weekend free-for-all – October 1-2, 2016

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

Book recommendation of the week: The Circle, by Dave Eggers. I read it after someone here recommended it a few months ago, and it’s perfect for anyone who enjoys mocking modern workplaces, especially of the west coast tech variety. It’s darkly funny, thought-provoking, and very, very engrossing.

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

{ 994 comments… read them below }

  1. Gaia*

    Well, exactly 4 weeks after my car was hit (and totaled) I now have a new car. I went with the 2017 Cruze LS. I like it but I wish they had left XM capabilities in the radio system. If I want to get XM I’ll have to replace the entire infotainment system (and it is a complex system it seems).

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The Accord I bought last year is the same way — you have to replace the entire complicated thing if you want to switch out the stereo. And when I last checked a few months ago, they still hadn’t made the equipment that would be needed to do it. I should check again now; the car has been on the market for almost a year, so hopefully they’ve released it.

    2. periwinkle*

      Buy a standalone SiriusXM radio unit. It’s not as convenient as having one integrated into the radio system but it’ll work fine. You just plug it into the aux-in of the radio system and stick the unit on a mount.

        1. Gaia*

          yea I’m with you, Alison. I just…can’t. It would have to be integrated into my dash and no wires. I can’t even handle wires on my desk I can’t imagine them in my car (!).

          I will make it work with the bluetooth to my phone and Pandora and my music library for long trips.

          We had a similar conversation about cruise control. This trim doesn’t come with it. I won’t really need it until spring at which point they’ll have the module out so I can swap steering wheels. The dealership tried to convince me to just do an after market stalk cruise control and…nope. Just like stray wires, I can’t have a stray stalk. I just can’t.

          1. CAA*

            If you’re already paying for XM, then you can stream it from the app on your phone the same way you’re using Pandora.

            1. Nina*

              This. I have a 3 month trial with Sirius, and I’m not that impressed. I only listen to about 3-4 stations regularly. The rest are OK. It’s better than the usual FM radio, but Bluetooth is the real gem because I can stream Pandora/Spotify in the car.

              But I just learned that the mobile version of Sirius has some stations the car version doesn’t allow, so I’ll give that a try.

              1. CAA*

                Yes, it does use phone data. I agree that getting an XM receiver is a better option, but if there isn’t one that works for you, this is an alternative.

      1. Gaia*

        But where would it go in my car? There’s no real dash space for it to fit into that I can see.

    3. Wrench Turner*

      I had XM when it first came out thanks to a family member working there and getting a free stand-alone receiver. It was really one of the best things in the world – driving hundreds of miles away and never missing a station I wanted. It was years ago but I still support anyone getting the system if they can.

      1. Gaia*

        You know what is weird? I had a 2013 Cruze before this one and my transmission never had an issue. As a matter of fact I don’t know anyone that has had an issue (although I’ve seen reports online, they all seem to be at shockingly high miles). Sorry you had such trouble but I assume you realize no one would knowingly by a new car with transmission issues.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Blergh. What a pain.

      My CD player started skipping and apparently, there is no way to clean a CD player in a car. I didn’t want to replace the whole thing. Fortunately, it has an aux jack and I have a phone holder! :)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Everything I’ve heard says not to use one of those. You have to disassemble the unit and clean it (usually done professionally). But it doesn’t matter now that I have two phones with over 200 albums on them. :)

          Eventually, I figure CD players in cars will go away and you’ll only see an aux jack.

          1. Gaia*

            I don’t even think mine has a CD player. Like ashtrays, eventually you’ll have to request it direct from the factory. Hell, even the lighter is just the outlet now for the old car chargers.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              And the new car chargers, if your car’s USB port is annoying and only puts out 500 volts (as dictated by the USB standard but most people ignore that at this point). That’s not even enough to keep my phone’s battery from depleting when I’m using GPS!

    5. Nella*

      It’s great if you do a lot of long distance driving, but not so much on short trips under an hour. I found when I had my trial I only listened to 2 or 3 stations. I also did not get any local traffic or news so I ended up using my local stations much more than any sort of XFM. Also for me it costs more than my Netflix per month.

    6. FinallyGotANewCar*

      My new car (Chevy Equinox) came without a CD player! They don’t put them in anymore. :(

  2. Anon for this*

    I’ve got a couple questions for the childfree commentariat:

    -How did you know you didn’t want children?
    -If you’re of the age where most of your peers are having kids, how do you keep an active and involved social life, a network of emotional support, and how do you plan to maintain a support network when you get to an age when other people are relying on their children for emotional and practical support?

    I always assumed I wanted kids, and that I’d get more enthusiastic about the actual reality of children as I got older. But I’m soon to be 32, and facing up to the fact that as motherhood seems less and less a remote, distant future and more something I’m going to have to actively start working toward in the next few years, the less it appeals to me. Most notably, I’ve noticed that every time I close my eyes and visualize myself married and carrying a baby, and doing the traditional motherhood thing, a pit of dread opens up in my stomach. By contrast, every time I imagine a future where I’m childfree, but still connected to the community through a network of friends and loved ones of all ages, I feel happy and hopeful.

    So, how did you decide not to have kids? How do you navigate your friendships as your friends switch their focus to their own families? How do you plan for the future? Was there anything you read that was particularly helpful?

    1. Bye Academia*

      For me, the abstract of having a child and seeing how it grows up is nice, but when I think about day-to-day life I get the same pit of dread you do. I am exhausted all the time as it is. I barely have enough energy to feed myself, do laundry, tidy the house, etc. How could I possibly have the energy to do all that for me and my kid and parent on top of that? No. Plus, I like having the freedom to see a concert when I want to, watch TV all night, and travel freely. Obviously parents can still do those things and make it work, but it’s logistically a lot harder.

      I’m not too worried for the future, because not having children means I can save a lot more for retirement and whatever care I may need as I get older. Luckily for me, most of my closest friends also do not want children so I haven’t had difficulty staying connected with them. Also, though I don’t have kids, I have my own partner and pets to focus on that I consider my family.

      1. Rob Lowe can't read*

        Yes. Your first paragraph describes how I feel exactly. My first niece is going to be born momentarily, and I look forward to being part of her life and watching her grow up, but the thought of all the energy required to be a parent…no. Not for me.

    2. Zana*

      Maybe not a helpful answer since it is quite different to your story, but I somehow just always knew? As a older child, I was never really interested in holding other people’s kids when my mum’s friends had them or whatever. The idea of having a baby and being pregnant seemed really gross to me, even when I was 12. I’m an only child so was always sort of…..mature for me age and even as a kid, seemed to find kids annoying. As I got older, I realised I just had absolutely 0 interest in child rearing.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Same here! You’re not alone in your feelings. I somehow just always knew, too. I was the youngest of five; however, there are 12 years between me and the next oldest. I always preferred hanging around the adults, was mature for my age, my friends were several grades ahead in school for the most part, and I despised babysitting, even for my own nieces and nephews. I think I knew once and for all when I went to the gynecologist one year and she found an ovarian cyst. At first glance she didn’t know that’s what it was and thought I might be pregnant. When she mentioned I might be, I basically felt this big pit of dread well up in me and felt the urge to brush it (baby, pregnancy, whatever) off me, like a bug.

        I’m 41 now and once in awhile I think about what old age will be like. I won’t have kids to take care of me, although I do have lots of nieces and nephews. But then I think about the fact that I can do whatever I want, whenever I want for many years to come, and I stop thinking about it.

        As far as friends with children, yeah, that was tough. It’s not a big deal now because their kids are older, but it was tough when I wanted to go out and my friends couldn’t, or they wanted to take the kids (CRINGE). And relating to them was tough, too. I just didn’t have anything in common with them at the time.

      2. matcha123*

        Same here. As the oldest, I didn’t mind holding my younger sister as a baby or changing her diaper or other people’s kids’ diapers, but I started to resent the assumption that as a girl I could be relied upon to do that stuff.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Echoing what others have said here. Only child, not interested, resented social pressures, etc. The list goes on and on. I no longer believe that everyone was meant to have children and in some cases not everyone was meant to marry. In the bigger picture I think there are reasons for that and we can’t see those reasons.

        It felt like heavy luggage carrying all this stuff around. This sounds corny but for me I settled on a “what will be will be” attitude. Although, I seem to lack motherhood drive, I do have a deep sense of caring about the beings around me. I decided to assume that if I had a child at some point that deep sense of caring would carry over to the child, as this has been a life pattern for me.

        The beautiful thing about “what will be will be” attitude is that I started thinking about the different roads people choose in life. Part of accepting a friend into our lives is accepting the road they are on. I kind of viewed friends with kids as an opportunity to learn things that I would not have learned any other way. And I am such a sucker for learning. I like seeing things/activities different from mine. So these became my tools: weaving other people’s stories into my life and opportunities to learn things.

        Going the opposite way, sometimes friends just drift out of our lives for various reason and having kids can be one of those reasons. I found it helpful to try to figure out when the drifting away is personal and when it is just the ebb and flow of life. Personal differences can be resolved, the ebb and flow of life, not so much. Short answer, I went on a case by case basis.

        Aim for a big picture focus.We will have many friends who make choices we would never, ever make. What do we do with that? I have a friend who drops VERY large trees for a living. I would never in a thousand years do this myself. But I can respect his ability and willingness to do so. An extreme example, but it kind of makes it jump out at us that we can chose to respect someone’s ability and willingness to do anything that we choose not to do.

        One last tool: Sometimes we can show our love for our friends and family by loving the beings that they love. A love by proxy type of thing, I guess. All relationships are work. But some people are just so very, very worth it.

    3. Gaia*

      1. I guess it isn’t that I knew I didn’t want kids so much as I never felt that I *did* want kids. Does that make sense? It isn’t so much a desire to not have kids as it is a complete lack of desire to have kids.

      2. This can be tough but I’m ok being around other people’s kids (for shorter duration) so I attend birthday parties, go to the park with my friends who have young kids, etc. I also commit to making the effort for the first year or so after a baby is born. I know my friends will be extra busy. And I’ll try to do things that are easy for them. Dinner at their place – I’ll cook? But the thing is, your parenting friends have to make some effort, too. Not everything can always revolve around the kids. Sometimes they have to make adult plans. If both parts don’t happen, the friendship probably won’t last. And that’s ok.

      I turned 31 this year and I’ve never felt any desire to have kids. In fact, when I try to think about what it would be like if I had a kid, I actively dislike what I “see.”

      1. Kate in Scotland*

        I agree, I never felt that I did want kids. However, I was open to the possibility that my mind would change like everyone said it would. Now nearly 40, it hasn’t, so that’s that.

        I’ve found it’s been pretty fine that most people have had kids (friends’ kids mostly age 4-8). I’m happy that socialising is mostly dinners in rather than late drinking now. I’ve had to be willing to go to people rather than them coming to me, and having some basic kid skills is really helpful.

        I’m slightly worried about finances later in life but on the other hand I won’t have to do the sandwich generation thing of caring for both kids and parents at once (I’m one of 6, so hoping the parent thing will not be too bad when it comes). We also have quite a lot of nieces, nephews and godchildren so, while we wouldn’t expect to rely on them financially, if we need a younger generation person to make end of life decisions I’m optimistic that there will be at least one in our lives.

    4. Gaia*

      Let me expand a bit and explain how I explained it to my mom.

      I have a dog. I don’t like having a dog. I love my dog and I care for him and I’ll be devastated when he is gone. But if I could go back 9 years ago and … not … get a dog? yea. I’d do that.

      And that’s a dog. But I’m pretty sure it would be the same with a kid. If I woke up tomorrow with a kid, I’d take care of it and I’d bond with it and all that. I’m sure I’d love it. But if I could … not … have a kid? Yea. I’m choosing that.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I’m like, I have a dog, and I love the dog, and I’m fairly indifferent to the work of having the dog… but that’s about as far as I go. A child is like 10x dog with the tiny exception that when your baby needs to pee you don’t have to put it on a leash and take it outside. I’m not up for that!

    5. Elkay*

      I’m not sure when I decided (definitely by the time I was 25), I don’t get the pit of dread, mine is more neutral than that. The best way I can describe how I feel is that when I weigh up the benefits of kids vs the benefits of not having kids, the benefits of not having kids always wins. I know that if deep down I wanted kids the benefits of kids would win.

      I can’t advise on the social life because my “social” life isn’t really friends based it’s more activity based. I figure having kids to rely on them in the future is a really bad idea so it’s not one I’ve every focused on.

      1. Friend of Bill W*

        I never wanted kids because I knew that there was a cycle of abuse and didn’t think I would be a good parent. But I did like kids.
        Got married at 27 to a 37 year old guy who did not want to have kids.
        At 34, had 10 years of recovery under my belt and suddenly, I wanted a kid or kids…I KNEW I would be a good mom. that husband still did not want kids but was open for the discussion then we discovered there would be no biological kids.
        Talked a lot about fostering/ adopting.
        Got a new job at 37, where I was around and responsible for kids all day. And exhausted.
        Seems that was all it took.
        I am an excellent aunt and godmother.
        Now I am 57. I am not sorry that we didn’t have kids. The kids from my cohort are in their 20’s. I am getting reacquainted with the parenting crowd who have been pretty busy with their kids.

        1. First Initial dot Last Name*

          +1 THIS! Your first sentence nails it.

          I didn’t think I’d be a fit parent because of how I was parented. I was 32 before I thought well enough of my coping skills to consider being around kids. I was 43 when I met my spouse, the first person I’d been with I thought would be a capable, sane co-parent, by then I’d already had my guts modified so that I couldn’t get pregnant. Cats it is!

    6. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I honestly am pretty happy with my life, and while babies are super cute, once they turn about 3 or 4 I am kind of over it, and not really interested in them again until they’re like 15. You know, when they start being able to have real conversations and opinions and I can relate to them as people. I just find children mostly irritating.

      Plus, money. I can’t imagine cutting back on all the things I’d need to cut back on to afford them.

      I figure, when I’m older and rich, I can get like a 15 year old foster kid and chill with them, helping them set themselves up for life after The System. That seems like a better use of my time and resources than bringing a new person into an already crowded world.

      Some of my friends are starting to have kids, but luckily, I live in Washington, DC, and I think most of my peers will be like 35 before they have kids, if they do at all. That is fast creeping up on me, but for now, it’s been fine.

    7. all aboard the anon train*

      The thing is, though, the people who say one of their big reasons for having kids is to rely on them for emotional/financial/practical support when they get older are betting on a big thing. Not every kid is going to do that for their parents. It’s the same vein of thought as people who say biological kids are better than adopted kids because “with biology you know what you’re getting”. When in fact, your biological kid could have some rare disease or personality issues or not inherit your intelligence/abilities/skills/etc.

      Personally, I always knew I wasn’t interested in kids. I was just never interested and even now at 30, I still have no interest. I can’t have children anyway, so it’s not like I could ever change my mind if I wanted to give birth anyway. And while I have considered adopting an older child at some point down the road, I have no interest in babies. Even the adoption is more of a “what if”, when I know in reality that I really don’t have the time, patience, or interest in children.

      I’m lucky that I have a couple friends who don’t plan to have kids and both my brothers don’t want children either, so at least I’ll have a network of childfree people. For the friends who do have kids or who are planning on it, I’m also lucky that some of them are the type of people who realize they’ll need friends outside of their immediately family, but I know I’ll be seeing less of them (and understandably so). I’ve been trying to push myself to make new friends or join groups so I have a wider range of people to hang out with, but also I’ve just been concerned with getting my plans for the future done. That includes figuring out what I’m doing with my finances, where I want to travel, the hobbies I want to pick up, etc.

      1. neverjaunty*

        People who say they are having kids as a safety net in older age (and who don’t live in places where there are no other options) creep me out, and I’m a parent.

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          Not sure if this is an inappropriate question, but what IS a good reason to have kids? I mean I want them, I so desperately do….I know all the crappy stuff about it. But I still want them. But if you were to ask me WHY I want them, I couldn’t come up with an answer other than “I just do.” (I respect those who don’t want them and obviously don’t think any less of them).

          1. TL -*

            Wanting them and being able to take care of them is a good enough reason, I think. Just like not wanting them is a good enough reason to not have them.

          2. dragonzflame*

            Biology, I guess. And that’s probably a good thing – a child should never be brought into the world with a job to do, whether it’s to be a playmate for ab existing child, a helper in your old age, or glue for a cracked relationship. They should only ever be wanted ‘just cos I do’.

            1. the gold digger*

              Yes. Children (all people!) should be ends in the themselves, not means to something else. They should be wanted just because someone wants and loves children, not because the parent needs the kid to do something for her.

            2. neverjaunty*

              Exactly this. It’s not needing a ‘good enough’ reason to have them – it’s not having a bad reason.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            A friend of mine touched my heart when he said, “You have kids so you can show them things in life.” It’s that sharing activity. You teach them things. They grow up and they start to teach you things too. You share knowledge, you share life events and you have someone who really knows you.

            Three scenarios:
            1) You make the trip to see the Grand Canyon. You go by yourself. A friend of mine actually drove right on by without stopping. Why. He had no one there to share the experience with.
            2) You make the trip to see the Grand Canyon. You go with a friend/adult family member. This might give you a better experience because you can oooo and awww together.
            3) You make the trip to see the Grand Canyon. You bring your child(ren) with you. For whatever reason it has been a dream of yours to share these things with your kid. Or you have a strong desire to show the child the world, it fills your cup unlike anything else. Or you consider teaching/sharing with your child a way of leaving your own foot print on this earth long after you have passed from this earth. [I am sure there are many other reasons.]

            1. anonymouse*

              I actually find it pretty insulting that in the first scenario, people who see and do things by themselves apparently can’t enjoy them without someone there to share the experience. That just perpetuates the idea that people without partners or children are lonely and pathetic. Come on.

                1. anonymouse*

                  lol okay. I didn’t say that not everyone feels that way, just that it’s insulting to assume that people who do things alone are lonely and pathetic and won’t enjoy it as much because they’re not with other people.

                2. Ellie H.*

                  Same. There are TONS of things I enjoy doing by myself. I love going to museums by myself. I love going grocery shopping by myself. I love camping by myself. I love, love, LOVE traveling by myself. But there are some things I don’t feel like doing without having some one to share it with, and I don’t want to do all of the above things by myself, all of the time.

                3. Not So NewReader*

                  I can’t help the choice my friend made or why he decided that. But most certainly, I was not trying to insult anyone. I am simply stating what he told me. He drove across the country by himself as a vacation trip and decided not to stop. He continued his trip. I am not seeing lonely or pathetic here at all.

                  People tend to make different decisions when they have others with them. We all do this because priorities shift when more people are added to the mix.


      2. K.*

        Depending on your children for support in your old age is unwise. There are so many things that could prevent your kids from being able or willing to support you.

        1. the gold digger*

          My husband, years ago, had asked his mom and dad, who were in poor health (much of it due to smoking and very heavy drinking) and were not able to keep up with the yard and home maintenance what their plans were.

          His dad said, “We thought we would have you come a couple times a year.”

          Um. No. That is not how things work in this culture (US). You don’t have children just so there is someone around to take care of you when you are old.

          1. Snazzy Hat*

            I have an eyebrow raised at “a couple times a year” being suitable for taking care of a yard or house. Ignore the demand that their son do the work. My dad mows the lawn at his mother’s house, but I’m pretty sure there a few factors in that action, including 1) grandma has a big lawn for her neighborhood, 2) grandma does the rest of the gardening, and 3) dad doesn’t have to mow the lawn at his apartment. I’d be really concerned about my grandma if she had a cleaning service and landscaping service come by only twice a year and never lifted a finger herself.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            A family member said the reason you have kids is to get them to do your work for you.

            The only time he saw his kids was when they were doing their obligatory work. They would rush out of his house at the first viable opening. Not much relationship stuff going on but the work got done, after much nagging and arguing of course.

            He was shocked to find out that “kid” did not mean “indentured servant”.

      3. Snazzy Hat*

        I am so glad my parents know neither I nor my sister will be taking care of them if they need regular medical assistance. Both my sis and my mom are out of state, and although my dad & I live in the same town, I’d be more of a personal care aide if anything. Hell, his mother is independent and in pretty good health, yet he drives her to certain doctors appointments because they’re boring and the doctor speaks quietly.

        My sister actually horribly insulted me when I was still on the fence about having kids, pointing out our mental illnesses as though I wouldn’t find a way to support my child if s/he developed any of the illnesses we suffer from. I’m sure her logic had something to do with our mother who wasn’t great at being a mother (or wife) and who was diagnosed with manic depression when sis was in college and I was in high school. I’m pretty sure she had never seen a mental health counselor before then.

        Anyway, my s.o. and I considered ourselves “on the fence looking in both directions” until he was diagnosed with an illness that might be genetic. Research is spotty, but it doesn’t help that his mother shows signs of it, too. We also accepted being childfree when we recognized what we want in a future and a home (we currently live in a place that we will move out of when we can afford to live where we want). I am right there with you in being thankful for having friends who don’t want kids.

    8. Jen RO*

      1. I think I’ve always known in one way or another – I never liked babies, and when I was younger (12-14) I used to tell my friend that she could raise my kid until it got to the age where it could understand me and express itself.
      At that time, I assumed that one day I would simply get the urge to have a baby… but it just never happened (I am 32). As silly as it may sound, I think the moment it really dawned on me that you don’t *have* to have children is when I found /r/childfree (which is not the cesspool it’s rumored to be). As someone else said, it’s not necessarily an urge NOT to have children, it’s the absolute lack of urge TO have them. From all I’ve heard, raising kids is hard as hell even when you are 100% excited – I can’t imagine how it would be if you were uninterested in the first place.

      2. I never had a huge social circle, and most of my social life happens at work, so kids don’t really enter the picture much. I was lucky that the outside-of-work-friends who did have kids are not mombies, so the relationship didn’t change much – we can see each other at home and have drinks after the kids are asleep (and I never went out much in the first place, so nothing changed there). The moms are usually happy to talk about adult things! I do have to interact with kids, and I find them mostly boring, but I don’t mind doing it from time to time. (My goddaughter is now almost 5, so she is becoming more fun, finally!)
      I *am* somewhat worried about old age, but mostly because old people’s homes are not really a thing in this country. I am hoping that in the following 50+ years things will change! The plan is to save up and make sure I have a spot in a fancy one. To me, having kids just so that you don’t end up old and alone is the most selfish reason ever. Also, I don’t have a super close relationship with my parents or grandparents, so I wouldn’t have counted on one with my kids either.

      This was rambly, but I hope it makes sense. I don’t really have anyone in real life to discuss this stuff with!

      1. Jen RO*

        And also, I don’t know how I would deal with never having a moment for myself. I just spent most of a day with people (first a class, then my parents, then my boyfriend’s family) and I am exhausted! I’m not even *that* introverted – how do hardcore introverts deal with parenthood?!

        1. Samantha*

          I’m an introvert with one child. I really can’t imagine having more. With my one, especially as he gets older, I still have a decent amount of time to myself. We are able to travel and get out of the house much more than our friends with 2+ children. At that point it seems a lot harder to not have your lives revolve entirely around child rearing. I love my friends’ children and my nieces and nephews, but whenever I keep them I am exhausted at the end of the day and very thankful for my one!

      2. The Grammarian*

        I am also childfree (recent decision/realization) and I have to say that I love the word “mombies.” It says exactly what it needs to say.

      3. Aurion*

        My experience exactly mirrors Jen RO’s, so I won’t bother repeating. My social circle has always been pretty tiny with or without the kid issue, so it’s not like the question of kids has made the difference in how many friends I have.

    9. Red Reader*

      No kids, I’m 35. I haven’t doubted since I was 8. My fiancé and I have tossed around the idea of either hosting foreign exchange students or possibly short term foster care though.

    10. Scarlettnz*

      I just knew from when I was very young that I wasn’t going to have kids. I have zero maternal instincts and find babies and everything that goes with them kind of gross. The thought of having some small, demanding being attached to me 24/7 fills me with dread and I also can’t stand being around toddlers for more than about 5 seconds.

      When I’m old and doddery? Who knows. I should have enough money for a decent standard of living. A group of friends and I all joke about how we’re going to go live together with a zillion pets when we’re in our dotage (which would be a hoot as several of us flatted together in our teens and early 20’s).

      1. Golden Lioness*

        I always felt like this as well. I’ve been talking to a couple of friends without kids and keep joking that we can become the Golden Girls and take care of each other when we’re older… only we won’t be living in Florida =)

    11. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t think we initially decided not to have kids. I think we just never felt the strong need to have kids, which—when you think about it—makes total sense. Why would you need a reason not to have kids? Shouldn’t you need a reason to have kids?

      After a time, we just never felt that need. It helped talking to older childfree couples about what they’ve regretted (“Nothing” or “I guess I’ll never have grandchildren”). Didn’t seem convincing enough to want to have kids. Then friends of ours with kids would confide to us secretly (without their kids in the room) that they regretted having kids (always prefaced with “Don’t get me wrong—I love [fill in name of child or children] but…”).

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        For friendships… we just don’t see them as often. Or we make friends with younger people (without kids yet), old people (empty nesters), or other childfree couples.

    12. NicoleK*

      1. How did you decide not to have kids? I was never totally sold on having kids. We tried to briefly to conceive. When I turned 38, I decided that I didn’t want to be responsible for another human being for the next 18-25 years, I was too tired, and couldn’t afford to have kids.

      2. How do you navigate as your friends switch their focus to their own children? I have friends with children and friends without children. It’s never been an issue.

      3. How do you plan for the future? I’m being extra nice to my nieces and nephews ; )

    13. Rob Lowe can't read*

      I have never particularly wanted my own kids, but I was more open to the idea up until my mid-twenties. My feeling was that I would be just as happy without kids as with them, and if I eventually found someone to marry who had strong feelings one way or the other, we’d go from there. I wasn’t dating much, and never very seriously, during most of my early twenties, so having a stance on the issue didn’t strike me a very important. Once I finally got settled into my career, though, I realized that the combination of my work life and my personal life (dating, hobbies, friends) was filling my time entirely…and I liked it that way, and I didn’t like the idea of spending less time or less money on any of those things in order to make room for kids.

      Of my friends from various life stages, only my friends from high school have kids. We’re not very close anymore, which is in part due to geography (I’m a Midwesterner living on the East Coast, and they’re all back home), but I do think we might have drifted because of the kids even without the distance. My two best friends from graduate school (who live in the same city as I do) are both quite eager to start families, although I don’t know how likely that is to happen soon. So unfortunately, no advice there!

    14. Lucina*

      Like for other who have already commented, I’ve always know I did not want to be a mother. I am now 38 and I have not doubted my decision yet. I also never had a serious romantic relationship, but this is another story…
      I am a bit of an introvert, so social life is not really a priority for me, but I can easily be around children, they’re just (young) people after all! And spending time with a child socially is very different from parenting. I also find that asking people with children about their little ones is a very easy way to do small talk. I ask about their child, they talk and talk, and since they know I don’t have any child myself, they really appreciate the interest and don’t expect any smart contribution from me. It’s the easiest conversation ever.
      I don’t know what I’ll do in my old age (hopefully I’ll manage to save enough to pay for decent care), but I can’t think of anything more selfish and horrible than having children for this reasons. If I ever give somebody life, it is his/hers and they can do anything with it, and I have no right to make plans (I hope this sentence makes sense).

    15. Nicole J.*

      For me, I’ve known I didn’t want children since I was about seven. I was never maternal, I didn’t like cuddly dolls, and I never liked babies much. I just didn’t find them cute or want to play with them. I just don’t have those feelings. I think they are compounded (or maybe deep down caused?) by having grown up in a fairly toxic, dysfunctional family. I’m 37 now, have been married for a long time, and I’m still happy with the decision. (as is the other half, who also never wanted children.)

      Most of my best friends don’t have children and seem happy that way, I don’ t know if that is a self-selection thing or just a coincidence. I hope we will stay friends and be able to support each other into the future. For those of my friends who have had children, I try to be interested in their kids (which is a lot easier for me once they are past the baby stage), and be a sort of honorary eccentric aunt.

    16. stk*

      I knew I didn’t want kids myself when I first started looking after them, babysitting as a teenager. The more time I spent seeing what actual motherhood would look like, the less I wanted it myself. For all sorts of reasons, including that I just didn’t think I’d enjoy it. I don’t think children should be burdened with parents who hate being parents.

      I’ve done OK at keeping friends with my peers who have young children (I’m 31, so that’s a lot of them!) mostly by realising that it WILL be harder? I’ve had to deliberately and consciously check in with them more, do more of the active planning. It’s also required more flexibility from me: I’ve been asking them what will work for them and then doing that, at least more than I had previously considered normal in friendships. It’s helped to discuss that explicitly – “Hey, I know it’s harder for you guys now you’ve got a baby, but I want to see you! How can we make that happen?” I think it helps that I don’t mind hanging with my friends AND their children. (Mostly. It can take some planning to find a way to hang with kids in a way that also allows adults to talk without being interrupted a lot… this is one that gets worse when the kids are toddlers!) I try to make sure I keep suggesting things and asking about my friends’ lives even if plans haven’t worked out in a while.

      But I’ve also found there’s more people my age without kids than you might think. And it’s also made me really appreciate having friends of a fairly wide range of ages!

    17. Ruffingit*

      I always knew I didn’t want children. As I got older (I’m 40 now), I just couldn’t imagine dealing with all the hassle that comes with children. Because I didn’t have children, when I got divorced, I was able to move across the country and go back to school. I didn’t have to worry about children, a good school district for them, etc. My husband and I are able to plan trips abroad and do the things we want to do because we don’t have kids. That life is perfect for us because anytime I think of being saddled with children, it feels me with dread.

      Planning for the future? Well, as someone whose mother lives with her, let me say this – you don’t want to do that to any child anyway. Planning for your future without being a burden on your children should be the goal of everyone. People often asked me who would care for me when I get old if I don’t have kids? I always used to say that having a child who has a job (taking care of you in your old age) before they are even born is terribly unfair. Also, it’s not a guarantee that kids will care for you anyway. They will have their own lives with their own goals and feelings. Don’t put that on children. That was my thought anyway.

      Save as much as you can for retirement and join a network of childfree people in your area. Get to know others who feel as you do and you can form a nice network of people to care for each other as needed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreeing with not being a burden on your children or anyone. I have always thought the idea that your children will take care of you was an illusion anyway. No, the kids are not going to lay in the hospital bed for you. No, they are not going to go through surgeries so you don’t have to. Reality is that we are responsible for how our lives play out right up until our last day even if we have our kids waiting on us hand and foot.

        Right now my friend is arguing with her mother. Mom needs to get out of the wheelchair and walk around. Mom won’t. My friend can’t do this for her, mom has to decide to do it. Since the arguing has been going on over a period of weeks the stress is incredible. Children can not give “quality of life” to their parent. Their parent has to continue participating in life and earn a quality of life for themselves.

        1. Golden Lioness*

          I always found the idea that children will take care of you presumptuous and a bad reason to have kids.
          And on top of that if you’re not a good loving parent (because you didn’t have kids to love them, but to take care of you) it’s even harder, as your kids will have no bond with you.

    18. Alex*

      You really seem child free given that you have this dread whenever you visualize yourself mothering. I have always known on some level that I didn’t want kids even when I was young. I felt the same way that you feel where visualizing a future with kids fills you with dread and in contrast a child free future fills me with hope. For me, it was more that the older I got the more solidly I became child free. I did run in to a lot of resistance with others with being child free up until my mid 20’s. People would say that I’m selfish, I would be alone,..etc.

      Anyways to answer the second part of your question (It’s a lot to unpack so feel free to ask follow up questions), The Childfree Life website has a good forum that grapples with a lot of those issues. Be warned, there are a lot of rants on there regarding the insensitive things said to child free people and some of the self centered behaviors that some parents exhibit. I am in my 30’s as well and it does get tough to maintain friendships and you may even fall out of touch with them along the way. As far as planning for your future; I think it is beneficial to remember that just because you have kids, it doesn’t mean that they will be there to care for you or help you out when you age. Robust and comprehensive insurance coverage for disability and long term care would be really beneficial now and in latter years financially speaking.

