windows “Protected by” even though they didn’t really have the burglar alarm. Same with “Beware of Dog” signs. Don’t leave anything you aren’t afraid to lose in your car. That is the one thing that blows my mind about some of my neighbours, they complain that someone stole their X, Y, Z… that they left in their car. Even small amounts of change have been taken. So, don’t leave it in your car.

        But in the end, unfortunately if someone is determined to rob you, they will find a way.

    3. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Oh I’m so sorry! :(

      Honestly, having a dog has helped me feel safe. If nothing else, it’s a deterrent. My dog *loves* people and I’m pretty sure she would just lick someone to death. But someone meaning to do me harm won’t want to find out.

      1. Red*

        My licky love monster who lets toddlers use her as a trampoline has been human-aggressive in exactly one situation in her eight years on this earth — and that was when someone she didn’t know came into the house without one of Her People opening the door for them. (A drunk college kid was heading for a party and banged into the wrong house. Luckily for everyone, there was a baby gate between protective dog and stupid frat boy. He left quickly and she slobbered on the toddlers making sure they were okay.)

        1. Rebecca in Dallas*

          HA! I love it. My dog has growled at exactly one person, it was a contractor we had brought in to give us a quote. I wasn’t present, but my husband said that the contractor quoted us like 3x as much as everyone else and he was going on and on about what he wanted to do. I guess my husband’s demeanor changed ever so slightly because all of a sudden our sweet girl just started growling at the contractor! My husband immediately put her in the back yard just in case, but the contractor made a hasty retreat!

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Our sweet German shepherd dog, named “Cybill” [Shepherd], jumped between my husband and a Rottweiler once. They had just finished the new subdivision behind our house, and my husband was out back meeting the new neighbors who had moved in. It used to be just a cow pasture back there, so there was still just barbed-wire fence between the back yards. The new neighbor’s Rottweiler lunged at my husband, and our dog was between them immediately, growling and standing her ground. The neighbor got his dog under control. I always felt safe with Cybill in the house as a young wife when my husband worked nights. I knew she would do everything to protect her family.

      2. Lindsay J*

        That’s the first and pretty much only thing I did for safety when moving out from living with my ex.

        I wanted a dog anyway, for comfort. And living where I did at the time I figured it might as well be a big dog so I didn’t feel vulnerable when I was out walking her, or in my own home.

        I got a rottie/black lab mix. She’s the sweetest, most well behaved dog in the world and would never hurt a fly. But I kind of figure if someone is casing my place and they see a big, mean looking dog that they might decide it’s easier to go rob someone else instead.

    4. AnotherAlison*

      That sucks!

      I live in the rural outskirts of a metro area. We have been burglarized 3x, but never inside the house. (Once the garage, once the barn, once the RV in the driveway.) After the barn, it was difficult to be comfortable. I was ready to sell the house. We got an alarm system, which has helped. I wanted to gate in our entire property and get German Shepherds, but we didn’t. We do have a lot of guns, too, so I guess that helps my spouse feel safe.

      My husband was inside a small local branch bank during an armed robbery. I felt like we were having extraordinary bad luck for a while.

    5. Jen*

      Ugh, this happened to me on the fourth week of living in my new home. It is in a small little safe community-I felt so violated!

      We spent a few days researching alarm systems and cameras etc. in the end, we got a dog (which was in the plan anyway! This just inspired us to get serious) and that dog was the absolute best deterrent. For one, he had protective tendencies and would woof (the dog equivalent of a grumble) whenever someone that wasn’t us came onto the property, no matter the hour. If anyone came up to the house he’d full out bark until we told him to be quiet.

      One time he let me know that there were “intrders” (town surveyors) in the woods behind our house. When DH would travel, I never, ever was fearful with that dog around.

      Now he’s gone :-(. It’s weird that the doorbell rings and I don’t have advanced notice. Or that someone could walk around in our backyard and i wouldn’t know. I miss that dog!!

    6. Cordelia Longfellow*

      Your local police should have Victim Services folks that can help you out – not just with the “lock your doors”-type tips, but with the emotional effects of crime. Ours are really understanding and helpful.

  28. AmyNYC*

    My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Seattle and Portland in the fall – a few days in Seattle, driving between (possibly camping for a nigh, then a few days in Portland. I need recommendations!
    We like trying new restaurants (he’s vegetarian, I’m omnivore) breweries and distilleries, museum, we’re not night owls, but a cocktail or nice bar with live music would be good, some outdoorsy stuff; I’m an architect, he’s a designer….
    I love just wandering around cities, any neighborhoods I have to see?
    Is there anything of interest between Portland and Seattle? Good hiking or camping?

    1. Gene*

      If you like German deli, go to Edelweiss Deli in Portland. If you are readers, Powell’s Books, also Portland.

      Capitol State Forest near Olympia has some good hiking, mountain biking, and camping; and it’s easy to get to.

    2. Elkay*

      Go to the brewery in Pike’s Place in Seattle, they do a tour which we missed but the food and beer was good. I agree on the underground tour, that was fun. We spent a whole day at the EMP but that would probably depend on exhibitions, the Gates Foundation down the road from there is interesting too.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      I’d highly recommend Blueplate in Portland. Sliders for you, grilled cheese and tomato for your boyfriend.

    4. KR*

      I just have experience in the Puget Sound area which is a beautiful ferry ride away from Seattle. Poulsbo is an adorable town, great smoothie place that I can’t remember the name of, awesome marine life center with a touch tank. We went to the Tacoma Zoo a little while ago which was amazing – small enough you can do the whole zoo in an afternoon and a good price. It’s also an aquarium with sharks and exotic fish and penguins. Haven’t been to Portland – we drove past it o Multnomah Falls and the Bridge of the Gods. It’s not very far, probably under an hour. It was an amazing drive with amazing sights. The Columbia River is just so BIG.

    5. Mkb*

      I just did this same trip last June with my husband. We’re both vegetarians so we went to a bunch of veg restaurants. In Portland: we liked the 4T – it’s this big loop around the city that involves hiking, a train, tram and trolley, we also went to the zoo, Japanese gardens, rose garden (all 3 are in the same area.) In Seattle we went to pike place, the EMP museum, Chiuly glass museum, aquarium and on an Argosy boat tour. If you’re looking to do those types of touristy things look into CityPass, it cuts the price way down.

      For food in Portland we liked Bye and Bye, The Tin Shed, PBJSGrilled and of course Voodoo doughnut. In Seattle we liked Veggie Grill.

      On the drive between Portland and Seattle you can stop and hike at the Northwest Trek. We didn’t end up making it there but it is somewhere in between the two. I think you can also go to Mount Ranier.

      Have fun!!

    6. blue_eyes*

      In Seattle, check out Discovery Park and the nearby Magnolia Boulevard for some of the best views in town. Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island just for fun.

      Stopping to camp near Mount St Helens or Mount Rainier would make sense when driving between Seattle and Portland. It would be a bit of a detour, but I can’t think of much camping and hiking right along the I-5 corridor.

      1. AnAppleADay*

        I second stopping by Mt Saint Helens visitor center. There is a film you can watch about the eruption and information about the trails you can hike.

    7. SophieChotek*

      Went to Portland last year:
      Powell’s Used Book Store (Main Store) is like heaven if you love books.
      Lots of fun little store and stuff all around Portland–an antique store had some beautiful things, a completely awesome stationy store that also sold antique (working) type writers and was also a printing press/customs stationary press store.
      [Oblation Papers & Press and Thea’s Vintage Living, as I recall are the two stores I liked.)
      The Portland Art Museum was a little pricey to get into but fun.
      I heard there was a good museum/historical house a little bit on the edge of Portland that was worth seeing but I did not have time.

      I enjoy seattle and been there a couple times too — fun Scandinavian Museum (in the middle of a residential neighborhood that is worth going to if that sounds interesting) in Seattle.

    8. SophieChotek*

      Mamma Mia Trattoria in Portland had good food, good service, and decent prices. Not sure if they have vegetarian options that are good though.

    9. super anon*

      If you like yogurt there’s an amazing greek yogurt place at pike place market called ellenos, and they give free samples! i also recommended going to the first starbucks store to get a special first starbucks store mug – they’re brown instead of the classic green.

      seattle has a living computer museum that is super cool. it’s a collection of vintage computers that still work, like apple IIs. there’s also the experience music project museum that i’ve heard good things about, but i can’t comment on that one’s goodness because i didn’t get a chance to go. there’s also a few art museums – i’ve heard really good things about the asian art museum in particular.

      the monorail from downtown to the space needle is kind of lame, but fun if you were ever a fan of the simpsons and have never ridden a monorail before. the science centre at the space needle has a really beautiful butterfly exhibit, and the glass garden is really pretty too.

    10. LCL*

      When you drive from Seattle to Portland, turn west onto highway 101 by Olympia. Take that all the way to Oregon. Lots of scenic beachy areas.

    11. Mike C.*

      Go on a Boeing factory tour. It’s just 20 minutes north of Seattle. Just trust me, it’s incredible if you’ve never been.

  29. Gene*

    Are Brock Turner’s parents totally off their rockers with the letters they wrote for his sentencing?

    I have no sympathy for this guy, he should be thanking whatever gods he believes in that he didn’t get what he deserved.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I had hope for the mother for a while there. Then she spoke and my hope is gone.

      I will say this. It’s rocked this country, everyone is awake and paying attention. This is long over due.
      I am in total awe of the survivor’s ability to put her thoughts on paper. I hope she does something with her writing ability. I say survivor because in part I sincerely believe if those two guys on bikes had not stopped, she would be dead. This guy had no clue how much trouble he was in. He could have been up on murder charges in addition to his current charges.

      Which brings me to my next point, what about depraved indifference? She could have died, why isn’t there at least an attempted manslaughter charge on this case?

      1. fposte*

        Not a lawyer, but I think by definition you can’t have attempted manslaughter, at least not in most jurisdictions–manslaughter is when the death happens and it’s mitigated by circumstances, whether it be lack of intent or other factors.

        But everybody I know was stunned to find that we were living in 1965. Mind you, contrast the response of US Swimming with every other athletic organization’s response to an athlete’s violence against women. So I guess there’s that, at least.

    2. Mando Diao*

      Never ask the relatives of convicted murderers or rapists about their feelings in the aftermath. Almost no one is going to immediately disown a family member as soon as an objective party wants them to.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Absolutely. That’s a very tough situation to be in, even if the family is horrified and appalled by what their relative did. They still love them and to find out something like that about your loved one is devastating.

    3. bassclefchick*

      I’ve been following this story very carefully. I couldn’t even finish reading the mother’s statement, she was so out of touch. Not even mentioning the young woman and what she and HER family are going through? Unbelievable. I agree with Not So NewReader, that young woman is a survivor and I, too, am in awe of how well written her statement was.

      It’s about time we were woken up to the fact that campus rape is happening and it’s out of control. The guilty never get punished and it’s all about victim blaming. Maybe we’ll finally start to realize that no one “deserves” to be raped. It really is time to stop teaching our daughters how to avoid being raped and start teaching our sons that NO is an answer and to respect ALL women.

      1. Mander*

        Well, and in this case, that being unconscious is not a yes. That’s what makes my skin crawl the most.

    4. The Rat-Catcher*

      Some families forgive literally anything in the name of FAAAAMILY. I think that’s what’s happening here. They’re probably having some trouble reconciling their “baby boy” with “rapist.” NOT that this is okay or that they aren’t in some alternate universe with those letters.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      This whole thing just blew my mind. The two students who stopped–HEROES. OMG. Faith in humanity restored.
      There is a Change.org petition to get that judge off the bench. I signed it. He is in no way impartial enough to do that job. I heard that some jurors walked out of a voir dire recently where he was the presiding judge, and I kind if wish the entire group had done so en masse.

    6. Temperance*

      I honestly think that they are at least part of the reason why he thinks he should face no consequences for violating a woman.

      1. Grumpy*

        Just read it and am disgusted with all of Team Turner. I really hope they do find the deleted photo, charge him and hope he rots in jail.

    7. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Yes. They might think they’re doing it out of love, but that’s not how to raise a child.

    8. anon for this*

      I have at least one rapist in my own family. I did not find out about it until I was adult and the person in question was dead. However, I’ve never heard anyone speak ill of this person (other than the relative who disclosed this fact) and in fact this person is discussed somewhat reverently in my family due to the sudden and outwardly tragic nature of their death. As a rape survivor (assaulted by someone outside of my family) I feel disgust and horror that I am related to a rapist, but also a peculiar shame as if this person’s actions somehow have tainted my soul by association.

      Never underestimate the power of denial. Cognitive dissonance is a strong force and many people would (consciously or unconsciously) rather simply deny the truth instead of facing up to the fact that someone in their own family is a monster. This person in my family died before I was born but, if they were still alive, I honestly don’t know how I would feel or to what extent my family would “circle the wagons” around them.

  30. Riley*

    I think I’m feeling a bit gloomy because of the much needed rain we’re getting where I live, but… I need a bit of a pep talk from people who’ve maybe been through my situation and come out the other side.

