weekend free-for-all – November 26-27, 2016

eve-eve-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: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. I recommended this last year too, but I’m re-reading it and rediscovering how much I loved it the first time. Basically, picture Jane Austen but in a magical universe.

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

{ 1,006 comments… read them below }

  1. shorty*

    Ugh, money and family dynamics! I got engaged recently but I’ve been putting off wedding planning because of some family issues. We’d really like to get married in the state where we live, which is halfway across the country from our families. The problem is one of my siblings wouldn’t be able to afford to attend if it was at our preferred location. She lives well beyond her means, spends more than she earns, is considering bankruptcy, etc.

    Should I pay for her to attend? She would need help covering unpaid leave from work, travel, lodging, etc. It would not be an insignificant amount of money, but it would not be too burdensome on me. I’d be so sad if she missed our wedding, and I think she would be crushed too. But I’m feeling really icky about the possibility of paying for her because she continues to make poor decisions that are putting her deeper in debt. If I don’t pay for her to attend I fear she’ll put it on her (nearly maxed out) credit card and come anyway.

    I know this probably sounds selfish of me but please understand where I’m coming from – my other sibling and I offered to pay for financial advising and the sibling who needs it declined. (She said she’d love to take us up on it but she needs to pay off her credit card first… umm, what?!?). I also gave her a sizable amount of money to help with bills – which she really appreciated – but she continues to buy things she doesn’t need and cannot afford. With all that in mind I can’t stomach the thought of giving her another handout to enable this lifestyle that she can’t afford.

    Any advice or commiseration would be appreciated!

    1. MsCHX*

      This sounds like my sister! You all will have to stop enabling at some point, but I can see how your wedding wouldn’t be the time you’d like to draw the line in the sand. Maybe she can room with someone since everyone has to travel?

      We also had a wedding in a city where neither of our families were (but not a “destination” wedding) and my sister wasn’t going to go but ended up riding (and rooming) with my parents. So I would suggest you perhaps pay for her airfare and let her figure the rest out. DO NOT PAY HER ‘LOST WAGES’!!!!

    2. Gaia*

      My sister and mother are terrible with money. When they do work, they spend all of their money before their bills are paid and often have to ask to “borrow” money to meet basic needs.

      I have taken a firm stance that I no longer loan them money for anything. I will – very occasionally – gift them small amounts but it is never a loan and it is never significant (or repeated).

      I think you need to consider how upsetting it will be for you if she doesn’t attend (or if you’re worried about how she attended). Perhaps you could offer it to her as a gift (only if you can truly afford that) but make it part of a bigger conversation about your concerns? She may or may not be open to that. People with bad money habits often don’t like to admit to them.

    3. danr*

      Have a small wedding locally, then have a big reception later for your families back at their location. A cousin of mine did that with all the reception trimmings and everyone was happy.

      1. Natalie*

        We did that, too, because we wanted a small wedding but my in-laws wanted to include their family in another state. So we went to where the in-laws lived and had a nice backyard barbecue thing. It was really fun and satisfied my husband’s mother, so I take it as a win.

    4. Artemesia*

      Sit down and decide what is most important to you, having her there or teaching her a lesson she won’t learn anyway. One possibility is to buy her a ticket and room and make a commitment to yourself that this is the last time. People like your sister never change as long as family bails them out constantly. But think of this as a present to yourself especially if you think you will really regret not having her there.

      See if she will accept and attend a Dave Ramsey financial peace seminar in her area. This guy is annoying in some ways especially his attempt to ram his religion down the throats of his listeners — but his financial advice is totally perfect for people like your sister.

      1. Honeybee*

        I feel like there have to be other great, lesser-known, less annoying financial advisors out there besides Dave Ramsay.

        1. Artemesia*

          Probably but he is really very good for people just trying to get a grip on their finances — especially if they are fairly low income and have debt.

        2. ginger ale for all*

          He is everywhere and he has the DVDs, cds, podcast, books, and radio show. So it makes him an easy recommendation. There is so much reinforcement. Just know that he has beliefs that comes out and he gives weird job advice (he believes that bringing someone a box of doughnuts, then they will give you a job or become a client).

    5. Anono-me*

      Congratulations!

      Don’t give your sister any cash money.

      If it turns out that you decide having your sister at your wedding is worth paying for, and it sounds like it is; pay her way, but don’t give her cash. Buy her a nonrefundable ticket. Arrangement for her to share a hotel room and give the other person the money, pay any bills she will need help with directly, etc.

      Also, next time she needs financial help; please consider making meeting with a financial professional a non-negotiable part of the deal.

    6. Nicola M*

      No. You shouldn’t pay for her to attend. Imho, by paying for her to attend, you’re only enabling her destructive behavior. She’ll continue to use you for her crutch when she overspends.

    7. fposte*

      I don’t think it sounds selfish. A family isn’t necessarily a financial commune where money is required to be equalized between all participants regardless of effort.

      Can you take your larger issues about your sister out of this? If you paid for her plane tickets (directly) and hotel (directly) as a way of buying yourself what you want, would that work for you? A lot of people can’t afford to attend wedding travel and get help from family. It doesn’t mean you’re enabling her lifestyle, just deciding if it’s something that makes sense to pay for for your enjoyment of the wedding.

      That doesn’t close off a larger conversation about money, but your sister has made it pretty clear–she plans to live the way she does until circumstances prevent her, and you’re not going to counsel her away from that. I would make the decision about buying her a wedding ticket on that understanding and never bring up the wedding subsidy in any further conversation about money with her.

      1. periwinkle*

        I second this advice. Pay (directly) for her two big travel expenses but that’s it. Absolutely do not “cover” her time off! You are not responsible for her lack of vacation time, lack of planning, and lack of financial sense. If she tries to guilt-trip you into covering additional expenses, you’ll have to decide if it’s worth it. A couple days’ worth of (reasonably priced!) meals, maybe. Her salary, no. Extending her trip so she can stay longer while you pay for it, no.

      2. shorty*

        I really like this way of thinking about things– that it’s more about paying for what I want and that any travel costs would be like a gift for myself. Thanks!

    8. Wrench Turner*

      There are boundaries you can set but still invite her to celebrate. Don’t pay for her time off (seriously) but maybe her flight out; see if a friend/family local to you can put her up in a spare room so nobody is paying for a hotel.

      She is a grown ass adult, and her bad choices are hers to make and consequences to deal with when the funds run dry. This is a celebration for your family, not an investment portfolio, so deal with that separately.

    9. Anon for now*

      Wedding planning, family, and money work together to make the most frustrating problems, don’t they? My fiancé and I are pretty young, and our families live six hours apart. We’re at the point of deciding on a backyard wedding to save money at my parents’ house (they have a beautiful backyard, but we live in the same city as his family six hours away), but I just know my mom is going to drive me nuts! She’s very critical.

      Sorry for going off topic but I’m dealing with some of these things while I’m home for the holidays and I just wanted to commiserate.

      1. Artemesia*

        If you have a backyard wedding at your parents turn the whole thing over to your critical mother and let her do what she wants — OR make other plans. A JP wedding with a dinner for family in a restaurant for example, might reduce the hassle. No way you can have the wedding in her backyard if you expect to plan and carry it out as she will be making you miserable every step of the way.

        1. Anon for now*

          That’s what I’m worried about. Our families are both huge though, and not having a traditional wedding reception would probably cause a whole basket of other familial issues. And reception venues are so beyond expensive that I’m not sure I can afford anything other than the backyard (part of the reason I read AAM is post-college-grad unemployment). I just don’t know what to do. I’m thinking I’ll just let my mom take the wheel and be happy with it.

          On the bright side, I found a PERFECT (and CHEAP) dress today and bought it! It’s happening! :)

          1. KJ*

            I had a very reasonable wedding and reception at a local restaurant. It was a lunch reception at a place not usually open for lunch, so I didn’t pay a fee for using the space, I just paid for the food and drinks we consumed. The restaurant was very beautiful so I had to do minimal decorating. We served beer and wine, but because it was brunch, even that wasn’t that pricey. And the food was amazing, but at “lunch” prices, not at dinner prices. All in all, it was easy, relaxed and not too pricey. Might be worth seeing if anyplace in your city could do that for you. Oh, and Sunday is cheaper than Saturday to get married.

          2. Temperance*

            Are they paying for the reception that they’re demanding, or just being unreasonable? I wouldn’t have it at your parents’ place unless you’re willing to let your mother steamroll.

            A park or something in your current location is cheap and neutra

      2. Natalie*

        I had a backyard wedding out of a desire to get married at home, or I would have if it hadn’t been for weather, and I have to say that it’s not as money saving as you might think. For one thing, weather backup – we had booked an alternate space in case it rained, and if we hadn’t used it we still would have been out the money. Since there were thunderstorms forecasted for our wedding day when we had to decide whether to use the backup space, we ended up using it. No thunderstorms, but it was 100 degrees (literally) so I’m glad we were inside.

        There’s also logistical headaches with a home wedding. We had to clean our house and yard. The table & dish rentals had to be stored and moved multiple times. If we had been at home, we would have come home to a lot of random stuff that needed to be put back or tidied. The only money we saved was on the venue, which was offset by spending money on rentals, mosquito treating the yard, getting lighting, etc.

        1. Natalie*

          Left off a paragraph: typically your largest expenses are going to be venue, catering & bar, and photography. Figure out what your budget is first and then get price estimates for the larger ticket things. If your mom wants to help, she can research and price venues. Photography is hard to save money on, so if that is important to you just accept that it’s going to cost a bit. Catering & bar is where you have a lot of flexibility. If you can self-cater alcohol (buy all your own beer & wine) at your venue, you’ll save a ton. Don’t have liquor, people will be just fine without it. For food, consider doing a late wedding and just offering “heavy hor d’oeuvres”, doing a buffet, or doing a brunch wedding.

        2. TL -*

          I do know people who have had backyard weddings at $500 or less (maybe not including dress here), so it definitely can be done on the cheap! They didn’t book an alternate space, though, or rent out tables, chairs – they just borrowed from friends and relatives until they had enough. (They also didn’t treat for mosquitos but I don’t think anyone would hold an outdoor wedding during mosquito season.)

          A fair number of my friends have had really lovely, really cheap weddings – people aren’t going to remember whether or not the chairs and tables matched or if your decorations were plentiful if they’re truly happy for you.

          1. Natalie*

            Absolutely, but none of that is unique or inherent to a backyard wedding – you can just as easily do that kind of wedding at a state park or an art gallery (our backup space) or the VFW. Having a cheap, large wedding generally requires making specific decisions and compromises, no matter where you hold it. Having it at home won’t be cheaper just because.

            1. Anon for now*

              Oh you’re making me feel so much better about choosing something else! I’ll look into local parks. There’s not a whole lot of that kind of thing around here, and I do want to have it here- as difficult as they can be, I love my family and extended family. My fiancé’s family (who live in our city)… not so much. Bad history there for him, and I’ve only ever talked to his mom two or three times anyway.

              We were already planning on a brunch wedding. I mean this in the most loving way possible, but I have a pretty hillbilly family, and limiting alcohol consumption is a priority for me. Nobody really has a lot of money, so I can’t really ask for help, and it’s not so much that they’re demanding a reception as that it would cause drama if I didn’t and I’d never hear the end of it!

              Sigh. We’ve been engaged for over a year and I’m just now starting on all this and it’s just overwhelming me a bit. Thank you all for your advice though, you’re giving me lots to think about!

              1. tink*

                When my mom and stepdad got married, they rented a pavilion at a local state park. It obviously wasn’t a first wedding for either of them, and all of the children were grown (with grandchildren), so it was a fairly low-key affair and we did most of the food and whatnot ourselves.

                Sister 5 also got married at a state park–they rented a cabin for her + bridesmaids (plus a short honeymoon after), and the ceremony was outside at the lake. No chairs, folks had to stand or bring their own, and it was long enough ago that I don’t remember anything about after the wedding. I do know neither one was particularly expensive.

                Something to consider as well–I also come from fairly country stock, and when sister 2 got married, her rehearsal dinner ended up being a sort of… combo rehearsal dinner/closest family and friends affair? It was a fish fry–Daddy and some of our uncles and cousins actually caught most of the fish that got cooked for it, and there were chicken strips as well. If your families are into that sort of thing, maybe that’s something that could be done? The logistics are a bit of a mess if you end up cooking outside someone’s backyard or another place equipped for it, but it’s definitely an affordable option to do a family dinner like that instead of a big reception for everyone.

                1. Anon for now*

                  I’m really liking the park idea!

                  We were thinking of doing a brunch wedding, and then a BBQ type thing with immediate family and bridesmaids/groomsmen for dinner that night. It might make sense to do that for the rehearsal though so we can leave sooner! :)

              2. Natalie*

                People (your parents, maybe Future Spouse’s parents) may offer money, even if you don’t ask for it and weren’t expecting it. Only you know their particular financial situation, but accept it if you feel you can. It’s a pretty typical way for generations to pay it forward – my parents, my now-husband and I had a great afternoon of their stories about their wedding and how they fit it into the money my stepmom got from her mom. Regardless of whatever money is available, figure out your budget first.

                A good bit of general wedding planning advice, regardless of budget, is that you and your spouse-to-be pick your top three important things, and prioritize those. Anything else that doesn’t fit in that top-three list, you let go of. Try not to worry about what other people will think about the things that you let go.

                On a budget specifically, definitely scrap anything not strictly necessary, like wedding favors or fancy programs or the like. Since you have a lot of family in the area figure out what you can farm out to other people. For our wedding, we ended up getting our officiant for free because she is a friend of my step-dad’s and our photographer at an enormous discount because he is my best friend’s dad. My other best friend and my step-mom did all of the flowers from the farmers market (except for my bouquet, which was a specific indulgence that I wanted). We had a reception for my husband’s family in a different city that was held in his uncle’s backyard, with food prepared by the uncle and my mother-in-law and photography by husband’s cousin. (Pick reliable people – at one point my brother, who is the world’s biggest flake, was going to help us clean up and mulch our garden. Never happened.)

                Lastly, you may be inclined to think that you will do All The Things yourself. Resist that urge. Especially for anything that has to be done the day before or day of the wedding. No matter how chill and low-key of a bride you are, there will be approximately 10,000 tasks you either didn’t think of (wait, where are we going to store the rented tables?), take longer than you expected (hello, unexpected parking shortage when I picked up our cupcakes), or you planned for and then completely forgot about until the last minute (ask me about my stressful booze-buying trip the day before the wedding!). DIY as much as you want until 1-2 days before the wedding, and then pass as much off as you absolutely can to a trusted deputy. (And buy them a nice gift, or if that’s not in the budget write a heartfelt note and then do something nice and free for them a few weeks post-wedding.)

                1. Anon for now*

                  You give really fantastic advice! This is so helpful, thank you!! How did the farmer’s market flowers go? I’ve looked at that but it makes me so nervous, because you have to do it really close to the wedding for them to stay fresh, right?

              3. Honeybee*

                Is there a specific reason you are tied to doing it where you are? Because if your whole extended family lives on the other side of the country and is struggling, and his family lives near but may not come…maybe it makes sense to consider having it nearby your family.

                And also, a county park was where I was originally planning to have my wedding before MIL took over (for better and worse). The venue fees were ridiculously cheap and the park was beautiful. I grew up going there with my parents and feeding the ducks. It was nice.

                1. Anon for now*

                  We are doing it near my family! It’s my parents’ backyard. That’s part of the reason it stresses me out so much; there’s travel for us and an extended time before the wedding in close quarters with my mom. And really, who wants to spend the week or so before their wedding squished into a twin bed in their childhood bedroom with their fiancé? Not me! I’m thinking a hotel room might be necessary, but that starts to get more expensive again!

          2. Pennalynn Lott*

            My next-door neighbor’s nieces and nephews have all been married in her back yard. Way cheaper than paying for a venue because the weddings were basically the normal extended-family gathering (potluck, BYOB), with an additional expense for an officiant. No thousand-dollar cake, no rented tent or chairs, no floral decorations. Just the equivalent of a backyard BBQ, but a tad more festive. :-)

        3. Mephyle*

          My daughter and son-in-law had a backyard wedding. It rained (as expected) but we had rented a big tent and everything went swimmingly (in the good sense).

          1. Natalie*

            We had actually thought about renting tents at one point, but we got lucky with our backup venue and it was a similar price. In the end, tents probably would have worked well for the extreme heat we did have, but wouldn’t have worked for the severe thunderstorms that were initially forecasted for the exact hour we would have doing the ceremony. (Although their is something magical about the idea of saying your vows while the heavens are torn asunder above you, I suppose.)

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I agree with everyone who said pay for the travel expenses. For one, this is a major life event for you. We are not talking about you loaning her money for a puppy or a diamond ring. No, this is your wedding, it’ s big deal. Next, if she continues on the way she has then she will max out those cards anyway. You might like to just set that whole story line to one side in this instance. And last, you can tell her that this is a one shot thing. When you guys get that new house/baby/puppy you will not be paying her travel bill for her to come see it. Let her know that this is a life changing event for you and you would like her there but going forward you will not be able to do this again.

      1. Sunflower*

        I agree with all of this. If it’s important to you that she’s there then you’re really doing this for yourself, not her.

    11. Stellaaaaa*

      Could you ask your parents to pay your sister’s way as their gift to you? That way it’s not so much your problem.

    12. copy run start*

      Your sister is an adult who makes her own life choices. How she pays to attend your wedding is not your problem nor your responsibility. If you really want to assist, perhaps offer to pay for the flight or for the hotel room, or to contribute $X towards her expenses. But I wouldn’t offer to cover the whole thing for her. That’s just not realistic.

      Have you looked into wedding broadcasting? That might be a good option for your sister and any other relatives who are unable to make it in person. I had one cousin who did this and it was great. Heck you could just stick a PC running Skype on a chair and make the best of it, even.

    13. neverjaunty*

      Let’s say that five minutes from now, your sister had an epiphany and suddenly became financially responsible and devoted her energies to cutting spending and paying off her debt. She still wouldn’t be able to afford to come to your wedding, right?

      I don’t think it’s enabling her if you pay her way (and by that I mean buying the tickets and paying the hotel directly, etc., not sending her a wad of cash). You want her at the wedding and you can make that happen because you want family there and together.

    14. MissDisplaced*

      I think paying for her to attend is fine if you’re fine with it, can afford to do so, and it means enough to you to do so. But lost wages? How, what? Just no.
      Does she not get vacation or PTO and/or would be able to take off a weekend? I can’t fathom this part.

      1. shorty*

        She only gets 1 week/year and that gets used up for legitimate kid-related events. Any time after that she can take off but it’s unpaid. And seeing as her current salary isn’t enough to keep up with her bills, the unpaid time off would be pretty tough.

        1. Natalie*

          Does she normally work on whatever day you’re getting married? She doesn’t have to take a whole week off and come early – she can fly in the same day as the wedding and leave the next day. If those are both on her weekend than she’s not out any wages.

          1. Honeybee*

            If the slightest thing goes wrong she can miss it. She’d at least need to fly in the day before, earlier if there’s a rehearsal dinner and/or if she’s in the bridal party.

        2. MsCHX*

          She absolutely does not need (or get to since she can’t afford it) to be there for a week (or more?!). She should fly in the night before and fly out the day after, at best.

          Others said it isn’t enabling her but it is. She doesn’t get to be irresponsible and then dictate what’s given to her as help. If YOU want her there I think it’s perfectly reasonable to buy an airline ticket and hotel room (or shared room with another relative) but the buck stops there. No bills paid. No wages paid. That’s way too far.

        3. Miss Displaced*

          Ok Shorty, well I do understand kid things are important. However, it seems like your wedding is still some time away, correct? And yet sister can not manage to schedule ONE of her precious vacation days (now in January when companies reset vacation time) to come to your wedding (where you are paying for her trip)? Moreover, if the wedding is some months out, why can she not SAVE enough money to cover the day or two off? This is called planning.

          I’m sorry, but this sounds selfish on her part and irresponsible.
          You are being very generous to pay for the wedding trip, the onus should be on her to cover her time off. But this is my opinion. I guess it depends on how important it is for you for her to be there.

          Side note: Only getting 1 week vacation per year typically equals a not-very-good job. I realize some people are not so lucky to have an employer that gives them 2-3 weeks PTO, but is the not-good job due to no fault of her own, or part and parcel of her other bad financial choices? By that I mean is she working the crappy job so that she has time for other activities or cache. As in: “I’m only working at crappy job for now so that I can pursue my dream of X, Y, or Z” kind of thing that is fairly unrealistic career-wise. [Please don’t misunderstand me… I actually do know people who do that on the off-chance dream that by working at crappyjob they will become a singer/artist/producer/dancer, etc., etc.] Usually they are in for a rude awakening.

          Normally, I would not even factor this, but your post was about how she continues to make poor decisions that are putting her deeper in debt and I wondered if job was part of that as well.

    15. Temperance*

      Quite honestly, I would pay for her ticket and her hotel, but not her leave from work. I frankly wouldn’t give her any other money, though. She’s going to be in debt forever and irresponsible forever until she decides to grow the hell up.

      We gave my MIL money for airfare to our wedding, and she spent it on a trip to visit my SIL and her husband, and then complained when the airfare to us was more than she could afford. It went up by $250 because she waited until the last minute to book. I think my husband’s grandparents paid the difference, because we certainly didn’t.