    19. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I always assumed I would have kids when I was younger. I figured I would be married and having babies by 22/23. Well…that time has come and gone and…my life did not go as planned (does it ever?!).

      As I aged though, things changed. I was diagnosed with two chronic illnesses, which while they fortunately don’t make it impossible for me to have children, it is risky enough that any pregnancy would be high risk. In addition, I risk being in severe pain for the entire pregnancy, and essentially becoming disabled/unable to parent if pregnancy affects me wrong.

      So, I started thinking 2 or so years ago about it, and eventually realized that I am okay with not having kids. There are plenty of them. They’re wonderful, but I don’t want or need them.

      As for friendships, I’ve lost touch with most of my mommy friends. We just have nothing in common anymore. Their lives focus 100% on their kids and spouses, which makes sense! So, I’ve branched out and started meeting people through community events, work, etc. I try to find others who are either single or married with no kids. It helps, as we tend to have more in common.

    20. Michaela*

      I have a more complicated answer than most of the existing comments. I knew I wouldn’t have kids when I was pretty young, because I’m the child of an abusive parent. I knew I hadn’t seen good parenting, and I don’t trust myself to figure it out on the fly.

      As I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought about it a lot — because I love kids. I love babies and toddlers and older kids, I’ve done volunteer work with kids and loved it (it’s exhausting but a lot of fun), I cannot wait for my friends who want to have kids to be parents so I can be the Best Auntie. But I still don’t think I’d be a good parent. Intellectually, I’m not sure I could justify bringing a child into a world that is literally setting itself on fire (climate change over the next fifty years scares the bejeezus out of me). Mostly: I don’t want a child or children enough to overcome my self-doubt about parenting.

    21. nep*

      Never decided — simply never had the slightest inclination to have children. The social life issues — I’m not a good one to comment on that as I’ve long been quite the loner. Cherish my solitude and fine without much of a social life.

    22. Mike C.*

      I found myself making all sorts of excuses for why I wanted to put of having children with myself, and then I realized that it’s ok not to have them.

      As far as keeping an active social life, you have to work around the folks who are having kids. There was maybe one case I can think of where their identity was completely absorbed into being a parent, but the rest of them are still the same people you know and love with stricter bedtimes.

      1. JaneB*

        I kind of figured I’d want children when I met someone I actually liked enough to want to spend the rest of my life with – I like them well enough once they grow out of the baby state, but never thought I was up to solo parenting. Well, I never met that someone, and now I’m 47 and well into the hot flushes. I guess if I’d really wanted children I’d’ve put more effort into finding “the one” rather than in trying to work out how to get along with myself and do the work that seems to want me to do it. Sometimes I really feel sad about it, because kids are excellent, and because I don’t have any I’ve lost a lot of friends (hopefully that’ll get better again as their kids grow) and for some reason most couples/families don’t think to invite single people around to the family stuff. I don’t know why – because I DON’T have kids, I actually have more energy and attention for them, more willingness to hang out with them, than other parents, so if they invited me I’d play with/watch the kids & they could do more adult stuff like sit down and talk to their spouses (my sister I’m glad to say gets this completely, and often invites me round to do stuff with Niece so she can get chores done in peace during school holidays! Also, I love dragons and fantasy stuff, as does Niece, and sister finds it boring and confusing…).

        But I’m also really, really worried about what the planet is going to be like in 50 years time, and I think having kids would make that worry a lot more personal, you know?

    23. Elizabeth West*

      So, how did you decide not to have kids?
      Childfree, but not by choice. I did not plan this. I thought I would have grandchildren by now. I have friends who do. My own brother does. I am not happy about it at ALL. Things are still working, but there is no one to have them with. I can’t get out of here. I feel like Durin, locked in the tomb in Moria desperately awaiting the Balrog of Time to steal away my last hope.

      How do you navigate your friendships as your friends switch their focus to their own families?
      I just get left out. None of my friends who have kids and grandkids spend any time with me, except people in my nerd group, who either bring theirs (one of them has an adult kid who is a member) or cherish their break time, LOL. If you want to go somewhere with them, you have to put up with the kids, which can be nice if they’re not brats. But mostly, they don’t think of you. As soon as I hear another friend is pregnant, I cross them off my list because I know I won’t see them anymore.

      How do you plan for the future?
      There is no plan. I’m just winging it.

      Was there anything you read that was particularly helpful?
      I avoid the subject. Articles about childfree adults are aimed at those who choose it. The rest is for parents.

      1. Parkour!*

        Hey so I know this might be weird, but I basically live on the internet and think you and my brother might get along well judging from some of your past comments… If you live near the Northern Midwest and are interested, have Alison give you my contact info and I can go into more detail. ( I know this isn’t really related to your comment but it’s the most recent one I saw as I move through archives)

    24. Way over there*

      I had never had the strong desire to have kids growing up. Now that my brother had a daughter, and I occasionally have to chip in with child care duties, I pretty much reinforced the non-desire to have kids. Because child care is pretty much an intensive job all by itself – you need to focus on the kid constantly, you can’t take long breaks away from the child, and toughest of all, your work performance can potentially affect an ENTIRE HUMAN BEING’S FUTURE.
      Actually that last sentence pretty much is my greatest reason against not having a child, I am not certain I can be a good enough parent. There are SO many things that can go wrong. I know I am not a good person under pressure, what if I end up like one of those horrible BEGINNING OF stories to criminals?
      I think you should really want to be a parent before you have kids. Not just because your mom wants a grandkid, or societal pressure dictates it. But that you really truly want it.

    25. Pennalynn Lott*

      I haven’t read the 41 replies (sorry!) so I hope I’m not repeating anything, but I maintained a support network by cultivating both younger and older friends. So I had the “still-young-enough-to-want-to go-clubbing-because-we’re-not-married-and-kids-are-[maybe]-in-the-future” friends, and the “finally-my-kids-are-old-enough-to-be-left-with-someone-else-overnight” friends. I also kept a steady cadre of “nope, never having kids” friends. So, between the three groups, I pretty much had everything covered for the 2-3 awkward decades where people around me were having children and dropping off the face of my map. And now I’m old enough that the folks who chose to do the kid thing are freed up from the stresses of daily parenting and are back in my life again.

    26. Lionheart26*

      I never felt a strong desire to have kids. And for me, I feel real shame and fear bringing kids into an over populated and over heating world.
      I did wonder if I would regret not having family around when I’m older. My ex husband and I decided that we would adopt one day, but even that day seemed a looong way away.

      Fast forward a few years:: On one of our first dates my now-fiance told me he wanted children and I nearly choked on my hot chocolate! But I’ve since warmed to the idea.
      Also in those years I’ve changed careers, moved to a smaller, quieter city, and subsequently have a LOT less stress in my work and personal life. It’s Saturday night and I had a quiet night at home and a hot bath. Lovely, but honestly I’ll be bored after a few years of this. I feel ready and prepared for the crazy changes that children will bring.
      I am now excited about kids in a way that I never was before and never thought I would be. I am so glad that I didn’t do it earlier just because everyone else was, when it wasn’t right for me.

      I think my point is that I know that feeling of being ambivalent (or even against) having children. I think you have to listen to that and honor it. I wouldn’t worry about the rest. None of us know what the future will bring, so planning for it can only do so much.

    27. matcha123*

      How did I know?
      It just kind of came up on me. I looked at the parents around me, and the moms seemed especially stressed, petty and bitchey. I didn’t want to be like that, but taking care of a kid properly is a huge effort. The more I thought about the sacrifices I’ve made so far for my family and the sacrifices I’d have to make if I had a kid, the less appealing a kid became. I also come from a financially unstable background and do not have a large family. Having a kid would mean going it myself.
      I can’t leave out my hatred of suburban moms and all of the humblebragging that goes hand in hand with life in the suburbs.

      More and more friends are getting married and having kids. It really makes me so sad. I never dreamed of marriage or kids because both seemed like the low goals of uneducated hicks. (I know many of you may disagree, but whenever I hear a woman get excited about getting married, changing her name and getting good pregnant I think “No real life goals,” “hick,” “low class.”)

      I’ve been a kind of loner most of my life. I have friends all over the world and we all stay in touch. I disagree with people relying on their kids in old age. I will take care of my parent with whatever resources I have, but that’s out of obligation. My parent will never be able to retire and they have no savings. It’s a huge burden.
      I do feel like I need to find a community, but I felt that way before people started having kids. I’ve always been prepared to work until I die and die alone. But I’d rather that than being in poverty with kids I resent.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        For what it’s worth … wouldn’t it make sense to try to change your association of marriage/kids with having no goals, etc.? There are obviously loads of women who are married with kids who continue to be driven and have ambitious goals, so it seems like a surprising thing not to challenge your brain on.

        1. TL -*

          Yeah, not to bring up politics but the woman running for president is a mother and I can’t think of anything more ambitious than that.

        2. the gold digger*

          I think wanting to be a good mother is a goal and a fabulous one at that. I need there to be good people in the pipeline so there is someone to pay into social security so I can retire one day. :)

          Seriously – it is hard work to rear children and I admire anyone who does it. I also consider it a real sacrifice for any parent to give up a career for parenthood or to set less ambitious goals so she can work outside the home and rear children. Anyone who stays at home full time with kids is working far harder than I ever want to. In the locker room at the gym one day at lunch, a mom with two little kids looked enviously at my suit an heels. I laughed and said, “I deal with as much shit as you do. Yours is just literal.”

          BTW, the big families now – with four or five children? They are the new BMW. (Link to follow)

          1. the gold digger*

            While the percentage of moms having Brady Bunch-sized broods has held steady, the women who make up their ranks have changed somewhat. These days, professional and wealthy moms are having bigger families — traditionally more common among certain religious groups and poorer women with less education, according to government surveys.

            From http://www.babycenter.com/0_family-size-in-america-are-large-families-back_1503367.bc

            Also, read http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3204000/Big-FAMILIES-new-status-symbol-s-not-just-parents-Benefits-Street-affluent-having-mega-broods.html

              1. the gold digger*

                This is not an academic paper. That’s mere anecdata that having a large family is not a goal limited to poor, uneducated people.

                However, match123, I understand what you are saying – to get married and have children simply because that is the only option or what is done does seem rather – bleak. If it is truly a choice, that’s great. If it’s the only path a woman sees, that’s depressing.

        3. matcha123*

          Ugh, I’ve written and re-written so many replies. Let’s see if I can be satisfied with this one…
          When I was growing up, getting into a good university was the goal of most of my peers. However, in some areas of the country it seems that the goal of some high school students isn’t focused on higher education, but on marrying their boyfriend or girlfriend and working at the local retail outlet or restaurant. That kind of focus on marriage and kids as an ultimate life goal is what I see as a “no goal.”

          To add to that, the whole excitement about changing your name that some women have or the whole baby shower/gender unveiling events…to me it’s like people from small towns with limited opportunities, who don’t care to challenge themselves to anything new getting their last post-high school hurrahs by focusing on marriage and kids rather than any number of other things that they could do to improve themselves or their communities.

          I don’t doubt there are many ambitious women who hold onto and nurture their ambitions despite marriage and kids. But, when I see those women, I see people who happened to get married and have kids, not people who made marriage and kids their ultimate life goals. I’d like to think they’d be just as successful without the husband and kids. Like you said, it’s something to challenge my brain on. I think about it a lot more since more people I know are getting married and having kids. I’ve been able to feel genuinely happy for them for other goals like graduating university or landing a great job, but marriage and kids, especially, it’s just a huge feeling of disappointment and pity for what they’ve gotten themselves into.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I think people go with what they are taught sometimes.

            When I was 3-4 years old I asked my mother what I will do with myself in the future. She said, “You’ll get married and have babies.” [This was the early 60s.] I thought NO WAY.

            But I can see how parents can teach their kids that this is the only option in life. I can see a parent teaching that and not even realizing that is what they are saying. This extends out to conversations about career options and schooling. If a person sincerely believes that all she can do in life is work at the local grocery store, then that is probably what will happen.

            So many people never had anyone to chat with about how to map out your life. How to decide what you would like to do and how to get there. I remember in grammar school we were regularly given surveys to ask what we wanted to be when we grew up. My response was, “Well what choices are there?” Hey, I was 6-7 years old, how would I know. But no one answered. I copied off the paper of the person sitting next to me.

          2. TL -*

            It sounds like you’re directing your anger at a systemic problem – sexism and its disproportional effects on lower-class women – at the victims of the system, rather than the perpetrators.

            People are going to get excited about what they believe is achievable; what many lower class women are taught is achievable is to get married and have kids. That’s not a bad goal; it can be a great goal (my cousin chose this life and is super happy and fulfilled). The problem only arises when it is taught as a woman’s only goal.

            Getting angry at someone for choosing that life, especially if they are lower class, is incredibly classist and it’s not doing anything to improve the system that is causing the problem.

          3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            I don’t even believe it’s an especially lower-class thing. The assumption of most adults (in America, at least) is that most other adults want to, and will, get married and have children. It’s not that it’s encouraged as a substitute goal for other ambitions, it’s that it is treated as the default option by most people.

            “Oh, when you have kids, you’ll understand…”
            “But don’t you want the world your children live in to be better than the one you were born into?”

            etc. The general idea is that it is so normal to get married and have kids, and I find that shocking, because in a vacuum, to me, there’s not a lot of good reason to do those things. And I can understand why many people want to, but if we didn’t have that societal default, I doubt that some 53% of women would still do it.

        4. neverjaunty*

          I think the classism and sexism there are pretty ugly, but there’s a kernel of truth aside from that – being a wife and mother is a handicap for ambitious women.

      2. catsAreCool*

        When you said “whenever I hear a woman get excited about getting married, changing her name and getting good pregnant I think “No real life goals,” “hick,” “low class.”)”, I felt very uncomfortable, and I say that as a single, childless woman. People can get excited about things that aren’t their top goals in life, and a person can have multiple goals including a great career, a spouse, and kids.

    28. Al Lo*

      I don’t know yet if my husband and I will be child-free or not. I love kids; love babies; always assumed that I’d have kids. Really actively wanted kids for most of my young adult life. A lot of my friends had kids quite young, and I always just assumed that I’d be somewhere in there. Then I got married and we were in no hurry. Now we’ve been married for 6 years, I’m 34, and I’m still in no hurry. I know I’ve got a few years ahead of me still, but my body will force a decision at some point.

      However, I’m more and more ambivalent. I like the lifestyle choices available to us. I like the idea that as our financial security grows, so can our options with it. I like the idea of carrying my career trajectory forward without a break. I like my sleep. Some of that sounds a bit shallow, I know, but there isn’t one thing that makes me not want kids. I want to cuddle other people’s babies and have sleepovers with my nephews; I just don’t know if I want my own.

      When we got married, we both fully intended to have kids somewhere down the line, so this is still a conversation in our marriage. My husband isn’t there yet on the “no kids” (and I’m not 100% there, but I’m much closer to it than I ever have been before), but he’s with me on the one-kid thing, even though we both started with the intention of having more than one. If we choose not to have biological kids, he’d like to look into adopting, even if we’re a bit older when we do. I’m not opposed to that, but I’m not driven by it, either.

    29. YetAnotherAnonny*

      -How did you know you didn’t want children?

      My younger sister and I cared for our untreated mentally ill mother from about the ages of 5 & 7. One of my earliest memories is of my sister banging on the locked bathroom door, begging my mother not to kill herself. I ran to a neighbor”s (we had no phone) to call a family friend (well, her drinking buddy) to talk my mom out of it. This happened about 5-6 times a year. During the in-between times, I saw Mom struggle in waitress and hairdresser jobs to keep the utilities on & to feed us (and her tobacco & alcohol addictions). We lived in 23 places (apartment, trailers, relatives’ homes – that I can remember) in 4 states before I turned 18. From the time I was like 10, I knew that I would be caring for my mother until she died (I was 48 at the time) and would not have the resources (both time & money) to devote to a child. My sister lead her own life & kept Mom at a distance (smart move on her part). She has 2 great, well-adjusted kids. I guess I was an enabler, but I could not leave Mom to fend for herself. Truth be told, I was probably afraid to pass on any hereditary mental illness as well.

      -If you’re of the age where most of your peers are having kids, how do you keep an active and involved social life, a network of emotional support?

      Even in high school, I always hung out with older people (local college kids) and was not much of a partier. Most of my friends I have met through volunteer groups or work. I never had friends in college (went to night school and all my classmates were in the same time-crunch boat). The friends that I DO have that have kids, we usually do something family-friendly (like the volunteer activities). I enjoy talking to kids. I just don’t want to be responsible for anything else but myself (and hubby to an extent, but he does OK for himself). I also like to help young people (school clothes, college visit trips, funds for special things) as I can. I live in a city with a high poverty rate and there is no shortage of youth who need someone in their corner. My job allows me to tangentially interact with a lot of older teenagers. I enjoy seeing them thrive & try to help them.

      -How do you plan to maintain a support network when you get to an age when other people are relying on their children for emotional and practical support?

      Even if I had kids, that is no guarantee of any kind of support. I’d rather just buy long-term care insurance. I have a congenital kidney condition that was supposed to have killed my by the age of 12. So I fully expect not to live to a ripe old age. If things got really bad, I would explore moving to areas that would allow me to make end of life decisions with my doctor.

    30. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Like most other responders, I knew from a very young age I didn’t want kids. Never played with dolls – I always got sports equipment for Christmas! :) Sometimes I wonder if it is how my parents spaced us, as my brother is 5 years younger and my sister is 11 (and the year after she was born my dad went to grad school thousands of miles away leaving mom with three kids so… guess who had to help pitch in with a toddler). Even at 22 when I had a surgery and the doctors asked if I was sure and warned me it would impact children in the future – no hesitation. My mind hasn’t changed since, and every Saturday and Sunday when I see the weekend parents struggling with overtired/screaming kids on the street under our window, it kinda reaffirms the decision!

      Some childfree can have trouble finding partners, though I was lucky and found a firmly childfree man who has never wavered either. I did date a few guys who wanted kids, one who wanted them badly, and I just couldnt overcome my distaste for the concept of pregnancy and childrearing to keep going with those relationships. I think that was another pretty obvious sign.

      Also – in my extended family in several generations there were couples who didn’t have children and that was accepted. I loved staying with my great aunt and uncle or aunt and uncle with no kids because the houses were quiet, you could have a grownup conversation, and they inevitably had nicer things :) So I have never been pressured to change my mind, its always been accepted. My brother had a kid the other year but I live nowhere near them and frankly found it hard to accept/deal with and don’t call myself an aunt or even remember I have a niece most days.

      We moved to a big city where I have lots of childfree friends now, which is great considering we moved from a very traditional American city where EVERYONE had kids and I felt like an outsider. A very close friend is having a child now, and I am happy for him because they will make great parents and, however, will still maintain some semblance of adulthood. Most of my friends who can manage that (and it doesn’t have to be all that frequent either!) have stuck around, and I make sure to always ask after their kids, remember names and what they have done in the past, etc. And if they change into mombies – eh, then we dont have much in common anymore really, do we.

      For the future – stay healthy, active, mentally engaged, and buy good elder care one way or another. For now we have cats who we spoil and love very much (but both our parents chip in spoiling the “grandkitties” too – my mom even wanted me to send photos so she could make silhouettes to put next to the actual human grandchild)

      1. DoDah*

        I always knew I didn’t want children. I am the oldest child of two very abusive parents. I remember my friend’s talking about future families and I just didn’t get it. When I was 13 my parents had my sister—and I was the “built in babysitter”. I think any parenting ability I had, I used on her. I remember really worrying they would abuse her like they did me. They didn’t, thank the universe. And although she is my mother’s golden child—I don’t think they have much of a relationship today.

        Since I don’t have a partner or kids most people think I have “failed at life”. It’s not true, but it causes some people to avoid me. I used to be in a book club with some parents. They tend to avoid inviting me to things outside of the club meetings. Oddly—kids seem to really like me. I have no idea why.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Why do you think your parents weren’t abusive to your sister? Just curious about that. Are you close to your sister now?

    31. Lowercase holly*

      36, only child, supremely uninterested in babies when I was younger and that never went away. I understand that friends’ kids make them so happy but…? I like my best friend’s kids. I enjoy making funny faces at random babies, but I have no urge to hold kids. I also never felt any social or family pressure to have kids. I did start thinking about it more recently just to make sure I really didn’t want them and so far, nope. The idea is nice, the actuality doesn’t appeal. Maybe when I’m old, I’ll move in with my best friend and we can take care of each other, no clue right now.

    32. Lulubell*

      How did you know you didn’t want children? I just never actively wanted them. I remember being 7 years old and running into my mom’s room asking if it was ok if I never had children. (She said yes.) I am an only child so I wonder if that had something to do with it (no kids around) and like others on this thread, I was never interested in talking to kids, babysitting, etc. I did figure I would grow up to have and want them eventually, but I never really felt the urge, or felt driven like my friends did, to find a partner to have them with. I did go through a period in my mid-30’s where I decided I wanted them and I’d only date guys who were serious about settling down and wanting kids, but really, I think if I had wanted them that bad, I would have frozen my eggs or dated more aggressively or done something to make it happen. Everything I have truly wanted in life, I have made happen. I just turned 40, and in the last year or so, when I really sat down with myself and thought about having kids at this stage and what it might take, I realized I really don’t want to do it. I am very happy with my life and having kids would be something I’d be doing to check a box in life, not because I truly want or need it.

      I think part of what helped me come to the realization above is that I am a volunteer Big Sister to a 12 year old girl. I have been doing this for over two years now, and man is it hard. Yes, it can be rewarding, but she has some issues and just seeing her twice a month is exhausting for me. I realize it might be different with my own, but I don’t think I’m willing to find out.

      As for maintaining friends, I’ll just say, I keep making new ones! I live in Los Angeles, though, where it is pretty easy to meet single or child-free kids with common interests. I’ve joined a tennis league, a hiking club, and some other activities, and these are filled with people who have time to pursue these kinds of interests because they are child-free. I have maintained my friendships with my friends with kids, but my daily/weekly social life revolves around those who are child-free. I think because I have plenty of the latter, I don’t begrudge the former, and that keeps our friendships strong.

      Good luck. It is a journey.

    33. Finny*

      I’ve never wanted kids. Didn’t like them when I was one, still don’t some thirty-odd years later. The husband is the same way. If he wasn’t, we’d have issues, especially considering that I’m also asexual (though he isn’t). Then again, if he wanted kids, he wouldn’t be the husband, as there’s no way I would’ve married someone who wanted children.

      Asking for the friend thing, I can’t really help there, as friends are not something I really care whether I have or not. In general, I’m happier when I don’t have any friends in real life and just a few folks I connect vaguely to online.

      Yes, I am weird, but it works for me.

    34. Stellaaaaa*

      I suppose I just never felt that itch. My life has been strange and not always good. I’m not sure I have it in me to put someone else first. My life circumstances also allow me to be a bit passive about my choice. I’m single and getting up there in age. I’d have to meet a magical, compatible man very soon or it’s just not going to happen. My living situation isn’t conducive to children. It would take a long time for me to line things up in a way that would make me able to parent responsibly, and I don’t have enough time left to do that, biologically speaking.

      I think my ambivalence toward that is proof that I don’t want kids. Even so, once I got into my 30s I started having odd pangs of regret over the fact that eventually it wasn’t going to be my choice anymore. Soon the choice will be made by the passing of time and the retrospective fact that I chose to live in a region where men are somewhat socially rewarded for not wanting to date. I’m a perfectly fine looking woman with some decent social skills and an interest in listening to what other people have to say. I live in a region where men simply won’t date me or most of the other women I know, and it really sucks to know that your life direction is do tied to the decisions of other people.

      tl;dr – I don’t think I want kids, but as I get older I’m struck by nuanced feelings I wasn’t expecting, and even though it shouldn’t affect my self worth, so much of it still harkens back to teenage insecurities of hey no one will date me. It’s not about the kids. It’s about being upset that I couldn’t have them even if I wanted them.

    35. Lemon Zinger*

      A bit late to the party, but here goes:

      I am 23 and female. I was never drawn to children (despite having many siblings and cousins AND babysitting a good amount). I don’t think I came to the realization that I NEVER wanted kids at any particular time; I just never saw it in my future. My boyfriend and I share this mindset and I feel that together, we can both be adamantly child-free.

      Obviously I’m not open about this choice, since our society judges women who feel this way. But if someone asks if I want kids, I’m not afraid to say “No.” And I think that’s important.

      I don’t have many friends, but I’ve never hidden my feelings from friends. Not many of my friends/acquaintances have kids yet anyway. I imagine I’ll have a hard time maintaining friendships with people who have children someday.

    36. Anon for this*

      Thanks for the all the thoughtful responses, everyone! You’ve given me a lot to think about.

      I especially appreciate the commenters pointing out that parents shouldn’t have children for the parents’ future security. That’s something I very much agree with, but somewhere along the way it got really beaten into my head that if you don’t have kids you’ll end up old and alone and with no one to love you and care for you. Which, as you point out, doesn’t have to be true and still isn’t a good reason to have children. It’s good to be reminded of that.

    37. DanaScully*

      Late to the party here, but I’ve only recently come to an agreement with myself that I probably don’t want biological children. The basic reasons I don’t want them are as follows:
      *I’m a gay woman – I would have to actively try for pregnancy and couldn’t just take the ‘not trying, not preventing’ road. IVF is expensive, as is going via the donor route. Plus it saddens me that the resulting baby would genetically only be one of ours, not something we’ve created together.
      *I have an autoimmune disease which causes various symptoms. Not only do I not think my energy levels aren’t up to looking after a child, I wouldn’t want to pass this dreadful disease onto my child.
      *I’m selfish and enjoy being able to do what I want to – I couldn’t imagine having to put someone else first for the rest of my life. I would totally resent having to give up my lazy days.
      *I’m only in my early twenties but some of my friends do have children. To be honest, I still see most of them when I can whether that includes their children or not. Nothing much has really changed.
      *I have a niece and nephew who can hopefully support me if needed. But I hope that they won’t need to as I’d hate to be a burden to anyone.

  3. AVP*

    Is anyone else reading elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series? I just started My Brilliant Friend and it has totally hooked me in so far.

    1. persimmon*

      I love these books! I’m on #3 myself. At a moment when I’ve been feeling really down about sexism and being a woman, I found them really cathartic and thought-provoking. They are also just so totally absorbing, with wonderful characters. They’re my favorite thing I’ve read in a long time.

      1. Catherine from Canada*

        I tried to read My Brilliant Friend and gave up. It bored me. I have no idea why, I read anything and everything and I love Naples but nope.

      2. Theguvnah*

        I read it and have no desire to read the rest. I’m baffled by the adoration of see books.

  4. Plain Jane*

    The D/s question earlier in the week made me curious about that whole thing. This question is coming from a place of complete vanilla ignorance. But is the D/s mainly a s#xual thing, or can you have that kind of a lifestyle where it has more to do with your day to day life? I’m coming out of a situation where I’ve had to do a ton of emotional labor over an extended period of time due to an ongoing family crisis, and I find myself dreaming about being in a relationship where someone else is completely in charge of me. Where I don’t have to make decisions, I just have to do whatever someone tells me to do. The idea of doing that in a s#xual way freaks me out a little bit, but I could totally see myself being submissive in a relationship (and I’m not talking about in a conservative Christian way, because no thanks). Is that a thing that exists?

    1. Sibley*

      I don’t know the answer to your question, but you sound like you’re burnt out. You need a vacation from taking care of other people, working, etc. I suspect that the more R&R and self-care you can get for yourself and not anyone else, you’ll feel more balanced.

    2. Christy*

      It’s definitely a thing! I’m not 100% sure how many people have it as a lifestyle without having it in their sex life, but I’m sure they exist.

      (And for the record, in a sexual context, you are always consenting to what your partner does to you. If you still aren’t into it, that’s totally fine too. Just a short defense of it.)

    3. Gaia*

      It is something that exists. D/s often has sexual components but it doesn’t always have to involve the bondage side of things.

      Perhaps your life situation is opening up some thoughts you want to explore. Or perhaps you are just tired and stressed. But there’s no harm in learning more.

    4. Torrance*

      Echoing the others, it’s definitely a thing– in various forms & degrees. It’s not always about carnal activities and dominance & submission can be felt in different ways, from total and absolute submission to a Master or a relationship that is more paternal/caregiving in nature.

      I wish I knew of resources I could point you towards for information but my own introduction was basically figuring out what I wanted/needed in a relationship & making that dynamic work. I read a lot of blogs; a lot of people in my particular subset of the community are active on Tumblr, but I’m not sure I’d recommend going there for information straight off the bat.

    5. neverjaunty*

      Being submissive in a relationship is not the same thing as wanting someone else to do all the emotional labor of your life for you.

    6. Kate*

      Alright- speaking from 9 years of experience in exploring BDSM and D/s with multiple partners that is totally a thing! D/s can be sexual, but I’ve been involved in relationships where the sex was vanilla and what made the relationship was following more traditional gender rolls. Imagine your average 50’s house wife and I’m happy as can be filling that role. The great thing about D/s is that even though there is a power exchange between partners, it doesn’t have to be total. Want your partner to dictate every move in the kitchen down to how many cookies you bake but want absolute freedom in wardrobe choices? Cool! Express that to them! Want them to dictate every move while you’re awake? That’s a thing too! There are many, many levels of power exchange in D/s, sexual or not, and all of them can be renegotiated at any time if you want to try something new or decide you don’t like something after all. Just remember that communication is absolutely key, and you should always have a safe word even if what you’re doing doesn’t seem dangerous. (i.e. having someone tell me what/how to clean something when I’m in a depressive state is not safe for me, so I communicate that with partners early on and use my safe word if I’m not feeling well). Good luck with your explorations!

    7. Vanilla-Chocolate Swirl*

      How this works in my relationship: I’m the leader at work, so by the time I get home, I’m tired of being in charge. So we do the D/s in the day to day life with him in charge. He feels more manly in the relationship, and I feel more feminine, and we both like the more traditional roles. And then by the end of the day, I’m recharged again, so we switch D/s roles in bed, so that I’m in charge in the bedroom (so he’s on the receiving end of all the bondage, etc). And after being in charge all day, he enjoys finally getting to let go of control.

      But no matter which of us is playing which role, we both talked through everything before, agreeing in advance which of us would be in control in each context and what that would look like. So when he orders for me in a restaurant, it’s because I’ve told him that I like when he does that and he knows what I like/don’t like, even if it may appear from the outside as if he’s “controlling” me. It’s similar to how a vanilla couple might negotiate who takes out the trash and who washes the dishes. We already negotiated which decisions he makes for both of us, and the ones I don’t have to make feel like a relief for me.

    8. So, so anon*

      –Somewhat NSFW ahead–

      There’s a spectrum, really! Some people only include BDSM elements in bed, and only sometimes. This might include a partner who sometimes likes to be spanked or be ordered around in a particular way. They might not have any BDSM elements outside the bedroom at all.

      Other people enjoy carrying it out into games outside the bedroom, such as one partner wearing some “hidden” article of clothing outside the house because their partner ‘ordered’ them to. These things may have sexual overtones, but may not be exactly sexual.

      Some people like to have a particular dynamic be a big part of their relationship, and go beyond the bedroom. It’s possible for this to not be sexual per se, and to be more of a relationship role than a sexual role. I don’t have a lot of direct experience with this myself, but I know of it.

      Some things that are good to remember:
      Safe, sane, and consensual are important, even in a non-sexual context. Negotiating boundaries is important–both partners should know what is and isn’t okay, and both partners should be able to stop something if they feel uncomfortable.
      Dominants need aftercare too! In general, people only think of subs needing emotional support, but it’s actually quite intense and demanding to be in the dominant role as well. Both partners will need to have their emotional needs met.

      To be completely honest with you, you probably don’t so much want a submissive type relationship as for someone to help carry some of the emotional labor for your right now. That’s completely reasonable. However, I would probably suggest you be careful of looking into a fairly different lifestyle at a time where you’re also going through other emotional changes.