    I just turned 28 a couple weeks ago and I have never felt more lonely and empty in my life. I’m facing the mortality of one of my parents, the other parent is just… I won’t even go there (completely useless in this situation??). My job is completely unimpressive, what I earn is pretty mediocre. I have no romantic life to speak of. I feel like my entire life is just going to get worse and worse and worse, at this point. Out of all my cousins I’m the only unmarried one, they have interesting jobs, etc. I guess every family has to have a loser and I feel like I’m it. I want to go back to school (but I won’t be able to go in the foreseeable future) and get married and have a family, but everything feels so impossible. I feel like I missed my chance at a fulfilling life. I know I’m probably being overdramatic, but my god… can it ever get better?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It gets better, I promise.
      My mother was terminally ill for a decade, the hopelessness of her setting permeated every aspect of my life. Just as you are showing here. She died when I was 23 and my father died 10 years later. It felt like the hopelessness and defeat would never end, so much medical crap and they just kept getting sicker. My friends were sitting in bars I was sitting in ERs. I aged, not in a good way.
      Because I put so much time into them my work life/home life got shorted. As you are pointing out, it gets BLEAK. For me this was something way out beyond what an anti-depressant could help with. I needed actual changes in my life.

      I went for life coaching after my husband passed. Her big message was to be deliberate. I never thought about this- crap just occurs naturally, if we want something good to happen we have to go out and create that good thing or set it up to happen. The crap will just keep happening and it is up to us to build good stuff into our lives.

      So what would you like to do? Start small, keep it simple and keep it doable. You want to feel success, so set the odds in your own favor, stack the deck for yourself. What little thing would you like to do that you think you would have success doing? Anything is fair game, a new pair of jeans, visiting your nice neighbor, joining a volunteer group, or anything else you can come up with.
      Start steering your life with baby steps. Make little changes, but keep making little changes.
      No, you are not being over dramatic, it sucks. Yes, it can and will get better.

    2. Colette*

      Of course it can.

      Right now, you’re comparing yourself to people who appear to have it all – but odds are, some of them are unhappy in their relationship, some are broke, some are struggling health-wise, and some work jobs that are draining and unrewarding. You can’t judge other people’s burdens from the outside.

      What do you find fulfilling? Do you like your job? If not, what would you rather do? What about relationships – do you have rewarding friendships? Are you dating? Do you have hobbies you love?

      What can you do to move closer to the life you want?

    3. Mando Diao*

      Please don’t compare yourself to the “facebook profile versions” of your friends and relatives.

  31. Jillociraptor*

    I just got a robot vacuum today. (Like a Roomba but not.) I had read that people anthropomorphized their Roombas a lot, but OH MY GOD: in two hours, I’ve already comforted the thing for getting stuck in the bathroom, told it “Good job, buddy!” for managing to escape from underneath my couch, and wondered if I’ve been making it work too hard and should tell it to go back to its charging station. :\

        1. Sparkly Librarian*

          I know someone whose twins’ nicknames in utero were Roomba and Scooba. :)

      1. Jillociraptor*

        Mine did try to eat a pair of jeans on the floor and emit some sad, confused beeps. It needs a little babysitting.

      1. Marcela*

        You can find batteries for roombas in Amazon. I mean not original ones. I seem to remember they cost about 15, 20? I send them to my mom in Chile, and they seem to be good enough and last about the same year the roombas batteries last.

    1. CMT*

      Try to ignore and not engage, for the most part. The unfollow and mute features on Facebook and Twitter are godsends — not just for sexism but even if you’re just tired of seeing pictures of somebody’s baby. I don’t have the mental energy to engage with people on this, unless maybe they’re very close friends and I think I can get them to actually understand their words/actions differently.

      Unless you’re talking about sexism actually aimed at you, say by Twitter trolls. In that case I have no advice, but I’m so sorry. Maybe read Lindy West’s new book?

    2. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Depending on my mood and how much I need to avoid distraction, I either ignore or engage.

      I have no qualms about engaging.

      Do what you feel comfortable with.

  32. SAHM*

    Pregnancy sucks. I’m exhausted and can’t bend over to pick up all the toys/random screw drivers/computer knickknacks/books because I have a bowling ball attached to my front. But I can’t just LEAVE them on the floor because it’s driving me crazy. 19 days and counting until DDay.

    1. The Rat-Catcher*

      I hear you! I’m due 7/10 and my doc tried to help me out by saying “no housework the last month” which is cute but… who’s going to do it? Certainly not me with a newborn after delivery!

      1. SAHM*

        Lol! No housework? Really? I mean, it’s a total dream come true, but that’s all it is – a dream! At least in my house, Hubby is good at pitching in but he misses a lot of very obvious things (i.e. Putting a fresh garbage bag INTO the trash after taking it out). My boys have been really helping with the house work, Thing 1 wants a remote control ATAT and Thing 2 wants a paw patrol mission chase toy, so they’ve been “earning” money the last few weeks to get them. Also after spending half an hour telling them to pick up their Legos I just turn on the vacuum and watch them scramble to pick them up before I vacuum them. Muhahaha!

      2. Mephyle*

        “No housework the last month”? Hah. That’s from the same brilliant storehouse of advice as “sleep when the baby sleeps”. For much the same reason, except that when the baby sleeps is not only the time for getting housework done but also for getting dressed, showering, brushing teeth, making meals, etc.

  33. Pennalynn Lott*

    The ultimate in mansplaining!

    Last night, Boyfriend and I were at my next-door neighbor’s house. He was the only man among 5 women. We women started talking about boob sweat (it’s June and humid as all get-out here) and the various way we combat it. So Boyfriend pipes up and tells us all what kind of bra we *should* be wearing, and how we ought to be wearing it.

    I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a looooooong time. I was like, “Please, do tell us all about your vast bra-wearing experience. I need to hear more nuggets of wisdom based on all of the feminine undergarments you’ve worn over the years. At what age did you get your first training bra?” BAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

      1. Alix*

        My father tries to do this to me. I’m a military historian, and he’s the one who encouraged me to pursue that. We’ve reached a tentative compromise where he gets to pontificate about the eras he’s interested in, and he leaves the ones I work on alone.

        But it also blows his mind on a regular basis that I’m into archery and sometimes cut my hair, so.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      LOL! I’m glad you can have a sense of humor about it. That sounds infuriating!

    2. Felix*

      Hahahaha oh that is amazing. Ultimate manaplaining right there. My fav is when my BF says “is it feminist to read that book/watch that show/argue that point” the other day I was like “omg, are you the feminist enforcement officer?!”

    3. Temperance*

      My terrible intern started explaining how the LSAT works and what the Innocence Project does, to me and to my other intern. He was dead wrong on both, and I called him out on it.

  34. Economics Book*

    Do you know any economics books that are unbias, yet can provide basics such as price and demand concepts and how financial and govt institiutions affect each other a whole?

    So far I have read economis a users guid by ha joon chong.

    Books about the deficiences of gdp and other financial measures will be good too.

    1. Joanna*

      There isn’t such a thing as an unbiased book on economics (or anything else) as even an author who is trying very hard to be fair will still have biases they weren’t aware of.

      Putting that aside, a good economics book that covers a lot without getting into overwhelming technical detail is How to Speak Money by John Lanchester

  35. Guava*

    AAMers have been so helpful with cooking and food questions…so here’s another one!

    What are you favorite international or non-American food blogs? If I see another overnight oat or mason jar salad recipe…

    My family is from Latin America and I’ve found a few sites that cater to that cuisine, but I’d like to expand my palate even more. I live within 10 mins of a Korean, Persian, Japanese, and Latino grocery store so I need to take advance of this!!!

    1. NicoleK*

      I recently came across Hot Thai Kitchen. She also has a youtube channel as well. I really enjoy Pailin’s easy style and approach.

    2. periwinkle*

      My mother was Japanese but spent part of her childhood in Korea and preferred the cuisine of the latter. Guess I take after her! Maangchi (dot com) is a fantastic Korean cooking site with tons of recipes. Better yet, she’s got a YouTube channel loaded with her demos of the recipes. It’s like having a fun friend who shares her family recipes.

      1. CMT*

        I was going to recommend Smitten Kitchen, too. She’s American, but you’re not going to find overnight oats or mason jar salads there.

    3. Emilia Bedelia*

      Maangchi is a great Korean cooking blog, and I also really like indianhealthyrecipes – not a creative name, but wonderful curries.
      Serious Eats is probably my favorite cooking blog period- it’s more about techniques/food history/cuisines, but if you’re into cooking and food, it’s super interesting.
      One of my favorite recipe sites is Food Wishes. It’s American, but not twee/mommy blogger- the creator is a former chef/culinary instructor, so he has a lot of great techniques, and he does a video for each recipe, so they’re really easy to follow along with. He does a huge variety of international food styles- they’re not necessarily authentic, but I’ve never made a recipe that came out poorly.

    4. YaH*

      My favorite is on Tumblr. It’s foodffs dot tumblr dot com. She posts a new recipe every single hour, and it’s a huge sampling of different types of recipes. Recent recipes include barbacoa short rib tacos, peanut butter salted caramel cookies, and walnut pesto.

    5. Alix*

      I’ve had pretty good luck with whats4eats.com, which has recipes from all over the world. Not sure how authentic their recipes are, though.

  36. Betty (the other Betty)*

    Has anyone replaced drywall on your own? How hard was it?

    We just bought a house and the attached 1-car garage is a mess. At first I thought I would just paint it, but the walls and ceiling are pretty beat up. There is a door from house to garage, and then from garage to backyard, so we will be walking through it a lot (as will our guests) and I’d love it to look clean.

    1. GOG11*

      My family did extensive remodeling ourselves after our house fire when I was in high school. Measuring, scoring/cutting, hanging and mudding isn’t hard, but taping/handling corner seams is more tricky (and something I didn’t do myself). A few of the biggest things are hanging the ceiling drywall first so the walls hold up the edges of the ceiling and not drilling too deep = if you drill clear through the paper rather than dimpling it the hold isn’t really very secure. You could probably check your local hardware or home improvement store. My parents and I learned from a family friend who knew how to do it, so I’m not sure where to learn unless you know someone who’d be willing to help out.

      1. Betty (the other Betty)*

        Thanks! At least it’s the garage, so if it doesn’t turn out perfect that will be alright. But I wouldn’t want the ceiling to fall down so I’ll make sure to get some expert advice and then decide whether it is worth hiring someone.

    2. New Reader*

      For several of our garage walls we had pegboard put up instead of drywall. That might be easier to install and provide easy places to hang such things as rakes, shovels, brooms, etc.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      It’s more involved than I like. Physically, no, I cannot do a lot of the work. I have recently learned that I cannot lift 12 foot pieces of sheet rock.

      Very simply described:
      You take out the stuff that is there. Haul that away.
      This makes lots of dust and cleaning up is worthwhile prep for the next step.
      As long as you have the walls open, you can check the wiring to make sure everything looks good and is up to code.
      You can put in insulation if you chose.
      Then you hang the sheet rock. If a person is not used to doing this, then it is definitely a two person job. One person to hold it and the other to screw it in place.
      Now the “fun” picky ass part:taping and mudding. This is a couple days right here. The smoother you put down the mud the less sanding you do. Yes, that matters, less dust, less clean up, less dust in the paint when you paint. You will need to do at least two coats, possibly a third. You want the surface as smooth as glass. Any ripples or bumps will stick out like a sore thumb once you paint it. A good taper is worth his weight in gold. They can do a small area in a couple hours, where as a newbie like me would take days.

      After you let that dry, you are ready for primer. Probably it will take two coats, especially if you put on thin coats of paint like I do.
      Then you can top coat it.
      Do your floor last. That way if you dump paint/spackle/whatever on it, you are trashing the old floor not the good, new floor.
      If you want any trim work around the area, you can add that.
      Put your outlet covers and switch plates back on, put up hooks, door stops and so on.

      I have skipped numerous steps here, this is just to give you an idea of the process. There are plenty of videos on YouTube, I recommend checking out a few, as pictures are worth a thousand words.

      1. MommaCat*

        You can get away with the taping and mudding being less than perfect if you do a spray texture. We had to replace some of the drywall when we bought our house, and we hired a company to do the spray texture for us when we finished. Since it’s a garage, you can probably get away with renting a spray machine and doing it yourself. It just won’t look as polished.

    4. Down the road*

      We cheated when we did our garage… instead of taping the joints we put a 1×4 at each joint and painted it the same as the wall board. This gave us mounting points for all of our garage bits like rakes, shovels, cords etc. Obviously this only works for a garage.

    5. MaggiePi*

      Since it’s the garage, you might decide not to mud it and that would make it a lot easier.
      If the stuff you have ripped up, or just ugly? It might be worth having someone look at it before you rip it out, in case a skim coat or spray texture could be all you need to make it look new.

    6. Alix*

      I don’t know that I’d call it hard – at least, not with at least one other person helping; I never tried to do it alone – but it was time-consuming and really, really dusty.