    16. Snazzy Hat*

      I’d be so sad if she missed our wedding, and I think she would be crushed too.

      But the ways she would be crushed can change depending on the circumstance:
      1) She stops spending and starts saving and tries really hard to afford to attend and does everything she can to be kind to her budget for being at her sister’s wedding, but still doesn’t quite make it financially. (I’ll be kind here and say it ends up being the round-trip flight that goes over what she can afford.)
      2) She continues spending, albeit less than usual, but all of her savings go into her debts and she apologizes to you for not being more responsible with her money and thereby missing an important event in your life.
      3) She doesn’t get the money from you and throws a hissy-fit compounded with disbelief that you, her sister, wouldn’t give her a few hundred or thousand bucks to let her attend your wedding.
      4) She complains to everyone else in the family that you are the reason she couldn’t make it.

      Don’t give her another penny. If you want to give her something, give her a library card. Oy.

    17. Honeybee*

      Well, in this case I’d kind of considering it like paying for something I really want, not enabling her lifestyle. It’d be different if she called you for help paying for something she didn’t need or traveling elsewhere. But the situation in question is that you want her to come to your wedding, and you know the only real viable way for her to come is for you to pay. I’d think of it more like taking a trip somewhere nice or paying for some other kind of experience.

      But I wouldn’t cover the unpaid leave part. She’d get help with travel and lodging/food.

    18. Chickaletta*

      Late to the party here, but my $.02 suggestion is to help her pay her way. Maybe not all of it, but pay for her flight and hotel or something, and let her pay the other expenses.

      My own wedding was ten years ago and here’s the thing about weddings: they’re just a day. One day. All you will have left afterwards are the photos and the memories. Think about looking back on your wedding ten years from now, what do you want to remember? Do you want to remember that she didn’t come because you held a grudge against her bad financial habits? Or do you want memories about her being there, having a good time, supporting you? You won’t remember how much you paid for her flight or hotel in ten years, and if you do you probably won’t care (hopefully not, that would be a long time to invest in being upset). So help her get there, keep the peace, take the high road, yadda yadda yadda. You won’t regret it.

      PS: You can’t change people. Refusing to help pay her way won’t “teach her a lesson” or “get even” or whatever. There’s no point in making a statement by refusing to pay her way. Do you let her take advantage of you? No, of course not. But I don’t think you want your wedding to be the occasion you use to make your point.

      1. Jen Erik*

        Also late, but I agree with this. If you want her there, count it as part of the wedding expenses, and then let it go.
        I so agree that you can’t change people – you can only set your own boundaries, and detach with love.

        I hope, whatever you decide, that you have a lovely day.

  2. caledonia*

    A black and white imposter cat is stealing *my* b & w cat’s food. I have chucked water over it once but I feel so bad for my (hungry) cat.
    I leave the window open in the kitchen all day when I’m at work as my cat is not one for staying indoors and I am gone from 7.20 am to 6.45 pm.

    It’s a rental so I can’t put a catflap in.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    1. Anono-me*

      Cat flaps that fit most windows are available. You could also make your own. Cut a board, or get it cut (I know HD will) to fit in the open window. Install the cat door in the board.

      You may want to consider a cat door with a sensor lock, so only your cat can get in.

        1. Marcela*

          I don’t Anono-me is telling you to make a hole. It’s probably what we did to install a portable AC in our rental: buy a piece of board the size of the window glass, cut a hole in it, open the window to the max and put the board with the hole as it were the window glass. I think it will depend on the window system if it’s possible or not, but most probably it will work.

        2. fposte*

          You’re not putting a hole in the window. You’re putting a solid thing across the open part of the window. You can take it out when you want to close the window.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Yeah, I’ve seen people put the cat door in a plywood rectangle and then close the window on the plywood to hold it in. They also put some rubber weather stripping around the edges of the plywood to seal out the wind and cold.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Wow, now that other people’s links have come out of moderation, I see that you can buy the cat door already prepared for window installation; that’s great, and way better than plywood!

    2. Lucina*

      Is your cat’s food close to the point of access? If so you could try moving it away. You could also try a timed cat feeder, so the food is no exposed all the time, or could train your cat to eat at fixed times and feed her/him when you’re around (although poor kitty it’s almost 12 hours).
      I was in the same situation and used to leave the bathroom window open. A sad catnip-addicted tomcat entered my house, found a catnip banana, chewed through it disseminating saliva and catnip on my (landlord’s) carpet, ate all the food, puked all the food, sprayed my own sofa, and left my two kitty girls traumatized. I made friends with the neighbor, who has a key now and lets my cats in and out during the day.
      Addict tomcat is still around and comes running if you have a catnip toy in your hands, but has been castrated recently, so not so much of a terror anymore and a lot less stinky.

    3. fposte*

      If you want to get fancy, there’s a pet feeder that will only open when the microchipped cat approaches the bowl. They’re not cheap, but it’s a way to solve many problems.

      1. caledonia*

        Interesting. I do actually have an autofeeder thing I got last Christmas but never used. I will have to see if it does that.

    4. Karen El Bee*

      To be honest, I would probably just buy a little extra food and put out enough for both. I would feel bad for the mooch kitty. But then I was feeding 10 ferals at my old house, so….

      1. caledonia*

        This cat has a home. It gets fed. I am not willing to feed it.

        Half the problem is my cat is so passive, she just sits whilst the other cat eats the food!!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Ugh, Pig used to do that. The only thing I could do was sit out and shoo them away. She wouldn’t do anything! And I only fed her what she would eat so she didn’t leave anything. If she was hungry later, I could always give her more.

      2. caledonia*

        Also, in the UK, feral cats are far less common than in the States. It’s a small town and the cat lives across the street.

      1. Mephyle*

        What if the intruder cat bullies the home cat into sitting next to the dish while intruder cat eats?

    5. Franzia Spritzer*

      Once you get the catflap window business figured out, you can get auto-locking catflaps which permit only your critter through the flap so the imposter cat cannot come in to eat at will. This kind of flap uses a magnetic lock (maybe the technology has improved sine I last bought one), with it you’ll get a dohicky to put on your cat’s collar which grants them access.

      Good luck.

  3. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

    I’ve been so distressed the last 2.5 weeks. I’m trying to make things a little better by putting more good into the world – we’re volunteering at a shelter next week, and I bought some coats for a coat drive, writing notes to family members who mean a lot, etc. Basically an advent calendar of goodness.

    This wasn’t really a question. I’m just struggling right now and trying to make the world a tiny bit better :/

      1. Bibliovore*

        To Katie the Fed,
        I had to fill out health questionnaires for a new specialist. In the last two weeks have you been anxious? Have your been worried? Have you been restless? Have you been depressed? Have your been sleeping?
        Seriously dude? I pretty sure telling the truth on this thing would qualify me for commitment.
        Doing good every day is a good plan. I shall go there.

        1. Bibliovore*

          oh and I actually started writing to say that I appreciate your comments on AAM and that this is also doing doing good.

        2. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

          Ha, yes! I know the feeling.

          I’m going to try to do at least one good thing every day of Advent. :/

    1. Cristina in England*

      Same. I got a chance to donate a lot of baby stuff to a women’s shelter through a friend of a friend and I have gotten really into it, making up little Christmas party bags with notepads and crayons and activity books and chocolate in case anyone there needs some festive cheer.

    2. LizB*

      Hugs if you want them! I always appreciate your comments here, and I’m glad you’re putting good things into the world.

      I’ve been meaning to ask you in an open thread: I somehow missed what happened with the name transition from Katie the Fed to Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed — is there context there, or did you just decide it was time for a new look? :)

      1. Me2*

        I’ve been meaning to ask this question too. A long time friend just posted a picture of the two of us at her 3rd or 4th birthday party and I commented on the graceful wrist pose. She’s not a Katie, nor a Fed, but I like to think perhaps you are the same person.

        1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

          Oh good idea. I don’t know if Katie F is still around – that’s why i changed my username. They were too similar.

        2. nep*

          Oh my word — could someone possibly think this is an acceptable — much less good — cover letter? I’m cringing so hard my ears ache.

    3. Temperance*

      I’ve been having a really crappy year, too. I think you should put in some self-care time, too. You’re clearly a nice person who cares about making the world a better place, and frankly, that shit can get EXHAUSTING without a break to make yourself happy.

      I’m concentrating on being a more outspoken ally to friends who need it, and by calling out racism, sexism, and all that other nonsense.

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        Thank you so much. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for how to intervene when I see those kinds of behaviors. I kept silent for way too long – right now I feel like silence is acquiescence.

    4. Mimmy*

      Katie – Sorry you are feeling down :( I like the “advent calendar of goodness” concept. I hope things brighten for you soon *sends hot chocolate and hugs*

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        I think I found it! I just found Penzey’s Hot Chocolate in my cupboard – forgot I had it. Good send – thank you :)

    5. Natalie*

      Something I try to keep in mind is that you have to secure your own oxygen mask first, so to speak. That means different things for different people. For me, it means accepting that I need to focus on one or two social/cultural issues and accept that those issues are where I’m going to make my big impact. That doesn’t mean I ignore everything else, I just don’t prioritize it. I also try and unplug from news on a somewhat regular basis. My husband and I have talk about having a smartphone-free day, which for me would mean avoiding Facebook and various news blogs I read, since I tend to mindlessly check them on my phone. It helps, really it does, and your not letting down the revolution or whatever by unplugging occasionally.

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        That’s a great idea. I actually got off Facebook for a while, and did some culling of my friends. Not because we disagreed on issues – I cut the ones who said racist or sexist things or trolled my other friends in discussions. I’m cutting some of the crap out of my life :)

    1. Gaia*

      This is the time for my rant against Hallmark movies. All my friends and family have heard it and now AAM gets to, too :)

      Hallmark movies are sexist as hell. Nearly every movie is about a silly, shallow woman (or worse, a career driven woman) who suffers some tragedy or situation that introduces her to a solid, steady man that is her exact opposite. She resists him at first but eventually begins to love him but realizes she needs to change everything about herself so he’ll love her. All the while, he is subtly sabotaging her in the background. She finds out about his sabotage and forgives him because he’s a good man. She changes everything about herself, they fall in love. But it is ok, because she got her man. Happy ending.

      God forbid she be able to be herself AND be happy in a relationship or hold a man responsible for acting against her. Or be happy without a relationship.

      I’ve watched a lot of Hallmark movies as it is the channel my TV stays on for my dog (the others make him bark, I don’t know what this means). But they make me rage inside.

      1. esra (also a Canadian)*

        Don’t forget the most important part of the happy ending: Now she’s pregnant! Hurrah. Her real life can begin.

        See also: Terrible romance novels.

      2. Knit Pixie*

        Just wanted to throw out a movie recommendation for anyone who is hitting the Redbox (or otherwise) this weekend.

        “East Side Sushi” was excellent. So much so, I wanted to personally recommend it to Alison and all the AAM readers.

        A dose of this movie was definitely what the doctor ordered, it has help inoculate me against the senselessness of your typical Hallmark made for TV movie.

      3. Zip Silver*

        That’s the whole point of those movies, though.

        Everybody has an agenda, the media is no different. Hallmark just happens to be different from most others in Hollywood.

      4. cinammoncookieroll*

        Dog doesn’t bark because he likes the sound of the hallmark dog whistle.
        It sounds like dependence.

    2. Artemesia*

      Ahh the wonderful world of Hallmark where women can make a great living selling cupcakes, men can make a great living making hand crafted furniture, women give up career advancement for the guy they met yesterday and living in a rural village makes you morally superior to those big shots who are educated, live in the city and like pretentious things like art or music.

      1. Nicola M*

        I’ve often wondered how one can be so financially comfortable selling “artisan” goods in a small town.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Oh, if only I could live in complete middle-class comfort by baking cupcakes from 10 – 2, Tuesday through Saturday, and selling them in my charmingly-appointed shop at the corner of the town square to my fabulously quirky and always-supportive BFFs.

            1. ginger ale for all*

              A lot of cozy mysteries have this set up. I love that genre but my gosh, a dose of reality would make them all better. And they can 86 the dumb cop stereotype as well.

          2. EmmaLou*

            Well, in the actual books, the baker really is up often way before dawn and stays up into the wee sma’s as well. I often wondered how she functioned on so little sleep.

      1. Emmie*

        Last night, a lady fell in love with her manager’s employee! The employee and the manager’s girlfriend were headed to spend the weeekend in a rural mountain cottage or something! As goofy as these movies are, I can’t seem to turn them off!

  4. Melody Pond*

    Finished the Gilmore Girls revival yesterday! I was actually pretty happy with it – there were a couple weird things here and there, but all in all, I thought it was a pretty satisfying revival. I laughed out loud several times, and to my delight, despite possible cosmetic changes, Lauren Graham really didn’t seem all that different to me – just slightly older. I’d really love it if they did a second revival season, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any plans for that yet.

    What did others think?

    **possible spoilers in comments**

    1. caledonia*

      I have watched winter and spring so far. I like it but it does feel a bit different. I can’t figure out why or what it is.

      Am totally loving Rory’s outfits so far.

      1. TL -*

        It’s more movie-like – the montages and music numbers could never have been in the show.

        I liked it, except for the ending! Argh!

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      I have only watched winter and spring, but know the final words (I know ASP said not to do that. She is a control freak. LOL) and I am pretty sure there will be more. The “no plans” thing is always what they say until Netflix gets its numbers back.

      I’ve liked what has happened so far, and the ending I know is coming makes sense to me. The show has always reflected the parallels in Lorelai and Rory’s lives.

      1. TL -*

        Ugh. I said this below, but the ending doesn’t make sense to me – as much as the show is about reflecting the parallels, I think it’s also been about how Rory had the choices that Emily and Lorelai didn’t; that she didn’t get trapped by life but had been given every chance to make her decisions and chart her own course. So…it doesn’t make sense to me.

        1. RKB*

          But she’s 32, not 22. I think the difference is that Rory knows what happens if she handles the situation like Lorelai did – hence asking Christopher about fighting for her, and how she waited until her mother was married and complete with her own life when she told her the news.

          What I think people are glossing over is the fact that Rory is immature because Lorelai set up her life as to avoid Rory making the same mistakes she did. This Rory never got to grow into maturity that her friends did (Paris, Lane, Dean, etc.) This is really Rory’s true test.

          1. TL -*

            Well, she’s 32, broke (but I guess with a trust fund?), unemployed, living in her mom’s house in a very small town with few employment opportunities, unplanned outside of a stable relationship. That’s different from Lorelai, but also – pretty darn close to being 22.

            Yeah, it’s interesting to think how Rory will handle this. I do think she’s been incredibly sheltered (but also would’ve expected her to grow up more in the intervening 10 years!) and this is the time when she’s going to have to grow up but I don’t like it as a plot line.

    3. buffty*

      I enjoyed it. I came home from work with the intention of watching just one episode…and of course then watched all of them. “Just one more…”

    4. Audiophile*

      I’m in the middle pf “Summer” and I’m really enjoying it so far. I don’t mind the longer format and it was nice to see all the supporting characters pop up again.

      I’d be surprised if they get a second revival out of the cast, since it took so much time to get this one off the ground. But then again, I didn’t expect Netflix to get another season out of Arrested Development and that’s set to start shooting again in January, so anything is possible.

    5. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

      I’m watching it now. Actually, I’m hate-watching it now. I find Lorelai and Rory so awful and self-absorbed – it’s a case study of how beautiful women get away with treating people like crap.

      And yet I can’t stop watching :/

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        I remember when it was on TV and I never really watched it because I found Lorelai and Rory awful and unlikeable, but all my friends loved the show. I feel somewhat justified now that they’re all rewatching the show and are shocked at how much they dislike the characters.

        Though, to be fair, I find a lot of characters you’re supposed to root for to be unlikeable.

      2. EA*

        It’s funny. I loved the show when I was a kid. I identified with Lorelei because I have issues with my mother. I identified with Rory because I loved to read. Now I watch and think they are both terrible and self-absorbed. I think Lorelei is better than Rory, mostly because she is tougher. Rory really is awful.

    6. Elkay*

      I’ve just finished watching. I liked it but didn’t love it, I think it suffered in the same way that season 6 did because it wasn’t Rory and Lorelei together the whole time. Also, given the length of the episodes I felt there wasn’t much content and the music (and musical numbers) seemed a lot more intrusive than I remember the music being in the original series, it felt too knowing to me. I guessed the ending (not the final four words) based on a scene earlier in the episode. Also it annoyed me that Rory was quite such an unpleasant person (her boyfriend and the Logan stuff) as I don’t remember her being like that, although there was the whole Dean thing so maybe that’s just who she is. Finally, a lot of the cameos were totally crowbarred in, I’d rather have had fewer and have the returners have an actual role in the storyline. But I’d totally watch a second revival series.

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        She’s always been a terrible person. Remember when she tried to break up Dean’s marriage by sleeping with him?

        1. Elkay*

          I never saw it as trying to break up Dean’s marriage, I don’t think she gave it that much thought. I think she’s self-absorbed so the Dean thing was about her, not his marriage. Bizarrely I would have been happier with her having so little self worth that she needed to be Logan’s bit on the side but her treatment of her boyfriend really jarred with me.

          1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

            I guess that’s true. But it’s the self-absorption that really irks me. She’s really a terrible person. She has no grit – she dropped out of school because someone insulted her. She squanders all the privilege she has. And is SO fragile. And then cheats on men and sleeps with married/engaged men. Just awful.

            1. esra (also a Canadian)*

              Ugh, when she set her whole life on fire because one person said she might not be cut out for an incredibly competitive industry.

              1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

                I’m halfway through the new ones – good god. Is she ever going to take responsibility for anything? realize not everything will be handed to her?

                1. esra (also a Canadian)*

                  Everyone kept talking about what a hard worker she was in the original series, but you never saw it. Honestly after the whole town threw a festival for like, two residents who are barely ever around, I said GOOD DAY to GG.

              2. Anon for this*

                She would have stood up to that all the way back in the first season!

                Rory wasn’t so bad as a teenager. Or at least, she wasn’t worse than any other teenager. What happened?

      2. Caledonia*

        the musical numbers was very bunheads! (ASP’s other tv show that lasted 1 season and had a whole bunch of actors from Gilmore in it)

    7. bon-bons for all!*

      Just finished! I really liked it overall, although I fast-forwarded past the Stars Hollow musical. That was really bad.

      1. Melody Pond*

        That WAS horrible. I didn’t understand why they wanted us to sit through that for what seemed like hours. The longer 90 minute episodes are no excuse for such a monstrosity.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          I think because ASP shoe-horned Sutton Foster into the musical, and so made it “worth her while”

      2. LA Gaucho*

        Am I one of the few who found the musical number hysterical (and hysterically bad too)?

        Actually, at first I thought “WTF is this?! What a waste of time…ha…haha…bahahaha!” Very Stars Hallow. Also, I expected Kirk’s movie to be better.

    8. Stellaaaaa*

      I found Lorelai’s outburst at the funeral to be inexcusable. Either participate properly or stop spending the family money.

      Rory’s relationship issues WANTED to be illustrative of the messy stuff people her age go through but it was so tonally off.

      The 30something gang was totally cute. Oh no, people who are friends due to similar life experiences, how pathetic!!!

      1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        Ah, another hate watcher :)

        Seriously – messy relationships don’t usually involve a lot of cheating. That’s just not ok.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          I could have rolled with the story if it seemed that Logan and Rory were truly in love. But Rory rejected his proposal 9 years ago so I don’t feel any emotional weight with the affair. She doesn’t want to marry him.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Logan is the Christopher analog, and Rory grew up with her mother sleeping with Christopher for years, regardless of who either of them were involved with.

            Then the Palladinos left the series and they got married!

        2. TL -*

          But also, that’s not really in keeping with Logan’s character. He’s always been honest and very kind to everybody. And his 7th season arc was all about him breaking away from his family to become an independent person, so why is he now bound to marry someone for dynastic reasons? (Especially because Rory was clearly a suitable candidate…)

          I didn’t mind the storyline until he got engaged and moved in with someone – that’s just not in keeping with Logan’s character as we knew it. Even when he first started dating Rory, he was always very upfront about what she could expect from him. I can’t imagine he’d treat another girlfriend so differently.

          1. OldMom*

            We don’t know that he is getting married for dynastic reasons, at least, if so, I didn’t catch that bit. But it did seem odd…they are still together, or together again, 10 years later, but with a NSA situation? why? It made perfect sense that she didn’t want to marry him 10 years ago, but why not now? Also the whole secret society partying stuff struck me oddly. The friends would have succumbed to alcoholism long since at the rate they were going, and all that frantic running around…suited to college students or the young Beatles, but seems a little “what are all these old people doing at the frat party” vibe.

            1. RKB*

              After the party with LDB and they end up at the tango club, Rory says something along the lines of “are you really going to marry Odette?” Logan’s answer was “for dynastic reasons.”

      2. EA*

        That’s the thing. Like Emily Gilmore could be terrible, but Lorelei was also mean to her parents. And then she expected everyone to feel sorry for her. Emily at least sort of owned who was.

          1. Elkay*

            Did anyone else find Emily’s storyline really odd? I though they were setting it up for her to be scammed by her maid and the dad from Twin Peaks but it just seemed to fizzle out.

            1. TL -*

              Oh, I liked it – I feel like Emily needs to take care of someone and in a weird way, she got to take care of the maid (who, though weird was really nice and making sure Emily was being taken care of in return.)