    9. Kit*

      It’s a thing that exists, but not in the way you’re wishing for, because mind reading doesn’t exist. Basically to make that kind of relationship work without trampling all over each other’s feelings and boundaries you have to discuss it in detail a LOT. There is no easy breezy relaxing new 24/7 D/s relationship. Either you discuss it to death, so it’s not easy and relaxing, or you don’t get what you want out of it, which is also not easy or relaxing.

      I would suggest being your own 24/7 domme for a bit. Decide what you want your life to look like, make a rigid schedule, and stop thinking about it for a bit. At 8:45 you don’t need to decide what you’re doing because the schedule says you’re having a bath, or whatever.

    10. Allison Mary*

      It’s definitely a thing, although as others have mentioned, it wouldn’t just magically happen – you’d need to specifically request it from a partner and negotiate clearly on what you want and where the limits are. But, speaking as someone who first got into the local BDSM scene almost six years ago… totally a thing. I have a friend who is actually in a (completely non-sexual) power exchange relationship with an older gentleman. As in, the two of them didn’t have sex at all – she was actually listed as “in chastity to” him on a BDSM social website.

  5. Bye Academia*

    Sunny kitties are the best.

    I got some bad news about my own cat this week. She has a small mass and the vet thinks it is mammary cancer. The general prognosis isn’t great unless we have caught it early enough that surgery can remove it completely. She hates the vet and we don’t want to put her through chemo and other unpleasant treatments that aren’t even likely to work. We won’t really know what prognosis we are looking at until we see the veterinary oncologist in a few weeks and get more tests done, but it’s definitely a bummer. She’s about 14 and otherwise seems healthy and active. I’m not prepared for it to be her time yet.

    Anyone else dealt with cancer in cats? How was your experience with it? Did you get treatment?

    1. Sibley*

      My family has lost a cat or 3 to cancer over the years. We do not do chemo or radiation. We did do surgery on one cat to remove the tumor, but found that it was aggressive and fast growing. If we’d known that, we wouldn’t have done the surgery (the incision never healed and she had to have stitches and bandages until she passed away). The other cats we did palliative care only (bigger problems). Given what you’ve posted, I’d consider surgery to remove the tumor, but only if it’s early. If the tumor has spread, I’d do palliative care only. The pain and stress of vet visits, surgery, etc are a lot for a cat that hates the vet.

      To me, QUALITY of life is much more important than quantity of life, especially for animals that are older. Make the decision based on what’s best for the cat long term, not what’s least painful for you. Yeah, its tough. But I do not want to feel guilty later on because I didn’t let them go peacefully.

      1. Kyrielle*

        This. Our cat with cancer was – well, the odds of radiation or chemo helping her were low, so there was no way. But palliative care was awesome. Be aware that compounding pharmacies that can do veterinary meds are absolutely a thing – she had longer comfortable than I think she otherwise would have, because we were able to get her medicine as a liquid with chicken flavor, rather than trying to pill-wrestle an uncomfortable cat.

    2. Elkay*

      I’m sorry to hear about your cat, I hope the prognosis is good for her.

      One of our cats had a mass but by the time it was found she was already old and frail. We had her put to sleep. One of our relatives was in a similar situation to you and took the view of keep the cat comfortable but no stressful treatments like chemo, the cat was around for about six months more.

    3. Cats*

      One of my cats also had a mammary cancer. At first we removed the mass (they were pretty small) but then it was clear that it had spread. I did not want to put her through chemo and such because they were just going to make her suffer and it was unlikely that she would go into remission. I was concentrated on her quality of life and they did not seem to bother her at all until her last night, when it affected her lungs and she passed before the vet could see her at the emergency vet. I think it is important to know what you are prepared to do/not do, my priority was her comfort, not to save her at all costs, but you have to be OK with your own decision obviously

      Anecdotally what I learned is that female cats who are not spayed young are much more likely to develop such cancer. My cat was found in the street and she was probably 2 yo when she was spayed.

    4. Trixie*

      My cat was close to 17 when we found carcinoma on his front right limb. Given his quality of life which was strong, I opted for surgery (radiation treatment was too pricey) and we had the leg amputated. He adjusted immediately and we had 2.5 more years with him which was wonderful. I was fortunate to have access to some stellar specialists in my area who recognized the issue immediately.

      Quality of life is the big thing and thinking about what’s best for them, which is so hard when we love them so much.

    5. periwinkle*

      Reiterating the advice to 1) get early treatment from a good vet oncologist and 2) always consider quality of life. Our dear BeastieCat developed cancer around one of his eyes; his eye and some surrounding tissue was surgically removed and he stayed cancer-free for nearly a year. He was definitely friskier after the surgery! Unfortunately the cancer returned aggressively. Since he was nearly 15 at the time, we opted for palliative care instead of chemo so he could have a low-stress remainder of life. We knew when it was time, though, and were grateful to have had that extra year and a half with him.

    6. SystemsLady*

      I lost a family cat at about the same age to a rare digital skin cancer. It starts as a tiny, nigh undetectable (especially on a dark cat) sore that even what had been a recent vet visit missed, and metastasizes and spreads quickly. She went from being happy and otherwise healthy, to having what looked and tested like a skin infection, to having huge tumors (the day we put her down), all within two weeks.

      We were luckily able to let her go before she had problems eating and using the litter box, or too much more than the pain cats are able and apt to hide, but it all went too fast.

      I guess the one upside to our situation was that the decision was, while more upsetting, fairly easy.

      If she doesn’t seem to notice the tumor and spends time with you happily and normally, there’s no reason to put her down. So I’d take some time to enjoy her company while you wait for tests and discuss with the oncologist about the specifics of your cat’s case.

      The cancer my cat had is documented as unusually aggressive when metastasized. Even with that, we would have had about a week to make the decision and mourn, had we already known she had cancer.

      Not to put your hopes up too much that you’ll have a lot of notice of her decline, but that it’s not impossible that wait, watch, and enjoy her remaining time will be an option suggested by your vet that will minimize the pain for both of you.

    7. Gaia*

      I’m sorry about your cat. I can’t speak about cats, but I found out two weeks ago that my dog almost definitely has liver failure likely caused by cancer.

      We cannot know for sure, which means we cannot treat it, because of some other issues he has. He’s 9 years old and so far is asymptomatic (we discovered this in routine bloodwork). The vet says he may live several more years, or I could lose him in weeks. There’s just no way to know.

      If I had a choice? I’d treat him as long as I knew there was a good chance that any pain or discomfort from the treatment would extend his life and his quality of life. If the chances were low or he’d live but not live any better? I’d probably try to make his last days peaceful and happy. That’s really where I am right now. Any treatment would be dangerous for my dog and even testing is too risky. So we keep him comfortable, I help him enjoy every day and I watch for signs that he is getting worse.

      Good luck. I’m so, so sorry.

    8. Perse's Mom*

      When we found a mass on Perse’s actual mom, I scheduled an ultrasound. During that, they confirmed the mass and did a needle biopsy. The results were large cell intestinal lymphoma, which has a really poor prognosis in the best of cases… and this wasn’t the best case, as it was a rather late find.

      Given that, I elected to avoid things that would make her miserable to no real effect, so I just went with prednisolone and fluids for medications. She got to eat whatever she wanted to (and by the end, it was more about whatever she *would* eat). When it was clear it was time, I spent the day just lounging around with her while she soaked up love, and then we had the final appointment, and I was with her for that, too.

    9. the gold digger*

      I am very sorry about your cat. I still miss my cat who died 30 years ago.

      I have no experience with cancer in cats, but I do have experience with cancer in humans. After watching what my dad went through (he died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 62), I wouldn’t even put a human through chemo. The only reason he lived as long as he did was that except for the cancer, my dad was in excellent health and excellent shape. After watching how he suffered, I decided I would not go through chemo myself if I get cancer unless there is a 90% chance of complete remission.

      That said – no way would I put a 14 year old cat through chemo. Palliative care only.

    10. Bye Academia*

      Thanks to all who have commented about your experiences. It helps confirm where we are leaning – focus on quality over quantity. We’ll see what the oncologist says and go from there.

    11. SusanPNW*

      So sorry to hear about your cat.

      We had a cat that had a mammary tumor – discovered pretty early. He was a male cat, and it is pretty unusual for them. I believe he was around 11 at the time.

      We opted for surgery – we were told it might grow back, but might not. The surgery recovery was miserable for him – of course he had no idea what was going on. And then within a couple months the tumor grew back.

      My husband and I decided that in the future that if cancer were found, unless it was a young cat and the doctor strongly felt that surgery would take care of it, that we would only opt for palliative care. The last few months of Simba’s life would have been so much better if we hadn’t done the surgery. We have since had a cat with cancer and chose the palliative route and were glad we chose that route.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t know what was wrong with Pig–the vet thought from what I described that it may have been a heart problem, but it of course could have been something else too. If it were cancer, I would probably have kept her until it was clear she needed help to go and then let them put her to sleep. I can’t afford to do huge expensive treatments for a cat.

      I wish that had been the case rather than her hiding and being sick and the whole drama at the end, which was traumatic for us both.

    13. Natalie*

      You may already know about this, but many vets will do house calls for euthanasia. So whenever/if ever it comes to that, it would be a good option for a cat that hates the vet.

    14. Golden Lioness*

      I never had a kitty with cancer, but mine is almost 17 and a couple of weeks ago she was so sick I thought I was going to have to euthanize her. It ended up being a big infection that was treatable, but having said that. I know how you feel, and how hard it is. You need to think of your kitty’s quality of life more than anything else.

      I hope you get a good prognosis when you talk to the Vet oncologist. Virtual hugs from this internet stranger.

  6. self employed*

    The weather is finally cooolig off and I want to be outside. How do I vreak the habit of “it’s too hot” LAZINESS?! Looking for tips to get outside that have a really low barrier to entry!

    1. LawCat*

      Just go for a stroll around the block :-) Don’t commit to more than that, but if you decide once you’re out there to go further, great. Either way, you’ve gotten some outside fresh air.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        Yep. Go outside and walk away from your house for five minutes. Then walk back.

        That’s usually all it takes for me to keep walking and enjoying being outside. I end up walking past my house and winding my way through my neighborhood. The first day the weather turned cooler (before it soared back up into the 100’s again), I walked for almost an hour without even realizing it.

        On the days I don’t have class, I also try to go stand in the back yard for a few minutes after first waking up, in order to enjoy the cool morning air and to get some sunlight into my eyeballs [because I am normally a night owl who is prone to S.A.D.]. Most days, that’s enough to make me want to stay outside, which is plenty of motivation to come inside and put on my trail shoes, then go back outside. (I’m fortunate in that my back yard is massive, and I can walk in it vs driving to a park. But I would definitely drive to a park, now that the weather is so much nicer!).

        So, yeah, just start out with walking for a set, tiny period of time outside. Or standing outside. Or reading a book outside. Or drinking a cup/mug/tumbler of tea/coffee/hot cocoa outside. Any of the above should lead to you wanting to stay outside because you’re enjoying being out there without melting. :-)

    2. RoseRed*

      Sometimes I just start by sitting outside–having a cup of tea, watching a sunset, people watching on the porch. I own a house and we have a compost tumbler that’s on the other side of the yard, so then sometimes I have to get outside and walk to the other side of the yard to turn the compost. Then my church is across the street from my house, so once a week I get out and walk across the street to church…etc. Before I know it I’m taking bike rides and going hiking again. :-)

    3. Trixie*

      Good for you to recognize the habit and be proactive! Agree with stroll around the block, or maybe at the nearby park. Perhaps a podcast to keep you entertained and distracted. My experience has been once I’ve competed something once or twice it’s that much easier to make it a routine. It’s the first couple times getting up and out that are the challenge. I’ll bet you have a friend or two who would be game to meet up for a walk, casual or maybe work up to local event.

    4. Former Invoice Girl*

      A really low entry one — I open the windows more and more often to get in some fresh air. Also what the others suggested — a light stroll around the block (I personally also get off the tram sooner than I’d have to so I can walk a bit instead) or people watching from the porch / open window.

    5. Blue_eyes*

      Can you walk to anything interesting or useful from your house? Walk to the pharmacy to pick up more shampoo, or to a cafe to get a latte. Having a destination and purpose can make it easier to motivate.

      Do you like podcasts? Pick one that you are excited about and starting walking. If that seems daunting, tell yourself you only need to walk for 10 minutes, once you’ve started you may find you want to keep going to keep listening. And if you stop after 10 minutes, that’s fine too – just increase your minimum by a minute or two each time you go out.

      I know the summer heat was making me not want to do anything (cook, clean, exercise, everything felt hard). Now that cooler weather is here I’m definitely feeling more energetic, I hope you do too!

    6. Clever Name*

      I just got a box of mail-order perennials delivered, so I’m forced to dig in the garden today. :)

  7. LawCat*

    I’m doing my first half marathon tomorrow! I got sick last week and so fell a little behind on my training, but a couple weeks ago I did 12 miles so I feel ready. I’ve signed up for a 10k in November and might add one more. We’ll see!

    1. Person of Interest*

      Congrats! I’ve gotten myself back into running too – did a miserable 5K two weeks ago, and I just signed up for another one for Veteran’s Day weekend (this time I’m actually training for it :).

    2. Grumpy*

      Seems everyone’s training plans have gone sideways. Just do what you can. Super proud of you, btw!

  8. SoCalKate*

    One of the librarians at our local library is named Allison. She is awesome. She just showed me how to use our library Lynda.com subscription. I like to think that she has a secret job posing as Alison and writing posts for AAM . . .

  9. Zana*

    What’s your current favourite song?

    I’m looking for some new music and am open to just about anything not death metal.

    1. TL -*

      Jason Isbell’s “Children of Children” has been playing in my head for a while.

      Oh, and Alessio Bax (a pianist) is amazing.

        1. TL -*

          Oh, I saw him in February (with Amanda Shires) and it was excellent! I cried and danced and sang. I really want him to come back through my area.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I’ve liked Halsey for a while, but I’ve been really enjoying her album this week because to me it just complements the gloomy fall weather my area’s been having really well. The other album I’ve been listening to frequently is Taylor Swift’s Red, which goes great with crisp, clear blue fall days.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      “80s Mercedes” by Marren Morris. Her whole album is good! I also really like Maddie and Tae’s “Born to Fly”.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      “Famous” by Kayjez. Looking forward to their new album coming out next month…

    4. Dr. KMnO4*

      “Give Yourself to Love” by Kate Wolf (folk music)
      “Blood of Bannockburn” by Sabaton (power metal)

      1. Jen RO*

        I’ve been listening to Heroes a lot lately, and I keep trying to understand how come I like Sabaton! I am not big on history, I think the band take themselves waaay too seriously… and yet it’s soo good and gets my blood pumping @.@

        (I do like power metal in general, but Sabaton remind me Manowar with their “omg we’re so serious” thing.)

    5. bassclefchick*

      Try by P!nk. Because “you gotta get up and try” is so my life right now. These days, just getting out of bed is an effort, so anything that helps me motivate myself is what I need to be listening to.

      1. Clever Name*

        This. The Truth About Love is such a great album. My husband is about to turn 42, and he’s been going through a midlife crisis, and yeah. Especially the line, “I love you, you’re an asshole….” pretty much….

        1. bassclefchick*

          That’s one of my favorite lines of hers! LOL And you can tell she and her husband were going through a rough patch when she wrote the Funhouse album. She’s one of my favorite artists and I hope to see her in concert someday.

    6. Applesauced*

      I’m studying for a professional exam, so I’m all about soundtracks and film score right now. I just found the Pushing Dasies score on Spotify and it’s perfect – energetic and whimsical but small enough to not steal all my focus.

    7. nep*

      Can’t pick a favorite — too many I really dig. Just the other day listened to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angel’ for the first time in a while — great song. (Started to list some here but had to stop — too many.)

    8. Not Karen*

      “Hurricane” by 30 Seconds to Mars
      also listen to: “Everybody Breaks a Glass” by LIGHTS

    9. Elizabeth West*

      Not new, but I’ve been obsessively listening to Nick Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974). He was an English folksinger. Two songs on his album Five Leaves Left keep getting stuck in my head–“River Man,” and “Cello Song.” My brother-in-law introduced me to him a few years ago (he put the song “Pink Moon” on a mix CD he made for me), but I only just got round to downloading albums.

      River Man– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-jvI5WirSM
      Cello Song– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4y8WGOJu_c

      Nick was a genius. He suffered from crippling depression and was massively uncomfortable performing on stage, something you really needed to do to have a music career back then. He committed suicide at 26. Gone way too soon.

    10. MyCatsRule*

      Keaton Henson. Birthdays in particular but all his albums are worth listening to. He lays bare his emotions.

    11. aeldest*

      I’ve been pulling my go-to autumn bands into rotation as the weather cools down. My top two are Sea Wolf and The Airborne Toxic Event.

      Also been listening to the album In the Dark With You by Greg Brown–so much nostalgia, my parents listened to that a lot when I was a small kid.

      The song that keeps getting stuck in my head right now is “7” by The Catfish and the Bottlemen.

      Finally, gotta recommend “You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do To)” by Lisa LeBlanc. Perfectly encapsulates my current feelings of wanting to be in a relationship but worrying that I’ll be subsumed by it.

      Looking at all of these, I guess I’m on a Folk/Rock kick right now!

    12. Garland Not Andrews*

      I did not see any Piano Guys and they are about my all time favorite group.
      My favorite piece is “Fight Song Amazing Grace – Scottish Cover” check it out on U-tube.
      Their channel is “The Piano Guys”

  10. Gene*

    A thought experiment:

    You have omnipotence for one thing. What would your one thing be?

    For me, it would be that humans would forever after follow the Zeroth, First and Third Asimov Laws of Robotics, especially the zeroth law. The Second Law is moot.

    The Laws are:

    0. A robot may not injure humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

    1. Gaia*

      Humanity would exist in peace and relative equality with all creatures without oppression or authoritarianism.

      Dream big, right?

      1. Maya Elena*

        Ah, how much blood the “greater good of humanity” has cost the world!

        I might use my one wish to help someone I love out of really bad luck, or to learn the truth about an issue I care about, without spin or bias.

        But TANSTAAFL. Nothing is free, including shortcuts to knowledge without the pain of trial and error on the way. I don’t know that I could use my power, except maybe to somehow spread the recognition of this fact among proponents of “the greater good”.

    2. Yossarian*

      What a great thought experiment! How would injure be defined? Is that just physical harm, or would emotional harm also not be allowed?

      1. Ange*

        Emotional harm could be tricky. If someone asked you out and you said no and they were upset, would that count as emotional harm?

        1. Yossarian*

          That is assuming they could even ask someone out without knowing that they would get a yes! After all, rejecting someone causes emotional distress too.
          How culpable would you be for outcomes that are uncertain based on the information available to you?

      2. Anon for this*

        Asimov’s short stories are all good explorations of how the rules can be interpreted. I had a collection titled “I, Robot” as a teenager.

    3. neverjaunty*

      That would mean people need to sacrifice themselves (physically and emotionally) for others regardless of self-care. No thanks.

      1. Yossarian*

        Well, that would be dependent on our species even surviving in the first place. Even just under the umbrella of “cause no physical harm through action or inaction” our infrastructure would collapse immediately. Factories and food production using inhumane or just plain dangerous methods of labor would shut down. That would wipe out many of things that are used everyday, and cause massive food shortages. And then there are more regulated industries world wide that depend on people assuming a rather large increase of personal risk like road workers, fire fighters and cell phone tower workers.
        We would have to completely restructure so many things! It is awful that so much of civilization is currently built on human suffering, but it is sadly all too true. Maybe we could build something better, but it would look very different.
        On the flip side most of the positive things we admire would also be impossible. Charity would be the norm, and become unremarkable. Would art survive? How much of our appreciation for stories is filtered through personal choice to do the right thing? Or a lament of our failings? How would we even define right and wrong if harm to others is taken off the table?
        Sorry for the long post! It’s a fascinating premise. I wish someone would write a book about it.

    4. JKP*

      Didn’t the robots interpret the Laws such that they enslaved humanity to save it from itself?

      I thought one of the lessons from the Laws is that morality is not so black and white, but requires many shades of grey too.

      1. Not Karen*

        Yeah, I’ve only read a couple of Asimov’s robot books so far, but the prevalent theme is how the laws can really screw things up…

    5. LCL*

      All humans are born reversible sterile. To conceive a child would require a conscious effort of some sort.

    6. aelle*

      Interesting. I wonder how having these laws set in stone would affect the usual ethics thought experiments.

      I remember an Asimov short story where robots had to (but couldn’t) deal with a conflict between rule 2 and 3. Has there ever been a trolley problem sort of story?

  11. Lily Evans*

    I’d like to thank Alison for talking about how awesome at home vet visits are on one of these threads. I’d had no idea that was a thing and knowing about it came in handy when my cat got caught on a curtain, fell off the window sill, and started limping. (She’s the least graceful cat I’ve ever had). It was so much more convenient to have the vet come to us instead of trying to corral my injured, but not injured enough to keep still, cat into the carrier, which is always stressful for both of us. It wasn’t cheap, but they got her yearly check up and vaccinations done at the same time and it was worth not having the hassle of travel involved!

    1. JKP*

      The last few times we had to put a pet to sleep, we were able to have the vet come to the house, so they weren’t stressed by going to the vet and could die at home where they were comfortable. And afterwards, the other pets were able to sniff the dead body and know their friend was gone, so they weren’t searching all over the house for them after they never came back from the vet.

      1. Kit*

        One of my cats died at home a few years ago (sudden kidney failure) and it didn’t seem to help my other cat understand. He still looked for her around the house for a few months.

        1. JKP*

          Did the other cat have a chance to sniff his body after he died? In the last 15 years, I’ve had 3 different family dogs put to sleep at home (each were nearly 20yrs), and the other dogs sniff the body all over and then walk away.

          Another friend had to put 1 goat to sleep at the vet, and the remaining goats kept looking for it and bleeting. Then a week or so later, another goat from the same litter had to be put to sleep, this time the vet did it in their pen. The remaining goats watched at a distance, then sniffed the body, and haven’t looked for it like they did the 1st one.

          1. Kit*

            Yep, he was actually alone with her corpse for a while. It was his first and only experience of death, though.

  12. a*

    It was my 21st birthday last Thursday. I went out for drinks with my roommates yesterday. I tried a Skittle Bomb, straight vodka, Khalua, and Irish cream. Didn’t really care for the skittle bomb, but I liked the rest. TBH I feel like the Red Bull in the skittle bomb affected me more than any of the alcohol did.

    I also got a bottle of absinthe for my birthday, but I decided to wait to try it until later.

    What are your favorite alcoholic beverages?

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Umeshu and soda over ice is a great summer drink – refreshing and not too sweet or strong.

    1. Elkay*

      When I was younger my drink of choice was vodka. Now I prefer ales and ciders (which are alcoholic where I am), Rekorderlig is my brand of choice for cider. For ales I tend towards IPAs, if you’re in the US I liked the beer from Pike’s Brewery in Seattle which I think is available outside of Seattle too. I don’t like stouts.

    2. Chocolate Teapot*

      I like sparking wine, including champagne, kir royale and the only cocktails I drink are White Russians. Irish Coffee is pretty good too.

    3. Cristina in England*

      I love gin, and since it was not one of the first alcohols I tried as a teenager I never got sick on it (Captain Morgan’s, I’m looking at you). A longstanding favorite is a gin gimlet: equal parts of gin and Rose’s lime cordial syrup plus however much fizzy water you want to make it stronger/weaker.

      A mojito is also a go-to, if I’m in a decent place: rum, sugar, lime, fresh mint leaves.

      Finally, a dark and stormy: ginger beer with dark rum floated on top, but I strongly prefer it with Fever Tree Ginger Beer (tastes like actual fresh ginger) and Havana Club 8 year old dark rum.

      If you liked the irish cream try this: equal parts of Kahlua, Baileys, Amaretto, and Frangelico. It is like a dessert shot. When I liked sweet drinks I liked this a LOT.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Are you me? I love all of your favorites.

        I like gimlets, but gin and tonic is my go-to. It’s refreshing, not too sugary or “girly” and every bar can make it. Mojitos and dark and stormys are two of my other go-tos. Great picks!

        1. Cristina in England*

          Hello, drinks twin :-)
          Yes to all of your g&t points! I usually end up ordering that if I am out, especially if I am not familiar with a place and want something reliable and no-fuss.
          If I am making a g&t at home I like to make it with double lime (a squeeze of fresh and also a dash of Rose’s lime). If I am in the mood for something special I might get some Fever Tree elderflower tonic; it is very nice w Hendricks!

          1. Blue_eyes*

            I just had something that claimed to be the “best gin and tonic in the world” and it was…pretty amazing. Well balanced, with really nice gin and some juniper berries floating in it for garnish. If you’re ever in Washington DC, go to the bar at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel.

      2. LCL*

        I’m drinking a dark and stormy inspired drink right now! Reeds extra ginger ale, juice of 1 lime, Gentleman Jack bourbon, and enough soda water to fill the glass. There is a name for this variant but I am too lazy to look it up.

      3. N.J.*

        Gin drinker here too. For the OP and any folks who like him, I would recommend a Pim’s cup. There are a few varaistions out there but the one and only time I had it the drink contained Pim’s No. 1 (it’s a liqueur or similar made with gin and a bunch of herbs etc.) ginger ale, mint and cucumber. Some versions use lemon lime sofa, some don’t have mint etc. It is a fantastic drink!

      4. Sheep*

        YES gin! Love it! Gin tonic, or if possible, gin and something elderflower+sparkly!

        I also lived in Haiti for a while, so rum = yum!

    4. Persephone Mulberry*

      Vodka is my liquor of choice, and I like my drinks fruity: screwdriver, vodka cranberry, vodka + grape schnapps + Sprite, etc. My favorite is a Vodka Collins – vodka, sweet & sour mix (or lemon juice and simple syrup), club soda, splash of grenadine (optional but I like it) .

      1. Caledonia*

        my favourite drink is a vodka, lime (cordial) and lemonade – it’s incredibly refreshing.

        1. Elkay*

          That was my drink at university except I switched the lemonade to soda water because they didn’t charge extra for that!

    5. DragoCucina*

      Wine. My chapter of the American Wine Society had its national tasting project last Sunday. Across the US we are taste wines selected from a list and send them to national for comparison. This year it was California wines of the Rhone Rangers. So good! The food was perfectly paired.

      For hard liquor I used to be a gin drinker. Now I prefer vodka.

    6. all aboard the anon train*

      Wine is my preferred drink now. I’m part of a wine club that ships me 3+ new bottles each month based on my taste preferences and how I rate different wines I’ve tried. I like it because it’s been broadening my horizons beyond malbecs and cabs.

      I like IPAs and amber ales when I want a beer and I prefer whiskey or bourbon if I have to go with liquor. I went through a phase of drinking vodka martinis when I was 21 – 23 because I thought it made me sophisticated, but then I realized I really didn’t like the taste, so I stopped. Finding my alcohol palette was tough. I generally stay away from super sweet and fruity, though sometimes I really enjoy them with brunch. Also, boozy milkshakes are my favorite brunch treat.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Oh my yes boozy milkshakes. I drank a lot of those when I was first legal, which was before flavored vodkas beyond Absolut Citron even existed, so I can’t imagine all the possibilities that exist now that cake-flavored vodka is a thing!

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Boozy milkshakes just make me so happy. I got one on my birthday this year and it was the best treat. It’s one of the times I love being an adult. You can have things like alcohol with your ice cream.

          1. Cristina in England*

            Honestly, the flavors they have now! If I were just legal again I would definitely be trying the wackiest flavors out there. Maple syrup, buttered popcorn, bacon, smoked salmon?!

    7. March*

      When I’m out at a club or bar I really enjoy vodka cranberries, especially doubles. I really find myself loving wine the past year or so – if you aren’t big on wines sweeter wines like moscato are nice, and when I was in the Rhine Valley we tried a lot of really delicious Rieslings. I don’t like dry wines and I can’t even tolerate the smell of red wines, so mostly I drink sweet to halfway between sweet and dry whites. Yum. Oooh, white Russians are also great! There’s a restaurant in town that makes frozen white Russians and they are sooo good.

      Apple pie shots, when I want something quick and fun, are also delicious!

        1. March*

          They’re so good! Like I said before, I can’t stand dry or red wines, and the dry red Riesling we had in the Rhine Valley was amazing, I almost bought a bottle. The eiswein was also amazing, I totally get why it’s so expensive.

          My favourite moscato is cheap enough that each bottle comes with free sunglasses! It’s a nice wine anyways but I find the sunglasses hilarious.

        2. DragoCucina*

          I was just recommending Lambrusco to a friend who likes sweet wines. Fizzy and sweet. The Coca Cola of wine. Do you like it and is there a label you would recommend?

      1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        If you haven’t yet, I found Gewurtztramminer to be a good bridge wine, between the sweeter whites and drier ones.

    8. The RO-Cat*

      For me it’s a good stout (e.g. Fuller’s London Porter) or an Islay single malt (Bowmore Enigma for a nice get-together, Ardbeg to celebrate). If I want to pamper myself (and to avoid blood-in-alcohol limit) I go with Campari Orange. From time to time, Metaxa.

    9. Lily Evans*

      I’m a fan of sweet drinks. My go-to when I’m feeling indecisive is a Dirty Shirley, which is a Shirley Temple with vodka added. In college I was also a huge fan of Blue Hawaiians, which are rum based and taste like a tropical vacation. Whiskey sours are also delicious, but best at bars that make them with fresh lemon or lime juice, not sour mix which can be too sweet even for me.

    10. AdAgencyChick*

      Twenties: Beer.
      Early thirties: Red wine.
      Mid-thirties: Rose.
      Now that I’m in my late 30s I’m really starting to get into well-mixed cocktails. I’m a sucker for anything with basil in it.

    11. Dr. KMnO4*

      Pineapple rum and orange juice is good. I also like dark rum and a lighter hard cider, like Angry Orchard.

    12. SusanPNW*

      Gin, in almost any form. I love a good martini, and another current favorite is a Last Word – yummmm.

    13. BBBizAnalyst*

      I love whiskey. Usually just drink it neat. The sugar in cocktails gives me major hangovers.

    14. nep*

      A good Bordeaux. Used to drink rum and soursop like it was water, back when I could take it. Then years later, Kahlua and vodka. Nowadays I have a glass or two of wine on two occasions a year at most.

    15. Not Karen*

      White Russian (coffee liqueur, vodka, cream)
      Killer Kool-Aid (melon liqueur, amaretto, vodka, cranberry cocktail)
      Crabbie’s Ginger Beer

    16. Elizabeth West*

      When I was in college, I drank endless screwdrivers and Fuzzy Navels, LOL. Now I like red wine (not Cabernet), a good stout or porter ale (the darker the better), or really really expensive champagne, which I’ve only had once. When I drink, which isn’t often, because I have to drive myself.

    17. Miss Nomer*

      My very favorite is orange juice, pineapple juice, blackberry syrup, and spiced rum. With winter coming up, try a hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps! It’s called a Ski Lift :)

    18. ginger ale for all*

      Shiner Bock, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and margaritas. Now that I can’t drink anymore, I miss being able to put a slug of Bailey’s in hot chocolate or coffee. I have an inner ear thing that is triggered by alcohol but I think I might fall off the wagon for a big birthday soon and have a traditional Irish coffee. I go back and forth on it.

    19. matcha123*

      Khalua and milk, umeshu with soda, fireball with soda, soju, gin and tonic, red wine, sparkling wine, Shandy Gaff? (ginger ale and beer) and Kirin Ichiban beer :)

    20. Al Lo*

      I like a mimosa with a splash of whipped-cream flavored vodka. Tastes like a creamsicle!

      When I’m out, I like trying restaurants’ signature cocktails. I particularly like different takes on a mojito.

    21. Sunflower*

      In college I drank beer, vodka and long island ice teas. I didn’t like wine. Now I mostly drink wine. I drink vodka soda when I’m at the bar but I really enjoy signature cocktails at bars- especially gin and cucumber together.