      If the walls and ceiling aren’t actually broken, you can probably just patch, prime, and paint, and that’s also pretty time-consuming, but it’s a) not dusty and b) you’d have to do that anyway if you replace the drywall.

      Honestly, if you do decide it needs replacing, unless you have a lot of time to kill or enjoy renovating things yourself, you might want to either rassle up a group of friends to help out or see if you can hire someone to do it for a decent rate. It’s annoying enough that even though I can and have done it, given a choice, I won’t do it myself again.

  37. EU referendum*

    I know most people here are US-based (and have their own crazy voting event to deal with), but I’ve been slightly obsessed with the EU referendum. I started paying attention because I’m thinking about going to the UK later this year (I’m in Australia), and the opinion polls are having a pretty heavy impact on the exchange rate. But the more I read about it the more fascinated I become about the craziness of it all. To borrow a quote from a satirical panel show: “Nobody knows which way it will go, nobody knows which way it should go, all we know that it will be end of the world.”

    Between Trump and Brexit, 2016 has been a year of crazy campaigns, I don’t know if things will calm down a bit after June (or November) is over, but I sure hope it will.

    (Here in Australia we also have an election coming up in July, and while both major candidates are mediocre at best, but at least neither have the power to end the world…that we know of.)

    1. fposte*

      I’m fascinated by the Brexit specter! I snickered at the point that one of the panelists on the News Quiz (was that where that quote was from? It sounds familiar–I could hear Jeremy Hardy saying it) made this week–Britain’s talking about it as if Europe couldn’t hear the whole conversation, so it was like talking about whether or not to dump your girlfriend in front of the girlfriend.

      1. EU referendum*

        The funny thing is that girlfriend is now talking about wanting you to leave. Lol.

        Yup it was Gyles Brandreth. I was surprised how much I enjoyed his appearance on HIGNFY since I found his previous participation on panel shows (QI comes to mind) absolutely cringeworthy.

    2. Mando Diao*

      It’s going to have a major effect on the US election. Trump will openly talk about wanting to follow England’s lead by closing borders, and Hillary will haw and hem for the sake of diplomacy. We only need one more violent event in Europe, with connections to the migration, to cinch the election for Trump.

    3. Caledonia*

      Urgh. I am REALLY tired of all this EU referendum stuff. I’m suffering from election voting fatigue, as this will be the 4th(!!) time I’ll have voted in under 2 years – all for different things, starting with the Scottish Independence ref in Sept 2014. We’ve also had our general (UK-wide) election, our Scottish election and now the EU one.

      Much like the Scottish ref (or the Indyref), it’s really difficult to tell what is what. I’m scared that if we vote leave, the impact it will have on Scotland, because our Scottish leader is remain, which may or may not trigger another Indyref.
      Sigh. I can’t wait til it’s over!

      1. Electron whisperer*

        The thing I don’t get is why Cameron went for it, I mean as a Conservative, why set up what is always going to be an acrimonious debate about EUROPE within your own party, there is just no possible upside politically (The conservative party has a long history of tearing itself apart over Europe for no reason that makes much sense to anyone outside).

        Mind you, political parties committing suicide seems to be the flavour of the month, Trump should have been gods gift to the democrats, and they respond with Clinton? At least Trump Vs Saunders would have been amusing from a distance, Trump/Clinton is just depressing.
        meanwhile our supposed Opposition (Which is actually quite important in a parliamentary system) appoints someone nobody can take seriously as a leader, which should be gods gift to the Government who respond by imploding over an EU debate that was not necessary!

        Personally I am for staying in, the fact that the European Convention on Human Rights gets home secretaries from any party frothing over what they are not allowed to do, is a good enough reason to want to keep it.

        Regards, Dan.

        1. Caledonia*

          Isn’t it because he (Cameron) made some kind of concession to his party if they got re-elected? That’s what I’ve heard/seen because I also wondered why we’re having a ref on it…but yes, I wouldn’t vote leave because of who we have in power and the things they’ve already done to undermine everything (the NHS, unemployment) and it’s because of EU rights and legislation that things are kept (slightly) in check. I believe that if we left, we’d be alot like America – sorry you guys but you know your working hours/leave isn’t the best (generally speaking).

          1. Merry and Bright*

            I think we have a mixture of working legislation though. The Working Time Directive comes from the EU, but other stuff like the Minimum Wage Act, maternity rights and minimum annual leave come from laws passed by our own governments. These aren’t equal across the whole EU for instance. I’m not an apologist for this government though (didn’t vote for it) but actually think one bunch of politicians is pretty much as bad as the next whether here or overseas on the continent.

            1. Electron whisperer*

              I forget who said it, but “Politicians are like nappies, they should be changed often, and for exactly the same reason, lest they become completely full of….”.

              A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.

              Could someone from the US please tell me what the hate on with Clinton is all about?
              I mean to an outsider she comes across as a basically run of the mill Washington democrat with some skeletons on the closet (And in the mail servers log files), but basically a standard political animal of the US Democratic sort, yet to hear the noise on the internet you would think she ate babies.

              Surely even ardent republicans are not trying to dehumanise the opposition as an electioneering tactic? Odds are they will have to work with these people to pass anything much, so you would think it was a counterproductive tactic in terms of the bigger picture.

              Regards, Dan.

              1. Cruciatus*

                I’m American and I have no idea about the hate for Clinton. I get not liking her because you disagree with her, but I see so many people, generally men (just an observation) calling her out for being a “career criminal.” I asked one person about this and what specifically he meant and he told me he wasn’t sure and would have to look it up. So…

                1. NicoleK*

                  Yes, the hatred for Clinton rivals the hatred for Obama. Generally, when asked many can’t even articulate a reason for their hatred.

                2. Electron whisperer*

                  Interesting, mainly for the fact that disagreeing with someone, about politics of all things, is seen as a good enough reason to dislike them by a reasonable person.

                  Could be we are doing that ‘two peoples separated by a common language’ thing, but I don’t find in general that disagreeing with someone about politics has any bearing on liking the person.

                  It could also be that frothing about the spawn of Satan from the opposite party on the internet is cheap talk, and that we only see the rabid 1% making all the noise and causing face palms from the other 99% of the electorate that we never get to see.

                  Regards, Dan.

              2. NicoleK*

                People in the opposing party hate her because she’s a strong woman, a Clinton, married to Bill, and a Democrat. People in her own party hate her because she’s seen as untrustworthy, shady, not liberal enough, and very power hungry.

              3. Student*

                It’s kind of a Hatfield-McCoy situation.

                The Republican party are basically are angry they lost so many fights with Bill in the 1990s. They’re trying to re-wage the same fight, continuously.

                The Republicans started demonizing her because she wasn’t a “feminine” enough First Lady for them when her husband was President. They realized she was going to use the First Lady position as a spring board into politics, and they’ve been rabidly attacking her pretty much ever since, to try to keep her from being a highly visible, successful Democratic female politician. The Republicans also had it in for Bill Clinton in an irrational way, failed all their battles against him, and are trying to re-fight the same battle by fighting her now.

                They’ve been belittling Hillary so long that it’s bled over across party lines. She’s about the same as most politicians – not great, not terrible, but lots more experience than most. There’s a lot of people convinced she’s somehow terrible just because Republicans have been saying she’s evil incarnate for so long.

                Other examples of the total derangement of the Republicans toward anything with the word “Clinton” on it – the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty. That is the treaty wherein everyone in the world agreed we should stop doing nuclear weapons tests. The major hold-out keeping the treaty from going into effect is the United States, because the Republican Congress didn’t want to give Bill Clinton a political victory. The US plays a major role in the CTBT, gets lots of valuable info from it about things like the North Korean nuclear tests, but our government won’t ratify it to this day because there’s a “Clinton” on the signature line. There are no substantive policy arguments against it.

        2. Merry and Bright*

          Had to smile at your last paragraph!

          I think one of the main reasons goes back to the General Election last year when Cameron was worried he would lose a lot of seats to UKIP, whose main policies focus on EU membership and immigration, of course. In his campaign he promised the country a membership referendum if he were elected – and here we are. A politician’s promise kept but one he could regret big time whatever the result. I agree it is crazy on the face of it. But he could have faced a revolt from the backbenches if he backed down, and he only has a wafer thin majority to play with. Whatever happens next, this is one split party.

          1. Caledonia*

            Of all the promises he made, this is the one he kept! It’s madness when you think about it.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              I bought this week’s Der Spiegel which has all the Brexit articles translated into english. The interview with Wolfgang Schauble makes interesting reading.

              It is still not clear what is going to happen to all of us economic migrants in the EU. Not that I am expecting to be deported on the 24th of June, but there is no indication of whether we will need to do more to obtain our residence permits.

        3. Vulcan social worker*

          >Mind you, political parties committing suicide seems to be the flavour of the month, Trump should have been gods gift to the democrats, and they respond with Clinton? At least Trump Vs Saunders would have been amusing from a distance, Trump/Clinton is just depressing.

          I’ve been a fan of Sanders since he was in the House in the 1990s, but there’s a reason he hasn’t won the Democratic nomination. It’s not like the DNC just decided Clinton would be the nominee, claims of election fraud notwithstanding. Democratic voters have chosen Clinton because the number of people who are very liberal is limited to those who came out to vote for Sanders in the primary. He wouldn’t have pulled away any voters from Trump. (In addition, he’s never had a national attack ad against him, and once he became the nominee and voters learned of some things in his record, he would lose some of his shine too.) Clinton might win some Republican women who can’t stomach Trump’s misogyny. In a normal year, Democrats line up behind whoever the nominee is. In June 2008, Obama had less support from those who supported Clinton in the primary than she has from those who supported Sanders, so hopefully his supporters will come around once he throws his support to her at the convention. He has said that his priority is keeping Trump out of the White House, and that he’s not going to mount and independent campaign.

          Obviously if you’re not a Democrat this is not your perspective, but this is how I see it.

          I’m sure Trump will provide you with plenty of long-distance entertainment for a long time anyway as you hope that your politicians manage not to burn your own country down.

          1. Student*

            Yeah, a big thing to keep in mind about Sanders – Clinton made a deliberate choice not to attack him in any regard. It was political, so as to not alienate his voters on the fringe of the party.

            Republicans did the exact same thing with Trump – decided not to ever sincerely attack him or vet him, so as not to alienate his fringe voters. That’s why all the big opposition research articles are coming out now in the general election – things about Trump’s long record of fraud, bankruptcy, etc. that probably would’ve tanked him early int he Republican primary.

            There’s already been years of people trying to dig up dirt on Clinton. She may not be clean, but we know in great detail about every mistake she’s ever made going into the primaries. Sanders, nobody has dug through his past and published it on the front page. The dude is on the fringe, has some pretty extreme ideas for US politics beyond what he’s publicized in the primaries, hasn’t ever been very good at getting things done in politics, and has some history that Trump would use to rip him to shreds in the general election.

            Clinton was kind to Sanders because it’s politically favorable and because she could afford to be kind to him and still win – she could’ve shredded him to pieces if she had needed to.

    4. Jascha*

      Brexit is awfully scary, especially to those of us whose lives stand to be significantly changed by a Leave vote. A few months ago, I thought the likelihood of leaving the EU was at best a distant possibility… but then again, a few months ago, I thought the likelihood of Trump’s becoming the Republican presidential nominee was impossible, too.
      Of course I’m going to cast my own vote in the referendum, but the idea that it – along with the votes of everyone else who needs the EU – might not be enough keeps me awake at night.

      1. Dangerfield*

        I know, it’s terrifying. There’s a very good chance that if Brexit happens, I will lose my job. Other people I work with will lose their jobs. We rely on our relationship with Europe.

        1. Mander*

          My industry will be under threat because so many of us are European. There simply aren’t enough qualified British people applying for the jobs.

      2. The Avocado*

        I’m terrified and horrified at the same time. I can’t believe that brexit is a serious possibility and it’s all so ridiculous! Absolutely bringing out the worst people.

        I find it impossible that I had a serious conversation with my husband today about what we would do in terms of brexit, because honestly I’m not sure it’s going to feel like my country any more.

  38. Al Lo*

    I have an acquaintance who organizes a clothes swap twice a year, and the spring one was today. I went in with three bags of clothes, and came out with one. Feels like an accomplishment, both in helping to clean out my closet, and also in getting new clothes!

    $5 admission, bring as much or as little as you have to bring, take as much or as little as you want. There were maybe 25 or 30 women there, and a good amount of clothes left at the end, which will all be donated to charity. I think some of the women didn’t bring anything, which is totally fine by this particular swap’s standards, and I don’t think anyone left empty-handed.

    For years my church has done a giant garage sale giveaway. The entire building is filled with thousands and thousands of donations of clothes, toys, bites, furniture, and everything else you can imagine, and the lineups before it opens are enormous. It’s open to the community, and there are some low income housing units nearby where they advertise the event heavily, because everything is free. I haven’t gone to that one in years, because it’s a bit too hectic, but this one was nice and manageable.

