weekend free-for-all – December 10-11, 2016

olive-treeThis 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.)

Recommendation of the week:  A reader has requested the rum ball recipe I mentioned way back in 2011, so I’m hereby presenting it instead of a book recommendation this week. This is actually my mom’s recipe, but I came up with the brilliant modification of doubling the rum. Note that if you do that, it makes a moister (and, uh, stronger tasting) rum ball than you may be used to, but I think it’s an improvement.

Rum balls

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits
3 Tb. light corn syrup
½ cup rum (double this to 1 cup)
2 ½ cups crushed vanilla wafers
½ cup powdered sugar (plus more to roll them in)
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans or walnuts)

Melt chocolate bits. Add corn syrup and rum. Combine water crumbs, sugar, and nuts. Add melted chocolate. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Allow to ripen for three days.

{ 1,289 comments… read them below }

  1. Kali*

    I’m getting ready to buy a used car and I remember that someone posted a really helpful website a while ago that had a chart showing the best makes and models out there. It was an older-looking website and showed which vehicles were best over time. Of course, I forgot to save the link. Anyone remember what the website was based on my super vague description?

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      No help there, but we bought a used car yesterday, and December is a great time to buy a car, especially used! The dealerships are desperate to get the cars off the lot before the end of their fiscal year!

      1. NoMoreMrFixit*

        I once had a car sales manager admit to me that December-February was the worst time of year for car sales for just this reason. Once the new year models start coming in they’re desperate to get rid of the older models to free up lot space.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          We bought a Sienna that has every option Toyota offered on that model year, for $5000 less than we were seeing moderate models when we started to think about buying one in August.

          The Finance guy tried to talk us into the gap coverage, claiming we lost 30% in value when we drove off the lot, and our insurance wouldn’t give us enough to replace it if we totaled it right away. We just looked at each other, and politely declined. As soon as we shut the door on the new (to us) car to go home, we laughed and had been thinking the exact same thing- this is true (ish- depends on your coverage) on a NEW car, but when we bought the car for that far below kbb value, it’s possible that if we totaled it, we’d come out ahead on the insurance claim!

          But we still got a good offer for our trade in, despite it being December, because it was a small truck, and we overheard the manager when he was appraising it say he already had a buyer for it.

        2. Anon for this*

          This is how I got a brand new car, with under 100 miles on it, from the used car dealership. Another dealership had needed to get rid of it to make space for new ones.

    2. Ms Ida*

      Consumer reports publishes reviews of used card, it is a paid site though so it doesn’t sound like what you saw before. It does look like you can subscribe for one months access. I found the reviews helpful when I was buying, it was very specific about models and years performance.

      1. CorruptedbyCoffee*

        Local li raise often have a subscription to consumer reports online and/or the print copies.

    3. fposte*

      It probably was Consumer Reports–that’s an annual list they do that’s available to the public and not just subscribers. I’ll follow with a link, but if you search “consumer reports best used cars” you’ll probably get to it.

    4. A. D. Kay*

      Google Long Term Quality Index. (didn’t want to paste a link and get caught in the spam filter). One of the guys who compiled the data writes at Jalopnik.

        1. A. D. Kay*

          You are welcome! My VW qualifies for the dieselgate buyback so this site played a major role in my decision on a replacement.

      1. SophieChotek*

        This sounds interesting. Will have to (try) remember for next time I’m in the used market for another used car.

      2. Jessesgirl72*

        Ooh, bookmarked this for later.

        Or maybe I’m just happy since it told me the model I just bought yesterday is the best in its class, by miles!

    5. zora*

      was it carcomplaints dot com? I found this when I was dealing with car repairs, but sadly too late, just after I bought my used car, which is apparently one of the worst model years of honda civics. But the site tracks repair issues by car, model and year, so you can see the most reliable year and model to look for if you are buying used. Wish I’d found it sooner!

      I’ll put the link in a reply.

    6. Gala apple*

      US News and World Reports also has helpful used car rankings. Good luck! I bought a new car a month ago. My tip: don’t do the extended warranty. It made the car several thousand more than I had wanted (but I said yes). Was a pain in the rear to get it removed.

  2. Alice Ulf*

    My big kitty is around seventeen years old and was just diagnosed with diabetes (poor guy). Giving him the insulin shots is going well, and he’s successfully made the transition from dry to canned food. I would rather not keep buying prescription food if possible, and a quick check around the intarwebs suggests that prescription food might not be necessary, so…

    Does anyone have personal experience with prescription and non-prescription canned food for an older diabetic cat? I’m definitely willing to keep paying for prescription food if that’s the best option, but I’m not fond of spending money unnecessarily.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          Yes! The girl especially. There’s just something about her that I find especially snorgable.

      1. DoDah*

        No advice, BUT MAINE COON! Best cats–charming, fluffy, smart. I used to have one and I miss the conversational chirrups.

    1. Swan's*

      Actually yes! My very good friends, who I pet sat for, even after their kitty was diagnosed with diabetes. They fed her high quality non-prescription food and she did really well. I think their favorite brand for her was tiki cat.

    2. NJ Anon*

      Not diabetic but our cat had urinary tract issues. We found a cat food at the grocery store with similar ingredients and nutritional value as the prescription food at about a third of the cost. We’ve been using it for over a year and have not had any issues.

        1. DevManager*

          We feed our guys with UTI issues Natural Balance – any of the green pea formulas. You can usually get it from Amazon for about 26.50/12 cans.

    3. Carpe Librarium*

      I can’t offer advice on the food, but just wanted to say that our little dog was diagnosed with diabetes requiring 2x daily insulin shots, and his treatment plan worked for 4 or 5 years, until he was 14 and his heart gave him troubles.

      It can be worrying when an older pet develops a chronic condition, but here’s hoping your cat keeps on keeping on and living the good life with you for a long while yet!

      1. Carpe Librarium*

        Although new friends tended to look at me funny when I said I needed to “go home and stab the dog” until I explained the implement of stabbage was a needle full of insulin.

    4. HappyWriter*

      We were able to reverse my cat’s pre-diabetes by switching her to a high-quality, grain-free food, as recommended by my vet. We’ve used both Wellness brand grain-free wet & dry and a Blue Mountain Wilderness brand dry (simply a preference issue – you know how cats can be finicky!). She did great on them until she passed due to another, unrelated issue. Both brands are available at Petco/Petsmart or online.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        Late to the party, but I want to also recommend Blue Mountain as a great brand. We recently put our dog on it and he’s been thriving. The grain-free formula is really essential because his breed is prone to diabetes.

      2. Jane D'oh!*

        Also here to recommend grain-free food, and a limited ingredient formula is even better. We feed Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Rabbit Formula.

    5. Bad Candidate*

      My cat, who passed this summer, had diabetes. IMO “prescription” vet food is not very good quality for what you pay. And further, prescription is a marketing term used by the food companies, specifically trademarked by Hill’s, not a legal requirement of distributing the food. Overall, I’m not a fan. I fed Hobbs low carb food, preferably something that was less than 10% carbs, though as low as possible was best. Within a month of switching him to this, he was “off the juice” and didn’t need insulin for the rest of his life. I would highly suggest checking out http://www.felinediabetes.com/FDMB/ it’s a message board and these people were invaluable to me and still are as I sometimes still visit. You won’t find people who say “oh I saw this on the intarwebs so it must be true” they actually do their research and educate themselves. Another good site is http://catinfo.org/ which is about feline nutrition and is written by a vet.

  3. Elle*

    Been seeing this going around and thought it was interesting so…

    What is a NON-political opinion you hold that would be considered largely unpopular?

    I’ll start: I do not enjoy sports. Don’t like watching them, don’t like playing them. Don’t like talking about them. I would rather be reading a book! In my family, I am an anomaly!

    Okay, your turn!

    1. nonynony*

      I am one of few woman I know who are adamant about not wanting kids. I don’t think it makes me less of a woman or that it is my duty in life, as some have told me. I don’t have the desire or patience to have kids and if that makes me selfish, then so be it!

      1. Lady Julian*

        +1. I also do not enjoy being around kids. Drives me *nuts* when people make the assumption that women are naturally nurturing and good with kids. If I’m nurturing, then so is a cactus. :P

        1. Mimmy*

          LOL!! I don’t like being around kids either – and this is coming from someone with NINE nieces and nephews! (I will say, though, that they are becoming more enjoyable as they get older and continue to accomplish personally and academically.)

        2. Cath in Canada*

          I like being around other people’s kids, in small doses – a couple of hours is really fun! I’ve volunteered to babysit for various nieces and nephews, and friends’ kids, or take them to the local science museum etc. I really really really like going back to my nice quiet house afterwards though.

      2. Allypopx*

        Same. I tend to be of the school of thought that one of the worst things you can do is have children if you don’t want them, that’s so unfair to the kids. If my mind changes when I’m older I plan to adopt. Definitely don’t want to *have* kids.

      3. nep*

        It’s the opposite of selfish, as far as I’m concerned. I never wanted children. I know I don’t want children. Why in heaven’s name it would be ‘unselfish’ for a woman who does not want children to bring one into the world?
        I get it — people think (I suppose?) that it’s selfish not to *want* children in the first place. Rubbish, is what I say.
        (I can’t believe someone would actually give a woman a hard time for this decision. Yikes.)

        1. Myrin*

          I’d say that if anything, the topic of what’s going to happen to – in the short term – your body and – in the long term – the rest of your life is the thing one should actually be selfish about!

          1. nep*

            Of course. What is odd is the sense in which people might call it selfish, meaning that in a negative way. Indeed it’s entirely self-serving, self-loving, self-honouring, in a way that serves me, my never-to-be child, and society.

            1. Alice Keach*

              Couldn’t agree more, nep. I have been told my decision not to have kids is selfish because apparently “it’s all about me” and means I won’t give my parents grandchildren. Really?? My parents do have grandchildren by my sibling. (It is not my mum and dad who throw this stuff at me though, just random life commenters.

          2. Lily Evans*

            What freaks me out about pregnancy is how changes to your body aren’t necessarily short-term either. I remember taking a biology gen-ed specifically about sex and pregnancy and learning about how your shoe size can change and never go back and just thinking about having to replace all of my shoes and realizing that if that seemed like too big of a sacrifice I should seriously reconsider my stance on children. And then there’s the whole you might pee a little every time you laugh or sneeze for the rest of your life and so many other things that just made me go NOPE.

              1. Mononymous*

                My shoe size went up by a half size when I gained weight due to a medication (it was a substantial amount of weight) and even though I’ve since gone off that med and lost all the weight, my shoe size never went back. I’d totally believe pregnancy can do the same.

            1. No, please*

              My dive stayed the same but I needed wide width. Then all kinds of other foot problems started after my pregnancy.

              1. HoVertical*

                Yes, it really happens. My OB person told me it’s due to a chemical/hormone/enzyme/thingy called ‘relaxin’ (for real?!), it makes the soft tissues softer and the bones less dense, s’posed to help with the actual birthing part. I wanted to know why the h-e-double hockey sticks it happened to my *feet*, since to my knowledge, no woman EVER has birthed a baby via the instep!

            2. Elder Dog*

              That pee a little thing can happen if you never have kids too. :(
              Learn about Kegel exercises early, and do them often.

            3. A Non E. Mouse*

              I went up half a shoe size as well.

              But only with kid #3. The first two my body bounced back but OMG did #3 really do a number on me. I’m still 3 sizes bigger in clothes than i was when I became pregnant, and I’m far enough out it can’t be called baby weight any more.

              As this is polite company, I’ll refrain from talking about the permanent after effects of breast feeding three children. Egads.

            4. chickabiddy*

              My feet stayed the same. However, my hair, which had been stick-straight for 32 years, started growing in curly and 15 years later it is still curly. There were other changes that I liked less than curly hair, though.

            5. Engineer Woman*

              I’d never heard of shoe size increasing either…until after mine went up and remained 1/2 size larger and then someone told me this could happen!! Not that knowing it before having kids would have prevented me from having them, but I can understand how all the bothersome aspects of pregnancy and parenthood can sway opinions or confirm decisions not to have children.

              I just don’t understand how not wanting kids is an unpopular opinion.

      4. A. D. Kay*

        Same! I got married comparatively late, and a few people who didn’t know me very well asked, “So I guess you’re having kids right away?” CUE DEATH GLARE

      5. FMLW*

        Count me in on the no kids thing. I told my mother when I was 7-years-old that I wasn’t going to have kids, I was going to get a dishwasher instead! That opinion has not changed in the intervening 48 years and…I have a very nice dishwasher.

      6. Mononymous*

        Same! Don’t want to be pregnant, don’t want to give birth, don’t want to raise a child. My husband and I are happily child-free and will likely always have fur-babies instead.

      7. anonymoushiker*

        Same! (but most don’t tell me that it makes me less of a woman/that it is my duty, just that they wish for grandkids/maybe you’ll regret it one day/things along that line)

      8. Jane D'oh!*

        If not having kids is selfish, does that mean having them is selfless? For years I have asked people to give me an example of people having kids in a selfless fashion. What would that even mean? Having them for the betterment of society despite not wanting them? People don’t make sense.

    2. New Bee*

      I know unpopular is subjective, but mine are:

      1. Asking for cash gifts at weddings is tacky.

      2. Diet Coke is gross. Regular or bust.

      1. Mints*

        Diet coke is gross! I tried for awhile, but regular coke is a billion times better. Although I have been drinking lightly flavored seltzer water lately. (It’s like 5% juice)

        1. E, F and G*

          I agree, but if I was faced with a fridge where half was full of diet pop and the other half was full of no name cola in a no name brand there would be a terrible mental arguement. There is just something wrong about a light almost cola flavour followed by a pervasive aftertaste of whatever metal the can is made out of combined with whatever chemicals exist in the plant where it is made. And if it is diet cola in a no name can – Run!

      2. tink*

        I can only tolerate diet coke if the glass is about 8 oz ice and 4 oz diet coke. Please give me regular or let me know you’ve only got diet so I can ask for a water or something.

        1. New Bee*

          I think I’ve only tried Coke Zero once, but the taste of Regular Coke is so distinctive to me that nothing compares!

          Tbh, I think it’s more I can’t see buying it to try/acquire the taste, but maybe next time it’s at a function I’ll try it.

    3. Elkay*

      I don’t really like music. I can happily go weeks without listening to music. I have someone in my office who puts on concerts and I have to come up with excuses because “I don’t really like music” sounds an odd thing to say.

      1. Music*

        Me too. Can’t remember the last time I listened to music. People always look at me like I’m insane.

        I like Broadway because I like storytelling, but that’s it pretty much.

      2. Rob Lowe can't read*

        Oh my gosh, me too. I enjoy hearing songs that I know I like (like, when they play at stores), but I don’t listen to them at home (or in the car, or anywhere) and I don’t seek out new songs.

      3. Lissa*

        Me too! I have a lot of friends where music is clearly a big part of their lives, and sometimes they can kind of act like you’re barely human if you are just “meh” about it. Like, I do like some music occasionally but it isn’t a big emotional thing, nor do I really understand the *weight* some people put on what music you like and how you listen to it and make it about who you are as a person.

        A friend of mine yesterday posted a video that was just a guy ranting about how awful it was to listen to music on a cell phone (not with proper speakers) and it was so achingly pretentious I wanted to say something snarky, but refrained.

      4. Me2*

        Husband loves music, I don’t. He goes to concerts alone or with other friends, the minute he leaves a room I turn off the radio, it’s such a passion with him which I don’t share. Son was in band and jazz band so I had to go to his concerts, very glad when that era was finished. I really don’t like music too.

    4. matcha123*

      If your reasons for having a child are, “I want one,” “My parents want grandkids,” “Everyone else is having them,” “I want to pass on my name,” “I have no plan, but I want them and I’m sure everything will work out lol” or, “I want someone to take care of me when I’m old,” then you shouldn’t have a kid.

      Having a child is a responsibility and not a right. As a society, we should look for ways to give the children alive right now the best opportunities for education, a stable life and future. If that means not having biological kids, so be it.

          1. Bonnie Fide*

            Actually as far as I am concerned “because I/we want them,” is the ONLY good reason.

            Tax breaks and references to grandparents living longer than other elderly be damned.

            The Depriver of Grandkids

          2. SMT*

            In Dan Savage’s book, “The Kid”, he writes about going to a class/meeting/thing to start the process for adopting a kid. The woman in charge says something to the effect of how she understands that everyone wants kids, and may have had a long road to get to the point of adopting them and may even feel like they are ‘owed’ a kid at this point, but that really the only reason to have/adopt a child is because you have more love to share.

            I can’t remember it exactly, but I thought it was a lovely way of explaining why I (then single with no plans of getting married) did want to have a child at some point.

            1. No kids for me either*

              As a woman who does not want kids, I’d like to point out that there are *lots* of other ways to channel the love I have to share. I can volunteer (with kids, sure, but also with the elderly, with adults with low tech skills, at a shelter or soup kitchen), advocate for social/political change, or take a job that makes people’s lives better.

              I don’t think you were implying that people who don’t want kids feel less love than folks who do want kids, but it’s a common societal assumption.

            2. Gaia*

              I have lots of love to share. I share it with my friends, strangers and family. I don’t need a mini human sucking away all of my time and money to be able to share love.

          3. Al Lo*

            I feel like there’s a difference between “I want them”… because they’re cute or because they’ll get me attention or because I think they’ll meet my emotional needs and continually satisfy me (the kinds of reasons you sometimes stereotypically hear about very young women wanting to have babies), and “I want them”… because I have love to give and I believe this is how I want to do that or because I feel like being a parent is part of who I’m meant to be.

            I think “I want them” is a very good reason to have kids, but for some people, probably needs to be parsed out — it seems to break down a bit on maturity lines, I think.

        1. Myrin*

          And not just the good reasons, but ANY reasons, really. With the exception of “I got pregnant on accident and then decided to keep the kid” and all kinds of government breaks/benefits, I reckon the above list pretty much covers the entirety of reasons why people have kids.

        2. matcha123*

          For me a good reason would be that you hope to teach and impart values to someone. Values such as thinking about how your actions effect others. Helping them to realize that they are not the center of the world and that we should strive to treat each other fairly.

          Saying you want one, but not giving any thought to how and where you want to raise a child is bad in my opinion. Especially when your want outweights what would be best for the child. Wanting and then giving birth to a child you abuse because they didn’t turn out to be a carbon copy of yourself is selfish. Wanting a child because you can use them to further a backwards way of thinking is selfish.

          I’ve read about lots of women who wanted children and then regretted their decision because they never took the time to think past that inital desire and look into the deeper reasoning.

          1. Cafe au Lait*

            My husband and I are in the process of trying for a baby. We’ve waited a long time to try, and our reasons basically boil down to “I have more love to give,” and “I want to guide a child through the world.”

            It’s a completely selfish reason on our ends.

      1. Ayla K*

        I read an article about this once that really resonated. It basically said that having kids is one of the few big life decisions that you can’t back out of. You can end a relationship or marriage, quit a job, sell a car, move out of a house or city you don’t like… but you can’t really un-have a child. Given that, having kids should be a “hell yes” or “not at all” decision. If I’m still lukewarm about it in 10 or 15 years (I’m 28 now), I won’t have them. Obviously, some people who were once unsure about having kids are now very glad they had them, so it’s not necessarily a perfect theory, but like I said, it resonated strongly with me.

        It’s also medically unsafe for me to have kids myself, but that’s a separate case entirely.

      2. super anon*

        I think the last reason is especially egregious and anyone who wants to have children solely for that reason should definitely reconsider their choice. There is no guarantee that your child will take care of you when you’re older, nor do they have an obligation to just because you’re their parent. A child doesn’t owe you anything for you taking care of them and raising them (an opinion I’ve heard a lot), you willingly took on that responsibility when you elected to have children, and should expect nothing in return. If that is your only reason for having children, you should seriously reconsider and instead invest the hundreds of thousands of dollars you would spend on raising a child into your own retirement.

        However, I may be biased in this opinion as my mother told me for my entire childhood that I was her retirement plan. Her plans for my life included me going to university and getting a good career so I could buy a house and she could live me with when she was old. She socialized me from a young age to think this was an acceptable way to live my life, and everything she did for me was with the expectation that I would take care of her when she was older. She saved nothing for retirement in anticipation of her old age free ride. Now as an adult I refuse to pay for her bad choices, and highly resent being born for the sole (and selfish) purpose of providing for someone who should be able to take care of themselves. I no longer speak to her or give her any money and I have no plans on taking care of her in her old age, or buying her a house and car like she wanted.

        I think if she’d had another reason for having me, aside from the expectation of care in old age, I likely wouldn’t feel so negatively toward the idea of taking care of her when she’s ailing.

    5. Chilleh*

      I think Diet Mtn Dew is delicious. I’ve gotten looks of horror for admitting that in public and now hide my occasional bottle at work to avoid the inevitable conversation about how nasty it is.

      1. DragoCucina*

        I know several people with diet Mt. Dew addictions. I told the Pepsi guy he needed to up our delivery. We’re adding a Karma Box and it was on the condition that we keep the PepsiCo machine.

        1. HoVertical*

          Can’t drink anything diet…very strange, since I used to be a 6-pack of Diet Coke a day girl. It makes me puff up like a Macy’s parade float.

      2. NACSACJACK*

        When I *had* to switch to diet, I couldnt stand diet Code, but loved Diet Pepsi. And at first, I couldnt dring Diet Mountain Dew, because I used to drink regular, but now I dont like Diet Pepsi, I drink diet Mountain Dew and my back up go-to is diet Coke. Go figure.

        1. Mike C.*

          I’m the same way, and I think it’s due to the flavor profiles. Diet Coke follows the New Coke flavor profile while Diet Pepsi is really close to normal Pepsi.

          How do you feel about Coke Zero?

          1. Gaia*

            I hate both Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi but I love Coke Zero. And Coke Zero Cherry? I could live off of that.

    6. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

      Even though I am a giant geek, I have zero interest in Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones or other fantasy books/TV/movies.

      1. Amadeo*

        Heh, I started reading Game of Thrones and only lasted through three books. I gave up shortly after that because I couldn’t figure out what the heck was really supposed to be going on besides ‘people are fighting and winter is coming’ and every time I’d decided a character was important they died.

        So, yeah, I’m with you on the zero interest in Game of Thrones, even though there are dragons. I lost the will to keep going with them.

        1. paul*

          I *loved* the first book. Good hard fantasy, actions had consequences, being a good guy didn’t mean dumb choices couldn’t kill you, etc. But man it went downhill fast.

          1. Amadeo*

            That’s kind of how it went for me too. I was really into that first book, got through the second OK, struggled through the third and only finished the fourth because I was held captive in a car for 12 hours and had nothing else to read.

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              Me too. The first couple of books, I was hooked. By the third… the bloom was off the rose. Shortly into the fourth one, I found myself wishing for a nuclear weapon to drop into the middle of that mess and kill them all because it was never. going. to. end. All that happened was a lot of bad stuff (dude has some serious issues with women) and people running around saying catch phrases. Can’t even watch the show.

              1. acmx*

                I read the first GoT book way back when it first published (book of the month club lol) and read the second. To me it was repetitive: murder, rape, incest. And it seemed to have no other point.

              2. Amadeo*

                I started Dance with Dragons and it’s been sitting on my nightstand now, about a third of the way through, for, what, two, three years now? I gave away my others to a coworker and told him I didn’t care what he did with them when he was done, I wasn’t going to re-read them.

              3. Emma*

                Yeah, this. About halfway through book three, I realized I didn’t give a damn about any of the characters, and I was spending more time nitpicking the plot and economics than paying attention to the actual story.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        My geek heresy: I really like Star Trek: Enterprise. Enough that I watched all of it when it aired, and now I’m watching it again on Netflix.

        1. Hattie McDoogal*

          My husband and I are working our way through it right now and it’s not nearly as bad as I remember it. Archer is a terrible captain but that’s almost part of the fun (“Archer needlessly putting himself in danger and hand-waving all consequences away with “T’Pol can be captain if I die horribly”? Drink!”).

