weekend free-for-all – November 5-6, 2016

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.)

No politics, please. We could all use the break.

Book recommendation of the week: The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue. An 11-year-old girl in a small Irish village claims to have survived without eating for months, and this is the story of the nurse charged with figuring out whether it’s a hoax or not. I didn’t think I’d like this, but I loved it.

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

{ 861 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous Educator*

    Just discovered Dark Matter on Netflix and am totally binging. Had never heard of the show before, but it has an interesting premise and an unusually diverse cast. I’d highly recommend it.

    1. LawCat*

      I’ve been enjoying that one too! I think it’s a fun space adventure. It’s neat to see reveals about the characters and see them sorting out who they were versus who they are (and if those things can be reconciled).

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, lots of interesting philosophical questions come up. At a certain point, the “Who can we trust?” plotline gets tired, but I just trucked right through that and things got interesting again.

    2. Penny*

      I have to admit, I tried Dark Matter but couldn’t continue after the first four episodes. The characters didn’t engage me at all, especially the silly numbers as names. I just didn’t care for it. But I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

      The other space show that came out on SyFy that year, Killjoys, that was my addiction. It was fun action with bounty hunters in space! The annoying romantic drama between the characters aside, I love it and would highly recommend that one.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        We’re cable-cutters, so we do only streaming. I’ll wait until Killjoys shows up on Netflix. Thanks for the rec!

        1. Penny*

          Oh sorry, didn’t realize it wasn’t on Netflix yet. But yeah, definitely give it a shot when it does arrive!

      2. Jen RO*

        I watched Dark Matter… but just as a ‘nothing else better to see tonight’ kinda thing. It’s not *bad*, it just didn’t grip me either.

      3. Elle*

        Yeah, I gave up after episode three, I think. Dark Matter is an okay show, but it’s just not worth the lifetime spent to watch it.

        Luckily I found Notorious. The episodes are about the same lenght but they seem shorter because time just flies. Not a dull moment. It has me hooked.

    3. The IT Manager*

      Win! IMO it really gets going toward the end of the first season and there’s some definite shocks in season 2.

      IMO Killjoys started stronger but faded with the complexity of the vast system spanning conspiracy centering around these 3 characters for some reason. Killjoys setting is reminancent of Firefly (not the same quality of writing of course) but a similar setting.

  2. LawCat*

    The spouse and I have started watching Outlander. We’re about halfway through season 1 and really enjoying it. I read a few of the books aaaaaages ago, but to the best of my recollection, the show is pretty dead on so far. I actually am enjoying the show’s depiction of Frank and the relationship between him and Claire much better. I think showing what’s happening in Frank’s contemporary time is interesting and also her flashbacks really make their relationship much more vivid than in the book. To my recall, he just seemed distant and abstract in the book (perhaps owing to the first person narrative of Claire), but in the show, he seems more real and visceral.

    We’re looking forward to seeing the rest of season 1, but we’re like 3 billionth on the waiting list at the library for it so it may be a while.

    Anyone else watching?

    **COMMENTS MAY HAVE SPOILERS**

    p.s. Ugh, and Jack Randall is the WORST.

    1. MacGirl*

      I read the book before I started watching the series and all I could think was “Diana, where have you been entire literary existence?!” I didn’t like season 2 as much as 1 but still plan to watch season 3. I started the sixth book in the series at the end of August and just haven’t found enough time to finish.

      Casting Sam Heughan was a brilliant choice, imo.

    2. bassclefchick*

      Love Outlander! Been reading the books for years. Wasn’t sure I’d like the show, but it’s very well done. And Diana has given it full approval. If the AUTHOR loves it, who am I to complain? LOL

      Though I HAVE heard book 10 will be the last. That makes me nervous. I really love this series.

      1. Panda Bandit*

        I didn’t realize there were more books coming!! I saw 8 in the backmatter and was starting to get a little sad knowing that I was coming close to the end.

    3. Searching*

      I’m a huge fan of her books (can’t wait for Bees to come out). They did a good job with season 1, even though I didn’t care for the actress they selected to portray Claire (nothing wrong with the actress per sé, she’s just so different from how I pictured the character). The final episodes were very hard for me to watch though. I don’t do well with torture scenes (it’s easier to read them because I can skim). Season 2 didn’t quite grab me the same way as season 1, but then I didn’t like the 2nd book as much either. I hope things will pick up again with season 3.

      1. LawCat*

        I like the actress who plays Claire, but the one thing that is making me nuts is when other characters refer to her as “wee” or “small” because she appears quite tall to me!

  3. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

    Has anyone here volunteered for CASA? I just signed up to be a court-appointed advocate and am really excited to be a part of it. Curious to know what other people’s experiences have been like.

    1. Red Reader*

      I haven’t done, but it’s something I’m pondering when I have more free time. (3 semesters left of grad school, while also working full time — I don’t want to get into a volunteer situation if I don’t have the time to do it right, y’know?)

      So I’ll be coming back to this to see what kind of responses you get!

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I’ve just started the application process. I’m hoping it will be a really good experience! I’ve been thinking about it for a couple years. I keep hearing the ads on the radio and finally decided to go for it.

    3. Long Time Lurker*

      I have not been a CASA, but have been a foster parent. I just want to say, “Thank you!” and you have the opportunity to make a huge difference in someone’s life.

      I’ve had cases with good CASAs, cases with not-so-good CASAs, and cases with no CASA. In one of my favorite cases, the CASA was instrumental in getting a one year old home sooner. (As he should have been. Caseworker was going to delay reunification by 3-6 months because she’d only been on the case a month and wasn’t up to speed.)

      You have the unique position of advocating for the child, with no personal biases to cloud your judgement. My recommendation: get to know your kids, get to know their families (birth and foster), but fight in court for what’s best for the child.

      1. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

        Can you explain what, in your opinion, makes a good CASA and a not-so-good CASA? :)

        1. Long Time Lurker*

          Sure! (Trying not to write you a novel…)

          Not so good CASAs only show up at court and get all their info from there (and maybe the caseworker). Court is not the best time to get to know a child or to understand their family dynamics. (I had one case with a CASA I never met. Case was nearly a year long and I went to most court dates.)

          Good CASAs are interested in all sides of the case. What does the bioparent say about their caseplan? What does the foster parent report that the child says/does (especially right before or after a visit)? What does the caseworker really think, not just what they say in court? What does the medical record actually say, in abuse cases? (I had one placement where the hospital had made a mistake and mixed up 2 files. Said the kid had injuries he didn’t have. That made the biofamily’s story of the accident look suspicious, because it didn’t match the injuries in the file. CASA was the one who caught the error and got the hospital to fix it.)

          I had email addresses for the good CASAs, so I could keep them in the loop. (That may be a personal preference; I documented everything over email.) They would go to the occasional family visit to observe. The foster kids knew who they were.

          Hope that helps!

    4. Dances with Poodles*

      My cousin, who previously worked as a social worker, is currently undergoing CASA training. She is American Indian and grew up on a cattle ranch on a reservation. (She prefers to use the term, “American Indian” to describe herself, or else to use the name of her tribe.)

      She has confided to me that in the training she has observed a lot of racial bias, some subtle, and some that is more blatant. She claims that many of her trainers are overly eager to remove children from American Indian homes, often unnecessarily, and do not make much of an effort to see that the children’s parents get any training in how to be better parents.

      She has discussed this with her trainers and they have been rather dismissive of her and her concerns. We both wonder if it may be because she is American Indian, or if it might just be that they don’t like to be challenged in their beliefs. She is continuing with the training, though, and thinks that she will be able to make a positive difference in the lives of the children and their families. Perhaps her opinion will change when she has actual experience as a CASA. Or perhaps not.

      I love and respect my cousin very much. I try to listen to her. I try not to judge her and I try to be supportive of her. I feel she will be a very good CASA.

    5. BackintheSunshine*

      I, too, have started the application process in Florida. I read about CASA in a magazine and applied. Hope to start the training process in January.

    6. Caroline Herschel*

      I’ve been a CASA for the last year or so! I’ve really enjoyed the experience, though the time commitment and (for me) the amount of driving I’ve ended up doing are definitely always a challenge to fit in to my schedule.

      A few things I would look into:
      -This isn’t something I know a lot about, but I’ve heard that CASA responsibilities are every different between states. In my state, mentoring and interacting with the child directly are a huge part of the program (we meet weekly) but I’m not sure that’s the case everywhere. Make sure the program where you are is a good fit for you!

      -You’ll probably mess up at some point, but that’s ok! As a few people have already mentioned, the dependency system in general and being a CASA is fraught with all sorts of questions around race, economic status, and privilege. I’ve really learned a lot, and there are definitely things I would do differently the second time through.

      -This probably goes without saying (and will be covered extensively in the training) but make sure you’re alright to hear/see/read some tough stuff without the ability to process with people you’re really close to. Confidentiality is super important, and even though the staff I work with are great, it’s still hard.

      All that being said, it’s totally worth doing! I signed up for CASA because I really wanted a volunteering opportunity that I thought made a difference, and it’s been very rewarding!

  4. Mander*

    Sorry, removing this thread entirely because people don’t seem to be able to resist the temptation to respond despite my asking to keep it politics-free here! (Not your fault, Mander, and sorry to remove your post.) I’ve added the request to the top of the page.

    To repeat the original call to others: I’m asking that we keep it politics-free here, for my own sanity if nothing else (and because I don’t want to have police the various places the discussion could go). Thank you! – Alison

    1. Ellie*

      What about next week? It’ll probably be difficult to avoid the topic altogether after the result.

        1. Myrin*

          As a non-American, I’ll do my very best to take you guys’ minds off of politics next week, no matter what happens!

        2. AcidMeFlux*

          What will really fascinate me after the election will be the demographics; who voted for whom, and where? Age, sex, immigration status…

    2. Sophie Winston*

      Thank you! I’ve taken to changing the topic from politics by saying, “So, who wants to talk about religion?” And then trying to focus on Pastafarianism.

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        Holy crap, I will definitely do this the moment anyone starts talking politics around me. The only ones who get a pass are my parents with whom I agree. Thanks for the inspiration! I might be more general in my religious focus, but I can easily praise the awesomeness of different pastas.

    3. Searching*

      It is such a breath of fresh air to be able to come here and take a break from politics. Thank you.

      1. Natalie*

        Seriously. I’m trying to watch football right now and the ads make me want to smash my TV. So done with this!

    4. Menacia*

      Thank you for making this a politics free zone, I agree there are far more interesting topics to discuss! ;)

    5. Mander*

      Sorry. I just wanted to express my frustration at the whole thing with like-minded people. I was trying to keep it non-specific.

    1. Shabu Shabu*

      Awesome, congrats!

      I hope you come back and give us updates. I still think about going back to school and if I do I’d do PA.

    2. Belle di Vedremo*

      Wonderful!
      You’re going to be *great* at this; that comes through every time you talk about it.

  5. Andrea*

    I don’t get all the television consumption in America. How much time do people who have full time jobs devote to TV each night? What is this taking time from? The threads which tout watching show after show just seem alien to me.

    1. Elkay*

      I’m not in the US but I probably average 2-3 hours of TV a night if I’m at home (~7pm – 10pm). On the weekend probably double that. I watch 99% of my TV from my TiVo box or Amazon/Netflix so it’s easy to line stuff up and charge through it.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I can’t speak for anyone else here, but my spouse and I are both introverts, so when we get home from work, we typically watch TV in the evenings to decompress. We may be doing others things, too (writing, sewing, knitting, drawing) while watching, but the evenings seem a great time to watch shows and zone out a bit.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        This is what my SO and I do. We are both in roles that involve a lot of interaction with people, so as introverts, that can get exhausting! TV is one of the easiest ways for us to unwind.

    3. self employed*

      I gave it up when I realized how much time I was wasting and would never get back! I now read for an hour a night to relax and enjoy a story. It feel much better to my brain! I think a lot of TV is either vapid, garbage or dark (which I personally don’t care for) and I almost never feel like I’m missing out on what’s going on. I get why people need to zone out but I personally find it a big time-suck.

      1. Aam Admi*

        I agree with self employed. I read for an hour every night – either a blog or a book or magazine, while listening to the radio. My TV watching is limited to 2 minutes of news headlines daily before heading out to work and may be an hour of HGTV on a Sunday. This has been my routine for many years now. I tried watching some of the shows AAMers rave about but I have never been able to watch for more than a few minutes

      1. Claire (Scotland)*

        I can’t. If I’m watching TV, I’m watching TV. I can’t follow it if I try to do other things as well. And I HATE having the TV on if I’m not actually watching it.

        1. The IT Manager*

          I’m like you, but many, many people have the tv on constantly as background noise/entertainment.

          1. kittymommy*

            That’s me. It’s like white noise to me. Not only do I have it on when I’m doing chores, it’s also on when I’m working or reading. Half the time I don’t even hear it, which means i need to DVR anything I actually want to see.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            That is the big divide in my household. I hate having the tv on if nobody’s watching it, and my husband and son both use the tv as white noise and hate when the house is quiet. I like to have time in the day where I can just quietly think my own thoughts without any infringing noise from the tv.

            1. Talvi*

              That’s the divide between my parents as well. My mom loves it quiet; my dad likes the white noise.

              For me, it really depends on what I’m doing. If I’m trying to read, I need the quiet (or soft instrumental music), but if I’m watching TV, I like to also be knitting or sewing or ironing or something mindless like that that doesn’t really require focus.

            2. Jessesgirl72*

              My husband and I compromise with music. I like the white noise- and tune it out while doing other things, anyway. Music doesn’t distract him like a TV show would.

      2. Nina*

        It definitely depends on what I’m watching. Stuff like House Hunters is fine for background noise when I’m cleaning, but if I’m watching Atlanta, I’ll be tuned in every minute.

        1. HoVertical*

          I like to put on HGTV as background if I’m doing something labor-intensive that still doesn’t require all my attention – like dusting. Otherwise, I’m noodling around on the interwebs, keeping my brain busy. We lost my Mom a few weeks ago and it’s been tough.

            1. HoVertical*

              Mom was a wee bit of a hoarder about some things. We were clearing out a storage bin today and came across quite the stack of birthday, Christmas, and other holiday cards – from 2008! It was a good laugh. :)

    4. Caledonia*

      It’s not just America.

      I often have the tv on for company because I live alone and can do other things e.g chores, study etc whilst its on.

    5. self employed*

      Yeah, it’s pretty bad. I gave it up when I added up the time wasted by watching a couple shows religiously. It didn’t add anything to my life. Now I read for an hour or two instead. Much better for my brain and I’m not missing anything!

    6. Jen RO*

      I follow 4-5 shows a season, which means I usually watch for 30-60 minutes every evening. When I do binge a new show, I either spend the entire weekend watching it (usually while playing World of Warcraft on the other monitor), or I watch 2-3 episodes after work until I am done. If I get back home at 7 pm, I can watch TV until 10. I don’t have kids, elderly relatives, or any other obligations except feeding my cats… so I don’t really get why I wouldn’t have time to TV.

    7. all aboard the anon train*

      It’s not just America who does this. I remember some studies done in 2015 that had a lot of other countries ahead of the US in terms of TV consumption per day.

      I don’t have cable, but for Netflix and Hulu, it’s maybe a few hours each week – if only because I don’t watch much that airs on basic cable channels. Most of the shows I like tend to be scattered throughout the year so I’m not consistently watching each day or week.

      But sometimes I just like to put on a documentary or cooking show while I’m doing housework or cooking. When I housesit for my parents, I always have the TV on because they live in an isolated area and it’s kind of creepy to be alone in a big house at night, so the TV helps settle my nerves.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending two or so hours watching TV, though. Some people consider watching TV or movies their hobby and that’s no different than someone whose hobby is sports or reading or going to bars.

    8. Lily Evans*

      I’m single without kids and my work schedule makes it complicated to make plans after work, so I can easily watch 2-3 hours of shows a night. It doesn’t really take time away from anything, all of my socializing, hobbies, and chores I fit in before work or on my days off. Most of the time I actually end up watching something because I don’t have anything else at all to do and with streaming services it’s really easy to get through shows pretty quickly.

    9. Jean*

      American demographic outlier (and TV curmudgeon) here. I was raised in a home without television. We rented a set to watch the moon landings in 1969. As a result I am almost entirely unable to tune out the sound of a broadcast enough to concentrate on another activity, including conversation. I also developed an intense loathing for laugh tracks and loud, intelligence-insulting advertisements.

      I spend a lot of my time reading but it’s not always highbrow literature or mind-improving nonfiction. If it’s set in type, I’ll read it whether it’s the New York Times website, a cereal box, a glossy magazine, a murder mystery or a free community newspaper.

      As a kid I occasionally saw bits and pieces of TV shows when visiting friends’ homes. This gave me enough knowledge to “pass” for cultural fluent–not that I cared greatly about being culturally fluent, but it got tedious having to explain repeatedly that I was not dying of boredom even though my family lived without TV. As an adult I married a TV-watcher, which mostly meant that I picked up more mainstream cultural knowledge. Several years ago I decided that if TV came up at work I would politely share that I don’t follow TV shows. (My true motive was not wanting to spend further mental energy on something I personally find uninteresting.) Nobody seems to mind. There are always other topics about which to chat.

      Depending on the event, I will watch live coverage on TV, watch it with the sound turned down so I can listen to Public Radio, or just go into another room and listen to the radio while cooking or washing dishes or whatever.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Me too! Except I married a man who doesn’t watch TV either.

        I’ve now and then had a show I wanted to watch. It had to have Superman in it,. People think that’ a joke when I say it, but it isn’t. Oh, I watched Birds of Prey, but those are DC Comics characters, so Superman’s world, even if he didn’t show up in the show.
        We got cable just to get the high-speed Internet, and we got Netflix because I wanted to watch Miss Fisher’s Myteries. But I’m so behind, because I usually don’t watch it.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Yeah, my spouse was never interested, and as a kid I was limited to 6 hours of ‘junk tv’ a week (by my dad’s definition, and very little wasn’t classified as junk). We have over a dozen old tv’s in the house, but none that can get digital, and we haven’t watched tv in years. I just admit to my cultural illiteracy.

          We have enough time to watch one movie or perhaps two episodes of an old tv show two or three times a month. I have no idea how people have time to watch it every day! And I can’t imagine how people with kids (we don’t have kids) have time for it. I’d love to spend an hour a day reading, but can barely get much of that either.

    10. SystemsLady*

      I don’t “watch watch” over half the television my husband and I consume.

      It’s why I’m way behind on Game of Thrones and will probably never catch up (my husband has more time than I do when he has free time), but “watched” all of Broad City over a rainy weekend.

    11. Sami*

      I really hate that TV watching gets a bad rap. I love tv, always have. Right now, for instance, I’m watching a marathon of NCIS. They are all episodes I’ve seen before (and might even have on DVD). But I’m also playing on my iPad- reading AAM, Words with Friends, shopping. I’m also reading a book. So- multitasking. I’m single and don’t have kids, so it helps me feel like there are other people around. I aggressively hit the mute button for all commercials.
      Other people watch movies (at home, on their TV or at the theater), others read, or play video games. I’ll do what I do and you (the general you) do you.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I enjoy NCIS re-runs too. When the TV’s on, I’m usually doing something else too, like reading this blog.

      2. Juli G.*

        And there are unbelievably smart and creative people making TV. You think of things like Game of Thrones, Westworld, Breaking Bad… all deserving of their hype. But other things too – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did an amazing single take illusion episode in its 10th season. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had 4 original choreographed songs in last week’s episode. Networks are trying to make money and they should. But you have some amazing creatives that care just as much about their craft as any author or artist.

      3. the gold digger*

        I grew up without a TV (parental philosophy plus we lived outside of the US anyhow and were not fluent in Spanish) and read instead, so I am a voracious reader.

        I also binge watch TV. I get the DVDs from the library, turn on the captioning, and click the fast forward one click. (Because they talk so slowly!) I can watch a 40 minute episode – no commercials – in 30 minutes. I love it. I find it very relaxing and there is some excellent storytelling on TV these days.

      4. Impartial Observer*

        Some people have a snobby attitude against TV because they get to ride the “intellectual” bandwagon. Makes them feel superior. We should all just mind our own business.
        I am onebof those people who don’t watch TV. I have nothing against it, I just don’t have the patience for it. I need my stories to have a beginning a middle and end, in a matter of 3 hours or less. Otherwise I just lose interest.

    12. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I never get the TV hate. No one would be judgy if someone was really into going to the theater or would ask what it was taking time away from! I don’t see why TV is somehow considered more lowbrow than watching a play.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I feel like the accessibility of it leads to elitism (both monetary and intelligence based elitism IME). Most people I know who don’t watch TV usually talk about how they’d rather read books instead. Personally, I love both books and TV and I feel like so many shows are just as rich and complex as books when it comes to plot-lines and characterization (with the added bonus of awesome visuals).

        1. Nicole*

          I agree. Sure, I’d probably read a bit more if I watched less TV, but it’s not like I gave up reading entirely just to sit in front of the television. And so what if I did? I enjoy it, just like someone who is into sports can watch it all weekend or what have you even though that doesn’t appeal to me in the least.

          I’m way too tired after work to engage in any tasks that would take much brain power anyway so why not enjoy some shows? I don’t think that makes me any less intellectual.

        2. Nina*

          There’s definitely a monetary issue. TV watching increased with the economic crash, and it went beyond the basic network channels. It wasn’t just cable, options like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu made it possible to see TV series at your own leisure (“binge watching”) and movies that were no longer available. People couldn’t afford to go out on the weekends, so TV became the prime source for their entertainment.

          And you can particularly see the difference during awards season. Amazon and Netflix, which were considered lesser forms of entertainment, now openly boast award winning programs and actors.

        3. Nina*

          Forgot something: a lot more book/comic series are being adapted for television. I think TV is an easier medium to absorb, although a lot gets left out. Check out any message board thread about Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. They’re usually split into one thread for the folks that read the book, the other for folks that haven’t read it. Either way, tons of comments and feelings. It’s another way for people to communicate about something they enjoy. Or hate.

          Also, for people interested in a certain novel, the TV version of it could be the gateway to them actually reading the series. That’s how my mother got into Outlander. She casually watched the pilot, and she got hooked on the books and the show.

        4. FCJ*

          I’m a PhD student in the humanities, which basically means I read for a living. Before I went back to school I could devour three or four books a month, more if they were short or quick reading. Now when I’m relaxing reading is very often the LAST thing I want to do. TV forever, and fie on the haters!

        5. all aboard the anon train*

          I agree. I write and read so much at work and for my academic research that TV is a nice break from reading and writing. Especially when sometimes TV conveys what literature can’t. Shows like Pushing Daisies would make an interesting novel, but it’s much more fascinating and entertaining as a television show since it relies so heavily on visuals.

          Also, when I taught or TA’d undergrad classes I found that movie or TV adaptations were sometimes a great way to help students understand classic lit. Authors like Shakespeare (whose works are meant to be seen and not read) or Austen or any number of classic author are sometimes more easily digestible if you read the book and then watch an adaptation – or vice versa. I can’t tell you the number of students I had who admitted that seeing a performance helped them better understand a book or play. I mean, I prefer movie/tv adaptations of certain authors over the books (though I do maintain that there are some books that should never be adapted because the point of the books was to explore language and narrative and that’s not something easily translatable to film, but that’s a small percentage and the same can be said of movies and television that would make awful books).

          Different mediums do different things. You can have a theatre production, a book, a movie, and a TV production of the same source material and they’re all going to bring different things to the table. That’s not a bad thing. That’s what art is supposed to do.