    1. Mirilla*

      That sounds fabulous. I wish we had something like that around here. I’ll have to keep an ear out to see if I hear of anything in the area. I like the idea of the garage sale giveaway too. All free is good for people who don’t have a lot to spend but need things. You live in a very nice community!

  39. GOG11*

    I’ve talked on here a bit about my asthma problems and recently gave up dairy after a series of intense reactions. Since doing so, my coughing, vocal hoarseness (which I attributed to asthma but which tests showed wasn’t to blame) and intense congestion has almost completely gone away. That’s great, but since giving it up, I’ve had low-level nausea and a dry, burning feeling in my stomach (I think some people call it sour stomach) every few hours and it’s driving me nuts. I’m awaiting an appointment with an allergist and antiticpate I’ll undergo allergy testing in the next few weeks, so I’m hoping I can figure out exactly what I need to avoid, but in the meantime, I’d really like to fix this horrid feeling. Any tips or ideas?

      1. Sophie*

        +1 to eating small snacks/meals. Many of the symptoms you mention are common to acid reflux. I recently found out that my life-long congestion was actually due to acid reflux.

        1. GOG11*

          I’ve been eating much more frequently in response to this, and I was already a bit of a grazer. I’d say every 2 hours at least, but in the morning I eat and drink my breakfast slowly over the course of an hour or two. I’ve been trying to eat before I get the “hungry” feeling, and I certainly won’t complain if the solution is just munching most of the day :)

          Sophie, I hope you’ve been able to make some improvement to your congestion. I wasn’t perpetually congested, but when I was, it drove me bananas.

    1. Colette*

      I don’t know if this is relevant, but when I use my Flovent inhaler directly, I start losing my voice. Using an aero chamber makes the problem go away.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, dairy can do a real number on people. I am glad you are getting results.

      How are you doing on your water intake? Are you able to keep your intake levels fairly even each day?
      Do you eat a lot of foods that are acidy? My downfall is coffee. sigh.
      How’s your raw food intake? Do you get fruits and veggies regularly?

      It sounds to me like the lining of your stomach is weakened. Have to tried Pepto or anything with pepsin in it? This could be a new layer of the same problem. Allergies caused a lot of mucus for me, which went into my digestive track and tore up my digestive track.

      1. GOG11*

        Thank you – I am very, very sad that dairy may be causing problems (at the least, I know not eating dairy has definitely improved things respiratory-wise) since it encompasses all my very favorite foods.

        I drink about 64 ounces of water per day. I don’t drink coffee or eat many acidic or spicy foods. I eat 3-4 servings of fruit and anywhere from 1-4 servings of veggies, depending on the day. I don’t use pepto or anything like that. I think I just relied on things like milk, icecream and yogurt to quell the acid in my stomach and now that that’s gone I’m really feeling the burn (*rimshot*). I hope your allergies are doing better now.

        I know some folks on here have gone paleo and I believe others have mentioned vegan diets or recipes and I just don’t know how they do it. Props to them because I’m really struggling.

        1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

          If you might have acid reflux, or even if your digestion is adjusting after the quelling effect of dairy, it might in fact be the fruit. I was having a really bad bout of reflux recently and was researching what else I might be eating that could be causing it. I knew to avoid citrus (I really miss lemonade) but I was shocked to find out that in general, fruits as a category are the most acid foods (except for bananas and melons). Apricots are about the same Ph as sauerkraut. All of a sudden the instant heartburn that raisins give me made sense.

          So that might be it — it isn’t always true that acid reflux is set off by acidic foods, but it might be something to consider as you adjust your diet. I’ll link to some .edu resources in a reply.

  40. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

    My first novel (to be released in July) got a positive review from Publishers Weekly, and USA Today requested an advance copy from Net Galley! It also currently has a 4.26 rating on Goodreads. So exciting!

    1. Not Karen*


      May I ask you for advice on beta readers? I sent my novel to a supposed friend in January, and she hasn’t gotten back to me. I’m not inclined to trust people with my novel, especially because it takes unorthodox approaches to sensitive topics.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I make beta readers sign an email stating my terms. People always say “Oh, I want to read your book!” But if I let them read unpublished work, they have to agree to certain criteria. I just send an email and they have to reply in the affirmative that they agree to all points, and then I save it offline in case there are any problems.

        Some of the things they agree to are not disclosing anything about the book, not sharing it, not keeping it past an agreed-upon time, deleting electronic files after reading, and any compensation for said reading shall be agreed upon in advance and non-negotiable afterward. I also let them know what I want from them–one or two have looked stuff over editorially and comment thusly, and I have at least one person who reads it as someone who picked it up in Barnes & Noble would.

        Also, check to see how many books people read in a week. If it’s two or more, I know they won’t keep my manuscript an inordinate amount of time, because it makes me nervous to have copies out there just sitting and out of my control. If they have big life events coming up, like a baby or wedding or a move to Siberia, that’s also not a good time to take them up on any offers.

        1. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

          This is all great advice! I actually posted my novel as a WIP online, so I had a lot of different beata readers instead of just one.

    2. Lore*

      I probably read that review! (I read PW pretty religiously.) Congratulations, and I hope you’ll share more details when the book’s out so we can look for it!

  41. Aloe Vera*

    Can one have an animal allergy so bad that you need to avoid exposure to places where animals have been in the last five years?

    A friend and I have been growing distant, and I recently invited her to an upcoming BBQ I’m having. She replied that she couldn’t attend because her cat allergy is so bad that she now has to avoid places where cats have been in the last five years. We used to have a cat in our house, but she died nearly two years ago.

    Because of our growing distance, I find myself wondering if this a real thing, or if she using this as an excuse to not see me. Can an animal allergy be as bad as she says?

    1. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under, A.A., B.S.*

      It could be. Cats are better than most people anyway, so…

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Wow. I have not heard of this, but that means nothing.

      I would say this, if a person is that exquisitely sensitive to an allergen, then they are in serious trouble. I mean big time trouble.

      I think in the name of friendship, offer sympathy and tell her that you cannot provide the type of environment she needs. This side steps the whole question of whether she is exaggerating or avoiding you. And it puts you on the high road, where the solution is something you can not control, you have been cat-less for two years, you cannot make the calendar zoom ahead to the five year mark.
      Try to hold it in the perspective of there are very few places your friend CAN go, not going to your house is only the tip of the iceberg of her problems.

      I talked about it a couple times here. I got myself into a spot where I was pretty sensitive to chemicals and other allergens. So I am not without sympathy for your friend. It took a lot for me to lower my sensitivity. Your friend’s level of sensitivity is very high, in my opinion. I know what it took to get my sensitivity reduced, I cannot imagine what she would have to do to reduce hers. I am not sure she can.

    3. Kitties!*

      Yup, I’ve definitely heard of this, and have also seen it used both legitimately and as an excuse (I used to work in an industry allergic folks gravitated toward, which I know sounds weird). Good luck navigating!

  42. Anon for now*

    Help please. I need advice.

    I take a number of medications. Sometimes I get weird medicine reactions. They cause problems for me, including emotional upheaval and mental health problems.

    I’m in the middle of such a problem now. I’m working with my doctors and therapist to find the root cause and fix it.

    Until we solve it, I’m just trying to get through life. I feel like hell. :(

    So here’s the problem. Whatever is currently wrong is really messing me up. My temper is explosive and I’m genuinely having trouble controlling it. My husband is being sweet and kind… and I’m still exploding at him.

    This is bad. No one likes to be yelled at. To make it worse, he’s a survivor of abuse. He *really* can’t handle being yelled at. And when I realize what I’ve done, I hide in the bedroom and cry for an hour. :(

    What should I do to cope until I figure out what’s wrong with me?

    Should I leave the house? Ask him to work at a coffee shop for the day? Do I swallow rage no matter how much it hurts me until I can find a friend?

    I can’t go for a long walk (but I could drive somewhere and sit until I cool off).

    Ideas please? Thank you so much. Of course I am working with my doctors too.

    1. Colette*

      How long does it take you to calm down? Can you come up with a signal that tells him you’re irrationally angry and need time to cool down – and then go outside or somewhere else until you’re calm?

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Certain foods are downers- turkey, broccoli, cauliflower, there are others. I suggest working them into your diet.
      Minerals are also calming. How about a drink with electrolytes in it?
      Avoid chicken, not joking, and my personal opinion from just observing things is to lower your beef consumption.

      At first these ideas seem to be about a serious as a child’s toy. The effect adds up over time. So making dietary changes might take a few weeks for you to even begin to notice differences.

      Inability to control temper can also be a lack of rest. How do you sleep at night, are you able to get almost eight hours every night or are you up half the night? yeah. It matters, no rest means no coping ability. Ever watch a kid low on sleep? And that is a much tamer version of what happens to adults who go for prolonged periods of poor rest.

      Do you journal? It sounds like it would be good for you. When you feel like yelling start writing instead. Try to catch the anger at the earliest point and start writing.

      I grew up in a family that really did not work on controlling their tempers. Having a plan is super important, so you are on a good path because you are looking for a plan. Granted, my temper issues were not similar to yours here, but one thing that helped me to gain control was to make myself apologize each time. By apologizing, I mean expressing remorse/regret without making excuses or coming up with reasons. Pure apology, only.

      Another thing that helped me to keep my temper in check is to tell myself temper is a loss of control, it usually comes with the feeling of “I don’t know how to handle this situation/problem/issue.” This means collecting up tools for handling various issues that come up. Target the recurring issues, things you know usually are upsetting to you. Have a plan for each of these things. You will probably find that some plans are re-usable in other situations.

      How often do you cry? I have a theory that behind anger is unexpressed tears. Do you ever sit down and have a good hard cry without having an explosion first? Tears trigger a chemical reaction in the brain that keep the brain healthy. And they are a purge.

      Google your meds. Find out if there is some side effect where the med boomerangs and causes the very symptom it is suppose to prevent. One diabetes drug can actually raise blood sugar in some people. The very thing it is supposed to prevent. Speaking of blood sugar, how’s yours? I married into a family of diabetics and when they got low on food, their tempers were sky high. And no, they could not control it.

      I wish you the best, I think you are very strong person and you will find a path through this. Let us know how you are doing.

    3. Temperance*

      Can you leave the house or go to a different room? I would probably explain this to him, and that you’re working on your rage issues. You can ask him to go to a coffee shop, too.

      He might feel bad walking away from you if your health isn’t good, so you need to give him permission.

    4. Graciosa*

      I’m not sure driving anywhere while you’re enraged is a good idea. Even if you haven’t lashed out yet at another driver – while behind the wheel of a multi-thousand-pound lethal weapon – you’re probably distracted (by your anger) at best.

      Please talk to your doctor about help in managing this – there may be medical alternatives you have yet to explore.

      In the meantime, I think leaving the room is fine, but also recommend exercise. It uses up the energy productively, dumps the adrenaline, and releases endorphins.

      Best wishes.

      1. Anon for now*

        Thank you everyone. I’m so grateful for the ideas. Some of these are new and I’ll consider.

        Calming down takes roughly 60 minutes, unless I already exploded at him, in which case the anger turns toward myself and can take more like 12 hours to clear. :(

        I do apologize. Because of his abuse history, my apologies are almost useless and the damage I do lingers for days. This is horrible but I can’t change it. So I need to avoid the explosions in the first place.

        Low blood sugar is absolutely a possible part of the problem. Irregular sleep is 100% a factor, but we don’t know what’s causing my current sleep problems, and whether they are a cause of the rage, or a result of the rage. Frustrating as hell.

        I wish I could exercise more. I am already doing the max my body can reasonably handle (which is about 1 hour 3x a week, pretty good, but doesn’t allow for more).

        I think Temperance has it right. I will give him explicit permission to walk away, and I will (if I have to) hide in my home office with my iPad games.

        Thank you all. I hope to have relief soon. I’m grateful for the help.

        1. fposte*

          I’m wondering if texting could be helpful here, especially this happens when you two come together after awhile. You guys can develop a code that means it’s buffer-zone time and maybe he can even be notified in advance. Pick the name of the kid you hated when you were little–time s/he carried some burden.

          Is there something smashy but safe and weapon-free you can do that isn’t as physically taxing as exercise? Make bread, purge closets?

        2. Not So NewReader*

          My husband and I had a deal about low blood sugar. If he immediately ate something without arguing with me about eating, I would forever forget what he just said. This gave me say/power over the words that were flying at me from out of nowhere.
          Honestly, seeing him dig right in and start eating something sent a message to me that he wanted better for us. It made it easier to forget his words. Maybe moving to actions instead of apologies would help both you and your hubby.

          I am not a doc so you can take it with a grain of salt, if you like. I would start looking at minerals and start looking at vitamin E. You have one heck of a stress build up in your body. Vitamin can help with blood flow which in turn can help carry around those minerals so the minerals can work. Magnesium at night was helpful for my rest. Matter of fact, I have been back to using magnesium lately.