      3. T3k*

        Agree on both. From what I’ve heard about GoT anyway, it sounds like every other other political story with people scheming and plotting and killing with middle ages setting and that just doesn’t interest me. If I want dragons, I’ll just go read HP :p

        1. Amadeo*

          Might I suggest His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik (and it’s subsequent series) if you like dragons?

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I adore HP and LOTR (I skated to all six of the songs from all the LOTR and Hobbit films), but GoT? Meh. Don’t care. Don’t have HBO anyway, but if I cared, I would.

        1. NACSACJACK*

          I cant read the HP books nor the LOTR books. I hate how JRR Tolkien writes. Loved the movies (okay the HP ones / only the first LOTR one).

            1. Clever Name*

              I read LOTR when I was 18, and almost 20 years later, I’m rereading the series. I can’t believe how much time has been spent on the hobbit’S journey before they get to rivendell. I remember loving Tom Bombadil. So far I’m meh.

        2. Windchime*

          I just started reading the first Harry Potter book again recently and am stopping after about chapter 4. If I was 11 or 12 I would probably like it, but I just can’t get into it as an adult. I always felt like a weirdo because I don’t really know any other adults who don’t LOVE Harry Potter books.

          1. Juli G.*

            My recommendation to adults is to watch movies 1 & 2 and then read book 3. If you don’t get into it in book 3, it’s not for you (which is okay!)

            The first two books are definitely more kids’ books than the rest.

          2. Formica Dinette*

            I’m an adult and I couldn’t get into Harry Potter. You may not know me, but you now know of me. ;)

      5. tink*

        I liked the first and third LotR movies (and the first hobbit movie), but the books put me to sleep. I like some fantasy books, but most… I guess higher fantasy? kinda bores me.

      6. Emma*

        Hah. I’m one of those people who doesn’t really like The Hobbit, only got through LOTR because it was the only thing I had to read on a cross-country train trip … and I freaking love the Silmarillion.

        Don’t ask me how that makes any sense.

        1. Amadeo*

          Heh, I bought the Silmarillion at a bookstore that had one of those employees that seemed to have read every book in the place. He looked at the title and grinned a little bit then called it ‘ambitious reading’. I read it fine, but found myself re-reading passages a lot because I had a little trouble following what the heck was going on.

      7. Sami*

        Same. Any mention of the plots or characters of SF/F books, TV shows or movies make me just roll my eyes. It all sounds so ridiculous to me.
        I appreciate that lots of people love it and good for them- but it’s definitely not for me.

    7. Cath in Canada*

      I really like rain! I don’t love it when it rains for three weeks straight – I prefer a good mix of different weather – but in general, I <3 rainy days.

      People here in Vancouver sure like to complain about the rain. My response is 1) you chose to live in a rain forest, 2) fresh drinking water falling from the sky is A Good Thing, and 3) I used to live in Glasgow and it rains way more there than it does here, including all the way through the summer, so quit complaining.

      My first summer here, I was feeling weirdly off and couldn't figure out why. I just felt mildly uncomfortable all the time. But when it finally started to rain after weeks on end of dry sunny days, I found myself running outside and dancing around in the rain. I felt immediately better. It was the longest I'd ever gone without being rained on, and I hadn't consciously realized how much I was missing it!

      I also don't like melon, unfortunately. It looks delicious, but every time I decide to taste a little piece to see if I've somehow started to like it*… yeurch.

      *This approach actually worked with goat cheese, which I used to hate but now love.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I feel you on the melon. Not even watermelon. I can choke it down to be polite when I need to but it’s not something I would ever seek out. I remember as a kid, when someone would bring watermelon slices instead of orange slices to our youth soccer games and I’d be really disappointed. I try it once in a while to see if I’ve changed my mind and I never have. Actually, just on Monday was one of those “choke it down to be polite” moments as I got some cantaloupe from the fruit salad at a breakfast provided by the university. I didn’t want to be an ass so I swallowed it but no, not a fan yet.

        Also, I LOVE goat cheese now too! However, I don’t think I will ever, ever, ever come around on cottage cheese.

        1. Zip Silver*

          Try letting your cottage cheese warm up to roon temperature before eating it. Totally changes the texture and flavor.

        2. Gaia*

          I love cottage cheese (especially with green grapes, thanks Gramps!) but only – ONLY – small curd. Large curd feels like someone threw up and that is what I am eating. Blech. I’m making myself ill just thinking of it.

        3. manderw*

          I despise melons of all forms. And raw cucumbers (but oddly I love pickles). I can’t even choke them down to be polite. It’s a bit odd because I’m not much of a picky eater otherwise.

          But having said that I also detest crab and lobster. Make me want to puke if I get anywhere near eating it. Shrimp is ok though.

      2. pnw*

        I agree about the rain. I’ve lived in Oregon my entire life and I miss rain if we go too long without. We usually get rain about 10 months out of the year. When we go a week or two without, it feels dusty and unclean.

        1. Willamette Valley*

          I’m in the Willamette Valley. Two summers ago it didn’t rain from May 31st – early September. I thought we were all going to die. Everyone was angry and irritable and had these dry hacking coughs like we were slowing drying out from the inside.

      3. Emma*

        I, er, do love it when it rains endlessly, and I can’t stand sunlight. At all. The worst weather I can imagine is a bright, hot summer day.

        1. Your Weird Uncle*

          Aaaah, me toooooo. I love rain, and I get so….*exhausted* on sunny days. Especially when it’s a sunny day following a long stretch of hot, sunny days. I’ll be the one sitting inside with the curtains drawn, thankyouverymuch.

      4. Mike C.*

        I love a rain north of Seattle, but when I buy a house I’m totally going to have a green house loaded with citrus trees.

        1. Windchime*

          I live north of Seattle in the convergence zone. What I love most about it is the warm, rainy winter. With the exception of a day or so per year, there is no reason to worry about slick roads or scraping snow off my car. I grew up on the other side of the mountains and I have had enough of shoveling snow to last me a lifetime. Give me rain from here on out!

      1. Ayla K*

        Having the right face wash or mask can make such a big difference! What do you use? I really really love LUSH’s Herbalism cleanser, but I can’t always afford it, so it’s a treat when I pick it up.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          I use an oil cleanser (I rotate brands – I like Burt’s Bees and Palmer’s, the Simple one is only okay) and then the CeraVe foaming cleanser.

    8. Lady Julian*

      I don’t like dogs. There are a few special exceptions (my aunt & uncle’s Chihuahua mutt, who’s too small to jump on me & actually cute) but in general I think they smell and are so happy & in your face to be annoying.

      1. Allypopx*

        Same. My boyfriend’s dog is less those things but she whines and sheds everywhere and barks at the TV. I’ve kind of gotten used to her but she’s getting older and I’m not super inclined to get another dog when she passes.

      2. New Bee*

        Agreed. I really don’t like any animals, so when people are cooing over a cute dog/squirrel/pony/cat/etc., I feel like the people who don’t know what to say when someone brings their baby to the office.

        1. Kate*

          Same. And I feel you say you don’t like animals, people look at you like you’ve just admitted to being a serial killer. I think of all animals as being slightly dirty, and just…unappealing.

          1. HoVertical*

            I know a great many folks don’t care for animals. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. :) I’m a huge cat person, but not having one doesn’t distress me. Same with dogs. I’m in a dismal income situation right now and can barely feed me, let alone an innocent furry critter, so no pets for Verti until my job situation improves…and maybe not even then. I am enjoying my vicarious kitties and dawgs for now.

      3. Lily Evans*

        I’m not a dog person either. It bugs me how for some reason it’s fine for people to talk about hating cats, but the moment I admit to not being a dog fan people will act like I just admitted to drowning puppies or something.

        1. an anon is an anon*

          I don’t know, I think this is pretty equal since I’ve been around a lot of people who talk about hating dogs but act like hating cats is the worst thing ever. I really think it just depends on the group you’re in and what animals they prefer, and people are always going to be more protective and defensive of the animal they like and others hate.

          1. Myrin*

            I agree – I read this on the internet all the time (the “it’s okay to hate cats but not to hate dogs”) but I have actually never seen or experienced it myself. Which isn’t to invalidate others’ experiences with nasty comments regarding animals but I’ve never been in an environment where the overall culture favoured one animal over another. Like you say, depending on who I talk to they will say that they like this animal or that one or prefer one over the other but I have yet to experience any kind of widespread dislike of one animal in particular.

            1. Lily Evans*

              Most of the time I’ve had reactions like that are with men who act like liking cats is effeminate for some reason. It’s actually something I’ve seen less of in the past few years, though.

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah, I actually think the Internet has sort of changed things up with that. Hating cats used to be a “funny” character trait of a manly man, but it’s not really something that comes up anymore.

                Though I don’t think it’s OK to make *nasty* comments about animals (and definitely not about someone’s pets) I do wish people wouldn’t make being an animal lover some sort of test of humanity. And I’m a huge cat lover!

        2. The Other Dawn*

          Yes! I get that, too. And I get really annoyed when I go to pet supply stores and there’s 10 isles devoted to dogs and like 2 for cats. Cats get the short end of the stick all the time. I have people say to me they don’t like cats because they’re sneaky. People are sneakier that cats.

        3. Gaia*

          I read a paper on this exact thing a few years ago. They hypothesized that this mentality was due to our co-evolution with dogs. As a society we have an innate bond with canines because of this mutual evolution and so admitting to not liking them is like shunning your own species and on an evolutionary level that is dangerous. I have no idea if it holds water but it was an interesting perspective on why people are so shocked when someone doesn’t like dogs.

      4. The Other Dawn*

        Same here. Yes, I’m the crazy cat lady so I’m biased, but I’ve never really liked dogs. I’m OK with my sister’s dogs because they are well-trained. But I can’t fathom owning one. I’d have to walk the dog, let it outside multiple times a day to do its business, have to be home at a certain time to let it out, clean up a ton of landmines in the backyard, give it a bath, make sure it can’t eat cat poop from the litter box (I know several dogs that do this), etc. And I’m always in a state of uncertainty when I see a strange dog. Is it friendly? Vicious? Will it run after me?

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          That pretty much sums up how I feel about dogs. I like my neighbour’s dog, I can go over and pet her and she’s always happy to see me, she’s even smart enough to know my car. But having one? Nope. I’ll pet your dog if it’s on a leash/doesn’t seem like it will bite me but that’s about it. I prefer dogs that are below knee height (but not purse-dogs, geez, get a cat) because you could fight it off if it attacked you.

      5. Elizabeth West*

        I like dogs okay, but I vastly prefer cats. If I met a dude who liked dogs and we ended up getting married, I’d probably have a dog. But he would have to be okay with having a cat, too.

      6. Emma*

        I don’t like dogs for the most part either, largely because in my experience their owners are perfectly happy letting them jump all over me and lick me, and if I protest I get met with “but he’s just being friendly!” The implication, of course, being that it’s somehow wrong of me to not want to get bowled over or slobbered on.

        That, and there are a lot of entitled dog owners where I live, who get pissy when not every place is like Petsmart. So I guess I’m really more anti-bad-dog-owner and anti-ill-trained-dog than anti-dog, but that covers most dogs I’m likely to encounter anyway.

      7. Searching*

        I don’t like dogs either, with rare exceptions. At one time on another forum someone said they thought it was child abuse if you denied your kids a family dog to grow up with. They were serious, too! Ridiculous. I’m just not a pet person at all – don’t want the mess, the expense, or being tied down. And my kids grew up just fine.

      8. Gaia*

        I have a dog, a dog I love dearly and have had for nearly a decade. Everyone assumes when he passes I’ll get a new one but, I definitely won’t. I love my dog. Heck, I even love a quick pet or play with other dogs. But I really don’t like the responsibility of having a dog. I’ll be sad when my dog is gone, but I won’t miss having to plan my life around his needs. Is that terrible?

        1. Violet Strange*

          I feel this way too, Gaia. My last dog died a year ago. People keep asking when I’m going to get another. I miss him a lot, but not anytime soon, because it is too much responsibility for me alone.

      9. Windchime*

        Me either. I like certain individual dogs that I know, but as a species I don’t like them. They smell bad and they are hard to read. They seem like they are either always groveling or being mean with nothing in between. Give me a nice, quiet cat any day of the week.

      10. Formica Dinette*

        As I have gotten older, I have become generally OK with dogs, but I am still disgusted by dog smell.

      11. Jane D'oh!*

        THANK YOU KINDRED SPIRIT. They reek even when clean, they’re all up in my business, and they never stop oozing from the mouth. Yuck!

    9. Lady Julian*

      Ooo, another one! Vegetables are better than a burger or other greasy food. Chick-fil-A is boring (this amounts to heresy where I live, in the Midwest where going to Chick-fil-A is akin to a religious experience!)

      1. Emma*

        You know, until the past few years I wouldn’t have agreed, but I’ve found that the more (and more varied) veggies I eat, the more I prefer them to fast food. It still throws me mentally from time to time, but I am kind of enjoying it.

        1. Sami*

          I’m from Michigan too and so was curious about their locations. There are three here: Detroit Metro Airport, Oakland University and Somerset Collection.

    10. Allypopx*

      I think bacon is overrated. I don’t necessarily dislike it, but it’s a once-in-awhile thing and I don’t really get the “would you choose between bacon or sex” level of hype.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Agreed. I like it occasionally on a BLT or club sandwich, but I wouldn’t miss it if I could never eat it again. I’m baffled by the hype.

      2. Anonyby*

        Same here! I do like the taste, but it’s not worth the hype. Not to mention that I pretty much never eat it at restaurants because the texture is never right. (Why can’t restaurants make CRISPY bacon????)

        1. Lissa*

          I’m your opposite! I never got the fuss about bacon because I’d only ever had it really crispy, which is how my whole family likes it and most people who talk about it seem to prefer it that way … but to me crispy just tastes kind of burnt. Then I had some bacon once that was (to me) cooked perfectly and was like “ohhhh”. Though I still don’t think it’s as amazing as the internet tells me it is.

          1. Nina*

            Same. I’m not into bacon, but I hate crispy bacon in particular. It just tastes likes it’s been burnt to a crisp.

            I gave up bacon for years when I was a kid (like age 5-18) and I didn’t miss it all. I can eat it with breakfast or on a sandwich, but in terms of breakfast meat, I’ll take sausage or ham any day.

    11. Bonnie Fide*

      Capris as a suitable clothing choice for my sister. She is a slave to the trends, and I cringe when they come into style.

      Designers be damned, women with super long torsos and shorter legs will do so much better in either short – shorts or full length pants.

      There is no in between!

      Actually now that I typed that out… Just thought of something that bugs me more:

      Strapless Wedding Gowns. They are NOT the end – all – be – all – one – size fits – all solution nor a boon for all Brides. I have watched countless versions of this mistake march down the aisle, and was personally dismayed during my own bridal shopping that despite all the parlours I visited, they were often the only options. If I’d had the time money and inclination to alter a strapless I would have just gone custom in the first place.

      Rant over.

      1. LizB*

        I hate how ubiquitous strapless wedding gowns are. I’ve seen people look absolutely stunning in them, but I’ve also seen people who have to keep adjusting their top all night because it doesn’t stay up, or photos where the bodice doesn’t lay right and looks all weird in an otherwise lovely photo. I personally am super uncomfortable in a strapless dress, so I don’t wear them, and I hate that they’re 95% of the market in wedding gowns because I know it’s going to make my life super difficult when I need to buy one.

        1. FDCA In Canada*

          Wedding gowns with straps are making HUGE strides in popularity. Strapless gowns were everywhere prior to about 2010, but since then (especially thanks to Kate Middleton’s dress) straps and sleeves are making a huge comeback. If you pull up even mass-market websites like David’s Bridal, tons and tons of stuff on the “featured” pages are strapped or sleeved. Not to worry–it is now super easy to find gowns with sleeves and straps!

        2. KJ*

          Me too. Strapless wedding dresses make most women look odd because your proportions have to “fit” a certain way for the strapless thing to work.

          My tip: ModCloth- I got my wedding dress from them. All their dresses are vintage inspired and almost all have straps. They are also not ridiclously overpriced, because they aren’t marked up for the wedding-industrial complex. Below is the dress I wore-I loved it and everyone said it was super-cute and very “me.”


          1. FrequentLurker*

            That is stunning! Now I want one, but I’m not getting married – just because it’s beautiful.

      2. Jessica*

        I completely agree about strapless wedding dresses! It’s not that they can’t look good–occasionally they do–but often they’re not flattering, they’re just easier to make. It’s not a boon to the brides; it’s a boon to the manufacturers.

    12. Lily Evans*

      I’m a vegetarian who despises mushrooms. Judging by many restaurants’ veggie options it’s an unpopular opinion. Then I end up looking really picky, because no a giant portobella mushroom on a bun isn’t an appetizing hamburger alternative, thanks.

        1. matcha123*

          I’m not a vegetarian, but I find mushrooms to be extremely disgusting. The way they look is just as much a turn off as the taste.

      1. INTP*

        I feel your pain because I hate zucchini. Why it has to be in every set of steamed vegetables and every token vegetarian pasta dish ever, I don’t understand.

    13. Brazilian Guy*

      Well I do not like U2. Bono is nice but everybody that I talk to sorta idolize him. And I do not like Apple, people are insane (Brazilian reality talking out loud here) to pay 1,200 USD for an iPhone 7…

      1. Jen RO*

        Oh yes, U2 is so so so boring. I don’t understand how someone can willingly listen to them. I also share your opinion on Apple (and I am also not in the US, so the prices for electronics are higher).

    14. Episkey*

      I think Justin Timberlake is a douchbag and don’t see the appeal in him at all (I’m a straight woman). LOL.

      1. Myrin*

        Oh god yes! And I’m from an area that is both famous for its beer and where it’s just super popular in general. I dislike all alcohol, though, so I haven’t ever been pestered about beer specifically, as far as I remember.

      2. Madstuart*

        And I can say for a fact that all beer tastes like foul horsepiss to me after spending a semester in Germany, as the people I was with made me try every beer they drank. Which went something like:

        *sip* this tastes like horsepiss.
        *sip* this tastes like fruity horsepiss.
        *sip* this tastes like yeast. And also horsepiss.

        Eventually they gave up…

        1. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

          LOLing here, even though years ago I enjoyed a taste of Heineken. (Never drank much, then got a sensitive stomach which prohibits any drinking.)

        2. Nina*

          I’m loving your descriptions. Beer tastes like watered down pop to me. Brand doesn’t matter, if its Coors, Heinekin, Sam Adams…whoever. They can keep it.

      3. tink*

        I like lambics in small quantities (if you like hard cider you’d probably like them, they’re open-air fruit fermented), but otherwise I also hate beer. I still gamely try a sip if someone else is buying it, but I won’t waste the money on my own.

      4. Gaia*

        Yep. As is wine. And please stop telling me to just try this wine or this beer. They are all nasty. Trust me. I’ve tried.

    15. nep*

      Not really an opinion, but I don’t ‘do’ holidays. Family and friends can think what they will. I do my thing.

    16. Cristina in England*

      Great question!
      -Star Wars is a terrible movie
      -Chocolate and raspberry taste bad together

      1. katamia*

        Someone else who agrees with me on Star Wars! I watched it a bunch as a kid because it was the closest I could get to something I already knew I wanted (sci-fi/fantasy fan raised by non-sci-fi/fantasy fans), but I never really liked the story or any of the characters or really anything about it.

        1. JaneB*

          Yes on the Star Wars! It’s just bad!

          I mean, I like a lot of mind candy, but I just wish people would admit it’s just fluff, that not everyone likes the same fluff, and stop treating it like some great work of art or religion…

        2. Not So NewReader*

          That is the way I felt about The Godfather. Teachers just looooved it and we had to watch it every year. I was done within the first five minutes of the movie.

          1. Chaordic One*

            So many of my friends just love movies by director, Quentin Tarantino, and I can’t stand them.

          2. Dynamic Beige*

            When I finally watched Scarface, I was all “this is the cheesiest thing I have seen in a long time.” All those years of people going “say hello to my little friend!” I thought it would be better than that.

        3. MsChanandlerBong*

          I tried watching Star Wars once. I don’t get the appeal. I fell asleep about 40 minutes in, and all it was before that was people bopping around in the desert!

      2. Canadian Natasha*

        Absolutely agree on the chocolate/raspberry combo. Delicious on their own but putting them together ruins the taste of both!

      3. T3k*

        Yes to the chocolate/raspberry. What sucks even more is that I have a relative who loves this combination and will do it any chance they can for get togethers. I mean seriously, what’s wrong with a plain chocolate cake?

      4. TeaLady*

        With you on the chocolate and raspberry. I love both separately, in fact I would say raspberries are my favourite fruit, but they just do not go together.

    17. an anon is an anon*

      I dislike cats. They freak me out.

      I don’t think them batting things off tables or lying on computers is cute. I don’t think it’s okay that there are some people who let cats get away with biting or clawing people, but would demand any other type of animal be put down for such behavior. I don’t think it’s okay that people in my previous apartments let cats wander around the building.

      I don’t understand the internet’s obsession with them. I don’t understand people who think single women are automatically cat lovers. I also really don’t understand people who think I’m a monster when I say I’m severely allergic and also a bit afraid of them.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I love cats, but I agree it’s so annoying when people act like cats are un-trainable and just let them ruin the house. My roommate’s cat drives me nuts sometimes because she’s used to my roommate giving into all of her begging behavior. It’s like dealing with a toddler who’s never heard the word no before.

          1. catsAreCool*

            I had a cat who knew a few different tricks and would do them for treats. They’re pretty smart when they want to be.

            Letting cats wander wherever can be dangerous for them.

            I love my kitties, but I can understand why someone might be nervous around them. A lot of people just see the fuzzy cuteness and don’t notice the razor sharp claws. Most of the kitties I’ve known are really sweet natured and are gentle, but the ones that aren’t are not easy to be around.

            1. Your Weird Uncle*

              My cousin had a cat who hated her name. (It was Peaches.) Every time someone mentioned her name, she would start growling….lord help you if you made the mistake of mentioning it a second time! That cat was *definitely* not easy to be around.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          As I like to say, I am the alpha cat in our house. One cat we have who gets a little crazy and has scratched or bitten other household members when he got excited has never, ever done that with me.

          Lily Evans, get your roommate to watch Jackson Galaxy! He’s terrific.

          1. fposte*

            There’s also the Way of Cats blog. She is unusually willing to prioritize her cats, shall we say, but she has a rare combination of cat absorption and sharp perception. She’s kind of the blog equivalent of Jackson Galaxy without the star power.

            1. Lily Evans*

              The most frustrating part is she knows she shouldn’t be letting the cat get her way all the time, she just does it anyway. Like, “I really shouldn’t be giving you this food you begged for, but you’re just too cute!” And I just stare into space like it’s an invisible camera from The Office. Shockingly, the cat doesn’t really bug me for food anymore because I never respond to it. Amazing how that works.

        2. Amadeo*

          Same. I have two indoor frumps and one spoiled outdoor little man waiting for an indoor spot. Nobody is allowed to bite, ever, and scratching only when it’s an absolute must. The indoors citizens have a tree to scratch on and climb and they leave the furniture alone. They even respond to simple commands like ‘out’ to get them to leave a room.

          You can totally train your cat to be a good citizen.

      2. T3k*

        +1 I’m a woman, but I can tell you right now I plan to become the crazy dog lady, not cat and wish there were more dog posts in my facebook feed. It doesn’t help that a past neighbor, who had his own set of issues, let their cats roam around. I know one of them killed a few birds that use our birdbath and that really pissed me off.

        1. an anon is an anon*

          One of my old neighbors said that her cat should be able to roam around the apartment building because he needed to wander. And then would post notes making sure the other tenants didn’t accidentally let the cat out of the building when we were coming and going.

          And though I don’t like cats and wouldn’t want one to run out the door and get hit by a car, it’s not my responsibility to make sure it stays in the building. I don’t like that cats get a free pass to roam around but other animals don’t. Not that I would want other animals to get a free pass to roam because that would cause a lot of trouble.