      Also the first few times I had Red Bull and alcohol it definitely affected me in a weird way and I stopped drinking it for a long time. I also don’t drink Red Bull/never had it before that time so that might be a factor as well.

    22. Red*

      Hard cider is where it’s at! Delicious, refreshing, and it really does have alcohol in it – you wouldn’t always know by the taste! I wish I could remember the name of it, but I tried a fantastic one with some raspberries in it a while back. There are also some pumpkin ones around this time of year, which is different and wonderful.

    23. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      My at home go-to is red wine (most any will work) and seltzer. Low acl content, lots of fizz. :)

      When I was in college, all the girls drank coconut rum and Diet Coke, and that’s a pretty good default for a bar. Though, I’m cheap, and I usually order tequila sode or rum & soda, which are apparently uncommon; half the time, when I order a rum & soda, they give me a rum & coke because that just what they assume I said. :)

    24. Golden Lioness*

      Great! Now I need a drink… lol

      Love wines (all but especially reds) but my poison of choice is vodka.

      I also love all the sweet creamy drinks like white russian, baileys, kahlua, tia maria and the like.

  13. Miaw*

    I want children and a family of my own. Problem is that I have no boyfriend now… What is the best way of meeting new people? I am too shy for online dating. Clubs and bars seem to attract sleazy kinds.

    1. K.*

      Do you have any hobbies? Maybe you could take a class or join a Meetup group around your hobbies. Volunteering is a good way to meet people, as are religious institutions if that’s your thing. And if your friends have parties, go. People bring people. You never know.

    2. June Twentyone*

      I’m going to challenge your assertion that you’re too shy for online dating. Online dating is GREAT for us introverted/shy/socially awkward types. Assuming you are a heterosexual female, you can pretty much post your profile and let the guys come to you – you can pick and choose who to respond to. And if you’re feeling bold one day, send out some initial messages of your own. And then you get to do the getting-to-know-you chatting without having to give up your name or contact info until you’re ready. I would choose online dating any day over trying to be comfortable and attractive and witty in a group of complete strangers, even if we did have [activity] in common.

      1. The Grammarian*

        My husband and I met on OKCupid. We’re both stay-at-home types (although he is very introverted and I am somewhat extroverted). I met several guys there who I didn’t click with, but they weren’t scary or anything like that. I met my husband in 2012, moved in together 2013, and got married in 2015. I have friends who also met their spouses online (mostly OKCupid). You should give it a try!

        1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

          +1 to the not scary

          There was only one who freaked me out a bit, but not in a “follow me home/stalk me” way or anything like that. He unfortunately just had some very real issues that he should have addressed before trying to date. He also lied on his profile. It wasn’t anything too dramatic, but it was obvious once we started talking.

          Otherwise, all nice, decent human beings. Just not right for me!

        2. Natalie*

          Met my husband on OKC, too, and we are similarly both introverted with him more so. I dated around from Tinder and OKC for probably a year before we met. Had some boring dates, but nothing scary or terribly unpleasant.

    3. JKP*

      If you’re shy, online dating is probably the easiest. At this point in time, the stigma of online dating is pretty much gone, so there’s no need to be embarrassed about giving it a try. You can use an alias and don’t have to post your pic on your profile if you’re not comfortable. If there’s some other aspect of online dating that puts you off, then there are so many different sites, that one of them likely addresses that problem and makes it easier for you. If you do plan to meet someone from a dating site, pick something quick and low pressure for the first meeting, like coffee, and don’t think of like a first date. Instead, think of it like you would the first time you meet someone at a bar or a friend’s dinner party: you’re just meeting to decide whether you want to go out on a date with this person or not.

      Otherwise, you can think about the types of guys you do want to meet, and what groups do they belong to, what activities do they enjoy? Join any of those groups that would appeal to you also, whether a hiking club or book club or game group. Meetup.com is one resource for all the possible activities in your area. It might take a bit longer going the group route, since not everyone there is single or looking to date, but worst case scenario you make new friends.

      Speaking of friends, ask some of them if they know of anyone you might like. Maybe arrange a group activity including this other person, so it’s not actually a date, and you can decide if you want to go on an actual date with them another time.

    4. Bad Candidate*

      I would also say that online dating is fine for those that are shy. You can get to know someone first before meeting them in person. My husband and I met online. That said, we met 13 years ago and I know things have changed.

      Otherwise I’d suggest doing stuff you like to do and then you can meet someone who has common interests. Whether that’s online gaming, SCA, cooking classes, horseback riding lessons, insert whatever lessons, local meetups, etc. Or ask your friends to set you up.

    5. Kit*

      The old-fashioned way is to tell everyone you know that you are looking to date, and get referrals. You should be meeting everyone’s nephew and second cousin and buddy from college. The truth is it’s actually pretty hard to meet people in clubs and bars, since these days most people arrive with the group they intend to socialize with, at least in my experience. Everyone I’ve ever dated was either someone I met online, or a friend of a friend. Let people set you up.

      1. Overeducated*

        I agree with this. If you are too shy to meet strangers on your own, get introductions, as much as possible. I actually did meet my spouse at a bar, but through saying hi to common acquaintances.

    6. Anonymous for this*

      I am in a similar situation, and have noticed this comment comes up all the time, always with the same (helpful) responses. And after trying them all I have to say I have had utterly no luck whatsoever. All the meet ups in my area are for moms and while I can strike up a conversation at a bar it never leads to anything substantial.

  14. Blue Anne*

    I’ve had a really, really terrible mental health week.

    It’s scary, being in America and not having access to the kinds of resources I could have drawn on back in the UK in this situation. Which is bad, because it’s being here instead of there that’s really the source of this bout of depression. I don’t know how to do this here.

    1. copy run start*

      I’m sorry you’re having a rough time. Finding a therapist is difficult, but I know you can do it. To start with, do you have insurance?

      If you do, it should say in the summary of benefits what your covered for regarding mental health treatments so you know what to expect in terms of co-pays or coinsurance rates. From there, typically you search the insurance companies’ website for a list of in-network providers and… pick one. (I think picking one is the hardest part, because how do you know you’ll work well with that person?) A Google search should turn up some small practitioners and larger practices as well. If you have insurance through your employer or school, they may have an employee assistance program that gives you a certain number of free visits.

      If you don’t have insurance, look into whether there are any sliding-fee scale clinics around, unless money is not a concern for you. Typically therapy is pretty expensive, but some practitioners will bill a lower rate if you pay out of pocket.

      1. TL -*

        I know when I wanted counseling, I called my EAP and said, “These issues in either of these locations,” they gave me a list of 2-3 people to call. (They asked about gender preference as well but I did not care). It was actually really easy (and I lucked out because I really liked my therapist.)

        1. copy run start*

          My EAPs have always been “go wherever and we don’t charge a copay for the first X visits.” My primary doctor did refer me to 3 people, which was super helpful.

    2. TL -*

      I’m sorry :(

      It must be really disheartening to have to figure out a whole new system, especially if you’d rather be in the UK anyways. I’m sure that people here will be able to offer suggestions if you have specific things you are looking for, if that’s helpful. The US does have resources, and they can be quite good if you’re in the right place (financially and/or geographically).

    3. Cristina in England*

      I know others will chime in with useful advice about resources, but I just wanted to give you an internet hug. I don’t know if you are referring to culture shock, like missing the UK/ general unhappiness about being in the US but culture shock is a very real thing that kicks in after a couple of months so if it helps to frame things that way, don’t let anyone else tell you differently. It’s a normal stage and it will pass.

      1. Blue Anne*

        Thank you. Yeah, a very large part of it is the culture shock. I’ve been trying to find some resources and it seems like the general consensus is that people repatriating generally go through hell, but even then there’s practically nothing written for us. The materials I have found assume that I’m either a returning missionary, or a returning corporate type who was sent overseas with my wife and kids for 2-3 years to open the office somewhere tropical where I will have had house servants.

        Worse and worse, really. I’m just hoping Scotland goes independent soon so they’ll bring in some more reasonable immigration laws!

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      I don’t where you are, obviously, but in my area the first place to call would be the county health department. They will know exactly what services are available in your area.

      Best of luck to you!

    5. Caledonia*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, depression is a bitch and well as the fact from reading your comments over the last…well over a year anyway, you had a lot happen to you and leaving the UK wasn’t a choice you made, it was made for you (I think I’m remembering that correctly?). It’s only natural that at some point all these things come to a head. I hope you can find some help, do you have a doctor you could go to and see if they have any suggestions for therapists/counselling?

      1. Blue Anne*

        The problem I’m having with organizations like that is that it’s very difficult for people to relate to my situation. I’ve called helplines a few times… one of them thought it must be the divorce that was bothering me (nope), one said “Why would you want to go back to a country that deported you?”, one was mostly concerned with making sure that I hadn’t actually taken any actions to hurt myself and then getting me off the phone to attend to real suicidal people.

        1. Anon for this*

          If you’re ever interested in trying something like that again, I’ve had good experiences with the Crisis Text Line (text “go” to 741741). I also like Samaritans, but generally need a faster response.

    6. ginger ale for all*

      Gosh, I have no idea of how to help but I just wanted to send you a hug. Best wishes.

  15. Persephone Mulberry*

    AAAAHHH! So much excite. I just dropped off a bunch of my artwork for a three-month display at a local hospital as part of their “healing arts” program. I brought 7 pieces (all I had framed) and they took them ALL. And because my work is a rather unique medium, they’re going to display all of my pieces together instead of scattering them all over. And the best part is that THEY cold emailed ME after seeing the single piece I had accepted for a different exhibit! It’s almost like I’m a REAL ARTIST, you guys. *dead*

    1. Caledonia*

      that’s so amazing! your artwork is beautiful and I’m so happy for you. May this be the first of many.

    2. Cristina in England*

      That is wonderful, congrats! You are definitely a real artist (your work is gorgeous), your art is just on display now, that’s the only difference. :-)

    3. The Grammarian*

      Congratulations, that’s wonderful news! There is *nothing* like having your creative work appreciated and valued!

    1. Cristina in England*

      best: 1. Downloaded the Geoguessr app. I stopped playing it a while back before there was the app, and now I am completely hooked again. 2. My very clingy child has absolutely no problem sleeping in her new room.

      worst: 1. my mum had a bad dentist experience and her face is all bruised up and she had to go to the urgent visit center because she was so unwell.

    2. Jen RO*

      Worst: Long, long hours for the first half of the week, but I did manage to deliver everything that I had promised.

      Best: I finally felt like my good karma is helping me. I got help from so many places, even people I had barely talked to before. I was still feeling pretty bummed because the team could only deliver 90% of our work, but I actually got congratulations from one of the higher-ups, saying that it is impressive we managed so much with so little resources. It felt so good to know that people understood the team’s struggles!

      (In short, everyone except me left, and I had to start over with a team of new joiners, 4 months before the big software release. I worked my ass off to cover for the missing people and also train the new joiners so that they could become productive asap.)

    3. Pearly Girl*

      BEST: Started my new job this week! Tons of perks!

      WORST: I’m on a PC, not a Mac. *cries*

    4. Elkay*

      Best: I did a 110 second plank at my fitness class this week after missing two classes.
      Worst: I’m normally ok at baking but I’ve had three disasters in a row now. I enjoy the process of baking but it would be nice to actually have something edible at the end of it :(

    5. breadrolls*

      WORST: I found out a medical bill I had been trying to have corrected (to reflect reduced cost because of insurance) for two years was, instead of being fixed, put into collection. I wasn’t notified and only found out when my credit score dropped 100 points from last month. Luckily, I was able to pay off the correct amount, and it’ll be removed from my credit report next month (not marked closed, but actually taken off so my score doesn’t stay tanked), but I now have only $300 in my savings. :( Money is gonna be really tight for a while.

      BEST: I’m going to get to take one of my organization’s online courses for free! They’re usually ~$450 and have pretty specific eligibility requirements, so I didn’t think they’d let me. But I got the okay on Friday afternoon and will hopefully get to set up my account and start next week.

    6. Mimmy*

      WORST: Monday was the first day of a 2-week Voc Rehab assessment, and one of the instructors, who I’ve known for years and love, said “You shouldn’t be here”. I think she meant it to say that I was beyond this type of program, but it still really stung.

      BEST: Another professional at the program, who I’ve also known for a long period, revealed to me on Thursday that after I’d seen him the first time I participated in the program over 15 years ago, he went and did research on my (rare) disability. I cannot begin to describe how much that meant to me.

      Possible Best for next week: I may finish the program early!

    7. Cat steals keyboard*

      Best: I’m joining a pop and rock choir! And going to a training course this week that I’m looking forward to.

      Worst: a couple of people at my new-ish job have innocently asked questions about my family/parents. They aren’t in the picture and it’s awkward dodging these questions and never fully gets easier.

    8. The Grammarian*

      Best: moved into a new apartment that has more space and lots of storage areas…sewing room for me!!!
      Worst: have not gotten any interviews from recent job applications

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Worst: Lots of headaches this week. Bad ones. I was up most of the night on Wednesday– it felt like a spike was driven through my skull. Today is the first day I’ve been headache-free all week, and the day’s not over yet.

      Best: I got out of the house today! I spent several hours at a local music festival with a couple I adore and their teeny 5-week-old. And we ran into people I know. The weather is gorgeous and it just feels good to be out and about, since unemployment, depression, and rainy weather have kept me inside for so long.

    10. Dan*


      Thursday I leave for a month long vacation.


      I thought it would be a good idea to spend two weeks of it with my incessantly complaining mother. Well ok, I wanted to spend it with dad, leaving mom home was non-negotiable ;)

    11. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Best: cousin’s surgery going well; also, meeting up with boyfriend’s friends over the weekend (getting my mind over dark/sad stuff)
      Worst: cousin starts chemo after surgery (dark/sad stuff). While knowing cousin’s cheating/druggie/alcohol-addicted ex-spouse is currently dating a fashion model. While cousin is hooked up on a machine. Wishing him horrendous carma

      Silver lining: Venting about the above to bf, who gave me more kisses than I could ever remember, and going on a nice artsy date and him saying aloud he wanted a house, family, and more, with me.

    12. QualityControlFreak*

      Worst: Hard to pick. I’m sick (bad cold) and now spouse is sick. Still haven’t heard back on the scans to see if his cancer has spread, and that was Wednesday.

      Best: Well, the kid isn’t sick at least. Yet. Not a super fun week around here.

    13. Kit*

      Best: I know this is a no work thread, but I took a risk on a new hire and he seems to be GREAT so far! Yay!

      Worst: I have fleas. :< My kitty had a mild toxicity reaction to Advantage so I tried to use Diatomaceous Earth but it has not been effective and I'm being eaten alive. Last night I tried the Advantage again, but gave Avery a half dose. He is fine, and scratching a lot less. Hopefully smaller doses more frequently will deal with the infestation, but meanwhile I am SO ITCHY.

      1. LynnP*

        Try borax. Plain old 20 Mule Team borax. Shake it all over your carpet. Let it sit overnight and vacuum. Works a charm! We had a bad flea problem with a dog and it stopped it quickly.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Echoing this, I used Borax and end of problem. It’s in the laundry detergent aisle.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: I bought a painting!!! Leonid Afremov followed me on Twitter and I found that he had a bunch of paintings on sale. It’s this one–it’s called “London Dreams.” http://tinyurl.com/jttv88v

      The transaction through the website is routed in the UK and my bank slammed a hold on my card–it was denied and I thought it was just the website. I didn’t find out about that until I went to a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t pay my copay because the card was declined. A call to the bank cleared it right up and I reordered the painting when I got home. It would have been nice if they had called ME, however! :P Oh well; at least I know they’re being vigilant.

      Also, I’m in a short story class on LitReactor and the instructor is praising my work. Heh heh. Now to finish it for the final assignment, blergh.

      WORST: Same shiz I always bitch about so I will refrain.

    15. Snazzy Hat*

      Worst: The bathroom in the apartment of one of my tenants is leaking into the bathroom of the tenant below her. Extra annoyance is, if the leak is where I think it might be, I fixed the problem over a year ago and it’s resurfaced. Double extra annoyance is I might not have the money to repair the damage. Aluminum lining which is silver-colored but not as good as silver: my sister, who also owns the house, has agreed to help with any additional expenses that can’t be covered by rent income.

      Best: S.O. & I had a date day today. We had lunch at a nice little pub and played four games of pool. He won the first game wherein I made three consecutive scratches (cue ball goes into a pocket), but I came back and won the next three games. My father & I were there a few weeks ago and had played an intense game; he won, though it was down to only the 8-ball for both of us for a few turns. Speaking of my father, earlier this week he & I went to the local aquarium. It had been over 15 years since either of us had been there. We saw a seal presentation, a sea lion presentation, and feeding time for the penguins!

      Honorable Mention: In my ballet class, I asked my teacher why I was having a LOT of trouble with balancing. (“What am I doing wrong here?”) She explained my error very well, and the next time we did a balance, I was fine! Also I’m doing better at turns, though not up to spotting yet, and I land awkwardly with my feet in the wrong place, but hey, I’m not falling over!

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        Update! It wasn’t an old leak that resurfaced! It was a new, easily fixable problem with the toilet. So the good news on the worst thing this week is that I won’t have to hire a plumber. Bad news is I still need to hire a contractor to fix the upper bathroom floor, and the downstairs bathroom ceiling and floor. Water is dripping into the basement. But the source of the original drip is fixed.

    16. ginger ale for all*

      My best – I am the worst dancer in my new dance class but I am having the best time trying to conquer this. It’s clogging so it is different from the other dance classes I have taken.
      Worst- at work a coworker who has been told to not do xyz before did it again. He had been told to not do xyz several times before and he argued with me about it. I had to speak with my manager. Other coworkers don’t know that he has been told he can’t do xyz and he has told them that I am a bitch. I am having trouble keeping my mouth shut about what the previous talking to’s.

    17. Blue Anne*

      Best: I had four hours of driving lessons this week and progressed really quickly. I skyped with my British boyfriend for two and a half hours today.

      Worst: I’ve been in a really, horribly dark mental health place all week. I went on horrific “drown my sorrows” bender Thursday night, in a bar one of my American boyfriends and his best friend had built into their basement. Then I puked on the floor. I’ve never been that drunk in all my life. Boyfriend and his best friend were super nice about it, though.

    18. Dot Warner*

      Best: My chronically overworked and underpaid BIL finally got a job that will pay him what he deserves!

      Worst: His new job is 1000 miles away. So much for watching the kiddos grow up. :(

    19. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      BEST: Had a second “informal” interview for company I have good vibes about – all of which were confirmed when the interviewers I spoke with covered all my key questions/concerns without prompting. Hoping I get that offer next week!

      WORST: Whatever the hell is going on with my lower back/pelvis needs to be done already. I am slowly improving day after day, but yesterday I was overly tired (after walking too much the day before to get to interview) and practically dragging my leg around behind me trying to get to brunch with a friend, not to mention the rest of the day. Its exhausting and frustrating. Chiro appt tomorrow, but this is still a major improvement from three weeks ago when I couldnt walk at all.

    20. danr*

      BEST: Electronics recycling and paper shredding by the town. Got rid of a lot of misc electronics stuff and old phones. Started a long overdue clean out of old financial records… way beyond the 7-10 year lifespan.
      WORST: Damp and rainy weather. Would like some sun.

    21. Overeducated*

      Best: had a little housewarming party yesterday, friends from down the street to an hour and a half away came and seemed to hit it off with each other. We’re lucky that we moved 400 miles…to a metro area where a number of our friends from college and grad school happen to live. Even though we’re on the south end and most are on the north, it means if we put some effort in we will get to see them more.

      Worst: being sick all week. The toddler was so sick last weekend it took most of this week to recover, so my spouse had to take 2 days off because I have no sick days yet, and even though I got a milder version, it was bad enough that I worked from home Friday even though I just started my job a month ago. (And i couldn’t long on remotely, so that limited the work i could do.) It would have been better to be home Wednesday, when I felt the worst, or Thursday, when I lost my voice and my boss was like “you can go home if you need to,” but I had meetings both days.

  16. Aurora Leigh*

    A question for the cable cutters —

    I’m trying to convince my grandma to get rid of her cable — she really can’t afford both the $95/month for cable and her medicine anymore.

    I’ve never had cable, just broadcast TV and, recently, Netflix. A basic internet package here is only $30/month.

    She likes to watch basketball — is Sling TV good for that? And is it really just $20/month?

    And what would you say is the best streaming device for an older person? (Her tech skills end at the flip phone level.) I’m most familiar with android or Amazon devices, and I would be the tech support. I’m thinking we grandkids could chop in to get what she’d need as far as setup for a Christmas gift.

    Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks!

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I will look into that! I don’t follow sports at all so I’m oblivious. I think she be most comfortable with a setup as close to cable as possible. The whole app conversation could be confusing.

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        If the the other sportsing apps are managed anything like the NFL (or the Olympics coverage, for that matter), you actually have to have a cable package to watch via live streaming.

        1. Annby*

          Most of the sports apps won’t let you watch in-market games live. The MLB app is absolutely fantastic for me (Red Sox fan) and my husband (Reds fan) living in the upper midwest, but there’d be no sense in paying for it if we were fans of the local team.

      3. SaraV*

        Wait…does she like to watch basketball or baseball? An unfortunate auto-correct?

        If it is baseball, which is more plausible to me for someone her age to like to watch, then carry on! :)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      A Roku might be good for her, as a streaming device. It’s very, very intuitive and easy to set up, and I think there’s a MLB channel you can subscribe to (maybe?).

    2. copy run start*

      I’ve never used Sling, but I recently started using the PlayStation Vue service. I’ve heard the non-PlayStation experience is best on the Amazon Fire products, though I just use my PS4 and PS3.

      Personally I like Vue because I get all the channels I want along with a cloud-based DVR system for $39.99. There are more expensive packages if she wants some additional channels, and I think they just started offering HBO. The only caveat is that local channels are on-demand unless they have struck a deal in her city, but you can check online. If you do have local channels, it’s an extra $10/month at each package level. For sports, you do get ESPN, etc. so if she can get her OTA for local games and see the others on ESPN or Fox Sports Network typically, she should be okay. I’m not a sports fan so I can’t say for sure.

      The one thing to remember for both services is that it’s internet based, so you will have moments with poorer quality or buffering occasionally. Most ISP’s have Netflix servers now, so I would not expect it to be Netflix-level reliability or quality all the time since the Vue service will likely be leaving your ISP’s network (and with a Netflix server it typically wouldn’t). I think Vue recommends at least 10 Mbps down. Assuming she does nothing else concurrently online, I think that would be sufficient. There’s a 7-day free trial if you’re curious!

        1. copy run start*

          You could always do the trial!

          But yes, if your internet is unreliable you’re gonna feel it. :(

        2. danr*

          I’m using Vue on Comcast through the Amazon fire with mostly no problems. You do need a speedy connection and some sort of ethernet is best, not wifi. We’re using a powerline ethernet connection and it’s pretty good. If your cable run is old have them come out an test the line from the distribution point to the house. We had problems with a new HD cable box and it turned out that the outside line had big problems. They’ll be replacing it.

    3. JKP*

      Depending on where she lives in relation to where the local stations broadcast from, a digital antennae gets even BETTER reception than cable, full HD, and it’s totally free (except the cost of the antennae which is just a 1 time cost of $30-50). I got rid of cable years ago when everything switched from analog to digital, and I was really surprised how good the reception was. I’ve moved to a few different cities, and never needed to pay for cable and got full 1080 reception on my flatscreen. But the stations broadcast from the same city I lived in. Where I live now, the stations are at least 60 miles away, so reception is a little hit or miss for me recently.

      And I agree with Allison that Roku would be the easiest. I got my parents Roku for each room, and they haven’t had any issues with it despite the fact that my mom still calls for tech support to cut and paste.

      1. danr*

        From what I’ve read, the antenna option works best if you’re within 35 miles of the broadcast antenna and have a good line of sight. That is, no tall buildings or hills in the way.

    4. OhBehave*

      MLB is baseball, NBA is basketball, NCAA is college sports. Most sports have their own ‘channel’. There are also sports channels that show a wide variety. You should check into all the different streaming devices to find out which one offers your desired sport channel. Most of these channels are available for a monthly/yearly subscription fee. This still ends up being much cheaper than cable.

    5. Jubilance*

      So I had Sling for 6 months and then my husband and I just switched to Playstation Vue and it was such a great choice. For us, Playstation Vue has more channels that we like, at a lower price point. The Vue app works so much better than the Sling app – I found the Sling app to be super glitchy both on the Xbox One and the Fire TV stick. We run the Vue on the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

      If you decide to go with Sling, just know that it’s only the lowest level package that is $20/month and that is the one the one that includes ESPN if she wants to watch sports. They also have an additional sports package you can add that’s an additional $5/month.

    6. Nicole*

      A Roku would be great since it doesn’t require a smart phone. Or if her TV is old you could get her a Smart TV. They’ve really come down in price this year.

    7. Yetanotherjennifer*

      If I can start out by stating the obvious, she’s going to need some sort of internet access to use a service like Netflix or Sling. If she isn’t getting internet through the cable company, you could look into getting a new bundle through the cable company with cable and internet and maybe also telephone. That will have an introductory rate that may well be cheaper than what she’s paying now and she can keep calling the company at the end of each promotional period to extend the discount. That works for many people, although not for everyone. Also, I think there’s a federal law that requires all cable companies to offer a cheap and very basic package. (networks plus cable access and shopping channels) I think it’s part of the deal that allows them to have a virtual monopoly. They usually don’t advertise these packages but they’re required to offer one and the cost is usually around $20-30/month. I found a Consumer Reports article that may be helpful. I’ll post it on it’s own.

      You should also compare speeds. DSL usually promotes speeds of 7 mb but I’d see 3 on a good day and often 1.5. I remember we’d often have streaming difficulties at 1.5. We switched to cable so my husband could VPN into work and we get an advertised speed of 20 mb and we reliably get 14-17. Now we can easily stream from two devices at the same time.

      As for set-top boxes I like the Roku box. It’s very easy to use and set-up and doesn’t really take any maintenance. I use it to get Netflix, Amazon Prime, PBS, and a few other services. The only limit is you can’t connect it to your iTunes account. Look for one with an ethernet port so you can wire it directly to your internet device. That will be faster than wifi.

    8. Girasol*

      Can you unplug her cable briefly and see what an indoor antenna could do? Maybe she’d be okay with the idea if she saw it. Our little indoor antenna offers way more TV than we need.

  17. anon for this one*

    I know this is a touchy topic, but it’s 2016 and after experiencing some of this crap at a lunch get-together earlier today, I need to vent anonymously. I’m SO tired of society and women letting cis gay men get away with making incredibly misogynistic comments and treating women horrendously.

    Some of the worst misogyny I’ve received has come from gay men. And look, yeah, they’re an oppressed group too, but it does not give them the right to tell me my body is disgusting because I’m a woman, to criticize how I look/act/etc. and then tell me how to be a better woman, to dismiss my concerns as unimportant compared to theirs, or to touch me without consent and then tell me to relax because they’re gay and it doesn’t count the same way a straight man touching me without consent would.

    Don’t even get me started on the comments I’ve received from some of them as a bisexual woman because the biphobia I’ve received is almost always linked in with my gender. (Also not okay is cis gay men appropriating female culture while mocking women or trans* identities or white cis gay men appropriating black or latina culture, but that’s a whole other can of worms).

    There’s a pretty awful attitude towards women in parts of the LGBTQA+ community already, and well-known activists who are bigoted bullies – looking at you, Dan Savage – really don’t help, but come on people, stop ignoring the misogyny in the queer community. It’s not okay. If you’d call out a straight man for any of the above named activities, you should call out gay men for them too.

    1. Cristina in England*

      I have had some of the same concerns/experiences, thanks for articulating them so well (I have been trying to sort my own thoughts on the subject out for a while now). Misogyny is misogyny and it is not ok no matter who it is coming from!

    2. neverjaunty*


      There are a lot of straight men who think women are only good for one thing and are otherwise intolerable. When guys with that attitude are gay, they lose the one possible justification to even pretend they think women are fellow human beings.

    3. Anonsie*

      I agree with all of this. A few years ago, I was very active in my city’s gay community, and I let a few different gay guys cross some weird boundaries with me, even though it made me uncomfortable, because, hey, they’re gay! I’m gay! That makes it okay that they keep touching me and my boobs, right?

      It really wasn’t okay, though, and I’m still sort of astonished that I didn’t fully figure that out until I read this article, which made me realize this is a pretty common phenomenon. And it’s absolutely tied to male entitlement.

      1. anon for this one*

        I was unfortunate to have these experiences in high school and college when I didn’t know how to stick up for myself, and had multiple people saying that it was homophobic to say anything if I was uncomfortable. Which, no, it’s not homophobic for me to tell a gay man to get his hands off my chest or my butt. I’ve had some of them say they’re just curious and that’s why they want to touch, and to me that’s in the same league as white people touching black people’s hair because they’re curious how it feels. It’s not okay.

    4. The Grammarian*

      That’s so awful. I’ve seen this behavior and experienced it myself too (as a cisgendered straight woman). It doesn’t matter if a man is gay or straight, if he has your hands on you and you didn’t consent, it’s unacceptable.

      1. Liane*

        Heck it doesn’t matter what gender the jerk is, if they were born that gender or what team(s) they play for–ANYBODY who is touching you like that is in the wrong, as is anyone making bigoted remarks.

    5. Alex*

      That’s really surprising that you would receive negative comments from that group of people about being bisexual. What kinds of things are they saying? I would have assumed that they would be supportive.

      Also, how does one appropriate female culture?

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        There’s a HUGE biphobia problem in the queer community. There are a good number of gay men or lesbians who refuse to even date bisexuals. I’ve been accused of not being able to make up my mind, being selfish by giving myself multiple options for dating and sex, or appropriating a gay identity. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t attend pride parades or queer events because I’m not “truly gay” because I can pass as heterosexual. Not to mention, if I’m dating a woman, I’m labeled as gay and if I’m dating a man, I’m labeled as straight, so my identity is stripped away no matter what.

        In my experience, and in the experience of a lot of other bisexuals I know, there’s very little support for bisexuals in queer spaces (along with people who identify as trans, ace, poly, and nothing not considered “the norm” in queer culture).

        1. FD*

          I’m a lesbian, but I’ve noticed the same thing. It’s one of the reasons I don’t go to a lot of queer events.

          I really hate it because we should know how much it sucks to have our identity disrespected–why do it to other people?

      2. Blue Anne*

        It’s actually very, very common, unfortunately. Common stereotypes cast bisexuals as horny, untrustworthy sluts. We’ll always cheat because we always want sex with the other gender too, or we’re just dating your gender while we wait for someone better of the other to come along, or we’re cowardly gays who want to continue enjoying the ability to appear straight, or we’re immature people who haven’t figured it out yet and are going to break your heart when you fall in love and you’re just “an experiment”, and anyway we probably have tons of STDs because of, you know, all the sluttiness.

        It sucks.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I once had a someone tell me she that she believed all bisexuals had the inclination to cheat and that it would devastate her more if I cheated with a man than if she was with another lesbian who cheated with another woman. Which makes no sense, but it’s an awful thing to have someone say to you.

        2. Golden Lioness*

          Ugh. I am a straight woman, but that sucks! nobody should be disrespected like that. Live and let live!

    6. Rahera*

      You said it! Thank you for expressing this so well, and know there are lots of people who know exactly where you’re coming from.

  18. breadrolls*

    Does anybody have any recommendations for blogs/cookbooks/recipes/etc. for someone who’s trying to cook more often? I’m really looking for basic recipes that I can easily master and put into rotation with what I already know how to make, so that I don’t get so sick of my own mediocre cooking so often, and so I can convince myself to eat fast food less often.

    Things that are too complex/have too many ingredients aren’t my friend, since my executive dysfunction issues tend to flare particularly badly around the kitchen, and grocery shopping is a logistical nightmare (no access to a car, so I have to carry everything I buy over a mile home). I also hate salad and fish, which can be limiting when looking for new things to try.