              But I just liked how the show dealt with Emily moving on with life after her husband passed in general. It was very sweet.

            2. alex*

              I enjoyed Emily’s arc, and damned if Kelly Bishop hasn’t aged like a queen! But I agree that that Berta the Maid thing…eesh. I guess it was nice that EG had some folks to take care of, but the maid was the same actress who plays Gypsy the mechanic; why?? And the continuing fake language bit was just awkward.

              Spoilers below; my other thoughts having finished it this afternoon are:
              — The bizarre scene of Logan taking Rory out on the town with the guys missed so badly for me.
              — Petal was a great addition, and I loved Kirk’s ending.
              — I didn’t enjoy any of the scenes with the drunken English woman character. Naomi or whatever.
              — The town musical… Yikes. It was in no way believable that some of those characters liked it. I would have preferred for them to all mock it.
              — In my opinion, Alexis Bledel is unfortunately still not a good enough actor to match Lauren Graham or Kelly Bishop or even the male actors.
              — Why are all the male characters irresistibly attached to Rory??
              — The final words…. eh. They fit nicely with the references to “full circle,” the death/birth frame, and the fertility issues, but it was a bit groan-inducing to have it end just like that. That said, I think they should probably hang up the hat now.

              i’m enjoying reading the other reactions!

              1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

                “— The bizarre scene of Logan taking Rory out on the town with the guys missed so badly for me.”

                The steampunk tango scene? What even WAS that? Who were they? I admit I was barely even paying attention that much at that point, but – what???

              2. Melody Pond*

                The bizarre scene of Logan taking Rory out on the town with the guys missed so badly for me.

                YES. What the hell was that? That should’ve been tossed, along with the Stars Hollow Musical – or at least cut down by about 90%. For the longest time, I was leaning over to my sister and Mr. Pond, insisting that this had to be a dream.

                I’m a big Doctor Who fan (see my username) so I was thrilled at first to see Alex Kingston (the drunk British woman), but I guess I can’t expect her to be the badass River Song in every single acting gig. So that was ultimately pretty disappointing.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          Emily and Richard weren’t abusive or anything. Lorelai got pregnant and dropped out of school at 16. Her parents were entitled to be disappointed. And IMO it doesn’t matter if the Chilton money was for Rory. Lorelai’s choices impacted her kid. That’s life.

          1. KG, Ph.D.*

            “Emily and Richard weren’t abusive or anything.”

            Emily is a classic narcissist who put down Lorelai at every opportunity. Emotional abuse is a thing, and she did lots of it, from my perspective. Lorelai is also a self-absorbed asshole, and so is Rory, but that doesn’t mean that Emily wasn’t abusive, and that Richard didn’t enable it.

            1. Lolly Scrambler*

              Yes! Thank you for calling out the emotional abuse. Everyone seems angry at what Lorelai said after the funeral but I don’t blame her for being angry at her father for being an enabler. I wish she had found a better therapist and continued down that road (but there would be no TV if everyone got therapy and learned to try to minimise family drama)!

        2. Tomato Frog*

          I think everyone overlooks just how awful Richard was, though, in great part because Edward Herrmann is so engaging in the role. When I rewatched the series all the way thought, I was really staggered by how inflexible and hateful he was towards his daughter (and sometimes his wife), with none of the sort of emotional reaching-out that underlies Emily’s lashing out. And unlike Emily, he never really gets called on it. Lorelei is definitely irritating in how she deals with her parents, but it strikes me as a very realistic reaction to being reared by these people.

          1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

            This is a good point. And Emily was much more open and relaxed after he died, wasn’t she.

          2. Audiophile*

            Richard really was inflexible and Emily was no better.

            Does anyone remember Emily’s rant about Lorelai missing out on marrying Christopher? That Christopher was the one that got away and he was marrying that woman (I can’t remember the character’s name) as a replacement for Lorelai and having a baby with her as a replacement for Rory.

            Emily never liked Luke, from their first meeting in the hospital when Richard had a heart attack, she pointed out Luke’s attraction to Lorelai but made it clear that she didn’t care for him and he was not worth her daughter’s time. I felt the whole franchise bit was Emily and Richard molding Luke into an acceptable partner for Lorelai. Didn’t Emily say Richard wanted to make sure Lorelai was taken care of?

            As for the Rory issues, from what I remember she was pretty gutted when Logan’s father told her she wasn’t cut out for the journalism world. I remember Richard getting in some kind of fight with him, regarding it. This made sense to me, since she’d been working towards this “Dream Job” for the entirety of the series, at that point. And here was someone considered pretty powerful in that industry telling her, she couldn’t make it and to pick a new path and new “Dream Job.” I did find it a little hard to believe, with all the raving everyone was doing about her New Yorker piece, that she was having such a hard time getting more freelance work. I have no doubt that competition is high in the field, and it is an industry that has drastically changed in the last ten years, but the New Yorker carries more weight than the Stars Hollow Gazette.

            I’d say one of my favorite bits was Carole King showing up again as Sophie but playing one of her own songs and Taylor criticizing it. It was funnier because I’d find it hard to believe that no one in the town would know that song.

            All in all, I’d be fine with the show ending on those 4 words.

    9. Lily Evans*

      I’ve always been a big fan of the show and went into it really wanting to love the entire thing and was kind of disappointed by some of the choices that were made with character arcs and pacing of the story. But the high points were high enough that I still found it enjoyable! I was disappointed in how a lot of the characters seemed to be in the same developmental place we left them in, rehashing the same arguments and mistakes. My absolute favorite thing was probably the musical call-back in the penultimate scene.

    10. OldMom*

      Mostly enjoyed it, but the “musical” bits were the worse. (Not the troubadours or otherwise naturally occurring music, but the “play.”) If it’s supposed to be ironically terrible, why give it so much screen time? (If it was supposed to be good, someone please let me know….the singers sounded like good singers but the songs were awful.)
      The characters seemed so much exactly like they were and did not appear to have grown much. Rory did not seem like a believable 32-year-old. I was a little disappointed not to see any discussion of what has happened to journalism in the last ten years.
      The bit with Lorelei’s weird memory-sharing about her father seemed very convoluted and not in keeping with what we know of the characters. The story she shared sounded like it came from a disaffected teenager, not a nearly 50-year-old woman. Also it contradicted her previously established backstory. Didn’t she fall in love with Christopher at 16 and get pregnant with him? So what was she doing with some other dude at age 15 and describing her virginity as long gone at that point? That whole bit sounded like part of some other play, cut and pasted into the GGs.
      The “fertility” stuff was also weird. Lorelei would have been nearly 40 when she got back together with Luke. They supposedly have a good relationship; yet never, in 10 years together, did they talk about having kids, or not having kids? It strains credulity. I am not sure if there is a 38-year-old woman in America who would not bring up having kids, if she wanted them, with a new and likely permanent partner. And then trotting Luke out to some fertility specialist without ever asking if he wanted to, just assuming…it all just seemed very weird. It was never clear whether they were going to use her eggs or a surrogate’s eggs…and if a surrogate, again, what is the point, since he already has a biological daughter of his own?
      I also found it hard to believe that Rory and Paris had accomplished so little when they had such bright prospects. Rory should have been a regularly published columnist or blogger or correspondent, and Paris should have been a high-level exec or congressperson or something more worthwhile than doing “fertility” for the well-heeled. Both a waste of a fine chilton education…
      I am not sure what “the last four words” were, I may need to watch again to catch them. By that point I was pretty bored, oh look, they are getting married, what a surprise. A nice ending but I guess I wasn’t watching closely enough to catch the dialogue.

      1. TL -*

        oh, the last four words are important!

        I was bothered a lot because I feel like Amy Palladino was using this explore storylines she had planned to explore in the 7th season – they would make a lot more sense there. Like: do we want another kid/can we have them? is super important in the first years of a relationship of two people in their late thirties/early forties. Paris and Doyle trying to work out their two careers together, also important in the framework of graduating from college (but dealt with already!). And Rory trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life/how to make it work in a dying industry, also very nature for a graduating college senior. But it doesn’t make sense after having a 10 yr successful career and recently publishing a high profile piece. Surely she’s got the freelancer thing down by then.

        I hated Paris’ job (also, totally unrealistic because she would have just been finished with residency at that point. Also, I always thought she would be a surgeon.)

        But I was also annoyed because part of the whole point of Rory’s arc was that she had all the choices that Lorelai and Emily never had and she got to break the cycle of being trapped into a role she didn’t choose. Both Lorelai and Emily were happy with their lives, but Rory had all the opportunities in the world – it doesn’t make sense that at 32, she ends up back living with her mother and “trapped” by her choices.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          I think that is exactly the problem. ASP didn’t write the 7th season and hasn’t written the characters along the way, so her character development of them was stunted.

          She should have just told everyone what those final words were, and then written the series as if things that she’d planned to happen had already happened after the series ended, and where those consequences led. Like, if after Rory had turned down Logan’s proposal, that last scene had happened- and where Rory was in the present as a result of that, and what choices she made. We didn’t meet Rory and Lorelai until Rory was almost 16, so it still would have been interesting to see the next generation of Gilmore Girls, 10 years later, already formed.

        2. Caledonia*

          I’ve got to agree with the first part – a lot of the issues e.g. luke & lorelai having a baby would make more sense 10 years ago.

        3. Juli G.*

          I fanwanked Paris in a surgery program when she got unexpectedly pregnant. Then someone tried to “mommy track” her and she decided that it would be very hard to be a dual career family with an infant and a surgery residency so she decided to flip the biggest finger to the mommy track by conquering the world of fertility.

          The timeline is unrealistic but I think there’s some logic. I’ve always liked that, especially in comparison with Rory, Paris is ruthlessly ambitious but always with pragmatism.

          I actually was more disappointed with how she treated her kids. She had such shitty parents that it made me sad that she was more worried about the nanny than her children (whose parents were divorcing!). I would have been fine with her crushing life, childfree by choice.

          1. Lolly Scrambler*

            That makes sense as an explanation for Paris’s path. I guess I see her as not having been able to overcome her own shitty parenting with her own kids but I hope she will in the future, although childfree would have felt more true to the character.

      2. Artemesia*

        I don’t know. The very promising students from my very promising high school class went on mostly to have quite pedestrian lives. One became the science editor for the NYT which is pretty cool, but on the whole they did okay but nothing spectacular.

      3. Hattie McDoogal*

        I wasn’t terribly upset by Paris’ accomplishments – she managed to finish both medical school and law school, and have 2 kids to boot, in the space of 9 years. I wouldn’t expect her to be Surgeon General just yet. What *did* annoy me was Lane, who apparently works in her mom’s shop and plays light jazz in the secret bar at night. There’s nothing wrong with being a wife and mother and staying close to your family, but that didn’t seem to be what Lane wanted.

          1. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

            She never really got much of an arc either. She was never more than just Rory’s friend (and the only non-white person other than a maid on the series).

            1. Tomato Frog*

              It was so maddening how the show would saddle Lane with all these really terrible life problems, and then her scenes with Rory would still be all about Rory.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                And the only time Lane even complained about it was Season 1? when Rory was snowed in at her grandparents and Max was snowed in at Stars Hollow. Nothing really changed, but she never complained again about Rory not being there for her.

          1. Hattie McDoogal*

            That’s fair, I guess, but it still makes me sad. I mean, I didn’t want Hep Alien to be headlining All Tomorrow’s Parties or anything, but I was holding out hope that Lane had *some* kind of job in the music industry (working for a label or a venue, doing some gigs as a session musician, something). Jess has no college education either (nor high school, for that matter) and he managed to do something other than take over Luke’s Diner.

    11. Honeybee*

      Haven’t watched it yet – I was “re”-watching the original series in prep, and didn’t make it that far. I say “re” because I honestly never watched much of the original series – I’d heard about it and caught a few random episodes here and there on TV but didn’t make it through the entire thing.

    12. ck*

      Is there a way to watch this if I don’t have Netflix?

      I guess it will be released to video, and then I can check it out from my public library in a year….

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        I don’t believe that Netflix releases its original series to video. The entire point is to drive people to Netflix.

    13. Kerry ( like the county in Ireland)*

      Did anyone else read Nicole Diecker’s “How Gilmore Girls Do Money” series on The Billfold last year? It was a series looking at the characters and the role money played in their lives–and she made some pretty accurate predictions on what was revealed in the Netflix season.

    14. Juli G.*

      It was fine. Look, it’s a revival. They never have as much magic as the original. I found parts charming, parts annoying. I liked that Lorelai got a little realization that she’s somewhat selfish. I liked the amount of Paris (but hate that she and Doyle are open ended). I loved the cameos (Jason Mantzoukas!!!).

      I HATED the final four words. I’m a Gilmore Guys fan and I had dismissed that whole idea months ago, partly because they did too. So I missed any foreshadowing and it just went way over my head.

  5. Stainless steel bottles*

    Practical question: I have a couple of stainless steel bottles for drinking but they are starting to smell gross. I admit I sometimes forget water in them. Is there a way to salvage them? I’ve cleaned and aired them but it still is a bit gross.

    1. Bruce H.*

      I would start with a quarter of a cup of bleach, fill the bottle with the hottest water you can get out of the tap, and let it soak overnight.

      1. CMT*

        And then wash with soap and rinse a whole bunch of times. I cleaned a stainless steel bottle with bleach once and thought I got t all rinsed and washed out, but I could taste bleach for a couple of days.

        1. Stefrrr*

          That’s a good point – dw is only for non-lined, non-thermal stainless, like kleen kanteen. Sigg bottles are lined aluminum – totally different animal.

      1. Sawcebox*

        Seconding the baking soda suggestion! I’d put some in the bottle with a bit of water, shake it up, and leave it for a few hours to absorb the smell. Then wash it out. Baking soda is magic.

      2. Jean*

        Thirding the baking soda suggestion. If you don’t rinse it all out, you just taste baking soda (salty, if I recall correctly). Or you could try a small amount of baking soda + a really small amount of white vinegar. Do this in the sink because you’ll get a bubbling-up-and-over reaction.

        Also seconding the dishwasher suggestion. If you park the bottle upside-down on one of the vertical prongs, the dishwasher should spray soapy water and rinse water right up into the (upside-down) bottle. (In theory, anyway. I’ve never been able to see the inside of my dishwasher in action.)

    2. Natalie*

      Do you have a bottle brush? You may have something building up on the inside that requires scrubbing.

      Also, scrub the threading and cap really well with a toothbrush or something else tiny and abrasive. Funk can build up there.

    3. Pennalynn Lott*

      Vinegar is an effective mold cleaner. You can mix it with baking soda to kill a few more species of mold. I use plastic water bottles whose necks are too narrow to get a good bottle brush into, and the vinegar works wonders. I use a vinegar-and-baking-soda paste and a toothbrush to scrub the cap and the top of the bottle where the cap screws on.

    4. AnAppleADay*

      Once a week, I fill mine half way with white vinegar and let sit over night. Next day, I add dish soap and hot water and shake. Then, I wash in the dishwasher. Keeps them slime free.

  6. lamuella*

    There’s a very very good TV series of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell as well. Very good casting and a breathtaking performance by Eddie Marsan.

    1. LawCat*

      I thought the series was well done and really brought the story to life. The actors playing Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange were perfect.

      I admit though that I was a little disappointed in depictions of the Gentleman with Thistledown Hair and Stephen in the show.

  7. LawCat*

    The Christmas tree is going up today! We live in an apartment without much storage space, but we have devoted some of that space to keeping a 7 foot tall artificial tree and we LOVE IT. Can’t wait to play Christmas music, get that sucker decorated, and bask in the warm, sparkly glow of its lights.

    1. bassclefchick*

      We got a new tree delivered yesterday and my husband put it up. So the tree is up but not decorated it yet. And we still have Halloween decorations out. So it’s a bit odd in our living room right now. Haha.

    2. CMT*

      Living in an apartment is what keeps me from getting an artificial tree, but I want one so badly! I just don’t know that I want to give up space to store it for the 10 months of the year it wouldn’t be up.

    3. Oh Fed*

      My daughter and I put ours up today, too! It was a lovely chore this year for the two of us– one boy is away at school and another working his first retail job and hubs picked a big outdoor project to complete.

    4. Liane*

      College Son said on Thanksgivingg, he wanted to put up tree today. But Ebenez–I mean Grinc–I mean Husband, objected on gounds of “too early, even if this is the day Church gets decorated.”
      If all of us weren’t sick* I would tell Son to go ahead while Daddy is napping.

      *some details in Best/Worst…if you really want to know

    5. Natalie*

      Our realtor apparently gives her clients trees every year. I did not know this when I picked her but it’s awesome. Christmas trees are expensive!

    6. Nina*

      Congrats! We put ours up last night. We were sick and tired of waiting until the last minute (like Christmas eve) to do it, and we wanted to enjoy it all season.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I put mine up last week. A few years ago, Lowe’s had a sale on Christmas trees and I found one of the skinny ones–I too have little space for such things. It’s narrower at the bottom than most trees and fits right in the corner.

  8. The Other Dawn*

    Any suggestions for good slow cooker cookbooks?

    My MIL has been talking about getting a cookbook for a long time, so I want to get her one for Christmas. HOWEVER. She doesn’t like to cook (but she does like and use her slow cooker) and has limited space as she and FIL are…not very neat, to say the least. So, I need something that doesn’t have a bunch of complicated recipes with special ingredients. I saw that America’s Test Kitchens has one, but a lot of the recipes require a bunch of prep, which is something I know she won’t do and won’t want to do. I told her to go online, but she won’t do anything on the computer besides play the games that came with it (solitaire and free cell), because FIL blames her any time it gets a virus and she doesn’t want to deal with it (he’s the one the causes the viruses, as he’s clicking and downloading things he shouldn’t…).

    1. Kate in Scotland*

      I am completely enamoured with Ultimate Slow Cooker by Sara Lewis. I’ve made 25 or so of the recipes and have hardly used any other cook book this year. I find the recipes easy and reliable, and only one or two of them have ingredients I can’t get at the supermarket . The recipe style might be too British though?

    2. Nashira*

      America’s Test Kitchen has several that are probably quite good. I make their slow cooker carnitas a lottttttt.

    3. AliceBD*

      The Fix It and Forget It Cookbook. It’s the one my mom used all the time when I was growing up, and then when I got my own place I got a version of it as well. It’s very basic recipes for generally boring/traditional American food — there’s nothing fancy or exotic, and the most prep work is cutting up veggies and sometimes browning some meats. There is a lot of “dump a can of cream of [food] soup on top of the meat” recipes, if they go for that. You can buy all the ingredients from small town grocery stores. I hate cooking and I use it. My mom used it to cook healthy meals for my brother and I that we would eat while she was acting as a chauffeur for us and starting her own business.

      It’s a bunch of recipes sent in by families all over the place*, like a big version of the cookbooks made by church groups or ladies guilds.

      *I think it’s only around the USA, but tbh I don’t look at the cities very much.

    4. tink*

      “365 Slow Cooker Suppers” by Stephanie O’Dea may be right up your MIL’s alley. The prep work is pretty easy/standard stuff like cleaning and cutting the veg, etc.

    5. bassclefchick*

      Crock Pot has a great cookbook. But I also recommend Fix it and Forget it. Nothing exotic in there. And honestly I NEVER brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker. Because I’m just lazy that way. LOL.

      1. Aealias*

        +1 crockpot’s branded cookbook. Lots of really easy “dump in these five cans” recipes, but some of the results are amazing! And recipes for a wide variety of not-too-adventurous tastes.

  9. Mallory Janis Ian*

    I am about to eat leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce for breakfast: My favorite part of Thanksgiving! Wheee!

    1. Artemesia*

      Pumpkin pie was always my go to post holiday breakfast – I mean, squash, egg, milk — sounds like breakfast to me. But this year I didn’t host and so the only pie I have left is the extra lemon meringue I made. Turns out it works just fine as breakfast with a nice tall latte. I mean fruit, egg, crust — breakfast right?

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I accidentally won a piecaken (pie baked into a cake) at the garden club fundraiser, so that was my dessert for Thanksgiving. It was a pumpkin pie baked into a spice cake with brown sugar buttercream frosting; it was alright, but I learned that I prefer my pie and cake separate, not gimmicky. Plus, I paid $60 for the thing. I thought I was of the hook because someone else wrote in a bid after mine, but they were disqualified for bidding only $1 more when the minimum bid increase was $10.

      2. Drago Cucina*

        Pumpkin pie is acceptable anytime. My real whipped cream is a serving of dairy.

        I took home a piece of carrot cake (actually a piece and a half due to restaurant error) and rationalizes that I should be eating more veggies.

        1. Liane*

          Is it a violation of AAM’s rules to say people can have my share of all the pumpkin and sweet potato pies, because I just don’t care for them?
          But I will happily adopt all the unwanted pecan, cherry & even caramel apple pies.

    2. Wrench Turner*

      Put a soft fried egg on the stuffing then put cranberry sauce over that. The yolk and cranberries will make a great creamy rich sauce that is sweet and tangy.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I had a hard fried egg beside my stuffing and cranberry sauce. I never could eat soft-cooked eggs; the runny yolks squick me out.

        1. Wrench Turner*

          I was for a long time, too. Funny enough, when I began cooking for myself and others, and seriously exploring food I came around and love them when used right.

      1. fposte*

        A friend and I ran a “which pie is best?” science experiment. Clear winner among the pumpkins, pecan result less clear.