          1. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

            Letting cats roam around the apartment building is not fair to people allergic to cats!

    18. katamia*

      I dislike cats. Luckily I’m allergic, so I just mention the allergies to avoid them without having to mention the dislike.

      I don’t like the MCU movies at all. I find most of the characters annoying and am attracted to none of them, so I don’t even have a shallow reason to watch them, lol.

    19. animaniactoo*

      I do not now, nor have ever, think that Fabio is attractive. From everything I’ve heard he’s actually pretty cool guy with a great sense of humor. But he’s among the few people that I actively find unattractive.

    20. fposte*

      I especially like that people are posting things that they like, not just that they dislike.

      Here’s mine: in a world that’s moved toward dark chocolate, I still like milk chocolate the best.

      Come to think of it, I like milk, period.

      1. Ally A*

        I love milk and drink it every day. A lot of people think I’m really weird as they only drank milk as kids. The one thing that may be unpopular to milk lovers, though, I only drink skim. Anything more than that tastes like cream and is gross.

        Also, I hate sugared soda. It makes your teeth feel fuzzy.

        1. Myrin*

          High-five from another daily milk drinker! :D

          I’m not entirely familiar with the English terms and quick googling shows me that skimmed milk is extremely low on fat in a way that I don’t think is available here but here, you can choose between 3.8% fat and 1.5% fat and I will only drink the latter because the former is gross and weirdly heavy in my mouth and not fresh or refreshing at all!

        2. T3k*

          Another daily milk drinker here! Though I’m the opposite: I’ll only drink 2% or whole as skim and 1% taste like very watered down milk to me.

        3. c'est la vie*

          Oh, I love milk. I used to have it with every meal; it basically was such a part of my routine that it had no real taste to me, it was just liquid. But for health reasons I had to up my water intake and it was easiest to swap out my meal milk for glasses of water. Now, when I have milk, it feels like a decadent luxury.

      2. Amy G. Golly*

        Yes! Milk chocolate >>>>>>> dark chocolate. There’s a British comedian who insists dark chocolate tastes like Tylenol, and I think he nailed it. ;)

        1. fposte*

          There’s also a Mitchell and Webb food snobbery sketch where Robert Webb is the guy responding to people who insist they have to have 70% cocoa by saying he likes Dairy Milk because the dark chocolate tastes bitter. When they tell him that that’s not real chocolate, he says that he thought it was, but maybe chocolate is that bitter thing he doesn’t like.

          Found it on YouTube and will link in follow up.

        1. fposte*

          Sometimes I’ll go down to 1% for a while just for how decadent it makes 2% feel when I go back. Ah, sweet dairy sins of the flesh.

      3. Anonyby*

        I prefer milk chocolate too!

        Though not straight-up milk. Hated it as a kid (it’s got an awful aftertaste). I’ve developed some kind of intolerance to it as an adult, so that can be used to justify not wanting to drink it.

      4. zora*

        I was the weird one when I was a little kid, I only liked the darkest of dark chocolate (my aunt would send us chocolate from Belgium regularly) and didn’t like any of the sweet US candy at all, it was all too sugary for me, especially milk chocolate but also all the chewy, gummy candy that everyone loved. I couldn’t stand it.

      5. Misc*

        Oh man, milk. I recently discovered that I’m lactose intolerant (amongst a bunch of other things, which is why I never realised) and I’ve never been fond of milk or cream.

        So I’ve been on milk alternatives on and off for a few years, and then I went to UHT lactose free milk for all the Things One Needs Milk For, and never really missed it, but it was pretty inconvenient and not so great nutritionally for me. I just bought some lactase drops so I can have real milk again, and Oh.

        It is literally amazing and I can drink it straight from the bottle (I get the really nice full cream, non homogenised, organic milk). The UHT stuff is disgusting and I never realised because I was comparing it to soy and rice and almond. I’ve been eating porridge with Real Milk (instead of water) and Cream On Top and it is like having dessert everyday.

        1. fposte*

          The lactase drops are weirdly unavailable in the US these days, and they’re so much more effective than the tablets! (The other thing is that lactase-treated milk is slightly sweeter than untreated, which: bonus.)

          1. Misc*

            That’s a shame. Mine are made in Australia, so they’re very easy to get in New Zealand (as long as I order online…).

            I haven’t had to use the tablets much (also got those) but yeah, they didn’t seem to work as well.

      6. HoVertical*

        Hershey milk chocolate is still my favorite…specifically, Hershey Kisses. I’ve cheated on it a few times, LOL! Like with Lindt truffles and such. But I always come back to the classic squares…because let’s face it, you can really only make a decent S’more with Hershey chocolate, Kraft Jet-Puffed marshmallows, and Honey Maid graham crackers.

    21. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I’m a Canadian guy who hates hockey. Blasphemous is the nicest thing I get called in playoff season.

    22. nep*

      I’ve never read the Harry Potter books or seen the films — and I’ve got zero inclination to do so.

        1. Marian the Librarian*

          I’m also a librarian, and I love the LotR movies but hate the books. Definite blasphemy.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I read a few of the Harry Potter books and then… lost interest, mostly because the descriptions of things went on for a very long time while almost nothing happened.

      2. Cruciatus*

        I will say…I didn’t have any interest either. I actually thought my mom and sister were ridiculous for liking them. But I couldn’t explain why besides “it’s a children’s book!” and “popular things are never good!” (I was in my 20s so…thought I knew it all). So, I read the first one so I could set up my arguments…then read the next 3 that were out at the time. I was a convert. Not saying it’ll happen to everyone, but for me, it was a happy surprise. And I’m not so quick to judge a genre anymore. Battlestar Galactica also completely changed my mind on sci fi TV shows around the same time. Now I have too many things to read and watch…

      3. Nina*

        I lost interest after The Prisoner of Azkaban, the book and the movie. Seen snippets of the movies afterwards, and that’s enough for me.

    23. Ruffingit*

      I don’t drink alcohol at all. Never liked the taste of it. This seems to perplex society in general a great deal.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I don’t like the taste either. I was always told it was an “acquired taste” but I didn’t know why anyone wanted to acquire that taste. I maybe have one small drink once every 18 months or something. It is very interesting how uncomfortable my not drinking makes other people at events.

        Also…I don’t drink coffee. I once had a coworker ask me incredulously “BUT HOW DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?!” and I was like I just…do? I have some breakfast and juice and I’m up. Another taste I didn’t want to acquire–love the smell though!

        1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

          I’m so with you on the coffee. I cannot STAND anything coffee. All those fancy Starbucks drinks that people say “you can’t even taste the coffee”: yes, I can. And it’s gross! I won’t eat tiramisu because it has espresso in it or coffee flavored ice cream. I passionately dislike coffee. People think I’m so weird.

          My other food aversion: pickles. Yuck!

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              I love sweet pickles, but I don’t care that much for dill pickles. I don’t dislike the dill ones, but I get more excited about the sweet ones.

          1. Lima Joe Coo*

            I can’t stand coffee either. Don’t like the taste of it; don’t like the smell of it. And I’m with you on the pickles. Just the smell of them can make me feel ill (although that reaction occurs less frequently as I get older).

          2. NACSACJACK*

            All the more coffee for the rest of us. I know where every SBUX is within a 3 mile radius. PS there is no SBUX between Forest Lake and Duluth (I check often).

        2. miki*

          + 1 on both alcohol and coffee. Neither does my twin. I think we were the blasphemy in our native country for not drinking coffee.

        3. Anonyby*

          Another person who doesn’t like alcohol or coffee! Or tea. I’ll have a super-sweet-and-fruity mixed drink every once in a while when I don’t need to drive the rest of the day… but that’s it. And it’s rare that I’m someplace that I can get a drink, and yet don’t need to drive afterwards.

          As for caffeine in the morning… I get it from soda. Mmm, soda…

        4. chickabiddy*

          I also don’t drink alcohol or coffee (and no, I’m not Mormon, but people do ask!). Like many people on my father’s side of the family, more than a sip of wine makes me flush bright red and gives me an instant, terrible headache. I love and miss coffee but identified it as a major IBS trigger several years ago. I can eat coffee-flavored yogurt which is a sad substitute but will have to do.

        5. Windchime*

          I am also a coffee hater and I can taste the tiniest speck of coffee. Despite the insistence of Keurig owners who say that my tea will NOT taste like coffee, yes–yes, it does. I also can’t stand tiramisu. It looks delicious, but I can’t get past the bitter, burnt coffee taste.

      2. AnAppleADay*

        My 22 year old tried alcohol for the first time on his 21st birthday and absolutely hates it. He’s tried a sip of a lot if things and says he will never acquire a taste for it. (Tooke awhile and wasn’t until 28 when I had a glass of Riesling, I finally found something that I liked)

        Maybe it’s evolution since grandfathers on both side of the family were alcoholic.

        1. SeekingBetter*

          I didn’t try alcohol until my 23rd birthday. Everybody I talked to about it thinks I’m an alien from outer space. To this day, I occasionally have one drink during special occasions.

          1. zora*

            I couldn’t stand the taste of any alcohol for most of my 20s, I tried almost every option once, but they were just all gross to me. Then when I was 27, all of a sudden I started liking red wine, and now I enjoy many kinds of alcohol. I don’t know why that switch flipped, but I still think it is super weird how that worked.

      3. NicoleK*

        Yes, I don’t drink either. Never got into it. And people often assume that I don’t drink for religious reasons or that I have a problem with alcohol.

      4. Amy*

        Same here! I never tried it until college and didn’t like the way it tasted or the way it made me feel. Just not a fan. I don’t drink at all and people always think it’s because of religion, AA, medical reason, etc. Nope, just don’t like it.

      5. Clumsy Ninja*

        I’m with you. And I just tell people that this makes me the most reliable designated driver ever.

      6. Anon for this*

        Me, too.

        I have a bunch of relatives who also hate it, so I wonder if there’s some genetic difference in how we taste alcohol.

    24. Mimmy*

      Hi, are you me?! LOL. Thankfully, my husband is also pretty much a non-sports person. We do sometimes feel a little out of place at family gatherings, though, because aside from eating, people (primarily the males, lol) are huddled around a television watching a game.

    25. all aboard the anon train*

      I almost always like the actresses that everyone decides to irrationally hate and dislike the actresses everyone wants to be BFFs with. So I’ve been silently loving people like Natalie Portman, Keira Knightly, and Anne Hathaway, and severely disliking people like Jennifer Lawrence (though my dislike of her is for several reasons, and her recent incident just makes me feel vindicated that my dislike is not irrational).

      Same goes for usually not really liking whoever the internet deems their new boyfriend. Except in the rare cases when it’s not some bland dude who I can’t tell apart from the last internet boyfriend.

      Also, I usually don’t care to watch the popular TV shows while they’re airing. I like to wait until a few years have passed and no one is talking about it anymore.

      1. Lady Julian*

        Oh, me too! I don’t get why people hate Anne Hathaway – She seems as nice as literally any other actress.

        And I can’t stand JLaw. So overrated. Seeing that she’s in a movie generally makes me less interested in seeing that movie. There was a really interesting article up on Buzzfeed a while back, linking JLaw with the “Cool Girl” (a la Gone Girl). It gives me justification for not liking her. :P


        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I really hate the “Cool Girl” ideal because it basically says women who enjoy traditionally feminine things are superficial nags and women who enjoy masculine things are “cool” as long as they look like supermodels. This is why I think some people believe women who want families or like makeup can’t be feminists, intelligent, or enjoy stereotypical masculine things, and I think that’s a shame.

          But what annoys me about JLaw is she’s always talking about how normal she is and yet she makes millions of dollars. Or she talks about how she hates paparazzi and the Hollywood life, but she chose that lifestyle knowing what it entailed. I think there are a good number of other celebrities who are awkward and normal and it doesn’t come off fake or like a PR stunt. Some of her crazier stories or events also seem staged imo.

          Also she has a bad habit of saying offensive stuff and then covering it up with non-apologies about how she meant to be self-deprecating and not offend other people. I’m glad people are starting to call her out on it.

        2. Nina*

          Word to both. I thought Hathaway was a bit annoying during Oscar season, but she wasn’t doing anything that the others weren’t doing. I think she’s cool, and very talented.

          Now JLaw…ugh, they can keep her. Annoying as hell, and a decent actress, not a great one. I could see her winning the Oscar for Winter’s Bone, but Silver Linings Playbook was crap, and so was her role. And her Mystique is terrible At least she’s aware of it, but FOX won’t let her out of the contract.

          Natalie Portman is a bit more interesting. She can come off as pretentious, but she’s an amazing actress and has been for most of her career. I hated the Marvel fandom for turning on her so much because she wanted out of her contract. One big reason for that was because Marvel bailed on their agreement with her to have a woman direct the next Thor film, which I’m guessing wasn’t put in writing. No matter what people say about her, Portman works hard to get more women behind the camera making decisions, and she’ll always have my respect for that.

        1. Working Mom*

          I don’t really get the whole celebrity worship thing in general. (Worship isn’t the right word, neither is obsession… I’m thinking about people who know the day-to-day musings of celebrities.) I just don’t get it. They are multi-millionaires, which is interesting of course – they can buy incredible homes and wardrobes and cars, etc. So I do get the “if I were rich I would do X” angle. But besides that… who cares? I have some friends who are always talking about these celebrities as if they know them. I don’t *get* it.

      2. Lissa*

        Just had to add one thing to this which is that I am so so tired of people making the Sarah Jessica Parker=horse joke. It’s mean, overdone, and needs to die already.

        Though your examples are interesting because I’ve never seen anyone give Natalie Portman or Keira Knightly as irrational dislike, though have seen it with Anne Hathaway, and I’ve also seen a lot of people dislike Jennifer Lawrence…so I guess it just depends on where you are maybe?

        Do actors get the same amount of hate/scrutiny?

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Keira Knightly got a lot more hate when she was first new on the scene and during her era of Pirates of the Caribbean and other blockbusters. It’s not as intense as it was once, but I definitely remember a time when she was the cool new actress to hate.

          I’ve always seen a lot of irrational hate for Natalie Portman. There was a lot around Black Swan more recently because of Jackie. Another blog I visit for entertainment was full of comments on the first teaser trailer about how much they irrationally dislike her. Twitter and tumblr had some of that, too.

          Actors definitely don’t get as much hate/scrutiny. I mean, people will irrationally hate a female celebrity, but they’ll handwave male celebrities who abuse women or make bigoted comments, so.

        2. Nina*

          I hate the SJP horse face thing, too. It was never funny, just mean.

          Male actors don’t get the same scrutiny, and even one the rare occasions when they do, they still get tons of acting jobs. If an actress is deemed too old/ugly/ethnic/fat, they’re deemed as a liability and don’t get as much publicity, let alone work.

        3. Anon for this*

          I’ve actually heard a lot of horrible comments about Keira Knightly, mostly about her weight or body type.

          Some male actors do get that irrational hate, but it’s less common and it usually has a hype backlash aspect to it, like I think was the case for people hating Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of them. (I don’t like him, either, I just try to remember I’m talking about real people so don’t get quite as nasty about it.)

        4. Formica Dinette*

          Not only are the horse jokes mean in general, but SJP is apparently an exceptionally lovely person. I barely follow celebrity gossip and yet have been hearing for years that she is incredibly nice to everyone–from the lowliest PA on up–and extremely hard working.

    26. Bluebell*

      Chocolate – I can totally take it or leave it. And I’d rather have birthday pie than birthday cake.

    27. response*

      I don’t like pumpkin pie. (my son loves it)
      Don’t like dark chocolate, and white chocolate is what exactly?
      Don’t like dogs. Prefer cats. But being pet less is very nice.
      Have children but can understand why others don’t and have told mine do what you want, I don’t “need” grandchildren.

    28. Emmie*

      – I don’t hate Mondays! I hate cleaning my bathroom and alarm clocks!
      – Vampires are horrific!
      – Bacon belongs with eggs or on hamburgers only.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        I like Mondays! I don’t like Tuesdays. Even though I mostly really like my job, Tuesday mornings make me feel all “ugh, this again?”, without the benefit of having just had a nice relaxing weekend, and it’s still ages until the weekend.

        1. Lady Julian*

          Yes! Me, too. Tuesdays are the hardest days to get through. Mondays I’m coming off a weekend, so I’m doing great.

        1. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

          Question for anon because and Anion:
          I am interested in hearing more about your opinions. Do you think that sex should be restricted to marriage because that would encourage people to take seriously the ideas of commitment and community (of which married couples would be one of the primary building blocks)? I ask because while I think that people should treat their sexual partners with kindness and respect–and not get involved with anyone who has a preexisting commitment to an uninvolved third party–I don’t personally think it’s necessary for people to wait until marriage, or that a strong community cannot coexist with a few serious, respectful, responsible, non-married-but-sexually-active couples.

          tl;dr: On the continuum of opinions re premarital sex I’m not in either of your exact locations, but I agree more with you than with folks at the more permissive end of the spectrum. I’d be interested in hearing your opinions in greater detail if you wish to be more specific. If not, no worries.

          1. Anion*

            Well, it’s a number of things. Certainly what you’ve mentioned is part of it, sure, but there’s a lot more, too. I’ll try to nutshell it (and keep in mind this is just me, I can’t speak for anon because. Also, please keep in mind that I do not judge anyone, and my thoughts are not a condemnation of anyone and are not intended to hurt or upset anyone, and that for the sake of brevity, I’m generalizing). :-) These aren’t *all* my reasons, just the main ones/the ones I felt up to articulating at the moment.

            I think the “sex is no big deal” culture is and has been harmful, in general, especially to women and girls. I think it encourages us to view ourselves cheaply, and encourages men/boys to do the same. I think that idea contributes to rape culture and makes it harder for us to say no, and it shames women who do not want to share their bodies with everyone. I think it contributes greatly to the objectification of women.

            I think marriage and committed families are the backbone of society, and when we do not have them, everyone suffers to some degree. I know for a fact that statistically, children of single parents are more likely to have any number of problems, and that two parents in one household is still the best way to raise children. I think many if not most of society’s problems can be traced back to fatherlessness and the general devaluing of families. I also think that regardless of what people say about “not needing a piece of paper,” that piece of paper does actually say something, and I wonder about people unwilling to actually make a legal commitment (by which I mean I wonder about their actual level of commitment, not that I wonder if they’re weirdos or something); every couple I’ve ever known who’s insisted they didn’t need a piece of paper to prove their commitment has ended up getting that piece of paper with other people. And I think it’s very sad that people will refuse to make a real lifelong commitment to each other (whether or not it involves paper) but will make babies with each other, as though having children is a temporary thing.

            I also–and please hear me out–think sex-without-commitment-culture is partly (at least) created by, and enables, abortion, about which I am deeply conflicted. I am generally for reproductive rights/choice, let me make that clear. But as someone who had an abortion, I feel that I, and millions of other women and girls, were and are lied to/misled about it, what it means, and what it does. I will never stop regretting mine, and regretting that I bought into the “All you’ll feel is relief! It’s NBD, just a clump of cells” line I’d been hearing all my life up until that point. I believe abortion enables male irresponsibility, devalues women, and devalues life in general, and that is part and parcel of the whole “sex-NBD” thing. I think in a world that truly respected women, women wouldn’t be forced to undergo a medical procedure that can have lifelong effects (effects that may not even be clear to her for years) just so men can run away from a child they created; instead, children would not be created because the fulfillment of male sexual desires wouldn’t be considered the basis/a major part of female liberation.

            None of this, of course, is meant to imply that I think women don’t like sex or have sex drives or anything like that. Nor do I think it’s the job of women to keep men and their desires in check.

            I guess what it comes down to is I think the easy-sex/sex-is-nbd culture devalues humanity and life in general. It has the effect of lowering us, reducing us to our most basic urges; making us more animalistic rather than more civilized.

            I have two daughters, who are barely in or just about to enter their teens. We’ve had a few talks about sex. I tell them that it is a big deal, and that they shouldn’t believe that it’s not. I tell them that while I don’t truly expect them to wait until marriage, I do hope they will wait until they’re in a real committed relationship with someone they love who loves them, because they and their bodies are valuable and shouldn’t be shared with just anyone.

            1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

              I think this is beautifully written. I disagree with some of your points, but I think you make the argument well. Thanks for coming back and posting this!

              1. Anion*

                Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kindness and willingness to listen, especially since you disagree with some of my points. It means a lot to me that you responded with such acceptance (by which I mean, acceptance of me and my thoughts, not acceptance like you now agree with me). I was honestly a little afraid to reply, but I’m glad now that I did.

      1. Kj*

        While I to think that committed relationships are important, I don’t think that sex is only for procreation. Other species have sex for fun, why not humans? That said, I think many people have sex too young, before they get the consequences and responsibilities, from standard safe sex to the ‘don’t be a jerk to your partners’. A friend of my spouse had sex for the first time at 12; although she assures me it was consensual, I don’t think sex can be consensual at that age. The ability to comprehend the life changing potential consequences just isn’t there.

      2. Anon for this*

        I’m not straight and don’t want kids. Guess I’m screwed. Or not?

        I can agree that a committed relationship is important, though.

      3. Jane D'oh!*

        I’m married for 20 years now, and we don’t ever want kids. Do you want to be the one to tell my husband?

      1. duck is right*

        I wish that either we get rid of all pit bulls or treat each animal on its own merits. I really am not a fan of blanket policies without a really good reason.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          I think there are two kinds of people: dog owners and dog havers.

          Dog owners pick up the poop, use a leash, get their dogs obedience training and stick with it. They don’t allow their dogs to jump up on people or just generally misbehave. They have fenced in yards or otherwise keep their dogs contained so that they’re not running free all over the place but they don’t just leave them outside in all weather, either.

          Dog havers are the opposite. I do not like dog havers.

          1. Working Mom*

            THIS. All day everyday. I do NOT understand people who have dogs and do not care for them at all. Why? Why would you have a dog and give zero effort to it? I know I am preaching to the choir, but to the dog – you are it’s WHOLE world. Why would you have a dog and then (almost) completely ignore? Dogs are not cheap. Dog havers still feed them, so they are still spending money on the dog; but essentially doing nothing else. WHY?

        1. Another Academic Librarian*

          I’m sorry too. All the pit bulls I know are lap dogs with big goofy smiles and big hearts. They’re the best.

          1. Anion*

            They’re great dogs (no more so than other dogs, IMO, but that’s JMO). Until they’re not.

            And there is zero way of predicting when or if that’s going to happen–it happens with well-trained pits, it happens with family pets, it happens with neutered and un-neutered pits, it happens with pits who “never showed any signs of aggression before,” it happens with males and females; it happens at least twice a day in the US, with a human fatality every 13 days on average (and estimates of other-animal fatalities are shocking: thousands every year).

            I’m honestly not trying to debate, and I’m not suggesting anyone should come and take away your pets (I do believe the breeding of them should be banned except for licensed breeders with permits, simply because they are seriously overbred and millions of them end up in shelters every year). But my children aren’t allowed to play in homes that have pit bulls, and I will cross the street to avoid yours. Even without the statistics, I’ve personally known too many people whose beloved pet pits “turned on” one day; luckily no fatalities, but some serious injuries and disfigurements. Our old neighbor had a pit; no problems for years, just a big goofy love-bug, then one day he escaped his backyard and mauled a man on the next block, who required airlifting to the nearest Level-1 Trauma Center.

            1. catsAreCool*

              That’s terrifying. I’ve had the impression that pit bulls that turn vicious were raised that way, but I’ve never done any research on it.

              I love German Shepherds (don’t own any though), and I’ve met some very nice ones, so I’ve tried to give pit bulls the benefit of the doubt.

              1. urban teacher*

                The research that was done showed that pit bulls are the current breed to hate. Throughout American history, other dog breeds were considered to be problematic and attackers. Bloodhounds, Dobermans, German Shepherds all at one point were considered too dangerous. People got them because they wanted them to be dangerous, same with pits. Under socialization has more to do with dog attacks than breed.

                1. Anion*

                  The bloodhound in question was the Cuban Bloodhound, a pit-bull-type dog. It was not the long-eared hunting dog we know as the bloodhound.