          I see about your limits on exercise and I totally get that. Please consider reframing how you view this. Instead of saying, “this is all my body can hack” tell yourself that you have “three hours a week as an opportunity to make a difference in my quality of life”. Use “the glass is half full” view.
          I would also suggest reconfiguring how you use that three hours. My idea is 20 minute walks each day. Spread it out more. You need a daily dose of something that builds you up.
          When my hubby died, my pastor said widows who walk daily make out better than widows who don’t walk. I tell you, it is absolutely AMAZING how much thinking and settling you can do in that short a time. The trick is doing it as often as you can with daily being ideal and success being 4-5 days out of the week.
          Walking with your spouse is also very good for marriages, so that might be a consideration for you. It’s such a simple thing that it is easy to skate by it. I can vouch for it as a very powerful tool.

          I am very optimistic for you, your attitude and approach are exactly what is needed to solve this. I think you will find solutions.

          1. Anon for now*

            Thank you! I’m trying so hard to get this right. To clarify: the walks are out because of the condition of my feet. I have limited “on my feet” time and I need it for errands and other life tasks. All the exercise is swimming. And the hours on the pool have some limits, plus it’s harder and more expensive to split swimming as you describe.

            But I see what you’re saying. I might be able to do 5 minute walks and see if it’s helpful.

            Smashing would be wonderful. I’ll see what I can think of. Thanks!

  43. MsChanandlerBong*

    May I please have some recommendations for mystery/suspense books? I am all caught up on my my favorite authors’ series, so I am looking to discover some new authors. Authors I like: Karin Slaughter, Allison Brennan, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Scottoline, Alafair Burke, Mary Higgins Clark (predictable, but fun), Carla Buckley, Laura McHugh.

    I just finished “The Weight of Blood” by Laura McHugh, and it was really good. I also read “Luckiest Girl Alive” recently, but I was not that impressed.

    1. Natalie*

      I love Sue Grafton’s series (A is for…, B is for…). You don’t have to start at the beginning if you don’t want to.

      Laura Lippmann is also great. She has a series (Tess Moghnahan) and a bunch of standalones. I find the series is better read in order.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        I started the Kinsey Milhone series, but I thought it was a bit slow. I’m on “E” now. I’ll keep reading, but if I find more exciting stuff in the meantime, I’ll put Grafton aside.

    2. Caledonia*

      The Trap – Melanie Raabe, Missing, presumed – Susie Steiner (more crime based), The Passenger – Lisa Lutz, Peter Swanson’s two novels, Elly Griffiths (a bit like a British Bones, I suppose), Elizabeth Haynes (excellent).

    3. Lore*

      I am a little bit of a junkie for this sort of thing, so if anything on this list seems good, come back for more!

      Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce books will seem like not at all the same kind of thing as you like, but they’re smart and funny and the 11-year-old Flavia has many of the same qualities of the adult heroines you like. Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan are British police procedurals with a strong female lead. Kelley Armstrong’s Nadia Stafford trilogy is a set of noir novels about a hit woman who only kills other hit men/women. And her newest book, City of the Lost, is the beginning of a new crime series set in the remote Yukon. Laura Lippman, mentioned below, is terrific and has lots and lots of books both series and standalone. MJ Arlidge has another British procedural series that’s tightly plotted and reminds me a bit of Karin Slaughter. Maybe Lori Roy?

    4. brightstar*

      I like a series by Camilla Lackberg. They’re set in Sweden and the focus is a policeman and the progression of his personal life. They aren’t tremendous but pleasant.

    5. Jen Erik*

      Tana French? First book in the series (Dublin Murder Squad) is ‘In the Woods’. It’s an interesting series because the protagonist is different in every book – so the first is told from a male detective’s pov, the second from his female partner’s pov, the third – I think – from the pov of her boss etc. (Should say, I wasn’t keen on the second book because I thought the premise farfetched, but I really like the series.)

    6. SophieChotek*

      Based on the authors you read, it sounds like you prefer mysteries set in the modern/current day (versus historical authors) but you listed a lot of authors I like in the modern period, so here’s what I can remember off the top of my head.

      1. S.J. Bolton – Lacey Flint Series – I think Book 4 Sacrifice was the one that stayed with me the most

      2. Andrew Mayne – Jessica Blackwood Series (only 2 books and a novella so far in the series)

      3. M.J. Alridge – Detective Helen Grace Series

      4. Lisa Black – Theresa McLaren Series (M.E.)

      5. Tess Gerritsen (Rizzoli/Isles series, which really is very very different than TV series)

      6. Kathy Reichs (Temperence Brennan series – also very different than TV’s Bones series)

      7.Beverly Connor (Diane Fallon forensic mystery series)

      8. Jefferson Bass (Body Farm Series – co-written by the scientist who started the actual Body Farm that inspired Patricia Cornwall/Kay Scarpetta)

      9. Angela Marsons (Kim Stone Mystery Series)

      10. Sally Spencer (Monika Paniatowski Series, set in 1970s)

      11. Leigh Russell (Geraldine Steel mystery Series)

      12. Sarah Hillary (Marnie Rome Mystery Series)

      — I’ll second Caledonia ‘s Elly Griffith mention (just reading the newset one Woman in Blue) and I see Lore also mentioned M.J. Alridge

      — sorry I feel like I should have more, my mind is drawing a blank…

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        You’re absolutely right! I shy away from historical fiction and the like. I love Rizzoli and Isles, but I am all caught up. I tried the Temperance Brennan series, which should be right up my alley, but I didn’t get into it. I don’t know if it’s because it is set in Montreal and I couldn’t identify with some of the words they used and places they went? I love the TV show, and I love that type of book, but I just didn’t make it too far into the first title in the series. I’ve never heard of the others, so now I’m going to head to my library site and see if I can find any of those authors in ebook format.

        Thanks to all who responded! When I post a comment, it takes forever to reload the page, so I’m posting one thank-you here so everyone sees it. :)

    7. Jane for Hire*

      Definitely Patricia Cornwell. Almost everyone I know who reads mystery loves her Scarpetta series. I would also suggest you check out Catherine Coulter, Jonathan Kellerman, and Michael Connelly.

    8. JJtheDoc*

      A little late to the party…try Carol O’Connell’s Mallory series. Complex story lines, unique central characters. Judas Child by the same author is also really good, and not run-of-the-mill. Warning: if you get into these, they are addictive!!

  44. Ann Furthermore*

    Just finished “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware. Loved it. If you liked “Gone Girl,” this will probably be right up your alley too.

    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      Glad to hear you liked it! I have a hold on it at the library, but there are a few people ahead of me. I bought “Gone Girl” a while back, but I didn’t get around to reading it yet. I should do that when I go on vacation next month!

  45. Wondering One*


    Any other Person of Interest fans out there? Wondering who’s going to make it through the next two weeks. They’ve already killed off my favorite major and minor characters (Root and Elias). Who do you think they’ll kill off next episode?

    1. Dangerfield*

      Please can you try to put spoiler warnings at the beginnings of posts about things that have only just aired? There are people from lots of countries on this site and we frequently run behind the US airing schedule. Thank you.

    2. TheLazyB*


      Season 5 hasn’t started in England yet. Second the request for spoiler warnings…… :(

      1. Wondering One*

        TheLazyB, Dangerfield, I’m really sorry. I should’ve thought of this, am new to commenting. I hate it when I see spoilers myself :( Promise it won’t happen again.

    3. The IT Manager*

      I think that’s it, but this is the show that killed off Carter in the middle of a season – no warning. The show is about to end. They knew this was the final season so maybe they’ll all go out in a blaze of glory winning the war while individually losing the battle. TBH Root ( and John and Shaw) have lived through so much I didn’t really think she was dead at the end of that episode; I was expecting a last minute recovery. But for whatever reaso, I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet.

  46. EyeProblem*

    I’m a regular commenter going anon for this, just in case anyone could recognize my woe.

    I’ve always had bad vision–I’ve worn glasses since I was a little kid. It’s never really bothered me.

    But this week, I developed a spot (sort of like the after image of a camera flash, only smaller) in an eye. I’ve gone to doctors, gotten a diagnosis and even HAD A NEEDLE IN MY EYE. I’m not yet 30, and I’m being told that this may be a permanent issue with my vision–treatment may shrink the spot, but it is unlikely to go away completely. I will need to be monitored by ophthalmologists for the rest of my life. And I will need more NEEDLES IN THE EYE.

    This has been so deeply distressing to me. I’ve had other medical problems that have had permanent effects, but those have been mostly orthopedic–eg a permanently damaged knee. None of those previous problems have ever sent me through an emotional loop before. I’ve basically taken ever other medical issue in stride, even when it’s meant surgery or other invasive treatments (I have no underlying condition other than being a klutz).

    But, guys, this is my EYE. My vision is busted in a way that can’t be fixed with classes. It’s not so bad that I can’t go about my every day life, but one day it could be. And that is really, really freaking me out. I have an appointment with my therapist later this week, but in the mean time, are there folks out there who have gone through similar emotional stuff with medical diagnoses? Anyone else with incurable eye problems? How did you get through it?

    1. fposte*

      Not eyes, but oh, yeah. Honestly, I think this is pretty primal–an animal with a vulnerability is just more…vulnerable–no matter how logical we think we’re being. I don’t think there’s any predicting which problem will make us feel that way, either. (For me cumulative effect plays a part, too.)

      I think you just get through it, and eventually it becomes more like the bad wallpaper–level annoyances that other physical problems are, with the big emotional responses only happening occasionally. And you know, it does really suck (I think everybody cringed with you at the needles), so it’s understandable to freak out initially. Maybe you were just cooler than average about your other stuff :-).

    2. Caledonia*

      I had a needle in my eye too. Way back when I was 12. I had a condition called ‘iritis’ (I guess I still do, it’s dormant now). It was pretty scary and the needle in the eye did not fix my eye either (my pupil in my left eye doesn’t dilate at all). I was on various medications and monthly hospital appointments (in which groups of medical students looked at me/my chart as the condition is relatively rare) until I was 15. Wasn’t meant to be out in full sunshine and I couldn’t bare bright lights.

      I have no real advice, just that there are other people who’ve been in the needle in the eye position before. Talking about it with your therapist is a good way to deal with it.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My friend has macular degeneration, she gets a shot in her eye every few weeks. She has been doing this for years. For her, it’s the preliminary thing (novacan?) that she finds the most bothersome.

      She watched her mother go blind and it is her biggest fear. I think counseling is good. I also think that building a plan is good. Although she probably has a while before she loses her sight, she is already starting to organize her house so she can find things.

      She does grieve her loss of sight. I think it’s important to mourn that. She talks about where she lives as being important to her. Neighbors, services and stores are close by. I have been encouraging her to learn what adaptive equipment is available for her computer. It’s a way that she can remain connected to everyone.

      Not much in helpful advice here, but to me, my friend is still my friend. She is a brilliant, witty woman who I think very highly of. Her vision is not the sum total of everything about her. It is part of her story but not all of it. But I am on the outside of that problem, not the inside, so this is worth all of two cents. People will find value in your friendship/companionship regardless of whether you have sight or not, I can attest to that part.

      1. EyeProblem*

        The shot I got is actually the same as people get for macular degeneration–it’s a similar phenomena even though the underlying cause is very different. My condition may stabilize without treatment–and I’m grateful for that.

        I think I’m dwelling on how much I’d lose in my life if I lost my sight–but that’s really a 1 in 1000 worst case scenario for me (significantly, one eye is 100% healthy).

        As for adaptive equipment, my god was it great when I said “Siri, make the font bigger. Siri, make it even bigger.” and then I could see the text on my phone again. Modern technology is really, really amazing.

    4. Temperance*

      I haven’t gone through it with vision issues, but I almost died back in February from an infection. I’m a huge germaphobe. I use hand sanitizer regularly. I wash my hands. I’m careful about what I eat, don’t share drinks, etc. And I still ended up intubated in the ICU.

      I have been dealing with it more now, emotionally, than when it happened.

      I’m 32. I’m in PT 3x/week to get back in some semblance of shape. I’m not happy about the situation. I am always thankful that my doctors were able to save me, even through the worst of it. I am angry at my body, though. I now have a pretty messed up immune system, and my allergies are worse than ever. I was starting an exercise program the week that I got sick – I seriously had plans for classes I would take, and when, and had arranged my work schedule. I couldn’t really walk when I left the hospital because I was in bed for a week. I’m still getting back to it now.

    5. Seal*

      I’ve been dealing with panuveitis – an inflammation of everything inside your eye – for almost 3 months now. It started with what appeared to be iritis – an inflammation of the iris, still serious but nearly as bad – but a week later I lost most of the vision in one eye. After visiting several specialists in one day and numerous tests, including NEEDLES IN MY EYE (that really does need to be capitalized every time!), they determined that the cause is autoimmune-related. The good news is that after a lot of steroids to reduce the inflammation most of the vision is back. The bad news? Take your pick: the vision in that eye still isn’t back to normal and may never be, one of the complications of prolonged steroid drops is developing a cataract that would require surgery (more NEEDLES IN MY EYE), since I tested positive for an autoimmune disease I will need to be monitored by a rheumatologist indefinitely, since it was caused by an autoimmune issue chances are the panuveitis will happen again, and I’ve gained 10 pounds these past few months due to the steroids.