    3. Natalie*

      I always have apple pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. Although this year that was last Saturday since we did my Fakesgiving with my parents on Friday. Fried mashed potatoes is my other favorite post-Thanksgiving breakfast item.

  10. Cristina in England*

    Inspired by Cath in Canada’s comment yesterday, what’s the most memorable compliment you’ve ever heard? (Non work related though)

    Mine is: “Oh I didn’t know you weren’t Canadian!” said by a Canadian when I lived in Canada (I am American)

    1. Gaia*

      I was going through a really hard time when I was away at college. My family was in crisis, I was depressed and isolated. It was a mess. One day, our school chaplain (I’m not religious, but attended a school owned by the Presbyterian Church) stopped me in the hallway. He asked me how I was and I gave my (what I thought was) fake-cheery answer “just fine! you?”

      He smiled and he told me I have a beautiful soul and he believed I would make a difference in the world. I made it back to my dorm room before I started crying. No one had ever said something like that to me before and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

      I miss that man. I still keep in contact with his wife through Facebook, but I wish he was on there, too.

      1. Sled dog mama*

        I’ve been going through a hard time recently and one of the nuns where I work came to check on me and told me she thought I was “a person of great grace.”
        I’m really going to miss her!

    2. Maxwell Edison*

      I was at a horror con, wearing a black and burgundy velvet lace-up dress, and the dudes at the Cthulhu booth told me I looked like I belonged in one of the old Hammer horror films.

    3. Maxwell Edison*

      One more: A friend told me a line in one of my novels sounded like it had been written by Ray Bradbury. I knew there was no higher compliment my friend could give me; I got all verklempt.

    4. Drago Cucina*

      I was at a Doctor Who con. Eric Roberts was talking to someone, stopped, turned to me and said, “You have great hair.” I was fan girl giddy the rest of the weekend.

    5. Wrench Turner*

      Something to the effect of “I had no idea you could be so gentle/delicate.” I’m known for my ability to do ‘hardcore’ construction/demolition work but surprised a friend one day who spotted me sitting in a sunny university window and sewing lace together.

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        Oh my god that reminds me of the old Yahoo! Groups commercial where a punk with liberty spikes is hand-quilting in his room and a bunch of his friends walk in & laugh their asses off, but then the embarrassed punk ends up searching for quilting groups in his area and finds one full of attractive women who admire his quilting talent.

    6. Catherine from Canada*

      Catching up with high school friends 40 years after we’d graduated, one woman turned to me and said,
      “I’ve always remembered you, you were so cool. You seemed like such a rebel, it was so cool.”

      Um, what? It was my fourth high school in four years, my ninth school at that point, third country, second province. Frankly, I’d given up trying to fit in, given up on trying to have friends. And while, because I’d relaxed and stopped trying, it was my best school year ever, I’d certainly never thought of myself as memorable, let alone cool.

      So, whaddyaknow? Being cool is not when you think you’re cool, it’s when you don’t care anymore.

      1. Sophie Winston*

        Yup. Someone roughly half my age told me I was cool not too long ago. I gave them some serious side eye, but apparently not caring what people think of you is cool these days.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Being cool is when you are not loaded up with stubborn opinions and judgey stuff. It’s not that caring is UNcool, it’ when people turn themselves into an invasive weed that is such a turn off.

        I am sure you were and still are a very interesting person to talk with.

      3. DragoCucina*

        Catherine from Canada, thank you for reminding of one of the best compliments I ever received. I was at a grad school alumni gathering. A grad school friend came up and said she’s been wanting to thank me for being a big influence on her. What?! She told me that by being me I helped her be honest about herself. She came out to her family and met someone. Not something I ever expected. I’ve worked hard to be me. I thought it only mattered to my immediate family.

    7. Mallory Janis Ian*

      On two separate occasions at family gatherings, my younger sister and then my younger brother each told the gathered relatives that I’d stood up to our parents and protected them from abuse. They each framed it as if I were a hero or a rebel, but really I was just a kid with nothing else to lose from stepping in and protecting my siblings. What were my parents going to do; hit me? They were going to do that anyway. But it felt good for my grown siblings to remember that I brought some relief to them and that I cared to defend them.

      1. Neruda*

        Oh, Mallory Janis Ian. That is all kinds of lovely and sad at the same time. I’m glad you had such a positive impact on their lives.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Okay. am a little choked up here.

        I am sorry life was so horrible but I am glad your siblings remembered that you tried to help them.

    8. printrovert*

      I am from the American South, and I am often told that I do not have (or barely have) an accent. I’ve heard it from southerners, midwesterners, and even a few Brits! I looovvee this compliment. But the one memory that stays with me is when a gentleman from New York asked me where I was from and then expressed surprise when I told him I was from the South. He told me I didn’t have the accent, and before I could thank him, his daughter (who looked to be close to my age) scoffed and said “Yeah she does.” I managed to bite my tongue and not throw a comeback at her but looked to her father, smiled, and thanked him. Very nice man. Very pleasant.

      1. Nic*

        Same situation here. I moved from a twangy state to a drawling one, and have managed to drop the first and avoid the last. It makes me so happy when folks ask me where I’m from because they cannot guess by accent.

    9. Pennalynn Lott*

      Back in junior high (9th grade), I got busted for selling drugs at school. The assistant principal sat me down in his office and said, “Pennalynn, I’m surprised. I would have expected something like this from your friend X or your friend Y, but not you. You’re very intelligent, you’re great with others, and people look up to you. I have to suspend you for 30 days, but I’m choosing to make that 30 calendar days, not 30 school days, because I think this will actually be a wake-up call for you. I believe in you, and I believe that you want to do better with your life.”

      It was the first time any adult had ever said anything like that to me. And, he was right, I did want to do better and it was a wake-up call. I still failed 9th grade (it was impossible to recover from a month of zeroes in every class), but from then on I was a straight-A student and quit hanging out with the stoners. I was grateful to be able to find that principal on FB last year and thank him (34 years later).

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          He said it was the first (and so far only) time anyone has thanked him for suspending them. :-D

          1. Not So NewReader*

            LOL. I bet. Sometimes people don’t mention. I have a friend who used to be a real wild child. It took him years to pull his act together. He will mention to me all the people who tried to help along the way, but I doubt he has ever mentioned it to those people. This is how it goes for many reasons. Most of the time we have no idea how we are impacting other people’s lives.

    10. nep*

      My two-year-old grand niece saying, ‘Good job!’
      And native French speakers saying, ‘You don’t have that (American English) accent.’

    11. Victoria, Please*

      I was at a wine-tasting party and someone asked me, “Are you [hostess’ son’s] girlfriend?” Hostess’ son is 20-something, handsome, kind, and utterly delightful, and *I* am well into my mid-40’s. I am very happily married indeed, but to have someone even think I *might* have been Prince Charming’s girlfriend was a serious ego-boost!

    12. Tomato Frog*

      When I was in grad school, I had written a paper on a certain film and lent it to a film student who was doing work on a related topic. We were just passing acquaintances, I knew him through mutual friends. He returned my paper to me when we were attending a small screening. I asked if it had been useful to him, and he told me he hadn’t been able to use a lot from my paper — except there was one great line that he couldn’t help but quote in his own paper. And then he quoted that line I’d written, verbatim, from memory, for the benefit of everyone in the room. I could feel myself flushing all over, in a good way; I don’t think I’ve ever reacted so acutely to a compliment. The fact that he was a disinterested party really made the moment for me.

    13. Snazzy Hat*

      I used to go dancing at EBM/Goth/Industrial night at a club in town. I got the following compliments there:

      “Thank you for dancing to every song and not just the popular ones.” Mind you this was from another patron, not the DJ from whom a compliment like that would just mean “I’m glad you like what I spin.”

      “Do you take ballet?” The answer was no. ^_^

      And by far the weirdest, which interrupted me while I was dancing — the previous two were during my breaks — and ended up being a dialogue:
      “What are you on???”
      “Um, nothing? The music?”
      “Aw man, I was hoping I buy some of whatever you had. Okay, if you were on drugs, what would you be on?”
      “Caffeine?”
      “Ahh, forget it!” {walks away}

      I mean I think that’s a compliment…

      1. MsCHX*

        Similarly, I was hanging with my sister and her friends many moons ago and whatever the convo was between them the friend looked at me incredulously and said “You’re NOT high right now?!”

        Uhmm. Nope. Not at all! Lol!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I remember a time when friends came over and they stayed and stayed. Their comment was, “I can’t believe we are having so much fun and we are not drinking!”

          At that point I felt that I was a Boring Non-Drinker and their comment was reassuring to me.

    14. bluesboy*

      “You could whistle semi-professionally”

      Followed by an explanation as to why I would never be able to go all the way and whistle full professionally.

    15. Cath in Canada*

      Yay, I’m glad this happy thread is still going :)

      For me it was when my friend said she was so happy that I’m involved in her daughter’s life because I’m such a great role model for a little girl to have. I’m tearing up again thinking about that!

      My husband, on the other hand, is not so good at the compliments. I think “when I met you, I dumped all the other girls I was seeing” is about as good as it gets :D

    16. admin of sys*

      I was once told by a friend that I was the person they were going to go find in case of a zombie apocalypse/other disaster, and all the other people around agreed with them. Which was certainly complimentary, but maybe a little daunting….

    17. TootsNYC*

      My mom once said to me, “I think you need to hear what your sister said to me the other day.”

      One of my sister’s best friends was picked on and ostracized at school; she was a little round (not even quite pudgy, just not skinny), and she read fashion magazines like a maniac, and dressed very fashionably.
      Even 8 years after *I* had graduated, our school was big on the “you shouldn’t stand out, you shouldn’t have passions unless they’re band, choir, or sports” concept. So people were kind of mean to her.
      And my sister told my mom, “I said to Michelle, ‘Look at my sister, Toots. People used to pick on her and be mean to her, too–but look at her now. She lives in NYC, she works at a famous company, and these mean people don’t even cross her mind anymore. I’m sure she never, ever thinks of them–and I know she doesn’t, and didn’t, care what she thought of them. And if she can do it, so can you.”

      It was sort of amazing to realize that you could be a role model to someone you didn’t even know that well!

  11. Oh My Glob*

    Just a quick update: I got the endometrial ablation this week, and all went well. It didn’t hurt as much as I’d feared (slightly more than the biopsy, but less than bad menstrual cramps, though I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without the painkillers they gave me), and my partner held my hand all through. It only took about 10 minutes for the active part. Cramps the rest of the day (took a few ibuprofen and used a heating pad) and two minutes of intense nausea as the drugs wore off, but I felt fine the day after and since then. And I think I’ve gotten a new regular gyn out of it – one who I feel comfortable with. Based on my experience, I’d recommend it to someone in similar circumstances.

    1. Gaia*

      That sounds great! I’m glad you did it and I hope it really helps!

      Oh and yay for a new gyn you feel comfortable with. That can be SO HARD to find!

    2. Sophie Winston*

      Glad to hear it went well! Hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones that has good long term results.

    3. AnAppleADay*

      I had one in 2004 and recommend it to any one who is done having kids and has heavy bleeding. I had a bit more of a recovery process than you: vomited a bit in the recovery room and days later had an UTI and had to go on antibiotics. But, once I got through all that, it was a huge relief to not have much of a period after that.

      I’m glad you had a good experience and quick recovery!

  12. bassclefchick*

    Well, this will go down as one of the worst Thanksgivings of my life. The holiday itself was fine. Got to spend time with my family and some friends I don’t get to see. However, a very dear, sweet friend of mine committed suicide on Wednesday morning. Everyone who knew him is just shocked and beyond devastated. No one saw it coming. His best friend is absolutely destroyed by this.

    Admittedly, I didn’t keep in touch with him as much as I should have. We were facebook friends and interacted there quite often. But I didn’t even have his phone number. I’ve been absolutely heartbroken reading all the memorials on his page. I wish he had realized how truly loved he was. But I’ve also been down that rabbit hole before and know that nothing we could have said would have gotten through.

    Please tell those around you how much you care. If even one kind word would have saved him, we wouldn’t have lost such a funny, kind, and thoughtful man.

    1. Gaia*

      I’m so sorry. I’ve known my share of people that have committed suicide and it is always so painful because I always wish I could have known to say the “right” thing that would have saved them. I lost a sister and some friends to suicide over the years and it is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced.

      I am sorry for your friend that didn’t see another option. I am sorry for his friends and loved ones that are now missing him and I am sorry for you.

      If anyone reading this is considering, or knows someone considering suicide, please know there are other options. Life is worth living. And there is help available. 800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline. They can offer help, guidance or just a kind silence as they listen. Please reach out. You aren’t alone.

    2. the gold digger*

      I am very very sorry for your loss. I am reading Nadia Bolz-Weber’s new book, Accidental Saints. She said something at the funeral for a man who had committed suicide that really struck me – that if love could have saved the man, then love would have saved him because he was loved so much.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        A young priest from a local congregation committed suicide a couple years ago, and I’m still haunted by his description, in his suicide note, of feeling alone and separate even though he was surrounded by a congregation. They loved and respected him and thought that he knew and felt that, but he felt a distance between himself and others that wasn’t bridged by their caring.

      1. Observer*

        Telling is more important – you can “show” all you want, but people don’t see it. Of course, if you don’t care and don’t act like you care, then it doesn’t make any difference whether you care or not. But you can spend your life loving someone and doing things you think will make them happy, and they won’t necessarily realize it, unless you SAY something.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Some people are caught in their own private hells and we have no way of knowing.

      To anyone who is feeling alone or isolated, there is someone out there who cares that you are feel blah or hopeless, please find that caring person. Holidays are especially rough for too many people.

      OP, I am sorry for your loss. And my sympathies go out to this man’s friends and family.

      1. Jean*

        >Some people are caught in their own private hells and we have no way of knowing.
        Yes, this. Some people may be in enormous pain that they cannot relieve in another way.

        I am also sorry for your loss. May his memory be a comfort and an inspiration (to continue something that he valued) … eventually.

    4. bassclefchick*

      Thank you for all the kind thoughts. It’s never easy to realize that we all have our own private hells and even though someone looks happy on the outside, we never really know how much someone is suffering.

      I think I’ll try to find a charity or cause he believed in and make a donation in his name.

  13. Elkay*

    If anyone wants cheering up, read the @Quidco Twitter feed from yesterday. They’re a cashback site who’s site fell over at 8am on Black Friday, the guys running that feed deserve a big bonus this year.

  14. Marcela*

    My teenage niece is pregnant. She is 17 and hasn’t finished high school. She lives in a country where abortion is not legally possible, and a couple of days ago she decided not to abort (women on waves would send pills to countries like mine). From that point on, it’s like it’s going to be a disaster anyway. She is not ready for a child, her whole support is my brother, because my sister, her mom, is a selfish excuse of a human who allowed this same niece to be abused by one of her boyfriends about 10 years ago. However, she can’t be forced to abort, there are no words to describe how bad as an alternative this would be.

    I worry so much about the future that now is not going to be, but I keep remembering that given my niece’s family circumstances, there was no future to begin with. She wasn’t going to get an education, she doesn’t like to study (and my sister is a teacher!) and she had to repeat one year already. My brother was trying to get her to study promising her a PS4 if she got decent grades, which my niece wanted so much, and my sister response was that she was going to burn it. And at the same time, my sister is so stupid that when my other niece finished high school, she forced her to apply to medicine school. Surely my other niece was going to enter into the career with most fierce competition in my country, after 12 years of not caring about school. Of course she could not enter.

    And at the same time, I worry so much about my family’s reaction. 20 years ago, it was my sister who got pregnant without being married, and you’d think she was dying, for the way my elders reacted. And my sister was 30 years old, already with a job as a teacher! My family forced her to marry her boyfriend, another excuse of human, and by that action my sister got two children instead of one. He actually tried to avoid the marriage ghosting my sister in two occasions, not going to the office where the legal marriage was to be performed. My grandmother and my sister both cried for 6 months straight. I used to spend all afternoons with my grandmother and she would take naps, actually crying sessions. She was kind of deaf, so I don’t think she realized I could hear her crying _every single day_.

    I don’t know. I feel like I’m in the middle of a curse, a repeating curse. I dread my mom’s reaction, for I would fight to death if she decides to behave like my grandmother did. But I am far away, too far to do anything useful. I just feel so sad and tired.

    1. Drago Cucina*

      I know you are scared for her. My family was in a cycle of teenage pregnancy until I and another family member broke the pattern within months of each other. Family expectations can weigh very hard. Is adoption something she would consider? Are there reputable agencies near her? There may be more options than just two.

      1. Marcela*

        You know, I know that adoption is an alternative, but I’ve never seen it being chosen, and I have several friends who got pregnant without wanting to, some of them while still in high school, others in college. And it’s not like they chose to keep the babies, therefore adoption was out of picture from early on; as in my country abortion is illegal, at first it seems that once pregnant there is nothing to do.

        In any case, yours is a good point. There are more options. Besides, I am trying hard to see what exactly causes me this anguish. I know some of it is my niece’s future and how she is going to deal with her life and a baby. But I also know I have some trauma left from my sister’s pregnancy 20 years ago, and I can’t see babies as a blessing, although intellectually I know they are. I feel them like they are a condemn and I don’t want to!

        1. the gold digger*

          My cousin gave her baby up for adoption when she was 15. The adoptive parents were angels – everyone knew that the baby was going to be born with severe birth defects and not live very long, but the adopters took the baby anyhow and loved and cared for her for her very short life.

          My cousin has gone on to become a registered nurse in her 40s – the first person in her family to go to college – and is now married with three lovely children.

          I can’t imagine that a person would ever get over having a baby die, but especially not at the age of 15.

    2. Gaia*

      Oh dear. First and foremost, I am sorry abortion is not legally an option. While it doesn’t sound like she would have chosen it, had it been legal she might have and she should have had that legal right. Nevertheless, here we are.

      Have you been able to discuss adoption with her? While she may not have much hope of a future (I think she still can, she just needs to make some big changes and those are hard), the child may with a different family.

      I am so sorry for your niece. It sounds like she has had a really hard life and this is just a culmination of that. We have to do better.

      1. Marcela*

        I did get out. And even I did not plan it, not explicitly this way, I live in a different continent than my family, and I’ve refused any plan that could eventually take us back to my country. It’s not like I feel some special pride for my good life, I’ve always known it’s more luck than anything else, but now I wonder why did I get out. We -my brother and husband- have long known I’m way too different from the rest of my family, with whom I have very controlled relationships. Somehow the question is why that difference, whatever it is, didn’t get pass to my nieces? If someone needed that luck, they are. At least my parents, crazy and all, were determined to get us to get an education, which was the basis for my good life. Or perhaps was that education the key?

        1. Temperance*

          Education is the key. That’s why people like your sister hate it so much, and why she’s trying to keep her daughters from achieving anything. That is why your sister tried to force her child into an academic program she knew the girl would fail at, and why she threatened to destroy the PS4 if her kid achieved.

    3. The RO-Cat*

      I do feel a lot of compassion for your niece, and I’m sorry for you – going through this sometimes is a little hell of its own kind. For what it’s worth, please know that I’m including you both in my prayers (I don’t pray in the religious sense, but it’s a very close equivalent, for me).

      Unfortunately, “a repeating curse” is a very apt description. Wikipedia has a good article on transgenerational trauma and it looks like such cycles are common, where trauma is passed along generations. So, no wonder the history repeats itself ad nauseatum. But know that the cycle can be broken. With sheer willpower, luck or therapy, it can be broken. I’m a (luckily) living proof.

      (On a side note, curiously, it seems trauma is passed along generations also by epigenetics. Discover Magazine has an article tited “Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes”. I don’t give links to avoid moderation).

      So, please know that there are many people in this world unknowingly repeating past mistakes. Some of them are keeping you and your niece in their thoughts.

      1. Marcela*

        Thank you so much. I’m not religious, and I truly hate the Catholic organization in my country for reasons like the impossibility of making abortion legal, but even so, if somebody pray for me, I feel very grateful and blessed for someone to care about me. Thanks!

        A few moments ago, reading neverjaunty and your comments, I was almost ready to say my sister is the only one being in this curse. Somehow I was negating things we know or suspect from a past we didn’t even know, such as the suspicion we have that my grandmother was abused by one of the many friends her mother invited to their place. She never said anything, but she was extremely paranoid with her children. Or the recent discovery that my (second degree) uncle’s parents were half siblings. And these are the things we know now. How many things there could be in all the extended branches of my family? My mom wanted to know all about that and her quest led to the discovery of my uncle’s parents, which was devastating for him, and ended the whole thing.

    4. Temperance*

      I’m so sorry, Marcela. I too have a conservative, anti-intellectual family.

      For starters, your niece isn’t doomed just because her family sucks. My family sucks, too, and I like to think that I’m a productive, free-thinking member of society. Seriously – my grandmother was a teenage mother who didn’t finish high school, my own mother didn’t finish high school, and none went to college. I have a JD.

      Your sister sounds mean and mentally ill.

      1. Marcela*

        Hehe, when I don’t feel generous I say my sister is evil. And dumb. She is so much like my mom, though. Both of them would love a world where they could do anything they wanted but the responsibility would belong to somebody else. Both of them think they are entitled to anything they want, just because they exist.

        I do believe we are kind of mentally ill. All of us, some more than others. What makes me afraid is thinking that the root is in the deep past, with people dead for more than 100 years. How could you possibly cure something like that, when we don’t even know exactly what is rotting inside us? And that even if everybody is on board of looking for better lives, whatever that means for them.