                  Dobermans were responsible for 8 deaths in the 1980s. As a result, doberman breeders focused on improving breeding to eliminate some of the more aggressive lines, and on informing people of the breed’s special needs/natures. Same with GSDs, who killed 14 in that same decade. These issues were treated very seriously by breeders and lovers of those breeds. Now you rarely hear of a fatality involving one of those breeds–they still happen on occasion, but not in large numbers and often years go by without any.

                  In contrast, pit bulls killed 28 Americans in 2015 alone (and those numbers are normal for them; every year they’re responsible for more deaths, and more serious attacks, than every other breed COMBINED). And the response from pit breeders and lovers is “It’s not the breed’s fault!” and a refusal to even consider breeding out the more aggressive lines or recommending that only responsible people aware of the breed’s special needs own them. People who believe that propaganda often find out the hard way that it’s NOT “how you socialize them/raise them.”

                  I’m not aware of any “research” done that shows “pit bulls are the current breed to hate.” I’m aware of much research that shows that they *are* more dangerous than other dogs; more likely to kill people, more likely to mutilate people, more likely to kill or mutilate animals, than all other breeds combined–and than any other breed has ever been.

              2. Anion*

                Sadly, no, most of them were well-loved, well-raised family pets.

                I love GSDs too! One day I’ll have one, sigh. :-)

            2. Misc*

              From what I’ve read, the issue isn’t so much that they’re more likely to be aggressive – labradors (I think, or golden retrievers, one of the fluffy golden cute breeds anyway), actually attack people way more often.

              But pit bulls were bred to go for the face (because that’s where you grab the bull) and other dogs go for the arms or legs, so the damage is much, much worse.

              1. Anion*

                That’s partly it, yes. The other issues are that pit bulls were bred to attack without warning, so while a normal dog will growl and then bark, a pit bull will not give any indication that an attack is coming. People have had pits wag their tails and do a “play bow,” and then when they go to pet the dog, they’re attacked.

                Pits also do not stop an attack the way other dogs do. Most dogs do not bite unless they are cornered and their warning signs are ignored. They bite to “clear a space” to escape. You’ll get a single bite, and they jump back or run away–they just want you to leave. Pit bulls don’t stop. They were bred to keep attacking until their prey is subdued/dead, and that’s what they do. Pit owners are advised to carry a “break stick” in order to literally pry the dog’s jaws off its victim.

                All of this is part and parcel of the dog’s history. They were bred to fight. Fighting is genetic behavior for them, just the way a pointer points and a retriever retrieves; this genetic behavior feels good and right to the dog. Because it’s genetic, it cannot be trained out of the dog. Imagine training a pointer not to point! This is why many pits who attack and even kill will appear, several minutes later, not to even realize what’s happened. They weren’t being mean, they weren’t angry, they were just acting on an impulse coded into their DNA.

                That’s not to say that ALL pits will attack a person–they won’t!–just that whether or not they will has nothing to do with ownership or how they were raised.

                The latest death just a few days ago, of six-year-old Isaiah Jacob Franklin, occurred in front of adults; the dog responsible had been raised with Isaiah and, according to the adults present, was completely unprovoked. Isaiah was playing a video game with his back to the dog; the dog just suddenly lunged. This is typical behavior. Very few of these attacks and deaths have a real “trigger.” They do not occur because a child or adult was teasing the dog or beating the dog.

                1. Lissa*

                  Yeah, I agree with you, for the most part. And I would *never* say this on my social media because I would get screamed at by multiple people. I had a boss who was over at his friend’s house, and the loving family pit bull mauled his face — he was scarred for life and never the same due to complications. I also think the immediate rage-out defensiveness of owners does not help.

    29. Lily Evans*

      Also, I love watching TV shows and make no secret of that, but I never seem to get into the really super popular shows. People act like it’s blasphemous that I say I love TV but haven’t seen Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones and gave up on The Walking Dead. But I don’t like watching things that kill characters off all the time or just have really depressing storylines.

      1. Cass*

        Same here with Game of Thrones. I watched an episode or two and I can’t explain it, it just made me profoundly uncomfortable.

        1. Emily*

          Yes! I watched it, didn’t like the first few episodes because they made me feel unhappy and uncomfortable, stuck with it and ended up getting into the show for a bit…and then quit a couple of seasons later because it was making me uncomfortable.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I’m starting to agree with you about giving up on TWD. But we’ll see–I’ll stick with it a bit longer. Mostly because I’m a huge Daryl Dixon fan. Not crushing; I just think he’s cool.

        1. Elkay*

          I’m almost ready to give up on TWD too, it feels like they’ve run out of ideas but I think the comics are still running so surely they have lots of source material.

      3. all aboard the anon train*

        I agree. I attempted to watch Breaking Bad, but it didn’t hold my interest. I watched Game of Thrones because I had read the books long before the show was even on the horizon, but I stopped watching the show early on. While I enjoyed the books, I didn’t think they were groundbreaking or amazing the way some people do, and it definitely got to the point where the stories were so bleak that I had no interest in reading on. I probably won’t even read the other books whenever they do come out. Also because if it ends how I think it’ll end, I’ll hate that I invested all the time into it.

        I enjoy a good serious storyline, but when everything in the show is bleak with no light at the end of the tunnel, I can’t bring myself to watch it.

        1. Anion*

          That’s why we stopped watching Walking Dead. I like dark–I write dark–but I can’t take it if there’s no hope. The point of darkness is to contrast it with light, to show the light still exists; WD has become unrelenting misery, cynicism, tragedy, and hopelessness, and that’s just not entertaining.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            Exactly. I think that’s why I felt so betrayed at the end of The Dark Tower series. I suspect ASOIAF and GoT will end on a similar note. GRRM has said as much of ASOIAF and while I do think a big, fluffy ending would be off-key for that series, I’m fed up enough with what happened in the past two books. If the show is any indication of events in the books not yet published, I have no desire to see the ending.

            I can deal with dark and depressing endings for a single movie or book, but not a long series.

          2. Emma*

            Yeah. And I think what annoys me the most about this kind of unrelenting darkness is how people will insist it’s far more realistic than anything more hopeful. I don’t like long-running things that wallow in darkness because I quickly stop caring about the story*, but I have to admit, I often avoid even trying things marketed as dark, grim, or “realistic” because of that fan reaction.

            *I like horror stories, but there’s a fine balance with horror – if it drags on too long it stops being horrific and scary, and becomes boring or even funny.

      4. Lissa*

        I am so over the trend of killing off main characters excessively! Sometimes it can be done well, but at this point, it’s just gratuitious and IMO often makes the show actively worse. For me, the Game of Thrones *novels* walked the line really well and the show goes *way* over it. I never found the character-killing in the novels to be done badly and sometimes found the amount of hype around characters getting killed overstated, but in the show it’s way worse.

        My issue with it is that very often what ends up happening is that the show kills off a really beloved, emotionally accessible character — the “heart” of the show. And yes, you get a couple really powerful episodes dealing with the loss of that character. And then they’re gone. And the show is worse.

        There’s one popular anime that did this (I won’t say what because spoilers) and I see why they killed off the character they did but to me it tore out the heart of the show which was the dynamic between two characters.

        I don’t like plot armor when it feels ridiculous, but I wish people would think of the overall health of their show not just what’s “most shocking”.

      1. tink*

        Same. I tell people that give me grief that it’s just more for them. There’s something about the taste/texture intersection that doesn’t work for me.

        1. The Kurgen*

          Tried and tried to love avocados, guacamole, and their ilk but cannot. The texture is off somehow and they taste of nothingness.

    30. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t like sports either, except for skating and most of the stuff during the Winter Olympics. That’s the only time I watch them. Yes, I will sit there and watch people ski jump and I have no idea why.

      I don’t like mushrooms. When I lived in Delaware, saying this was tatamount to drop-kicking a puppy, judging by the looks on people’s faces.

      I like sunny days, but I don’t like being in the sun.

      I hate Chick-fil-A. HATE IT. It’s just a greasy breaded chicken sandwich, and not even a good one at that. Again, around here, I might as well hate kittens and Jesus too.

      Bonnie Fide said she doesn’t like strapless wedding gowns. I don’t either. Every single bride wears these. I am so sick of them. If (when, please) I get married, I’d like an Arwen dress, actually.

      And also around here, I have to be very careful with whom I share that I absolutely despise camouflage clothing/fabric/furniture.

      1. Anonyby*

        Whee! Opinion twins! (Though my feelings about Chick-fil-A are purely political as I’ve never eaten them. And I don’t actually mind strapless wedding gowns beyond the fact that they’re overdone.)

      2. katamia*

        LOL. I hate mushrooms too, and not because they’re fungus and I have Issues around eating fungus. I just find the texture and taste incredibly unpleasant.

        People do camouflage furniture? I’ve never seen/heard of such a thing.

          1. QualityControlFreak*

            I love camouflage. I have … a lot … of camouflage clothing. Camouflage furniture? Uh, no.

      3. HoVertical*

        Hurgle blurgle on the Chick-fil-A thing. Bland, flavourless, and the bun of the one sandwich I tried was so saturated with frialator grease that it was flaking away in the wrapper. Absolutely horrendous.

        +1 on the camo clothing/fabric/furniture. Doubly so since my neighbor’s kid went to her junior prom wearing a Mossy Oak-trimmed pale green dress…and the trim matched her date’s bow tie and cummerbund.

        1. QualityControlFreak*

          To be clear, I do not wear camouflage to formal events. I wear it in the woods or on the job site.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            If you’re using it for the purpose it was intended–CAMOUFLAGE–then it’s fine. But it’s a little strange for a fashion choice. Especially in colors like pink and purple. Then it really looks weird!

            I love those Buzzfeed posts where they make fun of people wearing it by saying how sad it is that the people they’re with are all alone. XD

      4. Emma*

        I fucking hate mushrooms. Most other foods, even if I usually dislike them there’s at least one preparation I can find that I enjoy. Not so with mushrooms – and I’m sick of people telling me I just haven’t tried.

        My weird opinion: I think mushrooms are beautiful and I love to draw them. I just despise actually eating them.

          1. Emma*

            Sorry! I actually try not to but I, er, am kind of immodest in my language usually (…okay, I swear like an effing sailor) and every so often one slips past without me catching it. I’ll try harder, I promise.

    31. The Cosmic Avenger*

      An entry for both this thread and the “favorite desserts this time of year” thread below: I freaking LOVE fruitcake. I would eat a pound for breakfast every day if I thought I’d survive more than a week! I honestly don’t get the hate.

      1. Emma*

        I like the ones that don’t have either pineapple or maraschino cherries in. I just don’t like those two fruits in any context.

      2. Windchime*

        OMG. I love fruitcake, too. I always buy myself one at this time of year and hack it up into a couple of pieces; some to freeze for later and some to eat now. Mmmmmm. Love it.

    32. T3k*

      I don’t like coffee. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a drink or in food, hot or cold, straight or heavily covered with another flavor. I can’t get over the awful taste. Funny thing is, I love Baileys.

    33. Girasol*

      Great conversation starter!! I don’t do makeup or hair color. I don’t need to paint myself like a china doll because I’m real to begin with. And heels…whoever thought those things up, anyway? There’s a reason Barbie’s legs end in ambiguous squiggles: heels aren’t shaped anything like feet!

      1. lemonjelly*

        Hmm… I appreciate and very much support your choice to not “do” makeup or hair color, but I resent the implication that I’m not a real person for enjoying both of those things. Hair color and makeup don’t have to be about conforming to expectations, or trying to hide what I look like, or anything even remotely related to being incomplete without them – like so many other things in life, they are simply tools that can be used in many different ways and for many different purposes. For me personally, it’s a fun outward, physical expression of my own interests, personality, and preferences. I really enjoy getting to play with bright colors and sparkles, or dark colors and shadows, or whatever the hell else I might feel like on any given day. And I am still a real person, even if my hair isn’t a natural color and I’m wearing shiny eye shadow. You’re a real person, regardless of the state of your hair or face too.
        I do very much sympathize with wanting to buck against the pressure women are constantly up against to conform to society’s very narrow beauty standards (in fact I like to think I’m doing the same thing sometimes, but from the opposite side – brightly colored hair in an environment that doesn’t typically do such things can be a statement, too), but knocking other women for how they choose to present their appearance isn’t going to help anyone – it’s only pitting more women against each other instead of against people and companies perpetuating such unrealistic ideals. It’s great to make a choice for yourself and your values, but that doesn’t mean you have to denigrate others’ for yours to be valid.

    34. Judgy*

      I think celebrity gossip is an abomination. I immediately loose respect for people who partake in that culture.

      I don’t like playing video games. And really don’t understand the appeal of those first person shooter games.

      1. manderw*

        I hear you on both. I just do. not. care. about celebrity gossip. It’s beyond boring to me, and any time I see someone in public reading a gossip magazine or talking about it I immediately dismiss them.

        I used to like playing Doom on the playstation but that’s the only video game I ever really got into, and that was mainly because my roommate played it constantly so it was through osmosis. But I have zero interest in other games at all.

        Also I hardly watch any TV. Sometimes I wonder why I bother to pay for the TV license but we have a Tivo and record a bunch of stuff like old Star Trek episodes to binge watch when we have the time, so I guess it’s worthwhile for that.

      1. Tris Prior*

        I am not offended by porn but I think it is silly and ridiculous and when my ex tried to get me to watch it with him he got so annoyed with me. Because I just could not stop laughing at it. I have no idea how people get turned on by it.

      2. Anon for this*

        Written porn is fine. But videos are gross.

        They also make me feel like I walked in something I wasn’t supposed to see; I should shut the door and apologize to the actors.

    35. Mags*

      I hate bright sunny days and utterly loathe hot weather.

      Slightly related. Flip flops are beach ware. Not proper shoes.

          1. Windchime*

            Same here. And I think that Johnny Depp is pretentious and looks like he needs to take a shower. He just looks like he would probably smell bad.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I don’t like actors who are always cast as a commitment-phobic man-boy. I look at Matthew McConnaghey or Hugh Grant and I think they’re good-looking, but I don’t develop a celebrity crush on them because I don’t like the man-boy type.

    36. Mimmy*

      I could totally sign on to a lot of these!!!

      – I am not a pet person. Dogs, cats, nada! Yet, I enjoy funny cat videos.
      – Same deal with children. Yet, I like pictures of cute kids.
      I know this makes me sound heartless, but I am far from it, I promise!

      I also tend not to jump on the bandwagon of wildly popular shows. For example, my husband LOVES Game of Thrones, but I just cannot get into it. In terms of books, I only enjoy nonfiction and (don’t laugh) textbooks!

    37. paul*

      Kansas city BBQ is an abomination.

      Pixar is overrated (though there are a few real gems in their catalog, I’ll give them that)

      OWoD is better than D&D

      1. zora*

        HAHA you are like the Bizarro version of my boyfriend. He works for Pixar, insists that anything other than KC BBQ is not allowed to call itself BBQ. Or maybe he’s the Bizarro-paul. ;o)

      2. Red Reader*

        oWoD yes. (My fiancé and I met over a decade ago at a GenCon oWoD LARP. I’m now its head storyteller after he stepped down from a six-year term.)

        (But our Pathfinder group is supposed to be here in about two hours.)

      3. Chaordic One*

        Not just Kansas City BBQ, BBQ in general is something I can’t stand. Interesting sauces full of sugar on top of dubious fatty meat. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I don’t really like dining al fresco or even picnics. It’s like they’re O.K. at best, but not great.

      4. Lissa*

        I like NWoD which is a hugely unpopular opinion among many many nerds and I don’t care! I still like some of the OWoD games too though.

        1. paul*

          i haven’t gotten to try NWoD; everyone had kids and some of us moved and we just don’t meet anymore. Makes me sad

    38. SophieChotek*

      Okay I am not an outdoors person.

      I mean 10-15 minutes in an awesome beautiful sight (the Alps, Yellowstone, Amazon Rainforest,etc.) sounds awesome…but I don’t want the work to get there. I like walking (for exercising), but I’d rather do it inside on a track or on a treadmill (not outside communing with nature.) It can be beautiful outside (not too hot, not too cold) and you’ll still find me inside reading a book or doing something random on my computer.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I’m the same way. I always joke that I like my nature “manicured” like a nice park or a tourist spot that’s well-maintained and has bathrooms. Nature and I just don’t get along. I don’t mind spending time outside with a specific purpose, but I’m not the type to just go for a walk just because. I had a co-worker once who I was friends with, but her reaction to me not liking the outdoors was super over the top. She couldn’t seem to wrap her head around anyone not enjoying being outside. And honestly nature kind of creeps me out. I don’t think I could do a hiking trip where you spend actual days not seeing other people.

        1. catsAreCool*

          I don’t like camping. I’m ok with going for a walk in nature, but then I want to be able to find a good bathroom and also to be able to eat food that is heated up indoors, without bugs hovering around.

          1. Elkay*

            Me too. I used to happily go camping but over the last few years I want to go walking then go back to a shower and being inside. Switzerland was amazing, at the end of every trail there was a proper toilet and cafe, I can get on board with that kind of being outside.

          2. Dr. KMnO4*

            Camping is so overrated. Even when there are bathrooms nearby they are usually quite gross. I have slept in a tent exactly one night in my life and hopefully that is the only time. Insects are, though necessary for our ecosystem, just the worst.

            1. Juli G.*

              Yep. Since getting married, we’ve been camping a few times with friends and that’s sort of fun because it’s a big group of people to hang with. My husband suggested that we go with just our two kids and I do not get it. Uh, the four of us can hang out for a weekend at home and have indoor plumbing.

    39. DragoCucina*

      +10000 on sports. And I would go out in the cold to watch what….?!

      I don’t read sci-fi/fantasy. Especially now that I’m not working with teens. Will binge watch ST: TOS, NG; BSG; Supetnatural; iZombie; etc. I would rather read a Matthew Shardlake mystery.

    40. zora*

      I HATE manis and pedis. hate them so much. And so many of my friends and family see them as the ultimate relaxing indulgence.

      Also hate amusement parks/theme parks, especially roller coasters of any kind.

      I love rain and fog, I don’t get it when people complain about rain all the time, I love it when it’s raining it makes me feel cozy and happy. It’s so much better than snow, snow is the worst.

      1. Reba*

        I share these opinions!

        But I like snow, too. I like cold weather because I like changes in weather, generally (I am from North America with seasons but have also lived in places with almost no seasonal changes) and because I like getting bundled up in warm clothes, layers and mittens and the whole nine yards, and being warm in the cold. I hate *being* cold.

      2. Sarah in DC*

        I also hate mani/pedis so I’m often the party pooper when someone suggests it as a relaxing group activity. My feet are extremely ticklish so pedicures are just physically a no go, but in general nail places are staffed/run very unethically so I’m not a huge fan of giving them my money. They also can be pretty unsanitary and cutting/aggressively pushing back cuticles is a great way to get an infection.

        1. zora*

          I just am really uncomfortable letting someone mess with my fingers and toes, it just squicks me out. And then on top of that I also have issues with the unethical nature of most nail places and the toxic chemicals, but I would not do them anyway even if they fixed all of that. And yeah, I feel like such a party pooper when I’m like, no, I don’t wanna do that. It’s like I kicked someone’s puppy!

      3. Katie the Sensual Wristed Fed*

        I just think manis/pedis are a waste of money. I can paint my own nails and save $50

    41. Anonyby*

      I don’t like tea. I’m pretty much the only one in my friend group that doesn’t. (Opinions on coffee are mixed, so I don’t stand out as much there.)

      I have zero interest in watching Buffy. Or Angel. Or Firefly. Or Dollhouse (though that’s less revered in my friend group).

      Shows like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead are just too dark for me. And I can’t handle zombie stuff at all.

      I don’t actually like comic books. They’re just over and done too quickly when I’m reading them.

      Can we get some more documentaries on the parts of history people don’t normally talk about? The lives of commoners. How clothing & food were produced. The lives of women of all stations. How were things like sex and periods and pregnancy handled?

      1. Anonyby*

        Also don’t like BBQ. I do not like mixing sweet with savory, and BBQ sauces are sooo sooo sweet. (I have a huge sweet tooth when it comes to desserts. But that’s desserts. That’s not all over my meat.)

        Also, when you add something besides bread and cheese to a sandwich, it is NO LONGER a grilled cheese sandwich, tyvm. At that point it’s a melt.

        1. chickabiddy*

          I live in NC and many of our barbecue sauces are mustard- and vinegar-based. I like these. I do not like sticky sweet ketchup-y sauces.

        2. Anion*

          YES! I am hardline on the grilled cheese-or-melt thing. If there’s anything other than cheese in there, it’s a melt, period.

      2. Emma*

        I would be all over those documentaries. More history stuff in general!

        My unpopular opinion: up until I got rid of my TV a couple years ago (so I don’t know if their programming’s changed again) I used to watch all the Ancient Aliens crap on the History channel because that stuff is hilarious.

        I’m a historian, so I should probably never admit that when using my real name.

      3. Emily*

        I like Buffy and Firefly, but I can understand why people wouldn’t! Joss Whedon has some stylistic quirks that would get suuuper annoying if I didn’t mostly enjoy them.

    42. Tris Prior*

      I am a nerd who hates all kinds of gaming. Board games, card games, larping, D&D, video games. I will play old school arcade games but that is about it. I find them boring and kind of stressful (having to remember rules is not something I find fun). I would much rather talk or make art or something but gaming is social lubricant for nerds. It makes it hard for me to meet people who otherwise have similar interests because sooner or later out come the games.

      I also hate pop. All pop, regular or diet. It tastes like sweet chemicals to me.

      1. Lima Joe Coo*

        I am so with you on hating having to remember all the rules for games. I love games otherwise but as soon as I have to devote a lot of mental energy to it, I’m out.

      2. KJ*

        I hate soda too! Can’t stand anything carbonated.

        Although, I love, love, love gaming and with my husband, own in excess of 200 games (board and RPG). If you are interested in finding a game you could stand to play, if you haven’t tried story games, you might want to give them a shot- they have few rules, are really creative and are less stressful for me when I cannot cope with remembering rules. Quiet Year is really easy to learn/play and has few rules to remember. They serve the social lubricant role, but are pretty fun even for folks who don’t love games. Think of them as a semi-structured way of playing pretend. Quiet Year even involves some very basic art.

      3. hermit crab*

        I don’t really like games either! (Honestly, I am totally OK with minimalist games with simple rules, like Scrabble, Acquire, backgammon, or classic card games. But games where you have to learn a whole new vocabulary before you even start really piss me off. I hate Settlers of Catan with the passion of a thousand burning suns!)

    43. Katie the Fed*

      I hate all-incusive resorts. I’d probably hate cruises too but I’ve never been on one.

      I think they’re a scourge. They’re bad for the host country and the environment. They restrict locals from their own resources because the country’s government would rather cater to tourists. And you don’t get to claim you went to [insert foreign country] when you never saw anything but the beach and the bars/restaurants.

    44. Katie the Fed*

      Also, I think Florence and Venice are overrated.The art in Florence is incredible, but nothing else felt that authentic. Both places were overrun with tourists and seemed more like caricatures of Italy than an interesting cultural experience.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          You should go if you want to go! Especially since it’s sinking and they want to limit tourists. I don’t have the same tastes as everyone :)

        2. The Unkind Raven*

          I lived in Venice for a few years. Venice is still my favorite part of Italy, a country I have traveled pretty comprehensively. Avoid Carnevale and the summer months and you should be fine, tourist-wise.

      1. Jen RO*

        I hated Venice too. It was so, so full of tourists and it was impossible for me to enjoy it. Florence was a bit better, but I found most of the attractions in Italy to be overcrowded.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          I’d like to see some of Italy that’s more…Italian. Maybe Sicily would be nice. I actually like Rome a lot.

      2. Your Weird Uncle*

        I’ve never been to Florence, but I couldn’t agree more about Venice. I was *so* disappointed. The architecture is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, and I enjoyed taking the water taxis, but other than that, it was just obvious that everything they do in that city is geared toward taking tourists’ money. Such a shame.