      As if all that’s not enough, the day I was running around between specialists trying to figure out why I had become effectively blind in one eye in less than a week was the day I found out I didn’t get an interview for a job I had long coveted that would have allowed me to move back home. I found out later that while I was on paper by far the most qualified candidate, a few members of the search committee who I know professionally didn’t like me and didn’t want to work with me. As I had long assumed I had a cordial relationship with those people and that institution, I was completely blindsided (no pun intended). That was easily one of the worst days of my life.

      While these past few months have been difficult and sometimes scary (let’s face it – anything to do with your eyes other than an eye exam is TERRIFYING), I feel like I’ve gained quite a bit of perspective. Having a serious, sudden-onset health crisis, especially one that’s not readily apparent to others, forces you to rexamanine many things about your life and beliefs. In my case, I think it was some sort of cosmic intervention, strange as that may sound. Given the severity of my eye situation at the time, there was no way I could have interviewed for that job, no matter how badly I thought I wanted it. And not getting so much as a phone interview made me take a hard look at myself and why I wanted that job in the first place; in reality, it would have been very bad move career-wise for a number of reasons. Beyond that, I had urgent professional obligations at my current job I couldn’t easily put on hold; I needed to focus my now-limited mental and physical resources there. So in the end, my eye issue distracted me from a huge personal and professional disappointment, and my professional situation distracted me from my vision-threatening eye issue. For me, the timing of all of this is too odd to be mere coincidence.

      My best advice is to let your eye issue become a fact of life rather than the center of your life. Let yourself be distracted by other things, even if it’s only for a little while. While it’s hard to do at first, it does get easier over time. For the first month and a half, my daily schedule revolved around hourly eye drops, which was a giant pain in the ass, even though I could tell they were helping. It’s hard not to dwell on something you do that often, but after awhile, that just became part of my routine. The same with having the lights dimmed, not being able to drive at night, and not being able to go outside during the day without sunglasses – that’s just what I have to do to get through the day.

      Also, life does go on. A month after my day from hell, I applied for another job that I thought was a bit of a stretch for me. Lo and behold, they contacted me for an interview in less than a week, unheard of in my profession. So I did the interview, bad eye and all, and things went well; no one knew there was something wrong with my eye because I didn’t mention it. According to the timeline they gave me, they expect to make a decision soon. Even if I don’t get the job, just getting an interview was a HUGE boost to my battered psyche.

      I’m sorry about your eye, but hang in there – things will get better and life DOES go on.

      1. EyeProblem*

        Thanks so much for this. You’ve managed to both make me feel grateful that my eye problem is not as bad as it could be (I am not, and hopefully will not be effectively blind in the eye–it’s just a spot, one that seems to be shrinking in response to the treatment), and make me feel like I’m not crazy for being as upset about this as I am. I’m also totally happy to find someone else who needs to type NEEDLE IN THE EYE in all caps.

        Thanks again.

    6. GOG11*

      I’m currently dealing with emotional stuff related to medical stuff. I have a handful of chronic conditions, all of which I took in stride because “at least I’m not dealing with X and Y…” and now I’m dealing with X :( I don’t have any eye problems specifically, though I’ve dealt with allergy stuff that’s affected my eyes. My earlier conditions caused pain but didn’t impair the function of my body (so long as I could work through the pain) and it’s been a real adjustment to deal with conditions that cause body parts/organs to not function properly because it’s a different kind of limitation to navigate and new boundaries to figure out. With my orthopedic problems (also have a permanently damaged knee), I could work toward the solution and it made me feel in control and a productive outlet for my frustration that was directly related to my problem.

      Talking it over with your therapist is a great idea. I’m working through it by being gentle with myself and taking it easy – my body has limits that are new and different and I’m learning to accept and obey them. When I get anxious in general, I try to think of a time when I felt similarly or had a similar worry, perhaps in this case when I’d been awaiting test results or treatment outcomes to become apparent, and I remember that I made it through those times and I can make it through this, too. I’m still struggling with this myself, and I really hope you things go as well as possible for you.

      1. EyeProblem*

        Yes, I think you’ve described exactly why my orthopedic problems don’t bother me–I adjust to the limitations, deal with pain when it comes, and diligently do my physical therapy exercises. There’s stuff I can *do* to make it better–I feel like I have control, even when I’m being told my cartilage will never grow heal! But there’s nothing I can do for my eye… I just have to hope the treatment makes the problem less severe.

    7. Dan*

      Yes. I even went through specialized career training on my own dime before I found out that I had an uncommon eye condition that prohibits me from being employed in that field. Glasses don’t work for me.

      Holy shit that was rough. How’d I deal? I saw specialists all over the country. I went to Germany and had surgery done because i couldn’t get it done here in the US.

      Eventually, I had to suck it up, accept it, and go back and get my masters.

      For me, I didn’t have the “OMG it’s my EYES!” Emphasis that you do. It was more about the fact that for the first time in my life, I couldn’t do something that I wanted to do. (I was a smart kid. It was pretty much assumed i could do whatever I wanted if I worked hard enough. Er, not this time. That was hard news to take.)

    8. Finny*

      I was born three months early. Because of that, I’ve got retinopathy of prematurity. Without glasses, my vision is worse than 20/400. With glasses, my “good” eye is 20/250 and my “bad” eye is 20/300. Either way I’m legally blind, and it’s very possible I’ll be totally blind within the next ten years (I should’ve been totally blind by the time I was eight, but I’ll be thirty-five this Friday, and it hasn’t happened yet).

      It’s not easy, and it is scary. Over the last few years, I’ve gone from needing no more than glasses to using a white cane everywhere outside my home and work. I use large print books, video magnifiers on my phone, and my Kobo eReader with the font as large as possible, in order to keep on living my life the way I want to.

      My vision is definitely a disability that I have to work with and around, but I don’t, I can’t, let it stop me from doing what I want and need to do in life. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, and I can’t do it without help (the husband is also legally blind, since birth, and is able to help me figure things out that I have trouble with on my own).

      CNIB, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, has also helped me greatly (they got me my first white cane, for example), and they have classes and people to help with all sorts of things, whether one is blind, low vision, slowly losing their sight, etc. Perhaps the States, or wherever you are located, has something similar?

      I also find that talking with others who also have vision issues helps, as it gives me people to bounce ideas off of.

    1. Temperance*

      Best: I went to Philly Comic Con last week and am still on a buzz from all the fun I had there.

      Worst: My mother is ramping up her guilt campaign to get me to visit her.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Best: My boyfriend was away all week, so I took the dog to work, I ate lots of chicken, I got into bed every night at 9:45.

      Worst: My boyfriend was away all week, so I ate crap, stayed at work late, and sat around on my butt. And I missed him!

    3. Mimmy*

      Best: My graduation!!!!

      Worst: Nothing really. Just getting used to not having schoolwork, lol.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      WORST: Stuff at work.

      BEST: Nothing, really, though I’m about to start the final push on Secret Book as soon as I’m done dicking around on the internet. I aim to not get off this sofa today until I am finished. Even if it takes until midnight. I don’t care if it is all stuff like “and then they went here and did this and Dude said, “Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to do that,” and they had tea.” I just want to be DONE!!!!!!!!

      I have ten books on my coffee table to read and they are sitting there judging me!

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          I looked at my “to read” list the other day and figured out that it would take me at least 19 years to read everything on my list if I read 100 books per year. I read 100 last year, and I just finished book 42 for this year, so I could do it–but I want to read a LOT of books.

    5. Overeducated*

      Best: dad is visiting for weekend, kid is cute, husband and i get free babysitting for a date noght, weather is mostly lovely.

      Worst: getting anxious about our big upcoming move and obsessively trawling craigslist, when we can’t actually visit any places until we go down in a couple weeks, and where we live may be determined by calling dozens of day cares and moving as close as possible to wherever there is a spot anyway. AAAAARGH.

    6. Gene*

      Best – My hand is healed enough that I was able to work on the costume.

      Worst – Yesterday was a full day of free-floating pissed offedness. You could have told me I won Powerball and I would have complained about the paperwork.

    7. Anonyby*

      Best: Made an amazing epic self-induglent cake. :D (See my post upthread for pics!)

      Worst: Work sucked my energy with another six-day week this week, and I started late on the cake and thus had to pull several late nights and one all-nighter just to get it done. Tired Anonyby was tired! (And I’m still a little bit tired, but I managed a full night of sleep last night so I’m much better!)

    8. Lindsay J*

      BEST: Last night I went to a showing of “Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made, and Raiders: The Adaptation, which is a version of Raiders of the Lost Ark done shot for shot by a couple of kids starting at the age of 11 and taking 7 years, and the documentary about it. The guys that made it and people involved with the documentary were there, and it was really cool and inspiring. I wish I had the drive to do anything in my life that they did to recreate this movie.

      WORST: Boyfriend didn’t get the job they checked his references for. Dog has an injured paw.

    9. Elkay*

      Best: Made some successful cakes
      Worst: On top of a shitty week at work I cannot get Netflix to work. I’m 99% certain it’s to do with my ISP but I don’t know enough about technology to confidently phone them and blame them.

    10. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: Twentieth-anniversary weekend with my husband. We rented a secluded cabin with a fabulous view, had food delivered from a restaurant in the little mountain town, and spent a lot of time on the front porch rocking chairs, talking and relaxing. We spent one day kayaking, and the rest of the time we were just enjoying the peace and solitude and each other’s company.

      Worst: Church politics. Our fabulous director of religious education resigned because the board voted to slash her compensation package for the upcoming year, and she found out about it just like everyone else: by getting the proposed budget in the congregation-wide mailing. She had met with the board and agreed to specific cuts that seemed necessary, but the final budget slashed her salary and her continuing-education budget. It seems shady.

    1. Mimmy*

      Oh I know. If the casualty numbers are accurate, that may go down as one of the worst mass shootings in the U.S. What is WRONG with people??!

      1. Florida*

        It is. Right now, the count is 50 people. Sandy Hook was 32. That nightclub is 2 miles from my house. We had another shooting the night before, where a YouTube singer was killed. This is depressing. What the heck is wrong with people?!

        1. Mimmy*

          It wasn’t the same nightclub in both incidences, was it? No matter…very eerie coincidence. There’s no sign at this point the two are related, but you never know. So horrible :(

          1. Elizabeth West*

            No, the dude who shot the singer seemed somewhat stalky, and they typically operate alone. We can’t find out unless he left stuff behind, because he killed himself at the scene.

            1. Florida*

              The police have the cell phone of the one who shot the singer. They might figure it out based on his texts or other information.

          2. Florida*

            The shooting last night happened at a gay nightclub. There are literally thousands of people trying to donate blood today. It’s ironic that the event that triggered the blood donations was a shooting at a gay bar, but gay men are not allowed to donate blood. Why do we still have these rules?

              1. Florida*

                The FDA does not allow sexually-active homosexual men to donate blood. It’s not a requirement the Orlando blood bank can waive.

                Definition of sexually-active in this case is male-male sex in the last year.

                1. fposte*

                  Interesting. Gawker initially reported that it had, and now reports that that was false–and, in fact, the blood bank is *more* restrictive than the FDA, in that gay men can’t donate, period, not just those who’ve had sex in the last year.

                2. Florida*

                  I’m not sure if the blood bank is more restrictive or not. But they definitely can’t be less than restrictive, which means sexually active gay men can’t donate.

              2. Florida*

                Our blood bank is called One Blood. They are reporting on Twitter that any reports that OneBlood will lift FDA restrictions are untrue.

              3. Sparkly Librarian*

                Which makes it even more aggravating — because if it can be lifted, then either the usual restriction’s not actually about safety (they’ll use the blood from MSM, which is tested before being made available to patients) or they’re just paying lip service to avoid arguments/bad press during screening (they’ll discard the blood).

                I boycotted blood donation for about a decade, but when the restrictions were relaxed about the same time as my deferral expired, I decided to start donating and continue to raise awareness. One way to protest productively is, if you know you’ll be deferred, to take along a friend who is eligible to donate on your behalf. My library branch is hosting a Red Cross blood drive later this month, and we want as many people as possible to turn up.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  I absolutely don’t boycott, because I’m a universal donor and they always seem to be short of O-negative.

                  I like the idea of taking someone along like that.

              4. anon for this*

                They haven’t. Those rumors were premature. That restriction is still in place.

    2. Gaia*

      I can’t even fathom how this keeps happening. The newest numbers suggest it is the worst yet. And I worry we’ll continue to do nothing but offer thoughts and prayers.

      1. Lindsay J*

        It’s been going on for 50 damn years. UT shooting from the tower was in 1966. And not a damn thing has changed. Or if we want to use Columbine for our start (which seems arbitrary to me, but a lot of people treat it as the first big mass shooting) 17 years.

        People will get all whipped into a fervor for a few days. Then something else will happen, and they’ll forget. Until it happens all over again.

        1. fposte*

          When I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, I was reminded that this was a country built on the idea that we resist being told what to do. Unfortunately we seem in love with that notion beyond reason sometimes.