          1. Al Lo*

            YES. I’m a big one for knowing your source material, or at least being knowledgeable about what it even is. I’m a theatre nerd, working professionally in the theatre community, and I’m also a huge TV buff. I think that we live in a great age for TV right now, and given the choice, most of the time I’ll choose TV over movies.

            What draws me most are well-written characters and their relationships, and I want to invest in that for hours. A good book draws me in that way and lets me follow a character for a period of time; theatre invites relationships with the story when you work on it and live with it; and TV does that by inviting you to literally watch the same people grow older and in their personalities. Most movies aren’t enough for me — I don’t like the 2-hour investment; I like the 50-hour investment.

            It’s why I don’t love a lot of older TV, where story and character continuity wasn’t as important to the creators. When TV was intended to be watched once and then moved on from, there was much less attention paid to the details that built on each other from year to year. Now (as in the last 15 years or so), with internet comments and the ability to binge-watch (TV on DVD and now Netflix and Hulu), I think there’s a much greater responsibility on showrunners and writers to tell overarching stories that remember who their characters are and where they came from, and I’m all in for that. That’s my kind of storytelling.

            1. all aboard the anon train*

              I like movies just as much as TV, but they’re definitely different mediums. Sometimes two hours is the perfect length to tell a story, but sometimes 50 hours is. I think sometimes the issue between TV and movies is having too much or not enough material. There are definitely TV shows that have waaaay too much filler just to meet the episode count or movies that have so much material but not enough time to use it all. Maybe that’s why I like miniseries or short seasons. It’s that nice middle ground between a movie and a 22 episode season.

              As much as I love TV, sometimes I’m wary of starting a new show because I’ve been burned too many times by ridiculous plot lines a few seasons in or characterization being derailed for the sake of the plot, and I think that’s actually one of the bigger problems in recent years. There’s such a focus on new and exciting plots that sometimes characterization falls to the wayside. Sometimes I notice that more when I binge watch versus traditional week-t0-week episodes.

              1. Sami*

                So true. I’ve really enjoyed “The Good Place” this fall. And it’s on hiatus until January. Not sure how many episodes they’ll have then. But the delay allows for a focus on quality.

        6. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I agree. I love stories, so I don’t care if the story comes from tv, books, plays, songs that tell a story, or just talking to people.

        7. HoVertical*

          I absolutely agree with you on the elitism bit. We’ve got fairly-basic cable – one bonus channel with several spawn, plus a small educational package. It’s a bit more expensive than we wanted, but it keeps us up to date on the one show that I watch with any regularity – “Ash vs. Evil Dead”. :) I love Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless, so I watch either on Sunday night as it airs, or on ONDemand next day or a few days later, depending on my schedule. My kids – who are in their 20s now – like some of the DC Comics shows such as “Arrow”, “The Flash”, and “Gotham”. So, it’s pretty much horror and sci-fi that the family as a whole enjoy. The looks I get when I say that Brucy’s one of my favorites just crack me up.

      2. Marcela*

        When I was a child my grandmother used to scold me because I was reading too much. All the arguments you hear about tv or video games, about how you don’t develop social connections, or that you isolate yourself, or you don’t share your life, etc, etc, etc, I had to suffer them because I was a bookworm (I hope that’s the translation of the beautiful phrase “ratón de biblioteca”). So, at this point I just laugh when people judge other people’s tv, games, tablets, smartphones, etc. consumption. It’s not the media what people fear or hate or what could be damaging. When I’m not feeling generous, I say people who complain is actually complaining they are not the center of other persons’ attention.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          My parents didn’t exactly scold me for reading too much, but would shoo me outside “to get the stink blown off me.”

          I’d take my book.

          That wasn’t what they had in mind, but they’d usually let me be.

        2. EvilQueenRegina*

          When I was about four, I had this childminder who used to tell me off for reading, and I could never understand why. Years later, people have said to me that maybe she didn’t realise I could properly read (I could) and thought I was just looking at the pictures. Thing is though, even if I had been, looking at the pictures is harmless so I don’t understand why she would have been bothered by that, would she really have preferred me to be running around screaming and throwing things and scribbling on the wall?

          1. HoVertical*

            Good grief, some folks really oughtn’t to be in charge of children, ever. Picture books are lovely though, and ‘Peter Rabbit’ is still a favorite.

      3. DragoCucina*

        Yes. Husband I would rather watch crime fiction than attend any Andrew Lloyd Webber show (Superstar is the exception). Yet people would think we are oh so cultured for attending The.Theatre!

        1. Lily Evans*

          Even though I’d love to see more live shows, they’re just so prohibitively expensive. And hard to get to if you live anywhere that’s not near a major city. I can’t stand judgy complaints about how no one goes to the theatre anymore when a tickets to popular shows are usually over $50.

      4. Jessesgirl72*

        There is this meme that I see all the time about successful people vs unsuccessful people, and the last trait on it is (allegedly) that unsuccessful people watch TV every day and successful people read books every day.

        It drives me insane. I do read a great deal. I also watch TV. There is plenty of trash in books and plenty of valuable/educational entertainment on TV. It’s all dependent on how discerning you are.

        And an occasional reality show to blow off steam isn’t any better or worse than your average beach novel.

      5. AcidMeFlux*

        Maybe it’s a holdover from the days before HBO etc. The proliferation of good-quality series has made an enormous difference in my TV watching. Also, American series are wildly popular overseas as well. My students here in Spain all watch at least some US T.V., especially the under 30 generation, and it’s really helping their English!

        1. copy run start*

          Yes, I think we are going through a great TV period right now (like how we seem to have good and bad decades for music). So I’m watching more TV than I would normally play video games.

      6. OhBehave*

        Some of the TV hate may come from seeing how very popular reality TV has become. The Kardashians, et al, kind of dumb down TV. Many reality TV shows are great such as The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, etc.

        We have several shows we DVR: Criminal Minds, Barnwood Builders, any Mike Holmes, Law & Order SVU, Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, Blue Bloods. The old, classic sitcoms are popular in our house too.
        We have great family time as well as going out with friends so there’s no deficit there. Sometimes after a stressful day you need to just ‘be’.

        1. Natalie*

          Isn’t it older than that, though? There are satirical bits about people who judgingly don’t watch TV from the 90s, before reality TV was big.

          One of my favorites from the Onion is something along the line of Man Constantly Mentions He Doesn’t Watch TV.

        2. Anonymoustoday*

          I think you’ll find a great deal of people who also think shows like The Voice and Dancing With the Stars are dumbing down TV.

      7. Ann Furthermore*

        I agree. I love TV, and I love reading, but in completely different ways.

        If I’m reading a thriller or whodunit, many times I can guess the plot twist or big reveal. Sometimes it will come out of left field and surprise me, which I love.

        When I watch TV or a movie, I don’t predict the ending as frequently. I think it’s because I’m caught up in the story and not thinking about what’s going to happen.

        I don’t think one is superior to the other.

      8. ck*

        Especially these days, as you can really pick and choose what to watch, and the quality can be very good.

        I used to go to the movies and theater more, but as they have gotten more expensive and TV has gotten so much better …. I am pretty happy with checking some great TV shows out of my library for free.

      9. TootsNYC*

        It might be that TV seems to be so ubiquitous–2 hours every single night is a lot of time. Whereas people don’t usually go to the theater every single night.

        And I think TV used to be much more unsophisticated; it truly was pretty mindless. Today’s TV is much more literary

    13. Temperance*

      What do you do with your free time? We have the TV on during chores etc., and I use it to unwind. I’ll watch a show at the gym to take my mind off of how much I hate running, too.

    14. Riverosprite*

      I watch a lot of TV but it doesn’t “take time away” from anything. A lot of my hobbies are home based anyway (jigsaw puzzles, loom knitting, etc.), and I am not the type who enjoys going out to do things. On days off, I will often watch hours of TV while also baking, folding laundry, doing puzzles, etc. Sometimes, the TV stays off and I listen to podcasts for hours instead. For some reason, people don’t seem to have as big a problem with “I binge listened to Thinking Sideways while putting together a jigsaw puzzle” as they do with “I binge watched Community while looming a scarf.”

        1. Lily Evans*

          When I was in college, my friend and I watched the entire first season of Community during a blizzard. It was a great way to spend the snow day!

    15. SeekingBetter*

      I totally agree with you about the television consumption in America. I really don’t understand how people can devote so much time every week to TV every night. When I was still employed, I would only watch maybe 2-5 hours of TV per week. Now that I’m unemployed, I still, maybe, watch anywhere from 2-7 hours a week.

      I guess it’s never been a priority for me, and some people think I’m weird for not partaking in the same TV watching habits.

    16. CMT*

      Turning this pretentious question back on you: What should I be doing with the hour or two I might spend with the tv on? I have about 4.5-5 hours between when I get home from work and when I go to bed. I think that leaves plenty of time to watch Project Runway and still be a decent human being.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Project Runway is my favorite way to unwind from the work week. I don’t have cable so I stream it online every Friday. It’s mindless but it’s something I don’t need to think about too much and the show with some wine and dessert is what I look forward to each week during each new season.

        Though I will say that in all 15 seasons, this season has the only designer who I would buy clothes from. Laurence’s clothes are exactly my style (though I’m sad that everything on her website is waaaaaay out of my price range).

        1. AcidMeFlux*

          Project Runway is wonderful, and Tim Gunn is a lesson in intelligence, gentility, good taste and humanity.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      I have done both ends of the spectrum. For the first few years we were married, we had no money so tv was a thing. One day I realized I was bored by it. I did the multitasking thing, knitted,sewed, etc while watching tv and I made a lot of stuff. I realized this had been our habit for years. I wanted something else. I started reading more and avoiding tv. Reading or other activities just appealed to me more.
      When we got this house, I had no time. By the time I cleaned up from dinner, etc, I had an hour before my bed time. I found if I sat down to watch tv, I was not ready for the next day and I would get roped into watching one more show which put me past my bedtime. The next morning was a hassle with being tired and not being prepared for the day. I found I slept better when I avoided tv before bed.

      Currently, I need to rewire my tv after painting the room. I dread this project. I know nothing about wiring and I know it will not go well. (It took me six hours to disconnect everything and that was only because in hour number five I decided to use scissors because my patience had up and LEFT.) My hatred of tv stems from “why can’t I just plug it in, turn it on and it works?”
      I “watch” tv by reading the comments here. lol. A dear friend teases me about not watching tv. I am ready to tell her she is welcome to come over and wire in for me.

      1. HardwoodFloors*

        Love it that you took a scissors to tv wires. You can probably get it back together by watching utube.

    18. copy run start*

      I probably spend 1 – 2 hours a night watching TV, maybe 3 on a weekend. I usually watch a show while eating dinner (I live alone). Sometimes I’ll watch a second episode, or an episode of something else afterwards. If i’m tired, I watch more TV. Less tired, I do things like play video games or surf the web. My job can be very stressful, so it’s a good escape. I also read every night before bed though.

      I have Netflix, Prime (probably will cancel) and Vue, which has DVR capabilities. What I watch depends on what’s airing on TV versus what I’m watching on streaming services, and how good it is.

      I confess I did binge watch the first 3 seasons of The Walking Dead recently, but I was also home sick and just functional enough to not be able to sleep for most of the time.

    19. Oryx*

      I work 40 hours a week. I also watch a ridiculous amount of TV and will happily binge watch shows one after the other.

      I also have read almost 50 books so far this and have written my own in that same time. (Comes out in two months eek!). Today I watched about 4 or 5 hours of streaming video. I also went for a run this morning. Plus, we have a TV set up in our basement so I can work out AND watch tv when it gets cold and snowy.

      #SorryNotSorry

    20. chickabiddy*

      I don’t watch TV (and I find that it sometimes puts me at a social disadvantage), but I manage to waste plenty of time online. Turning off the TV did not magically make me a more productive person.

    21. Gaia*

      So, first, this isn’t just America – it is many, many Western countries. Let’s not make this about America. That stereotype is old.

      I’d say people probably report TV watching while doing other things. For instance, I have Netflix (my version of TV) streaming almost all the time when I’m at home. I like the background noise (but music distracts me) and it often prompts me to research topics with which I am less familiar. So if you asked how much TV I watch a day I would probably say 3 – 4 hours. But that is while I am making and eating dinner, while I am working from home, while I am playing with my dog, while I am paying bills, while I am cruising AskAManager, while I am tidying the house, etc.

    22. Chaordic One.*

      I think that a lot of people just have their TVs turned on, but that they don’t pay much attention to what is actually being televised. It is sort of like having a radio turned on and the TV just plays in the background.

      At the moment the only programs I regularly watch for entertainment are on PBS. I’m kind of snob. In the past I watched BBC American regularly, but there doesn’t seem to be much there lately. I also liked “Devious Maids” on the Lifetime network, just for something that was light and not too heavy. I used to like watching a couple of “soap operas” when I had days off, but all the ones I used to watch have gone off of the air.

    23. MsChandandlerBong*

      I watch a lot more TV than the average person, but that’s because I can’t stand to work in silence. I have the TV on all day just for some noise in the background. I only watch about three current shows, so I watch SVU reruns or check out older shows I’ve never seen before when I need something mindless on. I still manage to work full-time from home, keep my house clean, cook from-scratch meals, read about 100 books a year, and participate in several hobbies, so I don’t particularly think it’s a problem.

    24. Pommette*

      I can’t dig the study up right now, but remember hearing that in the US, there is a fairly direct relationship between hours spent working (or getting to and from work) and hours spent watching tv. People with more free time tend to watch less tv, and are more likely to engage in physically or intellectually demanding leisure activities. So it could be that a lot of the time that people spend watching tv is time that couldn’t easily be spent doing much of anything else.

      I also suspect that a lot of the time people spend with the tv on isn’t only spent watching tv. Many people do something else at the same time: napping, exercising, cooking, knitting … and so on.

      Of course, you also have the time people spend seriously and intently watching tv shows that they enjoy. Pretty much everyone I know who does that spends as much time discussing those shows with friends and family as they did watching.

    25. Applecake*

      Binge watching is a thing because we spend less time watching tv. In the old days you’d watch the entire block of programming on Thursday, basically 2 1/2 or 3 hrs worth, but you’d watch with your family. The family friendly programs at 7:30 until about 9, and then the kids were,off to bed & then the grown ups shows would be on. You might not watch every single night, but chances are you did at least Sundays and Thursdays. If you look at the number of viewers, you’ll see that 2million is enough to make the show a hit — compare that to 10-15 years ago, when 10-12 million viewers made the show a hit. People talk more about their shows because they are no longer a shared experience within your neighborhood. People made sure to be home early and had parties for when they revealed who shot Jr.–and everyone saw it at the same time. Now you have to search out the groups who watch what you watch.

    26. catsAreCool*

      I don’t get it when people act like everyone in America does the same thing. I think there have been enough comments on this thread to indicate that there are a lot of people who do different thing and plenty of people who aren’t Americian who also watch TVF.

    27. Anon Accountant*

      The tv is background entertainment to me while I’m working on my job search, checking out Facebook or online shopping. Maybe 2 hours a night?

    28. Blackout*

      I watch very little TV compared to most of my friends. Most of the time I’d rather either read a book or concentrate on one of my other hobbies (genealogy, music, walking, etc.) I really only enjoy a few shows currently : Sherlock (which only puts out new episodes once in a blue moon), Elementary, South Park, and The Big Bang Theory. And most of the time I wait for the season to finish and then either buy or borrow the DVDs from the library and binge watch them.

      My friends all have these long conversations about their favorite shows that I can never participate in, which can be frustrating and make me feel somewhat inadequate, but I’ve tried watching some of their shows and I always end up giving up after a few episodes. And I’d rather devote my free time to other things, anyway.

    29. INTP*

      I am almost always watching television when I do any kind of other activity, especially boring ones. I have it on while I cook, clean, eat dinner, etc. On a weeknight I’m spending a max of maybe 30 minutes actually sitting and watching.

    30. Mike C.*

      Here’s something folks haven’t considered yet – sports. Soccer will take up 2 hours, as will an F1 Grand Prix. Football games last around 4 and then you get into the crazy stuff like anything with overtime, cricket test matches, endurance racing and election returns coverage.

    31. Cookie*

      I normally have the TV on while I’m getting making breakfast, getting dressed, doing my makeup. I watch last night’s shows on my iPad and take the iPad with me as I get ready. then I catch up some more Saturday mornings lying in bed “sleeping in.”

    32. Elizabeth West*

      I used to turn on the TV and let it play while I did other things, but now that I don’t have cable, I don’t have endless reruns of anything. So when I do watch, it’s because I want to see something. My TV consumption has dropped quite a bit. Now I’m only parked in front of it occasionally when I’m binge-watching something.

  6. Amadeo*

    Remember those fandom fragrance blends I posted about a few weeks ago? I made Vader’s ‘Chosen One’ this morning and will soap it this afternoon if I get the chance. The stuff is awful and strong in the bottle but mellows out beautifully with a few drops on a paper towel – black, earthy and smokey. I’m a little bit nervous because my last blend of just two oils played a little bit of hell with the soap batter (it didn’t want to emulsify into soap batter, it had to be beaten into submission), so I’ll just have to be ready to blend to submission or haul butt to get the stuff into the mold if it thickens too fast. I’ll post a picture next week if it works out!

  7. Elkay*

    Anyone else in the UK heading out for fireworks night? The weather forecast changed today so we’re no longer expecting rain, it’s just going to be cold. I love fireworks displays and thankfully it’s one of the things my council does well so I’m really looking forward to it.

    1. Caledonia*

      We already had our little town one and Edinburgh’s has been cancelled due to the windy weather. Have fun!

    2. bassclefchick*

      It took me a minute to figure out why there would be fireworks today, but I got there! It’s so interesting to me to hear of other country’s celebrations. I do realize that most Americans are very insulated, but I try to learn new stuff about other places when I can.

      1. Jean*

        Same here. It’s good to learn about other customs instead of living in my USA culture bubble 24/7/365.

    3. Claire (Scotland)*

      I live very near the venue for the Edinburgh one, but it’s been cancelled so no fireworks for me.

    4. Cristina in England*

      I can hear and see a bunch of amateur fireworks from my front window, but I have never been to a proper professional display on Nov. 5th. I much prefer the 4th of July for fireworks, it is absolutely freezing today!

    5. misspiggy*

      Had a lovely crisp cold evening for ours – sadly no bonfire due to cuts, which takes away some of the pagan magic of the thing, but the fireworks were appropriately artistic and awe-inspiring. Feet punished me for not wearing thicker socks though!

      1. Elkay*

        We were really lucky, the wind just shifted in the right direction before the display so no smoke in front of it. I just wish they’d stopped the fun fair for 15 minutes. We didn’t hang around for the bonfire lighting. I was doing a lot of foot stamping to keep my feet warm.

    6. Ann Furthermore*

      I was in the UK on November 5th a couple years ago. I was staying at a hotel in a residential area, and there were fireworks going off all around. It was fun.

    7. Clever Name*

      Am I the only one who thinks Guy Fawke Day is a weird holiday? Maybe I don’t know enough about why he tried to blow up parliament, but still.

    8. Gaia*

      It took me a few seconds to figure out what was being celebrated with fireworks.

      And now I’m just thinking this is kind of an odd thing to celebrate with fireworks (like how our 4th of July is a weird thing to celebrate with fireworks)

    9. Merry and Bright*

      I went last night to a display in my town and it was great. I had my niece with me and she loved it all. I just love firework displays. In fact I am watching some next weekend too as a friend and I are going to watch the Lord Mayor’s display in London (then find a pub for a hot meal afterwards).

  8. Caledonia*

    I’m so happy – my favourite tennis player has become the world no.1 for the first time in his career, following his brother’s no.1 in doubles earlier on in the year. Congratulations to Andy Murray!

    1. Julie*

      I was pretty stoked when I heard. Unfortunately it’s brought up another round of ‘British vs Scottish’ jokes from people who think they’re being funny/original.

    2. Snazzy Hat*

      Congratulations indeed! I admit I’m more a fan of Novak Djokovic (plus we share a birthday), but I certainly respect Andy Murray. {wild applause because you can do that at tennis matches these days}

  9. AnotherAnony*

    I’m sick of the highlighting/strobing trend with makeup. As someone whose skin looks like an oil slick at the end of the day, I don’t want to look like a shiny disco ball. Sure, I can get away with a little swipe of highlighter by my brow bone, but that’s it. Plus, I am so pale I am nearly albino, thus the highlighters seem to be absorbed into my skin. But every makeup company has some sort of highlighter palette out and it’s annoying.
    (I know there are bigger problems in the world, but I just needed to vent.)

    1. super anon*

      I’m the opposite – I am living for the highlighter trend! I have super dry skin, so it works really well for me. Most of the current trends are working for my skintone and skin type, so I can’t help but be excited about all of them.

      However, I’m sure when we swing away from dewy skin and warm tones back to mattes and cool tones reigning supreme I’ll be less enthusiastic about it all.

    2. NicoleK*

      As someone who use to have super oily skin, I don’t get the appeal of two slashes of shiny greasy looking strips on the cheekbones.

    3. the Same Prudie*

      This totally made my day. I had my makeup done for my wedding last week. I’m pale as sheet. Lily white. I showed him pictures of what I wanted (no contouring in any pics). The makeup artist takes one look at me and says, “So… contouring and a red lip?” hahahahhahhaahah NO. For some people it looks amazing! Just not me.

    4. Snazzy Hat*

      Oh my goodness, a couple of days ago my s.o. & I were grocery shopping, and when we passed the makeup aisle he turned to me and said something like, “I’ve been meaning to ask this and I keep forgetting, but now that we’re here near makeup, why is contouring a thing?”

      He wasn’t asking it in a “clueless guy” way, either. He’s a makeup admirer who seriously considered being a makeup artist in the past. We had a short discussion about it which included my opinion that it’s a waste of time. Mind you, my makeup routine is normally limited to powder & corrective dabs here and there.

      Going back to your rant, I’m pale with an oily T-zone. My face highlights itself. Mattifier & powder are my heroes.

      1. Anion*

        Jeremy Renner was a make-up artist before he started getting good acting jobs! According to him, he can still give you a great smoky eye in just a couple of minutes–he still has his kit and all his brushes etc., and apparently really enjoyed the work. :-)

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      I’ve come to like subtle highlighting. After I do my mattifying stuff, it makes a difference to add some targeted dimension back into your skin. All-matte skin is aging.

  10. anonnonnon*

    I have a jealousy problem with one of my closest friends, which is a problem because I don’t make many friends, and my other closest friend, I am on the outs with because he is a downward spiral he doesn’t seem interested in getting out of. To be clear, I am the jealous one.

    We met the summer before I finished university and became fast friends. He stumbled out of the gate a little bit, but I helped him craft the perfect career path. He took classes after university in the field I now work in, so I am jealous he has a more solid foundation than I do, and he uses the skills in his field and everyone is in awe of it because that’s not his main wheelhouse. I’m starting to get to that point where I have very little to well, feel secure/braggy about. Sure, I finished university young, but it was in a useless/pretty easy subject, compared to the other things I’ve studied. So now it feels like a stupid decision instead. I taught myself a skill and landed a higher paying gig—but he still makes more money than me.

    Because he’s a rockstar, and I’m only pretty good in my field. And I told him about the opportunity at the company he works at (I used to work there), and I’m jealous he loves it there and everyone loves him, because some of them used to love me. Sure it was a very different part of the company, but it loved me in that way and then kind of cast me out, and I haven’t really been the same since.

    I’m jealous and avoiding him. He thanks me all the time and asks me all sorts of advice because I helped him a lot to get to where he is now, but I just now feel like what can I say, I’m bitter.