    45. KJ*

      Along the lines of your post, I find sportball-watching silly. I also think that gym class in school is really not useful, as teaching kids how to play a team sport does not help them maintain their fitness as an adults, as few adults have time for team sportball practice. I’d rather see schools teaching functional fitness that can be done independently, without tons of equiptment- running, walking, yoga, simple weights, even cycling (bikes can be cheap and it is easy to do.)

      1. Soanonforthis*

        Pets in human clothes. Looks ridiculous and robs the animals of their dignity. (Can also be dangerous to the wearer.) Cats in bonnets and dogs wearing sunglasses and bandanas are not cute.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        You do have a great suggestion, that schools teach kids things that they can do on their own and hopefully, carry over into adulthood.

        1. Kj*

          I work with kids and it drives me crazy when they tell me they failed the basketball unit of gym class; basketball is not a life skill or academic need. Also, I hate when kids are marked down for being uncoordinated. It isn’t something practice can really fix- you can minorly improve, but may never be great at sports ball. Ugh, I could rant about this all day.

    46. Mononymous*

      I detest chocolate. As in, the smell of warmed chocolate literally makes me start to gag if it’s strong or in an enclosed space. I refuse to eat any amount of it. Milk or dark chocolate, Hershey’s or super fancy imported, doesn’t matter. Nasty. I do enjoy white chocolate though, and can RARELY enjoy a small amount of chocolate baked goods like a brownie or Oreo-type cookie, maybe once a year or so.

      (To be fair, I did used to like chocolate, but I now have this aversion due to having a stomach bug and not knowing it until after I’d eaten some Halloween candy when I was a kid. Choco-puke coming out my nose spoiled it for me forever.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I don’t care for solid chocolate after touring a famous chocolate bar producing plant. Back in the 60s you could actually be in the room with the vats of chocolate. By vat I mean something the size of a living room with liquid chocolate several feet deep. Yeah you probably could go for a swim in it, it was that large.

        The smell was overwhelming. And the smell permeated the whole building. When we were in the lobby and the smell was intense. By the time we reached the shop floor you could open your mouth and taste the chocolate because the smell was that heavy.

        That cured me on solid chocolate. I do like some chocolate, hot fudge is nice and I probably like the dark chocolate because it does not remind me of that smothering cloud of sweetness we inhaled that day.

        They no longer have these tours, I suppose because of health code. But I have to wonder if they figured out it was not always helping their sales, either.

        1. Mononymous*

          Argh, that sounds like a nightmare for me! I can only imagine how that smell must cling to the workers there. Wonder if any of them can still eat the products they make? (And I thought the sandwich smell in my clothes from working at a Subway was annoying…)

        2. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

          You bring back childhood memories of touring a candy factory because one of the neighborhood dads worked there. Yes, it was in the 1960s and yes, we were able to go right next to the huge vats of chocolate. The dad who was our guide reminded us all not to chew gum so that nobody would open his or her mouth in amazement and drop chewed gum into the vat. (Yummy. Not.)

          If I recall correctly, when we went back to that factory several years later (with a different group of people) the building had been redesigned to contain the tour behind large glass windows at all times. I remember being disappointed that we could no longer get up close and personal to the vats.

          It’s funny to see how a random internet comment can uncover information buried in our brains decades earlier.

    47. hermit crab*

      I don’t like to travel! Planning trips stresses me out and so does the actual act of traveling. I don’t think I’m closed-minded, but I would much rather learn about other places by reading about them, talking to people who are from there, looking at other people’s vacation photos (which I actually enjoy!), watching documentaries, etc.

      I think part of this is that I grew up in a touristy place and have this irrational townie mentality where I sort of assume all the locals resent me whenever I go somewhere that I don’t “belong.” I do occasionally enjoy visiting people or traveling to go hiking/camping, but I’d rather get a root canal than plan a trip to an unfamiliar city!

      1. catsAreCool*

        I sometimes like being at new places, but long drives and/or flying kinda wears me out. I don’t mind flying itself, but the cramped seating, the long lines, waiting and hurrying up, barely enough room for luggage is tiring.

      2. Victoria, Please*

        Right there with you. I hate to travel, too. My husband loves it and I’m afraid when he retires he’s going to want to Travel All the Places and we’re going to break up. (I don’t think we’ll break up.) But I hope he finds someone else to go with, his daughter or a friend or someone.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          I was on a safari in Kenya and met a retired woman who was on her own – her husband doesn’t like to travel and she just does her own thing. It works well for them.

    48. Amy*

      I’m hugely annoyed by people who ask for samples at ice cream counters. It holds up the line for everyone and just seems generally stupid. You should know what you like, and even if you don’t, I mean, it’s ice cream… they’re all tasty. Make a freaking choice. You’re picking a snack, not signing a mortgage.

      Everyone I have ever told this to in person thinks I’m a gigantic bummer.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        LOL, not signing a mortgage. ha!

        I feel the same way about lottery tickets. I have to get to work, I don’t want to wait for someone to pick out their 27 lottery tickets one at a time.

      2. Lady Julian*

        Ha! I love samples because it’s basically free ice cream. I make it a point to get a couple when I go out, just so I can try more kinds than the one I wind up getting. (I do let people go in front of me if they know what they want, though . . . )

      3. all aboard the anon train*

        A lot of the ice cream places in my city have weird flavors, so I if I want one of them, you bet I’m going to try it instead of buying something I potentially won’t like. I’ve been burned enough by not tasting before buying a “unique” flavor. Some of them are disgusting.

        I try to limit it to one or two though.

      4. Reba*

        There is a fabulous Iranian ice cream place in LA where one of the owners almost refuses to sell you what you initially ask for–even if you have been there before and know what you are ordering–and insists that you taste lots of her suggestions, alone and in combination, before deciding. The whole thing is an experience.

        1. Mike C.*

          I love places that tell you that you’re ordering the wrong thing and then what you get is ten times better.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Something is wrong with me. If someone tells me they won’t sell me what I ask for I am NOT HAPPY. If I stayed long enough to find out my question would be then why-oh-why is it on the menu?

    49. Felicia*

      I don’t like summer, and love winter. I would never want to vacation somewhere warm in winter though i have been forced to as a child

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I hated casseroles in general as a kid. I did not like foods all mixed together. As an adult, I learned that allergy can cause that type of picky eating. I really could not handle foods all mixed together and needed a simple food diet.
        I ate a lot of casseroles because “you have to eat the food you are given” and dragged myself around for days, wondering why I was so logy.

    50. chickabiddy*

      I have been separated for a year and a half and am actively working towards divorce (long story). I have absolutely no interest in dating. I am *definitely* not pining away for my ex, I am not bitter or angry towards men as a species, and I do miss certain physical aspects of being in a relationship, but I am just not interested in putting myself out there. I hated the whole dating thing when I was younger and don’t want to deal with it again. I’m fat and middle-aged and dress primarily for comfort (and don’t wear makeup, don’t dye my hair, etc.) and while I’m working on the fat part for health reasons I don’t really care enough about the rest to try to make myself conventionally appealing.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There’s lot us out there! I am happy on my own and feel no big need to date. Relationships are a lot of work and I am enjoying my quiet time.

      2. Windchime*

        This is me. And my secret is that I’ve been divorced for 20 years now. I tried dating a little in the beginning but it just was so much work. I’ve found that I’m happier alone. At this moment, I am lying on the sofa next to my partially-decorated tree. I have nobody to worry about except for myself. I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything for anyone. It’s just me, and I like it that way.

    51. Dynamic Beige*

      People don’t talk about it much here, but some people I know are really into Outlander. I mean *really* into it, cosplay and everything. They post on FB about how much they can’t wait for the new season on TV and other things.

      Kind of like with GoT, I liked the first few books (long though they were). But when the last one came out, I started reading it, found it boring and repetitive, went “meh” and lost interest. I admitted to one of these people that I just wanted it to be over, I wanted them to finally die. Because after all the “oh no, $ThisThing happened and s/he’s dead! Oh, no you’re not! But let’s fight and then have fantastic sex” I’m just over it. I get it, they’re star-crossed lovers/soulmates through time and space — you made that point early on (and often). But now they’ve crossed the Atlantic multiple times, rubbed elbows with way too many famous figures from that time in history and… no. Make it stop. Please. I read somewhere that she doesn’t use an editor, well she should and get some new ideas FFS.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        More than with most series that were expanded, you can tell that Outlander was originally supposed to be a trilogy. The central event of the books was a lesser known battle that occurred in the second book. By the third book, they’re no longer living in Scotland (I feel like Gabaldon moved them to a region whose history was most familiar to her). As Jamie ages, I grow more and more frustrated by his easy willingness to participate in illegal and dangerous business dealings. I hate the Brianna/Roger romance. They fight hard and love harder!

        I’m going to keep reading and watching because I don’t like to let go of characters whose beginnings are still meaningful to me.

    52. Aardvark*

      I don’t get the appeal of fandoms. I like/have opinions on a lot of nerdy things that have followings, but I don’t really understand the desire to define one’s identity by the media one enjoys.

      1. Emma*

        Eh, in my case, it’s less defining my identity and more hanging out with people who I can talk to about the stuff we enjoy. There aren’t many people local to me into the same stuff I am.

    53. Lissa*

      I love most “controversial” foods. Brussel sprouts? Yum! Olives? Bring it on! Blue cheese? Sign me up! Cilantro, mushrooms, horseradish? Yes yes yes!

      I hate all the introvert memes I see ever, and all the articles that have sprung up around introversion seem inconsistent as hell. I feel like everyone on the internet defines themselves as an introvert and uses varying definitions of the word.

      1. Amy*

        1000x yes on the introvert thing. Ugh. Hard eyeroll every time I see some inane listicle about introverts.

        Also, any article or statement that includes “_____-shaming”/”bullying” (overused by click-baity sites to the point of being meaningless, which is a shame) or disability porn (as in, this person has no arms or legs but still runs marathons and never has a bad day and is just so happy to be alive and people with disabilities who don’t act this way are doing it wrong).

        1. Anon for this*

          I’m done with “-shaming.” Just… ugh. It’s meaningless to the point that I have seen “shaming” articles that boiled down to “someone looked at me while I was feeling insecure – they shamed me!”

          Sometimes “disability porn” about someone with my same condition is inspiring, but I get your problem with them overall.

      2. Stellaaaaa*

        Introversion is one of those things (like Dr. Who) that’s vastly over-represented on the internet. In reality I find that most people fall toward the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale, especially as we age out of our early 20s. I enjoy a good night out and meeting new people and I’m naturally outgoing but I almost always need to spend the next day avoiding people. But the internet would call me an introvert because of how I “recharge” and I don’t think it’s useful to use the label in that way.

        1. Lissa*

          I think some of the “I am a lonely introvert in a world of extroverts” thing is emphasized by the Internet, which decided for awhile that introverts were awesome and the best people but also very rare. I also think some of it is because we live in our heads but don’t see the inside of other people’s heads. I think most people fall in the middle of the scale and need recharge/alone time sometimes, but we don’t usually *see* others doing those things. someone in the middle of the scale will go out partying Friday but spend Saturday with a book, but their friends will only see them at the party. That kind of thing.

      3. Emma*

        I love all of those but mushrooms.

        On the introvert thing: one of the funniest and most frustrating things is watching my very extroverted sister insist she’s an introvert, try to act like one (or rather, her stereotypes of introverts), get miserable as hell, and then insist she can’t go out and socialize with her friends because she’s supposedly an introvert.

        I am an introvert. You bet your ass I still socialize with my friends. And yeah, those memes and lists annoy me too – I found the first few I saw kind of empowering, because I really did have to deal as a kid with people deciding something was wrong with me because of my introversion, but you’re right – they are contradictory, no one seems to have a consistent idea of what they mean by “introvert,” and it’s getting to the point where I think the backlash against extroversion is going too far. No, extroverts aren’t stupid, they’re not out to deliberately make your introverted life miserable, and their desire to socialize isn’t somehow less okay than my desire to not socialize.

      4. Anon for this*

        Nobody wants to be in the middle of the introversion/extraversion scale. It’s boring, I guess. Just like everyone wants an MBTI type, nobody wants to be balanced between two traits, even if their score is 50/50.

        My thoughts on MBTI’s validity aside. :)

        1. Emma*

          Hehehe, on MBTI, I go back and forth on every pair except introversion-extroversion, where I’m as extreme an introvert as possible. Other than the I, my “type” changes literally every time I take that damn test, and I’ve only gotten the exact same type twice, out of more than a dozen times I’ve taken the thing now.

          I think that’s more fun than having a set type, honestly.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        I seriously question the “experts” as some articles insist most people are more introverted and other articles insist most people are more extroverted. I believe that most people lean toward introversion more often than not.

    54. Piano Girl*

      I think LulaRoe legging are stupid. Why would I want to wear unicorns on my legs?? I also think cantaloupe is disgusting!
      Whew, I feel better now…

      1. Katie the Fed*

        So those don’t seem to have hit the DC suburbs yet (thankfully) but I was somewhere a few weeks ago and was surrounded by women wearing them. Ick.

    55. Nerfmobile*

      I don’t care much for dogs. Not afraid in any way, just, eh. I live in a region that is pretty “doggy”, and I am not a fan of having them around so much. My workplace allows people to bring dogs in, and when they announced that the landlord of our building was considering banning them, many people made a huge fuss. Me? I was silently cheering it on. Ah well, the landlord relented for now, but the dog owners are on notice that any problems or breaking of rules (eg, no dogs in the elevator) may result in a ban.

    56. Emma*

      Spinach is proof the gods love us and want us to be happy. Popeye was my hero growing up, no joke.

      Secular businesses shouldn’t put up Christmas decorations or pipe in Christmas carols. Yes, that includes non-religious Christmas carols – we all know what holiday they’re still celebrating, and just taking Jesus out of the equation doesn’t make Christmas somehow not a Christian holiday. This goes doubly if you’re putting this stuff up/piping the music outside, where I can’t even avoid it by not entering your store.

      I know I’m never gonna win that fight, and I know that none of those retailers give a damn about a single solitary put-out customer, but there are so many stores I do my best to avoid for about a quarter of the year because of this. It never used to bother me, but I find it increasingly alienating – more for the way I’m expected to just suck it up than for the actual decor/music.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I find it annoying, too. Follow the money. If there were no big bucks in Christmas then no one would be playing Christmas music. For me it’s the insincerity of the businesses and the big commercial push, I find the constant Christmas music annoying because it is like saying “we want allll your money”.
        And I go to church. Christmas used to be special, now it’s just commercial. People plowing each other over to buy stuff, really? how festive. not.

    57. Brussels manager*

      I don’t like trying new food. I’m not a food tourist. I’m not interested in the topic and having to eat something new stresses me.

      I travel for work quite a bit and I must generally hide this as it is considered good manners to try any food you are offered, especially “local / traditional” food.

      When I’m on work trips of more than two days I always try to escape one meal to eat in a McDonald’s and recharge (emotional) batteries. McDonald’s quarter pounder and fries tastes exactly the same in Brussels, Beijing and Buenos Aires…

      1. Jen RO*

        My favorite food is steak and fries, I could eat it every day. My boyfriend likes to cook, so I usually have to find something more exciting… and then I feel guilty because my “problem” is that I can’t decide what someone else should cook for me!

        I have also been known to sneak into a McDonalds while abroad, because it was so much easier than trying to figure out what is in the local food and whether I’d enjoy it or not.

      2. Katie the Fed*

        My unpopular opinion (at least in my circles) – I freaking love McDonalds. I know it’s garbage food, and I don’t eat it much, but there’s something about McNuggets and fries that’s just always there when you want it. :) I like foreign and exotic foods too, but I don’t judge McDonalds. It’s delicious.

        1. Me2*

          Embarrassingly right there with you. Their plain burgers are the best, I don’t like drippy, greasy burgers with tons of condiments so the McD kids burgers are just right. Plus sometimes you just want to know what you’re going to get.

    58. Emily*

      I didn’t really like The Book of Mormon (the musical, not the religious text) very much. And it feels like everyone else I’ve ever talked to (my mom, friends, classmates, friends’ parents, etc.) lists it as one of their favorite musicals!

      The worst is when it comes up in conversation and people find out that I’ve seen it – I feel like such a party pooper if I admit that I’m not that fond of it. I’m not trying to put anyone down, I just don’t want to lie.

      1. Me2*

        My whole family, self, husband and son, didn’t like it either. We thought it was pretty sophmoric and obvious. People actually get mad when you say you didn’t care for it.

      2. Searching*

        While I loved it, I can totally see why others wouldn’t. I live in the heart of Mormon land, I just loved how it poked fun at all these situations & customs I recognized after living here for so long. If that weren’t the case, I imagine I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.

    59. Anon for this*

      My favorite pizza topping is pineapple.

      People keep telling me that I’m too quiet, but I can enjoy someone’s company without either of us rushing to fill a silence. One side of my family, all introverts, can spend days reading together. It’s nice. I think more people should be quiet. They might like it.

    60. Temperance*

      I hate the Philadelphia Eagles. You wouldn’t think that this is unpopular, but it is.

      I enjoy the Dallas Cowboys. This is worse than hating the Eagles.

    61. Dr. KMnO4*

      I enjoy campy, silly movies and TV shows like Clue, and the “bad” Batman movies, and James Bond movies like Moonraker, and MacGyver.

      I like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and other sweet “alcho-pop” drinks. I strongly dislike bitter things like beer and coffee and dark chocolate.

      Though I am quite far behind in the show, I am rooting for Kingpin (played by one of my favorite actors, Vincent D’Onofrio) over that whiny, lying, irritating jerk Daredevil (and his whiny, nosy, irritating blond secretary Karen).

    62. Mike C.*

      American Football sucks. It’s boring as all heel and the only thing to look forward to are the snacks. I’ll take a 0-0 soccer game over a four hour football game any time. Also, my local team just won the league cup. :D

      GMOs are perfectly fine to use and as climate change happens we’ll need to rely on them more to fight novel pests and diseases, like with the Rainbow Papaya.

      Speaking of climate change – embracing modern nuclear power will be key to any serious plan to combat climate change.

      Work related: if workers are going to actually get ahead, they need to start looking out for each other rather than just themselves.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        American football. Get the ball, run 9 yards and go out of bounds. Repeat.

        Friend: “Oh isn’t this exciting?”
        Me: zzzzzzz…..

        1. Mike C.*

          I saw a study that showed there were 11 minutes of action in a four hour game. I know there’s a great deal of strategy here, but come on.

    63. super anon*

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being “basic”. As long as you’re happy with yourself and the things you do/like/etc then keep doing you. I really don’t think it’s the most terrible thing in the world to like Starbucks lattes, or tiny dogs in sweaters, or the myriad of other things that have been deemed “basic”.

      1. Emily*

        I agree – as long as it’s not hurting anyone, people should be able to like what they want. (I also feel like some of the mockery of “basic” people stems from society’s tendencies to make fun of things that women like.)

        1. Lissa*

          +1000 yes. Also, I’ve noticed that the more socially aware or “woke” people realize that it’s not OK to just mock women, so they’ve started mocking “white women” for liking those things instead.

  4. Gene*

    I’ve settled on a costume for Worldcon 76 in San Jose in 2018. As before, the final will be kept under wraps until after the Masquerade. Buy I’ll share bits and bobs as the build progresses. And this one is a bigger build, the actual customer isn’t terribly complex, but I’ll be making props using techniques I’ve never used. So I expect some spectacular failures as I learn. Good thing I have almost two years. And it’s going to have pockets so I can wear it as a hall costume.

    If anyone is interesting in attending, the registration page is here, http://www.worldcon76.org/registration . Usually, rates go up at the first of the year, but I haven’t seen any announcement.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I would love to go to one of the bigger cons sometime, but I’m so poor that it just wouldn’t be worth it. I hate not being able to buy stuff and / or pay for event stuff. Maybe someday I’ll have a book table….

  5. TR*

    Does anyone have suggestions for a gift that helps someone with meals? My father is caregiver to my mother who has Alzheimer’s, but he’s never been one for cooking. They get by, but anything I can do to make life easier would be a good thing. We’ve talked about Blue Apron, etc. and he doesn’t seem interested.

    1. nonynony*

      Is Meals on Wheels still a thing? Before my grandfather died, my Mom got him some sort of service that I want to say was called Dial-a-Daughter or something and someone came and brought him meals since my grandmother had always cooked and she was in a nursing home at that point. Good luck!

      1. Anono-me*

        If meals on wheels is not an option, is there a Seattle Sutton near by?

        For actual easy cooking and reheating, one of my favorite recipes is baked chicken breast with a jar of sauce.

        -Put several chicken breasts in a cake pan.
        -Dump a jar of your favorite sauce over it. (Pasta, Pesto, BbQ etc.).
        -Add 1/2 cup water .
        -Cover pan with foil.
        -Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 1-1/2 hours until chicken is at fully cooked internal temperature.

        Serve over noodles/rice/quinoa with a side of vegetables.

        I make several different versions at the same time and freeze the spare ones.

        Costco has fresh and frozen ready to go meals. Most big grocery stores near me have something also.

        1. chickabiddy*

          Yeah, both Costco and Trader Joe’s have frozen meals that are tasty enough and require little effort. Maybe you could make a big trip and stock the freezer, or if you’re too far away to do that, maybe there’s a relative nearby who has a teenager with a car who’d like to make a few bucks by going shopping and hauling bags.

    2. SMT*

      Giftcards for restaurants?

      There was a Judge John Hodgeman podcast a little while ago about a couple that made up a pie of the month club and then sent the pies to one of their mothers themselves. If you lived close enough to drop something off once a week or something, I could see this as do-able.

      My husband isn’t super great in the kitchen, but since I just changed jobs this month, he’s been responsible for dinners most nights. We meal plan, and while he can totally cook when he has to, I’ve noticed he likes to make the same few recipes that he knows really well over and over again. Maybe some simple recipes and/or a cooking class (even if taught by you?) would help your dad out?

      1. Engineer Girl*

        The gift cards for restaurants are great because they let your Dad get out of the house for socializing. My Dad did that and took Mom with him.
        Dad was also a huge fan of the small George Foreman grill.

    3. Ms Ida*

      I wouldn’t recommend Blue Apron if your dad is not interested in cooking. I tried Hello Fresh for a couple months I was hoping to get my non-cooking wife interested-no luck at all. At least with Hello Fresh I didn’t think the recipes were written very well for inexperienced cooks.
      My other big complaints were receiving boxes with leaking ingredients(chicken yuck!!!) and frequent wilted greens. They also produce a ton of trash, I can recycle a lot but these boxes come with freezer packs and insulation that all went in the trash. It really wasn’t worth it.
      A few years ago we did find a service that unfortunately went out of business but it was good while it lasted that delivered fully prepared meals. if your parents live somewhere with that option it would probably be less work and less stress for your dad.

      1. Mints*

        I think Munchery is the easiest version of these – I think everything is pre made and you just microwave/bake them. Blue Apron, from what I’ve heard, is the most advanced cooking, in that they don’t do any prep.

        I’m personally using Gobble which is the prep is all done but you throw things together to cook. It’s been perfect for me. But I think Munchery would be best for TR’s Dad

        1. Oryx*

          Too bad Munchery isn’t available near me as that’s more what I’m looking for. I’ve tried some of the things like HelloFresh and Blue Apron and they were far too much work for me. I enjoy cooking but I don’t have the time or inclination to do as much cooking as was required for those services

          1. Mints*

            Is Gobble available near you? That’s what I’m using. I describe it as half cooking. You get like raw fish and microwavable noodles, or fresh pasta that you simmer with pre-made sauce and pre chopped veggies. They’re literally fifteen minutes.

    4. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I don’t know about a gift per se, but you may want to see if there is anyone in your community advertising as a private cook or something you could arrange to come in every two weeks and make up a batch of meals that he could take out of the freezer and reheat.

    5. Girasol*

      If he has a freezer you might fill it with homemade goodies. It’s as easy as planning your freezable meals for at least two extra people and putting up the leftovers in two-person portions in a ziploc or freezer box.