        1. Temperance*

          I think a lot of it is the toxic behavior patterns of our extended family. I don’t really think that it’s coded in our DNA and we’re doomed, but I do really think that it is repeated in the actions and thoughts of our family. If we don’t recognize the toxicity, we can’t fix it, you know?

    5. TL -*

      Just give her support. If this is what she’s choosing, help her make the best of it – her life isn’t over, it’s just different.

      Lots of people have had babies as teenagers and figured out their lives anyways. It doesn’t mean the rest of her life has to be a certain way; gently remind her of that if you can.

      1. Marcela*

        That’s the thing, TL. I feel like her life is over and I can’t convince myself using reason that although it’s surely going to be more difficult, in reality she has so much to overcome because of my sister, that having a good and happy life was going to be a difficult battle for her anyway.

        However, it’s good to see some of the things I get for the comments, for I can see where I get defensive and try to deny stuff. That will help me to give her all the support she wants from me, with a clear head.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          My friend grew up in a weird family. Dad was weird in some undefined ways and mom pretended life was normal, which was another kind of weirdness.

          For whatever reason, my friend started hanging out in the office at school. She did odd jobs etc. Again, for some reason, she decided that she wanted something different than what she saw at home. She decided she wanted to work in an office and do like these office people around her were doing.

          My friend is over 5o now and she has, indeed, carved out a different life for herself.
          While my friend’s situation is probably not as severe as yours, the parallels hit me.

          First you both had to have some level of awareness that life could be different.
          Then you both had to know when you could grab an opportunity at that different life.
          And you made the jump. There is that time where you have no idea where you will land or how you will land, you just know that you should jump. So this part is pretty scary.
          Then you land and you have to convince yourself that life is different now. Okay this is getting to be a lot of work and it takes a lot of strength.

          In many ways lots of people get stuck. And that is what you are talking about here, being stuck. It’s a hard thing to watch, especially if a person realizes, “OH MY! That could have been ME, too!”

          So my suggestion:
          First, get and KEEP your feet firmly anchored. Take care of you first, so that you have a unshakeable platform to take care of others.

          Second, maybe you can start suggesting to your niece that life does not have to be this hard. Life can be different. Find ways to show her what is available in the world that may be interesting to her, if you can. People have to know what options are available before they will consider leaving what they have.

          Third, understand that you may not be able to get your niece to a different place but in an odd twist someone else may overhear you and decide to accept your helping hand. Be on the watch for a person like this.
          Often times we don’t get to pick who accepts our help or how much of our help they do accept. This is some of the harder stuff in life to deal with really. It’s so hard that many people won’t think about or try to do this. Congratulate yourself for even thinking or trying to help.

        2. OhBehave*

          It sounds to me as if your niece has something you and your siblings didn’t have. That would be someone who can offer support and smart advice about her life. She needs this desperately if she is going to have any success in this life and end the cycle of bad choices and dead end lives.
          If there is any way at all that she can move away from mom and Grandmother, she may have a chance. I don’t know your culture or laws in order to think this would even be possible at her age. Adoption is an excellent choice for her I would think.
          She’s lucky to have you and your brother in her life.

    6. Jen Erik*

      My niece got pregnant when she was 15, at a time when her family was struggling to cope. We urged my sister to bring her to somewhere to talk over her options – abortion, adoption, continuing with the pregnancy – but that never happened. As a family, we feared the worst – that she wouldn’t finish school, that the expense and effort of another family member would tip her family over the edge into chaos – while my sister would only assume the best – that she’d finish school, marry the child’s father, and live happily ever after.

      So, we were right, and the worst was bad, and the ramifications continue five years later. However, my niece is doing well – she dropped out of school, but finished her education a different way, and has an offer from a university. She broke up with her boyfriend, but they share custody amicably, and she is a good, sensible mother – much more sensible than her mum (or dad) ever was.
      And her son is like sunshine – perhaps the back-and-forth of his early years contributed to him becoming adaptable, extrovert and easy-going.

      So, I wanted to commiserate, but also to say that even if all the things you fear happen in the short-term (my niece had a few bad years), it doesn’t necessarily mean that your niece won’t have a stable and happy adulthood.

    7. TootsNYC*

      “But I am far away, too far to do anything useful.”

      You are close enough, connected enough, that you can be a sane, friendly refuge for your niece. If you can set aside your own fears and worries for her, and instead be the encouraging, matter-of-fact, “love you no matter what; you can find a way to cope with this” type of person.

      She’s so desperately going to need SOMEone who doesn’t go batshit crazy on her. Be that person.

    8. Anono-me*

      In addition to all the good advice above; please remember that every day, you are showing your niece that family is NOT destiny.

  15. Drago Cucina*

    We had a split Thanksgiving this year. Youngest son is a department manager at the big blue box chain. I made him a traditional Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday because he had to work Thanksgiving, Black Friday, today….. I’m hoping all the shoppers stay sane. He’s 6’1″ and so put on crowd control. His roommate works in electronics (G-d bless him).

    Thanksgiving we went out with our oldest son, his roommate, two friends of ours, our asst. pastor, and another priest. It was like a joke two priests and a deacon walk into a bar…. It was a very festive meal.

    I just finished making and freezing turkey broth that I began yesterday. It’s pretty tasty. This after during the B.I.G. Football Game I will probably go to the mall. It should be quiet.

  16. Limbolee*

    I’m 28 and going through my first pregnancy “scare”. Rationally, chances are very very low. The timing would definitely not be good, but it would also not be the end of the world, and I’m feeling a bit weird because of that conclusion, like, “who is this person I am?!” :P Just recently I was thinking how I’m so not ready for kids yet, and now I’m not freaking out majorly.

    We’ll see, I’ll wait a couple of days before taking a test. Just felt the need to share with someone other than my boyfriend and best friend, since it feels so monumental, whichever way it goes.

    1. Gaia*

      Been there. Honestly, I had a lot of emotions during my first (and second) scare. There were times when I thought it wasn’t and was End of World. But I knew how I really felt when the test came back. It was extreme relief confirming that I didn’t really want a kid. At all. Ever.

      You’ll know when you get the results back, either way. And whatever you feel, that is valid.

    2. Sunflower*

      Oh boy I remember my first one. I was 24 and it was terrifying. I had never been late, let alone missed one completely so I was like ‘yup this is it’. I had no job. I had been going back and forth for a month about whether I wanted to break up with my boyfriend. I had always thought I would be torn about what to do but I knew. Every time I tried to entertain the other possibility, it just didn’t seem real. Luckily I was not pregnant but it was reassuring to know how easily I made the decision about what I would do.

      Personally, I would wait a full week after your missed period before taking the test. The hormone that the test tests for- there’s only limited % chances that the hormone will show up in the days right after you’re late. Once you’re 7 days late, there’s a 99% chance the hormone will show up. So even if you take it 3 days after you missed, you’re gonna have to take it again a few days later just to be sure!

    3. Stellaaaaa*

      Been there :( the two times it has happened, I looked at my bank balance and decided I could afford to spend the $500 if I really had to. Fortunately it ended up not being necessary.

    4. Christy*

      I don’t know your feelings on abortion. I’m staunchly a believer in abortion on demand, without apology. I know not everyone is comfortable with the idea of getting an abortion, but if that’s something you’d consider, just remember that the earlier the cheaper and better. I volunteer for the DC abortion fund and there are many local funds to help women who can’t afford abortions, and the National Abortion Fund or Planned Parenthood can also help with cost.

      Good luck! I hope you get what you’re hoping for, and I’m sorry you’re in a scare of any sort. Scares are no good.

      1. Limbolee*

        Thank you for the support and sharing your experience, everybody, it helps!

        I am very much pro-choice. I researched abortion costs and availability yesterday, and thankfully it’s something that’s an option. It definitely scares me to think of being in a position where it wasn’t! I’m in Europe (so no PP or similar organizations in my country), and unfortunately things are politically moving in the direction of making it either illegal or very difficult to get, and it’s horrifying. I live in a capital and I could afford it if need be, so I’m thankful for that.

        That said, right now I’m leaning towards keeping it, but still hoping that I don’t need to make that decision at all.

  17. Artemesia*

    Whine. so why is perfectly functional software upgraded all the time e.g. the overdrive ebook access to libraries worked great. The new overdrive ebook library software is slow, harder to use and I can’t see a single improved feature. It is as if every new crop of interns was turned loose on the web site design. Whine.

    1. CAA*

      I’m also hating the Overdrive redesign. If you don’t select “ebooks only” before searching, then there’s no way to add that to your filters later, and it shows items in random order, which makes it really difficult to see what’s new since the last time you logged in. In case it helps you, I did tear apart the URLs and came up with this query for “fiction ebooks added in the last week”. It works for all 3 of the libraries where I have a card, so I think it’s standard for any library using the new site format. I bookmarked this for each library so I don’t have to deal with navigating the search settings any more.

      /search?subject=26&sortBy=newlyadded&availableFirst=false&mediaType=eBook&addedDate=days-0-7

    2. bon-bons for all!*

      Oh no! The original search interface was pretty bad; who the heck makes OR the default connector? If I type in WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, I promise I don’t want to see every book by someone named William.

      And now I’m going to have to dig up my credentials because they didn’t migrate with the update. Grrrr…

      1. Artemesia*

        Yeah that was the worst. Luckily the number for the library for which I no longer have an actual card was written down in my password file.

    3. Liane*

      Oh I am so glad to know it is not Just me hating it. I have to go through several layers to find the genres I like. Old, one with that dropdown menu for those plus selecting audio or ebook only options.
      The least they could do is allow us to select the genres that show on the home page. I want SF, fantasy, & mysteries. Not Overdrive’s idea of what I am most interested in.

    4. bassclefchick*

      I thought it was just me, too! I hate the new Overdrive. It’s won’t even save my library card number anymore. I really don’t want to have to drag my card out every time I log in.

      1. Colette*

        I hate it too, but my library lets me set up a username which I can use to log in, so I never need my library card. Is that an option for you?

    5. Natalie*

      Bleh, I hate it when that happens. I finally updated my iOS software and it changed, for no reason, one little detail about how the keyboard works which is driving me bananas.

    6. Rebecca*

      Thanks for the head’s up! Between my eBranch2Go library (uses Overdrive) and Audible, I’m never without an audio book. At least now I’ll know why things are different and worse :(

    7. Garland Not Andrews*

      Well that explains why my sister called and needed my library card number. She uses it more than I do. Fooee!

  18. Mephyle*

    I just finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell! I liked some of the same things about it that I liked about The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (two-volume series) by M.T. Anderson, namely that it is full of philosophical observations that make you want to highlight them. And they are not obtrusive; they grow out of the story but they make you think, “how perceptive; yes, life is like that in this century, too.”

  19. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I am not sure if my wife is entirely sane. :) We’re in Alabama for Thanksgiving weekend, and when we were shopping in Orange Beach, we saw a guy with a shirt saying “Deplorable is my name, Trump is my game!” He was glaring at us.

    So I just moved closer to my wife, who said, “I call shotgun for the way home! Aren’t I a nice WIFE?”

    It was pretty funny to see the guy’s face. Now we’re going a bit inland to the Mobile Bay Area to shop, so I just hope everything is OK there too. I have never dealt with outright homophobia until recently, so I do worry.

    1. and then she moved to NC*

      I used to live down that way. I think there is a lot more tolerance now than there was when I was younger, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call that area progressive. Mobile and Baldwin, like most of the state, is pretty conservative. That said, I haven’t seen or heard of any public ugliness, and I know quite a few people who still live where I did who are non-heterosexual, non-Christian, and non-white. For the most part, and it may depend on which neighborhood you are in and who is that same neighborhood that day, people will be polite and respectful and keep their opposing views and personal opinions to themselves until they get home where they can voice themselves to like-minded relatives/roommates/spouses.

    2. Liane*

      Sounds like you had a good time. I wish I could see a picture of that guy’s face! And that the rest of your trip is great without bigotry.

      Not all the Deep South is anti-gay. Our small Methodist church in Little Rock, Arkansas isn’t, and I can’t think of anyone I have met in the 8+ years I have lived here who has acted bigoted. There’s even a big Gay Pridefest here–my daughter and her cosplay group marched in the parade this year. I have asked her to find out if they’d let a straight female Star Wars costumer join them next year. :) It should be okay. I people watched when I picked her up–there were as many traditional-looking families/couples leaving as gay ones.
      Now in other parts of the state, and even in the Capitol Building downtown :P, this may not hold. For example, that horrible, perv-ful, Quiverful ex-reality-TV family–that I won’t name because I believe they should be consigned to obscurity–lives in another part of Arkansas. Fun fact–they live right near Eureka Springs, the artsy Arkansas town that has been very gay-friendly for decades I think. (Yes, I hope it bothers that unnamed family *a lot*)

  20. Sandy*

    I am having an absolutely crap week. An expensive crap week, to boot.

    Our fridge died. Thanks to the really specific dimensions in a kitchen I am not fond of anyways, I either need to spend 1200 bucks on a fridge (even with Black Friday sales!) or redo the whole kitchen. Needless to say, I have spent days researching fridge dimensions…

    Evil old job reached back to me to tell me that they accidentally overpaid me 6000 bucks five years ago, so could I please write them a cheque within 72 hours to pay them back?

    Then my alma mater got in touch to tell me that their computer systems were hacked and all my info was lost.

    Oh, and both my cat and kid are violently ill.

    It’s like the revenge of real life over here.

    1. Nicole*

      Your old employer’s request in general is ridiculous, but the time period they expect you to give back the money is even more insane. I would think there’s some sort of statute of limitations in such a situation. In fact, I just Googled it and it varies by state so you should check if they even have legal standing. If not, ignore them.

      Hope things get better for you!

        1. Artemesia*

          It is enough money to get legal advice if you aren’t sure. With debts the clock starts running again if you pay ANYTHING — so don’t do ANYTHING without knowing your legal position whether by googling your state rules on this sort of thing or getting legal advice. Don’t send them $100 bucks or acknowledge the debt or anything and find that that now obligates you to repay the whole thing when the law would have let you ignore it. 5 years — I would certainly think it is too late to try to enforce that, but you need to find out. and not respond in any way until you do.

    2. periwinkle*

      I can commiserate about the fridge, ugh. Our kitchen was customized by the original owner to include a cabinet surround for the fridge. Although the fridge conveyed when we bought the place, it was original to the house and thus 24 years old.

      We had planned to keep using the original one until we could gut/redo the kitchen, but nope, it had other plans last autumn. The only current units that fit in that unalterable space were top-freezer models under 20 cu.ft. so we now have a small, low-end fridge with inadequate freezer space until we can do the remodel in a couple years. At least we’ll have a future spare fridge (or something to donate).

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        We had the exact same problem, with the built-in, 20-year-old, small fridge and the kitchen needing a remodel, like, fifteen years ago. We bought the huge, French-door fridge of our dreams, and now we *have* to get a move-on with the kitchen remodel, because the fridge is standing out in front of the hole that it is supposed to fit into.

      2. Artemesia*

        This happened to us with our first house. the refrigerator quit the first week and was odd and small and in a little niche — we could not find a refrigerator that would fit in our odd kitchen full of doorways and it ended up in the breakfast room (owning the breakfast room)

        I think we will have a similar problem with our current place when the thing kicks.

      3. AcademiaNut*

        Fridges don’t have to actually go in the kitchen. :-)

        We have a small galley kitchen, with no room for the fridge, so it goes in the main room of the apartment. It takes a little more planning while cooking, but it’s doable.

    3. TootsNYC*

      I sort of don’t understand why fridges don’t come in like 4 standard sizes.
      Dishwashers are 24″ or 18″; stoves are a few standard widths.

      Why can’t fridges be pretty standard?

  21. Gene*

    Time for the final Formula 1 race of the season; I’m watching qualifying now. And it matters! If Hamilton finishes 4th or worse, Rosberg wins the season. If he finishes higher than 4th, Rosberg has to finish week behind for Hamilton to win the season.

    In that vein, I’ve gotten my SCCA National Flagging license and am planning on trying to work the USGP next season of I can manage it.

    1. fposte*

      I vaguely know about this because apparently Google News personalization is extremely crude. Because of my interest in Hamilton the musical, I now know about Hamilton in Formula One and Hamilton, Ontario.

      Hope you get to flag, Gene. That might even make me watch :-).

    2. Nat*

      I’m hoping for a Ricciardo upset! Not a big Rosberg fan, but so tired of Hamilton’s ego… Prost-Senna battles were much more interesting than these two!

      1. Gene*

        I wonder if the team is going to rip Hamilton a new one after this race. I’m not a huge fan of team orders, but for an F1 driver to essentially tell the pit wall to suck it?

        1. Nat*

          Yea… Nico could have crashed him out at the start, but that would have been wrong. So deliberately forcing your teammate into the grasp of opponents seems wrong as well. This is such a weird sport in that teammates compete against each other. It’s a recipe for conflict. If Hamilton had won by that strategy, would he have been proud?

  22. Allypopx*

    I just spent money I absolutely shouldn’t have spent on Black Friday sales. I do need new clothes for work…but probably didn’t need that many. It was definitely a bought of stress spending mixed with terrible mental justification that everything was on sale. Dreading my credit card bill.

      1. Allypopx*

        I’ll either return some of it or take the opportunity to do a culling of my wardrobe. My boyfriend will probably still have some opinions. I’m already taking over more than my share of closet space.

  23. Fearful Anon*

    I feel like I’ve been dealing with a lot of fear recently. I have a pretty good life. Fantastic friends and family, a job that is pretty good and provides me with enough money for food and house and fun stuff, hobbies that make me happy. Everything personal has been great with me.

    But this last year, I’ve been a lot more afraid of the outside world. It feels like every time I turn on the news, I am face to face with how terrible the world is. Shootings, torture, wars, government corruption, everything feels so horrible all the time. Even the state of our planet seems in a downward spiral that we can’t stop.

    My family and friends try to get me to look on the bright side of life. My father says that the world has always been a terrible place, it’s just that the speed of tech nowadays means we hear all new everywhere all the time. My mother says that there’s far more good in the world than bad, it’s just that the bad is usually what gets highlighted in the news and is often the loudest.

    When I’m engrossed with my own life, I’m quite happy and optimistic. It’s when I look about me that I get really scared and depressed. I try not to put too much focus on those things but I still want to know what’s going on the world, even if the news always depresses me. Is there anyone else who feels this way? How do you deal with the overload of negativity from the world?

    1. Allypopx*

      I think a lot of people are feeling that way right now.

      The best thing I find is just to ground myself in the things I can physically impact. The people around me. My morning coffee. My favorite pens. When the world as a meta is too much I focus on what I can actually experience with my five senses and that tends to help. I am also a big proponent of self care when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Have a second piece of pie. Curl up in cozy blankets. Pet your cat. Go for a run. Whatever makes you feel good.

      And lean on the people you love for support. Things are scary but we’re all in this together.

    2. fposte*

      I think being choosy about your communication streams is huge. What media you consume, including social media, affects your view of the world big-time. Beware of the fallacy that being depressed is a sign that you’re in touch and not being depressed is a sign of ignorance; consider if you feel better about your own life because you’re doing, not passively receiving, and think if there are ways for you to take local action that makes you feel more engaged there.

      And remember news is generally bad news. Headlines rarely scream “World poverty at lowest point in 200 years!” (which is true). As the Our World in Data folks say, “these are the slow processes that never make the headlines – on no day in the last 5 decades was there ever the headline ‘Global Child Mortality Fell by 0.00719% Since Yesterday’.” Yet child mortality has fallen an astonishing amount in the last 50 years.

      And be aware of who you talk to and how the conversations go. We’ve got a little neighborhood webpage, and one topic of conversation is this year’s crime wave. It’s low-rent burglaries and thefts from unlocked cars, which are deeply unpleasant, but we’ve always had those, yet some people start ramping up the conversation as if this were the serpent in the Garden of Eden and we might as well have Jack the Ripper amongst us. So I’m careful about how much I read there and I will occasionally note the historical figures about neighborhood crime that give better perspective on the current numbers.

        1. Myrin*

          Yeah. I stopped really paying attention to the news two years or so ago and it’s been such a huge relief with regards to my personal well being. I always hear things that are of importance to me but there is just so much stuff going on in the world that has absolutely nothing to do with me and doesn’t affect me in any way, so why should I run myself ragged worrying about it?

        2. Natalie*

          Definitely. A couple of Thursdays ago (during That Week), my phone spent the night at the phone hospital and it was great. No mindless news or Facebook reading. I mean, I own a laptop so I could have checked there, but I just don’t do that usually so I didn’t. I read a book and my husband watched a show and it was divine.

          I have actually been appreciating the No-Election rule here. Even though I like and respect a lot of people here and would like to talk to you all about this, it’s really nice to have a place to NOT talk about it.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I like what Mr. Rogers says that his mother told him when he was a child: in any disaster that’s on the news, look at the helpers. There are always people who are helping. I have been stressed out and anxious this past couple of weeks, wondering what our country is going to come to, etc. And I keep coming back to, “look for the helpers” and by extension, *be* a helper. Somebody posted on Facebook that a little free library at the boys and girls club near my house was empty; I gathered a stack of children’s and young adult books and drove right over there. Several other people had the same impulse, because the case was two-thirds full by the end of that same evening. I’m just looking for and acting on opportunities to add kindness and help to the world around me, even if it’s just through small actions.