    1. Jean*

      Ooh, ouch. It hurts to be jealous. I find envy is doubly corrosive because it not destroys one’s pleasure in life (“yeah, I’m a respected two-star general but so-and-so is a respected _four-star_ general”) but also lays on the weight of guilt because the general expectation in westernized, post-industrial, urbanized culture is that Thou Shalt Not Be Jealous of Thy Neighbor.

      I recommend two courses of action:
      1) Unload the worst of your sentiments on a trusted-to-keep-quiet third party. (Therapists can be great for this if you’re so inclined.)
      2) Develop new reasons to feel optimistic and pleased about yourself, either by finding and exploring a new interest that involves other people (an arts or crafts class? marathon training? swing dancing?) or by finding a way to help other people. I know this sounds tedious, but it’s fun to learn a new skill (especially if you’re sharing the experience with others at the same stage of learning) and it’s also really gratifying to, say, watch the kid that you tutor start to enjoy reading and be glad to see you for your weekly meetings.

      Life can dish out some amazingly enormous aggravations and disappointments, but it can also offer both large and small moments of happiness and satisfaction.

      If it’s any comfort, I’m currently trying myself to cope with a couple of large disappointments. I find it helps me to get enough sleep and good nutrition, and to treat each day as a new opportunity for minor accomplishments even if I can’t resolve all of my larger concerns.

      If you want, we can be web-buddies, each slogging through our individual swamp. I hope your path gets better.

    2. Sunflower*

      You are comparing yourself to him way too much. I know it’s difficult because we tend to compare ourselves to those most like us and it makes sense if you two are in the same career field. Jealously is a normal, human emotion but it shouldn’t be interfering with your life or friendships this much. It sounds like you have things to be proud of- finishing school early, teaching yourself a skill. Why do you discredit these things?

      Some thoughts:
      – Do you ever discuss non-career stuff? It might help to steer your friendship more in the non work related direction
      – Remember no one’s life is as good as it appears. Even the people we know best struggle more than it appears.
      – Can you suggest a hangout with former coworkers and your friend? Or have your friend suggest?
      – Focus on yourself and the things you can control. Continue to do things that make you feel good and push you farther along towards your goals

    3. Maya Elena*

      Well, if he is indeed a superstar, withholding your good deed wouldn’t have hindered him much.
      If he’s a true friend, it’s likely that he will remember you and the good deed will come back to you later in an unexpected way.

      And maybe, he’s just one of those people: positive, grateful, but extremely good at maximizing their advantages, getting the max out of every opportunity that comes their way – so much so that it’s almost indecent. It may feel that that person is using you, if you were the one who sent the opportunity their way. Those people have a sort of innocence about them – “why shouldn’t I apply for this and win it? It’s open to anyone”. But they also tend t be generous and give as good as they get, and their good luck spills over to those who can tolerate their good fortune without resentment and remain their friends.

      If this guy is that type and you are not, it’s best for your sanity to resign yourself and admire him, as you might a master of a craft in which you just dabble. It’s like resenting natural athletes or those of effortlessly flawless figure and complexion – no use, and you might as well be happy that in their majesty, they take the time out to be your friend.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh. This sucks, but I can see why a person would be jealous.
      You launched him. Think about that and keep going back to it. You launched him.

      Meanwhile, spend less time looking at his life and take a look at yours. It’s time to shake things up a bit. We do get reminders or jabs in life where a little voice inside us says, “I think your slacking here.” Those jabs can dress up like jealousy/anger/depression/etc. This is pretty common and like you are showing here those reminders/jabs can come up where we DON’T want them.

      What would you like to do? Anything is fair game here, but I am thinking that probably a good choice would be some type of long term investment in yourself. What could you start working on today that would make a good difference in your life five/ten years from now?

      Oddly, I think that drawing your friend into this dilemma could actually help. He sounds like a nice guy and he sounds like he would be interested in helping you. Your solution might be to say, “Friend, I have to be honest. I am wrestling with feelings of jealousy over your success. The point of my beef is that I would like a slice of that success pie, too. I’d like us to bounce around ideas from time-to-time about ways I could better my gig, or find a new gig or whatever.”

      My hunch is that your friend feels he wants to pay you back in some way. Why not let him help you think about your own setting?

    5. OhBehave*

      Ah the Green Eyed Monster! It can destroy you if you let it.

      You helped him a ton, which gave you the upper hand in that you ‘helped him craft the perfect career path’. That must have made you feel great to be able to help a friend in this way. He took your guidance and ran with it. He’s lucky to have had you at that point. He may have made it there on his own eventually, but you provided the help.

      Why can’t you do for yourself what you did for your friend? Take a blunt look at your career path and determine:

      1. Is there something I would rather be doing?
      2. Am I happy doing what I’m doing right now?

      Personally:
      1. What stops me from making friends?
      2. You seem to be a giving person, how about giving yourself a break from self-criticism?
      3. Consider seeing a therapist. This would be a safe way to vent and get to the bottom of any concerns you may have.

      I wish you much luck in working through this. Friends are a rare gift.

  11. bassclefchick*

    It’s silent movie day! Today we’re going to see Her Wild Oat from 1927. This was the first movie ever shown in the theater we’ll be at today. I don’t know much about it except it’s a comedy. I feel so lucky that our city does this. They do 3 to 4 of these per season including bringing in an organist and vaudeville acts for before the movie. The organ is original to the theater and one of the last theater pipe organs still in its original location.

    If you have a chance to see a silent film the way it was meant to be seen (not just on TCM) go do it!! It’s a good reminder how far we’ve come in 100 years. Things modern directors can do in 5 minutes on a computer took a whole lot more planning and work back then. And some of the effects they DID use are just amazing when you think about it!

    1. bassclefchick*

      Loved the movie! It was a screwball comedy. Very funny. Some of the jokes I didn’t get because they were current for the 1920’s and I just didn’t know the references. Still a very funny movie. They tend to do a lot of Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton, because that’s who most people now are familiar with. I’m glad they went with something else. I don’t think they’ve shown “Sunrise” either, but I hope they do!

  12. Myrin*

    I want to give a big shoutout to fposte! Twice or even more often in the last week alone there were threads where people felt very strongly either one way or the other and many comments became kind of combative; whenever that happens, I wonder how anyone could voice their opinion without wording it strongly and in comes fposte and posts in a completely calm and reasonable manner without actually hiding her opinion or anything. I’m not joking when I say that reading her posts, I regularly feel a wave of tranquility rush over me because they’re just that down-to-earth.

    (On a more personal note, fposte, you asked about my avatar a few days ago but I only saw that way later and yes, it is indeed a bunny at a desk – it has its feet on the desk, even! I’ve used this avatar basically since I started commenting online and I sometimes feel like I am that bunny.)

    1. Sami*

      Completely agree. fposte is great!
      This may sound weird but I feel like she (I’m pretty sure) and I could be friends IRL.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Right on.
      fposte, I think you are a terrific person. It’s a pleasure to “meet” you, even though it anonymously online.

    3. Insert name here*

      fposte has given me some great advice on the open threads, along with a few others (Ruffingit, Not so new Reader, and some others.) If I could send them all fruit baskets, I totally would.

    4. fposte*

      Holy crap, guys, I skipped this weekend’s open thread and just saw this. Thanks so much for your kind words! I get so much out of the site and have benefited so much in life from people’s willingness to help me; I’m glad I’ve been able to do a little bit of paying back and paying forward.

  13. Mallows*

    How does a single woman who doesn’t want to impose on friends move cross-country?

    I am thrilled that I am finally in a position where I can work from most anywhere, and as such, I’m going to be moving from the east coast to Denver. My hope is to do this in March. I’m going to have to downsize in square footage, I expect (I’m in a 2BR apartment but doubt I’ll have that much space when I move). I don’t want to drive a U-Haul that far in dicey weather…anyone done a cross country move by themselves? I’m willing to go the PODS route. I’ll be moving a cat, too. Looking for any logistical advice! Thanks!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      So this was years and years ago (nearly two decades, holy crap) but in my 20s I moved from D.C. to Portland, Oregon with a cat and I did it this way:
      – I found a freight company that let you rent part of a huge freight stuff. They park this massive truck at your house overnight, you load up your stuff in your reserved part of it, and they take it away the next day, and meet you in your new city about two weeks later.
      – I shipped a bunch of other stuff that didn’t fit. I think I shipped all my books using the USPS book rate, which is a lot cheaper (and slower).
      – I flew with the cat (in the cabin with me, not in cargo).

      1. AnotherAnony*

        Make sure you check reviews of the freight company first though. My friend moved from Chicago to NYC and it was awful. Some of her stuff went missing, other things were broken. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but just a word of caution.

      2. Gene*

        PODS is the modern version of this. Plus you don’t have to get all the packing done overnight. I agree with the purging recommendations.

      3. MoinMoin*

        I just moved to Colorado and one piece of very specific advice- find and keep all your important documents in one place prior to the move. I needed my original SS card and, because my passport has me as ‘Moin Moin’ and my old state’s driver’s license had me as ‘Moin Danger Moin’ with my middle name, I needed to provide my original birth certificate as well. It was a very frustrating couple of days, especially with the election deadline breathing down my neck. Also, before leaving my old state I “lost” my license and requested another. I did this before changing my name after getting married, too. It’s nice to have a back up that isn’t hole-punched while you’re waiting for your new one. (Caveat- I have no idea if there are legal issues with this suggestion.)
        Also, as someone who sold a decent sized house and am now living in a small apartment with most stuff in storage while we get settled here, I can’t be emphatic enough in telling you to purge as much as you can. We got rid of a lot of stuff but there was plenty of stuff we moved that I didn’t want to part with (a lot economic if we’d buy it again) and now just a few months in I can’t believe I bothered moving a lot of it and will have to again when/if we buy a house out here. Start purging now- be bullish about it and you have enough time to try and sell stuff now, which may lessen the blow of getting rid of it. Do yourself this favor!!!!
        Finally, I know you said you don’t really plan on moving yourself but JIC my husband’s company is known for their big yellow trucks. I asked him what advice he had for someone looking to rent a truck and he said this: call a branch and talk to an actual person to get a quote. Don’t book- a week or so later someone from reservations will call asking if you’re still interested, at which point you can haggle and see if you can get a price that works for you. If you have a quote from the blue, orange, and white guys that helps (a quote from the orange and white guys won’t help you- totally different business model), also ask for free hand trucks and furniture pads. Since they operate on a supply and demand model, the earlier you book the better pricing they can probably do (and off-peak times could help you also).

    2. alex b*

      Depends on your situation, but I’d consider selling your current furniture where you are, shipping personal items that don’t fit in luggage, and acquiring new-to-you furniture once you and your pet get there. That’s what I did as a single woman, moving about 1,000 miles, and it saved me money overall. In any case: congrats on the move!

      1. alex b*

        Sorry; I didn’t see Alison’s reply before I posted, but my experience was similar: my dog and I flew with him in a carrier under the seat, and I shipped books and some other stuff in the cheapest way. That freight moving service sounds great, so I might do things differently if I had to do it all over (ie ship my furniture). I’m pretty happy with new stuff in a new place, though– as long as I have my pet. :)

      2. SophieChotek*

        having moved across country 2x (from Midwest to Colorado and Colorado to East Coast and East Coast back to the Midwest) and driven a Uhaul each time with a family member — the expensve of renting the truck, the gas, the tolls — plus moving and packing is hard on furniture, etc. If you know you are downsizing anyway, honestly, I agree – if you don’t have “great” high quality furniture/heirlooms, (ditto for kitchen stuff), I would consider selling it/donating it in city where you live and buying new stuff (Target/Ikea/local 2nd hand) when you get there. Fly with your Cat and your valuables; might be worth paying extra $100 or whatever for 2nd bag (depending on airlines) and ship things like movies/books (via Media Mail) and everything else (whatever affordable options). If I had it to do over again, I probably would do it that way. (Plus unless you know where you are moving to, things like PODS can take up space and you need to be able to leave it there for at least a day or two, I think. Even if you think you can empty it in one day, they might drop it off and pick it up not as quicky and some places won’t have space/allow you to leave that there. For instance, when I lived on the East Coast, parking, etc. was so tight, there was no way I could have done that.) Denver — depends on where you live! Some places have no parking; some of the suburbs have lots.
        But congratulations and all the best!

    3. Girasol*

      If you need packing help we had good luck with asking a local church if any of the kids wanted a day’s employment packing for a fair bit of pay. Sometimes local cross-town movers (the two men plus truck sort) will rent out the guys without the truck to pack a pod.

    4. SophieChotek*

      P.S. I assume you know your friends, but if you want to do the U-Haul route/do-it-yourself-route –could you ask? I actually hated moving across country (3x) but I have endured it enough that honestly, if I could get the time off work, and a close friend was moving across country, I would be willing to consider helping out, just becuase I know how hard it is. Some people like road trips, etc. Especially if could stop at some interesting places along the way, you might never take the time to fly to, but hey, if you’re driving through. (I would probably ask my friend to pay my flight back to whever I started from, if I was taking vacation time to do this road-trip/moving trip, but I don’t make a lot. If I made more/was in a different place, I might feel different about that.)

    5. Red Reader*

      I moved cross country (Seattle to Indianapolis) in a smart car, mostly. I shipped my books by media mail and shipped most of what stuff I was keeping by Amtrak for about $300 between the two. I didn’t have any pets at the time, but I did have a 4.5 foot tall teddy bear in the front seat and a cat carrier takes up less room I think :)

    6. Did this*

      I did this earlier this year–East Coast to Chicago. I wanted to keep my furniture so I did the PODS route. In Chicago, I hired a company that unloads PODS and puts together your furniture for you.

      It was expensive, but pretty painless. I also flew myself and stayed with a friend for a couple days til my POD arrived.

    7. Seal*

      When I moved from the Upper Midwest to the Deep South 10 years ago, the institution I worked for paid for the movers, which was awesome. My brother and I drove my car with 2 cats and my valuables; it took 2 days, with an overnight stop. Having moved myself for all my previous moves, I have to say that having someone else do the heavy lifting is absolutely the way to go.

      However, the one thing I wish I had done was get rid of more stuff. At the time, I thought I HAD done that, but 10 years later as I’m starting to prepare for what I hope will be another cross-country move in the near future, I’m discovering things I should have dumped years ago. I’m opening boxes I haven’t touched since I moved and am amazed at the junk I kept that I thought was important at the time. In some ways, it’s an interesting look back at where I was 10 years ago, but the reality is that if I’ve not looked at it or used it in 10 years it’s most likely not worth keeping. So this time around I’m being much more critical of what stays and what goes. Also, I plan to dump most of my living room furniture rather than pay to move it because it’s worn out crap by now. I’m taking a couple of weeks off around Christmas to go through boxes and downsize as much as possible so I’m more or less ready to go when the time comes.

    8. Camellia*

      Check the Uhaul website; they have people you can hire by the hour to pack and/or load, whichever you need. We have done this each time we’ve moved (9 times in 13 years) and have always been satisfied with their service.

    9. acmx*

      You could check out ABF Freight. They have the truck option and the cube option. I almost went with ABF for my recent move. They were very friendly and helpful on the phone and there’s an option to have movers load/unload your stuff.

      The only reason I didn’t use them was that my company gave me a relocation package and the full move option was Mayflower (the pack and load was good, haven’t moved into my new residence yet).

      1. GT*

        +1 to ABF. Used them twice, and had no problems (the truck was more economical for us than the “Upack” pod they offer). We just had to pack really well, and according to their directions to avoid breakage. The only things that broke were things we packed incorrectly.

    10. LadyKelvin*

      I’ve move from PA to TX, TX to Miami, and Miami to DC in the last 6 years, the first one I loaded all my stuff in my car and my dad’s truck and drove, the second time TX to Miami we got a small uhaul and drove it, and last summer I hired a moving company (moving only, no packing) and put my cAR on the car train and rode it to dc. WANNA guess which way was my favorite? I used a fairly well reviewed moving company who charged by volume and not weight. Which is really important because your costs won’t be higher, surprise! when they deliver you stuff and demand thousands more before they give it too you, because they don’t know how much it weighs before they put it in the truck, and you have no way of knowing if they decided to fill up gas between the empty truck weight and loaded truck weight. You probably can’t get a car train cross country, but it cost the same for me to get a uhaul and pay for gas, hotels, etc for the 2 day drive from TX to Miami as for the moving company and a month of storage. Nothing got broken, but my hammock stand didn’t make it, so I was out about $200 for that. I’ll nevermovemyself again. Not having to deal with driving the uhaul, loading or unloading, parking it, etc was so worth it to me. One-way uhauls are not always the cheapest option. oh, and I was moving a 1 bedroom, about 500 cubic feet of stuff.

    11. .*

      March is in the midst of terrible blizzard season in that swath of country over which you intend to move, and may overlap with college spring break. Any chance you could push back to April? You would set yourself up for fewer problems and less crowded airports.

    12. periwinkle*

      I’m married but made the cross-country move solo because my husband couldn’t relocate yet due to work pressures.

      We decided to move relatively little – almost no furniture. We rented one of those PODS-type containers (Door To Door, we had a positive experience). The barebones essentials went in my car, my husband sent a few boxes of lighter things via slow-service UPS, and the rest went into the container. The container companies will usually offer storage service so you can have it delivered when you’re ready. I hired a local moving service to unload the container and haul everything up two flights of stairs to our apartment.

      We moved four cats. My husband handed them over to a commercial pet shipping service who took care of the flight and transport from the airport. The kitties were understandably freaked out, but I had a safe space set up for them to hide with their familiar toys and blankets.

      TL;DR version: You can hire all sorts of people to move all sorts of things. They cost more than a pizza but it’s worth it.

    13. Nerdling*

      One of my coworkers does something that I really wish I had done when I made my cross-country move: he sells his stuff using Craigslist, Facebook, and the local university’s buy/sell site, then basically packs up his clothes, toiletries, and other small stuff, and starts fresh. And this is just when he moves within town.

      Looking at it just from an electronics perspective, it makes sense. You can, especially this time of year, get a bigger, better TV for the same price as the one you sell. Best Buy will sell you out of the box items, if they’re all that’s left of somwthing, at a solid discount. They also discount their discontinued stuff at the end of each month.

      You can put the amount you budget for moving toward new furniture and things once you get to your new city, then.

    14. CMT*

      I sold all my furniture on Craigslist, mailed my books, and shoved the rest of my stuff in my car, and drove from DC to Seattle. I asked a couple of friends if they would come with me to help drive and offered to pay for their flights back, but they had previous commitments. Which ended up being okay, because I needed the front seat to put more stuff in. It was fun, but not something I’d like to repeat.

    15. Ktelzbeth*

      This was a decade ago now, but I priced U-Haul versus hiring movers and found the prices were similar, once I factored in gas for the U-Haul. That didn’t even consider my mental stress from driving a truck. I can’t remember if I considered PODS for that move, but looked at them on another occasion. Prices weren’t that much different than professional movers, IIRC, and professional movers come with people to carry stuff. I ended up doing it by packing the house myself and hiring movers. They showed up with their truck and loaded my stuff. I drove across country with a few essentials and my cat in the car. A bit after I arrived at my new house, the movers arrived with my stuff. They unloaded everything, though I had to unpack the boxes myself. You absolutely can do it without imposing on anyone.

      1. Jillociraptor*

        Even if you think it isn’t, consider getting a few quotes. Having moved across the country a few times, I would spend my last dime on professional movers (and have, actually!) Especially if you expect Denver to be your last stop for a while and can downsize a bit before moving, the cost could be more reasonable than you’re expecting. I was very surprised to find out that tacking on packing and unpacking was really a pretty minimal additional charge, so that might be worth it to you as well.

        1. Mallows*

          Wow, thank you all so much! Such great ideas I hadn’t even thought of (I knew asking here would be fruitful). I’ve already been considering losing my furniture-i don’t buy fancy stuff and it’s likely worth considerably less than what it would cost to move it. After that most of what I’ll have is books. I’ll look into media mail. And yes, I’m going to try to purge mercilessly. I could pay for movers, yes, but don’t much want to – I’m a little freaked out by housing costs in Denver. I might get a couple of quotes just to see, though.

          Again – thanks to all for the advice!

          1. LadyKelvin*

            Get some quotes though! Before you decide no movers. I paid $1200 for movers and a month storage last summer for a Miami to DC move. Renting a uhaul would have cost $800 before gas, etc. I knew from a previous trip that it cost me $200 in gas in my 40mpg car, so it was actually cheaper to hire people

            1. Whats In A Name*

              Yes! This. I moved a bunch of family furniture from PA to AR last year and between one-way plane ticket, meals, UHAUL, one night hotel room and gas I was about $2000 in for trip. I could have hired movers for cheaper and saved myself a long drive.

    16. Snazzy Hat*

      A good friend of mine (and her cat) moved earlier this year from NY to Florida via car. She had ongoing yard sales and did personal reach-outs to unload the huge stuff. I bought her desk, another friend bought her couch, etc.

      Start paring things down NOW. Donate, sell, consign, dispose. Pack books and ship them when you have an address. Invest in space-saving bags. Roll your clothes. Read the moving guide on Unf*&# Your Habitat. Bonus points if there’s an Ikea near your new place. The last time I was at an Ikea, I was in line behind a few guys who looked like they were furnishing a new apartment. No shame in that.

      Good luck! Sorry I can’t give recommendations on services (except USPS book shipping, yay), but definitely get quotes and do research and be ahead of the game.

    17. skyline*

      I’ve done this three times without help and took a slightly different approach each time:

      1) Sold all my furniture, pared down belongings, and shipped everything from A to B. Mix of UPS and media mail. This was before I had a car. Flew myself and a couple suitcases to new city, and camped in an empty apartment for a short time while acquiring new stuff (including car) and waiting for delivery.
      2) Hired movers (I packed boxes, they did all the loading/unloading) to drive my stuff from B to C and had my car shipped as well. I was a new driver and leery of driving solo cross country. I flew myself to the new city with a couple suitcases of essentials. Again, did some camping in an empty apartment until stuff arrived.
      3) Hired movers (I packed boxes, they did all the loading/unloading), and drove myself from C to D. Had essentials in the car trunk – clothes, air mattress and bedding, basic kitchen supplies. This is probably the approach I’d choose again if I decided to move.

      I looked at reviews in the MovingScam.com message boards to identify reputable movers. (It’s a site about how to avoid scams, hence the slightly misleading name.)

  14. Confused Publisher*

    Some months ago, there was a conversation regarding the 5:2 diet. Has anyone been on it for a sustained time and had results? I’m just basically hoping for some stories and tips, I suppose, because it worked for me for a time, and then some issues with my health got in the way, and I ended up undoing my progress. I’m just hoping that ‘I did it, you can too’ stories will get me past the self-flagellation.

    1. Elkay*

      I’ve been on it for around four months and lost ~10lbs. It took me a few weeks to find meals I didn’t mind eating on my two days and I actually switched my two days to different days of the week when I’d been on it for two months and I’ve found that my new days suit me much better. I approached it by identifying food I liked, working out the calories in that then seeing if I could make that an acceptable meal. For lunch I eat 100g of cooked pasta with a tiny amount of sauce made from tinned tomatoes, onions and herbs. Dinners are normally soup or salad.

      You won’t lose weight instantly, it’s a slow and steady diet because it isn’t primarily designed for weight loss.

    2. Ellie*

      I feel like any diet that’s so restrictive won’t be successful in the long run. It’ll probably yield results but doesn’t sound sustainable and is simply a short cut for people who feel it’s too difficult to change their lifestyle to a more healthy one.