      1. SophieChotek*

        +1 to something like this. If you like to cook/can cook, it might be less expensive, then something like Blue Apron or hiring a private chef. Like Girasol said, cooking up freezable meals and taking the over periodically (already portioned out) might be a great thing.
        If you don’t live closer, though, the idea for private chef or some sort of cooking/food delivery service might be an option. I know there are some places near where I live where you can go in and buy bigger frozen dinner that are all pre-made up (that I presume are supposed to be better than frozen dinner from the groccery store.)

    6. GH in SOCal*

      Munchery, if it’s available in their neighbourhood. I really like having all the nutrition facts on the website, since I have certain diet issues, so ordering from restaurants doesn’t work for me. I gave my aging Mom a gift card and she likes it too — she’s a good cook, but she has some mobility issues, so it’s nice to have healthy, delicious microwavable meals delivered sometimes.

    7. LCL*

      Meals on wheels has been a godsend for my mother. Munchery was a non starter because my mom doesn’t have and doesn’t want and has never used any sort of computer. Hm, maybe this Luddite way of life is hereditary…

      1. JAM*

        We’ve been using Meals on Wheels. We also found a local place that does freezer meals. You can either come in and do a bulk cooking class or you can drop in and buy some prepared ones. On days we are there with my grandpa we try to cook for him, when there’s a caretaker in the house (extended family but doesn’t feel comfortable using our kitchen tools) we do a freezer meal and if there’s a nurse around the house we have meals on wheels deliver.

    8. LawCat*

      We’re starting a regular CSA delivery for my MIL. The box is their “no cook” box and all the fruit and veggies can be eaten raw.

    9. Salamander*

      Try the ONCE A MONTH COOKING books. You basically spend a weekend afternoon shopping and putting together dinners in gallon-sized plastic bags and pop ’em in the freezer. You take one out every morning and put the contents in a crock pot. I’ve done this a few times during really busy seasons and it’s worked well. It takes the pressure off of thinking about what’s for dinner. If you’re close enough that you or another relative can swing a once-a-month visit, it might be the thing.

    10. Punkin*

      There is a place called Curbside Casseroles in my town (just squish together and add a dot com to see their website). Someone gave my friend a gift card to this place when she had a medical crisis. Her hubby is a chef, but had his hands full caring for her. Not exactly cheap, but reasonable for the quality of the food.

      I am also a big fan of Costco’s Kirkland frozen Lasagna.

    11. Dynamic Beige*

      Someone I know was telling me about how when she first got divorced, she would get together with a couple of other friends on Sunday afternoons and they would make meals for a week together. By splitting the cost of the ingredients, they were able to save a lot of money and time.

      As someone who never learned to cook, I can say that if I had had a group like this, I might have actually learned how to cook. I’ve taken some cooking classes but they have been very targeted (we’re going to make pasta from scratch) and just not enjoyable. I think your father would not enjoy going to cooking classes. If he was interested in that, then he might have done it earlier or been trying to make things from cookbooks. If your mother has done all that for him, cooking might be too mysterious for him to deal with.

      So my suggestion is: can you organise a weekly cook-in for your father? He must participate, even if that’s only chopping the vegetables or stirring the pot. Because he’s not going to learn anything if you all cook and he’s watching The Game (or whatever) in another room. If you make enough for all families involved, everyone wins and your father may start to look forward to cooking on his own once he sees that it’s not some arcane science. He may start to crave certain things and want to make them on his own. Bonus points if you have husbands/boyfriends/brothers who like to cook so he can see that it’s “normal” for menfolks to cook. And I mean cook, not BBQ.

    12. Ann Furthermore*

      Are there friends/family in the area? A couple years ago a friend of mine was very ill for a few months, and wasn’t able to cook meals for her family. Someone circulated an online calendar that let people sign up to make dinner for them and take it by their house. Almost every day was filled up in no time, and they had meals for a month. Whoever set it up noted likes/dislikes, and I’m sure you could put in any food allergies that need to be considered as well. And the request was for freezer meals, so they could keep it for when they needed it. I thought it was such a great idea.

    13. Meredith*

      I just came across this blog today, which is relatively new. Instant Pot Meals for Dad. Requires access/ownership of instant pot. Will post link in reply. I got an Instant Pot about a month ago and I really like it.

    14. Yetanotherjennifer*

      How about a personal chef? They tend to advertise a weekly delivery model, but I’m sure most would be willing to work with you based on what you need and can afford. If money is an issue you could check with culinary schools to try and find someone just starting out.

    15. blatantlybianca*

      Not sure where you live, but a gift card to DoorDash could be an option. DoorDash lets you order from local restaurants and the delivery charges are pretty minimal. Delivery is usually within an hour or so. I live in the Bay Area and use it ALL the time.

    1. matcha123*

      Best: Finally have time to use to clean up my apartment and clear out papers and things.

      Worst: I agreed to write an article for a friend’s company. However, I have to pay for transportation up front, and I won’t be reimbursed until late-January at the earliest. The people I’m meeting also want me to take an early train, which means that I’ll have to be on the train when I typically leave for work. And I took PTO for this since I assumed I’d at least be paid for my train fare that day (about $100).

    2. Liane*

      Best: Went out with College Son to get some Christmas lights for our tree and the window this morning.

      Worst: A friend’s mom passed away unexpectedly this past week. Always bad but especially so near Christmas.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Best: Last weekend we had new windows installed, and the view now looks SO much better! And I was finally able to get all of the blinds back up! Also, I finally got my dad’s car retitled to me, so that albatross should be gone from around my neck soon. And I spend much of today fighting with Fidelity’s retirement planner, but actually got it to recognize some of the things it wouldn’t before.

      Worst: The window installation took all day and was still going on while we were eating dinner, and at the end I had to kind of bribe the guys who installed them to put the window blind brackets back in. And there was a crapton of dust and debris left, which we had to vacuum up. It kind of harshed the buzz of home improvement to have to do so much work to clean up after laying out so much money on the windows. And I won’t get the official title document for another week or two, they have to mail it and apparently it takes a week and a half for the state just to f***ing print it!

    4. Mints*

      Best: I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian* lately and was feeling really tired last week and had an epiphany that these things might be related, so I bought some vitamins and feel a lot better after taking them. Science!

      Worst: Work continues to be pretty boring.

      *I’m actually aiming for pescetarian, but will still eat meat in social settings. It’s like 3 days vegetarian, 3 days seafood, 1 day not.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I think this might work better for me than going full-on veg. I like fish and eggs, and eggs are cheap. (Trying to be healthier in general and lose some stubborn FAT.)

        1. Mints*

          It’s working well for me! At first I was just avoiding red meat but I barely eat it anymore, and never at home. I’m also not announcing to anybody that I’m vegetarian because I’m not strict enough that I want to impose if other people are providing food.

      2. Lady Julian*

        I’m mostly vegetarian (I don’t really like meat but eat it if it’s served to me & do occasionally enjoy a ham sandwich), and I recommend lentils. They’re cheap, they’re easy to cook, and they are loaded with protein. Plus, at this time of year, they make excellent soups & stews. Just this week I’ve had lentil & sweet potato stew, lentil parsnip soup, and taco lentil soup.

    5. Beautiful Loser*

      BEST: Got my first chicken from the lady who owns the barn where I keep my horse. Little red hen just showed up earlier in the week. She is residing in my garage until the coop I ordered from Lowes comes in next week.

      WORST: Dealing with a sinus infection and having to work today.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          My friend got them to help with ticks in his “yard”, which is more like woods than yard. The girls have done a wonderful job of cleaning up every bug around the house.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: I sort of challenged myself to walk outside when it was cold. I figured, hey, I skate in a sub-freezing rink; if I can do that, I can walk outside instead of bailing on it when it’s below 50, haha. The other day, I did it in 29 F weather and was fine. Though I probably do need a balaclava, because the wind was a little uncomfortable on my face. I’d like to get some cleats for my shoes so I can do it when it snows too, though maybe not as fast.

      I have two pairs of the very thick over-the-boot tights by Mondor that I bought shortly before I quit skating. One is still in the package, and I’ll save them for if I ever go back. The other, I think I can sacrifice the boot cover part and hem them to wear under leggings the way I did at the rink. (If I skate again, I can wear them without feet over footed tights, so no waste, really.) I tried them under the leggings and it worked fine. On top, an underlayer, a t-shirt, and a windbreaker over that. Also, the windbreaker has matching pants for super cold days. I will not let the fat win this winter!! \_0

      I also thought that while I have a little money, it might be good to pay for the little advance thing at the Parks Department gym I like; you can pay like $50 or so and get so many sessions. Then I can hold that in reserve for when weather is too dangerous to walk outside and I need to use the track. Who cares if you can see my old workplace from the window? Not me. :P

      WORST: One interview that was a total bust (the job had the exact stuff I couldn’t do at NewExJob) and nothing else. Plus, I hate being stuck in the house, but there’s nothing to do here.

    7. Overeducated*

      Best: went to see my nephew at a robotics competition, it was neat to see him and hang with his family, and my toddler was fascinated.

      Worst: the usual frustrations at work, and finding out I have elevated cholesterol and not being sure what I need to do about it. Dr’s advice was “eat healthy and exercise regularly,” I do my best (not much meat but i enjoy full fat dairy with my veggies and carbs, bike to work about half the time but don’T have time for running half marathons anymore). That gives me no help in figuring out what realistic changes I need to make and how urgent they are.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Drinking water will help in small ways. Aim for taking in the same levels of water every day. You can start this right away, while you figure out the rest.

      2. Anon for this*

        You might want to cut back on dairy, but that’s based on a relative with familial hypercholesterolemia.

        Any chance at a referral to a dietician? They could look at your current diet and see any possible changes.

      3. bundtcaketm*

        Try to change the supply – i.e. Eat Less saturated fats. Also try to eat more fiber. Less sugar.

    8. Elkay*

      Worst: Illness and an awful doctor’s appointment making me feel like a hypochondriac.
      Best: Finished off my Christmas shopping.

    9. Kristen*

      Best: I found out I passed my first section of the CPA exam. I was getting negative thoughts of failure before I checked my score, so the fact that I passed comfortably was a huge relief. The boyfriend also started an awesome job this week. We’ve been together a long time, and it finally feels like things are coming together for us.

      Worst: Not studying enough for my next section of the CPA exam which is in February.

    10. Audiophile*

      BEST: I mostly avoided soda this week – I realized mid-week that I hadn’t had soda since the previous Sunday. I had soda on Thursday and Friday, none today. I’m curious to see if I can completely kick the habit again.

      WORST: Still haven’t done my Christmas shopping. I told one sister I’d give her $120 ($20 for the birthday she had a few months back,) so I got her a $15 Starbucks gift card, she’s been taking herself to there a treat. To be fair, I have to give the other one the same amount. I get paid on Tuesday, so I should be able to do all the shopping this week. Not sure what I’ll get for mom. Car is also way overdue for an inspection and that has to be done this month, since the sticker clearly says 2016.

    11. Christy*

      Best: my Friday at work ended really well.

      Worst: I went to a 23-year-old’s funeral today, and I have a cold, so I used 1/3 box of tissues and my nose hurts

    12. HoVertical*

      Best: Got to see all my kids in the same week.
      Worst: My darling daughter has reconciled with her (universally disliked) ex-bf. We’re all hoping it won’t last.

    13. manderw*

      Best: this is the last week of a project that I am really not enjoying.

      Worst: I still have to make it through the week.

    14. Windchime*

      Best: My family and I have decided to scale way, way back on holiday gift-giving this year and that feels like a lot of the pressure is off. Also, I have been having terrible low back/hip pain for months and finally last week had cortisone injections in my SI joints. Oh my god, it’s a miracle.

      Worst: I was away on business for my new company this past week and one of my flights home was the worst flight ever. Tiny, cramped plane for 3 hours. Non-working wifi. I hated my book. Screaming toddler. I’m so glad to be home.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Your Best sounds great! I was considering the cortisone injection (along with calling an ambulance, selling my soul, and punching tiny baby animals) as a possible pain relief option. My dad had them regularly for about 10 years and they helped a lot with his back pain (arthritis, I think). Where in the SI joint do they inject? Did you have to do anything special/different afterward?

    15. Sparkly Librarian*

      WORST: I threw my back out and developed dreadful sciatica midweek; couldn’t work or walk or do much but squirm and cuss.

      BEST: Am now medicated to a manageable level of pain, have slept a week’s worth of sleep in 2 days, and since I’m stuck in one place I’m wrapping all the Xmas presents. Hot chocolate at hand! With peppermints!

    16. Raia*

      Best: VACATION! It was a staycation, but my aunt came by and it was wonderful to see her. Gave me lots of good career and life advice that resonates with what I’ve read here.
      Worst: Vacation ending, wondering what happened to work while I was gone, and visiting the Medicaid office 4 weekdays in a row (just as fun as it sounds).

    1. fposte*

      Heh. I was thinking it’s time to break out the Hanukkah balls. You want them on the tree in time for First Night!

    1. OhBehave*

      When we bought our home, there was a older lady (80 ish) living across the street from us. She was the typical nosy neighbor type who kept track of the comings and goings of the neighborhood. We always visited. One Christmas she brought over a tin of cookies. Among the cookies was rum balls. We could smell them before we opened the tin! We think she had a little nip here and there, forgetting how much she added to the recipe. She was quite happy that day.

  6. Scrooge McDuck*

    I am turning into the family Scrooge.

    My sister in law (Jewish) married a Christian guy a few years ago and they are raising their kids in both religions. We’re not, I converted to Judaism and we are raising our kids Jewish. As a rule, we try to keep our mouths shut about the other’s choices, sometimes more successfully than other times.

    This year, my SIL decided that trying to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas is too stressful, and so she informed the family last week that she is no longer going to celebrate Hanukkah with the kids. Her reasoning is that she has to cut one of them, and her kids will be made fun of at school if they don’t celebrate Christmas, so Hanukkah gets the axe. In order not to confuse the kids, she’s asked us to replace wrapping paper on the kids’ Hanukkah gifts with Christmas paper.

    I am trying really really hard not to be grumpy about this, and I am failing miserably. And so I rant to you, AAM! Somebody pass the non-denominational eggnog (and rum balls!)

    1. matcha123*

      I’m not big on religion, but I think her reasoning is BS. I also think that it would be a lot less stress for your sister if she stuck with what she knew and her husband did what he knew. So, he can prepare all of the Christmas stuff and she can do Hanukkah.

      I don’t know where they live, but if they live in a reasonably well-sized city or a university town, I highly doubt that they would be made fun of for anything. Aside from my Muslim friends who wore headscarves, I didn’t know what religions anyone in my class followed. For us, exchanging presents before winter break was just an excuse to give things to your friends.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          True, but I finally realized what’s bothering me — I feel like the SIL is implying that she doesn’t want the taint of Jewishness on her kids (not just not celebrating it, but no Hanukah wrapping paper!) because they’ll be made fun of at school. If she just said they’re all Christian and they only recognize Christmas, no other religion’s holidays, I wouldn’t really have a problem with it. Plenty of families do celebrate both, but that would deserve a pass too if it weren’t for what feels like thinly veiled antisemitism. (I am not saying she’s antisemitic. I’m just saying that this is why her statements bother me, her motivations seem very focused on the fact that Jews are disliked and would be ostracized, and as far as we’ve been told there was no expression of regret or anger over that.)

          It’s still none of my business, but if she were my SIL, the family would be getting an earful about that.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Yup. “We’ve decided to focus on being Christian, it feels better for us” ok, no problem, I can understand that. “Jewish kids get teased”? Then… you support them, you teach them to stand up for themselves, you call the school, etc. Like you said, none of my business, but I find that attitude so offensive. Like, Christian for convenience. I’d feel the same way about someone who converted to Judaism for the jokes.

          2. Koko*

            Yeah, celebrate what you want but her reasoning is SUPER weird. She “had to” axe one of them but Christmas is non-negotiable so it “had to” be Hanukkah. It couldn’t be a merged celebration, an every other year alternating celebration, an I-do-Christmas/He-does-Hanukkah thing.

            She’s feigning that this is some kind of practical/logistical problem and not that she pretty clearly just doesn’t want her kids to celebrate Hanukkah. (If it was purely about stress she wouldn’t object to other people using Hanukkah paper.) She could at least have the decency to own her decision instead of cloaking it.

        2. Lissa*

          See, this kind of comment I find interesting. I didn’t see anything in the OP or the reply that suggested that anybody was going to try to decide anything for SIL and family, just that they were having feelings about it. The OP even mentions she’s trying not to be grumpy about it, so is ranting on the Internet instead. I really don’t see how that equates to “deciding for SIL”. It’s not like anybody’s going in there and sneaking Hanukkah wrapping on all the Christmas presents.

    2. CMT*

      I think you should try to let your SIL do what’s best for her and her family. It really is only slightly, tangentially affecting what you have to do.

    3. SMT*

      …I’m trying to figure out at what age children are old enough to be made fun of at school (don’t most schools at least pay a tiny bit of lip service about Hanukkah whether or not there are Jewish kids enrolled?), but could still be “confused” by having the wrong wrapping paper on their gifts.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I was made fun of at school starting at age 4 (preschool) for being non-Christian, and I live in a suuuuper liberal part of the country. It’s amazing how pervasive both the non-religious and religious aspects of Christmas are, even in public schools.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      It’s possible that’s she’s decided that Christianity makes more sense for her and her family, and this is her way of easing into telling you this. Religion is as much about community as it is about beliefs.

      1. Zip Silver*

        That’s the impression I got as well. This sounds like her way of (softly) coming out as Christian.

      2. Scrooge McDuck*

        If that’s true (and it might well be), I just wish she’d OWN IT. But I’m pretty sure I have no right to push someone out of the religious closet, do I’ll sit back with the eggnog.

    5. animaniactoo*

      As a child of this kind of mixed religion family… I would tell your sister that you guys celebrate Hanukkah, and are happy to give Hanukkah presents, and she is free to give Xmas presents.

      Unless she’s planning on replacing her Xmas paper with Hanukkah paper for the gifts she gives your children?

      I think it’s honestly preferable to each give what you’re celebrating, and explain the differences to your children, rather than force each other do something that’s going to be outside of your new “norm”.

    6. New Bee*

      I feel like plenty of “Christmas” wrapping paper comes in blue, silver, and white with snowflakes…does she want you to to re-wrap everything in red and green? /pedant

      Sidenote: My husband and I are kind of in the middle of you and your in-laws–me Christian and him Jewish, but really just nominally so for both of us (no conversion on either side). I agree with the suggestion that each person own the planning for their religion; I read a good article a few years ago about interfaith families and holidays and how sometimes a point of contention can be the wife (in a cis-het marriage) being expected to put on all of the traditions/play hostess. I’ll see if I can find the link.

      1. Mints*

        Yeah, the wrapping paper request is weirdly invasive, I think. It’s pretty easy to just buy winter themed in red or blue without actually being denominational.

        Her deciding to be a Christian family is pretty much MYOB but the wrapping paper is kind of bizarre.

        1. Anon for this*

          +1 to both parts of this.

          …Just get some generic ~festive~ paper. If she’s going to be weird about it, that’s on her.

    7. Bluebell*

      No matter how wacky, she does get to decide. And who knows, she might change her mind by next year. My suggestion (and my sister married someone who was Pentecostal, but now divorced, but at one time she was planning to send them to Christian Sunday school one year and then jewish the next) is to give presents with a holidayesque silver/gold/white shiny paper. Truthfully the kids won’t fixate on the paper as much as she does. Will all this be done in person or are you mailing it in a big box? If mailing a big box, you can always throw in unlabeled Chanukah gelt as a fun extra. :)

      1. Observer*

        She gets to decide what her family does. But, the wrapping paper request is different. I’d seriously be tempted to not give any gifts. “Aunt Scrooge McDuck doesn’t do Christmas, and Hanuka gifts are too confusing for you guys.”

    8. KatieKate*

      Yikes. It’s one thing to want to raise the kids Christian, but to pretend that Chanukah doesn’t exist? How are her parents handling that?

      Also, Chanukah is the most low-key holiday. You light candles for 8 days and you’ve got the entire mitzvah taken care of. From TV and movies, Christmas seems much more difficult.

      (source: Jew who has never celebrated Christmas.)

    9. chickabiddy*

      As others have said, it’s her right to decide for her family and kids, but if you’re not comfortable using Christmas-themed paper, that’s *your* right. Stick with Hanukkah if you want to make a statement or pick something neutral (solid color, snowflakes, stars, etc.) if you do not.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I read this as more about mixed signals than anything else. Do X, no, wait do Y, no wait….

      I think it would be okay for you to say that you would appreciate as much advanced notice as possible when these changes come up. Explain that you cannot accommodate last minute changes but you want to be supportive in whatever ways you can.

      1. Scrooge McDuck*

        Yeah, the advance notice thing was a bit of the proxy for my grumpiness. I had already shopped and wrapped everything (it’s a crazy time of year!) so I basically went with “sure, whatever you’d prefer, but starting NEXT year”. Not sure I’ve heard the end of it though…

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I think at this point my family would get a shoulder shrug from me and that would be the end of my inputs. “I am doing the best I can, I lack the time and resources to redo what I have. Most certainly, I will happily do things in a different manner next year.”

    11. ..Kat..*

      Kids are smart enough to know that the present is more important than the wrapping. That being said, consider using the “free” comics page from the newspaper and tie it with a pretty ribbon.

      A couple of years ago, I decided to not waste money on wrapping paper or gift bags (plus, a huge amount of non-recyclable waste). I reuse gift bags and I tie a ribbon on commercial bags (my friends like the gifts, and roll their eyes at the Starbucks, Sephora, Zoup, etc bags).

    12. Emma*

      That kind of attitude pisses me right off. I’m not Christian and I’m not going to pretend to be just because someone else wants me to.

      And yeah, she has the right to decide what holidays she wants to celebrate. Of course she does. But she crosses the line in telling you what you should do, as if somehow not having the right wrapping paper is going to ruin her Christmas. Like, it must be so hard to explain to kids that other religions exist!

      It’s just wrapping paper. Sure, but that cuts both ways, and I’m sick of how many people think it’s appropriate to force non-Christians to tone down their not-Christianness to not rock the boat, not upset/confuse the kids, to get along, etc.

    13. Pennalynn Lott*

      My favorite holiday wrapping paper ever of all time is a metallic purple with geographic designs (think “abstract snowflake”) done in matching metallic purple glitter. I never have to worry about what particular winter holiday the recipient is celebrating, and it’s SO PRETTY!!! :-)

  7. SMT*

    After a couple of rough days at New Job, and snapping a bit more at my husband than usual this week, I’m thinking more about trying therapy. My husband suggested it at one point (in trying to help me – I think I was kind of sort of hiding in bed while he tried to talk to me about what was wrong). I’ve been feeling better over the last couple of days, but I know I’ve done this a few times over the past five or so years: have a dark couple of days where I think I should seek some help, and then feel better and do nothing. Especially since we’ve talked about starting a family in another year or so, I think it might be a good idea to try it now.

    What suggestions do you have in finding a therapist?

    1. FDCA In Canada*

      Psychology Today has a great website with a “therapist-finder” on it, searchable by the issues you’re looking for, the licensing the therapist or counselor has, location, languages spoken, religious/non, you name it.

    2. Ayla K*

      I found mine through goodtherapy.com. They have pictures, profiles, areas of focus and even a way to e-mail each therapist right through the site! I wrote a generic e-mail about what I was looking to get out of therapy and sent it to 7 different people. Had calls with 3 of them and ended up picking the one who I clicked with best. It was totally painless.

    3. animaniactoo*

      Be aware that just like with co-workers, friends, etc. it’s possible to just not match up even when they’re good people or good doctors for other people. Therapy can be such a vulnerable and intimate process that it is even more important to mesh with your therapist and feel comfortable working with them.

      If you’re not feeling it after the first visit or 2, talk to them about that, and be open to the idea that you might need to find somebody else who will be good *for you*.