      1. dawbs*

        There are other root causes for this being a discussion in my house recently, but…my 6 year old knows her most important job is to ‘be kind’. More important than what she’s learning at school is being kind at school.

        So I asked her on Wed if she’d been able to be kind, and she said yes– a boy in her class gave her “11 white straw pieces’ (<I did not ask why 11 straw pieces were important; apparently they are currency in first-grade classrooms and I was unaware). She said she kept 5, and gave 5 to her BFF…and threw 1 away so they would have the same and no one would feel bad about having less.
        And that's small (it's 1 scrap of cut up straw small) but it's a nice step.

        (We also started some of our planning, she took her donation to the humane society this week [bank of mom and dad does matching funds], and she and I get to brainstorm ways for me to be kind too…because she sometimes reminds me of the example I'm supposed to be)

        1. Nic*

          That is doing parenting right. I especially love but you came up with ideas together of how you can be a better example!

    4. printrovert*

      I used to be a pretty big worrier, but last year I read “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It changed my outlook on a lot of things for the most part and helped me to find ways of coping with stress. I recognize that a lot of what I was feeling was rooted in fear and that fear was something that I was imagining was happening or was going to happen. But because whatever I was worried over hadn’t actually happened yet, I was really just creating a fiction. Anyway, it’s an interesting book. I recommend it.

      1. nep*

        Browsing an excerpt now — loving it.
        So true that worry changes outcomes absolutely not at all. Just takes us out of living the moment.

    5. Mags*

      I stopped reading the news. I’m ignorant, but my mental state hasn’t been better in years. I’m working on managing my anxiety and depression, and will hopefully be able to take my head out of the sand one day. But for now I am content.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      It’s really important that to keep in mind that the media thrives on our fears. There are professions that use fear for motivation, too. Much of what we do is fear based. “Better buy as much toothpaste as you can when it’s 2/$4 because the price MIGHT GO UP!” If you really think about it, the price of toothpaste going up is just not a major life challenge.

      I think that it is really important to respect ourselves when we have fear. What does this respect look like? Well, dialing back on media is a great step. But how about investing in yourself? Always wanted a garden? go for it. Been thinking about asking for more responsibility at work? Stop thinking and start asking. Or you could possibly decide that life is short and you are ready to confront some of your smaller fears that you have been avoiding.
      We can use our fears to move us forward. We can decide “You know what if I do X that I have always worried about, I can get that behind me and have one less smaller worry.”
      In some cases fear is the lack of knowledge or experience. “Gee, my roof is leaking. I am not afraid to up here but I am afraid I will screw up the repair if I try. Neighbor said he would show me how to fix it, maybe now is the time to learn to fix my roof.”
      In other arenas, our fears can insist that we help someone else. “Being without food is my biggest fear in life, I must, must, must donate to that local pantry that I just learned about.”

      Our fears can guide us and help us fortify weak spots in ourselves and our lives. My suggestion is when you feel fear commit to finding something to do that in some way, even a small way, address the fear or some part of that fear. Likewise, helping someone else with their fears is a good way to help ourselves feel empowered, too.

    7. AnAppleADay*

      It’s good to hear that generally you feel good about you and your life. UpThread people posted about doing good for others in need and that it can be uplifting to contribute to the good in the world. That may empower you so much so you don’t get caught feeling helpless and paralyzed by fear.

      For many, many people in the world, fear has been building all year. You are not alone and may even be tapping into that “collective consciousness” or whatever it’s called.

      My son and I had insomnia night of Nov 8, 9 and off and on since then. Nearly every one of my friends near and far had insomnia the night of the 8th or 9th. My long time doctor, my GP, even had insomnia the night of the 8th.

    8. Nic*

      I understand what you mean completely! I have gotten more afraid recently, even though I am of a privileged race, religion, sexuality, and am cisgender. I made a comment to a family member at one point about how scary everything is and their response was “why should you need to be scared?” The same relative did not know that the KKK still exists, and is in her sixties, so I’m not certain if it stems from disconnectedness or denial.

      I keep vacillating between cutting myself off from news sources and social media for my own sanity and protection or wanting to research so that I can be informed and make a difference. I know that in order to make society better I need to do the second, but it is so hard.

      I don’t have advice but I stand with you in solidarity!

    9. Zip Silver*

      Don’t worry. Your dad is right. It only seems that way because that’s how the media gets viewers.

      As a planet, we currently have the fewest active armed conflicts than we’ve ever had in recorded history. It’s only like 30 total.

    10. Sibley*

      I was headed that direction, and decided to go on a news-boycott. I know just about as much as I did before about current events, with a whole lot less depressing stuff in my face, plus less advertising to deal with.

      I don’t watch the news. reading the news is ok (newspapers, magazines, etc). About a year in now, and loving it.

    11. comparingToHistory*

      When I was a kid, we were afraid the USSR was going to bomb us. When my parents were young, JFK and his brother and MLK were assassinated. If you go back far enough in history, people in England (for example) were persecuted for being Catholic instead of Protestant. You’d probably have to go back farther to find a time when people were executed and their heads were mounted up so that people could see them.

      I don’t know if the world has ever been a nice and gentle place. I do think that there are more good people in it than bad, but sometimes the bad stuff seems overwhelming.

      1. ck*

        +1

        Regardless of the seeming chaos being shoved down our throats as click-bait, things are still better than they have been.

        It is very hard to keep things in perspective, when you haven’t lived throughout other periods of history.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I remember the day Kennedy was shot. I had never seen the adults around me so devastated and so afraid. I asked if the bad men were coming and did we have to hide.
        (I was pretty young.) My mother said ,”I don’t know.” Then I asked what will we do for food. Again, “I don’t know.”

        Then I got scared.

        And yeah, the world changed. Some of the changes are actually good.

        Now as an adult, I have control over my choices and I have the ability to make my own decisions. I also understand better why things are the way they are. I had none of this as a kid, I think that is an important thought to hang on to.

    12. TootsNYC*

      I think this is a huge part of why the presidential election turned out the way it did.

      And the funny thing is, I read an analysis piece that says things like a decline in the jobless rate, etc., and that most Republicans say “things are genuinely better where I am, but it’s horrible over there!”

      Also–edit your news content, and your Facebook feed.

  24. Nicole*

    Puppy update!

    First off, here’s a new picture I took today. https://www.dropbox.com/s/dywy3s1sarlneso/IMG_0350-Revised.JPG?dl=0

    Choosing a name that suits her is proving difficult so she’s still nameless. We’ve tried on a few for size but they don’t feel right. Any suggestions? We’ve looked at lists online but nothing sticks.

    I feel like we’ve gotten very little accomplished around the house since we adopted her. It’s never been dirtier or more disorganized which is getting on our nerves because we’re all about keeping things clean. When she naps we try to get things done but the hours fly by without much to show for it. I still haven’t even finished going through all the photos I took on our vacation. Needless to say it’s causing a bit of anxiety. I work part-time and my husband is currently out of work so I couldn’t even imagine if we were both working full-time how we’d manage. How do other people do it?

    She doesn’t sleep through the night so we’re up 1-2 times to take her outside. Since my husband is reacting to her a little (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc), we have put her crate in the bedroom across the hall and use a baby monitor to hear when she’s awake and needs to go out. We have used our front door more this week than in all the 12 years we’ve lived here combined (we usually go through the garage). I just wish we had a nicer area for her to do her business in. We’re in a townhome so we’re stuck with muddy grass which is littered with leaves, twigs, and woodchips which she wants to eat. We took her to my parents house for Thanksgiving and the grass in their yard was so nice! Also, it figures we’d adopt a pup just as it’s getting cold outside. I HATE the cold so it sucks having to go outside so much every day. It’s making me seriously consider moving to Arizona where my husband’s family lives. I’ve grown tired of the Chicago winters anyway, but I’d miss my family and all the green during the spring and summer so I’m not sure what to do. I’ve lived in the Chicago area my entire life so it would be so weird to live anywhere else. Plus the thought of moving is not appealing since it’s so much work.

    People I don’t even recognize from the neighborhood have stopped to speak to me about the puppy; it’s funny how much friendlier they are when there’s a dog involved. I’ve always said hello to people but they’d barely respond and now they want to have a conversation.

    I feel like once we get through this tough potty training time we’re going to have a lot of fun and meet new people since there are a lot of dog owners here. I look forward to that but am feeling a little drained at the moment. We were joking, saying “what were we thinking” with this whole thing since we tend to be lazy and selfish with our time. But we also take pet ownership seriously so that trumps our laziness… which in a way makes it all the more difficult on us because we want to be lazy but can’t be, so we’re just exhausted instead.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      The last two pups I got, came home with me in early spring. You would think I would have learned from the first time. ha!
      Yeah, you can pretty much forget that clean house thing. Even when I vac regularly, I have gray tumbleweeds (tumblehairs?) going through my house.

      Did you try googling for dog name suggestions? My last dog was named after someone suggested that I pick a name that describes his purpose/role. I picked a name that translates to “friend” in English.

      1. Canadian Natasha*

        I was thinking Millie (short for Millicent) which is pretty similar (at least in my brain’s random name categorisation system). :)

        1. bluesboy*

          It’s funny, looking at the photo the first thing I thought was ‘little old lady’s name’. And immediately afterwards I see Hattie and Millie.

          I’m thinking Betty or Mavis myself.

    2. bon-bons for all!*

      Puppies are exhausting! It sounds like you’re doing everything right and you’ll get through this! (Although potty training in winter? That’s crazy. Grin.).

      Good thing she’s adorable. Do you have a sense of her personality yet? That could elicit names. Or if you and your husband have a shared hobby or interest, maybe that will have inspiration? I’ve met lots of dogs named for LOR, Harry Potterverse, sports teams/mascots, etc.

      1. LizH*

        What a cutie. Mollie comes to mind right away. FWIW, I get not wanting to walk the dog when it’s cold. However, the last few years, I was actually healthier in winter. I am prone to bronchitis, but the last several years I have managed to avoid it. My only explanation is getting fresh air no matter the weather.
        Let’s us know what name you pick.

    3. Cruciatus*

      How about Eleven, Elle for short? Or…Demogorgan. Also, probably don’t listen to me. I always have every intention to name my pets something good and then I get overwhelmed! Hell, even my user names on sites (like this one) are just because I couldn’t think of anything else and it was what was popular at the time (Eleven and Demogorgan being used most recently in Stranger Things). If I had a new cat right now I would probably name it Newt Scamander.

    4. EmmaLou*

      My husband suggested Peek-a-Boo and I can’t stop laughing at someone shouting angrily or firmly to a pup with a mind of her own, “Peek-a-boo! PEEK-a-BOO!”

      1. Nicole*

        That’s funny because she loves to lay on her back in my lap and I put her paws over her eyes and play peek-a-boo with her.

        Also, your example is why choosing a name is so hard. I’m trying to envision yelling certain names and they just sound wrong.

  25. AliCat*

    Does anyone have any experience with keto diets? I’ve heard both really good and really bad things about them but I was wondering if anyone has actually done one.

    I’ve tried low carb, low fat diets before and I always felt so depraved I ended up going off the deepend and gaining more than I had lost. Now I’m really just looking for more of a lifestyle change that I can sustain.

    1. self employed*

      A low carb/low fat diet would never work IMO — you have nothing satiating there! Either protein or fat is filling, so you definitely need to keep an eye on those.

      What is your goal? General weight loss or a health condition? What has worked or failed in the past for you?

      1. AliCat*

        Weight loss is definitely the goal but I also want to develop healthy eating habits. I’ve been a yo-yo dieter since I was about 12 and it’s led to seriously disordered eating. I just want to be able eat healthy without feeling deprived while also losing weight. Is that even possible?

        1. neverjaunty*

          It is, but jettison the whole ‘diets’ thing – as you know they’re really temporary eating patterns you can’t sustain. And honestly losing weight is also going to distort your eating patterns, because scales are not about whether you have a healthy body composition or are physically fit. (Dehydrate yourself and you’ll lose weight, replace fat with muscle and you’ll gain weight.)

          Have you tried keeping a log of what foods make you feel comfortably satiated vs. those that make you feel bloated or icky? That might be a good starting point in narrowing down good eating habits for you.

          1. CC*

            If you do this, don’t forget to also note foods that make you want more. Try to limit those, but not cut them out entirely. Deprivation and subsequent “cheating” is a really bad dynamic to be caught in. Maybe check out the Weighty Matters website, which is written by an expert in weight issues. The author’s general take on diet (as a habitual eating pattern, not as a temporary weight loss change in eating pattern) is that you *should* have treats, in the minimum amount required to make sure you maintain the overall habits of healthy eating.

            One thing I have learned, is that when I get a general grumbly feeling of wanting to eat something and it’s not a meal time, just a general hungry-ish feeling, I eat a small portion of whatever I feel like having in that moment. If I get the same general grumbly feeling of wanting to eat something again at any point within the next 20 minutes, what I ate was not what my body wanted, so I eat something from a different food group. So for a true example that I have used many times: if the first thing was a banana, the second thing might be peanut butter or cheese, but definitely not a second banana or a cookie.

            If you’ve developed some disordered responses to food and hunger and craving, it might take a while to get those signals straightened out enough to trust them, though.

            1. Girasol*

              I like low carb and keto diets because they get rid of those “make you want more” foods. One carbohydrate always demands another for me, though I know that’s not true for everyone. The general rule of supplementing the protein and low carb veggies with fat is a must or you end up so hungry you find yourself into the Twinkies again wondering how you got there. It’s worky to beat the carb cravings long enough to get fully back into the swing of keto (3-6 weeks for me) but once I do I feel much better for it, more healthy and energetic and less hungry-all-the-time. The cravings eventually go away. After weight loss I re-add whole fruits and some higher carb veggies but avoid grain and sugar and that seems to work well for a maintenance healthy eating plan. If you want a thorough scientific explanation Lyle McDonald’s book The Ketogenic Diet is a bible for it. Some chapters are a bit of a slog if you’re not into physiology but it’s worth reading in any case.

        2. self employed*

          My suggestion might be something more along the lines of Weight Watchers, where there are no “bad” or off-limit foods, but just higher points value. To help you recalibrate what eating well looks like, you know? And cold turkey avoiding binge-triggers, if you can’t stop once you start– don’t even buy them or bring them home. I’m sure we all have at least one! (I know this contradicts my first statement, but sometimes there are foods that are impossible in moderation.)

          (But if you are dealing with true disordered eating I would honestly recommend meeting with a Registered Dietician (RD).)

          1. AliCat*

            I’ve tried Weight Watchers and I didn’t lose any weight! I was on it for over a month and followed the points plan religiously but no dice.

            There are no practicing RD’s in my area, sadly, so I’m on my own. :(

            1. TL -*

              oh, do an online thing! I did – maybe myfitfoods? But you can log all your food and tell them your goals and they’ll talk to you about your eating habits and suggest other foods you might like (for instance, if you, ahem, eat a brownie every day for breakfast, they might suggest a sweeter yoghurt instead with granola, so it’s filling.)

              I really liked mine, it was focused on gradual, small things that I would enjoy eating. Very practical – you won’t get dramatic results instantly but they are sustainable.

        3. Natalie*

          Woah, yeah, if you’re just trying to generally be healthy you shouldn’t be thinking “diet” at all, and definitely not a super restrictive one like low-carb/low-fat. There’s nothing wrong or unhealthy about fat or carbs. Perhaps one place to start would be some generally nutrition education from a neutral source, not a diet promoter.

          Some people hear have recommended something called “intuitive eating”, I don’t recall the book but I’m sure someone will come along with the title. Michael Pollan sometimes gets a bad rap for being super pretentious, but In Defense of Food also might be worth reading.

          1. self employed*

            FWIW, Mark Bittman’s VB6 (vegan before 6) is a good way to pay attention to what you’re eating and increase your veggies. You could try with one meal and go from there. His cookbook by that name is not intimidating and is quite good.

        4. Marcela*

          I apologize if you are not looking for general ideas, because I’m about to give you one. Last march I decided I was too overweight and tried to do something about it, because diabetes is going to catch me sooner or later (my whole family has it, both sides), and I rather that being late. The only starting point was that I did not want to starve or suffer, because I was sure that was going to fail.

          First step was just to log food to have an idea of what I was eating. With no bad intent, I would omit things here and there, not realizing how much they mattered. So the right food diary strategy was a great way to know exactly what I ate and in which amounts. The app Noom for Android is invaluable, for I weigh everything in grams and Noom calculates the calories. Most of the food we eat in the US is there, including Trader Joe’s. This gave me an idea of the things that were “dangerous” to eat, i.e. too caloric.

          Once I knew how much I ate, I calculated, using several webs and the same Noom app, how much I needed to eat in order to get my goal. To my incredible surprise, I was supposed to eat just 1200 calories, from the 2k I remembered as usual for women. But when I started reading, well, 2k is appropriate for a taller woman who does a lot more exercise than me.

          Making a long story short, since March I’ve been eating exactly the same things as before, just in smaller quantities. Noom considers extra calories the days I’m doing exercise, so those days I can get an extra treat. The only big change was to accept that some days I do want to eat more, even not being hungry, and fight those urges. But the most important part was to forgive myself if one day I can’t help to eat a bit more. Partly because the numbers are just an approximation, and mostly because I do not want to have a weird relationship with food. I need to eat, it should not be my enemy.

          In 10 months I’ve lost 10 kgs, a bit less than 10% of my starting body weight. I still have another couple of kilos to go, which is something that is going to happen more slowly because now I’m not moving as before, but this is fine too. And I haven’t suffered too much. There has been some need to give up some foods, for example a cake we loved to make, but when we really want it, we baked one anyway.

          Please do not read my comment as losing weight is easy, just eat less. I feel very lucky this worked out for me, because there was some possibility my endometriosis would get in the way. Mostly I would recommend you to gather information about what you eat now, so you can decide if that’s the way you want to eat. My take is that our minds and body will trick us to eat, and we need to get all the info first in order to make sure we can take some control back.

          1. Nic*

            I second the food log app suggestion! I used one called LoseIt! that also has a lot of grocery store and restaurant foods that you can select or check ahead of time to see how many calories they contain. I also experienced the surprise of how few calories I needed for a daily goal and it really helped me adjust my eating habits. With loseit you can also put in your exercise and it removes an appropriate amount of calories which helped me to realize things like “okay, I can have this soda. If I do, though, I will need to do X minutes of Y activity, or cut out C thing I was planning to eat.”

            Between having a better idea of what available choices there were and tracking the choices I made to keep myself honest (it was hard to record a nibble here or there, so I usually didn’t nibble) I begin to make healthier choices, include more exercise, and lose weight in what felt like an effortless manner.

            1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

              I get the food app things, but I like to cook fresh food and not buy whatever is at the grocery store. It always felt like a major hassle that took way too long to log in a recipe or whatever into the app, especially as I like the creativity of taking a recipe and making alterations. Has anyone else dealt with this?

              Here in the UK I have had two friends do well on that Joe Wicks plan, which is more veg and high fat, low carb with an exercise component thrown in, over 90 days. Yes, you have to weigh items and they issue you the recipes, but I may try that in a few weeks to get back on track with eating healthy. I know HOW to eat healthy, I know HOW to exercise, but bad habits have crept in, along with this back injury and I need something firm to reset myself.

              1. AliCat*

                I think a major part of the problem is that I’m so accustomed to restricting calories and then binging that I honestly have no idea what a day of normal healthy eating is like. When I try to do balanced eating and they suggest Xg of carbs, protein and/or fats, I always end up way under the calorie counts and also the fats. For me, “healthy” food has always been things like egg whites, cottage cheese, canned tuna and a chicken breast. Like that would be what I ate in a day. I think thats what resonated with me so much when I read about keto because they were saying you can have full eggs and a couple slices of bacon and cheese for snacks I was like OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS DARK MAGIC?

              2. Marcela*

                Well, yes, logging all the food in any recipe is not fun. Specially since Noom does not have any way to save recipes and then calculate a portion. We had to that ourselves. We do it anyway, with good spirits, because along the way we realized we don’t know how to eat without some guidance. For example, we noticed it’s very hard for us not to eat everything in our plates, or in a restaurant, eating everything in reach because otherwise it will go to the trash and it will be waste. Counting what we eat is annoying, imperfect and bothersome, but the alternative is worse for us.

              3. Clever Name*

                I am a home cook and I have the same frustrations with food diaries and calorie counting. I can’t just enter the name of the frozen dinner and be done with it. I have to calculate how many tablespoons of cream and how many ounces of pancetta from my home make vodka sauce makes it into my stomach. Just no. I haven’t found a solution to this.

            2. J*

              My Fittness Pal has a recipe feature, and if you make changes to different versions of the recipe, you can edit the recipe and it only changes entries going forward, not previous logs. It can be a bit hard the first few times you enter a recipe but after that it’s simple to log a serving of the homemade food.

    2. Mona*

      I had to look this up – you mean Atkin’s, right? While it sounds good on the surface, it’s terrible for your cardiovascular health. Too much of a good thing and all that. The trick to keeping the weight off long term is to change your habits – eat in moderation, eat less, and exercise more. If that sounds scary, take baby steps to start with so it’s not like you’re going to extremes and be less likely to succeed.