        2. Alix*

          Before that; Howard Unruh killed 32 people in his neighborhood in 1949, and I’m not sure that’s the first mass shooting either. It was just so much rarer then that it wasn’t as cemented in the public memory.

          But yeah. If people didn’t wake up after Sandy Hook, when twenty little children were shot, they won’t now. I’ve already seen too many ugly comments about how the folks at the nightclub somehow deserved this for being gay; I doubt anyone would stake their political capital on this when they wouldn’t for any school shooting, even of first graders.

          This makes me so angry.

    3. anon for this*

      I’ve had to unfollow or block a lot of my Canadian and European friends and coworkers on social media who have been posting things about how something like this tragedy and hate crime would never happen in their country. It’s such a shitty thing to say in the midst of a tragedy.

      Same goes for the people acting outraged that newspapers are reporting Orlando as the “worst” mass shooting over Sandy Hook when newspapers and news accounts are calling it the worst based on casualty account, not anything else.

      My city’s pride celebrations are going on this week and I’m so sad about everything and so angry about the way some people are reacting.

      1. Apollo Warbucks*

        Not only is it a shitty thing to say that it wouldn’t happen in Europe or Canada but it’s also completely untrue there have been plenty of hate crimes and terrorist acts that have been carried out in Europe that I know of and I’m sure in Canada also.

        1. fposte*

          I guess it’s just the international version of “That bad thing would never happen to me.” There’s no arguing that America has more gun violence than a lot of countries, but I think we’ve had plenty of evidence that nobody’s country is proof against a savage surprise tragedy.

        2. anon for this*

          Definitely. America obviously has a lot of problems, but I think it’s tone deaf to say that other countries don’t have the same or similar problems. These tragedies can happen anywhere.

          I think America sometimes becomes the easiest place to point a finger at because so much of the news is focused on it.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Personally, I think we have it much better than other countries. And when it does happen we have far-far-far more resources to deal with it than other countries do. Just my opinion, though. And most certainly, this does not mean any tragedy is less tragic in some manner. noooo.

        3. blackcat*

          Re: Canadian mass shooting hate crime, look up École Polytechnique massacre.

          It was (and still is) one of the worst ever mass shootings in North America.

      2. Weekend Warrior*

        The US rate is highest but no country is immune.
        We had the horrible Polytechnique massacre in Canada. 14 young women killed by a nutter hunting “feminists”. And Norway – 80 people murdered, 69 young people. And Dunblane Scotland – 17 murdered, 16 children.

      3. Mimmy*

        Same goes for the people acting outraged that newspapers are reporting Orlando as the “worst” mass shooting over Sandy Hook when newspapers and news accounts are calling it the worst based on casualty account, not anything else.

        What exactly is the outrage? Are people saying that Sandy Hook was worse? Which, come to think of it, I kinda agree with. Less people were killed in Sandy Hook, but most of them were young children. You can’t get much more heartbreaking than that :'(

        All that said, it’s really not fair to compare these things, so I’ll stop there.

        1. anon for this*

          Worst is being used in regards of the number of victims who died. That’s it. People are taking that word out of context and using it to fuel their own political and social agendas.

          Comparing which tragedies are worse or more heartbreaking because of who or what the victims are is never okay. All tragedies are heartbreaking.

      4. Gaia*

        I had words with several overseas friends about how unhelpful, hurtful and untrue those statements are. Terrorism (which is what this was) can happen anywhere.

      5. Mazzy*

        And now the internet explodes with comment sections on Trump’s “I told you so.” As in, “I said terrorism from abroad would be continue being a problem.” Not much controversy there. But Queue thousands of people over the internet commenting on how horrible Trump is. This event has nothing to do with Trump or any presidential candidate or what they say or what they think. Just because it has become popular to bash certain politicians does not make it OK to hijack events like this as opportunities to make it about said politicians. It’s very exhausting to read.

        1. Alix*

          Well, given that it looks like the shooter was an American citizen… Yes it’s absolutely appropriate to criticize Trump for inappropriately politicizing this shooting.

          This shooting is about violence against gay people. It’s about domestic terrorism. It’s about gun control. It’s not about terrorism from abroad unless we’re defining “abroad” in a really funny way.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      This is making my heart ache so much, I can’t even read about the details yet, I’ve just been skimming the headlines. At least the few people I know in Orlando who might have been there are all OK.

    5. OlympiasEpiriot*

      A friend sent me this link which is pretty much where I’m at, too. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/06/12/thoughts-and-prayers/

      And, as I wrote back to him: Yeah. I have no clue what else I can do. I consistently vote for regulation…and this is despite being a hunter (& therefore the NRA thinks I’m a potential member) and someone who uses guns and who has taught my son to use a rifle…I vote for people I think will help society as a whole, I donate money and time to causes that in my drop-in-the-ocean way I think will help others, not increase this s–t. I go to vigils. Too many vigils.

      I’m at my office now trying to get some sketches finished before tomorrow and will stop by Stonewall tonight to light a candle and I’ll be going to tomorrow’s vigil and I’ll send a little more money to Callen-Lourde and I’ll — as I was planning to do anyhow — go to the Pride Parade on the 26th and I’ll speak up whenever there’s an opportunity, but, damn, we need a plan and a path and I was sick of this when I was a kid and first realized it happened anywhere at all.

      1. VintageLydia*

        My husband, who is a gun owner and carries on a regular basis, also consistently votes for regulation even if it means he’d have to turn in his own guns one day. He’s smart enough to know that the vast majority of these crimes happen in areas where even if carrying was legal, wouldn’t be helped with the addition of more guns (like the campus shooting in Oregon. It’s legal to carry there with a certain permit and there were “good guys with guns” around and they were smart enough to know that they’ll become targets for either the gunman or the SWAT team (who wouldn’t know they were the “good guys”.)

        Two of his closest friends from high school and a cousin are gay and all are activists. This particular tragedy hit very close to home for him. We missed our local Pride parade this year due to other things going on but there are other festivities we’ll try to make.

  47. Mimmy*

    Haven’t really had a chance to tell you guys about my graduation and the days leading up to it. I wanted to particularly tell about what I consider a personal victory. And no, it’s not the graduation.

    I had always wanted to go into NYC and meet my classmates; yet, because of my disabilities, I’ve been hesitant to do so alone. I couldn’t make myself even drag my husband along. So, when the school announced its spring reception for graduates, which was held a few days before graduation, I took this as an opportunity to finally go in.

    Anyone who’s been to Penn Station knows that it is a disorienting place even for those who’ve been to NYC many times since the train doesn’t always end up in the same spot. Yet, a classmate offered to meet up with me at a particular spot at the station, then we’d walk together to the reception. I was soooooo nervous I wouldn’t even be able to find my friend! But I did it!!! I was so proud of myself! When my parents found out, they were shocked! (I think they’ve always been extra protective of me).

    The best part is finally meeting some of my classmates and other students in person as well as the two program directors. Yeah I’ve griped about the program, but the directors seem like very nice people.

    What I’m sad about is that at graduation, those getting the advanced certificate (three of us, including the woman I met up with at Penn the week prior) were seated separately from those getting the full Masters. It kinda killed some of the excitement for me. I didn’t even try to meet up with anyone afterwards because the hallways were JAMMED with graduates and loved ones and my friend was looking for her own family. So my husband and I just left. So yeah, a little anti-climatic after such a wonderful experience the week prior :(

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      Congrats on the graduation *and* on being brave *and* on successfully navigating it all!

    2. SophieChotek*

      Congratulations! what a great achievement.

      I am sorry the ceremony was anti-climatic, though…

  48. Christopher Tracy*

    I told Myrin the other day in the thread about the boss who sent his subordinate’s photos of her in nothing but body paint that I’d talk about becoming a burlesque pin-up, but I need to talk about my recent trip to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender in Vegas first.

    BHoF is held every year in Vegas at The Orleans (since 2005 I believe – they used to hold one of the events, the Miss Exotic World tournament, at a goat farm in California) as a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame museum, which right now is just two small rooms on the side of a restaurant in historic downtown Vegas, but will soon become its own building. Anyway, despite The Orleans’s…less than fabulous accommodations, the entire event (from June 2-5) was fantastic. I’m constantly amazed at the creativity of people with little means – the organizers and performers work on a shoestring budget and were able to create magical costumes and set pieces, and a stunning midnight garden afterparty. Shoutout to Sublime Boudoir for the latter – they did an amazing job.

    Highlights from the event are as follows:

    – visiting the BHoF museum for the first time. As I said, it’s rather unimpressive right now because of the lack of space, but I met Satan’s Angel, a pretty popular performer from the ’60s-’80s. She was known as Queen of the Fire Tassels for lighting her tassels on fire and then extinguishing them by twirling them around and round. She had a lot of hilarious, and extremely inappropriate, stories to tell about life on the road and some of the legends of the field (mainly Tempest Storm). What made me really like her was finding out she was banned from The Orleans for punching out either a waiter or a random casino goer who spilled a drink on her and then called her a deragotry name after she confronted him on it. The woman was in her sixties (this happened a few years ago, she’s 71 now) and getting into bar fights, lol. A mess.

    – taking dance classes from Trina Parks (Thumper from Diamonds are Forever) and Dee Milo, The Venus of Dance (a performer from the late ’40s to early ’60s). Trina isn’t from the burlesque world, but she studied under Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey to name a few, and her history is fascinating. She was one of the first black female dancers to enroll in what’s now known as the LaGuardia School of the Performing Arts. She tried to enroll in their ballet major, but they told her black women needed to be in the modern dance department instead because they weren’t “ballet material” or whatever the fuck that means. Long story short, she studied modern, African and Haitian dance, and became the first black Bond villain. (And note – Sean Connery is apparently hung.) This woman is 70 in December, and she was killing everybody in the room – and we were all 40+ years younger than her! I couldn’t keep up with the African combination she took us through, so I just sat and taped the rest of the class.

    Dee’s class was on panel skirts, and was much less strenuous for me. I didn’t have a skirt of my own (no one around me sells them, and when I went to Du Barry Fashions, a stripper store in Vegas, they didn’t even know what that was!), so a very nice performer was nice enough to let me borrow one of hers. Note – I was the only non-dancer in both classes, but this one was way less intimidating than the other because you don’t really have to be a good dancer with a panel skirt. You just have to be seductive, which I’m apparently good at.

    – the opening number of the Movers, Shakers and Innovators showcase. They did a Prince tribute to “Sexy Muthafucka” that was equal parts hilarious (one of the dancers was dressed in his Purple Rain suit, the one where he’s on his bike, and looked just like him) and sad. Sad because I still can’t believe he’s gone, and 2000s Prince would not have appreciated the content (’80s and ’90s Prince would have loved it, though.

    – the dancer I was rooting for to win the 26th Annual Tournament of Tease’s Miss Exotic World crown won. And she was only the second black woman to win the title, so she kinda made burlesque history, which made me very happy for her.

    – and my all-time favorite thing that happened to me during that weekend was meeting April March, The First Lady of Burlesque, and hanging out with her in her hotel room. She was still hopping mad about being verbally attacked by other burlesque performers she shared a panel with during a Legends Q&A, so she spent a lot of time ranting about how half these women weren’t even famous (true) and spilling tea on the women who actually were famous back in her day. She was acting like we were longtime friends, and when she found out I’m a writer and theater actress, she became even more intrigued about me and my life. She gave me her email address since I don’t do social media anymore and told me to touch base with her and keep her up to date with my book releases. She also wanted to let me know when her own book and documentary are coming out (slated for the end of the summer), which I’m very excited about. As a burlesque historian and general lover of gossip, I can’t wait to hear all the sordid details of life in burlesque back in the day (apparently she’s got some doozies in this book and warned me she’ll probably piss off a lot of people who are still living).

    I had so much fun running around all weekend and seeing all of the costumes and red carpet looks people showed up in. If I go again next year, I definitely have to step my fashion game up though, because while I looked nice (and I got “beautiful” a couple of times too), I wasn’t even in the same league of some of these women. It was kind of embarrassing.

    Now, where the pin-up thing comes in. I’ve been kicking this idea around for a few years. I took a break from the burlesque community and historian work for a while to focus on other projects, but I wanted to find a way to get back into it in a more meaningful way. Since I’m a very shy and reserved person, I figured doing Vargas Girl-style pics would be a nice, low key way for me to do it and then gradually work my way up into the Bettie Page arena. I found a photographer either last year or the year before who does the former types of pics and contemplated contacting him, but dude was way too expensive for me at the time. Well, when I was at BHoF, I met a ton of photographers who expressed interest in working with me, and I even had a couple follow me around a newbie meet and greet and one of the afterparties snapping pics of me (I was in one of what I call my Jackie Kennedy dresses at the meet and greet and was in ’30s movie star garb at the afterparty). I’ve exchanged contact info with some folks, so we’ll see what happens after I do some very careful vetting (any perv can get himself a camera and call himself a photographer or director – can’t trust everybody). And if I do end up posing for someone, I’ll be bringing my hairdresser along both so I can get different looks and so I can be safe (she’s like my second mom even though she’s not much older than me).