      1. Chilleh*

        This! I haven’t gone to therapy myself (but like the OP I’ve really been thinking about it for 5+ years), but those of my friends who have took at least 2 therapists to find one that resonated with them and was a good fit. After changing therapists, one of my friends has had the same therapist for almost 15 years and has changed her life.

      2. KJ*

        Very true! And your therapist might have ideas about who to refer you to. Just ask, most therapists will not be offended. We want therapy to work for you.

    4. Gene*

      I found the one who really helped me through my workplace EAP. Might be a good place to start for you. I talked to a few on the city’s dime before I settled on the one I saw for a few years.

    5. KJ*

      So, I’m a therapist and there are three things to consider, in my opinion:
      1. Personal fit- you want a therapist who you feel understands you, listens to you, who you respect and will respect you. This is one of the intangibles to therapy- you have to try this one on in person to really know if someone is going to fit your needs.
      2. Theoretical fit- are you looking to explore your childhood and gain insight into your past? Psychodynamic is perfect for you! Are you looking for a focus on the here and now? Try Gestalt. Want a number of strategies to address your behaviors? CBT, all the way. Do you emotionally “flood” and need relied? DBT. If you read a therapist profile and they say they use a specific approach, do some basic research into that appraoch and see if it seems to suit your needs and way of looking at the world.
      3. Ability to pay/sustain the therapy- some therapies are more long term, some are very short term. Are you using insurance? If so, start with your insurance company and make sure therapy is covered. If not, do you need sliding scale? Therapy can be expensive, but most therapists have some sliding scale to help. Some therapies require homework or daily work. Can you commit to that if asked? Do you need groups or medication in addition to therapy?

      To start finding a therapist, try psychology today or your insurance’s panel of therapists. If your employer has an EAP, they will often pay for 3-5 therapy sessions to help.

    6. Sunflower*

      Most offer free 15 minute consultation talks. Make sure you do that and be honest about what you’re struggling with/hoping to get from therapy and your expectations. I agree with the suggestions about psychology today. And don’t be afraid to change after a few sessions if you’re not feeling it. I love my current therapist and didn’t like my last one. It can take a few tries to find the right one.

  8. FDCA In Canada*

    I’ve mentioned it a few times and I wanted the lovely commenting group here to know.

    About eighteen months ago my dad was diagnosed with Stage 3.5/4 metastasized esophageal cancer as a terminal diagnosis. His oncologist told him he had less than a year to live and to enjoy what time he had left. In the meantime he had aggressive chemotherapy for eight weeks, then biweekly thereafter in an effort to shrink the tumours and make him more comfortable. It worked very quickly and shrunk his tumours so he was comfortable enough to eat, and he was able to travel, enjoy his life, etc.

    He passed the year mark already having beaten the odds–the vast majority of esophageal cancer patients do die within a year of diagnosis. But he was doing so well that last week his doctor ordered a PET scan, and on Tuesday the results came back with no evidence of cancer. No spots whatsoever. He’s in remission and is likely to have a few good years in good health.

    Now, he’ll still have to have biweekly chemo in order to prevent its recurrence, and the doctor let us know that when it does come back it will likely be untreatable, but if we’re lucky that’s a few years down the road. The doctor used the words “remarkable” and “never seen anything like it” in his 20+ year career. This is a kind of miraculous, .001% outcome we would have never, ever, ever expected or planned for in a million years. It’s unbelievable. We are cautiously thrilled and hoping for a very pleasant, quiet, thankful Christmas.

    1. Mimmy*

      That really is something to celebrate!

      Reminds me of a close from of my mom’s – she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and it was at stage 4 at the time of diagnosis. The family was taking things pretty much day to day as they considered treatment options. Today, a little over a year later, she is doing remarkably well. Her cancer is not gone (to my knowledge), but the biweekly chemo has kept it at bay all this time with almost no complications.

      I think it’s a testament of the human spirit.

    2. fposte*

      Holy cow, FDCA, that is excellent news. I was thinking about you and your dad the other day and I’m so glad that this is the update!

    3. The Other Dawn*


      That gives me hope, as my brother was diagnosed with the same cancer a couple weeks ago. The CAT scan revealed a couple spots on his stomach and liver. Now we’re waiting for news on what the treatment plan will be.

      This gives me hope.

    4. Amadeo*

      That is absolutely fantastic to hear! My brother’s FIL fit the description you gave, gone within months of diagnosis with his esophageal cancer. We missed him at the 4th of July get together we do and we’ll miss him just as heartily at Christmas. It’s good to hear that there’s someone out there who beat the odds and I’m so glad for you and your family!

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      That is so wonderful to hear. I kept wondering how he was doing, but I didn’t want to be nosy about it.

    6. EmmaLou*

      Oh, I am so happy for all of you. I lost my dad very quickly to this exact evil disease and I am so glad your road is better! Rejoicing with you!

    7. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

      Thank you for sharing this very, very good news! Enjoy a quiet, happy Christmas with your family.

    8. FDCA In Canada*

      Thanks so much to each and every one of you for your well wishes. It is truly more appreciated than you can possibly know. It’s been an extremely stressful past year and a bit, and AAM is one of the most pleasant places on the internet to be able to go and think about Other Stuff. I’m eternally grateful for such a lovely commenting community and fantastic blog.

  9. animaniactoo*

    I find the modification to the rum balls recipe pretty funny considering my own family’s recipe. My grandmother was known far and wide for her bourbon balls… here’s the recipe as my sister sent it to all of us:

    “From the cookbook of Grandma Joan the First. Her secret tip wasn’t in the book I copied this out of, although she would pass it to anyone who asked — the real secret is to develop a palsy of the hand while measuring the bourbon.

    3 c. finely crushed vanilla wafer crumbs (about 2 – 7 oz. packages of Nilla Wafers)
    1 c. powdered sugar
    1 1/2 tbsp cocoa
    1 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts
    3 tbsp corn syrup
    1/2 c. bourbon

    Mix together all and shape into 1″ balls. Roll in powdered or granulated sugar (I like superfine). Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.”

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Now I believe that that is the exact recipe my wife’s family uses. And the tight-fitting lid is important, otherwise the alcohol can evaporate off, and they do mellow if you let them sit for 24 hours or so! (Although I also like the flavor of “new” bourbon balls!)

    2. JMegan*

      My family recipe is the same as Alison’s, with the crucial extra step of “fix yourself a rum & coke to drink while you’re making the rum balls.” Priorities!

  10. Ayla K*

    This year, I’m baking almost all my Christmas presents for family (4 different items/recipes) and I’m realizing that the hardest part is going to be the timing. I can’t bake everything in a day, and I’m driving to my parents’ on the 23rd. What suggestions do you have for preserving baked goods for a few days, especially since I’m planning to wrap them all up before I leave?

    Hard mode: one of the items is my famous lemon-lime bars, which need to be refrigerated.

      1. Ayla K*

        I actually already know what I’m making! Requests were made more than 2 months ago; I asked my family what they wanted for Christmas, and everyone asked me to bake them something. I do love to bake (and I make a mean spiced brownie) so I was flattered, but now I’m a bit concerned about logistics.

        Also as much as I love the concept of rum balls, alcohol doesn’t really have much of a place in my house.

        1. NJ Anon*

          You can usually freeze baked goods pretty successfully. Just make sure they are wrapped well. I do it every year.

          1. Ayla K*

            Honestly, at this point my biggest concern is what will happen to the wrapping paper if I stick the whole gift in the fridge or freezer!! But I think I’ll figure it out. Thanks!

            1. Emma*

              Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with wrapping paper in the freezer. Just stick it in with a little care, and take better care wrapping gifts than I do! (I always have an edge that sticks out funny.) I’ve got my nephew’s birthday gift in the freezer right now, and other than him almost spotting it the other day, it’s been fine.

    1. fposte*

      This is why fruitcake was invented.

      The other problem is that refrigeration is the temp that in general makes baked goods unhappiest–they go stale the fastest at cold above-freezing temps. So stuff that you can freeze (brownies are excellent for this) or stuff that’s good at room temperature (fruitcake, booze-rich stuff) will fare the best.

    2. all aboard the anon train*

      Can you cook them beforehand and freeze or store them until you’re ready to leave?

      I do a lot of holiday baking well in advance and freeze them. So, cheesecakes, brownies, and truffles are generally frozen and I take them out to thaw before I need to go. Things like cookie dough or anything that requires prep like pie crust is made and frozen before so I just throw it in the oven when I need to bake it.

      Is there anything you can bake a few days before and let it sit out at room temp while wrapped? Things like cookies or certain cakes can fare well if you package them up a day or two before serving.

      1. Ayla K*

        Yeah, a couple of things (biscotti, sugar cookies, brownies) I’m not super worried about, because I can freeze them or keep them in an airtight container (or Ziploc bag) and wrap them the morning of the 23rd. Hopefully they will then be okay until the gifts are opened two days later!

        The lemon bars are the one I’m really worried about. I may have to tell my mom that I’ll make them for her another time since I have no idea how to make them and wrap them ahead of time. They will not be safe under the tree!!

        1. Lily Evans*

          Is it possible to make the lemon bars at your parents’ house and either leave them just for your mom or serve them as a dessert for everyone?

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          I actually find that lemon bars freeze very well. If you don’t want to freeze them, you can wrap them in wax or parchment paper and store them in an airtight container. They’ll keep for about two to three days that way. I find those old school cookie tins are the best containers for keeping pastries fresh.

          1. Ayla K*

            So I could ostensibly make them Friday morning (23rd) and wrap them up, and they’d be fine until they were opened Christmas morning (25th)?

            I could also take Lily Evans’ suggestion above and make them at my parents’ house. It’s not like they’re a surprise gift – my mom specifically asked for them!

            1. an anon is an anon*

              Yeah, they’d likely be fine. But if you don’t want to risk it, I think making them at your parents’ house is a good alternative!

      1. Ayla K*

        I’m actually baking my feelings right now while I contemplate this! Peppermint sugar cookies are going into the oven after the dough chills for an hour. Smashing apart all those candy canes was very cathartic.

    3. an anon is an anon*

      Storing everything in containers will make the food last for a couple days. I make lemon bars all the time and I can’t eat them all at once and they usually last most of the week when stored in a good container.

    4. Emma*

      Use airtight containers, and line with wax paper between layers of baked goods. Try to fill the containers – at least in my experience, half-filled containers go stale faster. Freeze what you can, store the rest in ye olde cool, dry location. I actually do prefer using tins with well-fitted lids. Most baked goods actually do last a surprisingly long time – I don’t think I’ve ever had homemade breads or cookies go bad inside a week, for example, and the only time I had a cake go stale fast it turned out the cat had torn up the edge of the plastic wrap and air got in. (It was also an uniced cake.)

      When I lived pretty far from my family, I used to mail them baked goods all the time, and I never used anything other than regular mail. (I am sometimes a cheapskate.) Everything always got there fine and not stale, if maybe upside-down.

    5. Anon for this*

      Won’t help the lemon/lime bars, but cookies and crackers keep their texture best in glass containers. I use those big Mason jars.

    1. CMT*

      I have absolutely no idea, but I know my lawyer father has told me I should never get married without one multiple times (and I’m not even engaged). He has represented parties in many a messy divorce.

    2. katamia*

      In general they seem like a good idea. I’ve never been married, but if I were to get married, I’d probably prefer to have one. If nothing else, if we can’t agree on what should go into the prenup, it would certainly be a sign that we shouldn’t be getting married.

    3. danr*

      Start looking at websites for lawyers near you who do family law. The sites usually have articles and other reading material to get you started.

    4. fposte*

      Do them right or don’t do them. Each of the couple needs to have their own lawyer, and you need to do it well in advance of any wedding. Cost will vary depending on complexity and where you are–one site that seemed to be reasonable said from $1200 to $2400.

      I also think that it’s worth chatting to a lawyer to see if it would give you any additional protection in the specific case that you’re thinking of; a lot of times people worry about stuff that wouldn’t be marital property anyway.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I’m seconding this! Get one, and get good lawyers for it (don’t skimp). Also keep in mind that the up front cost will likely be way less than the cost of sorting it out if things don’t work out relationship-wise.

      2. Natalie*

        Yep, I know a couple that had to move their tentative wedding date out at least a year because their pre-nup took longer than they expected. The lawyers didn’t want them to book anything until the pre-nup was signed, lest the time pressure influence one or both parties.

    5. Allypopx*

      They are super logical and make a ton of sense, but I’m in the camp where I think I’d be insulted if I were asked for one. I know that’s not entirely rational, but I think it might be common.

      1. SophieChotek*

        I feel that way too. The logical part of me says — people change, things happen, the person you marry could end up not being the person you thought they were. But on the other hand, if I am taking vows to be with someone forever…why would I need one? (And I have no wealthy or property, so actually I’d probably have more to gain without a prenup…at least at the moment.) but I also understand why they can be important and how (presumably?) in the long run, if a divorce happened, it would make it easier than a messy court battle over marital assets later.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I think it helps to reframe this as a conflict management plan, not a “we are doomed to divorce!” plan. It also helps take out the anxiety when you’re fighting because even if someone is tempted to hit below the belt, both partners know the stakes up front. It’s just planning for the worst but hoping for the best. And fwiw, I know couples who have been together 30+ years (and going) who have pre ups and have not divorced.

    6. Ms Ida*

      A prenup never crossed my mind when I was younger and didn’t have any assets but now if something happened to my wife and I remarried I would want a prenup. I would want to protect the assists we built together and especially my savings for retirement.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I think they get a bad rap, if only because they are sometimes the only way to make sure that both spouses feel the same about finances and judging what is “fair”, which really can be subjective. As long as both spouses agree that, say, everything at the time of the split will be divided 50/50, or that certain things owned before marriage would not part of the division of assets, then maybe a prenup isn’t necessary, but not only does it get the couple to explicitly talk about how they think assets would be divided, it means that they can’t change their minds later simply out of spite.

      1. fposte*

        And the relationship advantage of having each represented by their own lawyer is that it’s not just “I want *you* to sign a prenup.”

        I don’t know if I’d do one or not, but I’d consider it a lot more seriously now than I would have thirty years ago.

      2. Gaia*

        Both spouses might agree to that when they are happy and in love, but when things go south those agreements mean nothing if it isn’t in writing.

    8. Gaia*

      The reality is marriages end sometimes and, when they do, it can be uglier than you’d ever imagine. Prenups simply protect you in case you face this reality. I view them like life insurance – no one wants to die unexpectedly or early in life, but it just might happen and it is a good idea to be protected.

      1. Emma*

        Yeah, this. I don’t even have a lot of assets, but I’d feel pretty insecure without a prenup (in the off chance I ever get married), just because I’ve seen things go south for a lot of formerly-happy couples, and I’ve watched many a woman I know go from financially secure before marriage to floundering after the divorce.

    9. DragoCucina*

      I think the older one is or if there are family assets involved they make sense. I know one couple in their 40s that ended up divorcing because her adult children would not stop harping about their father’s estate. It wasn’t huge, but it was their number1 topic of conversation at every gathering or event. It just wore the second husband down. A pre-nup may have not fixed it, but it would have answered those questions.

    10. Oryx*

      I’m 35, never married. Ten years ago I would have been insulted at being asked to sign one but now, I may bring it up on my own if my SO and I decide to get married. We are both very practical when it comes to the “business” side of thinking about marriage and not just “oh we’re so in love!”

    11. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have one. (Maybe I shouldn’t respond to this sort of topic since I’m the one person here with my real name attached to my comments, but what the hell.) I think it’s less of an issue if you get married in your 20s before either of you has really established yourself or if you both have roughly equal assets. We were in our 40s and came into the marriage with very different incomes and savings, as well as — and this part is probably the most significant in my thinking — very different attitudes about money. (I don’t recommend doing that last part, frankly, but that’s what happened.) I hope we stay married forever, but the reality is that many people do not, and I just can’t see making a big financial decision that’s predicated on “this thing that happens to tons of people definitely won’t happen to us.”

      I think a good agreement when the two people have very different incomes and assets is one that ensures that both come away better off financially than they were before the marriage, and no one comes away worse off than they were.

      1. Anne*

        I appreciate your reply! I’m in my 20s and he is in his 30s. He owns a house but I have significantly more investments (probably since I don’t have a mortgage but I’m also a “saver”).

      2. Lady Kelvin*

        I hope we stay married forever, but the reality is that many people do not, and I just can’t see making a big financial decision that’s predicated on “this thing that happens to tons of people definitely won’t happen to us.” I feel like this is key, because you might think you will stay together but your spouse might feel differently in the future. It takes 2 to tango but only one to break up a marriage. We didn’t have one because we were both in grad school and bringingore debt than assets but now, only a couple of years later with our debt paid off and real salaries? I’d want one if I wasn’t married.

    12. Red Reader*

      I need to look into this before our wedding. (My fiancé is totally on board, but told me I get to take point on it.) Basically, I make 4 times what he does, I own the house (he pays rent), and I have significant assets and debts while he doesn’t really have either — we agreed that in a worst case scenario, I don’t want him walking away with half my house and he doesn’t want to be walking away with half my debt. But we have three divorces in the past between the two of us, we’re both well aware that the unexpected can happen, we’ve actively chosen to structure our relationship finances in a manner that does not involve shared accounts (beyond one savings account to facilitate transfers in either direction) or any significant commingling of our finances in general, and we’re perfectly happy planning for a worst-case scenario that hopefully we’ll never need.

    13. Camellia*

      My husband INSISTED on one. Why? Because I owned a house and he didn’t, and he said he wanted me to feel (and be) protected, ‘just in case’. How cool is that? I did insist on a time limit, though, and we settled on 5 years. That was 13 years ago and I think it cost about $300.

      1. Oryx*

        If not for the 13 years I’d think you were my aunt. It was second marriage for both only her first husband died and left her money and the house and her second husband insisted on the prenup.

    14. Riverosprite*

      Ours was about $3K, but that’s on the high side. We had a lot of factors to consider, so our prenup is a little on the complicated side. It’s totally worth having one, I think. I would have objected if he had tossed me a stack of papers and said “sign or the wedding is off”, but we used the idea of a prenup as a starting point for a discussion of long term financial goals and obstacles, and our prenup was written in a way that protects us both.

    15. LibbyG*

      Ours cost about $400 to get drawn up, and I’m pretty sure we just wrote what would have happened under state law anyway. I think it was a great process for frank communication about money. If we ever split, I can’t imagine it being at all hostile, but amid such a sad moment, it would be such a relief to not have to talk through all that stuff. So, yeah, I’m pro-prenup!

    16. Christy*

      I have a prenup, but we did ours ourselves with the Nolo templates. Ours was simple, but our situation is pretty simple.

      I’m very pro-prenup. You’re already entering in a contract about how to divide your assets upon dissolution of the contract (the marriage) so you may as well customize it for your situation. Plus it lets you preemptively protect the other person from yourself in case of a divorce. Immediately pre-marriage you’re probably feeling a lot more generous to your spouse than immediately pre-divorce.

      By the same token, I think they’re really crappy when only one person wants one in order to protect themselves.

      1. Emma*

        …You know, thinking about your last bit, I think I’d be pretty worried if I wanted a prenup and my spouse didn’t. I don’t even think wanting one to protect yourself is necessarily a bad thing – it could be if your idea of protecting yourself is to make sure your spouse gets nothing, but that’s not always (or probably even often) the case.

        I would want a prenup if I got married because I do want to protect myself, I’ve seen what happens if you don’t. If my spouse-to-be balked at that? I’d be seriously reconsidering the whole marriage.

    17. Kj*

      If the concern is that you and your future spouse might not be on the same page about finances/children/other stuff, it might be cheaper to do some premarital sessions with a therapist to hash those out. Or do a Gottman marital class. I don’t think prenups are bad per se, but if you aren’t worried about protecting tons of assets, they might be overkill.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        But what about future assets? You could write the Great American Novel and become super rich. Who knows? A prenup can also guard assets generated within a marriage.
        I think a prenup instigates a discussion that absolutely should happen if you’re getting married. Unlike marriage classses, you are putting it in a legal document.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          Exactly this. Prenups exist for two purposes: (1) to ensure a fair/safe division of assets and debts (accumulated both before and after marriage) if the marriage ends, and to do so in a relatively quick/painless way; and (2) to provide a conflict resolution system/plan.

          Right before marriage is the time when you’re going to be feeling your most generous and kind, and it’s a much better mindset to work from than when you’re in the middle of a divorce and everyone hates each other or is trying to claw back resources. It can also lower the stress and the stakes for everyone because it eliminates a huge unknown (i.e., what do we do if things go bad?).

    18. Jenny*

      For what it’s worth, assuming you are getting legally married it’s a contract with divorce terms etc whether you sign a prenup nor not. I’d check your local laws and see if you are ok with the government terms and if not a prenup is a way to make sure you’re both happy with the terms of the marriage contract.

  11. c'est la vie*

    Is anyone of two minds about recommending AAM to others? I’ll mention a letter to a friend or a co-worker and they’ll say, “Oh, that sounds awesome, send me the link so I can start reading the site” and of course I *do* but then I start to get paranoid about posting to the open threads. This is supposed to be my safe venting space, lol!

    1. AcidMeFlux*

      It’s like recommending my favorite restaurant! I feel selfish if I don’t, but I don’t want the whole world crowding in here.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Yep me too. (Although as far as I can tell, the people I’ve recommended AAM to, have not actually gone on to read it.) And honestly, I actually think the people I’ve recommended would know its me based on my username, if they did start reading.
        Yes – love the restaurant analogy too.

    2. nep*

      UGH. Yes. I mentioned it to a family member and immediately regretted it. (Fortunately it was just one time we talked about it and I think the person has forgotten.) Interesting you bring this up — I’ve thought about this.

    3. Bobbie*

      I post under lots of different names for this reason. It means I am not “known” here, but I really like recommending this site.

    4. KatieKate*

      I always recommend it for people looking for jobs or who need to ask a question, so then I never know who is/isn’t sticking around.

    5. Sherm*

      I think if you would be mortified if you were “un-anonynomized,” it’s best regardless to keep identifying details out, or to change some details that you are sure wouldn’t affect the advice you are looking for (like switch “my uncle” to “my cousin”). You never know who could be reading. I remember somebody once wrote in about a dysfunctional little ice cream shop she used to work in, and another commenter asked “Was this in Someplace, Illinois?” and it was!

      1. New Bee*

        This is what I do–I spent a lot of my third trimester in the archives and realized I may know one of the most popular commenter’s kids in real life! I worry less about the threads than submitting a letter though.

    6. Annony4This*

      YES! I recommended it to my boss (she is awesome herself, but HER boss is a whole ‘nother story).

      I am thinking about changing jobs in the next year or so (she is aware). I want to do it as professionally as possible. So I will change my posting name some, as I really don’t want to hurt or embarrass her.

    7. Temperance*

      I haven’t recommended it, but I’m fairly afraid that I’ll get doxxed. I have a very specific job that only about 200 or so people have across the US, and I talk about Philly often enough that anyone who puts two and two together and knows me would be able to doxx me.

    8. Jen RO*

      I just don’t recommend it to anyone in real life. I sometimes want to tell me boss “of course I know this, I read it on AAM”… but then I think of him reading the comments and figuring out who I am, so I shut up.

  12. Chilleh*

    After about 5 years of consistently not being alone for more than 2 nights at a time (and even then that was one weekend) I’ll be alone without SO for two weeks while he’s away. I have plenty of ideas for things to do but am still somewhat unsure what to do with myself.

    I’m torn between going out on day trips to practicing photography and just staying in and binge-watching Netflix when I’m not working. I am hoping to get together with a couple friends but everyone has different schedules, making that difficult.

    What projects do all of you like to work on when you find yourself alone for longer periods of time than usual?

    1. Zip Silver*

      I tend towards recreation. Either going to the beach or video games or reading. Occasionally I’ll take day long rides on my motorcycle through the countryside.

      1. Chilleh*

        Already working on the video games part! Going on a long motorcycle ride must be so much fun, especially if no cars are about.