      1.  Rachel*

        I’ve been doing it for more than three years now. Because you’re not cutting out anything permanently, it doesn’t feel restrictive. It’s short-term denial, which is much easier. I have one 400-calorie meal plus black coffee or tea.

        1. Elkay*

          I agree, I still have three meals a day plus an evening snack. I drink water during the fast days, I might have a fruit tea if I’m cold.

      2. Mander*

        I’ve toyed with trying it, and it’s exactly because changing my lifestyle to a more “healthy” one has proven elusive in decades of trying to define what exactly that is and how I can achieve it. My lifestyle is not particularly unhealthy yet I’ve never been able to stick to a diet, even when it’s called a “lifestyle change”, for more than a few weeks. All the focus on weighing and measuring feels uncomfortably close to an eating disorder for me and I’d rather not go down that road. So the 5:2 thing appeals to me because you’re basically only dieting for two days a week. My desire is to be a bit less fat and not necessarily to lose weight quickly, so slow and steady without an all-consuming set of rules seems ideal to me.

    3. designbot*

      I feel like I’m being a debbie downer today, but I couldn’t not mention this. I posted last week regarding my recent bout with pancreatitis. Well, I’d never heard of the 5:2 diet before, until doing my due diligence on pancreatitis, where I saw a whole bunch of people who’d had pancreatitis attacks and/or gallstones who were speculating that it could have been related to the diet and rapid weight loss resulting from it. So, well-intentioned stranger here warning you of a couple of things: 1) rapid weight loss puts you at risk of some pretty scary things that don’t get talked about a lot because our society values thinness SO so much, and 2) don’t let the “unrestricted” days be soooo unrestricted that you wind up getting more total fat than normal and your cholesterol shoots up, again putting you at risk of some pretty painful stuff. I’m sure there’s a good/responsible way to do the 5:2 (it doesn’t sound like an inertially terrible idea), but I just happened to have *just* gotten this window into what can happen if you do it the bad way. Your health is way more important than how much you weigh.

    4. MoinMoin*

      Funny, I’d never heard of it until today but someone on the keto subreddit was talking about doing it (I assume with eating keto, not just anything, on the other 5 days) and really liking it. They said they rarely felt hunger (which is common with keto anyway) and thought it’d helped them lose weight.

  15. ZVA*

    I am moving to NYC this winter and would love any advice for a first-timer! I’m especially interested in suggestions for ways to save money but also, more generally: If you live there, what do you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

      1. ZVA*

        I’m moving from southern NH. I’ve been to NYC a fair amount of times—my grandparents lived in Manhattan for many years, I went to college about two hours north of the city, and I’ve traveled there several times for work since the spring… So I have a lot to learn but I won’t be moving sight unseen if that’s what you’re asking!

        1. Sunflower*

          I ask because I would have very different advice for someone moving from the South. I don’t live in NYC but I am hoping to move there this summer. I’m there basically every other week for work and things I’ve found are:

          – It will be 45 degrees when you go to work and 73 when you leave. I’m still trying to figure out how to dress for that weather
          – Def get the fleece inserts for your rain boots if you don’t have them already
          – There are crazy lines at every spot in the city during lunch. Like every single place.
          – It seems like fast casual places are always running cheap food specials. I’m sure something like the Gothamist probably keeps tabs on this.
          – If you want to try a restaurant, see if they have a lunch special- it’s usually cheaper than dinner.

          Good luck and enjoy!

          1. Snazzy Hat*

            It will be 45 degrees when you go to work and 73 when you leave. I’m still trying to figure out how to dress for that weather

            Other side of NYS here. The issue I’m already running into at work (I just started last week!) is I dress for the weather, not for the office. Let me tell you, it is really awkward wearing a sweater in mid-70s temperatures and not being able to just take it off and expose your arms & deodorant stains to your colleagues.

            1. Lily Evans*

              And layering for commuting is a delicate balance. I’ve been going lighter on the jackets than I used to because I’d rather be chilly waiting for the bus than sweat to death once I’m on it. Then sometimes the trains still have AC running, other times the heat is on, and I’ve gotten really good at maneuvering jackets on and off without smacking anyone in the face. And if I tried to dress warm enough to be comfy at the office all day I’d probably get heat exhaustion before getting to work, so I brought in a giant sweater that’s basically a blanket to wear when I’m there. My bag is also big enough to shove hats/scarves/mittens into so I don’t lose anything in my travels! Also legwarmers and fleece lined tights/leggings are my best friends since I love dresses and skirts too much to give them up half the year!

    1. alex b*

      I have lived here for 10 years now and don’t make a lot of money, and here’s what I’d tell younger myself:

      –“Normal life stuff” is hard here. You’re going to have to lug huge bags laundry to-and-from dysfunctional laundromats regularly, and it sucks. You’re going to have to carry bags of groceries and household supplies for very long walks regularly. It’s a struggle to get your pet to the vet/groomer. It’s a struggle to get to work via transit.
      — You’re not going to be able to get away from people. You’re gonna curse them all, in your head.
      — You’re going to pay too much for dumb stuff.
      — You’re going to have to deal with revolting public transit situations, disturbing public scenes, and gross public spaces regularly.
      — You’re going to live in the best damn city in the world, and therefore you’re going to put up with all the BS above. :)

    2. K.*

      Buy good shoes, including rain and snow boots if you don’t have them. You’re going to be outside more (there’s no “I’m only going from the car to the house”) and you’re going to do a lot more walking and standing than you’re probably used to.

      1. ZVA*

        That’s for sure! My job requires me to be pretty mobile; I’m going to be on my feet for a decent chunk of the day most days… I’ve been physically exhausted at the end of all my work trips there so far; it’s definitely going to take some getting used to.

    3. Nolan*

      Bodegas are great for sandwiches and take out, but try to find a real grocery store for actual groceries. Reusable shopping bags with straps long enough to go over your shoulder are a life saver.

      Get a pair of wellies or other waterproof boots.

      If you’re walking down the street and smell gas, call 311. Don’t assume someone else already has.

      You can order Metro Cards that auto pay from your checking account, which is what I’d recommend if the monthly unlimited pass is too expensive for you up front.

      I always liked using umbrellas in the snow, keeps it off your shoulders so you don’t get soaked as soon as you walk indoors.

      Times Square is a neon lit hellscape. Avoid it like the plague.

      In winter most places will be too warm. It’s annoying because you have to bundle up for the walk to the train and the wait on the platform, and then you’re dying after that.

      Summer is oppressive, and hot garbage smell is no joke.

    4. Tomato Frog*

      I was born in New York. I grew up in large, busy cities and I moved to New York from Chicago. And still, when I moved back here as an adult, I was not prepared for the sheer inescapability of people. I was surprised how overwhelming I found it. I’m not sure how long it took me to adjust, but I would guess six months or more. And I don’t even live in Manhattan. So I wish I had been prepared for that, and known that I would actually adjust in time.

      The people who say doing stuff is hard here are people who are used to getting around in a car. If you’re used to NOT having a car, New York is the best place you could live. Now I drag my groceries/laundry one or two blocks instead of one or two miles. I can get to the airport without calling in a favor or paying big bucks for a shuttle. I actually walk less here than I’ve ever walked anywhere, because the public transportation is so much better and I have an unlimited pass. Which brings me to the actual advice: get the unlimited monthly pass if you can, and see if your job has a benefit for getting it with pre-tax money. Unlimited pass is the light and joy of my life.

      1. Anon for this*

        Yeah, my friends who already live in NYC all tell me to expect at least a six-month adjustment period! (One says it took her a year.) I have a feeling I’ll be reminding myself of that a lot in the beginning… Honestly, I’m fine with the idea of a tough six months or even a year, as long as I can be reasonably confident I’ll adjust eventually.

        And my company will be paying for an unlimited pass (b/c I’ll be traveling around the city a lot for work), so luckily I’ve got that covered :)

    5. Belle di Vedremo*

      There’s a biting cold wind a lot of the time. Base temps aren’t that cold, but the wind chill is a significant factor.

      Look at the plan of the city, and learn the general patterns of streets and cross streets.

      Check out the cost of living there compared to where you are now, and set up a tighter budget than you anticipate to give you a margin while you learn how much life there will cost.

      Enjoy it.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Ex-NYC person. Its great that you already have people there. Don’t be shy about asking spending time with them. It is easy to get really isolated in NYC. One can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. One cannot emphasize how expensive and exhausting living in NYC is. There will be a lot of walking, standing, and waiting. There will be a lot physical discomfort especially when taking public transportation. Give yourself an hour to get anywhere. Better to be twenty minutes early than twenty minutes late.

    6. PM-NYC*

      I moved to NYC from Chicago a little over a year ago. I second what everyone else said about regular everyday things being a hassle. There’s a lot more competition for space and resources than even other big cities (in my experience.) In terms of cost saving, I would say be careful of lifestyle creep. It’s really easy to look at people that are dressed to the nines and eating out everyday and want to live like them, but there are also plenty of people that are hustling and living within their means. NYC has a lot of free or cheap events which is also a great way to save money, but beware that any free event here is swarmed with people and plan accordingly. And I second the suggestion of an NYC AAM meetup!

  16. jbern*

    Anyone have an Etsy shop? Or make greeting cards? I do underwater photography and thought it would be fun to take some of my favorite photographs and turn them into greeting cards. My first “happy holidays” card is an underwater scene with Christmas Tree coral that I’m adding pearl and rhinestone decorations to the tree coral and gluing white glitter to the tops of the coral where the Christmas Tree coral lives. Very whimsical. I’m planning on sending these out to friends and family this year, and putting them up for sale online. My prototype makes me excited!!! I’m using Photoshop now to make the cards, but I’m also considering just buying card stock and adding photo inserts, rather than printing the photos on the card stock.

    Anyway, any experiences with selling on Etsy? Or making and selling greeting cards? OR, for those who buy indie/quirky greeting cards, what drives you to buy certain cards over others?

    1. Etsy Lover Here*

      Sounds cute! As someone who both buys and sells on Etsy, here are a few tips:

      1) don’t rely on Etsy marketing, it can help but won’t be enough in itself to promote your stuff. Highly recommend posting on social media. Also, when people ask others where they got some cool such-and-such, they usually respond “Etsy” instead of “[Seller’s Name] on Etsy” so word of mouth is hard to build without you selling yourself a little.
      2) Get it on-line now. People buy their Etsy holiday stuff early and market will realllllly saturate.
      3) More than anything else, the key is GOOD PHOTOGRAPHY. There are so many cool cards out there (I know, I used to sell mine) that the key is often the style of your page and well-lit, smart photos.
      4) Don’t invest a ton of your own money to start. You can open a shop with just 4 cards made. See if you get any traction and grow organically instead of putting a ton of cash in up front and potentially being disappointed.

      Good luck!

  17. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    I LOVED The Wonder. I really love Emma Donoghue but I wasn’t a huge fan of Room, so I was a little frustrated by all the hype when she’s been putting out fantastic stuff for years. Slammerkin is one of my favourite books of all time! I wasn’t super keen on Frog Music, but her older stuff is all top-notch.

    Currently on deck I have a copy of The Sympathizer (this year’s Pulitzer winner), Watching The English, and a YA thriller called Last Seen Leaving which got good reviews but I know very little about, on top of regular blog books. I have plenty of good stuff to read! Just need to find the time to do it!

    1. MsChandandlerBong*

      I waited for weeks for “Room” to become available at the library. I didn’t get five pages into it…absolutely hated the writing style. I understand why she wrote it that way, but it was too difficult to get into the story.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have just finished Frog Music, which is the first book of hers I have read. It was the 3rd book in a 3 for 5 pounds deal, and I always find I have 2 books I want in these deals then struggle to choose a third.

        Anyway, I wasn’t very keen on Frog Music either, but I may try another of her books to see if I like those better. To be honest, I detest books written in the present tense, so that was against it from the start!

  18. Sunflower*

    Does anyone sell at an online consignment shop?

    I buy a lot off eBay, Poshmark and Tradesy and am thinking about selling some stuff. I’ve sold to brick and mortar consignment stores a few times but wondering how much success people have had online or if it’s better to just haul my stuff to the store.

    1. Lily Evans*

      I have no experience personally, but a couple of my friends have sold things to ThredUp and were happy with it.

    2. Southern Ladybug*

      I did a ThredUp bag. It went well. Some items were bought outright and some were consigned – it’s their decision about how items are handled. It got things out of the house and was easier than me trying to sell on my own. But it does take time. If you want the money quickly, I’d go a different route.

      1. Al Lo*

        I so wish ThredUp was available in Canada. I can’t find a single consignment option like that here. I’m not in a rush for the money; just want to get things out, get something for them, and not deal with kijiji, Facebook buy/sell groups, or eBay myself.

  19. SophieChotek*

    I moved (decided to take sublet I was debating about). It was dirty (despite supposedly having been cleaned) so I had to spend hours cleaning and I am still spending time cleaning as I go. I am mostly unpacked and have been taking boxes and boxes to charity/donation as I’ve found duplicates. (75% of my things have been in storage, and I’ve just been throwing more stuff in storage as I went along) so when I unpacked I found so many duplicates of household items like towels, kitchen utensils, pots & pans. I also mentioned I have thousands of books – I cut my book collection in half and sold them all at used book stores. Got pennies to the dollar, but it’s amazingly freeing to not have that much stuff (although, sigh, I still have a lot) and not fret about how the stuff is lasting in storage. Renewed committment to living more simply…with less buying of new stuff…we’ll see how long it lasts. As with moving, though, all the annoying things cropping up…realizing suddenly in the middle of trying to cook you don’t have mayonnaise, sugar, ketchup, etc. I wouldn’t store things again (as I think I mentioned in previous posts; I could have purchased better furniture with the money I spent on storage,but I also never dreamt I’d live with family for so long.) Thanks and happy weekend.

    1. Mallows*

      Congratulations! I hope you love the new place. Going to take your advice above, especially about books.

  20. Sir Alanna Trebond*

    TW: discussion of weight loss, fitness, food stuff

    I want some fitness advice–

    I’ve recently decided to get in shape, so I’ve been working out fairly regularly. The thing is, I’m already quite skinny so I don’t want to lose any weight, but almost all of the advice I find online is for people looking to lose weight or for skinny guys looking to put on muscle (I’m a woman). So I’m wondering, what are good resources for skinny women looking to get in shape? What should I do, food-wise? I want to eat healthier, but I’m afraid I’ll lose weight and I really can’t afford to.

    My workouts are mostly kickboxing with some body weight stuff thrown in.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      I’m in a similar boat and curious to see what replies you get. Also, how did you get into kick boxing and where do you do it? I’d like to be more active and build some muscle.

      1. Sir Alanna Trebond*

        One day my friend found a groupon for beginner’s classes at a boxing gym, so that was my start. But then I moved, so now I’ve just been following videos at home until I find a new gym I like. I’ll include some links to videos in a reply.

        And good to know other people are in the same boat :)

        1. Sir Alanna Trebond*

          Cardio Kickboxing Workout to Burn Fat at Home – 25 Minute Kickboxing Cardio Interval Workout:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vve4BVTZ0QU

          45-Minute Epic Cardio Boxing Workout | Class FitSugar
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lujcE3FGL_U

          30-Minute Cardio-Boxing and Core-Tightening Workout | Class FitSugar
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1LeHynYZLk

          I’ve been meaning to pick up the light hand weights they recommend, because as I’ve done the last two videos more they’re not as challenging as they used to be.

    2. shorty*

      I’d suggest eating plenty of protein and lifting weights (or increasing the body weight stuff you’re already doing). I can’t imagine you’d get skinnier by lifting. If you don’t mind putting on some (slightly) noticeable muscle, then do fewer reps at a heavier weight rather than more reps at a lighter weight.

      I really like starting my day with a smoothie following this recipe: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/

      Disclaimer: Aside from being a former college athlete I don’t have any particular training on this topic. Also, I am not skinny– I have more of a gymnast’s build. My main problem with working out is I get pretty muscular and it makes finding clothes that fit difficult. If you’re already quite skinny I really doubt you would have that problem though, even if you were to do some hard core weight training.

      Good luck!

    3. TL -*

      Lots of protein! (Lean proteins are good, but eat what you like, too.)
      If you’re trying to be healthier but not trying to lose weight, my advice would be to eat your healthy meal first (protein, lots of veggies, carbs for energy!) and if you’re still hungry, grab dessert or a snack. Don’t worry about portion control or cutting calories or low fat, just focus on eating balanced meals and eating when hungry.

    4. Willow*

      Try girlsgonestrong. Definitely work on strength training–i.e. lifting heavy weights. Schedule an intro appointment with a physical trainer to learn proper form. Get a calorie counter app to make sure you’re eating enough calories (especially protein). Look into sports that interest you, or stuff like martial arts or aerial arts. Set performance goals instead of weight goals. Lift x pounds, do x pullups, stuff like that.

    5. jbern*

      “Getting in shape” to me means building muscle and/or building aerobic endurance. To not lose weight, just make sure you are taking in enough calories to compensate for your exercise. There’s a lot of information available on proper diet for various activities. For building muscle, I need to eat more protein. For recovery, I need protein and carbs. For aerobic activities, I need carbs. Most advocate clean eating, or no processed foods and no junk foods. The more you work out to get into shape, beyond just becoming more active, the more likely you will notice how your diet affects your gains and you will begin to eat better as a result.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        TW = Trigger Warning. I appreciate Sir Alanna’s voluntary use of one here (normally I immediately collapse comments on threads where the initial comment covers topics I find difficult). Also, as a Tamora Pierce fan, I appreciate the username!

    6. blackcat*

      I’m skinny, and honestly, when I’m in really good shape, I just eat more. My diet is pretty healthy (lots of veggies, no beef/pork, not much bread, but I do love cheese). I tend stay the same physical shape, but just get firmer–so my clothes still fit (though I do weigh more). I eat when I’m hungry and don’t when I’m not. I’m just hungry more when I’m exercising a lot. My experience is that my body will ask for what it needs to stay healthy when I up my exercise. Generally that means putting on weight in the form of muscle. Several of my skinny friends report similar results–basically, there is a weight our bodies are programmed not to go below, and it’s likely you’ll get hungry to compensate enough so that you shouldn’t loose much if any weight. I don’t recommend calorie counters or anything complicated. Eat when you are hungry. Drink lots of water. Keep things like nuts around to snack on.

      As for *what* to eat, generally cutting down on processed foods (of all types, processed grains, processed sugars, processed meats, soups in cans, etc) and aiming to eat a lot of veggies is a safe bet for almost anyone. Aiming to be too restrictive (eg, NO refined sugars ever) seems to set people up for failure. Small, sustainable changes (eg always making sure there’s at least one vegetable in your meal) will make a bigger difference in the end. I’ve found that years after cutting out most processed foods, I just can’t stand super greasy foods or soda. I genuinely don’t like them anymore, so eating “healthy” has become simply eating what I like (except for cheese. I will always like cheese).

    7. Jenny Erik*

      I’ve been using Darebee (http://darebee.com/) for some time now. It’s a group of exercise specialists who work together to come up with a wide variety of exercises, both single workouts and longer programs, that will useful to people at all levels of fitness and with all sorts of goals. Everything on the website is free. You don’t have to sign up for anything.

      It’s a big resource, so figuring out where to get started can be intimidating. I really like their programs, which are usually 30 or 60 days long. This link (http://darebee.com/pick-a-program.html) can help you pick one out. If you prefer to find individual workouts and come up with your own plan, you can sort them by the type of workout you’re looking for, the area of the body you’d like to focus on, what equipment you have available (most of them are equipment-free), and the difficulty level. There are demonstration videos if you need to see what a particular exercise looks like and a page full of modifications for people with physical limitations. They also have a section on nutrition (http://darebee.com/nutrition.html), but I’ve never used anything from that myself.

      Good luck, and I hope you find a workout routine that suits your goals!

    8. Laura*

      First of all, congrats on getting into better shape! No matter what size you are, everyone’s health can benefit from exercise and eating healthy.

      Since you’re not trying to lose weight, you can eat healthier food without restricting portion size. Most weight-loss advice is around limiting the amount you eat (when you’re trying to lose weight even too much healthy food can be counter-productive). If you’re looking to maintain or gain weight, you can eat larger quantities of healthy food without even thinking about portion size. Basically, eat healthy food until you’re full. When you’re hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack. If you haven’t had any disordered eating in the past, your body should be pretty good at telling you when it needs food and how much (this doesn’t apply to anyone who’s had any form of disordered eating – over or under – please seek advice from a dietician if this is you). So listen to what your body is telling you and eat accordingly.

      Eating healthy food and cutting out the crap can have so many positive benefits to your health that aren’t related to weight. Your arteries and blood pressure will thank you for it. You’ll also have increased energy and sleep better at night.

      There’s no need to overdo it on protein, but it’s important to make sure you’re eating protein at every meal and snack, especially if you’re looking to build muscle. Carbohydrates, particularly from whole grains, are important to make sure you have the energy you need to keep doing the intense workouts you’re doing.

      I would also encourage you to consider adding strength training into your workout plan. Strength training won’t cause you to look like a body builder but it will help your joints, protect your bones as you age (regardless of your age currently), give you more power for kickboxing or other cardio, decrease your risk of back pain (or other pain), among other things. Since I started strength training almost 2 years ago, I feel stronger and have more energy for my cardio workouts. My muscles are slightly more defined now, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who can tell.

      Check out girlsgonestrong.com and fitnessblender.com for trustworthy info about strength training and healthy eating. Both sites have paid portions but they also have a lot of great info for free.

    9. Runner5*

      I really like the NerdFitness website – they have sensible advice for weight loss AND for putting on muscle for both women and men. Check out Staci’s story!

  21. oranges & lemons*

    I’ve finally decided to give up on my ancient laptop and buy a replacement. Any suggestions? I’m a PC user and I don’t want to pay too much because I only really use it for word processing, browsing the internet and streaming video. I would like something with longevity though–my current laptop has made it almost 10 years and it would be great if my next one lasts a long time too.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        I second this.

        I don’t want to pay too much because I only really use it for word processing, browsing the internet and streaming video.

        This has Chromebook written all over it.

      1. Marcela*

        No really. Laptops are not less durable, their shorter lives are a consequence of being moved a lot. My laptop has 5 years, connected to a screen and keyboard, and it’s just as good as new. A couple of years ago I replaced the hard drive with a SSD drive and it got so fast I’m sure it will last another 5 years.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          It’s not just being moved a lot. Laptops have shorter lives because the small space doesn’t allow for as much or as effective cooling. Heat kills computers.

          Moving them a lot is a big part of it (I always destroy the power connection and the USB connection) but not the whole story.

          But it also makes no sense for a lot of people to have desktops. I have both, because sometimes I just want to be on the move. Then I need the desktop for gaming.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Laptops have shorter lives because the small space doesn’t allow for as much or as effective cooling. Heat kills computers.

            Practically speaking, though, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Mac laptops and high-end PC laptops can last for 5-6 years, which is just fine for most people. Yes, technically you can still use a desktop from 10 years ago, but you’d have to replace the processor, RAM, motherboard, hard drive to make it run anything reasonably modern… might as well get a new computer by that point.

            1. Marcela*

              Besides, I’ve never seen a computer die of heat. All my people have laptops now, and they kill them with drinks, or stepping over them, or because they fall, or any other type of “accident” not related at all with their configuration. It’s possible that in the long term heat shortens the life of laptops, but I still have to see a laptop reaching the end of its components’ lives.