    1. Cristina in England*

      What do you already make the most often? What are your favorite foods? Mark Bittman’s stuff is pretty simple, and he wrote a cookbook called How to Cook Everything, so I’m sure you can find something in there!
      Beware of 30-minute-meal style books, since they never take into account all the chopping and prep time. Maybe look for one-pot meal recipes?

        1. Dot Warner*

          Second the Alton Brown recommendation. His show Good Eats is available on Netflix, and it’s where I picked up most of my basic cooking skills.

      1. JKP*

        Second Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Understanding the basics will make any other recipe you want to follow easier to make.

        Also, slow cooker cookbooks are great. I love just being able to dump all the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning, then let it cook on low all day.

        1. LoFlo*

          I third Bittman. I like that he writes about how to create a pantry. That is helpful if you can only shop occasionally. I find that I make a monthly or so trip to the big super market with a large variety to stock up on pantry items, and then go about every seven days to a closer market for fresh items. I buy a lot of meat in bulk when it is on sale and freeze it in meal portions. Roasted squash and root vegetables are easy to make and keep well. Invest in a good knife and cutting board, it will make preparing food easier. Then start investing in good pans.

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Bittman for sure – I have his How To Cook Vegetarian (and we arent even veggie!) and there is always something super simple and delicious in there to whip up with what I may have on hand.

    2. Today's anon*

      I like Budget Bytes, the recipes are usually simple, she doesn’t use a ton of ingredients and there are lots of pictures.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I was going to suggest Budget Bytes too! She’s great at using simple ingredients (and she lets you know what substitutions you could make and which ingredients are optional if you don’t have/don’t like them). And, as the blog name implies, she tries to keep the costs of her recipes down. Also great step-by-step photos which are great for learning what a recipe should look like at each point in the process.

    3. Pearly Girl*

      I like the Pioneer Woman. Good, simple food, not complicated, and her blog has step-by-step photos.

      Best meatloaf ever.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        I enjoy watching her show – it’s usually on when I’m at the gym. I really appreciate that most of her meals are easy and that she’s one of the few people who has a well-known blog/show/cook book and gives advices on short-cuts or using pre-made store ingredients instead of making everything from scratch.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          Glad I’m not the only one watching Pioneer Woman at the gym! I always seem to land on cooking shows which is a little silly at the gym, but we don’t have cable at home so the gym is when I get to watch the Food Network.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            Ha, same! I don’t have cable at home and all the other channels are either reality TV or the news, so I stick with the Food Network. It always makes me super hungry, though.

    4. Rob Lowe can't read*

      You need Budget Bytes! I used to be the same way – I thought I was bad at cooking because I never tried anything interesting, which was because I saw recipes as these super complicated things full of language I couldn’t understand. The cooking techniques in Budget Bytes recipes are pretty simple, and so far I’ve only tried one that I didn’t like. We made these honey spice chicken thighs for lunch and they were delish!


    5. OhBehave*

      I love http://www.allrecipes.com

      It is such great resource for recipes. Those who have tried recipes can comment and give it a rating. You can also save your recipes so you can come back to them later. Kind of an online recipe box.

      It will also tell you which ingredients are on sale near you.

    6. Cupcake*

      Several people have already mentioned Mark Bittman, Alton Brown, and the Pioneer Woman, which I agree are all great resources for recipes and learning how to cook without too many nitpicky ingredients. I’d also highly recommend Smitten Kitchen (https://smittenkitchen.com/) and Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa). Great tasting food doesn’t have to require a lot of ingredients, but try using different kinds of herbs/spices, and always use salt!

      Something that helped me eat out less was cooking larger batches of food then dividing them into single portions for freezing. This included recipes like chili, lentil soup, meat sauces for pasta, etc. Whenever I felt lazy, it was easy to reheat something straight from the freezer. Also, if you don’t like salad, try roasting vegetables with olive oil, salt, and black pepper in the oven. This can be done easily with most vegetables, and it’s good for you!

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Seconding Smitten Kitchen. Her writing is funny and her recipes are reliable. She’s also very responsive in the comments and will make suggestions for substitutions and troubleshoot with readers.

        1. CMT*

          I used to absolutely love Smitten Kitchen, but I haven’t made any of her recipes in a long time. I don’t know if her tastes have changed, or mine have, or maybe both. It just seems like most of her recipes are either too much work, too unhealthy, or just weird desserts or side dishes I don’t want to make. I still read every post, though, because I do really enjoy her writing.

          1. Blue_eyes*

            That’s fair. I think I had the opposite experience. I kept seeing people linking her recipes and talking about Smitten Kitchen, but it took me years to get into her. Now I’m a pretty devoted fan. Do you have her cook book? There are plenty of main dishes in there and most of them seem relatively easy (to me). Certainly not all of the blog recipes appeal to me, but I just do what you do and read them all and then only bookmark the ones that would work with my time constraints/eating style/etc. I’m always interested when she posts the lists of which posts from the blog are the most popular because they are rarely the ones that I make!

          2. Overeducated*

            With those particular criticisms maybe your tastes have changed…but also I think since she’s been successful enough to start developing cookbooks, the blog recipes are not so much top shelf stuff, more variations on older recipes or simple sides that don’t qualify as cookbook worthy. I don’t blame her at all for maybe saving her best stuff for the books, it makes perfect sense, but I’m not as excited by new posts anymore.

            For someone new to the blog, though, the archives will keep you busy for quite a while :) Her first cookbook (it’s called the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) has a lot of solid recipes that I find myself cooking repeatedly, too.

          3. LizB*

            I love SK, but I do find that a lot of her recipes are super labor-intensive. I have to make sure to really read through a new recipe a few times before I make it, or I’ll miss some crucial step, ingredient, piece of equipment, or resting time that is only listed in the narrative part of the recipe. I generally make her things for special occasions, not so much for everyday cooking.

    7. Yetanotherjennifer*

      My current cooking loves are Cooksmarts, a menu plan service and blog by Jess Dang. There’s tons of free content if you’re not into the menu plans and she sells other things, like a cool graphic calendar, so you can support her work without subscribing to her menu service. Her recipes are simple, healthy, well-explained, and delicious. We love her pineapple fried rice.

      I also love Cool Mom Eats, a sub blog of Cool Mom Picks. A weekly menu of 5 recipes is one the regular posts. Her target market is busy parents who want easy, fast and healthy meals and that can work for anyone. So far we’ve tried a great pasta recipe that can use up 3 good-sized zucchinis, and a baked taquitoes recipe. Both were delicious, although rolling the taquitoes was a bit tedious.

      1. LawCat*

        I’m seconding Cook Smarts! It has changed our lives. We don’t eat out nearly as often, cook healthy meals, and don’t waste food. They’ve offered a class called Nourish a couple times so the OP might check that out too.

    8. Sir Alanna Trebond*

      I really enjoy the blog RecipeTinEats. All her recipes work, and she often includes lots of information about substitutions you can make. Also, most of them have fairly simple ingredients, and she often deliberately reworks recipes so that they use more commonly available ingredients.

    9. Ann Furthermore*

      When I got married, I didn’t know how to cook at all. I knew how to make maybe 5 things, if that. Then I realized that my husband probably didn’t want to eat a Hot Pocket every night for the rest of his life, so I figured I’d better give it a try.

      I tried reading cookbooks and recipes, but it just wasn’t clicking with me. So I started watching Food Network. I mostly watched Rachel Ray, Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), and Everyday Italian (Giada). I really learned a lot from those shows, mostly basic stuff. Like onions, carrots, and celery are the basis for just about everything. Don’t put garlic into a skillet by itself, because it’s rather delicate and burns easily. Salt and pepper are the most important seasonings you can use. And so on. I think I learned the most from Rachel Ray, because she’s got a very informal approach to cooking. She eyeballs most of her measurements, and always gives suggestions for things to substitute if you don’t have something on hand. I started printing off recipes from shows I’d watched, and started making them.

      After awhile, I got the hang of it, and got more adventurous. And now, 10 years later, I’m a pretty awesome cook, if I do say so myself. I prepare Thanksgiving dinner for at least 20 people every year. I never, ever would have imagined I would be able to pull that off.

      Food Network these days is a disappointing mix of competition shows, cupcake competitions, and Guy Fieri. But I think the Cooking Channel still runs actual shows about cooking.

    10. E, F and G*

      I’ve been trying for ages and I think I have passed from lousy cook to acceptable cook.

      If you can find Alton Brown’s old television show Good Eats, he explains cooking concepts in a fun way that everybody can generally understand.

      I have had luck following Betty Crocker cookbooks. The recipes tend to be very American but the instructions are fairly straightforward and the meals taste good.

      This website: http://www.atcoblueflamekitchen.com/ is supposed to be the last home economics unit run by a utility company in North America.
      (Interested: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/the-science-of-everyday-life-inside-alberta-s-atco-blue-flame-kitchen-1.3643304 ) Their ebook 30 minute meals is a surprisingly useful guide that gives you a basic idea of what should be in a starter kitchen, a few simple but filling meals and a guide on how to prepare items you may be baffled by like dried beans.

    11. Blue Birds Fly*

      I absolutely trust Taste of Home. When I began cooking more often for my family of 5, I used to plan weekly menus and make sure I used a different protein daily and that I didn’t repeat the menus too often. I also made sure to plan different preparation methods, (pan, bake, slow cooker, pressure cooker, etc.). If I didn’t plan weekly, I tended to go to take-out or ground beef and tomato recipes. To convince the boys and DH to try new dishes, I called it “adventure eating”. We learned to like a lot of new flavor profiles! Since then, I like all of the sources the others folks have mentioned earlier, as well as Southern Living.

      1. Mephyle*

        When my kids were young, and cautious eaters, if I wanted to try something new, all I had to was cook something from Taste of Home, and tell them so, and they would be pre-sold because they knew that they had never not liked a Taste of Home recipe.

    12. TheCupcakeCounter*

      So I am totally late but try the blog Jo Cooks. Her Chicken Gloria and Lemon Chicken Picatta are great.

  19. Curious About Keto*

    Going anon for this.

    Anyone done keto? How’d you get started? It’s something I’m curious about.

    I briefly dated a guy who’d done it and had been successful.

    In high school, I was diagnosed with some medical issues and told to avoid white bread, pasta, white rice and encouraged to eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat or whole grain bread and adding more fruit and veggies to my diet. I was successful and lost some weight, just by making slight changes to my diet – cutting out sodas and other sugary drinks, eliminating chips and other salty treats. I think I lost about 15lbs-20lbs over the course of a year, which put me within a healthy weight range. I’ve gained all that weight back over the last 12 years and I’m ready to drop it for good.

    Everything I’ve read about keto runs counter to this: cutting out fruits, bread, pasta, and all starches. This will likely be tricky with my family, as we eat a lot of meat, pasta, potatoes etc. But I’m determined to get back to a healthy weight.

    1. AliceBD*

      I have not done it. But if you’re a woman, I would suggest trying the xxfitness community on reddit or Facebook. I know there are a bunch of women in the Facebook group (I’m not on reddit) who have done it and have lots of info.

    2. Jubilance*

      I went Primal, which is similar. Basically I just cleaned out my fridge/cupboards and only bought things that were compliant. For me, it wasn’t super hard because I wasn’t a person that ate a ton of carbs at home, like pasta, bread, cereals, etc. I was already a bacon & eggs kind of person. I already liked doing things like taco salads instead of tacos with a shell/tortilla, or a nice steak with veggies & no starchy side. Cutting back on fruit was definitely hard, but I switched to berries as an occasional treat. I lost 50+ pounds in 4 months and I discovered that I’m a person who’s body converts extra carbs to fat very easily. I have to keep my carbs below 100g a day to keep from gaining weight.

      You could also try just easing into it and seeing how you do. Some people aren’t able to jump in 100% to get started.

    3. BobcatBrah*

      Keto is not some magic end-all/be-all… it works in that it kills your appetite so you lose weight because you’re not hungry, but if you don’t get into the habit of eating lean while eating carbs, then the weight will just come right back in a matter of months.

      If you have appetite problems, then I’d suggest keto (I use keto when I’m trimming down in the spring, and I purposely gain weight in the fall to add muscle mass), but if you’re looking to make a permanent change, then I’d recommend the lifestyle change that you did 12 years ago.

    4. Damn it Hardison!*

      I haven’t gone that far but am following the guidelines in the book “Always Hungry” which are very low carb. Most fruits are okay, no processed foods, no bread/crackers/pasta. It’s been a huge shift for me but after the first two weeks (which are really cold turkey on carbs) I adjusted pretty well. I’m slowly introducing small amounts of carbs from whole grains (quinoa and steel cut oats so far) once a day. So far the key has to have really flavorful meals – fajitas (w/o torrtillas for me), eggplant gratin (no breadcrumbs). My husband isn’t complaining too much.

    5. Talvi*

      I’ve not done it, but my new roommate is basically on a keto diet (carbohydrates trigger her migraines). She eats a lot of vegetables and cheese… I think the trick to it is figuring out substitutes – for example, cauliflower-based pizza crust or kale chips or peanut butter-based pancakes.

    6. Nina*

      A coworker recommended it to me first. Her version was basically cold turkey, you can only have carbs one day a week. Otherwise, very few carbs daily (one glass of OJ could easily reach the limit) and plenty of meat/veggies.

      I lasted 2 1/2 weeks. Honestly, I hated every minute of it. I dreamed of carbs, and when my “cheat” day would roll around, I would practically binge. But on the flip side, it’s the only real “diet” I’ve tried where I lost weight, probably because carbs make up so much of my diet anyway. Some of it was probably water weight, too. But at any rate, I lost a few inches during those two weeks, so I would definitely go low carb, just not no-carb. My doctor recommended low carb as well.

      My brother however, is a big fan of it. He already eats healthy and tries to keep junk out of his diet, so going keto wasn’t too bad for him after the first few days. He eats carbs, but quite sparingly, and doesn’t drink pop or anything sugary unless it’s iced tea or coffee.

      As for you, I would try low-carb for a few weeks and see how it goes, since carbs make up a lot of your diet. The biggest issue for me was finding substitutes for what I was giving up. If you feel deprived and eat something else that you don’t want, you just end up craving the bad food all the more.

      One great option was cauliflower. Riced cauliflower is a great substitute for rice or potatoes, especially when it’s seasoned well. Cauliflower bread is really yummy, albeit a bit time consuming to prepare.

    7. Sara*

      My husband has been on this diet for several years. He lost 60+ pounds(!!) on it and is now at a healthy weight. However, he is super strict. He eats no more than 10 grams of carbs a day which is basically nothing. His diet consists of mostly salad, eggs, meat, cheese, etc. He won’t even eat beans, tomatoes, or onions because they’re too carby. The only sweets he occasionally indulges in are sugar-free items made with Splenda. He’s found that he doesn’t crave sweets anymore so it doesn’t bother him, but he has a lot of discipline.

      Apparently it also helps to buy a blood sugar/ketones monitor and test your blood daily to see if you’re in ketosis. Eating just a bit too much of carbs can take you out of ketosis for days, which sucks, but at least you know it when you’re using a monitor. Now that he knows his body he doesn’t have to use it anymore, but it helps at the beginning when you’re still figuring things out.

      It’s not easy, but it does work if you stick with it! There seem to be a lot of resources online if you want to seriously pursue it. Good luck!

      1. Sara*

        Whoops, he just corrected me to say he eats no more than 20 g of carbs per day. Still not much, though!

    8. Emlen*

      Keto does amazing things for me, even though I don’t stick to it for very long – I only use it to bump myself back out of the habit once I realize I’m hitting the wheat and sugar (and therefore bloating) again. I normally keep pretty low-carb, but giving up fruit or beans/legumes doesn’t work for me in the long term.

      My only advice is to make sure you’re surrounded by much and a good variety of the food you *can* eat while doing it. Especially if you have any other dietary restrictions. The first week is one big binge waiting to happen.

    9. Lemon Zinger*

      In theory, keto is a wonderful idea. Do some research about inflammation, insulin spikes, and weight. That will convince you that experimenting with a low-carb lifestyle is right for you.

      However, standard keto relies pretty heavily on dairy, which can be problematic for many people (myself included). I recommend starting with a Whole30 so you can eliminate grains and dairy, both of which are major problems for many people. Keep it fairly low-carb (only have low-sugar fruits and don’t rely on potatoes too much). Then you can reintroduce dairy and see if keto is a good idea.

      Personally I do best on a mostly-paleo, moderate-carb diet, with absolutely no gluten and minimal sugar. Dairy gets me in heavy amounts, so I try to stay away from it.

  20. Today's anon*

    What are you favorite suggestions for protein packed snacks I could keep at my desk that don’t need refrigeration?

    1. LadyJulian*

      Nuts. Trader Joe’s has some great flavored ones. I really like the truffled (the mushroom, not the candy) almonds and the coconut cashews.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        OMG, I love their chili lime cashews! I can’t have them in the house because once I open a bag, they’re gone!

    2. Cristina in England*

      Do you want to make your own protein bars?

      Otherwise… a nut and seed mix or edamame snacks might do the job as well.

    3. Trixie*

      With any nuts, think raw. (Roasted removes nutrients.) My local grocery carries whole grain crackers snack packs with either peanut butter or cheese. (Low sugar, high protein/fiber.) Mid-morning I’ll usually eat my overnight oats which have come to room temperature.

    4. Allison Mary*

      Lately I’ve been really into the Kind bars. Their “Nuts & Spices” varieties have lots of different yummy flavors that are also reasonably low in sugar. And I know they only have 5-6 grams of protein per bar, but I swear I stay full way longer than I did with the Clif Builder Bars that had 20 grams of… some other kind of protein that was not easily identifiable.

    5. Clever Name*

      Justin has little pouches of various nut butters. The hazelnut chocolate one is pretty good if you go into it expecting it to be like natural peanut butter (rather than thinking, “mmmm Nutella!” And then being disappointed.)

  21. LadyJulian*

    I read The Circle about a year ago! It’s one of those novels that grows more prescient with time. The more I see of technology, the more I am convinced that we are actually moving towards a similar society: one where documenting our experiences is more important than having them; where it is impossible to go off-grid; where secrets cannot (and morally should not) be kept.

    If you enjoyed The Circle, you should read MT Anderson’s Feed. (Perhaps you have, I haven’t been following your site for very long). It asks similar questions about the way that technology, specifically one driven by a consumerist mentality, changes our society.

    1. Florida*

      I haven’t read The Circle yet, so I can’t speak to that. But I wholeheartedly agree that we are moving to society where documenting our experiences are more important than having them. People take photos and videos of every little thing – things that 20 years ago we would’ve just sat back and enjoyed. There is evidence that if you are watching an event, let’s say your child’s school play, and you are recording it and watching it through your phone screen. Later, you will remember less of it than if you had sat and watched the play. You are focusing on getting a good recording (which you will likely never watch again) rather than enjoying the show.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      In the same vein, on my list to read is American Gods, which I heard about on a podcast. There’s a TV series based on it on Starz sometime next year.

      The basic premise is that gods exist because people believe they do, and the “old” gods have been losing power as the “new” gods of Technology, Celebrity, Media, and Drugs have increased in popularity. Sounds right up my alley.

      In a completely different direction, I just finished The Hopefuls, which I tore through in about 2 days. It’s about a young couple in Washington, DC, and the life of young professionals working for the Obama administration. There’s not a whole lot of political stuff in it, so if you lean rightwards politically, you should still enjoy it. The Obama administration is more of a backdrop.

      1. fluffy*

        For Wisconsin fans, a lot of the final action in American Gods happens at the House on the Rock

    3. DragoCucina*

      Feed is excellent and the audio version gives an interesting layer to the story. The Circle made me want to go offline. I bought a Fitbit instead :-D

  22. Alice*

    People who’ve lost enough weight to need to buy new clothes: what do you do with your old clothes? I know some people advocate tossing out or donating the old stuff since it might encourage you to slack off, but that seems kind of wasteful (you know…just in case…?).

    For items like T-shirts, I just keep them for wearing around at home, but for stuff like more formal trousers or fitted jackets (i.e. not exactly comfort clothing) they’re not really practical.

    1. Cristina in England*

      Lots of people struggle to afford decent work clothing, maybe there is a charity with that focus in your area? Or maybe a women’s shelter?

      1. Alice*

        Yeah if I was getting rid of the clothes I’d definitely go for donating rather than just throwing out, it’s more that I’m just not sure if I should hang on to them…

        1. Cristina in England*

          Ah, ok. Don’t hang on to them. Maybe donate all but one office-appropriate item, if you feel you need to keep something just in case, but as chickabiddy says below, people are desperate for plus sized workwear, so you can feel like you’re doing something good in the world, not simply avoiding waste.

          1. Alice*

            That’s a good point. Also storage space is premium in my shoebox-sized apartment lol. Although my old clothes are around size 10 (UK sizes) so I’m not sure if they count as ‘plus-size’ (borderline maybe?). As I said below they’re not high end or anything but still pretty decent so I think people can make good use of them.

              1. Alice*

                I’ll admit I’m pretty fuzzy about what is and isn’t plus-size. When I was in Australia they had plus-size clothing stores which specify size 14 and up, and I think an Australian size 14 is around a UK size 12…so kind of close? But these parameters seem to shift all the time anyway.

        2. Observer*

          That’s what I really don’t understand. If the clothes don’t fit you and you can’t use them, why would you keep them? Are you so sure you are going to put the weight back on?

        3. Creampuff*

          Hang onto the nicest pieces, donate the rest. Put the nice stuff in a box marked 12 months, and store it on a top shelf. If in 12 months you don’t need it, donate it.

      1. Alice*

        Oh they’re not really that high-end, and I’m not sure if the cost of having them tailored is really worth it. (If only I was more handy with a sewing machine…)

    2. chickabiddy*

      Women’s shelters and Dress for Success (if you have anything like that) desperately need plus-size clothing that is suitable for office wear.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      I donate to a local charity-based thrift shop, and I don’t consider it wasteful. I would much rather someone who needs those trousers or blazer or what-have-you be wearing them, than have them gathering dust in the back of my closet “just in case.”

      1. Florida*

        I’m curious because a few people say that you shouldn’t keep them “just in case.” If you gain weight and by new clothes, do you donate all of your smaller-size clothes? Or do you keep them because you *know* you will lose the weight again.
        Usually it seems like people recommend getting rid of your bigger clothes (because you don’t need the backup plan), but no one recommends you immediately get rid of your smaller clothes (because that is pessimistic).

        1. Anon for this*

          I actually donated most of my smaller clothes, kept the absolute favorites for a year, and then donated them.

          But I lost weight as a teenager and didn’t expect to keep all of it off forever. Most people losing or gaining weight expect to maintain a certain weight eventually.

    4. OhBehave*

      Our church sends teams on mission trips quite often. One of the trips is to Haiti. Dressing up for church is a big deal there and the team asked for any donations of dress clothing. That may give you an additional way to donate your clothing. Bridge to Success is another avenue for donating gently used work clothing. It provides clothes to women in need.

    5. Florida*

      Am I the only one who keeps them? Actually, I keep them for a while. Once I haven’t worn something for about a year, I give it away.

    6. Carrie...*

      If the items are still good quality, and timeless styles, I keep ones that are one size away from my new size. This is because I am pear shaped, and even a small weight change can shift me to a different size.

      If things are good quality, and I am less likely to wear again, I bring to a local consignment shop.

      Suits I donate to Dress for Success.

      Other things I donate to my favorite local charity/donation resale shop, and keep the receipt for tax deductions.

      Old cotton shirts etc.. I tear up to use as rags.

      I never throw away clothes, especially if they are in good shape. There is almost always someone who can use them.

    7. FD*

      I buy lots of stuff from thrift shops, so we always take our old clothes or items there, as long as they’re in usable condition. Thrift shops can be a lifesaver for people who are starting out, or who are in tough financial straits.

    8. Gene*

      Except for the shirts my first wife made and my Utilikilts, I donated them to the local shelter.

      I still have the shirts, they’re Aloha shirts, so loose is normal. I sold the kilts on eBay, they sell well.

    9. ginger ale for all*

      I would keep a robe so if you have guests, you can leave it in the bathroom for their use. A robe that is too big is still nice when you don’t have one. And I think I would keep an oversized sweater to slop about the house in on chilly days.

    10. Anon for this*

      If you’re thinking about keeping anything “just in case,” my advice is to only keep the basics that you absolutely loved at that size.

      I lost weight as a teenager, so I knew that I was probably going to gain a little weight sooner or later just by not being 17 anymore. I donated almost everything and kept a couple of things in the next size up. Now, in my 20s and 5-10 pounds heavier, I’m glad I did.

      1. Overeducated*

        I agree. Keep things that you like enough that you’d miss them if you ever had to rebuild a closet in your previous size, ditch stuff that is purely utilitarian or not your style anymore.

    11. workworkwork*

      Host a clothing swap! I find that 10 or so people makes for a good group. We divide the room into areas–shoes here, tops there–and then dive in! Add some snacks and wine and it’s a fun night. Afterwards the host or a guest usually donated the remainder to a thrift store (we usually try to go as direct as possible to needy folks, sometimes we just drive them to a shelter) or sometimes we’ll put a facebook post up to see if anyone wants to come and take the lot. Free shopping!

  23. Aurora Leigh*

    Tips for introducing cats?

    My car is a little over a year old, and on the vet’s recommendation (and also because I really really want one) I’m getting a second cat next week. New cat is about 6 months old, also female, and accustomed to other cats.

    Tips for a smooth meeting?

    1. Trixie*

      I keep new kittens in separate rooms to start with, let new one get used to space and original used to new smell. They’re both so young, my guess is they’ll be playing in no time. (Introducing my grouchy senior Blue Russian to new male kitten was a little bumpy, but an Orange Boy can win over anyone.)

    2. Perse's Mom*

      Separate rooms at first.
      Feed on opposite sides of the door (the idea is for them to associate each others’ smell with a positive thing (food)).
      Swap out favorite sleeping-on things – not necessarily putting Kitty B’s bed in Kitty A’s bed’s usual spot, but out where they can get used to each other’s scents.
      Lots of love for BOTH kitties – if 1st kitty resents new kitty, that’s trouble, but it can be minimized if 1st kitty realizes she still gets plenty of attention.

      There will most likely be some bickering and hissing as they get used to each other and figure each other out, particularly once they’re allowed to see each other and physically interact, so do that at short intervals to start and reward good behavior. Two kitty fishing poles so they can play in the same area without feeling like they’re competing for the toy. Treats nearby but not right next to each other, that sort of thing.

      The good news is they’re both very young, and therefore more likely to get over themselves faster.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Agree with the others that they’re both so young that it’ll be a lot easier. My biggest piece of advice is to not freak out in the beginning if they’re growling and hissing and not getting along. If you’re anything like me, at some point you’ll start to worry that they will never get along and that this was a mistake … but know that it’s 99% likely that that’s just totally interim, and that in time (probably no more than a few weeks at that age and maybe much less) they’ll start getting along! You just have to wait out that period and know it’s not permanent.

      One thing I’ve learned that’s been really helpful is that they are massively triggered by the new smell of the other cat. And so even if your older cat is curious about the new one, she’s going to growl and hiss just because of instinct, as a reaction to the smell. In time, the smell stops being unfamiliar and the growling and hissing goes away.

    4. Elder Dog*

      Besides keeping them in separate rooms for awhile, swap the rooms so they get used to each other’s smell. Make sure everybody has a litter box available too. I swapped my new cat and my old cat a couple times a day, and alternated who slept with me as well.

      I built a screen door that set into the doorway tightly and starting after a week, I opened the regular door just a few inches so they could see each other. They got to eat one on each side, and sniff through the crack and see each other, and so on till it was clear nobody was concerned about anybody eles, and they now sleep curled up together.

      Altogether it took about two weeks. One cat was 6 or 7 at the time and the other about 2.

    5. Jen RO*

      I don’t have a ton of experience with this, but I just want to say that I also asked the AAM community when I got a new kitten 3 years ago, I followed the recommendations and everything went great! (Basically, I kept them separate for a week, then short supervised interaction for a week, then unsupervised interactions when we were at home for another week.)

  24. Piping Plover*

    I want to learn how to start editing movies that I make with either my camera or iPhone. My iPhone and iPad have iMovie which I have been tinkering with. It seems easy enough. However, when it comes to a computer, I have always been a PC person. Do they make an iMovie compatible for a PC? Or is there something just as good to get for the PC?


    1. SO HUNGRY*

      PC had something called Movie Maker (this may or may not be the name) or something like that, it used to come native on it like iMovie does on mac. but it’s been a long time since I’ve really used PC so I can’t say for sure.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      There’s no iMovie for Windows, but there is one for the iPad. Maybe try that out, since you have an iPad?

    3. TeaLady*

      I use Serif Movieplus, the free version (although I paid a nominal amount to render projects to export).

  25. SO HUNGRY*

    So…. what’s everyone having for dinner today (or what did you have if you are already past that point in your day?)

    1. misspiggy*

      Leftover Chinese takeaway! Honey cake for Rosh Hashanah tomorrow is filling the house with gorgeous aromas.

    2. all aboard the anon train*

      Cabbage pierogi, kielbasa, and placki (potato pancakes) with mushroom sauce. I always make big batches a few times a year and freeze them so I can take them out whenever I want comfort food. And this week has called for comfort food!

      I have crockpot beef tips with mushroom ready to go for tomorrow.

    3. Cristina in England*

      Chicken korma with kale and red and yellow peppers as well as cashews and raisins. On brown rice. It was delicious.

    4. copy run start*

      Cheese pizza on a gluten-free crust, , soda, CHOCOLATE. Saturday night is pig-out night!

    5. Aurion*

      Slow cooker braised shanks with veggies, potatoes, and mushroom red wine gravy :-)

      I hate how the recipe didn’t count chopping and washing in the prep time, but quibble aside, my dinner is simmering away and smells heavenly.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Well, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to have… then I went to a festival with some friends and had Frito pie and chocolate custard. So no “dinner” for me. I will probably eat some leftover Middle Eastern-inspired stew from last night– mustard greens, tomatoes, and chickpeas over couscous.

      I made an apple cake for Rosh Hashanah earlier today, and I need to make soup. I might do that this evening. Soup is excellent when it sits for a day. It will be a vegetarian version of the Mexican matzo ball soup featured on NPR yesterday.

    7. Kyrielle*

      Hamburgers and purple french fries! (The CSA this week brought purple flesh potatoes again. Last week they went in a chicken bake which, with its other veggies, was quite a colorful dish. This week, the kids at least _believe_ me when I say I’m serving purple french fries.

    8. DragoCucina*

      For lunch I made a salad with organic beets, local peaches (they last when they haven’t travelled across the country), lettuce, grape tomatoes, and herbed chèvre. The dressing was honey, blueberry vinegar, and olive oil.

      Supper is left over pasta. Dessert is an apple-spice cake.

    9. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m on day two of experimenting with my new hot pot (combo pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, etc.) First I made a slow cooker recipe (coconut beef with broccoli) we’ve made before and it turned out much more tender than it does in my actual slow cooker.

      Then tonight I just pressure cooked some country style pork ribs. After just under an hour they were fall off the bone tender and still fairly moist. Again, far better than what the slow cooker turns out; and in this case, faster. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes, and a bagged salad.

      Tomorrow night I’m going to try using it as a rice cooker.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        InstantPot? I love mine. I bought a whole bag of apples at a good price today and I’m going to use some of them for Smitten Kitchen’s sunken apple cake and turn the rest into apple sauce in the InstantPot (using the slow cooker setting).

        1. Yetanotherjennifer*

          Yes, that. But I think mine is called a hot pot. I’m too comfy on the couch to verify. That cake sounds delicious. And apple sauce would be another great test of hot pot vs crock pot.

    10. Blue_eyes*

      Southwestern Pizza (recipe from thekitchn dot com). I bought only enough for that recipe for tonights dinner and tomorrow lunch because tomorrow afternoon we’re going to my in-laws’ for a few days for Rosh Hashanah.