      As neverjaunty writes below, a food diary is a good place to start. I tried doing that a few Christmases ago with an app on my phone (I can’t remember what it was, apologies) to see what I was putting into my body. My cousin who is a type I diabetic has to do this to keep track of how much insulin she needs, so I feel lucky that I don’t have to jab myself multiple times a day to check my blood sugar :/ I will say that when I tried the food diary initially, I felt like a criminal and my eyes sort of goggled at the amount of calories I had previously taken for granted. But now it was in my face and I had to do something about it.

      That said, and as ironic as this must sound, I started to lose weight the less I was concerned and stressed out I was about losing the weight. If you have any sort of self-esteem issues, anxiety, or depression, it is worth getting those sorted on and speaking with a mental professional and/or doctor as an adjunct to whatever healthy lifestyle you plan to go forward with. If you are suffering in those areas – and I’m not trying to be patronizing, just suggesting – having other people “on your side” makes a huge difference.

      Also, whatever you do, do not deny yourself your favorite foods unless it makes you physically sick (like food you’re allergic to). Try to eat less in one sitting / in one day / in one week and as mentioned earlier, baby steps. No one likes to cut out their favorite foods cold turkey (no pun intended for this week!).

      I went through a period of my childhood where I was overweight for years due to medication to treat a chronic disorder, so I hear you about the diets and getting upset every time they didn’t work. Be sure to take time to be kind to yourself and you will find a way forward that works for you. Good luck!

    3. The RO-Cat*

      Maybe you can find some useful tips in Caroline Arnold’s book “Small Move, Big Change”. It’s not only about the diet, but more about changing habits in general (though there *is* a chapter about eating). She advocates “marginal gains” obtained by changing a small thing at a time – this way the new habits stick.

      Also, if you’re curious, Marc Schoen’s “Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You” has some interesting ideas (generally science-backed) about how and why modern-day First-Worlders have so many health troubles (hint: it’s not the physiology).

    4. nep*

      A good place to be — a sustainable lifestyle change is the only way.
      One habit that can’t steer you wrong whether the goal is losing weight or improving overall health — little to no processed food. Your body and brain will thank you.
      It can be quite eye-opening and helpful to note everything you eat, even if only for a while. The mindfulness changes things.
      All the best

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Not the specific question your asking, but I finally lost weight when I tied what I ate to how I felt afterward. I loooove soda, but a drink of soda that lasts five minutes is not worth feeling crappy for several days after. I did all that weighing and measuring stuff and it worked up to a point, then it didn’t. I needed that additional motivation from noticing how much better I felt. “Oh I have a big meeting on Friday, I am not going to sit here and eat this entire box of cookies today because I will feel crappy at my meeting.”
      For me, the hook was to see an improvement in my overall quality of life.

    6. Mreasy*

      I tried keto for its mental health affects. It absolutely helped me out, in a way no medication or other treatment had up to that point – but I couldn’t imagine myself sustaining it. After 3 weeks, I felt very weak, even though I knew I was getting the right calories & proportions, & was having regular symptoms of electrolyte deficiency despite supplementing them 3x/day.

      If weight loss and shaking up your health and diet are the goal, I would recommend the Whole 30. It’s lower carb (but not superlow like keto), and the restrictions in place really encourage you to focus on high quality proteins and vegetables. Some people can thrive on a lower carb diet long term, and as long as you’re getting enough fat & protein, & eating plenty of vegetables, that can be a solution for long term weight loss that’s absolutely healthful.

    7. Zip Silver*

      Keto is absolutely not sustainable. It will eventually cause health problems. That being said, it’s great in the short and medium term. High fat, high protein diets are extremely filling. It’ll reduce your bloat and keep you from getting hungry. I use it a few months every spring when I cut down from my fall and winter bulk.

      1. Mreasy*

        My only caveat would be that the first several pounds you lose really is water weight, that you’ll put back on once you go back to a non-ketogenic diet as your body adjusts. (Though if your office bathroom is a flight up or down, you’ll get a great glute & thigh workout during that initial period!)

  26. Gene*

    I mentioned the office cat on yesterday’s work thread. Yes, we have two office cats. Currently, it’s a brother and sister semi-feral pair who were born under the trailer. We never were able to catch mom to do TNR with her, but we got the the kittens. Mom disappeared shortly after.

    She’s almost tame enough to go home with someone and her brother is getting there. He’s been on walkabout this week, so she’s been spending more time inside. I was the one who did the trapping and everything for the TNR, so it took her a long time to warm to me.

    Over the years, five cats I know of have gone home with people who work here, and we’ve taken at least that many to the shelter. But we keep one out two around for rodent control.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I so wish we had a office cat…or 10 at my company; however, nothing would get done because I’d be playing with the all the time, or they would be parked on my keyboard, in front of my monitor, etc.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I wish we could have an office cat at my university department. If we thought kitchen and dishes squabbles were something, though, just wait until we had litter box duty squabbles. :-0

    3. Nic*

      The cat I have right no, who is the best cat I have had since I was a child, is one that I brought home from work. He was wandering around in the parking lot and started following me around one day on break. On my next break, hours later, he followed me around too. I spoke to someone who mentioned that the people in the office next door were planning on bringing him to the shelter that weekend. I brought him home and have not regretted it since!

      Parking lot cats can be some of the most loving pets. I think it is great that you guys care for them and help socialize them.

  27. HardwoodFloors*

    To AAM community, does anyone have a good idea for a Christmas gift I can send my mother in a far away state who is in a nursing home with dementia? I used to send her a pretty sweater, jewelry or specialty potted plant but now her memory is so bad she will quickly lose anything she is sent.

    1. only acting normal*

      For my grandmother (who also had dementia) I bought one of those boxes of 100 postcards on a theme – I got English Heritage B&W photos, but there are lots of alternatives like art prints or classic book covers. I gave her the box and the first postcard with a note on it, then sent a couple each week to her.
      I wrote little poems (e.g. haiku, or just a rhyming couplet), or notes about what I was doing that week, or little drawings (those went down very well, which sort of surprised me), or my recollection about something she’d told me about her life prompted by the picture on the card (those in turn seemed to prompt conversations with the care staff – she had an interesting life!).
      It got a bit hard sometimes to think of something to put, but it didn’t have to be profound, just a line or two and if I had a day of inspiration I’d write half a dozen in one go.

      1. Luisa in Dallas*

        What an inspired idea! I’m definitely making a note of this for a good friend who never knows what to send her mother with dementia. I especially like the fact that the postcards encourage interaction between the caregivers and your grandmother.

    2. LizB*

      I heard a story on the radio the other day that listening to music from when they were younger can help people with dementia with their memory, at least temporarily. Maybe send her a nice mix CD or an iPod full of songs (depending on how she can most easily play music), and ask the staff to put them on for her every once in a while?

    3. Anono-me*

      Does the nursing home have a beauty salon or have visiting beauty professionals? Maybe a gift certificate or make arrangements for haircuts, massage or getting her nails done? (Feet are especially hard to take care of if you have health issues.)

    4. MommaCat*

      My mom has dementia; I tend to give her pictures of my children and nieces and nephews with their names written on the front. She’s most like herself with young kids, and I figure she’ll enjoy looking at the photos even when she forgets who is who. Copies of family photos are a hit, too.

    5. Sophie Winston*

      Have you reached out to the activities department? They may have suggestions, or be able to help coordinate something for you.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      A stuffed animal.
      I have recommended this to a couple people and they got great results.
      The one thing to know is don’t spend a lot of money on this animal- go to a Kmart type place. If she has a bad day the animal could get destroyed worse, it could get stolen. So don’t sink major bucks into this animal.

      Try to get animal with something she relates to, say in a favorite color or wearing a particular garment. That will help her to focus in.

      If you go into the nursing home you will notice more than one dementia patient carrying a stuffed animal or doll. It seems to be of some comfort to them. If the patient used to be a person who was embarrassed by such things, often that is not a resistance issue any more.

    7. Mephyle*

      Look up “activity blanket”, “fidget quilt” or “fiddle blanket”. The idea is that it’s a small cloth with pockets, ribbons, buttons, maybe zippers, bits with different textures. It shouldn’t be too hard to make one if you sew or have a friend with a sewing machine that you can pay to put it together.

    8. AliceBD*

      For the last several years of her life my dad had flowers delivered monthly to my grandmother (his mother). She loved them. Whatever type of arrangement they were they lasted most of the month. She had been big into gardening when she was younger and healthier, so she loved having flowers. She wouldn’t always remember that she had them so she would see them and get a pleasant surprise.

    9. TootsNYC*

      What do you mean “quickly lose anything”?
      Does it get stolen?

      If it’s just that she won’t tak egood car eo fit, or will drop it, maybe something that will brighten the room around her.
      Like a plant. Maybe a really good-quality silk one, so nobody has to water it, but it will make her room look happier for longer.

      Or, maybe a picture or a cloth banner.
      Or a few REALLY big prints of important photographs from her younger days.
      Maybe ask the nursing-home folks what sorts of things they think would work in the space she lives in.

      1. TootsNYC*

        or flowers of the month, as mentioned above. Again, it will just make the room prettier, and provide an emotional lift.
        The nice thing about flowers of the month is that it will give her a lift on a recurring basis.

    10. ginger ale for all*

      Springbok has a line of jigsaw puzzles for people with Alzheimer’s. If you go to their site they are easy to find. A friend of mine has good luck with the adult coloring books for her mom. They just sit and color together during visits when her mom isn’t going to speak. She then photographs the drawings to e-mail to the rest of the family.

  28. self employed*

    Any picky-eating-kid tips? Toddler will eat muffins made with pureed veggies, zucchini pancakes… and that’s it. I’m happy to keep pureeing/baking, but OMG help.

    1. Lady Kelvin*

      Try cream of wheat? I was a picky eater but I loved cream of wheat and cocoa wheat. I still eat cream of wheat but apparently cocoa wheats were pretty regional. They have lots of iron and other nutrients that are good for toddlers.

    2. Cristina in England*

      I have read tips on dealing with picky eating designed to reduce the power struggle with food, like introducing new things between meals, and making it fun and no pressure to try new stuff.

      I haven’t put a lot of effort into it, to be honest. My preschooler is picky but she at least eats yogurt and cheese so she is getting protein. My husband is picky too and that’s really annoying because I usually end up eating boring food so I don’t have to make two totally different hot meals. I am very excited for him to go out of town for work Monday night because then I get to eat something interesting for a change!

    3. matcha123*

      I was a picky eater as a kid, but starting at a bit older than toddler age.

      Okay, I really can’t understand why parents freak out about this. Do you remember being that age? Do you remember what you liked and didn’t like?

      When I stopped eating certain foods, it was because the textures and tastes were bad. For some foods, like raisins, I ate them so much that I started to hate them. It’s possible they are stuck on certain foods now, but will give them up for some others later. Maybe they feel overwhelmed with a lot of choices?
      How old is your kid? You can tell them that it’s too hard to make XYZ every night. Don’t assume they can’t understand. If you are willing to make zucchini pancakes once a week, tell them. But tell them that they need to eat something else the other days.

      How long have they been requesting only one thing?

      Finally, and this was just me, but when I was that age, my mom said that there were starving kids in Africa who would be happy to eat peas. So I suggested we gather my uneaten peas and send it to them. When my mom and her friends said that kids will eat anything when they’re hungry, I made a point not to eat whatever it was they were trying to force me to eat and would go without…to prove a point.

      I don’t know much about your situation, though.

    4. Yetanotherjennifer*

      The main thing is to relax. He’ll get there. You have plenty of time. Focus on what he will eat and gradually add new things. He wants to eat like the grow ups in his life so model good food eating behaviors. This does not mean exaggerated yum yums. Just quietly eat veggies at every meal. And be equally quiet about what he eats or doesn’t. get him involved too: let him help cook, plan, and grow and he’ll be more likely to eat…eventually. This is a marathon.

      I love, love, love the books by Ellyn Satter. Child of Mine details her techniques age by age. Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family has the short version plus recipes and menu planning tips. Both are available on Amazon. Basically, she has a division of responsibility where your job is to put a balanced meal on the table at regular intervals and your child’s job is to eat it. Your job is done when the food hits the table. It’s very freeing. No more power struggles. You can focus on the food and table manners and conversation.

      Last thing, set aside your inner food snob. These are not the years to care about fresh cs frozen vs canned vs organic, etc. start with what he eats and always add, never subtract. Once I got snobbish over fresh vs canned peaches and stopped buying the cans and guess who doesn’t eat peaches anymore?

    5. Clever Name*

      Honestly I think all toddlers and kids are crappy eaters. Vegetables just don’t taste that great, let’s be honest here. As an adult, I definitely enjoy them, but I can intellectually appreciate that they’re good for me, and I feel physically better when I eat more of them. Kids just want to eat what’s tasty. I’ve done a couple of things to encourage my kid to eat healthy food. The first is we provide a variety of foods, some of which I know he’ll eat. I don’t serve a dinner knowing he hates everything about it. We have a rule that our son has to at least try a new food. He can spit it out if it’s awful, but he has to try it. And I keep making him try it many times before he can say he just doesn’t like something. Another thing we do is prepare vegetables in ways that taste better for kids. Putting cheese on a veggie is usually a hit. Yes, it adds calories, but kids shouldn’t be restricting calories (except for specific medical cases I’m assuming aren’t relevant here), and the adults can skip the cheese. Roasting veggies is usually a hit in my house as well. My 9 year old will eat roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

      I know there’s a lot of scary information about making sure kids eat healthy. Giving a vitamin supplement can help ease fears that they’re not getting enough nutrients.

      1. TL -*

        Oh I loved vegetables as a kid – hated cheese and most spices and a lot of meats but loved veggies. :)

        My mom just shrugged. I could eat what she served or eat leftovers or make a pb&j (from like, maybe 6?). Eventually I started eating more.

  29. Be the Change*

    Help from any DIYers on AAM?? The toilet bowl in my bathroom has gotten all scratched up probably due to my stupidly (but temporarily) using those chlorine tablets and then cleaning vigorously. It looks nasty.

    Does anyone know if and how I can reglaze it? I’d rather not replace the toilet, it’s fairly new.

    Thanks!

    1. fposte*

      It’s more likely to be the brush than the tablets. What you have may be either marks or scratches, and what you do will depend somewhat on which it is on what your toilet’s made of. Barkeeper’s Friend is a good place to start; if that doesn’t do it, you can consider something more abrasive, but you’ll need to be careful. (You can also Google “toilet bowl scratch repair” and you’ll find some deeper, as it were, guidance.)

      1. Be the Change*

        It’s all rough, like little pits and peaks. Feels like sandpaper and has gotten worse over time. So I don’t think Barkeep’s friend is going to help, it seems more serious. Although BK sounds great for the plates that my husband wants to get rid of because they are dinged up.

    2. Natalie*

      My husband does apartment maintenance and has seen this a bit, and without seeing it his guess is that it’s not fixable unless you want to reglaze it, which is nuts. Apparently, you can just buy a replacement toilet bowl rather than replacing the entire toilet – try contacting the manufacturer. It’s only a few bolts holding the bowl on, and I’m sure there are videos on Youtube that would walk you through the process.

      1. Be the Change*

        Bummer. But thanks very much to your husband for the tip! Replacing just the bowl would not be bad.

    3. Chaordic One*

      There’s a product called “Porc-A-Fix” that you can try. (You can google it.) It’s like a liquid porcelain that you apply like paint over the bowl. You apply several layers and if it looks lumpy you can sand it smooth with very fine grain sandpaper. The only downside is you need to turn off your toilet and drain it, clean the surfaces beforehand and then let the Porc-A-Fix dry for 24 hours after you’ve painted it on, so I hope you have more than one bathroom. You can google “Porc-A-Fix” and maybe find it at a hardware store or home improvement store like Home Depot or Loews.

  30. Sunflower*

    My 10 year HS reunion is tonight. I don’t really feel any way about it. A lot of people in my grade are married or in serious relationships, some have kids. I have no problem telling people I’m single and living in the city where we grew up in a suburb of. I have a good job that people always think is way more interesting than it really is. I don’t want a lot of things(at least right now) that people do- don’t care about getting married, having kids or buying a house anytime soon. Sometimes I feel like people think I’m immature or trying to live in the past because I don’t care about those things and I still go out and party every Saturday night. I really just feel like I still have so much of the world to experience and I don’t want to be tied down by anything yet.

    But I’ve been very unhappy recently and really needing/wanting to make a change- and of course I have no idea what that change is except I’m pretty sure I need to move somewhere else. I want to experience all of these things but it’s scary and sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who still wants to do that. I’m just tired of pretending to be happy here and it feels kind of like I’m going to have to do a lot of that tonight.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I am looking at the time and thinking you must be there by now.

      I have to congratulate you for even thinking of going. Thoughts like these can be deal breakers.I would convince myself to stay home if I were on this path.

      If you went, let us know how it was. If you chose not to go, I am with you on that one.

    2. matcha123*

      My 10 year HS reunion was 5 years ago, and the 5 year one was this past week. I didn’t attend either, since I wasn’t in the area. My graduating class had like 400+ students. I don’t know if your had more or less, but, really, why care what they think?
      I also don’t want a house, I’m not interested in marriage, and having a kid is my worst nightmare. I think that a lot of people that want those things try to convince themselves that they have moved on to a natural progression of life and that those that haven’t are behind. The problem with that way of thinking is that it assumes that everyone wants the same things out of life. If you don’t want their life, there’s nothing to feel ashamed of. If you want to go, go and see it as an experience, rather than a contest.

      1. matcha123*

        Ugh. I meant the 10 year reunion was 5 years ago, and the 15 year one was this past week.
        I graduated in ’01…so weird that it could be that long ago…

  31. printrovert*

    That book is on my reading list! Have you seen the tv series, Alison?

    Thanksgiving is over and the holiday hoopla has begun. I’m curious to know if any of you who live near an Ikea have shopped the as-is section after the twenty-fifth for holiday returns. Did you find anything great for an amazing deal? I’m contemplating whether to venture over there at the end of the month.

    Also, and I posted this to an earlier thread this week, there is a great video from the Brothers Green Eats that shows off some pretty creative things to do with Thanksgiving leftovers for those of you who are still working your way through them. Link below!

      1. Jen Erik*

        Have you read Zen Cho’s ‘Sorcerer to the Crown’? It’s a similar sort of story, but I liked it even better.

  32. AnotherAnony*

    When I go to my Windows Task manager and open processes, it shows 7 entries that say chrome.exe*32
    I’ve read that this is either part of Chrome or it could be a virus. My anti-virus isn’t picking anything up and malwarebytes isn’t showing anything either. Is there anything else that I should be doing?

    1. The RO-Cat*

      AFAIK (but any computer wizard is requested to interfere) Chrome is sandboxing each tab, trying to prevent the house from coming down, should one tab freeze. That *might* explain the multiple entries – each tab has its own separate process. But don’t take my words as true and keep searching. Anyway, if both AV and MB are calm you probably can remain calm, too.

    2. Nancie K*

      It’s almost certainly just the browser. Try closing it and see if the jobs disappear. If you don’t close your browser very often, it may take several minutes for all the processes to close — you may even need to kill one or two after waiting a bit, or reboot your system.

    3. MsChandandlerBong*

      That’s normal for Chrome. Each tab runs as a separate process to prevent the entire browser from crashing in the event that a single page locks up. If there’s a video on the page, it may even run as more than one process. I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless your computer starts acting up or showing some other sign that it has a virus/malware.

    4. AnotherAnony*

      Thanks everyone for your comments. It just makes me worrisome because I was looking something up on the IMDb and the page was redirected to a Chrome download page that looked suspicious. (I didn’t accidentally click on anything on the IMDb page either..)

  33. self employed*

    What brands of makeup is cool in the middle-school set? Believe it or not, NAKED and NARS are… so along those lines. (Even though they are incredibly pricey! Whatever happened to Cover Girl?!)

    1. Allypopx*

      I’d put money on Urban Decay being pretty big. Also not to sound crotchety but DUDE I couldn’t afford like sephora-level makeup until my 20’s.

    2. Sunflower*

      I think NYX is considered cool. It’s a little pricier than drug store but still much less than Naked or Nars

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I think all the YouTube makeup bloggers have made all the young girls beauty product connoisseurs. It used to be only about what look you could achieve with any decent product available, but note the product itself is part of the statement.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      Hmmm when I was in middle school we had Bonne Bell and Jane Cosmetics, which were expressly made for tweens. Too Faced would go over well with all the cutesy packaging and scented products.

    5. Sophie*

      Too Faced is popular and is available at Ulta. Urban Decay is popular, though the quality of their eyeshadows in the box palettes have gone downhill, in my opinion. Their eyeliners are still the best, though. Benefit is another brand that is fun. My middle school ages nieces still love drugstore brands like NYX and Rimmel. When I was their age, I could only afford Wet’n’Wild and Cover Girl!

    6. Office Plant*

      Wow. When I was in middle school, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup. Not even lip gloss. How wonderful it is that some teenagers get to experience those kinds of rules and the onset of acne at the same time.

    7. FDCA In Canada*

      Good grief, I’m asking for an Urban Decay Naked palette this year because I couldn’t quite fathom buying it for myself, and I’m pushing thirty! As a middle-schooler I was definitely not allowed to wear makeup in public, but at home it was all about the Wet and Wild, Bonne Bell, Jane stuff.