              1. Talvi*

                My old laptop did! I had to replace it when the fan stopped working (and it would have cost more to replace it than buy a new laptop). It lived on my desk 90% of the time, including when the fan died, so it’s probably not moving it around that killed it.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  I’ve replaced the fan, the keyboard, and the USB ports on mine (the ports aren’t connected directly to the motherboard, so it wasn’t necessary to do that). It’s running just fine.

              2. Mander*

                My old laptop quit working when the fan went, but I was able to buy a replacement part and get it working again. But it might have been expensive if I’d had to pay someone else to do it. I figured that I have reasonable practical skills in handling tools and following instructions and it was dead anyway, so if I screwed up I wasn’t any worse off.

            2. Mander*

              Though you could try Linux on an old computer. ;-)

              My laptop is about 10 years old and still working fine. Over the years I have replaced the fan and upgraded the memory, yes, but those were both quite cheap to do. Having said that, though, part of the reason why it’s lasted so long might be because it is gigantic and I hardly ever actually take it anywhere. It’s so big that it has room for two hard drives in it (and yes I added the second one, but that was also cheap).

        2. neverjaunty*

          Laptops are also made out of much crappier components than desktops and are much more difficult to upgrade.

          That said, the question was about a laptop, and concur that a netbook sound the way to go.

      2. oranges & lemons*

        I haul my laptop around a lot and don’t have a fixed location for it, so I don’t think a desktop is for me. I’ll accept the additional wear and tear on a laptop as the tradeoff for actually using it–if I had a desktop it would just gather dust. Thanks though!

    1. danr*

      I’ve had good luck with the Dell laptops. I got it from the business line and I’m going on five years now with win7. I upgraded the memory and had to get a new battery. I feel it’s good for another 4 years, at least. We’ll see. Since i don’t play games, I get the computers from the business side about mid-range. I think you’ll be shocked by how much computer you can get for not a lot of money these days.

      1. Pineapple Incident*

        I second this! I had a Dell that lasted me 6 years, and I should have just gotten the updated version of that laptop when it started to decline badly. Instead I went with a Samsung series 3 for cost reasons and it’s been a problem since about 8 months into its lifetime (it’s now been 3 years, don’t have the money to replace it).

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      Dell over HP (cheaper and better tech support when something goes wrong) and please, no matter how good their Black Friday Sale is, don’t buy from Best Buy. If you need any service work on it, it will be a nightmare. I speak for myself and seemingly everyone I know- who only related their bad tales to me when I was in the middle of an Epic Battle with Best Buy.

      My other advice is just to buy the fastest processor and the most memory as you can afford, to make it last the longest you can. You can’t (easily) update the processor later, and even if you can update the RAM, it’s cheapest when you’re buying/building the computer.

      1. danr*

        We’ve always bought direct from Dell, except for one laptop from QVC. You can get the configuration (mostly) that you want.

    3. Observer*

      For longevity, I’ve found that the HP business laptops really do well. You don’t have to spend a mint, since you don’t need high end features. The real question is how big of a screen you need / want (What do you have now? are you willing to go smaller?) And how much weight are you willing to deal with? Given how old your laptop is, I’d be willing to be that almost any decent laptop is going to be lighter than what you had.

      Avoid any version of Windows 8. Get either Windows 7 pro, or Windows 10. (Windows 8 laptops are by an large older models. If you want something that’s going to last don’t buy an older model…)

      Depending on the kind of word processing you are doing, a chromebook could work well. There are some nice models out there.

    1. AnAppleADay*

      This is so very cool! I was hoping you’d post a photo when done. You’ll have to update us with feed back you get when you wear it out.

  22. plip*

    Do you wear costume or expensive jewellery? I’m so terrified of losing necklaces/earrings that I typically just buy cheap stuff, but as a gift my parents got me an expensive necklace that I’m too scared to actually wear yet.

    And yes, I do typically lose one earring from each pair and somehow snap most necklaces I own.

    1. NicoleK*

      Costume jewelry all the way. The only real piece of jewelry I own is my wedding ring (for the longest time, I was terrified of losing my ring)

    2. super anon*

      I wear non-costume jewelry on a daily basis. i wear an 1837 ring from Tiffany’s and a peridot & white gold necklace. I’ve had them for 3 years and haven’t lost them yet – although I have lost another Tiffany ring that. I’ve lost every bracelet i’ve ever been given (including a Tiffany one that hurts me to think about) so I stopped wearing and buying them, but I recently bought an Apple watch that I’ve been pretty happy with and haven’t had any major accidents or mishaps with yet.

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Guess it depends what you consider expensive. A really nice $120 or $200 item is fine. Or even a several-thousand-dollar wedding band, but there’s no way in hell I’d wear something in the five digits of value! I wouldn’t even worry about losing it or having it stolen… even possibly breaking it.

    4. TL -*

      I wear as nice as jewelry as I can afford, but I also don’t lose jewelry – I’ve lost only one piece ever and I’m pretty sure someone threw away the bag it was in without checking the bag (during a rather hectic wedding.)

      I break headphones constantly, so I buy cheap headphones. Then they break and I buy new ones. It’s a vicious cycle.

    5. DragoCucina*

      I have a mixture. I’ve been loosing one earring of sets recently. Very frustrating. I like necklaces made of recycled paper. They are lightweight, don’t snag, and I get lots of compliments.

    6. Pennalynn Lott*

      I wear primarily genuine gemstone jewelry set in sterling silver or 14K/18K gold. I buy thicker, box chain, necklaces and that helps them breaking (the box chain style is the most sturdy, when it comes to pendant chains). Also, I bought a bag of 1000 clear little rubber stopper thingies for earrings on eBay for just a few buck and put them on Every Single Pair of Earrings I Own. Especially the hoops. I never trust the closure on the hoops. And they hold better than the metal clutch-backs that usually come with stud earrings.

      I own a couple thousand pieces of jewelry and have lost maybe two earrings (?) in the past three decades. And that was before I figured out about the rubber stopper / disc things. I do have gemstones pop out of pendants and rings from time to time, but so far I have found 90% of them. For the 10% that are forever lost, I either find an exact match on eBay or have my local jeweler find a match, then I have him put it in the setting.

    7. EmmaLou*

      I am a terror on watches. For years I have told my family, “Please don’t spend money on an expensive watch. I will just ruin it!” Consistently, no one believes me. Except, finally, my husband. If it costs more than $10 is it not a watch for me. I never remember to take it off when washing my hands, the dishes, showering… nope… no good watches and a cheap watch keeps fine time. Other jewelry I do fine with. Watches. Nope.

    8. Natalie*

      I have a few nice pieces I inherited, but I think they are just vintage costume jewelry. Everything else I buy is costume, too, although my engagement ring was real but came from a pawnshop and my wedding ring wasn’t very expensive. I’m just not careful with my jewelry and I’m not planning on devoting any energy to changing that.

    9. Mints*

      I buy the cheapest earrings while still having the good metals. Like a bucket for a $1 at Claire’s as long as it says “hypoallergenic.” (I’m slightly exaggerating.) Because yeah I lose earrings all the time.

      But I will wear nicer rings because I don’t lose those as long as they fit.

      I’ve never snapped a necklace. Do you actually lose it when it snaps or is it obvious enough you can put it in your pocket? If it’s not actually lost, I’d say wear it because you could repair it later.

      1. Sami*

        I’ve worn the same necklace for 10-12 years at least. The delicate chain has broken a few times, but I’ve always found it. Once in my bra! :)

    10. Chaordic One.*

      I wear costume jewelry (usually faux pearls), and surprisingly, costume jewelry can be fairly expensive.

      Several years ago I lived in southern California and a high-level female executive from where I worked was knocked-down, mugged and car-jacked in a bank parking lot in broad daylight. She always wore lots of jewelry and it was reported in news accounts that something like $80,000 worth of gold jewelry was stolen from her. (It just blows my mind to think about that.)

      It must have been very traumatic for her. After the incident her jewelry choices were more conservative and she replaced her stolen luxury sedan with a humble Toyota Avalon.

      1. AcidMeFlux*

        I guess since I came of age in NYC in the 70s/80s I’ve always been afraid to show off anything but the cheapest stuff (I’ve even turned down reasonably priced second hand stuff worrying that it might attract attention). Paranoia strikes deep, as the song says. Glad your coworker survived.

    11. Anon and alone*

      I actually wear a mixture. I have 3 good rings that belonged to my mother and a silver necklace in memory of both my parents. Some of the costume stuff was my mom’s, the rest I found at thrift stores (I can’t resist glittery things). The watch I bought at Walmart for $10.

    12. Talvi*

      I have a couple of expensive pieces that I wear, but only one regularly. Interestingly, one of the expensive pieces is also the only time I’ve had a necklace snap on me. I was at home at the time, but it was the pearl necklace I’d inherited from my late grandmother, so I was very glad that it had happened while I was home! (This was about 3 years ago and I still haven’t gone and gotten the restrung…)

      I try to avoid expensive earrings, though, because I also tend to lose one from the pair. I’ve lately gotten very good at using those plastic backs for hook earrings, but even then I sometimes still manage to lose one!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I like Swarovski crystal jewellery for the bling factor, but it’s not something I wear everyday, rather for evening.

    13. Tomato Frog*

      Life’s too short not to wear your nice jewelry. Better to have worn it and lost it than never worn it at all etc etc

      My sadness upon losing earrings is based entirely on how much I liked the pair, which doesn’t correlate at all with how expensive they are. I have costume jewelry I’d be very sad to lose and gold earrings I could lose with relatively little damage to my equanimity. If I didn’t wear earrings I was afraid of losing, I’d only wear earrings I hate.

      1. Talvi*

        Also how versatile the earrings are. Can I wear them with most of my outfits? If so, I would be much more upset to lose one than a pair of earrings I could really only coordinate with a couple of outfits.

    14. Menacia*

      I only wear fine jewelry because that’s I own or buy. I tend to favor things with strong clasps or screw on backs (for earrings), and I’ve always been very fortunate not to lose anything. As for the really expensive stuff (diamonds and platinum), they have been added our homeowners insurance policy so they are covered should they be lost or stolen. Life is too short not to wear my nice jewelry! :)

    15. Elizabeth West*

      I wear mostly costume, but I have a couple of nice pieces I wear on special occasions. If I’m going to lose or snap a piece, it’s usually when I’m doing normal ordinary things, so I feel fairly safe saving the good stuff for dress-up. :)

    16. skyline*

      Mixture. Most of the fine jewelry has been gifts, though I think they are fairly modest as far as fine jewelry goes. I try to rotate through the different pieces. It makes me sad to think of them not getting used, so I’ve stopped saving them for special occasions.

      (That said, the really flashy stuff is obviously fake. The nicer stuff that I own tends to be small and subtle.)

  23. Myrin*

    [Discussion of death in this comment, so please be warned!]

    The first and second November are All Hallows’ Day and All Souls’ Day and it’s tradition here to visit the graves of your ancestors on these two days (actually on the first, though, but I know enough outliers who go on the second). My parents moved to another part of the country before I was born so it’s only my grandfather now looking after our family’s graves and we don’t have any graves to visit. However, as some of you might know, our beloved cat died in April and we buried him in our garden. So my sister bought a grave candle (I’m not sure if these exist in other countries so have a link for visuals) which we put next to the tree we planted on our kitty’s grave and I just… I don’t know what it is but to me, even with death being such a devastating thing, celebrations and rituals like these really add a quietness and beauty to it that make you able to face it very calmly and solemnly.

    1. Anna*

      I completely agree! Before I had any experience with death in my own life, I didn’t really understand the point of the rituals, but after some experience, it has really impressed on me how important they are to help the mourners process their grief. This sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate your cat’s life!

    2. Hrovitnir*

      That is lovely. It is making me think I should do something like that, as I’m generally not very good at mourning rituals which leaves me kind of floundering after dealing with the immediacies after death.

    3. Mints*

      I like this holiday too. People misunderstand Day of the Dead (Mexico) to be a celebration of death, but it’s actually “the dead” as in “dead loved ones.” And it’s celebrated like you’ve described. It’s a nice way to remember.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        The 1st of November is often a public holiday in Europe and apparently the local florists do a roaring trade in floral tributes, and grave candles of varying shapes and sizes. (They tend to be available in either cream or red too)

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        We celebrate Dia de los Muertos in our congregation. People place pictures or mementos of a loved one (human or pet) on the altar and a few people, who are asked in advance, speak about someone they wish to remember. I spoke about my grandparents last year, and one member memorialized her beloved dog who had recently died. She created a plaster and decoupage mask of her dog for the altar and it was a lovely tribute.

  24. Maxwell Edison*

    I love cons and book fairs, and next year I get to be a part of them. I’ll be helping man a table at the Vintage Paperback show (my best friend is selling a lot of books from his father’s estate), and I will be a vendor at the Monsterpalooza con (selling my movie review book).

  25. The Other Dawn*

    I had gastric bypass almost three years ago and I’ve done well–I’ve lost 130 pounds, sleep apnea is gone and I’m no longer pre-diabetic. I started seeing a personal trainer around March because exercise was the last piece of the puzzle. Up until then I hadn’t been exercising consistently and had a small weight re-gain (29 pounds). Also, I want to have an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and a panniculectomy (removal of the excess abdominal skin), which is scheduled for February 27.

    I’ve done well with the trainer and I’ve done well with eating right. Unfortunately, it seems as though I can’t keep both of these things on track at once. I’ve always been that way with diet and exercise, and that didn’t change with the gastric bypass. So, I’m struggling a lot lately.

    The reason I struggle with the exercise isn’t the fact that I have to move and sweat–I actually don’t mind it. It’s the types of exercises I’m doing. It’s a lot of squats, kettle bell work, and core work. I just dread my home routine these days. I’ve decided that I will change it up one day and week and do whatever I want. I have one day with the trainer, which doesn’t bother me. That leaves me three days with the dreaded routine. Luckily my trainer is looking at changing it up a but, but I know it won’t change much, as the exercises I’m doing are aimed at strengthening my core, which is very necessary before the surgery.

    As far as eating, I’m all over the place. I need to stick to high protein, low carb, but I just want to snack all the time. It hit me yesterday that I need to do something: I was cleaning my sofa and starting thinking about what to make for dinner for me and hubby, and it just totally turned me off completely. But I was eager to eat when I thought about snacking. That’s not a good thing.

    So, my weight is stable right now, and not going down, because I’m eating enough calories to make up for the exercise I’m doing.

    Any suggestions for how to get both things on track at once? I’ve got a little under four months to get under 200 pounds (my and my trainer’s goal, not the surgeon’s), which is only 13 pounds away, and get as strong as I can.

    (Also, if anyone has had this surgery or knows someone who has, I’d love to hear about it and any tips you have pre- or post-op. Please tell me the good, the bad and the ugly!)

    1. JaneB*

      Pilates for core srengthening? It’s supposed to be wonderful and a class a week might make a nice change to help shake things up – I think for most people doing the same thing over and over gets old & hard to keep up…

      1. Marcela*

        I take a pilates class twice a week and it’s the only thing I’ve tried that I did not hate to death by the second week. I’ve been taking the class for a year now, and although my doctor tells me I need more cardio, honestly I don’t think I can do something else: my cat soul hates it and actively tries to avoid it.

        1. blackcat*

          How about something like Zumba? If you find a good instructor and good group in the class, it can be more like fun dance class than “You must do cardio now” class. That HUGELY depends on the instructor/class though–while I had a great experience (imagine an enthusiastic woman shouting “Shake what your mama gave you!”), I had friends with instructors who were always talking about targeting “problem areas.”

      2. Anna*

        I’ve found pilates to be really helpful, too, but I have to say that for the first 6 months or so, there were just a lot of the positions that I couldn’t even do. It would have been really frustrating except that I had a great teacher that just explained that it is important to just keep trying and to do as close to the movements as you can until you get strong enough to do them entirely.

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Congratulations!! I don’t have experience with bypass surgery but it makes your stomach smaller, right? So you don’t have the capacity for a lot of food but you’re burning a lot of calories by exercising. Maybe you are genuinely hungry. How hungry are you by the time you sit down to a meal? If you’re ravenous then a snack or two may do you good. You’ll probably eat less at meals and so it should balance out as long as you’re paying attention. Just like a meal, your snacks should include protein, carbs and fat so you get the energy you need to carry you through to the next meal/snack. Another option is to look at what’s in your meals and try adding in some more calorie dense foods. Maybe some additional fat? That will also make you feel more satisfied and enjoy your meals. Or you might not be getting enough carbs for you. Diets are personal and you will probably move through different configurations of fat, protein and carbs as you continue to lose. Flexibility is important.

      If you could design the perfect workout what would you be doing? Pilates? Yoga? Body weight exercises? Exercise videos? Try different things and see what you like. Talk to your trainer and see what the two of you can come up with together. The workouts you enjoy are the ones you are more likely to do.

      I’ve also found that reality tv is perfectly designed for workouts. Think Food Network, Home & Garden, Fashion, etc. The show starts with a problem, then the solution, there’s always a surprise, then the big reveal. There’s no fast dialog that requires your attention, a predicable format, no plot twists, and you only have to look up occasionally to keep up.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I am agreeing that you are probably actually more hungry when you exercise often, that is why the fluctuation in ability to follow your diet. I think that a good plan for you would be to have an increase level of food on days you exercise. Perhaps actually plan a snack after exercise to help you.

        Our food should roughly match our energy outputs for the day. I remember one day a few years ago, I spent the afternoon pushing 1700 pounds of roofing shingles up to my friend who was going to repair my roof. Man! I was hungry and tired. This is the problem, with an extra output of effort, we can become more tired than anticipated. A tired brain makes it even harder to plan meals. Know the mental fatigue will set in and develop a plan for food so you don’t have to struggle.

        My suggestion is a powered protein drink. You can add that to your daily routine and/or have extra when the hungries hit because of exercising.

        My second suggestion is that thirst masquerades as hunger. Make sure you are drinking enough water when you exercise. Perhaps consider an electrolyte drink, too. This is important if it feels like water is going right through you and you are not absorbing it. Sometimes we can feel hungry and it is actually thirst, we are dehydrating and not realizing it.

    3. Amadeo*

      What if you took up something like dance or martial arts and used some of your workout time to practice it? You can do dance choreographies or there are always multiple forms in any martial art that you’ll have to learn, at least one for each belt you promote to at the start.

      Would it also help to keep ‘snack’ things out of the house and try to keep mostly just things that need to be composed into a meal to be palatable?

      1. ginger ale for all*

        I agree with both of these suggestions. I have done both. I feel a bit more safe with my martial arts skills and I love having dance classes with my sweetheart. I have since broken up with my sweetheart and I miss dressing up a bit, grabbing dinner, and then having a couples dance class. It was a great date night every week.

        1. ginger ale for all*

          Also, maybe think about a social sport where it is about getting active with a group of friends like join a bowling league or softball team. Maybe pick a cause like Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so that it isn’t just exercise but it’s joining your friends for a night out or raising money for cancer research etc..

    4. Sophie Winston*

      Have you had a session with a dietician since you started the exercise routine? It seems to me you’ve got a complicated set of dietary needs and restrictions that could use a professional’s advice.

    5. Emma*

      On the snacking: one thing that helped me with that issue was switching up what snacks I had available – so, for a while, even though it’s kinda expensive I kept beef jerky around for when I wanted something to chew, and now I keep seaweed snacks. I found what helped me a bit was sort of interrogating my own cravings – why was I craving that doughnut? For the sweet taste? Because I wanted something that’d fill me up that I didn’t have to cook? Because it was my favorite? Because I wanted to sink my teeth into something? And then depending on the answer I’d see if I could find a substitute I liked.

      I will say, what eventually killed most of my cravings was actually going off the thing for a couple weeks, then giving in. Most of the time, I found it didn’t satisfy like it used to, and so it was easier to let it go. Like, I actually just got over my obsession with one store’s cheesecake that way – didn’t buy it for ~3 weeks, caved last weekend when they had my favorite flavor on sale, found that it tasted odd to me now and I didn’t enjoy it as much. I no longer crave it because my last memory is the oddness, not the previous enjoyment.

      The other thing I’d toss out is make sure your cravings aren’t related to vitamin/nutrient deficiencies.

    6. Jenny Erik*

      There are lots of ways to strengthen your core, and there’s no reason to be miserable while you do it. I don’t have any specific advice about exercises for you, but I often come across the “just suck it up and do it” mentality with respect to working out, and it really doesn’t have to be that way. If a certain kind of exercise is making you dread working out, talk to your trainer about it and see if together you can find a way to achieve the same thing in a way that removes the dread. Motivation is an elusive thing–do everything you can to set yourself up for success.

    7. Hi.*

      Congrats on your weight loss! I had the gastric sleeve done almost 3 months ago and I’m down 65 lbs so far. I’m doing good with protein, having trouble staying hydrated, staying away from carbs is an eternal battle, and I am working hard to get into a gym routine. Best thing I ever did, and also the hardest. (Anyone who says it’s the easy way out hasn’t done it!) :)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks, and congrats to you, too! Yes, it can be tough the first few months to get everything in. And I agree, it’s the best thing I ever did. Definitely not the easy way out, as so many people like to say. Luckily no one has had the balls to say it to my face; however, I know of at least one person who has said it to my best friend.

    8. designbot*

      I’d really try different types of workouts–try yoga, pilates, biking, hiking, swimming… it sounds like doing reps of exercises in place is not something that’s working well for you in terms of motivation. I had that problem and eventually found out that hiking is my ideal exercise, which changed everything.

      As far as food goes, can you try to observe a bit more about how you feel when you feel that snacking sounds good but preparing a meal does not? Is it that meal planning turns you off? In which case, maybe try blue apron, plated, or similar. Or is it that the work of the prep turns you off vs. the already readiness of snacks? If that, maybe try designating a time, probably a sunday night, to wash, chop, and do as much prep as possible for the week ahead. You could bake something healthy for breakfasts, chop veggies that can make quick and easy salads, and even pre-cook chicken breasts so that when it’s time for a meal it’s as close to ready-made as possible. But again, that depends on what’s at the root of this, so I’d encourage you to keep being mindful when you have these thoughts or impulses to try and learn where that’s coming from so you can find the right solution.

      And good luck! We’re rooting for you.

    9. The Other Dawn*

      Thought I’d add a little more to what I said above in terms of eating.

      I’m absolutely not eating and snacking because I’m actually hungry. It’s purely head hunger. I’m falling back into the trap of wanting convenience and just stuff to toss into my mouth. And, yes, I have noticed that sometimes I’m thirsty. I’ve gotten better at recognizing that lately.

      My problem is being on track with both the eating right and exercising at the same time. I think I’m falling back into the old mindset of wanting instant gratification.

      So frustrating!

      1. ck*

        Always drink a glass of water before eating a snack. Force yourself. Sometimes you can thwart that snack.

        Don’t keep the bad stuff in the house.

        And definitely changing up the exercise routine can be key.

        Are you involved in a support group for folks who have had the surgery, and/or getting any other therapy to learn cognitive approaches/mindfulness/??? to help deal with other issues that can thwart you?

        Good luck… you’ve done so well!!

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Thanks!

          I’ve gone to the support groups off and on; however, I didn’t feel as though I got much out of them. Especially the one for post-ops that are longer than one year out. Everyone seemed to be off the wagon, so to speak, and generally just not wanting to do anything about it. “Off the wagon” in post-WLS world basically means drinking while having meals (a no-no), eating too many carbs (pasta, bread, etc.) and not enough protein, not monitoring protein and calorie intake, not taking bariatric vitamins. Stuff like that. It wasn’t very motivating. Actually, I take that back: it motivated me to not go back to that group and to make sure I keep with all the stuff I’m supposed to be doing. I’m doing well except for the grazing/snacking and monitoring my calories.