    11. Clever Name*

      I made pork green chili from scratch. It was a pain, and it took forever, but it was amazing! I’m glad I realized in the grocery store that I needed to cut the recipe into thirds (it originally called for like 6 lbs of pork and 4 qts of chicken stock)

    12. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ma po tofu. This is the first time I’ve had it, and never again. It’s so mushy. (And I am a huge fan of tofu and of Szechuan pepper but this total lack of texture is not acceptable to me.)

      1. Turanga Leela*

        Maybe try it from another place? Ma po tofu shouldn’t be mushy. It’s hard to find vegetarian ma po, but the New York Times has a pretty good mushroom-based version.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oh, interesting. This is from a well respected area chef (Peter Chang, for anyone in D.C.) so I assumed it was supposed to be like this.

          I have always fantasized about having technology that would allow us to post snippets of sensory experiences beyond just sound and sight — like a smell mp3 or a taste gif or a texture file. I would use it in cases like this.

          1. misspiggy*

            It can be mushy or more chunky, depending on what type of tofu you use – in China you’d have it with lots of other dishes, so a soft texture would work with everything else.

    13. Pennalynn Lott*

      I’ve got a bit of a head cold, so Boyfriend made homemade chicken soup. Which isn’t as rustic as it sounds. He uses two rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club, frozen peas, frozen green beans, chopped up carrots / celery / onions (which is the homemade part, I guess ;-) ), a package of noodles, some bouillon cubes, some spices, and some water.

      But it tastes great and makes me feel better, so I guess that’s all that counts.

      Oh, and for dessert I had a few scoops of Blue Bell’s “Camo n’ Cream” ice cream. Fun marketing strategy; awesome tasting ice cream!

    14. Elizabeth West*

      I had a late breakfast (crunchy organic peanut butter with flax and chia in it on sprouted wheat toast) with some black cherry juice and then ate lunch when I got back from shopping. I had cheddar and Branston pickle on a baguette, applesauce, and (I SWEAR THESE ARE THE LAST ONES) shoestring potatoes.

      Now it’s 10:30 and I’m hungry. I might have more toast before bed. I love toast.

    15. Ann Furthermore*

      Beef barley soup that cooked in the crock pot all day. It was the first time I made it, and I was very happy with how it turned out.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Salmon roasted with green beans, anchovies and cherry tomatoes, served with sushi rice (for no other reason than I happened to have sushi rice in). I am a big fan of plonk-in-a-dish-and-stick-in-the-oven food and this fits the bill nicely.

    16. Overeducated*

      Yesterday we had people over for spaghetti and meatballs, salad with roasted veggies, and store bought garlic bread. We made WAY too much, so there will be at least two more nights of dinner from the leftovers!

      I was going to make a coconut corn soup tonight but there’s not room in the fridge. I’ll have to stretch it over two evenings (since it involves homemade broth) or serve a late weeknight dinner instead.

      Some people’s dinners sound absolutely delicious. Pierogies, cabbage, and kielbasa particularly.

    17. Red*

      Currently eating bean burritos! Prepped a few for lunch this week and didn’t feel like making dinner after that

  26. ringaling*

    My friend, Jane, told her mother (“Sue”) that she and boyfriend (Wakeen) had been discussing becoming engaged and that marriage was “on the table.” Her mother promptly took one of her mother’s (Jane’s grandmother) engagement rings out of the vault and had it appraised. Upon telling Jane the value of the ring, she informed Jane that her grandfather will sell Wakeen the ring for $2k less than the appraisal value (the $2K discount will be their “engagement present”). If Jane and Wakeen decide they don’t want the ring, the ring goes back into the vault as the grandfather is not interested in selling it at this time.

    I have never heard of a mother forcing her daughter’s partner to buy a family heirloom. I’ve only heard/read stories of parents gifting their child’s partner with a ring. Is selling an ancestor’s ring common practice?

    1. OhBehave*

      Yikes! I’ve never heard of this but could it possibly be a cultural thing? Of course, I don’t have anyone in the family who can go to their vault and bring out heirloom jewelry, so maybe I missed the boat!

      1. ringaling*

        Likewise! I’m in the USA, but my boyfriend has an arm of the family tree that is Old Money. He’s been asking their opinion and they are also confused!

    2. ringaling*

      Not sure if this information is relevant, but Wakeen has a great job that pays well. Sue is trying to pressure Jane into buying this the ring because the price is “the steal of the century” for the size/quality of the stone and “$8K means nothing to Wakeen.”

      I understand that if they don’t purchase this ring, they’ll just buy another (so why not just buy one the one that belonged to Jane’s grandmother if Jane likes it). Maybe it’s my Millennial Entitlement, but I’m just flummoxed that Jane’s mother would try to sell the ring rather than give it them.

      1. AliceBD*

        That seems so, so odd to me. If I were ever in a position to be engaged my parents would probably take my grandmother’s ring out of the safe and offer it to my hypothetical boyfriend, but I can guarantee there would not be a price on it.

        I mean, I already have family jewelry, and all of it was just given to me. Some of it after a relative died, but others just because You Pass Down Jewelry.

      2. BobcatBrah*

        That’s not entitlement, that’s just being shocked at how the family is acting. That’s incredibly tacky.

        If I were Wakeen, I would tell them exactly where they could put that ring and go buy my own.

      3. Dynamic Beige*

        First, Wakeen should take that ring and get it independently appraised *if* (and only if) Jane has her heart set on that as her engagement ring. Because unless Sue has a piece of paper from one of the most reputable jewelers in the area with the value, I would get a second opinion from someone you trust.

        I’ve heard of men getting a female relative’s ring and using that as an engagement ring when there is some strong connection or sentimental value… but the mother of the future bride? I guess Jane doesn’t have any brothers to do this kind of thing?

        Still, unless Sue is planning on selling the jewelry, won’t it just pass down to Jane (or her sisters/children if she has them)?

        The Narc-Alarm in me is thinking that this is Mommy’s opening salvo for how the wedding will go. “Of course if you want my help paying for this, then I can invite whom I want/choose the venue/pick the colours/decide what you wear/other stuff that I should only just nod and smile at because I’m your mother and want you to be happy.”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I got alarm bells going off here, too. This sounds like a precedent that will be repeated over and over.

          I laughed right out loud at the “steal of the century” part. No. Saving 20% of a piece of jewelry is not a steal of the century. It’s an ordinary sale price that can be found at any jeweler.

          Why is the mother brokering this deal? That is odd also. Why didn’t grandpa just give the ring to mom years ago? Did grandpa also make mom’s husband buy the ring and the husband reneged?

          The my way or highway attitude to me sounds like “old person” talk. I bet this is not coming from mom but this is what grandpa told her to say.

          Well. If your friend really wants the ring then I guess she will have to play the game.
          My personality is such that I would just say, “Tell gramps to put the ring back in the safe. I am sure I will find something at the store that I like just as much.” If it made sense, I might add, “Thank you for the offer, though.”

          I smell the set up for more manipulation and control going on here, so I would drop the whole thing like a hot potato. It’s just a ring, that’s all it is.

          1. ringaling*

            I think Grandfather isn’t brokering the deal because he isn’t texting. :) Also, Grandma passed away about two years ago, so maybe Grandpa isn’t up to dealing with the ridiculous circus Sue has made it become. I believe Grandpa came along for the appraisal, but Sue is getting WAY too involved over all of this because 1) she doesn’t work and 2) seems to want nothing else in the world except for her daughter to be married to a financially stable guy. Which, you know, in theory is great, but I’m really appalled by the materialism Sue has shown in her exchanges with Jane (“all that matters is that other people think the ring looks good”). I feel like Sue wants Jane to desperately wear this ring as sort of a class symbol, too? I’m also imagining a future where Sue will eventually demand the $2k or pressure Jane to get Wakeen to shell out money for something.

            After all the dramz, Jane/Wakeen have decided to go ring shopping in a couple of weeks. Yay! Jane might eventually buy Grandma’s Ring if she doesn’t find something she likes better. Meanwhile, Sue has has informed Jane that her opinion of Wakeen has diminished (because he didn’t buy this ring within 24 hours of Sue getting appraised?) and when Jane comes home to visit, Wakeen can’t come unless they’re engaged because, at this moment, he’s “just another boyfriend.”

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Lots of mama drama there. Hopefully, Jane sees it for what it is and continues to make her own choices independent of mom.

            2. Phoenix Feather*

              If Jane loves Grandma’s ring, I’d love to see her stop by Grandpa’s house and talk to him directly. There is no reason for Sue to be involved at all. If Sue can’t keep her nose out of it, Jane should walk away from the ring… for 2-3 years. Then go back and chat with grandpa.

              But seriously, Jane and Wakeen should probably start discussing how they are going to handle extended family. Not just crazy Sue, but any crazy relatives on Wakeen’s side. “Boundaries” by Drs Cloud and Townsend is always a great starting point. It can get heavy on Christian themes, but the basic message is the same: the married couple has vowed to form a new family and made a commitment to each other, and they are the primary family now. Siblings, parents, and others are extended relations and the primary family needs to be supported.

      4. Yetanotherjennifer*

        This gets some serious side eye from me. Family engagements should not be a money-making opportunity. Plus, if it’s great-grandma’s ring, the diamond is probably cut and set differently. I heard somewhere that styles have changed and currently diamonds are cut for more sparkle. If I were your friend I’d stay far, far away from that situation. Maybe get a completely different style of ring to just avoid the whole ‘why didn’t you buy the family diamond’ issue.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It should be professionally cleaned and the prongs that hold the diamond in place should be checked.

          If they purchase this ring, they should investigate getting insurance for it. This can be a rider on an existing policy, so it’s not super hard to do. But I think a $10k ring should have insurance.

      1. ringaling*

        She’s being VERY pushy/obnoxious about the engagement in general (she wanted a decision about them purchasing the ring like, yesterday). Jane had a financially insecure upbringing and Sue seems to really want this marriage because she sees Wakeen as financial security/stability. However, Jane hates that sue sees Wakeen basically as a bank account. This is pure speculation on my part, but i think the grandfather would have given them the ring, but Sue told him that Wakeen could afford to pay for it because of his rent, recent international trip, etc.

        Also, if I thought Jane even really LIKED the ring I’d shake my head over it and go on my merry way. However, she’s being very diplomatic in her responses about it, “It’s a very beautiful ring.” Yes, I know you think it’s pretty, but do you really like it? Or do you feel pressured to take it because of the family history?

        Jane has told Sue to put the ring back in the vault and Sue’s response was surreal. Because they didn’t say yes to the purchase within 24 hours, Sue accused Wakeen of cold feet and told Jane not to bring him to meet Grandfather because as far as Sue is concerned, Wakeen is “just another boyfriend” at this point.

        1. Temperance*

          Sue wants that money. I personally wouldn’t trust the appraisal, and I would get my own ring. That’s what Jane should do, too.

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          Put me in the camp that says Sue wants to get her hands on the cash. As in, Grandfather has probably said, “Sue, you will get this ring when I pass on.” But (a) Sue doesn’t want to wait to get the value for the ring, and/or (b) Sue knows that the ring won’t sell for much, if sold to an outside buyer (like at an estate sale or through a local jeweler).

          I collect gemstones and jewelry. Key word there is “collect” because jewelry, like cars, depreciates *rapidly* once it leaves the retail (or even wholesale) establishment. [As a pedantic accounting major, I have to point out that “depreciates” is the incorrect term, but I’m using it here to mean “becomes worth a fraction of what you paid for it.”]

          Then when you add Sue’s reaction to Jane saying she doesn’t want the ring. . . well, that’s just a whole mess of dysfunction right there.

          Also, “we’ll gift you the $2000 we’re saving you” is like telling a friend / child / sibling / parent [who is in the market for a big-screen TV] that you have a big-screen TV in your storage room that’s taking up space, so you’ll “let it go” for $500 less than you paid for it and oh-by-the-way that $500 is their upcoming birthday present. (And then you refuse to have them in your house again when they decline your “gift”). Ick.

          1. the gold digger*

            My husband’s mother (RIP) gave me her mother’s wedding ring when my husband and I got married. I don’t even wear my own wedding ring (I hate wearing rings), but still appreciated the gesture. It was not valuable – my husband’s grandfather worked at the Ford factory in Detroit for 40 year – he was not a wealthy man – but I really appreciated the sentimental value and thought maybe Doris, at least, was getting past the part where she and Sly had told Primo not to marry me and that they were boycotting the wedding.

            A few years later, she asked Primo to have me send the ring back to her. I still don’t know why. (And I have been working on that part of my novel, trying to explain why, and there is no explanation!)

            At least if Primo and I had bought the ring, we could have flashed the cancelled check in her face and said no.

            1. catsAreCool*

              Sounds like they were playing head games – here you can have it… no we want it back!

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Yeah, it is a control thing. A friend received a large, expensive piece of furniture from her mom. Picture clearing space in the house, paying for professional movers, etc. A few years later mom was having a bad day and decided she wanted the furniture back. Cue the movers and that whole drill.

                Some people give things and they do not realized they have given up control over the item. They think that because they gave it to you, they still have a vested interest and they can dictate what happens next.
                Reality is that when you give people things you give up control over what happens next. They could sell it/break it/lose it. You have no say in any of that.

                I had a family member that I gave nice gifts to. The gift was broken with in a year. Each and every time. One year I gave her several things, among them this $12 item that I was VERY fond of. She left it outside over the winter and it was trashed in the spring. She said, “I CHOOSE to focus on PEOPLE, not THINGS.” Well this “people” here worked several hours to pay for that item. So she must have meant other people not me. That little item became my wake up call. I stopped giving gifts to her. And I started examining my own thoughts on giving gifts. My new rule became “Do not give anything when I feel any strong connection with the item.”

                1. the gold digger*

                  A friend received a large, expensive piece of furniture from her mom. Picture clearing space in the house, paying for professional movers, etc. A few years later mom was having a bad day and decided she wanted the furniture back. Cue the movers and that whole drill.

                  Oh man! You reminded me that Sly and Doris also did that with a piano! They gave one to my nephew – GAVE HIM A PIANO – and then decided he was not practicing enough, so they had the piano repossessed!

                  Full story here: http://diaryofagolddigger.blogspot.com/2015/06/in-which-doris-gets-her-knickers-in.html

          2. ringaling*

            Ohhhh interesting! Sue had it appraised and the jeweler said he would buy it from her for $14K+. Jane found a stone of similar size/quality on BlueNile with a price tag of $22K. I never even thought about a ring depreciating in value- I (mistakenly) thought they would become MORE valuable over time.

            I’m also appalled by the “oh, the $2K is your engagement present” because I think they’d rather have the $2K to put towards a wedding, downpayment on a house, etc. This whole situation ruffles my feathers. I just can’t believe a mother would take advantage of her daughter like this just to (theoretically, because I only suspect Sue is getting the $$$ from the sale) make some money. I’m also just revolted by some of the things Sue has said to Jane, my favorite being “$8K is not a lot of money. I don’t think $8K means that much to Wakeen. Stop thinking like a poor person.”

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              ringaling – For an example of how much jewelry depreciates: My mom gave me a massive pave diamond ring (it’s about 5 carats’ worth of diamonds) that had been given to her by an ex-boyfriend back in the mid-80’s. He was a jeweler and had it custom-made for her. At the time he told her to have it insured for $10,000. I took it to my local jeweler to have it appraised and he said I could maybe sell it for $4,000. Maybe. On a good day, with an eager buyer.

              Appraisal value is typically used so you’ll know what to insure it for, in case you had to replace it with something similar that is new.

              If you have a really old piece of platinum jewelry (like, from before 1920, before things were melted down for both war efforts), it might be worth more than it’s newly-made counterpart. But that would be because of the rarity. But most mass-produced, previously-owned jewelry is worth only a fraction of whatever the original retail price was. It’s kind of like how a brand-new TV costs more than a used one, even if they’re similar. But in 100 years, that used TV will be worth a lot, because there won’t be very many of them around.

            2. DragoCucina*

              “Stop thinking like a poor person” would send me screaming. Actually it did when my mom tried something similar. When DH and I became engaged I told him I didn’t want an engagement ring. He could have easily afforded one. I’m not a big diamond or ring person. Why buy something simply because it was expected? My mother, friends, etc., took as a sign that DH was cheap. It was as if their expectations overruled everything they knew about me. It was one more reason I was glad we married in Europe away from both sides of our families. We were able to have our wedding. We have unique, simple gold bands that we’ve never seen since.

        3. OhBehave*

          I can only imagine how pushy and obnoxious she would be IF they got engaged! They would have to elope because my guess would be that she will take over the entire planning and do it her way. Eager to find out what Jane and Wakeen choose to do.

          1. ringaling*

            At this point, they really are leaning towards eloping. Sue is dropping hints that they should get married where Sue/Grandfather live (Jane/Wakeen live on the other side of the country) so Grandfather could come (and “what else does he have to live for?”). She’s sending venue suggestions to Jane that aren’t her style AT. ALL. Jane tends to gravitate towards chic minimalism while Sue wants Liberace’s Mansion. It’s funny, but also kind of sad.

  27. Daffodil Anon*

    Semi-regular commenter going anon for this one.
    I’ve been slowly discovering through these last few months that I’m a closeted narcissist. I’m not malignant (not intentionally at least), but I’ve caused harm to other people due to not having had any insight into my own personality and behaviour. I’m getting more and more conscious, though, and trying to do some work on myself before I can afford therapy again.

    I’ve also always had problems setting boundaries with others, which I think made my condition worse. So what I’m working on right now is 1) to get more insight into how my personality works and what can be done to change this, 2) to find out how I can set reasonable boundaries where I can meet the expectation of others without being stretched too thin (then get angry and retaliate passive-aggressively). I have problems with this latter because I feel guilty for being the way I am, and I think that I can / should be able to compensate by doing whatever others want me to do. I end up doing a lot of things that I would not do otherwise to pay people back, so to speak, for my past actions. I still get angry and resentful a lot regardless (which I understand is not fair), and I am basically back to square one.

    I need to set boundaries to start somewhere, but this is where a new set of problems start – I don’t know which requests are reasonable to decline and which are not. A narcissist always thinks that a request, however small, is unreasonable, after all – so maybe I should not even start setting boundaries and should let myself be used for whatever personal goals other people have. I feel like I deserve that. But I also don’t want to set up more obstacles for myself when I should heal and change so I don’t wreck other people’s lives and mine even more.

    So I think my question is – where do you think that the limits of you own personality kick in when determining how to set boundaries? How do you know that, when you set boundaries, that it’s the other person that wants too much and not you blowing things out of proportion once again? Please be as honest as you can in your answers. I’m not looking for back-patting, but I feel very lost and alone in this journey and I’m not sure how to proceed.

    1. TL -*

      I think you should talk to a therapist. What’s reasonable to ask can vary a lot from person to person and relationship to relationship (It’s reasonable for me to say no to a time-consuming request from my manager’s peer but not to my manager. It’s reasonable for my best friend to complain about her relationship troubles to me but it’s not reasonable for my mom to do so)
      So if you don’t have a sense of great boundaries, a therapist will be able to talk you through designing and working on healthy relationships and figuring out how to design and work on good boundaries. Therapists are experts in this; you won’t find any group more qualified.

      1. Daffodil Anon*

        Thanks to both of you! I will try to get back to therapy as soon as I can afford it again. Learning about boundaries in general is also something I’ll do – I don’t know what is reasonable to do for myself and for other people, so it’s most definitely a good idea.

    2. Cat steals keyboard*

      You might find it helpful to look into DBT self-help as it has lots of worksheets about boundaries and interpersonal relationships.

      Also, try to think about what needs you are trying to meet and if there are healthier ways you could meet them. Personality disorders (if that’s what you have – have you been formally diagnosed?) really boil down to trying to meet your needs in ways that aren’t ideal.

      1. Daffodil Anon*

        Thanks for the suggestion! I have heard of DBT before but never looked into it much. I will now.

        I have been sort-of diagnosed with a personality disorder last year – or at least my patient file describes my personality as having strong avoidant features. Sometimes I think that it’s only because I managed to trick my therapist into thinking that I’m completely non-narcissistic due to unconsciously distorting stories to fit my own narrative – I’m not sure.

    3. Dan*

      Based on what you’ve written, I don’t think you’re a narcissist, at least not to the level that rises to a diagnosis of a personality disorder.

      The mere fact that you’re genuinely concerned about others and your ability to meet their needs is a strong contra indicator for narcissistic personality disorder.

      Saying no to people does not make you a narcissist — it’s healthy. What would raise my eyebrow is if you said no to everybody, but then turned around and demanded or felt entitled to stuff from them.

      When you say no to people (no matter how small the request) and they get passive agressive, that’s on them, not you. Even if you bristle at small requests, that still doesn’t rise to the level of a diagnosis. You can be selfish and self centered without being a narcissist.

      1. Mirilla*

        Totally agree. True npd equals the inability or even desire to self reflect. Those with npd do not understand the boundaries of others but have no problem setting their own.

      2. catsAreCool*

        What you say about boundaries makes me wonder if you’re dealing with narcissists instead of being one. A therapist can help.

    4. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I agree with the commenter above who thinks you’re not likely a narcissist as described. And don’t forget, these personality disorders describe the extremes. I remember reading that something like 70% of people have thoughts characteristic of OCD occasionally. But we in no way have a rate of OCD even close to that. It’s the frequency and what you do with the thoughts that makes the disorder. So what does it mean in your life if whatever is happening isn’t due to some sort of mental or character defect on your part? Also, yes, relationships have a give and take and most things “even out in the wash” but I feel you’re putting too fine a point on the exchange. It’s just supposed to happen naturally in a good relationship. You shouldn’t need to make a change until things get further out of balance. Is this need to even-out coming from you or someone else? I think a good place to start self-therapy is The Feeling Good Handbook. It’s a classic and covers a lot of the basics.

        1. Daffodil Anon*

          I really hope that what you and Dan above are saying is true – thank you to both of you!

          To answer this question:
          > Is this need to even-out coming from you or someone else?
          , it’s actually both. There is one person who tells me a lot that I owe them, but I also feel like this myself.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            A red flag when up here for me. It sounds like this person could be abusing you.

            It’s been my observation that in healthy relationships NO ONE mentions owing anything.

            I sincerely doubt you are NP. You might be in an abusive relationship, though.

            Not a doc. Please be sure to tell your therapist what is being said to you and tell her you want to find out if that is a fair statement or if something else is going on.

    5. Cam*

      Since it’s hard for you to evaluate requests on your own, maybe setting up some sort of arbitrary system could help? Like you will say yes to any request that takes less than an hour to complete or say yes at least 50% of the time. You could make our it person dependent (try to say yes as much as possible to your mom and awesome coworker) or day dependent (I’ll be more accommodating on Tues and Thurs but give myself permission to say no to anything that changes my weekend plans). You definitely want to give yourself time to do your own thing, so make sure you build in breaks to be a little “selfish” and tell people no.

    6. Undine*

      What does this mean — “maybe I should not even start setting boundaries and should let myself be used for whatever personal goals other people have” Huh? No one deserves that. If that is how you feel, then you should be saying no. If you feel that another person wants too much, it is no good to do the thing and resent it.

      But requests are not necessarily all or nothing. You can say something like, “I need more time for myself” or “I am burned out,” and try and find out if it is something that they really really need. Unless it is a child or otherwise incapable to take care of themselves, a relationship needs to be a two-way street, and you have a right to step back.

      1. Daffodil Anon*

        >Unless it is a child or otherwise incapable to take care of themselves, a relationship needs to be a two-way street, and you have a right to step back.

        Thank you – this seems to be reasonable.
        Sometimes I just think that I lost my right to step back since I have caused harm to others, so it’s my turn to pay them back, so to speak. But then I should not resent it, I guess.

    7. misspiggy*

      I often find myself outraged by others’ needs, so I think I partly get where you’re coming from. I try to imagine how someone I really respect – real or fictional – would respond, and act that way. Then, if I feel I’ve done the right thing, I mentally pat myself on the back. Sometimes it’s just that my inner child doesn’t want to make my husband a cup of tea. My inner adult has to lead me to the reward of feeling happy because I’m as good to him as he is to me.

      If I do something for someone and feel I’ve been taken advantage of, or doing it was bad for me, I try to work out why. It might be that the person isn’t doing right by me, in which case I ask for more from them, in whatever way is appropriate for our relationship. I recently refused to accept a new contract from a client until we’d discussed in detail exactly how much was realistic to deliver. Previously, any requests from her had made me furious, because she was asking for so much overall. I checked with a colleague whether I was being unreasonable to feel so fed up. She confirmed that this woman a) takes advantage when she can, and b) actually has little idea how long it takes to write a teapot report. So I felt I could legitimately push back, and was able to negotiate calmly.

      When I’m not sure whether the outraged selfish child or the accommodating adult is right, I can make big mistakes – too stroppy or too much of a pushover. I don’t seem to have a good internal sense of what’s reasonable for others to want. Internet advice pages are a big help for that!

      1. Daffodil Anon*

        Your description seems incredibly relevant and one that fits me. I do read lots of advice pages – I’ll continue doing so and see if I can learn that way.

    8. Stellaaaaa*

      I gotta agree with the others that if you’re worried about having a personality disorder, that’s a sign that you’re probably not afflicted with it.

      Gonna go out in a limb here: has someone accused you of being a narcissist because you wouldn’t do things that THEY wanted you to do? Because that makes them, not you, the narcissist, and they’re gaslighting you to boot.

      I used to butt heads with my old social circle in ways that made me wonder if something was wrong with me. It took me a long time to really that in certain cases, you can determine that there’s something off about the way that people of a particular mindset are moving through the world, because they’re forgiving each other’s bad behavior. Don’t assume that you’re disordered just because you’re not willing to go along with that, if this seems relevant.

      1. Daffodil Anon*

        I have actually been told I’m a narcissist by a significant other, but I believe it was for good reason, as I have not always been the most stellar partner (I’m emotionally rigid and often cold, not always as supportive as I should be , etc.), and I thought this was something worth exploring a bit more. There are also predisposing factors from my childhood (being the first child and the one who often didn’t have to take responsibility for their actions, the one who got lots of praise, etc.). What you are saying feels relevant to me, but I do have problems that seem too exact to be a coincidence.

        1. Reverend(ish)*

          I’d look into Bowen system theory. I’m not a medical expert or familiar with your case, but there is a reason loved ones should never arm chair quarter back as a counselor: causes confusion.

          But system theory might give you insight into why you feel you react coldly or distant and why you engage with people the way you do. It would really help with examining with what you’re identifying as first child traits.

        2. Cat steals keyboard*

          Avoidant is more to do with social anxiety than narcissism. I’m not sure if you’re still reading but you don’t sound like you have NPD, which is characterised partly by a lack of self-awareness. You do sound like you may be in an abusive situation.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      A tired person always thinks a request, however small, is unreasonable, given the fact they are tired and have no energy. Unfortunately, when we are overtired, we can over think things and others around us can distort what is actually going on.

      While you are waiting for your therapy appointment, start taking control over your diet, rest, hydration. This will help to get your thinking clearer so you can actually sort what is going on here.

      It is interesting that you mention coldness. I had a dear aunt who was helping in a bad situation. She said that she just became very practical and very task oriented. It was a dire situation and things needed to be handled. So she went into emergency mode. Later she said to me, “I think I am a cold person because I should have sat and cried in that moment.”
      I told her a truly cold person would not even question if they were cold.

      If we have a ton of stuff coming at us that practical mode can kick in. It’s necessary for our well-being. We sort and we decide that some things will just have be left undone. This is normal. And it has become normal in our daily lives because every thing moves so fast.

      There are some good boundaries books out there. I highly recommend you check them out. Read the cover and inside flap to see which one resonates the most with you. Pick out ONE so that you actually read it. When you are done, get another.

      A couple of life rules that you might find helpful:

      Never give to the point it hurts YOU. This can be physical/emotional/financial/ material.
      If you only have one refrigerator do not give it away. That will hurt you because now you have no place to put your food.
      If you have six months of pay saved up for emergencies do not give it or part of it away. You need that in case you have an emergency.
      If you work during the day and come home exhausted, do not paint your friend’s house in the evening. You know you are exhausted at the end of your work day therefore you need to protect you from even further exhaustion.
      Am looking for an emotional example. Okay, let’s say your friend has a horrible job. And every day your friend calls you to tell you about their horrible job. These people are energy vampires. They dump on us so they can continue doing what they are doing. Don’t let anyone suck up your emotional energy.

      In short, do not give to the point that you suffer an injury of any type. This is baseline, it’s your go-to. If we allow ourselves to become injured in any manner then someone has to drop what they are doing to help us. And that is not fair because the injury was preventable. So when you give of your time/money/energy/things, ask yourself, “Am I irretrievably hurting me by doing this?”

      Going the opposite way, let’s take a look at receiving. This is where we are the recipient of someone else’s kind-heartedness.

      Any time someone gives you something, you can plan that something is expected in return. The bigger the thing they give you then the bigger their expectation will be. Be sure to understand that it’s not everyone and not all the time. This is a rule of thumb that applies to most of the situations that you encounter.

      Do not accept things from people or ask people for things if you are not prepared to pay them back.
      I ask my friend to come over to help with my car. I know my friend is on a tight budget so right away I know I have to give him gas money to drive here because I requested help.
      If it’s a simple problem, I can fix him a coffee and we are even. If it ends up being all day to fix the car, I probably owe him money for his labor and maybe dinner. When I make the call to my friend I am already planning how I will pay him back. The request for help and the plan to reciprocate go hand-in-hand.

      If you accept too much help from a person chances are very good that they will lord it over you and tell you that you owe them. This is also a symptom of a dying relationship.

      Your actual problem might be to gain more self-sufficiency where you do not need so much support. When I first became widowed, people helped me a lot. And they helped me for free. This is not a long term plan. I had to figure out how I would handle ordinary activities. Snow plowing the driveway was a big deal. I can do it myself if I am not exhausted or if there is not a big, big storm. (My tractor won’t handle the 3 foot storms that well.) I lined up a couple people who were close by that would plow the drive way for a modest charge. This is one example. I had dozens of things that I had to figure out how to set it up so I could handle it on my own. It was quite the journey, I can tell you that.

      Currently, I have friend who helps with my house on a regular basis. I don’t mince words. I tell him that there has to be a slice of the pie for him. I am very forthright about this. I usually find some way to give back. One time I helped him find a new insurance company. He was thrilled to cut his insurance bill in half. Another time a bunch of butternut squash came up in the compost. He went home with boxes of butternut squash which he LOVES. And me and the dog still ate butternut squash for four months.

      This is way longer than I thought. In short, when people give you things they usually expect something in return. You can’t change the past but from this day forward you can be more aware of what you accept from people.

  28. Mommy2*

    Last night was my last time breastfeeding my 6-week-old. I feel kind of sad that we won’t have that bond, but it feels kind of good (if not foreign) to have my body be my own again. Trying not to feel guilty (I didn’t produce much for either of my children); she’s super healthy and that’s all that matters.

    1. Blueismyfavorite*

      I wasn’t able to breastfeed any of my kids for long, either and I felt bad about it for YEARS. But my kids are grown now and all are healthy, intelligent and productive so it didn’t matter one bit. Just remember that motherhood IS guilt and cut yourself some slack. Your child is fine!

    2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      My mother didn’t breastfeed any of us (she wasn’t able to). All three kids were formula fed!

      We are all smart (well, I think so!), well-rounded, and well-employed kids. My sister and I are ultra-competitive and high-achievers, we’re both very driven. (I’ve heard some say that kids who bottle feed aren’t as smart, etc.)

      In addition, all of us are very close with both of our parents. We’re good kids! :) So, definitely don’t feel bad.

    3. Yetanotherjennifer*

      As MFK Fisher says, we are fed best by those who love us. She never said anything about breast vs bottle. You have a whole lifetime of feeding beyond this. Check out the books by Ellyn Satter like “Child of Mine.” They have been my go-to resource on child and self feeding. And you can totally have a close and loving feeding experience over a bottle of formula!