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      That sounds like so much fun! A girlfriend of mine dances with the Devillettes here in San Francisco, and she went to the BHOF Weekender, too. I like your report better because it specifically calls out non-white performers.

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        It was! And so very exhausting (I almost nodded off a few times during the Tournament of Tease, and not because it was boring, but because it went past my bedtime!). I think the reason Trina Parks and Poison Ivory (the black winner of the Miss Exotic World title) stuck out to me as favorites was because they were so different. Obviously, as a black woman, I like to see myself represented in the arts, but there was just something very cool about them not doing what everybody else was doing. Trina comes from a totally different world than the burlesque entertainers, but her class was packed anyway because many of these performers probably had no or very little exposure to black dance history and were curious. And Poison Ivory did a striptease to Florence and the Machine’s “Girl With One Eye!” That song choice was amazing – who would have thought you could strip to that? Then she added flamenco elements to her number too. It was very impressive.

        Also, given that the burlesque community hasn’t been exactly welcoming to black performers, I wanted to give the ones I saw, and even the ones I didn’t have room to mention, a shoutout. Seriously – there were only four or five black women who performed the entire weekend out of maybe 50 or more people, and they were definitely standouts.

    2. acmx*

      That sounds like a great weekend! Good luck with the pin-up thing.

      one day, you should write a book on this. :)

      1. Christopher Tracy*

        I probably will, but I’m not sure if I’ll do it as fiction or if I’ll do it as nonfiction.

        1. acmx*

          I wonder, too. I think it’d be a great non-fiction book but novels might be more lucrative. And of course, it’s about what you’re moved to write.

  49. Nervous Accountant*

    Same here….very horrifiying and sickening. As Im reading I’m silently praying “Please don’t let the shooter be Muslim/brown.” It’s becoming sadly too too familiar now.

  50. Sparkly Librarian*

    I made a rookie mistake and didn’t check my flight details closely enough. Thought I was flying out of OAK on Friday… but once I got there in plenty of time to get through security with just a carryon, I realized that I’d booked a flight departing from SFO across the bay. Made it over there just in time for the gate to close. And the next flight to Palm Springs wasn’t until Saturday morning! So then I had a half-hour wait in line to change my ticket, and a 3.5 hour delay until the next available flight (not bad) — but had to land in LAX and my poor wife had to drive from Palm Springs (2-3 hours) to pick me up and then drive us both back. We got in around midnight, having missed all the opening festivities of our weekend event. And everyone who sees me here has been, “Ohhhh, you were the one that missed your flight because you went to the wrong airport?” *groan*

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      That is my nightmare! I always check prices for OAK, SFO, and SJC when I fly and then I double check multiple times before my flight and I *still* worry I’m going to go to the wrong airport!

    2. First Initial dot Last Name*

      I’ve done that. From downtown SF I took the train to the “airport” just following the signs (my sign reading eyes aren’t too great), and then I realized that the landscape didn’t look familiar (!), switched trains and went back to OAK, missing my gate by minutes. I had to spend the night in the airport to get the next flight home.

    3. Not Karen*

      I’ve heard tell that the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN gets lots of calls from distraught patients who have arrived at the airport in Rochester, NY.

    4. Florida*

      Once I went to right airport, the right time, but the wrong day. I was one day late. That was not my smartest moment.

    5. Noah*

      Coming from someone who works for an airline, it happens all the time. The airline I work for operates from many secondary airports and our passengers frequently go to the wrong airport and have to book it across town hoping they will make their flight.

    6. So Very Anonymous*

      I… once got onto the wrong airplane and flew to the wrong city. I was a teenager and this was in the days of paper tickets. I got to the airport late (bus from my college was late), I was departing from a small area with four small gates, I heard a boarding announcement (you know, the Charlie Brown adult voice type) and I just ran and boarded.

      Not too long after, there was a story in the news about a guy who got on a plane thinking it was going to Oakland… only to find out — the hard way — hat it was actually going to AUCKLAND. At least I hadn’t done that!!

      To this day I get really, really anxious if I’m not at the airport quite a bit earlier than I probably really need to be. Also, the unfunny part of the story is that my parents were terrified that something awful had happened to me when my luggage showed up and I didn’t.

    7. SAHM*

      How’s your espalier plan going? I’d love an update on your gardening/ripping out the fence!

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Thanks for asking! I’ve spent the last week watering the berm (straw bales under dirt) to help it get started composting. There was some blood meal and bone meal in there for a kick of nitrogen and phosphorus, which the backyard soil is short on. That’s about all there is to do until September/October, though, which is when we will till that berm (hopefully reduced to about ground level through rotting and compacting) and then plant the baby fruit trees.

  51. Anon for this*

    If you had the opportunity to read a complete psychological profile of your significant other, would you do it? Why or why not?

    If they said it was okay, would that make a difference vs them not knowing?

    1. Dangerfield*

      That’s an interesting question. I think I’d quite like to… as long as it said what I was expecting it to say! I guess ultimately I’d come down on the side of no, because we’ve been together for a long time and any of my real psychological dealbreakers would have come out in that time. Anything else? Well, everyone deserves flaws. I like to think I keep some of mine reasonably well under control (I’m probably wrong) and I wouldn’t like them to come out from a report.

      No, I don’t think that would make a difference to my answer of no.

    2. Cristina in England*

      Yes, 100% yes. I think it would help me to accept some of my husband’s more irritating qualities. I would love it if he read mine too for the same reason. I am always trying to be less irritating but sometimes the reasons for it run deep! If it matters, I tend to intellectualise everything and I understand emotional things better when explicitly laid out and analysed.

    3. mander*

      I don’t think I would, although I’d be dying of curiosity. There are probably things in my other half’s psyche that I’m better off being oblivious to.

    4. ginger ale for all*

      I would like to do that after I had known them for a few years first. I would like to get to know them in person first and then see what someone else thinks second.

    5. Mazzy*

      No. I think to keep a relationship going, less is more in many areas, especially when it comes to sharing your every thought or knowing every thought of your significant other.

    6. SAHM*

      I think I would like to do this, assuming he’s read it first and gives me permission, but I’d also like to get my own psych assessment for him to see. We’ve been together 11 years (7 married) and I think anything I read would probably just affirm what I already know to be true about him.

      Hubby says that he wouldn’t because he doesn’t care others opinion of me, he only cares about what HE thinks of me. (Awwwwwww!)

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Probably not.
      I had a job where I could read many people’s profiles. I chose not to.
      Numerous reasons:
      With this new level of knowledge comes a higher level of responsibility and burden.

      I’d rather have the person tell me themselves. Just because I know their profile, does not mean they are going to process their luggage any faster. It’s their luggage to process at their own rate. I would much rather be in tune with their pacing, than be informed of all. the. problems.

      The opportunity to misconstrue or to erroneously attach too much meaning to a statement or action is very high. Dragging the past into the present only allows the past to remain alive. Sometimes shit happens in current time that stands on its own as shit, we don’t need to add past experiences to make the pile bigger. Deal with the crap that is happening now, focus on making today different than what happened in the past.

      People change. Just because someone had X happen to them, does not automatically mean Y behavior will be their default for the rest of their lives. I want to clearly see the person who is in front of me today.

      Last, people tell me stuff and my heart gets heavy. Very heavy. I am profoundly saddened by the amount of human suffering there is out there. I’d rather focus on what we can do to make today better in some manner.

    8. Overeducated*

      Sure, it might help me understand him better and I assume there would be nothing awful because I know and trust him completely. But….I would not want him to see mine, I am afraid it would be too scary.

    9. Dot Warner*

      No. My spouse and I have been together for over 15 years, so I figure I know most everything of consequence about him by now. :) And if, by chance, there’s something I don’t know, I figure at this point I’d be happier not knowing, rather than finding out and getting all upset about him hiding it from me, especially since he may not have been doing it deliberately.

  52. Deutschland, Deutschland*

    Can anyone suggest something fun/unique to bring back from Munich? Husband will be there this week. I’m going to have him get a beer stein for my dad but don’t know what to suggest for me. He won’t have a lot of time to shop so is requesting ideas. I’ve been to other places in Europe but not to Germany so there’s nothing I’ve had or seen before that I can request.

    1. Cruciatus*

      Cuckoo clocks, Kinder Surprise eggs (just because they are banned in the U.S.), other treats at a grocery store (that can be brought to the US–chocolates, or their cake mixes or things like that), a bag with München on it (or sweatshirt), individual beers (I brought some home last time I went and they made it through in my checked luggage just fine, though very, very wrapped up and in plastic bags), dirndl (though they are very expensive and sizing without you there would be hard), shoes, a nice German scene calendar. I still have my 2011 one up because the photos were so nice.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Possibly in the airport one could get the Lebkuchen from Nuernberg. It often comes in beautiful tins–I’m really not a fan of lebkuchen itself, but love the tins.

      Southern Germany has wonderful pewter (zinn) work — figurines that are handpainted, often of medieval knights or other historical characters. I see a lot of this done in Southern Germany in small specialty stores. Also pewter wine glasses and shot glasses. They are beautiful–though a bit spendy–and the quality can vary. The “lighter” ones make me think a cheaper metal alloy maybe not entirely pewter. The older ones that I have from 20-25 years ago are heavier than the ones I see now…which makes me wonder. (But I’m not expert.)

      The Geman Chocolate (Milke and Rittersport) is now available in the U.S. so it’s not quite as exciting as it once was, but if you can get to the kaufmarkt, there are often flavors we don’t get here. And it’s usually cheaper than here, too.

      1. Panda Bandit*

        Pewter is an alloy of fairly inexpensive metals to start with, so the new pieces either have hollow spots or a slightly different ratio of metals than older pieces.

    1. Florida*

      Good luck on this. I have you get a great deal.
      P.S. I want your autograph when you do a book signing down here. :)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I already know you are going to rock it. So I will just sit here with a big, stupid grin on my face. Congrats.

  53. brightstar*

    Last week I posted about cutting the tip of my finger off. I ended up requiring surgery because the fingernail was damaged so they had to remove the nail and repair the bed. I was out of commission most of this week and this sucks more than cutting off my finger. It is much better but frustrating since I can’t use my left hand at all and need help for mundane tasks. I guess at least it’s keeping me from venting my rage bout the Orlando shooting since its s hard to type.

    My bf has been a huge help. I don’t know what I would have doe without him. And we’re using this as an opportunity to teach him to cook more than the 2 dishes in his repertoire. I also kearned Fixer Upper is the perfect show to sleep to.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Oh no, I am so sorry!…I am wincing just thinking about it for you. Hope you recover quickly with no further complications!

  54. The IT Manager*

    Recently watched North Riding (British TV/mini series that aired on Masterpiece a few years back based on a novel). Man, way darker than I expected. I wasn’t expecting a happy ending everyone finds love and happiness), but there was only one mostly happy endings and a lot of really dark ones.

    Next DVD I watched was German film North Face. Damn it, that ended up super depressing too. I thought it was about a successful but difficult ascent; it was not!

    1. SophieChotek*

      Do you mean South Riding with Anna Maxwell Martin (Bletchley Circle, Death Comes to Pemberly, Philomena about the girl’s school, based on the novel by Winifred Holtby? It was good, but I agree..not a happy ending.

      Well…you could watch The Scapegoat based on the Daphne du Maurier novel now. The 2012 BBC adaptation is on Netflix and I just watched it…it’s quite good. (And spoiler…not as depressing as original Du Maurier novel.)

  55. Forrest*

    I’m looking for camera suggestions! Really hoping I can find a decent flip out screen camera in the $250-350 range – any suggestions?

    1. Observer*

      I’ve had good experiences with the Nikon cameras, but I’m not sure what they have in your price range.

  56. The Other Dawn*

    Just came to say I’m very proud of myself this weekend: I did my workout routine yesterday AND today…and I did them in the hotel room (out of state wedding). AND I brought my free weights and kettle bell with me so I wouldn’t have any excuses. I did a quick jog in the parking lot to warm up, went to the room to do the routine, then back out to the parking lot to do sprints.

    This is big for me, as it’s the first time in my life I’m not always finding an excuse to flake out with exercise. I usually find the flimsiest excuses not to follow through, like, “Oh, there’s a cloud in the sky! It looks like it’s going to rain and I don’t want to get stuck exercising in the rain, so I’ll just wait until the rain passes.” I’ve gained and lost a lot of weight probably 4 times over in my life. Then I had gastric bypass and I’m almost to goal (close!!). But even after all that, it still hadn’t sunk in that exercising and eating right is a way of life. And it’s MY life, for the REST of my life. I’ll never be “done.” And that was (and still is) a very hard pill for me to swallow. I realize most people know all this, but it took me lots of failures to finally get it. And I think I do finally get it.

    1. ginger ale for all*

      I am so impressed that you brought weights and a kettle ball with you when you are out of town. It would have been an understandable skip if you had chosen to but you didn’t. Inspiring!