          1. acmx*

            What is the reasoning behind not drinking water while having meals? That would be a huge obstacle for me!

            1. The Other Dawn*

              When a gastric bypass is done, the bottom of the stomach no longer has a “flap” that keeps the food in and lets it out intermittently as it digests. People who haven’t had GB have this flap. GB patients don’t, since the surgeon is creating a smaller stomach from the old one. The surgeon creates a new opening at the bottom that’s kind of like a funnel. That’s the best way I can describe it, and that’s the way it works.

              If we drink while we eat, the water will mix with the food and make it more of a liquid, which passes much more quickly through the bottom of the stomach (the “funnel”), and that leads to getting hungry faster. It can also force the food through and over time expand the opening at the bottom of the stomach, which will eventually allow food to pass through faster–we don’t want that. So, GB patients have to stop drinking about 30 minutes before a meal to allow the water to empty out. Then we eat until full, which is anywhere from a couple spoonfuls (new post-ops) to maybe 1/2 cup to 1 cup (veterans), depending on what we’re eating. Then about 30 minutes later we can start drinking again. (The timing varies. Some surgeons say stop 1.5 hours before eating and resume 1.5 hours after, which would drive me insane! Luckily my surgeon uses 30 minutes.)

              Being a GB patient is a delicate dance sometimes. Lots of things to think about that I didn’t have to think about before; however, I don’t regret it for one second.

              1. The Other Dawn*

                Forgot to add that, yes, it was very difficult in the beginning. I’d drank and ate together my whole entire life and I had to unlearn that. It doesn’t bother me anymore, except for when I’m out at a restaurant. Not sure why. I think it’s because a restaurant is most often about the whole experience rather than just the food. And drinking and eating at the same time is part of that experience: a margarita with chips and spicy salsa, or a glass of wine with a steak. Know what I mean? I usually sip slowly on some water if I get thirsty’ however, there are times where I say screw it. Like last night. Went out for my birthday and slowly sipped a margarita (SLOWLY, because alcohol hits FAST after GB surgery!) with my dinner. I wanted it and decided I was going to have it. Eating and drinking together once in a great while won’t kill me.

                1. acmx*

                  Happy belated birthday!

                  I don’t know why I said drinking ‘water’!

                  You mention other snack ideas below : What about Carrots and hummus? Maybe you’d like raw carrots that way? Apple slices with sun flower butter?

      2. Not So NewReader*

        This sounds like lack of water. You know, that in extreme dehydration that people go insane before they die? My point is lack of water reeeally messes up our minds. Also check out something with electrolytes in it. The minerals will help your body absorb the water rather than just pushing it through and out of your system.

        I must sound like I am making a big deal over a little thing, but once I decided to watch what was happening to my body in comparison to my water in take, I was really shocked. For example, I have neck pain from time to time. It took a while, but I realized if I put more effort into drinking the more water my neck pain went way down and sometimes went away entirely. I noticed other positive changes also.

        One thing I decided when I started eating better is to recognize the need to graze. Just my thinking but I’d encourage you to just accept your need to graze sometimes and be prepared for it. I make sure each week I bring home something healthy that I can graze on. It’s usually different each week, I try to mix it up.

        Just like with the water, lack of rest will also cause grazing. When I get more rest, I do graze less. Think of it this way, the body has to get fuel from somewhere. If we don’t sleep enough the next thing in line is food.

        In the end of my weight loss story, I found that at least half of the story involved things that had nothing to do with food. Things like water, electrolytes, rest and so on. I even found that fragrances impacted my weight loss. Crazy stuff but there it is.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          That’s interesting. I’ve been doing not so well with my water intake lately, and it’s especially important since I’ve had gastric bypass, as I’m more susceptible to dehydration. I think I’ll concentrate on that first, because it’s important and it sounds like that could be a lot of the issue. Now that I think back, I seemed to be doing much better when I was getting in all my water.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Am smiling, me too. I have reolved to pay better attention this winter. My back goes out and I end up navigating my house hand over hand. It’s lack fo water. sigh. Such a simple thing, and it becomes a bfd. Who’d thunk?

      3. Belle di Vedremo*

        Can you add snacks into your eating/meal plan, so you get that “head” satisfaction without messing up your overall plan? And would adding a glass of water after your workouts help temper the urge?

        My sister in law had the surgery, and she eats a lot more often now. She’s figured out some fun things for herself like having a gumball machine. She gets a kick out of them but finds one is enough. She liked those a lot as a kid and her dad suggested them for her, and it’s worked a treat (if you’ll excuse the expression.) She also makes batches of cookie dough and freezes dough in packages of 6 cookies. That way if they want cookies they have to wait for them to defrost, and then get three each.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I’m searching for different snacks. I’ve done the celery/hummus thing to death. Pretzels with peanut butter can be a tough thing, as the crunchy carbs (pretzels and crackers) are what I want and can overboard with. I’ve done the cheese thing. I’m not keen on raw carrots. Plus, the more I snack, the less time I have for drinking my water, since I can’t drink while I eat.

          1. Jersey's Mom*

            I’m on weight watchers and I’m a grazer. I’m constantly snacking. What I found to help me was to make whatever I was craving (I love carbs), find a low calorie (low fat, low carb, whatever) version and to pre-package it. I got mini plastic containers that would hold X amount and prep a handful of containers. I knew exactly how many calories/grams of fat etc was in a container, and I’d only take and eat X many containers a day. I’d also make sure that if I took a container, that I sat down and savored it (and not just knocked it back in 10 seconds).

            By putting the measured snack into containers, it helped me to say “I can have one and not feel guilty”. It was a little easier to say no to a second one, as I’d run all the caloric data through my head and it’d help strengthen my resolve.

            Also, if you’re a peanut butter fan, consider buying the powered peanut butter, or powdered peanut butter and chocolate. By powdering it, most of the fat is removed, and it’s a much lower caloric value. I like to sprinkle it on fruit.

            Good luck. I know how it feels. I’m 24 lbs down now, and have 61 to go.

  26. MacGirl*

    ISO people with stories about USPS and submitting a change of address.

    I moved to a new house in the same city few weeks ago and sent in a change of address several days before. The move was quick, so I knew it would take more than a week for it to be processed and for things to come through. I honestly didn’t have anything immediate that I expected being sent to my old address, but I did have something sent to my new one. I made sure it was marked with the new address.
    It never came.
    It was not returned.
    The post office doesn’t have it and said the COA on file matches my new address.
    The carrier doesn’t know.

    Has anyone had a similar experience (with or without the mystery aspect)?

    1. Sunflower*

      I had a nightmare experience with USPS. I forwarded my mail to my parents house where 99% of my mail has always gone (bills, credit cards, etc). Everything was fine until 60 days afterwards. Somehow my address was re-changed to my old address and therefore everything that had always gone to my parents house was actually going to my old address(PS- USPS sent some notice out so a bunch of my CC’s changed my address to my old one. Make sure you check that they have your current address). I didn’t notice for almost two months since the majority of my bills come online.

      Apparently most of my mail was getting returned to sender- the post office didn’t know this, I found this out through my insurance company when I didn’t get my renewal. Carrier said its possible some mail was getting caught up in between 2 offices so neither technically ‘had’ it. Both offices kept sending me back to the other one. I texted the girl who moved into my old apartment and she never got back to me so idk if it was going there.

      The post office swears that they didn’t mess the address up even though I was getting the forwarded mail to my parents and then randomly after 60 days, it stopped. Just make sure things are still coming to your new address and check with places that regularly mail you that they have the right address and things aren’t getting returned.

      1. Ouch*

        It seems that the 60 day forward issue seems to have always existed. I think there is a default if you don’t specify the length of time it’s 30 to 60 days. I had this happen in the 70s.

    2. Temperance*

      Yes. The post office in my town is garbage. It took 3 weeks (!) for an allegedly overnight package to be forwarded from my old apartment to my house, 1 mile apart. I did our mail forwards early, and received a postcard a month later telling me to do it again. I called, asking for information, and the ginormous ass who runs the post office made me refer to him as Mr. Matthews (his real name, f that guy) and then wouldn’t give me any information on where my mail was, who sent the postcard, and why this was an issue.

    3. Marcela*

      We moved from Massachusetts to California and submitted a COA with my husband’s work address. We were never able to cancel or modify it, because the web system always said it was being processed. Supposedly the COA was in place for a year, but none of the packages sent to us (mostly because the paypal system for changing addresses is a mess, so when paying online we didn’t realize we were using the wrong shipping address) was ever sent to our new address: the mail carrier just left everything in the old building hall, where a friend of ours had to get it and send it to our new place.

      I don’t think we’ll submit a COA for our next move. It’s going to be a mess anyway, so one piece less to deal with it is going to be better. And I’m keeping a small list all the important places/businesses currently sending us snail mail.

    4. the gold digger*

      You just need to put your name on the “Died do not contact list” and then put in a change of address notice at the PO. Apparently, nonprofits (I’m looking at you, Smithsonian – I have told you FIVE TIMES that my MIL died 19 months ago), catalog companies, and political parties can find you even once you are in the ground and they Will. Not. Stop. Sending. Crap.

      (The change of address notice was for bills and financial documents that my husband needs to close out his parents’ estate.)

    5. Chaordic One.*

      Twice, when I moved, I filled out a “Change of Address” card and mailed it to my post office, only to have the post office deliver the card to my new address!

      Both times I took the COA card back to the post office, handed it back to the person behind the counter and politely told the person that I wanted to have my mail forwarded to my new address and that, instead, the card was mistakenly delivered to me and after that there were no more problems.

      Otherwise, they’ve been very good about actually forwarding the mail from my previous address to my new one.

    6. MsChandandlerBong*

      I am convinced someone at my post office is stealing our mail. For the third time in as many months, I have mailed greeting cards that the recipient never received. One was a Halloween card (I don’t send Halloween cards to everyone, but a friend of mine is going through a rough time, so I try to send her something for every little holiday), one was a card that had a $25 gift card in it because my friends back home ran a fundraiser to help a woman who was stabbed and lost her husband in the same stabbing attack, and the other was a birthday card (no money or gifts inside). I find it suspicious that it is only greeting cards that are going missing; I think someone is taking them and opening them to see if there is money inside. Once opened, s/he can’t put them back in the mail, so they’re probably in a garbage can or shredder somewhere.

      Is it possible someone took it?

    7. Liane*

      We had a problem after both my in-laws passed away. Bulk of their estate was in a trust & Trustee put in a COA to Trustee’s Office because they needed to settle bills and so on. But our mail got caught in it–for 2 reasons:
      We lived on the same road with a house number only 1 digit different from Parents’ and FIL’s legal first name was a common nickname, while Husband’s is the “formal” version. (Think Tommy and Thomas)
      Trustee’s Admin was great about sorting out our mail and getting it to us, even calling if there was something that looked important, like it might be the license tag renewal.
      Neither we nor the local postmaster could get a COA for our mail to fix it; trying to COA a business address like Trustee’s Office to a residential address raises a flag in the USPS system. Only several years and a couple moves solved it.

    8. Snazzy Hat*

      I don’t recall having COA issues. I’m currently going through minor USPS issues though: about a month or two ago I started getting mail for someone who has never lived here (or at least not in the past eleven years); and since this summer the local cable company has been sending advertisements addressed to my sister, who also has never lived here.

      As a compromise, my father still receives the occasional piece of mail addressed to me, despite my having moved out in 2007.

  27. Anna*

    The letter this week from the woman who’s horse died broke my heart, and also reminded me how full this community is of thoughtful and caring animal lovers. I’m currently facing a decision with one of my cats and could really use some advice. She’s 17 years old, and has hyperthyroidism. I’ve got her on medication for it, but is starting to show additional symptoms, though she doesn’t seem in any pain. I’ve already told the vet that I don’t want to put her through any sort of surgery at her age, but he wants to at least do an ultrasound to see whether this is anything we can do with her meds. In addition to it being expensive, I’m not sure I want to put her through the ultrasound experience, either, which I’m sure will be unpleasant. I guess I just want to know how other people approach balancing quality of life with medical care with older pets, since I’m struggling with it and would appreciate any thoughts or advice people have.

    1. Aealias*

      My very-old-12-yr-old cat recently had a blood test come back showing hyperthyroidism. The vet wanted to put her on meds and have her back for monthly blood tests for 3 months to get the hyperthyroidism under control BEFORE starting her on pain meds for her arthritis.

      I said no, and felt like a horrible person about it. But my reasoning looked like this:

      1) one test suggests hyperthyroidism, but my cat is also sedentary and very overweight. So I’m not over-confident in the diagnosis.

      2) my cat is TERRIFIED of everything about the vet experience, from getting in the carrier, to the car trip, to getting out of the carrier, to seeing the vet. Every vet trip is followed by two days hiding in a closet, and I feel like monthly visits would impact her quality of life unacceptably.

      3) arthritis is affecting her quality of life significantly right now. I wanted her on meds ASAP so she could move around again, and possibly even start working on that “seriously overweight” issue.

      4) we can’t afford $300/month in vet bills for her. We have debts we’re dealing with, and we have money building for vet bills, but it won’t stretch to that. I know she’s only 12, but she’s the last of her litter, has now matched her mother’s life-span, and is entering end-of-life care. I’d rather save vet-money to spend on keeping her comfortable, rather than putting her through batteries of tests.

      So for me, the choice came down to positive vs negative impacts of the tests, with a leavening of mercenary “how do I allocate my vet dollars” to swing the vote.

      And I looked into pet insurance for my younger cat. Because she doesn’t mind vet visits at all, so her calculations look very different – we’re more likely to pursue treatments when they’all be so much less traumatic. I’m going to need more vet money set aside for her when she gets older, because of that.

    2. Today's anon*

      My cat also had hyperthyroidism, controlled on meds, but eventually developed a heart murmur. I decided not to do the ultra-sound to confirm it because, even if the expert had, there was not much we could do. I would not have agreed to surgery, there was no medication really, it was very difficult to sedate her (she hated it but also was so small (4 pounds) with this heart issue) so sedation itself might have been fatal. But I also realized that the heart issue meant she was deteriorating but my concern was her quality of life and I’m lucky she was pretty much ok until pretty much the day before she died. I miss her terribly (this was just in July so not very long ago).

    3. the gold digger*

      I am sorry about your cat. My husband’s ex wife asked for $400 for an MRI for her (their) 17 year old cat. Primo was so torn, because he loves his cats, but we both thought it was kind of crazy to spend that much money on a pet who is that old. Yes, pain meds for sure, but otherwise, what is the point of diagnosing other conditions? For me, I would want (and we have two eight year old cats) my pets to be comfortable and not in pain, but I do not have the money to spend hundreds of dollars on therapeutic meds for an elderly cat.

      (And our cats also hate going to the vet – they hate being in the car and they hate being at the scary, scary vet’s office with other animals and they hate being touched by That Man. They cry the entire time and it’s heartbreaking.)

      1. Amadeo*

        Yeah, it’s tough when they get that age sometimes. I have an 18-going-on-19 year old rickety old lady and she’s got mild kidney issues. I love hear dearly, she has been with me since she was 6 months old and I will miss her to the point of pain, I’m sure, but at her age I’m not going to do any heavy diagnostics like MRIs or ultrasounds and I will probably abstain from lengthy hospitalizations when her kidneys finally do become a Big Issue.

        At the moment she’s getting yearly bloodwork checks to see how the kidneys are coming along and when she needs sub-q fluids once or twice a week, I’ll be willing to do those things at home for her. Her teeth are foul, but at her age, I’m also not going to put her under the stress of anesthesia to remove or clean them.

        At the geriatric ages, I’m all about comfort and quality of life and don’t care much for ‘heroics’ like surgical intervention or anything that involves anesthesia.

        1. the gold digger*

          I will be a hot mess when our cats die. My family cat, O’Malley, died when I was in college. Twelve years later, when my dad was dying and we had his Bon Voyage Party where we talked about everyone he would see in heaven, we talked about O’Malley. (If your pets are not in heaven, then it cannot be heaven.)

          It has been nineteen years (and two months and ten days) since my dad died and my family STILL talks about O’Malley.

          Pets are such an important part of our lives. We love them and we don’t want them to suffer. It’s so, so hard when they die. (That poor, poor woman whose horse died.)

          1. Amadeo*

            LOL, yes. We still talk about my late german shepherd and her quirks (there will be another, I just need to sort my living situation first!). Midnight the nearly 19 year old cat is developing a list of her own we’ll laugh about later.

            It’s just the sad thing about pet ownership. Unless you have a tortoise or a parrot, you know going in that it’s only going to end one way, but you enjoy the time you have anyway.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Just my opinion, but I opt for less rather than more. As you are saying here, the test/drug/whatever is almost more stress for them and I often wonder if the stress out weighs the benefits.
      With my last dog, money was kind of tight. He needed at least $800 worth of tests. Who knows what the treatment or drugs would have cost. I wrestled with balancing my concern for the dog with money issues. I chose things such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, nutrition and so on. I probably went through the $800 anyway but his last months were drama-free. He was his usual sweet self (only slower) and he did not indicate he had pain. I have warm memories of him being content and being at home.

      I did ask a couple people to help me with him by being on stand-by. I think that having a support person for me, in turn, helped him. That was an important step in my mind and I would recommend it others. Find a friend or a vet who is willing to make themselves available on sudden notice. After seeing this I would be sure to help someone else in a similar situation.

    5. catsAreCool*

      The last time a kitty of mine needed an ultrasound, I was fortunate enough to have a vet who the kitty tolerated well. They also had me there, near my kitty’s head, to reassure her (not all vets will do that because sometimes the kitty will lash out at his/her owner). It was sort of dark in the room, I think to make the kitty more comfortable. It didn’t look like it hurt her, but every now and then she’d let out a scolding kind of meow to express that she still didn’t like this. It was over 10 years ago. I don’t think it was too expensive.

      Blood tests once a month sound like they’d be rough on a kitty. That same kitty did get blood tests a few times a year for a while while the vet worked on making sure the kitty had enough meds to help but not more than she needed. Every month sounds like it would be horrible for everyone.

    6. Anna*

      Thank you so much to everyone that shared their own experiences! When the vet first told me, I was definitely leaning toward saying no to all but meds (which I crush up in her food, rather than try to ‘pill’ her), but then I was second-guessing myself and wondering if I’m being a horrible pet owner. She really hates the vet, too, so I’m going to tell the vet no ultrasounds, and I want to limit blood tests to once every 3 months, just enough to monitor her meds. Thanks so much, again, for your feedback and thoughts!

    7. Perse's Mom*

      I lean toward quality of life considerations, but it still differs from pet to pet. My Pandora was 18 and underwent an ultrasound and biopsy; the vet had already dropped the C bomb, so I knew the likely outcome, but she was stable and to that point we had been treating for a combination of things that hadn’t taken cancer into account. Knowing what it was for certain let us tailor her meds and care for the remainder of her life.

      My Perse had other health problems, but she was also always *much* more stressed by basically existing. I could have looked at more aggressive treatment, but even relatively simple things (like sub-q fluids given at home) upset her so much that it was rarely worth it. I didn’t want her to spend her last months avoiding me out of terror that I was going to poke and prod at her.

      My final cat… well, she’s healthy for the time being. If she starts having health problems, that will be interesting, given she behaves like a feral cat most of the time.

    8. The Expendable Redshirt*

      It’s a balancing act in my opinion with quality of life, overall health, and finances all being factors. I have a 15 year old cat with diabetes. He’s in good health overall, but his pancreas just don’t work. He’s a calm old boy, who doesn’t particularly mind trips to the vet or receiving medication. He recently got an ultrasound, and the experience didn’t bother him much. Because he is strong physically/has a good life we are focusing financial resources on managing his chronic condition. However, if my boy was diagnosed with something ghastly (say cancer), I probably wouldn’t put him through the stress of invasive treatment.

    9. dawbs*

      There are so many factors.
      We have, in my house, discovered that when money becomes the limiting factor (because as sad as it, at some point, it is) it is possible to to shop around for prices for vet-work. My vet is great–but said that their practice shouldn’t do our dog’s surgery–they’re 1-not experts in it (so she should see an orthopedist who can do a better job) and 2-going to be expensive, because of that. He recommended someone who was out of budget, but we reached out, got lots of recommendations, and a family member’s former vet (not even current vet) about an hour’s drive away could do the surgery for literally 1/3 the price we were originally quoted.

      But when my kitty had incurable cancer, our vet completely supported our doing nothing. We could have tried stuff, but it wouldn’t have added much in the way of time or quality. We did steroids until administering them was interfering with her life, then we did nothing. We fed her her favorite crappy foods and kept her comfortable, and she was pampered and spoiled in relatively little pain; and once she was in pain, we called the vet to make that awful decision.
      (SO I’d also say for some of this, don’t be afraid to try a new vet. I know that ours understands the balances and will support our choices–and I’m so lucky to have them)

  28. NicoleK*

    Semi work related. How do you deal with someone who is constantly saying negative things about themselves. ie I’m not smart. I’m not talented. I’m not pretty. I’m a poor writer. I need to lose weight. And so on.
    Initially, I responded with comments like, “oh no, you’re x” or “you’re good at X”. However after a while I just feel like saying, “I’m not sure what you want me to say anymore, I’ve already told you that I think you’re X….”
    Would that be rude?

    My new coworker does this. I don’t know this person well enough to determine if she does this for attention, for positive reinforcements from people around her as in, “oh no, you’re X…”, truly does have low self esteem, or if this is cultural. This person comes from a culture where downplaying one’s looks, skills, intelligence, and etc is preferable to bragging.

    1. Not Karen*

      Keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to both have low self-esteem and be an attention whore.

      1. Oryx*

        I’d say that in some ways they often go hand in hand. The low self-esteem leads to self-deprecation in an attempt to catch attention and get positive reinforcement.

        Signed, been there done that

    2. Cristina in England*

      Is your coworker British? If so, this type of comment isn’t meant to elicit a validating response. I would love it if some Brits would comment on this because I am sometimes unsure if I have said the right thing in this same type of situation. Usually I just pretend the person didn’t say it, or if appropriate, I say something similar and laugh, depending on the tone of the conversation.

    3. Confused*

      My co-worker was like this and it was so draining trying to re-assure her all the dang time. I think she did it for attention and I just stopped responding. Instead I would praise her for work related things and not personal things. Once she kept on banging on about not having a degree and how places want you to have a degree. This was like the 50th time she was ranting about it, I had enough of it. (Plus I was fighting a bad cold.) So I burst out and said, “You don’t always need a degree! Most places nowadays need people with experience over degrees!” (It was true, given the field we were talking about.) My coworkers around me laughed and it got a good chuckle from my boss. She even laughed and agreed, so that ended that. In that environment, the work can be mind numbing, so they just talk and don’t even realize what they are saying or that some people are even paying attention. Others are indeed insecure attention whores.

    4. Emma*

      I cannot stand it when people do that. I get that sometimes it’s cultural, or sometimes it’s tied up with self-esteem issues or whatnot, but it drives me up the fucking wall. Most of the time I just ignore it, but every so often if it’s the kind of person who’s a) fishing for compliments and b) won’t let it go, I just agree with them completely deadpan. “Oh, I’m such a bad writer.” “Yep.” “I’m so stupid.” “Okay.”

      The ones who are fishing for compliments and ego boosting generally stop pestering you when they realize they won’t get it, though I have had one person go off on an epic shitfit when I pulled the above deadpan agreement on them.

      I think your idea of asking them directly what response they want is fine and not remotely rude – it’s direct, but that’s different, though there’s always the possibility that your coworker considers directness to be itself rude.