    4. chickabiddy*

      My daughter is a teenager and I have absolutely no idea which of her friends were breastfed and which were formula-fed. There’s a lot more to parenting than lactating (and just in case it matters for credibility, I had plenty of notches in my nursing bra).

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      I tried really hard to breastfeed my daughter, and it just wasn’t happening. At all. Since I was 41 when she was born, I think my body said, “Yeah, you waited 40 years to do this, and now you want me to what? Nope.” I tried for a couple weeks, while supplementing with formula. The pediatrician suggested taking fenugreek, which didn’t really help, and made me smell like maple syrup. He also suggested a drug that stimulates milk production, but after doing some research on it and finding that one of the side effects was crippling, soul-crushing depression, I decided it wasn’t meant to be and just used formula.

      My daughter is now 7, an uber-jockette, and is taking after my 6’5″ husband and towers over all the other kids in her class.

    6. misspiggy*

      A lot of the pressure around breastfeeding ends up affecting the wrong people, I think. In situations of real poverty or poor nurturing, or perhaps where a kid has other health problems, breastfeeding is crucial. But where everything else is great, breastfeeding only confers a relatively small advantage.

    7. dawbs*

      Fed is best
      (which is actually a thing now…fedisbest.org)
      Good for you for going this far. Good for you on making the choices that are best for your family.
      (I BF my kid for quite a while. And I donated a lot of pumped milk. All of that was great–for me and my situation. But it left me very aware of the factors that make BFing a challenge. So I absolutely will work to make sure someone has the chance to try to BF. and I absolutely will go to bat for someone who says they have zero interest in doing it and will share the formula coupons)

      But it’s always bitter sweet. 6 weeks is when they start to get slightly more personality, so enjoy :).

  29. The Other Dawn*

    Any recommendations for a new crock pot? The knob on my big crock pot broke. It was a basic model. No “keep warm,” timer or anything like that. Just low, high and auto. I could still use it by using a pair of pliers to turn the dial, but it was cheap and I’ve been wanting something more modern with more bells and whistles. So, I’m kinda happy it broke. Gives me an excuse to get something better.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Have you thought about an Instant Pot? It’s a crock pot, pressure cooker, and a bunch of other things all in one. I’m normally skeptical of anything that claims to do so many things, but all the reviews are astoundingly excellent.

      1. Cat steals keyboard*

        Sorry for the off topic reply to this comment (as it’s about work and not about crock pots) but did you see the post about the bus station on the open thread the other day? It’s a contender for worst boss of 2016! I’ll stop derailing now!

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Ooooooh, that looks really cool! I’m going to do more research on it (research it to death is my motto!), but this seems like something good to have. I’ve been reading a lot about pressure cookers and have been wanting to try one; however, my house is very old, which means a tiny kitchen with little storage, so I couldn’t justify a one-trick pony like that. The rice function sounds really useful, too, as I like to make a lot of seasoned rice at one and then freeze it.

        1. CAA*

          I love my Instant Pot! I got rid of my rice cooker and slow cooker, so I ended up gaining space.

          The rice function is great, but you have to play with it a bit to get the right amount of water to grain. You use a lot less water than you would in a rice cooker or stovetop pot.

          I also use the yogurt function a lot more often than I expected to, and I steam cooked 18 perfect “hard boiled” eggs in 13 minutes the other day.

      3. BRR*

        I have one and love how it frees up space and everything tastes good. Also I love how quickly it makes rice.

      4. Allison Mary*

        We love our Instant Pot! I’m so glad Alison suggested this, because I was just heading to reply to this thread to suggest exactly that! It works great as a slow cooker, but using its pressure cook function, you can get slow-cooker-type results, in a fraction of the time.

      5. Confused Publisher*

        Here in the UK, the Pressure King Pro does much the same thing. I love love love it, and I say this as an avid cook who can’t function in the kitchen without a pressure cooker.

    2. Gene*

      Stay with something with a stoneware container. I’ve tried several “slow cookers” without and they just don’t do as good a job of Sloe cooking as ones with stoneware.

      I haven’t looked at the Instant Pot yet, do I have no opinion on it.

    3. Aurion*

      I have a Hamilton Beach Set and Forget, 6 quart, and I love it. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as more high end models, but I got it for $40. It has low, high, and warm, programmable timer, manual mode, and a temperature probe. I don’t need anything beyond that, and the stoneware is quite heavy and feels well made.

      1. Dot Warner*

        I have one too, and it’s awesome. Been using it almost a year and never had a bad experience.

        1. Reverend(ish)*

          Yep. I have the 4 quart version and it’s amazing. Just made mulled Dr. Pepper tonight. I want to try an instant pot soon, but seeing as my $40 slow cooker is on year 7 and going strong, I’m thinking it will be awhile.

    4. Wrench Turner*

      We have the Hamilton Beach ‘set n’ forget’ programmable slow cooker, $49.99 from Amazon. I use it maybe 3 times a month. A case of slow cooker liners makes cleaning up afterward easier.
      In fact! Look below for this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday recipe! :D

    5. Ann Furthermore*

      Stick with the basic model without all the bells and whistles. I had one that was programmable and all digital, and it crapped out after a couple years. I replaced it with an old school version with the knob and only Off, Low, and High settings. Works like a charm.

      Haven’t heard of the Instant Pot…I’ll have to check it out.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I read all about the instant pot last night and decided to get it. I’ll be picking it up in a couple hours. I can’t wait! I’ve been wanting to try a pressure cooker, rice cooker etc. So this seems like it will be a good investment. I just couldn’t justify buying all those appliances. Who knows how often I’d use them and I just don’t have the room.

      1. It happens*

        Instant pot mac and cheese is the BEST. Dump a quart of milk in the instant pot, set to yogurt function, adjust to boil setting. After the done beep, open up, squeeze a lemon in, add some good salt and stir to make curds. Drain with cheesecloth in a colander over a bowl. Put 5-8 oz pasta in the instant pot and pour back enough of the cheese water to cover. Set to manually pressure cook 5-6 minutes (a little more than half of the time on the particular pasta box.) let depressurize a few minutes before opening (don’t want a fizzy mess). Switch to sauté function, put ricotta cheese back in (yup, you made CHEESE), grate lots of Parmesan, lots of pepper and whatever else you like (peas, tuna, ham, etc.). Eat
        Awesomely good dinner under an hour start to finish
        Also check out the hip pressure cooking site for recipes (not linking for fear of moderation)

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Thanks! I just picked it up, so we’ll see what magic I can create! The people at the service desk at Target were ooohing and aaahing over it, wondering what it is. LOL

    7. Red*

      I have a 6qt Hamilton Beach one that has a timer and a keep warm function. After the timer is done, it switches over to warm. That is a wonderful function and you should look for it.

  30. Cat steals keyboard*

    I’m joining a pop and rock choir and I’m so excited. No audition necessary and they do loads of fun songs. Not sure if I’ve been watching too much stuff like Pitch Perfect and Sing It On but I’m excited to do something fun outside work.

      1. Cat steals keyboard*

        Thanks! The no-audition part clinched it. I like singing but get stage fright so like the idea of being in a crowd…

  31. Gene*

    Getting started on a test shirt sewing project. First real clothing I’ve sewn since the early 90s. I bought some inexpensive fabric to make this, if it works, I’ll make one with the bacon fabric I bought on Spoonflower. I’m using the pattern I saved when my first wife died in 96, it’s the one she used for shirts I still wear regularly.

    Also just got fabric and patterns for different nightgowns my wife.

    1. ladyb*

      I’ve just got a new (to me) sewing machine where I can drop the feed dog. I’m trying machine embroidery for the first time and it’s ridiculously exciting!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Nice job cutting that. The shirt hangs nicely on you, even though, as you say, it’s too big. I always say the cutting makes or breaks the project.

  32. Wrench Turner*

    Spent a hunk of today in the mud pulling up 1ft square pavers from the back yard to (re)make the driveway in the front. It’s been raining all week and the yard is a bog but that helped make them easier to pry up from their home. 88 pieces at 17.5lbs each later and I’m a tired Turner.

    Once we’re back from vacation we’ll pull some string for guides and lay them down wide enough for the tires of the car to roll over and we’ll have a driveway for free. We’ve already got the existing swing gate in the fence and the apron from the sidewalk to the street so I’m arguing the driveway was always there, we just never used it.

    Home ownership is hard.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I moved a mere 12 of them yesterday and I needed today to recuperate! I have no idea how you moved all those.

  33. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I have a doggy problem and I need some opinions! My buddy is a 6-year-old, 65-lb hound mix and the most chill dude you’ll ever meet. He has a lot of fans, including the staff at his daycare. After working out what’s best for him, schedule-wise, we took him to daycare once every two weeks, like clockwork. He boards there too. About a month ago, he boarded for a few nights and they told us he was humping. A lot. Incessantly. We were concerned, of course, but the circumstances around his boarding were unusual– my boyfriend went out of town, then my mom came to stay overnight, then I took him to boarding– so I figured he was trying to get some control back in his life or something.

    I waited several weeks before I took him back to daycare, which I did the other day. And it happened again! He may get a final warning next time. :( The staff was really wonderful– they say he’s not aggressive, and he stops when he’s caught, but they don’t want a situation where my bud humps the wrong dog and a fight ensues. I asked if there’s anything I can do, and they said no, there isn’t really anything that can be done. He certainly doesn’t hump when he’s home! And we don’t take him to dog parks, so it’s not an issue while he’s with us.

    I think it’s because time in between daycare visits has stretched significantly since I left my job. I bought a 10-day pass a few months ago, and I’ve been trying to conserve it, but it looks like that was the wrong move. The daycare staff suggested bringing him in more often, maybe for half days, and seeing how he does.

    I really, really love sending him to daycare. It gets him plenty of exercise and gets him out of the house, and besides, we board him there. And we love it. The staff is wonderful, and they’re so good with him. I don’t want to lose that option or the relationship. Has anyone experienced this and found a way to solve the problem?

    1. LCL*

      I haven’t had to deal with this with my beasts, but I do have an idea based on what you wrote. I believe it would help him to be around other dogs more often. If he doesn’t go to offleash parks, and he goes on overnites once every fortnight, it’s like going to a crazy dog slumber party. Remember how anarchic slumber parties are? I think the daycares suggestion on half days is a good one. And some off leash time, if your offleash parks are safe.

    2. Phoenix Feather*

      Is he neutered?

      I have a fixed terrier that hit the humping stage right about the 6 year mark. Probably age 5-8 he really dug in to humping people’s feet in socks. Just feet in socks. But we didn’t socialize him as well as you have been.

      Otherwise, I think your gut is right – he needs more socialization. He is forgetting his manners.

  34. LoFlo*

    I posted a few weeks ago about evicting one of my tenants. I had my attorney file the eviction and they were served papers last Sunday. They did not contact me or my attorney to resolve the matter, they just moved out yesterday without saying a word. I suppose they figured that I would keep the security deposit so they had the whole month to move. Another weird thing is that the power was off in the apartment. They knew they had to be moving to have the utility turned off as of today, or else they had it turned off sooner for non-payment. I didn’t notice lights on in the apartment the last few weeks.

    They were just weird people. I had to hound them for the rent every month. They bounced a check, and when I said I was going to redeposit the check, they said nothing. I called their bank and there was no money in the account. Hello, why wouldn’t you tell me that and avoid a overdraft fee? I gave them a payment plan, where they chose the dates to pay, and still couldn’t make the payments. They blocked my phone number for texts and calls. I tried to message them on Facebook, and emailed them, and they still never responded. I ended up leaving letters on their door.

    They went to Mexico this month when the rent was due! Last month the excuse on the 20th was that their parents were in a car accident that day. Mmm the rent was due two weeks ago, and I saw on your Facebook page that you were at a family reunion with those same parents! I normally don’t blame peoples’ faith for their behavior, but I can’t help but think the religion they practice has something to do with their attitude. It is a mainstream, yet fringe, religion that meets in Kingdom Halls. They passed my screening for work history and eviction, so I was not expecting them to be flaky. A lot of my tenants are low income and I work with them on the rent if they are having a bad month, or short paycheck.

    1. BobcatBrah*

      When you said “religion they practice has something to do with their attitude.”, Jehovah’s Witness is NOT what my mind went to for being cheap, lol!

      Sometimes you just get crappy people that know they can coast for a few months rent-free. Maybe they had something else lined up?

      1. Temperance*

        JWs are taught to prioritize their religion over everything else. They can’t belong to teams or even pledge allegiance. They also believe that they’re set apart from everyone else, so in some, this can be disastrous.

        A friend of mine is ex-JW, and she wasn’t allowed to go to college.

        1. LoFlo*

          And some of my neighbors are against me renting to African Americans, who just happen to be my best tenants. Didn’t know these folks were JW until I looked them up on FB so I could message them on after they blocked my number. I hate making judgement on religion, race, gender, and disability.

          Their FB profiles show them on frequent trips and have professional photos, which is sort of materialistic. They also just bought a new car. Most of these conservative religions are patriarchal and the man should be a good provider, so not paying the rent and the other spending doesn’t square with that.

        2. Observer*

          So what? They weren’t failing to pay the rent because they needed the money for their religious observances, from what it seems?

          1. Temperance*

            They would actually be encouraged to pay for conferences and chip in to the Kingdom Hall before paying rent.

            1. Observer*

              Sure. But it’s clear that they were also paying for a lot of other things that had nothing to do with the conferences. Why bring their religion into it?

        3. BobcatBrah*

          The college thing is from her parent’s, not the Witnesses. They aren’t allowed to pledge allegiance or join the military (as they only swear loyal to God’s government, not man’s, which is why Hitler tossed them into camps along with Communists, because that technically makes them globalists). They can join teams, however.

          I *was* a JW growing up (Lutheran now, however).

    2. Kit*

      Being really poor does weird things to your brain. I went through a stretch where I wrote bad rent cheques so I’d have a week or so of peace from my landlady, let my cell phone bill run up so no one could call me for money, and when my power was shut off I bought candles. Had I just borrowed some money from family I could have gotten caught up, but the stress of it all made me shut down and I just wanted to avoid my entire life. If you met me today you would never guess I had ever been delinquent like that. I’m very engaged and responsible. But I lived for four months with no power because I couldn’t cope.

      I doubt very much that this has anything to do with religion, and a lot to do with not having coping and behavior management skills. Glad the eviction went reasonably well for you, and I hope you have better luck with your next tenants.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I agree that this has very little to do with their religion. It has more to do with this is how it goes with rental properties.

  35. Marmalade*

    Folks … I am struggling HARD. I feel crushed and pressured and can barely get out of bed. I feel such strong self-hatred.
    I’m doing some challenging things in my life right now but this is disproportionate.
    What to do? I can’t cope.

    1. Ruffingit*

      See your doctor immediately! And if you feel like you need immediate help re: mental health, don’t hesitate to call 911.

    2. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Doctor IMMEDIATELY! As in, call right NOW. Call and ask to speak with the on-call doctor for your GP. If you don’t have one, and are in a crisis situation, please do not hesitate to contact the Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or go to the nearest ER.

      I also suggest you visit http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/ if you need a virtual hug. It’s literally, the nicest place on the internet, and is just people giving you virtual hugs.

      Also, please do a lot of self care, and reach out to your loved ones/friends if you need help with caring for yourself, kids, pets, etc.. Eat the junky, tasty food. Take bubble baths. Light candles. Eat chocolate. Read trashy books. Watch trashy tv. While these things won’t necessarily do the long term big stuff, they tend to help me in the moment.

      Sending so many virtual hugs your way.

    3. Marmalade*

      Thanks so much for your replies. Truly, this means a lot to me right now.
      I managed to find a (shaky) equilibrium for right now and do a bit of work on things (probably the biggest stressor for me is some of the freelance work I’m doing).
      My partner and my mom have been helping me and I’m hopefully going to see my therapist in the next couple of days.
      Again I really appreciate the virtual support.

      1. chickabiddy*

        I’m glad for the update, and that you have support now and help soon. Sending you good thoughts.

    4. AnAppleADay*

      I echo what everyone else has written. Getting a full physical and getting in to see your therapist are musts.

      Take good care of yourself. Continue to reach out for support. You’ll make it through this. ((hugs))

  36. Wrench Turner*

    Slow Cooker Sunday (early because I’ll be at the Renaissance Festival and won’t remember)
    BBQ Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder
    Take a bone in picnic pork shoulder +/-8lbs, rinse and pat dry.
    Line your cooker to help with cleanup later.
    Make the following BBQ sauce:
    1.5 c ketchup
    3 large tbs brown sugar
    2tbs molassas
    2tbs sesame oil
    2tbs soy sauce
    2tbs worchestershire sauce
    2tbs apple cider vinegar
    2 tbs chipotle with adobo
    2tbs garlic
    1/2 fine minced onion
    3 fine minced jalapenos
    large hunk fine minced ginger
    2 shots bourbon

    Take a sharp knife and carefully cut all the way through the shoulder skin in a diamond pattern. Cut lines one way then another. Then stab it really good a few times, especially around the connective tissue. It’s strangely therapeutic and will help break up tough tendons.
    Take the other 1/2 of the onion and layer it on the bottom of the cooker, then place the pork shoulder skin-side-up.
    Pour sauce all over the roast. Set on low for 9hrs and have the 3rd shot you poured. I won’t judge.

    Once the roast is done, pull out the bones shred what you can and put everything back in the stock and mix.
    To make it even more amazing, toss the wet shredded pork and sauce in a pan and dry fry it. Just keep cooking it until the liquids in the sauce liquids evaporates and sugars start to caramelize and get crispy. Residues will burn on the sides of the pan but, holy chrome, will the flavors concentrate and it will be so very, very delicious, I can’t stand it.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      And I was just thinking about the pork shoulder in my freezer, which I bought to use in the smoker months ago. And now it’s probably too cold to use the smoker (it’s a cheapo one). So, this sounds like a good way to use it. Once I buy a new slow cooker, that is!

      1. Wrench Turner*

        It’s never too cold to use a smoker or BBQ and it’s only very rarely ever raining too hard.

    2. Aurion*

      Since we’re sharing recipes, here’s mine. This was supposed to be a pot roast but turned into braised shanks instead since I had shanks on hand.

      3 pieces boneless lengthwise shank (the “coin” cut from Asian grocery stores). Or use a regular chuck roast. Approximately 2.5 pounds
      2 sticks of celery, chopped
      2 giant carrots (diameter about 1.5-2 inch), chopped
      5 medium-sized red potatoes, chopped
      1 onion, chopped
      12 button mushrooms (or more, you can never have too many), thickly sliced
      8 cloves of garlic, whole
      2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used some leftover mushroom pasta sauce)
      1.5 cup beef broth
      1.5 cup red wine
      1-2 tbsp dried rosemary
      2-3 tbsp dried thyme
      Salt, pepper, all purpose flour

      Season meat with salt, pepper, and dust with flour.
      Heat a bit of butter in a skillet and sear the meat until well browned on all sides. Set aside.
      Heat a bit more butter and toss in onions. Cook until brown (5 minutes). Add garlic and mushrooms and cook a bit more (1-2 minutes). Toss in about 1.5 tbsp flour and stir a bit more until nicely brown and fragrant.
      Add tomato paste, stir well, and cook for another minute. Add beef broth and red wine, and bring to a simmer.
      Layer slow cooker with potatoes, celery, carrots, meat, then dump in the mushroom/red wine/beef broth mix on top. Add rosemary and thyme.
      Cook on low for 8 hours. Thicken sauce into gravy (roux if you feel like, or just stir in more flour) and profit :D

      My 6 quart slow cooker is 90% full, with the liquid coming up about halfway. I probably should’ve rearranged the vegetables so the shanks would be covered more by the liquid, but since I’ll make gravy I should still get most of the flavour.

    3. MegKnits*

      Here’s my chicken favourite
      Chicken Tortilla Soup
      8 – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
      2 – 4oz can of chopped green chilies
      4 – cloves of garlic, minced
      2 – yellow onions, diced
      2 – 28oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained)
      4-5 cups – Chicken broth
      2 tsp – Cumin

      8 tortillas – sliced into 1/4 inch strips
      1 cup – shredded Montery Jack cheese
      2 avocados – diced and tossed with lime juice

      1. Place chicken in stoneware.
      2. In a separate bowl combine all ingredients, stir and pour over chicken.
      3. Cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 3-5 hours. When chicken is very tender, use the tines of two forks to shred the chicken. Adjust seasoning, and add additional chicken broth if soup is too thick.
      4. Just before serving add tortilla strips and cilantro to stoneware. Season to taste

      Personally, I put all the toppings (cheese, guac, tortillas, sour cream) on the table so people can add to their soup as they wish. This recipe and chilli are my favourite winter recipes.

  37. Lily Evans*

    Do any of you go through periods of time where you’ll be super fascinated by a completely random subject? If you do, what are some of the topics you’ve studied? For me, a few weeks ago I got really into the logistics of climbing Mt. Everest and the fatalities that have occurred there (despite the fact that I have no interest in ever hiking anything more than recreationally). This week, I’m really into the Bronte sisters.

    1. BobcatBrah*

      Funny, I was reading something about some Caribbean island the other day, then one wikipedia free-fall later, I found myself reading all about Mt. Everest and K2, and then the British topographical survey that named them…

    2. Annby*

      My husband is like this. He’s currently into cardiology. Before that it was the last words of death-row inmates.

    3. Damn it Hardison!*

      All the time! I went through an Everest phase, Mormonism, plane crashes, pandemics, Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor)…..

      1. Mx*

        Your phases are weirdly, extremely identically similar to mine (minus Richard Burton). Though mine have been long term…

    4. Ruffingit*


      I’ve cycled through: genetic diseases, polygamy, cults/escape from cults, space issues (what would happen if you fell in a black hole, etc), Amish, Mount Everest, serial killers…I could go on forever. I am immensely curious about the world. Oh, also transgender. I have a dear friend who is transgender and God bless her, she’s been willing to answer all my questions about it.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I’ve gone through a lot of those too! I tried to convince my parents to let me become amish once. Shockingly, they said no. I also took a forensics class as a gen ed credit and everyone’s did group presentations about serial killers and high profile murders and it was fascinating!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Yep to all these.
        And add, mosses and lichens; the Donor Party; septic tanks (that was a need not an actual interest); archival materials for preserving documents; organizing systems; dog behaviors and on and on.
        It’s like a hole and I fall down into it for days/weeks or longer.

    5. Alice*

      Any interesting tidbits about the Bronte sisters?

      There was a time I got obsessed with the officers of the Titanic – like, researching their backstories and trying to track their movements on the night the ship went down. No idea where the fascination sudden came from.

    6. Cam*

      I also went through a major Mt Everest/ mountain climbing phrase! It’s funny how many of us share that. My fun Everest fact is that it was named after Sir George Everest, but his name is actually pronounced Eve-rest, not Ever-est.

      Other past “obsessions” include: through hiking the Appalachian trail, shipwrecks, serial killers, fairy tale origins, weird dog breeds. But really, I’m an incessant researcher about everything. Recently, it’s been about more practical stuff, aka work stuff and baby stuff, since my first baby will be here in 6 weeks!

    7. Chaordic One*

      Oh, I do! I will become completely fascinated by a particular actor and have to watch every single one of her or his films or tv shows. (Every episode of “Bewitched” and “Night Gallery.”)

      Or I’ll become intrigued by a singer or music group and have to listen to every single music album they put out. (A couple of weeks ago I listened to every single Joni Mitchell album on YouTube, starting with her first one and on up to her second-to-last one, and some of the songs from her last one. Her very last album is not on YouTube. Yet.) I also have things for the Carpenters and Karen Carpenter, the Smiths and Morrissey, Erik Satie, and the music of St. Kilda as performed by Trevor Morrison. Lately I’ve been intrigued with Pentatonix and Post Modern Jukebox. I find them all on YouTube.

      Sometimes I will become fascinated by a writer. Lately I’ve been on a kick where I’ve been reading all of the mystery novels written in the 1930s and 1940s by an author named Elizabeth Daly (who is described as the American Agatha Christie, but really isn’t quite that good.) Before that I was fascinated with a series of mysteries by an author named Margaret Coel who writes about events taking place on an Indian reservation in Wyoming and that are solved by a smart native American woman lawyer and a Catholic priest. They love each other but their love will never be consumated. Luckily we have a great public library. In the past I tore through the works of Douglas Adams, Tom Robbins, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Franzen, Fay Weldon and Margaret Atwood.

    8. Blue_eyes*

      My dad does this with books. He almost exclusively reads non-fiction and will go on streaks where he reads multiple books about the same topic or person. For a while it was former US presidents. I know he read at least two different biographies of Truman back to back.

      1. Red Reader*

        I once read a four foot high stack of books that was every book in the King County Library System about the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo programs.

        1. Blue_eyes*

          King County in Washington state? My dad is in the King Country Library system. He has also thoroughly explored the inter-library loan possibilities with the Bellevue library and Snohomish County library systems. :)

    9. Sir Alanna Trebond*

      Yes! I went through a period where I was super obsessed with pointe shoes, how they’re made, how to sew the ribbons on, &etc even though I have never been a ballerina, and never will be a ballerina. I watched an entire documentary about this guy who makes pointe shoes. My YouTube recommendations got really weird for a while there.

      1. Lily Evans*

        As someone who was a ballet dancer, I totally understand how fascinating that is. It blew my mind when I found out not only how quickly professional dancers go through shoes, but how they also have their shoes tailor made to their feet! Which should’t have been surprising, because the exact right pair of pointe shoes is a giant pain to find, but it’s still so cool.

    10. Clever Name*

      If you’re in Colorado, the Colorado mountain club in golden has a really cool museum that has stuff about Everest in it.

    11. Cheryl blossom*

      Oh yeah I totally do this! Some recent fixations include:

      -king Henry the 8th and his series of wives
      – competitive pole dancing and culture
      – the prison system in North America and why it’s so broken
      – eyelash extensions and microblading (eyebrows)
      – how trees communicate to each other through their root systems…
      – sea horses (omg if you watch the babies being ‘born’ out of the males’ pouch)

      Yeah… I have some weird interests.

    12. LibbyG*

      All the time! Last week I followed a couple links and learned that Alcor, one of the organizations that stores bodies after death fir eventual hoped-for reanimation, puts all their “case reports” on their website. I read almost all of them! I’m not interested in having my body preserved, though I don’t think it’s crazy. I was fascinated with the words they used (like “cephalon” instead of head) and the amazing logistical challenges the reports describe. This week: history of Singapore.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I saw a documentary about an organization like that when I was a kid and I’m pretty sure I tried to convince my parents to let me sign up for it… I had a tv in my bedroom with unlimited cable access way too young.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I got into Everest as well–I even bought two books on high-altitude climbing, even though that will never happen in this lifetime. I did think I might write a book about it sometime, though–I still could. The trigger was that TV show they used to have on Discovery, I think.

      At various times in my life, I’ve also been obsessed with the following:
      –Dolls houses (still am, though I have yet to actually finish one–I have eight of them) and miniatures
      –Serial killers
      –Really really disgusting gross stuff on the internet, as gory and awful as I could find (I think I was trying to push my limits or something)
      –Cryptozoology and UFOs, when I was a kid
      –The Titanic (I even bought some coal way back, when the salvage company was selling it trying to raise money for expeditions)

      Lately, I’ve become interested in things like knot-tying and survival-type stuff, but I’m percolating a story.

    14. Stellaaaaa*

      I went through the dinosaur phase as a kid. Didn’t most of us?

      These days it’s often about the tv shows you’d expect: buffy, xfiles, lost (which I recently rewatched)… Basically anything with a fanbase that has already done the work of writing meticulous wiki articles for me to get sucked into.

    15. Mephyle*

      Loads of passing ones, as well as way too many Wikipedia black hole episodes, but one that hasn’t faded over nearly 30 years is fascination with early polar exploration, especially the South Pole. The Worst Journey in the World, and Endurance stand out, but I have a whole section of my home library shelf devoted to accounts of polar exploration from the beginning to the 1970s.

  38. IveGotClassThanks*

    New commenter, long time reader. I’ve been invited to participate in a Jewish Sukkot festival on October 16th (the Feast of the Tabernacles.) Some context: it will be held in a university, and it’s being put on by ICEJ. I’m a 23 y/o female student myself, preparing to move into the armed forces next year. What is the dress code here? Online I can’t find any relevant advice. There will be finger food, music, and dancing. I expect there will be a couple hundred people attending. I’m not Jewish myself, but I want to be respectful of their traditions!

    1. alex*

      The 7 days of Sukkot are a very joyful holiday (unlike Yom Kippur, which comes days earlier); at a celebration, you can respectfully go business casual.
      I am not religious myself but have taught at an Orthodox Jewish school for years; Sukkot is a super fun celebration and non-Jewish attendees are welcomed, in my experience. You basically want to look not too casual but not too formal, not too somber but not too flashy.
      “Chag Semeach” is the proper greeting. (“khahhg sem-AYE-yahch”)

      1. Blueismyfavorite*

        Question for you: Am I as a non-Jew allowed to go to a temple for a service if I feel like it? I’ve heard that some temples have assigned paid seating and I’m not sure if non-Jew visitors are allowed but I’d really like to go to a service.

        1. LizB*

          Another Jew butting in to answer: it reeeeally depends on the synagogue. My synagogue specifies that guests of any religious (or non-religious) background are welcome at our services; not every synagogue is going to necessarily have that mindset. However, I’ve only ever heard of assigned paid seating for High Holy Day services (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the two most important holidays of the year). I’ve never encountered a synagogue where normal weekly Shabbat services require payment. Whereabouts are you located? Someone here might be able to point you towards an appropriate synagogue in your area.

    2. Today's anon*

      I just wanted to point out that ICEJ is not a Jewish organization but a Christian evangelical Zionist organization and from what I understand they have a Christian take on the holiday (and on Jews) so I am not sure that it will be a typical Jewish celebration. If you google their name you can find more about the organization.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I would say there’s no dress code– I would go to a Sukkot festival in jeans.

      However… ICEJ is not a Jewish organization. I admit I don’t know much about them, but organizations like that give me a lot of pause, and as a Jewish person, they make me very uncomfortable. If you were going to a synagogue’s festival, or a party sponsored by the university, then I’d have more guidance for you. Are you going with a friend?

      1. Blue_eyes*

        I agree with your take on the ICEJ. Organizations like that have some strange beliefs about Jews and I would not want to participate in their events.

    1. Wrench Turner*

      The new Ghostbusters and I LOVED it. It’s not a perfect film but it met all my expectations and I had a great time.

      1. mondegreen*

        I agree–it was a nice light summer movie. Comments below reminded me to see Florence Foster Jenkins, which sounds good per the trailer.

    2. Yossarian*

      Jason Bourne. I was very disappointed. I loved the first 4 (including the Jeremy Renner one) but I thought this one was flat, and I hated what they did with the female characters.

      1. Yossarian*

        I would love to hear what you think of it! It doesn’t get talked about much on the blogs I read, so I haven’t heard a lot of different opinions on it.

        1. Trixie*

          I didn’t hear or see anything about it either, but thankfully my local reduced price theater shows many hidden gems. The story is fascinating, loosely based on real events. I’ll include a great link separately.

    3. Carrie...*

      “Les Innocentes”

      1945, Poland. A nunnery, that has suffered the ravages of Soviet invasion.

      Thoughtful, disturbing, intimate, tragic, yet hopeful.

    4. Liane*

      Star Trek Beyond. Very, very good. It was way better than the second movie–which wasn’t as bad as many people said it was IMO. Definitely work a full admission or some form of 3D/IMAX**

      **My personal ratings system:
      Worth a full-price ticket
      Only go to Twi-light, matinee and other discounted showings
      Wait til it’s on DVD.
      Just don’t bother.

    5. FD*

      Blair Witch!

      I had just seen the original the previous week for the first time, and really liked it. I liked the new one too, pretty scary.

      The only downside was that I went alone–my only friend who liked horror lives in Arizona.

    6. bassclefchick*

      We just saw Sully today. I liked it. Pretty sure it’s another Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks. Also saw Florence Foster Jenkins. I liked that one too. Simon Helberg was GREAT in it!