      Around this time of year lots of “fancy” makeup brands put out miniature travel sets, or gift palettes, which are usually pretty affordable. I just had a quick peek at the Ulta flyer for this week and it looks like there are mini gift sets available from Tarte, Smashbox, Benefit, and more for under $20 USD. Maybe that’s a good way to go?

    8. Purpensia*

      If you’re looking to purchase a gift for a middle schooler, ask them who their favorite makeup guru is on youtube and check out their holiday recommendations!

    9. Hana*

      Not too plugged into the middle-school set, so may be wrong, but Colourpop seems trendy overall right now and is very not pricey compared to Urban Decay and NARS.

    10. Anonforthis*

      Sephora also does value sets- you can get “Sephora Favorites” and one set might be hair products from different brands or you can choose a bag that has perfume, makeup, face masks, etc. It’s nice because you get to try different brands at a fraction of the cost.

    11. Shel*

      My 14 year old who loves full contour, smokey eyes, and winged eyeliner, says NYX has good dupes for a lot of higher end stuff, including Naked.

  34. Myrin*

    We got a new washing machine and it’s awesome so far! The last one was greatly disliked by all of us pretty much from the moment it arrived and it probably felt that or something because it really never worked properly. The new one has more… storage capacity (? What do you call that in English? I mean how much you can get into it; just “volume”?) which is already making a difference and above all, it runs SO smoothly and quietly. Our old one sounded like someone hopped around our bathroom with a sledgehammer, so this one really is a blessing in at least the sounds department.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      Yep, volume or capacity.

      I remember when I got my big front-loading washer. Wow! So cool to be able to put a queen-sized comforter in the wash instead of taking it to a commercial laundromat. But I also love, love, love that I can wash just one or two small things and not waste water because the machine weighs each load and uses the appropriate amount of water.

  35. Amber Rose*

    My sword showed up! I’ve been waiting like 8 months for this baby. It got stuck in Japanese customs for a long time.

    If I’ve done this right, picture is linked to my name.

    1. Pennalynn Lott*

      I know nothing about swords, but it looks really cool!

      I want to ask about why you bought it and how you use it, but everything I’ve typed so far [and then hastily back-spaced over] sounds either really ignorant or really condescending. One I definitely am (when it comes to swords), the other is just because I don’t know how to ask questions about things I don’t know anything about. :-(

      But I’m genuinely interested why you [you, specifically, as well as the general “you”] would buy a sword. I’m curious about the how / why / where of its use.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Any questions are fine, I don’t think it’s rude or ignorant to not know about something not too many people do anymore.

        The answer to all your questions is roughly: martial arts. I practice iaido, the way of the samurai sword. My sword is about as sharp as a butter knife, so I can get used to the weight and balance of a sword without hurting myself too badly. We run through forms and techniques, and sometimes attack pool noodles and assorted large vegetables, for 6 hours a week.

        I started a few years ago because I really, really like swords, and I’ve been using wooden ones up to now. This one was custom made to my height and arm length so it’s pretty exciting that I get to use it.

        1. Pennalynn Lott*

          Oooh. . . that *is* cool! Thank you for satisfying my curiosity!!

          And I’m loving the mental image of attacking pool noodles and large vegetables. There are quite a few of each from my past that I’d like to take revenge on, so I’ll be doing that vicariously through you from now now. :-D

    2. Gene*

      Is it modern or does it have provenance? My boss just got back from Japan, he has one being shipped home -17th century, I think. Also has a yari from the 13th century on way and another sword he left behind so it can be submitted to the NBTHK for the second level shinsa. That can take a year. He brought back lots of furniture for those and for his other swords. It’s become an obsession for him, be careful!

      1. Amber Rose*

        Modern I guess. It’s a zinc aluminum alloy for training purposes. I’ll be putting it through its paces tomorrow in class. Given that I’m a walking armory at this point, you don’t need to warn me about addiction. I’m hooked. :)

  36. Hello from Canada*

    Aargh! I want to buy a house, but I don’t think I can afford it. I live with my parents and younger siblings I’m so sick of it (this is purely personal, it’s not like there’s abuse going on or anything). But this isn’t a city I want to live in long term. It seems stupid (plus, I feel like my parents would be really hurt) to pay rent somewhere else when I’m living at home for free, but I also feel like I’m so miserable at home that I won’t be able to muster up the energy to leave (job search, study for grad school) until I get some space to myself to really focus on it. I’m basically just going in circles in my head and I’m tired all the time, and when I think about how I don’t see any way out of this situation I feel like crying. I’ve basically been paused here due to indecision for a year and I feel trapped. What would you do in my situation?

    1. Sunflower*

      I think you need to move out- unless you can come up with some sort of plan or budget that would allow you to buy a house in the next yearish. Saying your parents would be really hurt if you moved out says quite a lot about what it’s most like like living with them. It’s normal to want freedom and independence. I lived at home, rent-free, for 2 years after I graduated from college. After 2 years, I didn’t care if I had to get 3 jobs to pay rent, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

      This idea of rent being a waste of money is an idea I’ve heard/seen from a lot of people. Rent is the most important living expense. It’s ok to spend money on it. I’d urge you to stop thinking of paying rent as a waste of money especially when your sanity and happiness are at stake.

      1. bluesboy*

        I think that for me NOT renting would have been a waste of money. I rented a number of places that I thought were perfect, then found things I didn’t like after moving in. If I’d just bought the first one I would have been stuck; instead, by the time I bought I was able to understand what I wanted.

        OP, whatever you decide, good luck, but if you do move out to rent, try to think of it as ‘research’ to help you make the right call when it IS time to buy.

        1. One Handed Typist*

          +1 This is the very best reason to get your own place. Don’t rent an apartment – rent the type of property you would be interested in buying. Experience living in a home so you can start to see all the little things that add up. You may discover that what you thought was a brilliant feature is really a total pain in the ass.

          I’d also add that your parents’ feelings are going to be hurt no matter what you do. Eventually you will move out. You will either find a place to live in your current city or you will move on to a better area. But you will leave their house. It is YOUR life to live and you can’t base your decisions on your parents’ emotions. Moving out now while you still have your parents’ support locally is a great step to take to test the waters and ease your parents into recognizing you are an adult.

      1. ck*

        +1

        Except I would start saving for a studio/one bedroom.

        It doesn’t always make sense to buy a house. The additional expense is staggering.

        It is NOT just paying mortgage, but add taxes/association fees, high utilities, equipment/maintenance of yards/plumbing/heating etc.., replacing/fixing things as they wear/break, the furniture you feel you have to buy to fill the space. Just…. too much.

        Save your money, invest it instead, retire early. Live simply. On your own.

    2. self employed*

      Can you go be someone’s roommate? Way cheaper than going out on your own, and they have already (I presume) done all the work of getting utilities, security deposit, etc.

    3. Natalie*

      It sounds more like you want to move than that you specifically want to buy a house. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be somewhere else even though it isn’t the free option. “Free” or “least money possible” is only sometimes the best choice – I have this argument with my husband a lot. :)

    4. fposte*

      I would move out and rent. The goal is an independent life; home ownership is totally incidental to that, and many people have exciting lives without ever buying a single house. Your parents are going to have a tough time when you leave, period; that’s not a reason not to leave in whichever way you can manage right now.

    5. Temperance*

      I would move out. I don’t care if my parents had their feelings hurt, FWIW. My parents wanted me to move “home” after college until I married, because they’re conservative, but I moved in with my boyfriend instead. I couldn’t hack their curfew, mandatory church, and the amount of chores they wanted me to do.

      There is a very simple way out of this situation, and that’s looking for a small apartment in your budget.

      1. Mona*

        THIS. If you can’t find a good friend or someone you would get along with as a roommate for a larger apartment, find a studio.

        Rent costs money, yes, but as Sunflower mentions, it’s worth your sanity, which is priceless. Also, consider the tools you will learn while living on your own and away from your family as part of your path of independence.

        I think all of us here who are older felt one way or another like you did now. Please don’t feel you are boxed in and have no options. You do. It’s just scary taking that first step out.

    6. Hello from Canada*

      Thanks to everyone for saying that it’s ok to rent. I guess part of my struggle is that I come from a culture where it’s normal to live with your parents until you get married. So renting a place in the same city my parents live, to me, feels like a really selfish(or at least unfilial) thing to do. If I moved away it wouldn’t matter that I was renting, but I don’t think I can move away as long as I’m living with them and all my mental energy is used up just existing.

      Part of my frustration too is that when I look at places I could buy and split with a roommate it seems like it would still be pretty expensive. And yet when I look at renting a place with a roommate it seems like the nice places are all as expensive as buying! One option has* to be cheaper than the other, so I’m assuming the problem is me. But even though I know my thought patterns are wrong, I don’t know how to regain perspective.

      It kind of feels like I’m getting what I deserve. Instead of staying home like a good girl I want to leave my parents and pay rent that goes into someone else’s pocket. But I don’t want to stay home like a good girl. I know I’m being selfish but I just want to stop feeling so suffocated all the time. This is really hard.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, that’s a tough pattern. Here’s a different perspective: housing is expensive, period. The less you earn, the higher percentage you’re likelier to spend on it and the more limited your choices are–that’s why people often do live in cheap little places with roommates when they first move away from their parents, and why sometimes young people have some adjustments to make when they move away from their parents and into less-nice quarters.

        But note this is all economics and nothing to do with virtue or morality! Bad girls and good girls alike generally can’t afford nice housing when they’re in their early years. And the relationship between renting and purchase prices varies hugely depending on where you are, but having the monthly charge be similar isn’t at all uncommon. Owning means you’re going to pay a lot more in expenses in addition to the mortgage; renting means there’s no chance of appreciation making you money when you move (or depreciation losing you money). How much those factors weight the outcome will depend on the market and the locale.

        But I’m concerned that you seem to be unhappy and considering that the tough housing row all young people have to hoe to be a personal failing. Would you consider talking to a counselor about this? It could help you clarify your wants and needs, and it would also give you some perspective on whether moving out would help or just relocate your unhappiness.

        1. Mona*

          Good point in your last paragraph, fposte. As my first counselor said to me, “running away to Country X will give you some pleasure, but that doesn’t solve the problems of why you’re unhappy.”

          Hello from Canada, you’re probably from a similar background as mine. It is a difficult thing to navigate when girls are supposed to “be” one way and you don’t want to be that kind of woman when you grow up. I had bad self-esteem and low confidence when I was a kid and it took me years of being out in the working world and proving I could be a successful professional, not to mention a lot of therapy, to get to a place where I was happier with myself. You sound a lot like me when I was younger, and I do think talking to a professional about this would help you realize you need to make yourself happy first. Even if you’re brought up in a culture where you’re supposed to respect your elders as the be-all and end-all. Please know you’re gonna get through this.

        2. Hello from Canada*

          Thanks fposte, I don’t know that I consider the conflict itself to be a personal failing. But the fact that I hate living at home so badly that I would pay a stranger to escape where I am now feels like a moral failing. In my mind the only right (morally, financially, relationally) choice seems to be to stay at home until I move to a different city or get married. I just feel like if I was a better person I wouldn’t feel so conflicted. I would just be happy to live at home while naturally progressing in my life and career until I got married or got a job somewhere else and it made sense to move out. But emotionally, it feels like getting away from home is a precursor to being able to actually progress in my life.

          1. CC*

            It is not a moral failing at all, to want your own space. Especially if having enough space to think means you can actually think, and make plans, and make progress on those plans! It’s also not a sign of you not being a good person that you’re conflicted about doing something that goes against your childhood training and assumptions but instead something that is better for you. It’s inherently a conflict. Of course you feel conflicted about it.

            After moving out, or even after mentioning that you plan to move out, your family may or may not try to make you believe that you’re being terrible and/or making a mistake, but you’re not.

          2. fposte*

            Oh, honey, all the best people are conflicted, I promise you. I think what you’re experiencing is really common, especially in people with contradictory cultural influences. (And the cold hard truth is that whether you’re buying or renting, you’re paying a stranger. It’s only recently that I owned more of my house than Mr. Wells Fargo did and I’ll still be paying him for a long time.)

            I strongly vote for moving out and renting a place; it will not solve your feeling conflicted, but you can see whether the advantages outweigh the conflicts. It will also give you an action to take, which is almost always a tonic for a situation where you’re feeling trapped.

          3. Marcela*

            Let me give you a new perspective from somebody who waited 10 years more than it should to leave my parents’ place: just for staying there you are paying a price. The price was the relationship with my parents. In my country and culture, we live with our parents until we are married. Most people do not leave home to go to the university, so there is no place to go before you start your own family.

            I spent 10 years of hell with my mom, and I also believed I should not leave. I also wanted so much to happily live under my mom’s conditions, thinking she wanted to best for me and that she could not let me suffer if she only knew how unhappy I was for certain things, that I stayed. After all, she was not abusing me, only trying to raise me under the rules of the middle ages. Those 10 years scarred me in such way that 10 years later (from the moment I left, I mean), I still can’t have a decent relationship with her. I thought I was in a better place until she came visiting a month ago, but all the rage is still inside me. Now I wish I would have left as soon as I was 18. I would have been free of this resentment. I could love her without being so enraged by her selfishness.

      2. TL -*

        So you’re probably not going to be able to afford a nice place – that’s okay. Your parents probably worked for years to be able to afford their nice house in their nice neighborhood and you’re going to have to do the same thing. And – $800/month in rent isn’t the same as $800/mo in mortgage and $150,000 in debt. Live somewhere where the rent is reasonable for the city you’re in; don’t worry about a place being “nice”; worry about it being functional and safe.

        It’s totally normal to rent when you’re first on your own! You don’t want to live in the city, so why incur debt to do so? And it’s also totally normal to not want to live with your parents – it’s not selfish to want to start your own life. Get your own place, and work on getting your life where you want it to go.

      3. Temperance*

        I’m going to encourage you here to reframe your thinking. You’re an adult woman, not a “girl”, and it’s okay to be “selfish”. Don’t worry about being a “good girl”. Obeying your family all the time has clearly taken a toll on you.

        My family belongs to a religious group that encourages women to live home until marriage. I made the choice to stop being part of that, largely because I don’t share their belief system.

      4. Trillian*

        While I’m not from a culture that expects women to go from parental home to marital home, my mother seldom missed a chance to denigrate the family relationships of students who moved out while attending the local uni. So I never thought of moving out until I moved long distance for work, into a 1br rental. I had no idea how much I would love having my own chaotic, creative space–that no one could enter uninvited without 24 hours notice, except in emergency–or how much my relationship with my mother would improve without the constant friction of our different priorities.

        I would recommend you start by renting. Home ownership does tie you down–the cost of both buying and selling are significant, and the basic–utilities, taxes, maintenance and repair–are ongoing, and always more than you expect. Never mind decoration, furniture and upgrades. Rent is predictable. And if independence is a struggle, you might wind up having to put some geographic distance between yourself and your family anyway, another reason to stay mobile. There isn’t one best in housing. It changes throughout your life, based on your needs, but also on factors beyond your control.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        I hope you can find ways to go easier on yourself. It’s one thing when family sets up RULES and it another whole animal when we give ourselves RULES.

        Right now you have a set up where if you stay, you lose.
        If you go, you still lose.

        Change your mind, change your life.
        Decide to let YOU win here.

        It is normal and healthy to want to spread your wings and fly. I would be worried if your goal was to stay at home until your dying day. So you are normal and healthy.

        It’s not up to you to sort your parents’ emotions for them, stick to just sorting your own.

        Next on your list is figuring out the finances of all this. Getting that first place is HARD. But the next place is not so hard. Aim small, aim for something that is less than what you think you can afford. Keep your needs modest. You can do this. The hardest part is deciding to make it work. Once you decide that, the rough part is over and you can start taking action.

    7. Anono-me*

      You are not bad for wanting what you need to build a good life for yourself. You are sensible. No one that cares for you wants you to be unhappy. (They may want you to be their kind of happy, but that is a whole ‘nother website.)

      With the complicated financial and cultural situation you have, along with the feeling I get that you just want OUT NOW; I am going to suggest looking for a longer term house sitting gig. Many snowbirds head south in January. This would give you several months of space to get your head clear and make plans. This would probably be an easier conversation to have with your family than telling them you were moving out to rent a place. You also can just sort of not move back when the gig is up, either move on to the next gig or to your own space.

      Good luck.

      1. Hello from Canada*

        OUT NOW is what my heart is screaming ;). House sitting actually sounds like a really cool idea, and you’re right that it would be easier to justify to myself and my parents. Do you know about how people get started with something like that?

        1. self employed*

          Consider starting with friends, friends’ parents, neighbors, colleagues, etc. Get references from those jobs and branch out from there.

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          Google “how to become a house sitter”. It looks like there’s a lot of information about it out there. Don’t pay any money to any of the sites [just yet]. Spend time sussing out what’s real and what’s a scam.

          Also, does your neighborhood have anything like an email group, or a Google group; or does Canada have something like Nextdoor(dot)com? You could write to the group and ask if anyone either (a) has experience as a house sitter, or (b) has used a house sitter. Let them know you want to pick their brains about how to become one. (Or ask any other community you might be a part of).

        3. Anono-me*

          Most of the people I know who have pet or house sat or who used sitters did it as a sort of mutual favors for friends of friends. And found each other by word of mouth.

          However, I did meet a professional house/pet sitter several times and as I found that very interesting, I asked about it. The house/pet sitter had a LLC, a regular group of clients, a professional website and also advised on vacation group websites and blogs. I know that that there is at least one for Canadians who snowbird in Arizona. (Sorry I don’t know the name.)

          Also, if you are a dog person: I have a friend who dog sits at home and works with Doggy Vacay. And likes them. They do have an in home pet sitting option.

          IANAL, but you may want to check on how the insurance and legal stuff works if you wind up doing this independently.

          Good luck.

    8. Colette*

      I agree with everyone that you should find a way to move out. If you’re not already doing so, start saving the equivalent of the rent you’d pay every month. That’ll give you a cushion when you are ready to move.

      Your parents might be upset. That’s ok – they can take it. To quote a great uncle I never met, if you do this they’ll be upset. If you don’t do it, you’ll be upset. It’s better that it’s them.

    9. Stellaaaaa*

      I’m going to disagree with the others a bit – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with living at home to save money provided that you actually are saving the money.

      I moved out two years ago and got a studio, and I was miserable. In this region, the only places that an adult with my income could rent on her own were in unsafe, loud neighborhoods. I was paying a lot of money to live in an area where I couldn’t sleep at night or feel safe walking from my car to my front door. Roommates weren’t an option, since I’m at an age where everyone is jumping to move in with romantic partners. I don’t think it’s as easy as just finding a studio or just finding roommates; if the person living above you is a loud drunk who never takes her clompy shoes off, is the ~independence really worth it? Or if your roommate bails after three months to shack up with her boyfriend, where does that leave you? Wouldn’t you eventually resent having to spend the money to live in a place that made you cry out of exhaustion and stress?

      I moved back in with my mom but we mostly get along and she doesn’t hassle me. I have a lot of student debt from finishing my master’s. She’s proud of me for that and she doesn’t mind helping me out while I pay off my education. BUT I am very serious about putting my would-be rent money into savings so I can buy my own house in a quiet area eventually.

    10. AcademiaNut*

      A couple of comments.

      The first – buying isn’t always the best thing to do financially. It depends on the market, your finances, how long you plan on staying in the area, and a bunch of other stuff. For my parents’ generation, it was a no-brainer – you rented until you could afford to buy, then you bought. For my generation, it’s a lot more varied. I have no intention of buying, for example, because the rent/buy ratio and housing prices in general mean it would be a bad financial decision.

      Second – living on your own (or with roommates) in between living with your parents and buying or marrying has some very practical benefits. You get practice managing things – money, interacting with the landlord, shopping, cooking, fixing things – in a way you generally don’t when living with parents. You can learn more about what you want and don’t want when you buy, and things to look out for, not just in the house but in the neighbourhood. Living with roommates you aren’t related to can teach you a lot about what you need and what you don’t want in a romantic partner, and how to live with someone as an equal. And with a rental place and roommates, it’s a lot easier to change if you don’t like it – you aren’t stuck with a house you can’t afford and can’t sell, or a messy divorce.

      Third – if you’re desperate to get out of your current situation, and the only way you can see doing it is marriage or home ownership, you’re more likely to buy or marry something that isn’t a good idea, and regret it later. I have friends who married to get away from home, and it wasn’t necessarily much of an improvement.

    11. Artemesia*

      Being a grownup means moving away from home; but buying a house is a terrible idea until you are fairly well set on a location AND very well off financially i.e.no debt and savings for a good down payment and a good income.

      I’d think about finding a modest apartment, even a studio, in an area or building where there are other young adults and make plans to move and then let them know that is what you are doing. I am assuming you have finished college from your comment about grad school — so it is high time. If you don’t have a job to support this then make that your first priority — and save like crazy for the deposit.

      Another option in many cities and one my daughter used living in DC for her first job was living in a share house with 4 other people. It was really cheap and she was able to save money on a very low beginning salary in a high cost town.

      When you are stuck and need to do A B C and D — pick one thing and focus just on that. And please don’t feel guilty or succumb to hassles about the natural course of growing up and moving out on your own. Good luck.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        “Being a grownup means moving away from home”

        ———

        This isn’t true at all. There are many functioning, well-adjusted adults for whom living with their parents is the financially smarter or culturally accepted thing to do. There are many good arguments for moving out, but “you won’t be a real grownup until you do” isn’t one of them.