      It’s worth remembering that you aren’t responsible for making them feel better or boosting their egos, or whatever emotional validation they want. Even if they genuinely do have low self-esteem, it’s not your responsibility to fix that or play into it, and in fact if you do you’ll likely end up fielding more of that stuff, because they know they can come to you for the boost.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have an outspoken friend who will say, “Oh more of that attention seeking stuff? Cruising around for praise are we?”

      Ugh.

      Down playing one’s intelligence or whatever is different than constantly criticizing one’s self.
      Downplaying intelligence might look like this: “Oh, there’s a lot of people out there who are smarter than me.”
      Criticizing looks more like this: “Oh I am so stupid.”

      Why not just say you notice that she has a lot of negative things to say about herself. Tell her that won’t help her in most workplaces. Over time it comes across as unprofessional. Ask her to count how many times a day she says something negative about herself. If she can’t quit on her own power, she may want to consider therapy.

    6. Clever Name*

      I shared an office with a woman like this. I ended up switching offices because I couldn’t take it anymore. She was also the queen of not-so-rhetorical questions.

    7. Becca*

      In the moment, I’d suggest something like “I’m sorry you feel that way.” + topic change/walk away

      At a moment they’re not doing, you might point out that they’ve been degrading themselves a lot and it makes you uncomfortable. (If you have a friendly enough relationship, perhaps point out that constantly talking about how terrible you are doesn’t actually improve your chances of changing for the better…)

      Good luck :-)

    8. Chaordic One.*

      Ew! What a bummer!

      When having to deal with someone with low-self esteem like that, I would try to be proactive in providing compliments. (Yeah, it’s a pain in the butt having to do so.) When first meeting them at the beginning of the day, try to act like you’re happy to see them.

      I might compliment them on a new piece of clothing, a new haircut or some article of jewelry. If they do a good job, please let them know and thank them for it. (Again, it’s a pain, and it should be obvious and really not necessary, but it really can help in a lot of situations.)

  29. Aurora Leigh*

    My mom, grandma, and great-grandma are all living nearby. As I’ve become an adult and watch these relationships play out I realize how, despite growing up in very different home environments, the same relationships play out the same way across the generations. Mothers and daughters don’t get along, granddaughters are closer to grandmas. My mother was just complaining to me about how her mom treats her mother and I could say the same. It’s weird. My mom and I have equally awkward relationships with our respective sisters. And with one exception, the four generations previous to me were unable to make their first marriages work (the exception was widowed).

    Anyone else notice weird patterns in their family?

    1. Temperance*

      Oh heck yes. My sister and I are trying to break the patterns. I talk to one of my sisters and my brother pretty regularly, and have a good relationship with my niece and nephew.

      My mom wanted to be #1 in our lives, so we weren’t allowed to get close to our aunts/grandparents/other adults. This is part of her mental health issues. But because we don’t have those relationships with extended family, and she treated us, and treats us badly, we don’t have that desire to be close to her, either. (Being close with my mother means making her #1, and visiting her in her home regularly. Very one-sided.)

      1. Myrin*

        I’m curious because a friend is/was in a similar situation: Did you and/or your siblings ever become closer to these “forbidden” other adults once you were old enough?

        1. Temperance*

          Those specific people? No. My mother has BPD and is a difficult person to deal with, to put it mildly. My sister and I were her punching bags of choice. Because we removed that option from her, she has directed her crazy at our extended family. Our extended family believed all the lies she told about us, and took her side (while also condemning her lies, her actions and her negativity, once it was directed at them).

          Our extended family has taken the position that we need to apologize to our mother and they’ll include us again. We don’t feel that we need to beg for forgiveness for a lifetime of abuse at the hands of a mentally unstable woman. Our aunt who was our biggest champion died a few years ago, unfortunately, so we have no family allies. My dad’s family is pissed because my mother behaved herself when we were there to take the brunt of her shit.

          We have built relationships with friends and families of friends, though, that I think are even better.

    2. Myrin*

      More a genetic pattern than a behavioural one, but as far as we can trace it back the oldest child in our family always has red hair. I’m a redhead, my mum is/was one (she’s mostly salt-and-pepper-white now), my grandfather was one (albeit more auburn), his aunt was one, her mother was one. I mean, I know it’s really completely by chance but I think it’s super fascinating, especially how this really never extends to the younger children. Like, my grandpa’s father was the second-oldest but had brown hair but he was the only one who had a child; my uncle had brown hair as well, just like his children, so it seems to flow down my genetic path, so to speak (my sister is blond). I’ve always found that really curious and I’d be kind of surprised if I have a child and they won’t have red hair now with that family history (again, I know it’s just as likely they won’t be a redhead at all but sometimes you get these patterns in your head and can’t completely abandon them).

    3. Lily Evans*

      Honestly, the pattern of the mother-daughter relationships stemming from my mom’s side of the family is one of the highest cons on my pro/con list for maybe having kids someday.

    4. Today's anon*

      I think that’s one of the reasons therapy can be so incredibly helpful in disrupting these dysfunctional dynamics that repeat themselves over the generations. Some of this is so highly hidden and old that it’s really hard to figure out on one’s own.

    5. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Yeah, my mom and I have a party manners and kindness relationship and I think my mom and her mom had…something more distant. I work very hard to have an warm and accepting relationship with my daughter and am hopeful that we will break the trend. I remember once at a large group playdate one of the moms was gushing about her new baby girl and talking about all the fun they were going to have as she grew up. They were going to share secrets and go shopping together and I can’t remember what else. What I do remember is being surprised and thinking, “wow, you mean you can do that?” I just assumed all mothers and daughters had troubled relationships. I don’t want to be my daughter’s best friend, but I do want us to be close and friendly.

      When my dad’s mom died, all his side of the family gathered from all corners for the funeral. It had been years since we all had been in the same room and I had been living in another state. I discovered we have what I call a family accent. Not so much an accent as a way of talking and common words, sounds and phrases. I can’t remember specifics now, but it sure was fun listening to it. Although my dad is the only one in the family who says “warsh” instead of “wash.” No idea where he gets that from.

      1. Ouch*

        My mother said warsh. She was from Cincinnati. In college one of her roommates was from Boston and commented on my mom’s r in wash and Mom responded she would drop the r when the roommate dropped the r from the end of her words.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      If you look at books about mother-daughter relationships you will find explanations for this.
      Basically, people are compensating for the generation before them.

      For example: Grandma is a bulldozer of a personality. Mom (2nd generation) learns to be very passive in order to keep Grandma happy. Mom’s daughter (3rd generation) is driving NUTS by mom’s passiveness so she becomes a strong personality in order to compensate for her mother’s “weakness”. And you see where this is going, Mom’s daughter ends up with a daughter (4th generation) who is passive to placate her own mother.

      What scared the crap out of me, is that some women were trying to avoid the pattern and in the course of avoiding it FELL right into it. It can be powerful stuff that will blind side you. The way out of these extreme cases seems to be therapy involving an action plan to deliberately create a different life and break the cycles. Even then sometimes that is just not enough.

    7. ck*

      You are so lucky to have a living mom, grandma, great-grandma living nearby. Mine have all passed and I am 45.

      I truly hope you can stay out of the fray, and enjoy your family for who they are.

      You are so lucky.

      1. Clever Name*

        Yeah, I was thinking that all of my grandparents are dead and my mother and MIL live in different states. I won’t claim my relationship with either is amazing or anything, but we’re all just people trying to find out way. My relationship with my mother has changed radically over the years, and sometimes that change is painful. But for me, I don’t see any particular generational patterns. I think closeness ebbs and flows over one’s lifetime.

      2. anon here*

        I wish this sentiment would be expressed not as luck but as the fact that you, ck, seem to miss your relatives. You can own your pain, without this assumption that everyone should love and miss their families.

        It is not always lucky to have living relatives if they were abusive to you for example. I don’t miss the ones who have died, I am not close to the ones who are alive. I am lucky that I was able to get away and survive.

        1. ck*

          I was responding to the OP, who did not describe any abuse.

          My family had much conflict and tragedy.

          It is unfortunate that most of us only learn from experience. Everything is relative…

    8. OldMom*

      This is not quite the same thing, but I found some of my discoveries doing genealogy interesting in that family pattern way. My mother had a traditional marriage, and was what we would now call a SAHM with a supporting husband with a job for much of her life (i.e. my early life.) She was extremely critical when I opted to have a child on my own while still single. In my research I found that not only did her father die when she was very young, the previous 3 generations of her family had a similar situation, single mother due to death or divorce. Knowing that now, it gives me greater perspective and understanding of what she must have been experiencing seeing me make those choices. She was negative towards me (but not my child, fortunately) in a way I resented at the time but now I can see how she must have been so worried and scared. I don’t think she even knew her paternal family history but I can see how generations of fatherlessness may have made her extra sensitive on that point. Also how much she resented my father when he was no longer capable of being the primary earner. She was very smart, had a great work ethic, and could have been or done anything if she had wanted to (or been born later so that something other than teacher/nurse/secretary would have been a possibility) but she never wanted to have a career or even work for pay…which at the time I saw as anti-feminist but now I can see in the context of “having a man who will support you is essential” values that must have been drilled into her.

  30. DeafAnonForThis*

    I am wondering if anyone here has had an acustic neuroma? I have lost some hearing in my left ear (higher frequencies) and have had tinnitus constantly in same ear since february. I am waiting for the results from my MRI and am both nervous and calm at the same time.

    1. Nic Wray*

      I don’t have an acoustic neuroma, but I’m currently working on an information leaflet on the topic for a hearing related charity, so if you have any questions, I’d be happy to help (but I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV).

      There are three options depending on the size of your AN and your symptoms:-
      • Observation with regular MRI scans
      • Surgery to remove most or all of the AN
      • Radiation therapy

      As you (hopefully) know, AN’s are benign, and they grow very slowly (usually) so watchful waiting is quite often an option. If you do have treatment, it may improve the tinnitus, or at least not make it any worse.

      I’m in the UK, so the resources I would recommend are UK based and are threefold – first, the British Acoustic Neuroma Association (BANA), secondly the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) (both of whom have lots of useful information on their websites) and thirdly a website developed by the BTA called Take on Tinnitus, which is an e-learning portal which will help you learn to manage your tinnitus so that it is less intrusive.

      Good luck!

    1. danr*

      Worst: Sorry to start on a sad note. Our visiting ginger tom died on Friday. He was 14 years old and we shared him with our neighbors for the last eight or so years. Our neighbors finally realized that sometimes he preferred our house and sometimes he preferred theirs. I took apart his home away from home in the garage this afternoon.

    2. Oryx*

      Best: I pitched my editor another memoir idea that she loved.

      Worst: Cleveland lost the World Series womp womp (But I’m happy for Chicago!)

    3. Ann Furthermore*

      Best: Started my new job this week! I’m feeling good that I made the right decision.

      Worst: This is actually my daughter’s worst, lol. She competed in a tae kwon do tournament today and didn’t win medal. She was in tears when we got home. But after 3 consecutive undefeated flag football seasons (24 wins in a row), she was long overdue for a lesson in humility.

    4. Beezus*

      Best: I made cookies with my 10 year old this morning, and they were really tasty!

      Worst: My neighbors were the target of a drive-by shooting last Sunday morning. It was gang-related; their young adult son is involved in some bad stuff. No one was hurt, but it was scary as hell. We are now thinking of moving, but would be in a bad spot if we tried to do it before spring (don’t want to list the house with this in the headlines, and have some improvements planned for spring that are very needed).

    5. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Nice day with mom today.

      WORST: Antibiotics caused a yeast infection. ARGH. Hate those things.

    6. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      Best: Last year, my cat was diagnosed with kidney disease (stage 1) and this Friday when I took her in, they said it’s as if she doesn’t have kidney disease anymore and she had gained a little over a pound! I still need to keep her on her special food, but her blood work was 100% normal!

      Also, I went hiking and saw two moose.

      Worst: I am very active but yesterday, I went for a long bike ride and am in immense pain. This hasn’t happened since I started getting regular massages.

    7. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Best: The SO told me which state, e.g, Maine, he intends on proposing, with a drive to Canada perhaps. He also asked specifics on the ring I’d like.

      Worst: Family member’s stage 4 cancer. Also, a job opportunity popped up that might mean moving to midwest/Chicago, but the SO’s job is in East Coast. I only have a 11% chance since there’s stiff competition, but I find out February <:S. I told SO that I want him to come with, but….#mildlyanxious

    8. Dr. KMnO4*

      BEST: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series! I’ve been a life-long fan. I actually cried a little when they won. It’s a moment I thought I would never see.

      WORST: I have to apply to new jobs (my current position is a temporary one) and I HATE applying to jobs.

    9. ginger ale for all*

      Best – extra hours at my part time job this month.
      Worst – this means that between my part time and full time jobs this month, I will only have three days off for the month. I can do this. I just need to remember that the extra money will be great in my retirement fund.

  31. Colette*

    So I am toying with the idea of buying a couple of my nieces a kobo or tablet. I’m definitely looking at the cheaper end of the spectrum.

    Any recommendations?

    Kobo ads say they can access google play apps – is that true? Has anyone tried using non-book apps on a kobo?

    What about other android tablets?

    I expected they will use them as ereaders, but they would also probably enjoy some games and social media apps.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      My pretten brother loves his Amazon Fire! Good selection of apps, Freetime setting are easy for parents to control and great for younger kids. They come in colors and there will probably be a Black Friday sale making them cheaper than $50 apiece.

    2. Persephone Mulberry*

      I have a love/hate relationship with my son’s Kindle Fire that he got last year. The FreeTime setting is nice because he can’t download stuff all willy-nilly but the apps are often buggy, and an adult has to authorize every upgrade/update. And the internal memory is tiny so it didn’t take long before any time he wanted a new game, he’d have to choose what to give up to make room. (I just discovered it has an SD slot, but I haven’t picked up a card yet. It kinda feels like a good lesson for him.)

      Totally agree with watching for a Black Friday deal – last year they were like $39 at one point.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      I also like the Fire. Depending on their ages, the more rugged Kids version with the replacement option might be the best bet.

        1. MsChandandlerBong*

          I have the Kindle Fire and a Samsung Galaxy. Not sure if you’d be willing to consider the Galaxy, but it is much easier to use with Google Play. Amazon makes it difficult to download apps from other vendors, but many apps that I want are not in the Amazon app store. I’ve given up on trying to get some of them. Same goes for my Fire phone. Never again will I buy an Amazon-made phone.

          1. Colette*

            That’s good to know, thanks. There are SO MANY android tablets, I find it a
            little overwhelming, so I appreciate the recommendation.

    4. esra (also a Canadian)*

      Having worked for Kobo… don’t do it! You’d be better off with a cheaper samsung tab.

      1. Talvi*

        Can I ask why? I’ve been quite happy with my Kobo (although, I’ve really only used it to read ebooks and fanfiction, and the only ebooks I’ve bought for it are DRM-free from the author’s website, so I’ve not really had experience with e.g. buying ebooks…)

        1. Colette*

          I’m curious as well. I have an older kobo that I liked (but no longer use because I can’t put library books on it without hooking it up to a computer).

  32. Cam*

    I had a baby on Thursday! I had tons of complications (compete placenta previa, atrial fib, heart rate out of control, tons of bleeding, panic attack on the operating table, c section, blood transfusions) and it was probably one of the worst days of my life, which women aren’t really supposed to say about their first baby’s birth. Luckily, I’ve had amazing doctors, nurses, and family who’ve kept me alive and safe. I’m finally getting back to real life today and should be discharged tomorrow.

    Our baby girl is four weeks early, but she is healthy and strong. Didn’t need anytime in the NICU and loves to snuggle. Altogether, I’m so grateful that as bad as things got, we’re both doing well now and I can’t praise modern medicine enough, right now.

    1. Jillociraptor*

      Congratulations on your new baby! I’m so glad that everything turned out okay, but that sounds so scary. I hope you’re getting lots of help and support as you spend time with your little one!

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Congratulations!!! I had what I call the full hospital tour for my only, although it looks like you got the deluxe package. I’m glad you’re all right. I remember reading some new parent essay that talked about loving every other minute of parenting and I think that fits right enough. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride!

    3. Searching*

      Congratulations! So happy you got through all the scary stuff OK and can now snuggle with your baby girl.

    4. OhBehave*

      Whoa! So glad you are on the mend – what a whirlwind you’ve had with this babe.

      Welcome to the world little snuggly girl!

      I can smell that newborn baby now ;)

    5. Becca*

      !!!! MAZAL TOV! That’s so wonderful! I’m sorry it was so difficult, but I’m so glad everything turned out okay and that people have been supportive.

    6. Belle di Vedremo*

      Wow, and congratulations!
      Modern medicine can be downright miraculous, so glad you and your daughter benefited so much.

  33. Help me Prudies!*

    Ok post-wedding hootenanny question: My wedding was last Saturday, it was beautiful and went off without a hitch (this is amazing for my large and highly dysfunctional family). But of course, I did overhear a little bit of drama that I would love some advice on:

    My aunt (mom’s sister) can be a pretty cruel and aggressive toward my mom. Our event was 21+, but we made an exception for one uncle’s kids who are 6 and 9 because they are very mature and I have a close relationship with them. Aunt’s kids…not so much. Similar aged kids, but they are completely undisciplined (last time I saw them at a family party, they thought it would be funny to run around spanking all the women and were never even told it wasn’t appropriate). I completely flubbed and meant to let Aunt know that her kids were also invited for the first half. Honest mistake, I swear, I was completely in over my head with all the wedding planning and spaced. Aunt never contacted me about this, and just….brought her kids anyway. Then aunt then stormed up to my mom AT THE WEDDING because she saw the other invited kids, and literally screamed at *her* about her own kids not being invited (…the kids she brought anyway.)

    So my question is, how do I address this? They gave us a nice check and dropped off a book of wedding shower photos before the wedding, so a thank you note is going their way no matter what. I feel like I should give a mea culpa for forgetting to mention her kids, but also what the heck she invited them anyway! I was thinking of saying something in the thank-you like…”Thank you etc etc …apologies for the brain flub, I was so busy I completely forgot to mentions…glad they made it anyway!” …but also that probably comes off as shade? But also her behavior was so beyond inappropriate that people were coming up to my mom at the wedding asking if she was ok. I really don’t want to start something with her, and I live 3000 miles away anyway, just curious what the thoughtful commentariat would do.

    1. Jillociraptor*

      There are lots of routes you could go, but I think what you pick depends on what you want to accomplish. How would you articulate what you hope the outcome is?

      1. Help me Prudies!*

        Good question. I definitely do not want to start something because she would just take it out on my mom and it would hurt her more. De-escalation would be my intended outcome?

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      Honestly, there probably isn’t anything you can do.

      My dad is the middle kid of 9. 41 years ago next month (I do not exaggerate) his second oldest sister got married, and they decided to not invite any kids to the reception who lived locally, because of large families on both sides. They did invite those who were traveling from out of state to attend. At the time on our side of the family, there was only myself- from out of town, and the flower girl, and my oldest aunt’s son, who lived locally. My oldest aunt was mad that he was excluded (along with many, many nieces and nephews of the groom!) , and I swear, I heard her bring it up in an argument a few years ago.

      One aunt is divorced and the other widowed and they live together, but it’s still an occastional bone of contention.

      TLDR version is that sibling relationships are complicated and messy, and no good will come of your trying to interfere in patterns that have been in place for decades. I bet if you ask your mom, she’ll ask you not to get involved.

      Thank them for their gift and attendance, and let the rest go.

      And Congratulations!

    3. Temperance*

      Seriously, I wouldn’t apologize for anything. She brought her kids THINKING THAT THEY WERE NOT INVITED. She’s a monster.

    4. Christy*

      I would personally just avoid the topic of her kids altogether. Thank her for coming, thank her for the gifts, and that’s it.

      And like, here’s the thing. She knew that her kids weren’t invited and brought them anyway. That’s why she was so upset to see the other kids at the wedding. She knows she did a jerk thing and apparently doesn’t care. Now, sure, in an ideal world you’d’be remembered to tell her they were welcome at the ceremony but not the reception. (And, imo only and as a fellow recent-wedding-haver who gets that invite drama is the worst, it would have been better to warn her beforehand that there were other kids going, just not hers, so you could have dealt with her drama ahead of time.)

      But I’d just gloss over it entirely in the thank you. I suspect that literally anything you say will stir up drama with her, so don’t say anything.

    5. AnAppleADay*

      The thank you note should just be a thank you note. You don’t need to apologize for anything. Your aunt should apologize to your mom and you and your husband. But don’t count on it. Your aunt sounds like she has some entitlement issues.

      Congratulations!

      1. Help me Prudies!*

        Yep, thanks guys. I mostly wanted to protect my mom (the drama never affects me, but hurts her feelings a lot), so I was thinking if I headed it off at the pass with some well-worded phrasing I could stop the (false) narrative that my mom somehow excluded them? But y’all are right, you can’t reason with crazy.

        And Jessesgirl72…your family is just like mine! My mom’s one of eight… the drama literally never ends.

    6. OhBehave*

      She sounds like such a treat to be around. I certainly would not mention the brain flub. No matter what you write about this, she will turn it around to further punish your mom. The less said the better. Thank her for coming and for the gifts then distance yourself from this horrible person. It’s a shame that mom can’t stand up to her, if she had, auntie may not have been invited!

      For some further commiseration, check out this site: http://www.etiquettehell.com/ So much dysfunction in a single page!

      P.S. Congrats on the wedding ;)

    7. Stellaaaaa*

      I wouldn’t address it. When you allow some kids at an otherwise kid-free event, there’s always going to be some relative who tries to argue with you about it. Unless you want to have that conversation, act like there’s nothing to talk about.

  34. Legalchef*

    I saw my baby’s heartbeat on Wednesday!!! I was just 7 weeks 2 days so we couldn’t hear it yet but we saw it! It was maybe the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

    1. Hey hey*

      I nearly cried every time I heard the heartbeat even up to the ninth month. The magic and beauty never ceases to amaze. Congrats!

  35. Camellia*

    Technical issue – prior to this week, whenever I’ve posted a comment and the site refreshes, it has always brought me back to the place in the thread where my comment now appears. This would happen whether I posted on my phone or on my computer. But this week the site refreshes and lands at the top of the page. It’s a bit annoying to have to scroll back down to find where I stopped reading/posted my comment.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Could you use the tech report form that’s linked right above the commenting box to report problems? It’ll walk you through the questions I need answered in order to troubleshoot. Thanks!

    2. The IT Manager*

      If you have decided not to expand all comments at the and then comment, you will end up at the top because you can’t land on your new comment because comments are not expanded.

  36. Brooke*

    Advice needed!

    My husband and I eloped (the planned variety) three weeks ago :) We put together a little website and asked that in lieu of gifts, people were encouraged to donate to one of three charities near and dear to our hearts – a wildlife center, an animal shelter I volunteer with and a fundraiser for a friend battling cancer. I’m not sure how many people donated, but I realized that unless people mention it, I won’t know and can’t thank them! I very badly want to thank them for that generosity. Since we shared our photos/announcement online (photos posted to FB, viewable by anyone, sans privacy settings) would it be appropriate to post something along the lines of “We’d love to personally thank anyone who donated to the nonprofits we chose in lieu of wedding gifts; please let us know about any contributions – we’d love to put a thank-you in your mailbox!” (Also, I admit, this could potentially serve as a reminder to folks who might have thought about donating but hadn’t.)

    I also worry that some people interpret a private ceremony equalling no need to be congratulatory (definitely the vibe I’m getting from his family… not even a card… but that’s another story I’m afraid.)