      1. Liane*

        I want to see Florence Foster Jenkins. My choir director raves about it. She found a recording of the real Ms. Jenkins and played it for us.

        Me (alto with no illusions that I have a solo quality voice): THAT is what I think I would sound like solo.
        Choir Director: Don’t worry–I wouldn’t let you sing if you sounded like that.

    7. louise*

      Bridget Jones’s Baby. I laughed so hard. I go to the movies less than once a year, but I was glad I went for this one. Cracked me up. Yes, I realize it’s a shallow story, but it makes me laugh.

    8. Nina*

      Captain America: Civil War. Saw it at the dollar theater just before it left theaters.

      I really enjoyed it and it’s probably one of the more thought-provoking Marvel films. Great shots and action scenes. Oddly enough, I found myself Team Iron Man in the end, where I thought I’d be Team Capt. America. It was very interesting.

    9. NASA*

      The last movie I saw in theaters was Sausage Party :(

      I can’t believe we wasted our free tickets on that garbage. Actually, it was okay until the end. The ending was awful.

    10. ginger ale for all*

      Hell or High Water. It was great. A little heavy handed with the this economy is awful visual symbols but wow, Chris Pine needs to take on more dramatic roles. The leads were amazing. The other knock I would give it is that for a movie set in Texas, they needed more minorities in it. I suppose the speaking roles were diverse enough but I walked out from the movie thinking that I had never been in a place in Texas that was as white as that movie was. More Hispanics were needed at the minimum.

    11. Claire (Scotland)*

      The Magnificent Seven remake. I really enjoyed it, but I’m not that familiar with the original film so I don’t know how it compares.

      1. SaraV*

        Husband and I also just saw Magnificant 7 last weekend. Really enjoyed it. We almost always stay for the credits…not because of possible bonus footage, but to show respect to all the people that made that movie happen. After the credits were finished, I remarked “I think those have been the shortest credits I’ve seen in awhile.” Most movies we’ve been seeing in the theater lately have been sci fi/fantasy, with a lot of computer effects.

    12. Stellaaaaa*

      It’s been a long time. The last movie I went to see was Brooklyn, which I loved. I had a few quibbles with it (I found it hard to root for tony over Jim, and I didn’t love that Eilis was essentially cheating on her husband) but I cut it some slack for being so easy to watch.

    13. Mimmy*

      We don’t go to the theater very often so I can’t recall what we saw, but we’re heading out in a few minutes to see Sully. Will report back later :)

      1. Mimmy*

        Sully was good!! A lot of it took place during the investigation and trial after the crash, and how Sully was dealing with it all. The investigational aspects were a little confusing for me, but Tom Hanks has another winner under his belt (I love almost everything he does, so I guess I’m a bit biased!). The crash and rescue itself were portrayed respectfully and beautifully. Highly recommend this movie!

    14. AnAppleADay*

      Ghostbusters and War Dogs. Loved Ghostbusters! War Digs was interesting because it was based off a real story. It was a little bit too violent for me. I ended up closing my eyes when I figured a violent part was coming up.

  39. Trill*

    Halloween costume ideas please!! (for an adult woman)

    Towards the end of the month I am volunteering at an Halloween themed outdoor event for children that requires me to wear a costume. So I need an idea that is child friendly (not scary or sexy), and cold weather appropriate since its outdoors.

    I’ve been looking at some ideas on pinterest, but I thought I’d see if folks here have any good ideas. Trying not to go for anything too elaborate or expensive. And since I have a bit of time, something I can make would be better than store-bought.

    1. Amber Rose*

      My personal favorite was the time I dressed as a pumpkin patch. I wore a fluffy orange sweater I found at a thrift shop, some green leggings, put a green ribbon in my hair, and then pinned a bunch of toy pumpkins to my sweater. I also got some battery powered string lights in the shape of pumpkins and wrapped them around my shoulders.

    2. Liane*

      I have decided to go simple this year.* You are welcome to copy my idea–Supergirl–which I will wear to our church’s festival. The TV show version is pretty modest (and you can adjust the skirt length and neckline to make it more modest.) You can buy a Simplicity pattern that also includes Batgirl.

      My version:
      1–Cheap red boots (like from a thrift shop) so you can cut the top in the V shape and gold metallic duct tape (crafts department) to trim them OR Supergirl boot tops ($11-15)
      2–Supergirl cape $10 & up
      3–make skirt with elastic waist, probably using cheap “costuming” satin or broadcloth.
      4–make a belt from that duct tape (or gold cloth)
      5–I have an old longsleeved tee in about the right shade of blue. I am going to tun it into a scoop neck & maybe alter the fit. OR Walmart has a suitable scoopneck top for $8 OR you can buy a Supergirl tee but I haven’t seen any longsleeved ones.
      6–Emblem applique’ for shirt $6 at Walmart.
      7–optional blonde wig.

      Have fun!

      *Compared to my Rebel Legion SW costumes :)

    3. DragoCucina*

      One of my favorite idea sites that s Take Back Halloween. It features costumes of strong women from history, mythology, etc., from many cultures. The ideas can be simple or elaborate. To promote our local Grease Festival (we’re named after a city in Greece) I dressed as Medusa. I went to the dollar store picked up colorful pipe cleaners, a headband with holes, and two colorful stuffed snakes. I spiked up my hair, wove pipe cleaners through the headband, and draped the snakes around my neck. I wore a simple green dress.

    4. Colette*

      Miss Piggy. Glamorous clothes, blond wig, feather boa, snout, jewellery. She’s had a lot of looks and could easily be wearing a coat.

      Statue – grey clothes and makeup

    5. NASA*

      I bought a Wonder Woman tee on Amazon for less than $20. It even had a cape! I wore it to a friend’s kid’s birthday party. I wanted to buy the Robin tee too, but I’ll keep it to WW for now.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      My husband and I went to a party a few years ago as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Cat in the Hat. It was a pretty easy costume to make. I bought red t-shirts at Walmart for about $5, and painted white big white circles on them with fabric paint using a cardboard template. Then I used a thick black fabric pen to draw the borders around the circles, and a slightly smaller black pen to do the writing. One tip — when you’re doing the writing, do the “I” in “thing” first so you can center it, and then it’s easier to do the “TH” and “NG” on either side. I pulled up a picture on Google to get the details down.

      Then we both did white grease paint on our necks and faces, and wore blue wigs that I found on Amazon that were less than $10 each. We wore the t-shirts with jeans. I would have gone all out and done red longjohns, but my husband made it clear that wasn’t going to happen. LOL.

      Dressing up as one of the characters from Inside Out would be fun too. Sadness wouldn’t be too hard, all you would need is jeans, a white sweater, and blue grease paint and blue hairspray. And glasses.

    7. ginger ale for all*

      A lighted stick figure costume if it will be a night time event. You wear a black long sleeved top and long black pants and have light up lights along your limbs, torso, and head in the front and back. I think you can find an example on you tube of a stick figure toddler and his/her (?) parents that seems to be a popular facebook video at this time of year.

    8. matcha123*

      I have two “kigurumi” costumes, which are basically full-body felt costumes of characters like Pikachu. You’ve probably seen them before, they look like pajamas. I’d recommend something like that if you’re going to be with kids and moving around a lot. Search kigurumi and you should find a lot. Plus you can just throw it into a laundry bag to wash.

    9. New Bee*

      I was Where’s Waldo a few years back. Red and white striped polos are easy to find, and you can knit or crochet the hat (or buy it).

      1. Anonabelle McAllister*

        One of my favorite simple costumes I’ve done was the Cat in the Hat (so he’s a male cat, it still works!)
        I wore all black with a red bowtie and white gloves and carried a hook-handled umbrella (which I could and did balance on one finger). The hardest bit for you to get would probably be the hat, but I don’t know how to direct you there. I got mine free because Seussical performers left one behind at my college theater. (They said I could have it; I didn’t just take it.)

    10. Alston*

      Hot Air Balloon! I was one last year and it was the best. Stay tuned for link. You need a big basket, a giant balloon and a balloon net (I got mine cheap online, basket from Michaels) and you can either get a tiny helium tank or ask someone who sells balloons to fill your balloon up.http://imgur.com/SmBrCZz

        1. Trill*

          Love that idea! very creative! But unfortunately no balloons allowed where the event is being held. But I’ll keep that in mind for other events. I’m a big hot air balloon fan.

    11. Stellaaaaa*

      Worst case scenario, you could get one of those costumes that’s like a onesie pajama set with a hood that has animal ears. They’re warm and cute-goofy. I love my sweater dress with a cobweb design. In the last few years it’s gotten easy to find normal clothes that read as costumes, if that’s something you’d prefer.

    12. LawCat*

      I only do easy and cheap costumes.

      I have a shirt that is Captain America’s shield and I wore that one year with red tights, a skirt, boots, and a spectacles sort of thing with the little wings that would be on the helmet (I got that at a costume store). Red, white and blue nails.

      This year, I am going as a bag of coffee. I’m going to ask a nearby coffer roaster for a bag (one of those burlap bags they get the unroasted beans in). Wear with brown tights, boots, and a brown turtleneck.

      1. Rye-Ann*

        In the vein of cheap/easy (at least potentially): one year my mom dressed up as a graduate (as in, someone graduating from high school/college/etc.). She still had my cap and gown from high school graduation, and I certainly wasn’t doing anything with it. She didn’t have to do anything but put it on! So if you or a relative are still hanging onto their graduation garb, this is a really easy option.

  40. Anon for this one*

    Hey, I could use some advice and some internet hugs.

    I’m starting to have a depression and anxiety flareup, and everything’s just coming together at a bad time. I’m leaving an activity that I’ve spent a large part of my free time on for 5+ years. I’ve also changed jobs, and am no longer as close to a couple of the friends I had at a previous job (one of those things where ‘this job sucks’ brought us together, but there’s not much to talk about now).

    In addition, right now, my wife is having a very rough mental health time and is trying to climb out of it, with help from therapy and medication, so I can’t rely on her too much for emotional support.

    Therapy is not an option for me for financial reasons, and I am on medication already. I’ve got a decent habit of working out every weekday morning.

    I’m scared about this, because October has been a bad month for me in the past for some reason, and I’m really afraid of a bad flareup.

    1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Self care, self care, self care!

      Focus on what YOU need. What makes you feel good? What is something that you can do for yourself each day that will help you stay balanced? Write a list, and do something every day. For me, I find my anxiety flares less if I have a clean, organized house. It takes just a few minutes to pick up, and suddenly, I feel less worried. (It’s odd, but hey, I will take it!)

      Bubble baths. Chocolate. A glass of wine (if your medication allows for it). Junk food for dinner. Popcorn and movie night. A nightly walk with your wife.

      Also, visit “the nicest place on the internet” (I added it to another comment above and got sent to moderation!), so just Google that and you will find it. It is the first link when I search. It is people giving virtual hugs!

      Sending lots of virtual hugs and hopes for anxiety-free days your way!

      1. Anon for this one*

        Thanks for the advice.

        I think part of what I’m struggling with is that I don’t know what I like doing.

        The activity I’m leaving, I just don’t enjoy anymore, and not just because of the depression. I’ve just…outgrown it, if that makes sense? It’s not that the activity’s childish, I just am not at a place in my life where it resonates with me anymore.

        But now I’m realizing how much time I really spent on it!

        1. ChemMoose*

          First, *hugs*.

          Second, it’s okay to discover new things and walk away from other things. I’d say don’t focus on how much time you spent on it, and are now walking away, but rather how walking away will be better for you currently. If you are not interested in that activity anymore, it’s okay. We all have changes in interests, beliefs, etc.

          And I’ll repeat what FutureLibrarianNoMore said, self-care, self-care, self-care!

          1. Anon for this one*

            Ah sorry, I mean–I’m not sorry that I’m not spending time on it, but I am realizing that I now don’t know what to do with my free time.

    2. ginger ale for all*

      Is there a eap that might be able to recommend some free resources? And best wishes to you and your wife.

      1. Anon for this one*

        That’s how we’re getting help for her, but I’m not covered.

        We’re in one of those weird places where we make a bit too much to qualify for any reduced cost mental health care, but our insurance isn’t good enough to afford it for both of us, even with her getting help through her EAP.

    3. OhBehave*

      First – (((HUGS))) I can only imagine how hard this is for you when your wife is struggling with her own issues. I have been medicated for depression since my son was born. The meds help most of the time. To be honest, I turn to prayer when I am feeling swallowed up. I would seriously consider calling your doc and telling them what’s going on. Maybe your meds need adjusting. I recently had to wean myself off of one med while switching. Your doctor may also know of low-cost/free counseling services. If you can only afford to go twice a month, that’s better than never going. If you are a church goer, talk to your pastor.

      If you don’t know why October is always a bad month for you, do some serious soul searching. Is that when a major life event happened? Not necessarily the recent past either. Understanding why this always seems to hit this time of year may help.

      I totally get that you’ve outgrown your activity that you loved doing. Good for you in recognizing that it was time for a change. Better that than stay with something you will come to absolutely hate AND be a negative influence to those around you.

      I do know that helping others goes a long way in distracting us from our own issues. If you like animals, how about contacting a local humane society. They love having people come play with the kitties and pups. Walking dogs is a huge help to them as well. Helping at your local mission by reading to the kids or having a birthday party for them. Check out your local nursing home. Reading to them. Playing games. Playing the piano. You get the idea. Clean up a local park. We have a huge food bank warehouse and they always need help in packaging care boxes and just boxes up donations. There really are so many things that can be done for others.

      I really hope you can get the help you need.

      1. Anon for this one*

        I’m a little reluctant to mess around with my medications, since generally speaking, this level has been stable for me for a long time. Right now, we’re in sort of a weird financial place where we make just a bit too much to qualify for assistance with counseling, but not enough to afford paying it out of pocket.

        To be honest, I think October is usually a bad month simply because it feels like we loose a lot of sunlight–it’s the month where I begin starting my day in the dark. That’s true for other months, but there are holidays in November and December that I like so it helps offset it, and we start getting sunlight back come January.

        I do like being useful, but have had some trouble volunteering because a lot of organizations seem to not have much for volunteers to do. I’m trying something someone on here suggested and doing some transcriptions online for the Smithsonian, though. I’ll also try the humane society too, thanks. :)

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Vitamin D? Is your body reacting to less sunlight?

      I see it getting darker earlier and think “oh no”. But this year has not been as much of a downer as I have been taking a high dosage of D all year. Vitamin D can be so helpful.

      1. Anon for this one*

        Not a bad suggestion, I am sensitive to the changes in light. I’ve been using my sunlamp to help a bit too.

  41. Anonsie*

    I just moved into a new apartment for my new job (thanks for helping me land it, Alison!)

    It’s a big apartment with light-colored carpet; I own the world’s fluffiest cat. I’ve never invested in a serious vacuum before, but I think it’s time to start. Does anyone have any recommendations for a vacuum that cleans up cat hair really well?

      1. Marcela*

        Another vote for Dysons. But perhaps you could add a roomba too. They are very cheap second hand in Craigslist (we have gotten several between usd 50 and usd 100, depending on the model) and a new battery is about usd 15. I’m recommending both because the Dyson I had was soo god that every time we used it, we ended exhausted. Therefore, we only used it once a month or so. Now that I only have a roomba, it runs every single day. My cat is short hair, but between he and I (or is it him and me?), we leave so much hair in every surface that the house needs that daily vacuum, and thr roomba brushes a weekly cleaning.

    1. CAA*

      I read a lot of reviews when I bought a new vacuum about 3 months ago. The Sharks came out on top of most comparisons, and it’s pretty easy to find a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond.

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*


        I don’t have pets, but I have longish hair, and shed it like CRAZY. The ugly orange colored shark actually has a scissor guide on the base for carpets, and it is great. Makes it super easy to remove the piles of hair that get wrapped around it. It’s also very reasonably priced, especially if you see if on sale at BB&B and use their coupon. I’m obsessed with the vacuum. It also has washable filters, and empties easily right into the trash!

        Oh, and it has a hard floor attachment, carpet attachment, and you can attach the carpet attachment to the hand vac, and it makes it SO EASY to clean the stairs.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I want a Dyson Animal SO BAD… but I love my Shark. I have an old Navigator Lift-Away that hasn’t let me down in 5 years. The latest model has special pet hair capabilities, from what I understand. I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, so I used a coupon. Cost me less than $200.

    3. First Initial dot Last Name*

      I have the other two fluffiest cats in the world, one of them has a heavy underfluff that sheds constantly. I brush her every day, and I can’t brush her enough. So fluffy.

      Consider a carpet rake (FurStatic Pet Hair Broom type thing) in addition to a vacuum, it’ll get up big ol’ tumbleweeds of fur before you vacuum the floors. I have found that this lets me go longer between emptying my vacuuming machine. I have a bagless canister vac presently, switched from bags; I wish I hadn’t.

    4. LoFlo*

      I’ve had Dysons and a Shark. The Shark was pretty good, and less than half as much. Go both at Costco.

    5. BRR*

      If you can afford a dyson I would get that. I got a shark navigator and have been very pleased with it. I vacuumed with my bissle then the shark and the shark picked up a ton.

    6. Buggy Crispino*

      Just as a voice from the other side, I have a Dyson Animal and I HATE it. It is the worst vacuum cleaner that I have ever had. I got a super deal on it and used some rewards points and coupons, etc., so I didn’t lay out the high price most places are asking for it; at this point I do not mind at all that it’s stuffed in the back of the upstairs hall closet waiting for the next time I do a purge to get rid of things I’m not using. I ended up buying an $89 Eureka at Lowe’s and it out cleans the Dyson in every way possible.

      I’m not bashing anyone that loves their Dyson, but I do think that’s one of those products that you either love or hate.

      1. Natalie*

        I agree, I hate my Dyson. It happened to be on deep discount when I bought it, but I’d be pissed if I had paid full price. Would not buy again.

    7. Panda Bandit*

      I don’t recommend the shark. It worked fine in the beginning but after a while of regular use it basically crumbled into pieces.

    8. Al Lo*

      We have a Roomba pet series and a fluffy (but not world’s-fluffiest status) cat. I’m a big fan of a robot doing my work for me — the best thing about the Roomba is scheduling it to run often enough that things never get really bad. Ours runs every day when we’re out of the house, and stays on top of the cat hair, dust, and litter that she tracks.

      A Roomba’s dust cup is a bit smaller, so you’ll need to check it a bit more frequently, but for me, the convenience factor outweighs the negatives BY FAR. We also have a Dyson cordless stick vac, which we use in place of a broom, for smaller messes or things that spill in corners. We got that on their factory refurb site.

    9. aelle*

      I have a very fluffy dog who sheds his double coat twice a year, and the Miele C3 “Cats and dogs” vaccum. It works very very well. It comes with a carpet attachment that has rotating brushes and really gets hair out of carper fibers. The main drawback I have found so far is that the bags are not standard so it gets pricey.

    10. Phoenix Feather*

      Sharks are just as good if not better than Dysons and MUCH cheaper. But for really fluffy pets, you should get a carpet rake. Rake first, vacuum send.

  42. louise*

    Feeling sad but hopeful: our boxer died unexpectedly less than two weeks ago. She was 9 but so full of life until one morning and she died just a few hours later at the vet without us getting to say goodbye. I am wreck, but we have already made a couple trips to the shelter and I’m feeling hopeful that I will love another. It sure hurts, though! I’m grateful I lost my job this summer and had many hours of naps and snuggles with her since then.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I am so sorry. I like to think that some doggies want to pass on their own terms, with us remembering the snuggles and naps rather than their difficult last moments. Doesn’t make it hurt any less, though.

    2. Rahera*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you got to spend so much time with her and have such great memories. It’s a very hard thing to go through, so be kind to yourself.

    3. LoFlo*

      So sorry for your loss. I’m sure you were a good boxer mom. They are a special dog. I just adopted at boxer in April because of their loyalty. She is a cuddly little clown.

    4. OhBehave*

      Losing our fur babes is so hard! I’ve had dogs my entire life (50 years) and with each loss it was like a dagger to my heart. Several years ago my sister’s golden died after surgery (she ate anything and everything she could get her mouth on). We used to puppy sit her and we took that loss so hard.

      You can gain comfort in knowing that you gave her a great 9 years of life. Those snuggles at the end were so precious. Some vets in our area provide a paw print cast in plaster that can be framed. It’s such a sweet remembrance.

      You will love another pup and they will be blessed to find you. Shelter dogs are the best! You’ll have to post a pic once she’s chosen you.

  43. Mazzy*

    IPOs – has anyone ever bought stock on an IPO? I’m asking because I see one is coming up and I want to buy, but I can’t find the date anywhere. If a company has a stock symbol and put out a press release last week, does anyone know how long it will take before it trades? Also, how do you find out when it will start? I’m not being lazy here, these sound like basic information but is not posted anywhere, which makes me think it’s intentionally omitted.

    I don’t want to sit there checking the stock market every day/hour to see if it popped up yet….

    1. CAA*

      I’ve bought IPO shares twice for startups I was working at, and once for a company where I didn’t work. In order to get actual IPO shares when you’re not an insider, you pretty much need to have a brokerage account at one of the brokers that’s underwriting the IPO. We got very lucky on the one where we weren’t insiders because we had the right amount of cash and an account at the right firm, and our financial planner/broker knew the right people in the investment banking side of the house, and they were able to accommodate some smaller investors (I think they may have bundled us all together somehow).

      Otherwise, you can buy shares on the open market the same day as the IPO once people who aren’t insiders start selling. The insiders shares will be locked up for several months. Shares purchased on the open market on the IPO day will be at the market price, which could be significantly different than the IPO price.

      If there’s no IPO date announced yet, then it hasn’t been decided. These dates change right up until the last minute; and if the company doesn’t like the prices it’s going to get for its stock, it’s not that unusual for the offering to be withdrawn so they can try again when they think conditions are more favorable. If this one is likely to come in the next couple of weeks, you should be able to find it on marketwatch dot com /tools/ipo-calendar. If it’s not there yet, you have to keep checking back daily until it shows up.

  44. Jennifer*

    Question on facial cleansing: do you wash your face before bed?

    I usually take off my makeup and do a thorough cleansing as soon as I get home from work. I’ve read that you should wash your face before going to sleep, but I can’t tell if that’s for people who keep their makeup on until bedtime, and whether you’re supposed to wash with just water? I don’t think over-use of face wash is a good idea…

    1. Blue_eyes*

      I usually wash my face after I take off my makeup (often that’s right after work, but sometimes later). I wouldn’t wash again before bed unless your face feels really dirty/greasy. Too much washing will dry out your skin. You could splash with water before bed if you find it refreshing.

    2. Cruciatus*

      When I get home from work I use make up wipes and just splash my face a little and put on SPF lotion because I’m usually in and out a bit until it gets dark. But before bed I wash with a facial cleanser which feels more thorough (and has also been my routine for a bajillionty years). I don’t think you’re doing anything “wrong” though. If your face is in fine shape there’s no reason to change your routine if it works. For me I think it just signals that bedtime is coming and I’m getting rid of that day’s grime.

      1. Nina*

        Yeah, there are many different methods of cleansing; rose water, oil pulling, etc. As long as you’re not leaving makeup on when you go the bed, the way you clean your face sounds ok.

    3. Damn it Hardison!*

      I use wipes to take off my makeup when I get home, then wash a few hours later before I go to bed. I like for my face to be clean right before I put on serum, etc. (my nighttime routine is multistep due to skin issues)

    4. Nina*

      I do. I shower before bed anyway, so washing my face after is a no-brainer. If I’m wearing makeup, definitely. My face is so oily by the end of the day, so any makeup I have on starts running in my eyes and it burns.

      Nothing fancy, though. I use Clean and Clear Nighttime Face Wash, and a bit of coconut oil to moisturize. Maybe once a week I’ll exfoliate.

    5. mags*

      Yes! But I’m a big skincare junkie and my nighttime routine is pretty soothing to me. If I’m wearing makeup, I remove that separately, and before bed fully cleanse with my Foreo Luna Mini before doing a face mask/night moisturizing. Using cleansers excessively can dry your skin, though. Do you remove your makeup with a makeup remover, or face wash?

    6. NicoleK*

      I wash my face with a cleanser in the morning and at night before bedtime. I don’t wear makeup though.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I wash either before bed or a little while earlier so I can relax with no makeup on and just go to bed when I’m ready. Still use soap because it’s cheap (I can’t afford all the nice stuff), but then slather on Ponds. I use Olay in the morning after my shower. I’ve been using Olay since I was sixteen and it was pink. My mum uses it too.

    8. matcha123*

      For me removing makeup and washing my face are one in the same. If I use some oil to remove makeup, I reach over and grab my face wash so it’s all done in one process. I also put on creams after I wash my face.

    9. misspiggy*

      Because of a crappy health situation, I do not wash or cleanse my face before bed, even if wearing makeup. I am happy to report absolutely no consequences, other than looking like a panda in the morning.

    10. Kit*

      There is no “supposed to” with washing your face. If your face is healthy, whatever you are doing now is fine. If you have acne, change things one at a time for a week at a time and watch for improvement. Wash your sheets once a week. Don’t overthink it.

    11. Stellaaaaa*

      I wash my face in the morning, after work (like you, to wash off make and possibly prep to put on different pm makeup), and before bed because I like to put my pm products on fresh skin. IMO as long as you’re moisturizing sufficiently, your skin probably won’t get thrown off balance. I can’t see how a third daily washing is worse than leaving makeup on for 16 hours.

    12. Overeducated*

      No. I wash it with plain water in the morning only. Occasionally water at night if i needed to put on lots of sunscreen and it feels oily. I used to wash it more, use cleansers and moisturizers, etc., and was frustrated by what the beauty companies called “combination skin” – prone to oiliness and dryness – as well as acne. It got a lot better once I stopped messing with it so much.

    13. Red*

      I wash my face before bed because I’m too lazy and rushed in the morning and also don’t want my gross face on my pillow case. I don’t wear makeup, so I have no idea what makeup wearing people do with their faces.

  45. Folklorist*

    Anyone have any suggestions for temporary rooms in DC? My lease is ending this month, and I am not renewing it (for many, many reasons that I won’t go into here). I’m trying to buy a condo, but it’s taking longer than I thought it would–but I hope to have one before the end of the year.

    I thought that I had a room lined up–but it fell through. So did the three backups I had lined up! I’ve tried Craigslist and Nextdoor and Facebook. I can’t afford very much, especially since I’m socking away pretty much every penny I have to go toward the condo. The biggest issue is that I have a cat, and it’s nearly impossible to find a place to rent with a cat! (That’s one reason I’m buying instead of renting!)

    My (weird) co-worker has told me that I can live with her for free–but she’s technically my supervisor, and while she has a good heart, she’s a somewhat difficult personality. This situation would be my last resort before permanently camping on the street–but it’s an Ask A Manager-letter-in-waiting! Are there avenues I haven’t considered? Thanks!

    1. Dan*

      Consider something outside the city? I’ve pretty much lived in the city or the burbs since ’98, and TBH, there’s a bit of an elitist attitude amongst the millenials that has developed over the last several years… “Give me the city or give me death.” Seriously. For many folks, the burbs seem to be a death sentence. Which means you can save a few bucks by moving outside the city lines.

      I was reading a real estate article in the Post not too long ago where someone was comparing rent on a $3500/mo 2-bedroom apartment against a $400k house, and how the house was cheaper. If that $3500/mo rent is realistic, well, I’m paying $1400 for a 1 bedroom in the burbs and am still on the metro line.

      TL;DR: it’s cheaper in the burbs.

      1. caledonia*

        Yeah I had to do this, even though I am a city mouse, not a small town mouse (I grew up in a small town). But…for the price of rent + bills + council tax + monthly train pass = same price as rent in the city! It’s a no brainer. It’ll only be for a year, good while I figure out what to buy in which neighbourhood.

      2. Cat*

        On the one hand, yes, it absolutely is cheaper. On the other hand, you can make it work in the city for not too much more if you’re willing not to own a car (which people do in the burbs too but it’s harder, especially the way Metro is) and to have less space and amenities. I live in a $1900 per month one bedroom in the city and don’t own a car; that’s more expensive than $1400 a month and having a car, but not much more expensive. That’s not cheap at all, but it’s a far cry from $3,500. I love my apartment but it’s not in a new building with a gym and a doorman or anything like that, which makes an enormous difference.

        1. Overeducated*

          That really depends what you need, and whether you’re considering the cost of just car maintenance or buying a new one. We did the math too, and a 2 bedroom for 2 adults and a kid with one car in a close suburb was a LOT cheaper than a 2 bed in the city if we ditched the existing car. It’s worth looking at the numbers.

    2. mondegreen*

      If you’re a fairly recent graduate (or are good friends with someone who is), you could use a school listserv or online bulletin board to inquire about sublease opportunities. I’ve noticed people who graduated up to about 5 years ago looking for apartments on our list, and I got my housing sorted out the same way.

    3. caledonia*

      I totally feel you on this folklorist. I’m in a similar position.

      – Facebook groups. There might be some variation of “room to rent (your city)” etc.
      – I used spareroom (dot)com. Not sure if it’s US based (I’m in the UK) but there might be an equivalent.
      – Even though places so “no pets” it’s worth asking. Sometimes they just mean no dogs, especially if you offer to pay an extra deposit and/or offer to hire a cleaning person on leaving so they can do a deep clean.

      Good luck! Let us know how it goes! :)

    4. the gold digger*

      I tried to find a FT job in DC after I was done with the Peace Corps. This was before Craigslist, etc. I found listings for shared houses and rooms for rent on the bulletin boards at the World Bank, where I was temping. I am thinking that if I were looking for a tenant to live in my house with me, I might not want to put it out on Craigslist but would want to qualify potential renters by narrowing the list to other people who work where I do. It might be worth it to see if people are still posting paper announcements for roommates/tenants on bulletin boards where they work.

    5. Sophia in the DMV*

      What part of DC? What kind of space are you looking for? My husband and I have been discussing renting out our basement (two rooms, bathroom, ref, separate entrance) BC I’m gone for the year. We live in MD near the red line

      1. Folklorist*

        Oh, hi! I’m so sorry; I went off camping and just now seeing this. I doubt you’re still checking back, but just in case, thought I would post. I’m just looking for one bedroom for me and my cat. If there’s space to store stuff, great–I won’t get a storage locker. If not, I can find some storage for fairly cheap. I’m not looking to spend a ton–hopefully no more than $650/month for the short term arrangement. I work in Dupont Circle, so anything near the red line would be great! If you see this and want to contact me, I’ve linked my personal website to this post. It has a “contact me” portion that will reach me!

  46. Chaordic One*

    Well, I do. Like you, when I get home from work I wash my face with a gentle face soap (I like Dove brand soap), then apply a light moisturizer around my eyes, and on my forehead. I wear glasses and usually don’t wear mascara (it tends to get on my glasses) but I do use a bit of blush and lipstick. Before bed I’ll wash my face again with a gentle face soap and then I’ll moisturize again, this time with a night cream. I don’t seem to have overly dry skin even with all the washing.

  47. aNoN*

    I need some perspective. About 6 months ago I found out that my father who sexually abused me for 10+ years also abused at least three of my cousins. Within days I reported my story to the police. Thankfully the statue of limiatations in my state is generous and all of us are within our rights to report what happened. The detective I’m working with dodges my emails and takes forever to give me updates. My sister is the only witness to corroborate what happened but won’t come forward. My brother came forward to give a statement. Three of the four known victims have given statements. At this point I feel helpless. I just want to know if the state can proceed with charging him or not. If there is four known victims there has to be more. I have a hunch of who the others might be given all the families that were our tenants over the years. The abuse has spanned over 20 years. My aunts and uncles who apparently knew about the abuse cover up for him and accuse us of lying. My mom knew about it but didn’t stop it and thinks I’m being dramatic and should move on. My innocence was taken and I just want to protect other children. My lawyer warned me the process will be lengthy but still I’m anxious. Has anyone gone through this process with the police? Are there support groups? RAINN was a good start and my therapist has been wonderful but I need to hear other people’s experiences