    1. the gold digger*

      I would not post something again about donating. (I don’t want to be reminded to give a gift ever and I am not a fan of donating to charity in lieu of. :) )

      However, I am a big fan of thank you notes – is there a way that the charities can give you that information?

      Congratulations on your marriage! Eloping sounds great.

      1. Brooke*

        Can you explain why you’re not a fan of donating to charity in lieu of a gift?

        In my request on our little announcement website I mentioned that we have everything we need (we’re certainly not wealthy but we don’t need flatware, toaster, etc) but groups dear to us do not.

        My mom mentioned that with one of the groups, there wasn’t a way to note who you were donating on behalf of, so in that case, the charity wouldn’t have a record of who we could potentially thank. :(

        And thank you on the congrats! Eloping is/was truly wonderful :)

        1. CMT*

          Lots of people want to help celebrate new marriages by giving tangible gifts to the newlyweds. The act of picking and giving the gift is how they show their love and support. I’m personally a little teensy tiny put off by requests for donations, too. I want to make my own choices about where my charitable contributions go, and I bristle a little bit at being told how to donate. And it doesn’t feel the same to me as giving something directly to the couple.

          1. the gold digger*

            Yes, CMT – I like the way you put this. If that’s what someone really, really wanted AND if it were a charity I would already support, then yes.

            But I liked giving a box of tulip bulbs to a divorced friend who was marrying a widower and merging homes. I liked trying to think of something they might not have that they would like. I like finding a nice silver tray in a junk shop and polishing it – almost everyone can use a silver tray for something! It’s nice to feel like you are helping build a new home and that when your friends see your gift, they will think of you with happiness.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            Yes, this. You’re not really supposed to mention gifts at all, let alone give people such narrow choices.

            A recent wedding I went to asked, in lieu of, to donate to the local charity of your choice, with it just mentioned their preference was for charities that helped the homeless.

            1. Brooke*

              I know, right? So greedy of me to suggest people consider helping the less fortunate. Totes should have just lined my pockets by the Miss Manners rulebook and pretend gifts aren’t typically given at weddings.

              Jesus.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                Generally speaking, if you don’t want to feedback that doesn’t align with your preconceived ideas, you shouldn’t solicit it. I understand that you are frustrated because people are criticizing your choices- choices that you absolutely made with the best of intentions- but you did ask for the whys from those of us who don’t like it.

                Asking your guests to consider the less fortunate implies that they wouldn’t do that without you reminding them to do so.

                But in the end, you’re taking this a lot harder and more personally than you should. Even if some of your friends and family were annoyed, it was likely the least annoying thing they have experienced around someone’s wedding this year. By a long shot.

                Get the donor information you can from the charities, send thank yous, and then forget about it. :) And may you have a long and happy marriage!

                1. Melody Pond*

                  Generally speaking, if you don’t want to feedback that doesn’t align with your preconceived ideas, you shouldn’t solicit it.

                  I would have agreed with this statement, except that this is the feedback she wanted:

                  Since we shared our photos/announcement online (photos posted to FB, viewable by anyone, sans privacy settings) would it be appropriate to post something along the lines of “We’d love to personally thank anyone who donated to the nonprofits we chose in lieu of wedding gifts; please let us know about any contributions – we’d love to put a thank-you in your mailbox!”

                  She was asking for feedback on how best to be able to thank the people who may have donated already. She wasn’t asking for feedback on having asked people to donate to charities, period – but that’s what she got. She got a couple of responses from people giving their opinions on why they disagreed with the way she had already done things.

                  I would have been cranky, too. I really dislike it when people sidestep the question I’ve actually asked, and instead give me advice on something else, completely unsolicited. I can completely empathize with Brooke’s irritation in this sub-thread.

                2. Jessesgirl72*

                  You missed the OP’s next response

                  “Can you explain why you’re not a fan of donating to charity in lieu of a gift? ”

                  Which is what I did.

        2. the gold digger*

          Let me amend that – I am not a fan of posting information about presents on a wedding site. If someone does want to give you something and they ask for information about what you might want, then I think it’s fine (and lovely) to ask someone to donate to a charity. But I like that kind of thing to be discreet. (Just my opinion – I know other people might really disagree with me.)

          (What I am really not a fan of is having a donation made in my name without anyone asking if that’s what I want! So there is some history here. :) )

          (PPS We did not elope, even though we should have, but we are similar to you guys otherwise in that we didn’t need anything – we were merging two complete households. We had a very small, immediate-family only wedding, but joked that if we had had a bigger deal, we would have told people not only could they not give us presents, they had to take a lamp or a set of towels home with them.)

        3. Oryx*

          My personal issue with donations in lieu of is that it’s presented as an alternative of gift giving — which means the couple are expecting gifts, which is presumptuous. Gifts are not required nor should they be expected.

          Plus, as others said, I like giving gifts to the couple as a tangible thing and I don’t want to be told where I should give my money. I have my own charities I support.

          1. Brooke*

            Now I feel sort of ashamed. I don’t mean that to say that anyone here has flat-out done any shaming… just that my intention was to not receive gifts we didn’t need and instead, have charities in-need be helped instead.

            Tried to keep things simple by eloping, ended up failing anyway. :/

            1. the Same Prudie*

              Seriously girl do not be ashamed at all. The one thing I learned most from my wedding (one week ago today, holy crap) is that you just cannot satisfy everyone. Take ten deep breaths and repeat it to yourself until you believe it. I didn’t want to have a registry, but so many family members angrily called my mom out for not making me have one (!?!?) so I made one, then I read a ton of things online immediately after telling me how presumptuous and tacky I was for just being direct and telling people what style of stuff I wanted. But then some people say registries are ok, but not in-lieu-of-gifts charities, because it’s not to tell people which charity to support but it’s ok to pick out your forks ahead of time….you can’t win!! Not trying to shade other posters on this thread at all! It’s just that everyone has very ingrained ideas about how. weddings. should. go. and you can’t possibly make room for all of them. And FWIW, your charity choices sound awesome :)

              1. Brooke*

                You’re right. It really feels like you can’t win either way.

                Thank you for your kindness, and congratulations!!!

                1. Bride wore Blue*

                  We eloped and I swear if I’d been a nasty demanding Bridezilla having a wedding that cost more than my parents’ house, and a registry spanning here to Kingdom Come, I would’ve apparently been more entitled to people’s joy, than the modest affair where I asked for only that.

                  My husband and I came from states across the country from one another, and even if we moved Heaven and bankrupted ourselves, not everyone could have made it and someone’s feelings would have been hurt.

                  So we decided to focus less on a wedding (elope) and have two celebrations at 100% our expense, each in our respective state when we returned. No gifts were required.

                  When we came back from our wedding, the parties never happened because people could barely bring themselves to speak to us.

                  Aside from eloping, second on the list of offenses, was our lack of a registry and insistance that gifts were not required.

                  Since much of our family could ill afford them, we’d tried to de-emphasize the importance of gifts. In the end though it did no good. Turns out it didn’t matter that they were broke and my husband and I already had everything we needed. People just felt even more left out that we didn’t have a registry for them to get us something if they wanted.

                  The way they saw it, not only were they not good enough to come to our wedding, we apparently were also too good for their presents. Found out later the jerks weren’t the only ones who were upset. Even people who were happy for us had their feelings hurt as well, as they wanted to give us a gift but feared it would be ill-received.

                  I genuinely thought I was avoiding being selfish. But in my trying to avoid being seen as a gift grubber, I wound up being viewed as an elitist instead.

                  Sadly looking back it may’ve been better had I just made a registry of modest items and gave it out on request (which is how I advised my brother when he got married.)

            2. Anon with IUD questions*

              I’m going to attempt to reply without adding to the shame (which wasn’t intentional!)

              I don’t like donations in lieu of at traditional weddings on their own. Only you didn’t have a traditional wedding — you eloped. Which is perfectly okay! But by eloping you give up both the stress of traditional weddings but also some of the benefits. Again, gifts are never required of guests. Not even at huge weddings. I’ve had friends elope and I’ve been super happy for them and sent cards and all of that but I’d be a little miffed if a couple eloped and therefore didn’t invite anyone to a wedding but still expected gifts of any variety, including donations like this. I’d be even MORE miffed if there was a passive aggressive “Reminder” to donate.

              Obviously I don’t know the circumstances regarding your elopement, but is it possible that’s why you are getting the less than congratulatory vibe from his family?

              1. Brooke*

                Good question re: the family thing – actually, his mom (my new mother-in-law) is rather influential and thinks he should have married a previous girlfriend. She’s very vocal about it.

                Yeah, she’s a piece of work.

                1. Brooke*

                  In other words, as I will never be that previous girlfriend, any actions I take (or do not take) as an individual or us as a couple are unwelcome. It’s a real joy. :/

            3. the gold digger*

              Noooo! I did not want to shame you. I have my own reasons for not liking that sort of thing, but I am only one of six billion persons on the planet, and, as I mentioned, this has more to do with me and my history (no, Doris! We did not want to you to adopt, in Primo’s name, a Florida panther, a sea turtle, and, I think, a manatee! We wanted tickets to a play or a subscription to Cooks Illustrated!)

              You know your audience. :) And if this is the sort of thing that your friends want to do, then I think it is a very generous gesture for you to ask for support for worthwhile charities. We all have enough dishes.

              And I agree with the Same Prudie – you are never going to make everyone happy. There is nothing – truly nothing – you can do to make everyone happy, especially when those people include in-laws. You, your husband, your family, your friends – in that order. Strangers online are DEAD LAST. :)

            4. OhBehave*

              Please don’t be ashamed! Nor should you feel like you failed in any way.
              Etiquette has usually suggested that registries are not mentioned in invitations or websites. Invitees should ask about where you are registered.

              Now, being that you’ve eloped, making a website to showcase your new adventure with pictures is an awesome idea. Assuming that people would be excited and ask about gifts, then you can suggest the charities (yours are awesome btw!). I’m always happy to give to a charity or purchase an actual gift. It’s not about MY preference, but the happy couple.

              What’s done is done. All you need to worry about is enjoying your new spouse and the life you are building together. Hopefully you can distance yourselves from his mother, YIKES! All I can say about her is to rise above her discontent! Never lower yourself to her level.

              CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    2. KatieKate*

      I think so! You might also see if any of the charities had donations “in honor of” to track that down.

      1. Brooke*

        Unfortunately it seems that at least one of the charities doesn’t provide a way to note “in honor of” in their online donation system. I thought that might be the case but didn’t want to exclude them because of that.

        1. KatieKate*

          Then I think it would be fine to post something about it! Maybe, “In all the excitement, we realized there was no good way to track everyone’s wonderful donations to x, y, or z. ” + the bit you already wrote. I’m sure at least one person will do a “oh shoot! I meant to do that!”

            1. OhBehave*

              I think that’s all you can do at this point. The donor should have received a thank you from the charity.
              I would keep the web thanks very short and sweet. Don’t ask people to tell you if they donated. The last thing you want to do is to ‘remind’ people that they need to pony up.

    3. Help me Prudies!*

      I’ve seen this from weddings before and I really like it! I don’t personally find it presumptuous because …well…it’s a wedding! Nearly every single culture in the world incorporates gift-giving into the wedding experience. But I don’t think you need to post a “who donated,” just a general thank you is great.

      1. Brooke*

        Thank you – sort of a relief that not everyone finds this presumptuous. Was about to bury my head in the sand for the foreseeable future :(

        As far as mentioning gifts on wedding websites – every wedding site I’ve been to in the past 10+ years has had direct links to registries…. and yet links to charities (carefully chosen as not to offend anyone, such as anything politically-tinged) are uncouth? :/

        1. the Same Prudie*

          Haha see what I just posted higher up^^^

          :) I am certainly not above having Strong Wedding Opinions, but I think it’s harder to read them on the internet

          1. Brooke*

            We are of like minds :) Also KatieKatie. I just posted the following. Should any of our FB friends take it as passive-aggressive gift reminder… well… they don’t know either of us very well.

            “A big thank you to those who made wedding-related donations to the Wildlife Learning Center, PetSave Foundation or Child’s Play – would love to send thank you notes to those whose donations we’re not already aware of, so if that includes you, you please let us know.”

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          I, personally, am fine with, “No gifts requested or needed, but if you’re so inclined, here are the charities we support.” BUT to address your line about “carefully chosen as not to offend anyone. . .” I can tell you that someone, somewhere will find offense with the most innocuous of charities. I was once chewed out at work by THREE PEOPLE because I support animal welfare charities. Because – my goodness!- that money could be going to help humans! Or human babies! How selfish of me to want to help spay/neuter feral cats or control contagious diseases in pet shelters!

          There’s no pleasing everyone. Roll with what fits for you. I find it helps me sort people out of (and into) my life. (“You think I’m a horrible human being for donating money to the Winn Feline Foundation? Awesome! Now I know I don’t need to waste one more second of my time on you. Thanks!”)

          1. Brooke*

            Yes, definitely no pleasing everyone. I guarantee if we’d had a typical wedding with a normal registry people would still have found reasons to fly off the handle.

            1. Brooke*

              Also, AMEN to using people’s offense to weed them out of your life. If people really take issue with us wanting people to merely CONSIDER donating toys to sick kids or to homeless animals – as a way to acknowledge our commitment – they really are not people whose opinions I value.

            2. the gold digger*

              You could have been told that

              1. You don’t eat bacon right
              2. You didn’t offer oatmeal to the person who was eating cornflakes
              3. You used Bad Cabbage

              You will never win with everyone. Please yourself first.

              1. Emma*

                Every time you mention the oatmeal thing, I just boggle.

                Do I even want to know what the bad cabbage is?

              2. MsChandandlerBong*

                I think I found your blog when I searched for “crazy in-laws” or something like that online. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, as they give me an “at least I’m not the only one” feeling and reassure me that the problem is not me–it’s definitely them. My husband’s stepmother once accused me of having psychological problems because I took a bunch of photos of my best friend’s baby. 1) She’d been my best friend for about 20 years at the time, I was at the hospital for the births of both of her kids, and I am extremely close to her parents, sister, and husband. 2) I took a bunch of photos because I wanted to make her a photo album for her first Mother’s Day. But no, I’m a creeper with psychological problems.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  I want to ask her how to make a mother’s day photo album gift WITHOUT taking a bunch of pictures.

                  You can’t use logic with a person who is not logical. sigh.

        3. Emma*

          I’m not married, but I am a minimalist, and I deal with a similar issue with other gift-giving occasions. I don’t want physical gifts, I prefer people donate to charities – and not just ones they support, either, but ones we both do; I don’t want anyone giving to, say, the NRA or a crisis pregnancy center in my name, for some examples.

          But it’s considered really rude to directly talk about gifts, at least among a lot of people I know, especially if you in any way presume you might have been getting one. Even if you are absolutely sure you would be. And to some people, turning down physical gifts is rejecting their generosity, and I am supposed to just be happy with whatever they foist off on me, even if I have explicitly told them I don’t need the thing or want the thing – because to them it’s about their own generosity, not the gifted getting what they actually want. (These are, incidentally, the same people who get mad at me when they do give me an unwanted gift and I donate it.)

          I decided I was just going to be “rude” anyway. No, I don’t want physical gifts, unless we’re talking something consumable like food. Yes, I will give it away if you insist on one. No, I don’t find anything admirable about you being “generous” by wasting money on things I explicitly asked you not to get me, and no I won’t pretend I’m happy about it. No, I don’t want you to just donate to any old cause in my name, because I don’t want to support, even by proxy, certain causes. If all that makes me rude, whatever – if it’s that big an issue for you, don’t bother with me; we’d almost certainly both be happier.

          I mean, I’m sure it’s probably rude that in my will I request, in lieu of a funeral, donations to my favorite charity. But at least then I won’t be around to hear the whining.

          …I may have some issues around gifting and the cultural expectations surrounding it.

          1. Bride wore Blue*

            “No, I don’t find anything admirable about you being “generous” by wasting money on things I explicitly asked you not to get me, and no I won’t pretend I’m happy about it. ”

            Can you at least though pretend to be me and call my MIL and tell her this? I want to tell her this every holiday starting about now.

      2. Red*

        I was thinking that same thing! Sure, you theoretically aren’t supposed to assume and expect gifts… but for Pete’s sake, it’s a wedding! There will be many gifts, whether you act like it beforehand or not! It is not at all wrong of you to indicate what you might appreciate, and as someone who can’t pick out a gift to save her life (even for my closest family and friends), I think a suggestion like this is wonderful. Just post a general thank you on the website, and call it a day. Congrats on the marriage, btw :)

        1. Brooke*

          Thank you, Red. Much appreciated. I think this more open-minded thinking is changing more antiquated wedding-related traditions, and I think couples will benefit from the reduced shaming for trying to be true to themselves. It’s hard enough as it is!

        2. Emma*

          I kind of hate the coyness around gifts. I mean, it’d be one thing if I acted entitled to a gift – but that’s different, to me, than expecting you will probably get something at a standard gift-giving occasion. And it seems to me that no one is really served by not talking frankly about gifts (not in the spoiling surprises sense, but in the expectations sense) because there can be good, solid reasons for not wanting certain kinds of gifts, or gifts at all.

          It’s like, if you really care about making the person you’re giving a gift to happy, if that’s the point of giving the gift, then wouldn’t you want the info about what they actually wanted, or didn’t want? I’d be effing mortified to find out I’d given someone something they explicitly didn’t want, especially if they felt like they couldn’t tell me that.

          1. Mander*

            Me too. I did not feel entitled to any gifts and our invitations were explicit that we really only wanted people to come and celebrate with us, but I knew that we would get gifts anyway so I asked for gift cards to a couple of nationwide retailers where we could someday buy appliances. There were practical reasons for this: my family was flying in from overseas, we were living in a tiny student flat with no immediate plans to move but we were hoping to buy a house in the next year, and we got married on the other side of the country from where we lived and had to take everything home by train because we don’t have a car. I’m sure some people thought it was a bit weird but I thought it was better to be up front about the situation and ask for the practical options if people still felt compelled to get us something. Of course we still got a few random gifts, which was lovely but we had to store most of them at my in-laws’ house until they decided to drive up to visit (two years later).

            As for donations to charity in your name, I’d like to think that the people you invite to your wedding know you well enough to know that these are causes that are important to you, and that you don’t need physical gifts. Likewise I assume that you didn’t pick charities that are philosophically opposed to the views of all your relatives and friends.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      There are a few things overlapping here…the charity thing that I won’t comment on, but there’s also the fact that people aren’t going to jump to give a gift for a wedding they weren’t invited to. That’s something you give up when you decide to elope. I’d feel strange if someone made a public post about gifts when I know that they didn’t host a reception.

      1. Clever Name*

        I think this hit the nail on the head. I can definitely see why people were offended by the suggestion that they’d feel moved to send a gift for a wedding they weren’t invited to.

      2. Pearly Girl*

        That’s exactly what this all comes down to. I wasn’t invited…? Congratulations, and it’s nice that I don’t have to send a gift.

      3. Bride wore Blue*

        And some people take it a step further and feel that asking for people to just be happy for you is too much to ask when you elope.

        Even when that was all I asked for, many told me it was too much.

        What is too much is to ask me for the same when it’s time for their traditional-break-the-bank-and-cause-hardship-for-everyone-involved Wedding.

        Having one of those apparently retains the right to ask people to “jump to give a gift.”

        Really sorry, but I got really sick of people going out of their way to tell me I would receive no gift from them because I eloped – when I never asked for a gift or an explanation.

        I have given wedding gifts to friends who were accepting gifts whether I was invited to their wedding or not and whether it was
        a grand affair or elopement like mine. If they’d treated me with kindness, they got a gift and best wishes from me for their wedding.

        The ones who couldn’t bring themselves to be civil to me are lucky to get my name on a card from my parents.

        1. Emma*

          Some people get really (weirdly, imo) invested in social rituals. My father’s like this. If you don’t do the traditional thing precisely right, he’ll not only be offended and unhappy, but tell you at length about it and about how it makes you a bad person. (Different social ritual, but he told me he couldn’t be proud of me anymore because I didn’t go to prom. Apparently, academic achievements don’t matter anymore if you don’t go to a fancy expensive party using money you don’t have. And note, he didn’t offer to pay the costs, either.) It’s one reason I cut off contact with him.

          So if you don’t have the traditional wedding or don’t invite them, their offense takes precedence, in their mind, over being happy for you. Your happiness doesn’t matter – you didn’t do it right! You broke the (implied, not actually binding) contract! And they will seize on anything to prove you’re awful – whether it’s that you shouldn’t have implied they’d give you a gift, or something else.

          It pisses me the hell off. I think it’s a disgusting and selfish attitude. I mean, you don’t have to be happy that someone didn’t invite you to the wedding, but a decent person sets that aside and is happy for the person. A decent person doesn’t decide to tell you they can’t be happy for you because you eloped, what the fuck.

        2. Stellaaaaa*

          People are generally internally happy for anyone who is also happy. But dude, you can’t actually ask people to be happy for you, and you can’t expect an outward expression of enthusiastic joy when you didn’t have a traditional wedding or even an in-person reception.

          1. Bride wore Blue*

            Hi Stellaaaaa.

            It was hours ago so I don’t suppose you read my comment above about how I’d planned on having two mega receptions, one in my home town and one across the country in my husband’s, so everyone could celebrate with us. Nobody was interested.

            You say I cannot ask for enthusiastic joy from anyone because I didn’t have a Traditional Wedding.

            Well by the same token, I can’t be asked to do backflips for someone else’s special day, not after they’ve told me at length how my day wasn’t good enough.

            Traditional wedding or no.

      4. Emma*

        So just don’t send a gift. You don’t have to make a big deal out of how you’re not sending a gift because the people didn’t do their wedding right.

    5. Sophie Winston*

      I like the idea of a post simply saying you’ve discovered you won’t be notified of all the donations, so won’t be able to send personalized thank yous to everyone who donated on your behalf, but you are so thankful for the support of all your friends and family. Keep it simple. Don’t ask for them to let you know – if they want a thank you, they’ll let you know.

  37. LadyKelvin*

    I could use some family advice. We are currently not in contact with my SIL, long story but when she turned 18 she refused to continue to be treated for her (diagnosed) bipolar disorder. This results in periodic episodes of violent anger, temper tantrums, yelling, screaming, etc which are verbally and emotionally abusive. AFTER spending a weekend with her in October where the only time she spoke to my husband was to yell and scream at him, saying some very terrible things, because she was angry that I made breakfast and she doesn’t get up before noon so it made hersick. A few hours later she apologized by saying she must have been hungover and sick. There is a lot more to the story but basically you never know what will set her off and she treats everyone, including her parents like this. so my husband decided to end contact for our own mental health and because we are planning on having kids in the next year and there is no way we will expose them to her violence. it hasn’t been physical yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if or when it happens. His parents are very understanding of our decision, and told her not to contact us again until we contact her.

    So we are travelling to Europe to spend Christmas with his parents and brothers, during which they will be skyline with her for the presentire opening. We aren’t sure how to navigate it. we don’t want to be in the room while they are talking to her but we also are flying 3000 miles to open gifts with them in person, a none have any advice on how to navigate this? We know that we will end up missing put on things in the long term because we are the only ones who have cut her off, but what’s the point of spending Christmas with them if we can’t even be with them on christmas morning. Fingers crossed that his dad doesn’t surprise fly her out to join us because families should be together, which he has done every time e we have gone over to visit them.. If that happens we will be leaving, we have other friends ds and family in Germany we can stay with, but gosh it suckered if we spend all this time and money to visit them and they push us out by choosing her over us.