    2. Cath in Canada*

      This is going to sound really boring, but I always do a really thorough deep clean of the whole house the first day I’m alone. It’s so satisfying because it stays cleaner for so much longer than usual! (My husband is a carpenter and trails sawdust everywhere he goes). After that I’ll go out with friends a couple of times a week, but mostly stay home and enjoy catching up on podcasts (hubby likes the TV on as background, even if there’s nothing on that we’re particularly interested in) and eating my favourite comfort foods that my husband finds too bland (baked potatoes, omelettes for dinner, lots of baked chicken).

      1. Franzia Spritzer*

        I deep clean too. Spouse is a in grad school and is always studying or sleeping (or at class or work), and I don’t want to disturb with vacuuming and hustle-bustle. Spouse attempts to make all house cleaning tasks a mutual effort, which is sweet but irritating. I used to clean houses and I’m fast and efficient about it, I zoom around and they’ll still be working on something… poorly. It’s just easier if they’re not here.

    3. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I always get the urge to paint a room or two or do some other messy home improvement project.

    4. Reba*

      I have no good advice. Whenever my spouse is away and I’m at home, I seem to end up eating popcorn for dinner and staying up way too late reading or bingeing TV miniseries. :D

    5. c'est la vie*

      Mr. LaVie travels for work and for a while, he was gone 1 week/month. I found it helpful to mix it up: I gave myself some total sloth time and Netflix binged while eating potato chips, but I had to balance it with getting out and doing things- your photo day trip sounds perfect. I also discovered it was important to keep my usual routines like exercising and eating healthy, or I’d start to feel really cruddy.

  13. dating*

    I’ve been pretty apathetic about dating – I don’t really enjoy it. But over the past year I’ve found that the apps I’ve tried have a lot of people who say something in their profile about how they’re looking for people who are well cultured and traveled and who have lived in more than one city or state or “have life experience”. It’s really off-putting.

    I don’t know if I’m taking this too personally, but I find those statement more than a little classist and narrow minded. Traveling abroad or living in multiple states doesn’t make someone more intellectual or refined, and often people can’t travel or move because of money, family, or other reasons. I’ve definitely been on dates with people who are astounded when I haven’t gone to X, Y, or Z places or that I’ve only lived in one state my entire life. It makes me feel lesser even though I know rationally that not living elsewhere or traveling more isn’t really a character flaw.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Absolutely. I know a lot of well-traveled people who are extremely close-minded and who have very disturbingly condescending or fetishistic attitudes about people in countries they’ve visited. And, yes, many people cannot afford to travel.

    2. katamia*

      Travel is, to some extent, a lifestyle preference (although there’s a significant financial component to it, yes) similar to living in a small town versus a big city, living in a cold place versus a hot place, etc. As someone who does enjoy travel (and who has actually arranged her career choices around being able to travel), I do want someone who enjoys travel and has had some experience with it, just like as someone who prefers hot weather and cities, I’m just less compatible with someone who wants to move to rural Alaska and spend the rest of their life there.

      In general, I don’t think that people should be faulted for wanting a romantic partner whose “ideal life” matches up with their own. The people you’ve gone out with sound like jerks, though, and I’m not trying to excuse their behavior. I just don’t think it’s automatically narrow-minded, if one enjoys traveling, to want to be with someone who also enjoys it.

      1. Mela*

        This. I met my husband online and had lived several years abroad. He had been to Canada. But he wanted to travel. All that mattered, as katamia said, was that our mutual goals lined up. Big Travel takes money, but there is some desire/personality at play, too. Do you go to a new neighborhood on a day off to walk around, or do you binge watch Netflix? Do you read travel blogs, or books about faraway places since you can’t afford to travel? Do you take small day trips or weekend trips, if you can afford it? Do you have a travel fund, even if it’s a jar of spare change? Taking that into consideration isn’t wrong, but being an ass about it is.

        So yes, obnoxious people are on dating websites. This isn’t news. People want partners who “take care of themselves” ie not fat or who are “hardworking” ie make a lot of money. I actually prefer it when people use that language because it makes it easier to weed them out! They’re doing you a favor!

        1. Overeducated*

          I like this way of thinking about the mentality, not how far you go! I have gone from spending months overseas for work to working close to home, having limited vacation time, and prioritizing seeing relatives now that a kid is in the picture and I want the grandparents to know him. But I always have a list of cultural stuff and interesting places to visit in my area, and I drag my family around on the weekends. There’s interesting stuff everywhere, not just far away.

          1. Mela*

            Yes, mentality is the better term for it. My parents sound just like you! They had travelled extensively and lived abroad, but once the kiddos came along, it was all about roadtripping to see family for vacations. Because my parents never lost that mentality of adventure/travel/novelty, we went to museums, parks and all sorts of festivals etc. nearly every weekend.

    3. Central Perk Regular*

      When my friends and I were in our dating phase, we often joked that if we saw “travel” as one of a guy’s interest, we would just pass him by. It seemed like every jerk we would meet online was all about travel. Obviously, I know this is a huge generalization, and thats why it was an inside joke between us friends.

      I also learned that if a guy said in his profile that “he wasnt into drama” or a similar statement, he was usually the one bringing drama into his life for many reasons. That was a hard lesson to learn.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Similarly, I like to joke that any man who says something in their profile about how they want me to laugh at their jokes or enjoy women who smile and laugh gets an automatic pass. In my experience, about 8 out of 10 male profiles had something like that and it skeeved me out. It still annoys me.

        Though, I’ve seen the travel thing mentioned on both male and female profiles so maybe it’s just the cool new thing to write about, the same way outdoor activities or “enjoys staying in to watch Netflix, but also enjoys going out” were cool things to write.

        1. Gaia*

          Oh man, the guys that want a girl to laugh at their jokes. I dated a lot of them. Nearly all of them made jokes at the expense of women – and that got mad when I didn’t laugh because I clearly had no sense of humor.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            My annoyance from that stems from the fact that I’ll laugh if I think something is funny, but I don’t like being told to laugh to stroke someone’s ego or confidence. This is probably why I don’t find many comedy sitcoms funny tbh.

            And yeah, I’ve found a lot of the men who want women to laugh at their jokes usually make jokes at the expense of other people’s appearance or gender/sexuality/religion/race.

      2. Central Perk Regular*

        Specifically about travel – you’re right that some people cant afford to travel. My salary is okay but I dont have a ton of extra money to go towards travel right now. For example, it was more important to me to pay off all of my debt and save for a down payment for a house rather than take a vacation (or multiple) a year. So needless to say, I havent had a travel vacation since college (Im in my mid 30s). But me and my husband are taking our belated honeymoon next year abroad and we are excited about it. We have saved for a year for the trip and will not be going into debt for it.

        On the other hand, my best friend makes a great salary, is single, and very financially responsible. Travel is her passion and she travels frequently. She is also one of the most down to earth and non-judgemental people I know. Her last boyfriend was in major debt and couldnt afford to travel (and it also wasnt a passion of his) and it caused a lot of strain in their relationship.

      3. Courtney*

        I’ve found every person who says “I can’t tolerate drama” is the the one who causes the most drama too. And they’re so oblivious to it also.

        1. Lissa*

          This is so accurate. The people who post those “I don’t got no time for drama” memes are always the ones who make the most amount of drama in their lives…

      4. Dan*

        It’s actually ok if you pass me by, because if that’s not an important part of your life, it’s good to know that up front. I spend a lot of time and a good chunk of money traveling abroad, so if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. But I wouldn’t laugh at it, that’s for sure.

        1. Emma*

          Yeah, if I ever try online dating again, I’d put things in like my love of travel and my being functionally nocturnal, specifically because those might be deal-breakers for people. That’s kind of the point of these profiles, no?

    4. dating woes*

      I don’t understand the people who “like” my profile or seem to indicate interest but don’t send a message and when I send them a message, never respond. I don’t think *all* my intro letters are that bad. I just don’t know how to understand it. I usually will like someone I am interested in, but perhaps feel shy about approaching. Am I missing something?

      1. Dan*

        I’ve come to the conclusion that’s overthinking it. Who knows what’s going on in a person’s mind when they “like” somebody. Where they on a “like” binge that night and liked a lot of people? And got 10 responses back and don’t have time for them all? Were they actually in a relationship of some sort, and had a spat with the other person, and decided to go see what’s out there? And the next day made up with the partner so who cares about the online thing?

        I’m curious about your gender and orientation. There’s still a lot of really well defined “norms” in online dating, and on the major sites, the norms are that women like men, and men better be writing letters. That is, the norm for a woman interested in a man is for the woman to “like” the man, and the man to respond with a letter. The norm for a man interested in a woman is to write the woman a letter, and “liking” them is considered passive and unlikely to get a response.

        1. dating woes*

          That’s really helpful actually about the overthinking it and also the more specific gender norms. In general I try to do that, be the writer, that’s why i also try to respond to the likes (unlike they are really far off from what I am looking for, and then I wonder if they read my profile at all). But sometimes it’s hard to keep writing.

    5. Dan*

      I’ve learned over the years that we all have rights to our own opinions. While I never wrote anything in my profile about being “well cultured”, I grew up in a part of the country that is rather narrow minded, and I don’t miss that at all. I now live in a transient area, (really, few people who live in and around DC are “from” DC) so putting a statement like that in one’s profile doesn’t add much.

      So, the travel thing… I think I put “I like to travel.” In reality, I’ve been to 30 countries in the last ten years. I get a month of vacation, which I generally take all at once to travel to far corners of the world. Yes, I’ve been on my fair share of journeys that require 20 total hours of flying time.

      International travel is an important part of my lifestyle and my budget, and TBH, I can’t imagine being in a long term committed relationship with someone who doesn’t share that. I want to travel with my SO, not leave them home while I go galavanting abroad.

      What I don’t do is get into “one up” competitions. My experiences are just that — mine. They’re different than yours. I’m not better or worse than you are because I’ve had different experiences than you. It’s not a competition. (Some people get really egotistical about that stuff, so.I think I understand some of what gets on your nerves.)

      However… if you think spending $3k-$5k a year on overseas vacations is too much, or that you can’t stand long plane rides, or can’t get more than a week of vacation off at a time? I’m not going to be in a hurry to be in a committed relationship with you. Those are my values and priorities, and I need someone who complements them. I’m not into leaving you home while I go off and have fun.

      To your point about not everybody has those opportunities, well yeah, that’s true. Not everybody has that kind of cash, and not everybody has that kind of vacation time. It’s certainly not a reflection on you if you don’t get as much vacation time as I do or you don’t have the flexibility that I do in how you use it. What it is though, is an indicator that we have vastly different lifestyles and budget priorities, which may very well be deal breakers. They’re not personal.

      1. dating*

        My problem is I want to travel, but budget and lack of time at work prevent me. And it does feel personal when someone acts like I’m not worldly or experienced or interesting because I’m not fortunate to be able to afford to do something I long to. Travel isn’t the only thing in life that gives you interesting stories or life experience.

        People who say my lack of travel is a deal breaker do insinuate it is a reflection of me. I’m just tired of people acting so shocked that I haven’t been to X place or that I can’t afford to take a last minute trip across the country or to Europe.

        1. Dan*

          I get why you’re frustrated with people who are oh so “shocked” that you haven’t done X. I’m shocked that they don’t seem to understand other people live life differently than they do. If they haven’t figured that out by now, what have they learned in their worldly travels?

          I do think you’re letting things get to you a bit. If you didn’t care to travel, you’d look at their profile, think that your interests are different, and move on, right?

          Never having been out of the country isn’t an out-of-hand deal breaker for me, but some of the underlying reasons might be. For one thing, if you can only take off one week at a time? I’ve been to Asia several times, and I love it. But it’s not a vacation I’d take for just a week, as getting over jet lag will cut in to half the trip. So knowing my SO and I will never go to Asia, Australia, India, or somewhere else far away until they change jobs?

          I’m not even playing devil’s advocate here, as this is the kind of thing that I deal with in my life. I travel in a way that few young people can — I have a lot of vacation and no limitations on how I take it. It’s rare. So the thing I have to deal with is figuring out how to incorporate someone in my life who doesn’t have that flexibility, or enjoy life on my own. For me, I just can’t see fully committing to someone who can’t share that with me. I do date people without that flexibility, but right now if I fully committed to someone like that, I’d feel like they are holding me back. That’s not fair, so I don’t.

        2. Emma*

          I think a lot depends on how they communicate that. If they’re telling you to your face that they’re so! shocked! that you don’t travel, or they’re constantly in your face about how they went here and there and you totally can’t relate because you’ve never gone – yeah, that’s rude.

          On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with it being a deal-breaker for someone who really does like to travel a lot, just like there’s nothing wrong with someone finding being a morning person a deal-breaker or whatever. It’s not a reflection on you in that case so much as a reflection of their own priorities, and if they’re passing you by for whatever reason, they probably weren’t a good match to begin with.

          1. Lissa*

            I agree. I actually feel similarly about reading (on dating sites and so on). Socially aware geeks who would never be openly classist will say things about how horrified they were that somebody didn’t have novels in their house, or only read a couple of books a year. I know some very smart people with learning disabilities that make reading a chore for them, and some people just prefer other activities and aren’t necessarily worse people because of it. (I say this as a massive reader!)

            I think there’s a huge difference between “this activity is really important to me and I want somebody who will enjoy it” and implying that others who feel differently are less worthy or making assumptions about why.

            I mean heck, you get to be picky and irrational on a dating profile, IMO! But certain things do get pretty…loaded. and I get why people might get sick of seeing the same phrases over and over.

    6. Stellaaaaa*

      I’ve come to view travel as something that a lot of people talk about when they don’t have anything more interesting to use as self-identification. Everyone likes going on vacation, ya know?

      It’s like when people say they love music without elaborating. It doesn’t mean anything. So they sing along to the car radio on the way to work.

      1. Dan*

        It’s funny, I’ve been to 30 countries, and IRL, I don’t talk about it unless there’s something relevant to the conversation at hand. Why? I find it to be very personal. I do it for me because I want to. I don’t do it to brag about it. I tend to have different tastes than many folk — having a discussion about the greatest European capital or the best city in Spain doesn’t do jack for me. And as “dating” mentions above, I don’t feel like dealing with others’ indignation because I haven’t done X, or feel that Y is overrated.

        Don’t get me wrong — if someone wants tips or has questions about something, I’m happy to talk at length. But to your point, while it’s a big part of my life and my discretionary budget, it certainly doesn’t define me.

  14. Anonymous Educator*

    Alison, you’ve had some great guest appearances on others’ podcasts. Is there anything we can do as the AaM to help you launch your own podcast?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thank you for asking! I’m seriously thinking about doing a podcast next year, but first I need to finish a big major project that’s taking up all my time. It should be finished by the spring though, and then I’m going to turn seriously to thoughts of podcasting.

    2. Jean aka the Recovering Packrat*

      It will be interesting to hear your voice after spending so much time reading your words–sort of the reversed experience of meeting a radio journalist in real life.

  15. Myrin*

    For those of you following my thrilling tale of the criminal shenanigans going on in my area, I have an unexpected update (“unexpected” insofar as I didn’t think there would be one anytime soon, not because something ~~shocking~~ was revealed or anything):

    The police called me on Monday to ask me to come in once again to look at some photos yet again. So I arrived at the station on Wednesday and was now greeted by an elderly guy in civilian clothes – I mention that because I don’t know how it is in other countries but here, that means that he’s higher up the chain than someone in uniform (so, higher up than the guy who previously interrogated me). It was very clear that now with the car chase, actual theft, and damages four times as high as in “my” case, the stakes had gone up considerably.

    I now, finally, had to give a “real” statement. As in, I sat there for one and a half hours and had to painstakingly describe what I remembered of the perps’ conversation, their clothes, what they looked like, everything. I also had to look at pictures again and, well, they had caught the two boys from the car chase and their pictures were among the ones shown to me but neither of them was one of the guys sitting across from me on the train (which, according to the officer, was “well, shit”). But, SURPRISE, one of the car chase guys had almost the same name as the one the guys on my train kept talking about as their other friend who was with them during their vandalising (in fact, the differences between the two names can be easily explained away by how my train guys spoke horribly, that is).

    So my personal theory is that this fifteen-year-old (!) boy is some kind of wannabe crimelord and has a whole circle of friends with whom he steals and vandalises and crashes vehicles and man am I wondering how this whole thing is going to turn out.

    1. fposte*

      I love that you’ve got this whole second life as a crime fighter. It’s like you have the power to make criminals reveal themselves.

      1. Myrin*

        This made me laugh out loud – it makes it sound like I’m some kind of superhero in disguise (and what a useful power that would be for a superhero)! :D

        But honestly, I’m just a very observant and inquisitive person with a creative mind (which I definitely get from my mum – she only learned how to use Google three years ago and now she will find you the most obscure information, hidden special agent, or secret underground laboratory with just a few clicks; it’s astonishing).

        And really, these policemen were SO narrow-minded with regards to some thing, especially for someone whose job it is to actually pierce clues together and whatnot, I couldn’t believe it. Like, as I said, Train Guys were talking about their friend who was with them – let’s say they called him Richard. And now I learn that the 15-year-old Car Chase Boy’s name is “Rickard” (I know, I know, but bear with me for the sake of the example, okay?). It’s pretty obvious to me that they’re possibly the same person, especially since Train Guys spoke in what we call “rapper language” here which is know for, among other things, substituting a “k” with a “ch”. And the officer got that, too (although he was super surprised by it even though I’ve told both of the other guys asking me questions the very same thing already; do these people not talk to each other or read their coworkers’ files?), but he was very adamant about whether Train Guys had actually said “Richard” or “Rickard”. And I was like “No, they definitely said Richard” and he couldn’t seem to comprehend completely that they might still have talked about Rickard, even though it didn’t match up 100%. In the end, he settled on writing down “Could have been ‘Rickard’ as well”.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Thanks for the update. I’ve been reading (if not commenting) and it’s fascinating saga. I feel like I see a great TV episode somewhere with this.

  16. Mela*

    What are your favorite holiday vegetable side dishes?

    We’re doing Christmas Eve at my MIL and she was telling me her planned menu (a long list of delicious, non-vegetable foods) and then at the very end, “Oh and I guess a salad or something.” I laughed and politely reminded her that her son would be very unhappy with a vegetable-free meal, and that we can contribute one or two veggie dishes. I suggested my favorite holiday go-to, brussels sprouts with onions and bacon, what what are some other options?

    1. katamia*

      LOL. Until I read your last sentence, I was getting ready to reply with my favorite, brussels sprouts with shallots and prosciutto.

      This never really rubbed off on me, but my mom is a huge fan of spaghetti squash. I don’t think there’s a formal recipe she uses or anything, though. I think she just puts in whatever she feels like putting in.

    2. danr*

      We always like strings beans sauteed with peppers and onions. With some basil for seasoning. It’s fast, easy to make, easy to reheat. We add a whole garlic clove or two (or three) but that’s a personal preference.

    3. fposte*

      I will never get tired of roast carrots. Cut them in quarters and then down to 2-3″ lengths, toss them in olive oil, throw them on a baking sheet and let them ride with whatever else is in the oven. If the oven is full to bursting already and you want something quicker, broil asparagus–toss them in olive oil, salt ’em and broil ’em for 6-10 minutes, adding grated Parmesan toward the end if you like (I do).

      1. CAA*

        I was going to suggest roasted root vegetables. Same recipe as your carrots, but also include parsnips, salsify, onions (cut in quarters but keep the root end so they layers stay together), sweet potatoes, etc.

        1. fposte*

          I just heard about a thing where you slice sweet potatoes thin (like with a mandoline) and cook them in the toaster. Has anybody tried that? I find the idea irresistible though I’m worried I won’t be able to get the slices out of the toaster, even if I cut them lengthwise.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            I’ve never tried it, but I’d worry about the liquid that tends to cook out of vegetables burning in my toaster and ruining it.

            1. fposte*

              I thought of this too, but reports say it doesn’t; since sweet potatoes don’t really sweat when cooking in general I can see that.

              1. Overeducated*

                It works and is tasty! You just have to watch carefully, the line between soft and burned is easy to cross.

        2. zora*

          I like lots of veggies mixed together and roasted. I usually have squash (delicata or acorn), golden beets, sweet potato, apple, parsnip, onion (quarters), and portabello mushroom. two pats of butter on the bottom, drizzle with maple syrup, 2 Tb of mustard on top.

          I make this at least every other week in the winter, it’s one of my favorite dishes ever. I make it a main dish sometimes by adding a couple of sausages cut up, one pan dinner FTW!

      2. Mela*

        Oooh roast carrots! I had nearly forgotten their wonderfulness! This is going alongside an Italian menu, so I think carrots will be perfect!

      3. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Me too. I tend to buy a big bag of babies every week and whatever is left at the end gets roasted. And once they’re roasted you can toss them in a little extra something like lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, or my favorites, pomegranate molasses.

    4. Allypopx*

      Roasted sweet potatoes with brown sugar, curry cauliflower (or any kind of spicy cauliflower really) , mashed turnips, caramelized pearl onions with red bell pepper…

      I could eat a whole meal of just vegetable side dishes. Well, that and stuffing.

      1. Overeducated*

        Me too. Last time I went to a steakhouse (for a rehearsal dinner), I was the one who ordered three sides but no steak. I’m not even vegetarian…

    5. Amadeo*

      Broccoli Cauliflower casserole? Bag of broccoli, bag of cauliflower, can of condensed mushroom soup, half jar of cheez whiz (or one of the smaller jars, if you can find them), french fried onions.

      You boil the veggies until they’re thawed and cooked a little bit, but not completely, drain and put in a casserole dish. Mix your soup and cheez whiz together, pour over the top, sprinkle on the fried onions and stick it in the over on 350 for a little while. I never time it, I just take it out when the onions are starting to turn a deep brown. About half an hour I guess.

      I expect you could use whatever frozen vegetable you like, or add carrots or asparagus or something, although I’ve never tried. But it’s a favorite around the holidays at our house and I make it for The Three Big Dinners of the year (Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    6. response*

      My MIL always had carrots. I have done a broccoli, cauliflower and carrots mix. Sister usually had a green bean casserole. But I don’t think husband and kids would even notice if there were no vegetables.

    7. JKP*

      We started a holiday tradition a couple years ago, where each person attending requests their favorite side dish (some people request the same things). That way everyone gets their favorite, and the cook doesn’t have to make something no one is particularly interested in.

      Vegetable side dishes that are often requested:
      scalloped corn
      scalloped potatoes
      green bean casserole
      baked beans (my aunt’s from-scratch recipe)

    8. LizB*

      I’ve recently become obsessed with a recipe I found for roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. It barely even merits the title of “recipe,” honestly, because it’s so easy, but the veggies turn out all tender and caramelized and omg it’s so good. I may have to make it this week. I’ll post a link in a reply comment.

    9. Jenbug*

      my mom makes an awesome corn casserole that has regular corn, creamed corn, cornbread, and sour cream (I think that’s it, but if anyone is interested, I can get the actual recipe).

    10. Overeducated*

      Making Spanish style spinach and chickleas for dinner tonight, also a grwat side.

      Others: Roasted broccoli with lots of garlic and oil. Creamed spinach (my favorite of all time). Cauliflower with anchovy paste, vinegar, capers, golden raisins, and bread crumbs. Marinated mushrooms. Middle Eastern style green beans (cooked on the stove until soft with lots of oil, tomato, and onion).

    11. Franzia Spritzer*

      I very much like a simple root veggie roast for big shared meals. Big cuts of sweet potatoes (or yams), rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, beats, quartered onions or pearl onions, drizzle of oil, salt & pepper, roast and boom, delicious.

      1. Mela*

        Yea? We’re not vegetarian or anything, we just like vegetables. And it’s a holiday so I would go all out and add bacon, which I normally don’t always do because it’s more work.

    12. Chaordic One*

      I know it’s not particularly fancy, but I’ve always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned green bean casserole made with mushroom soup and French’s fried onions. Good and filling.

    13. LCL*

      Spinach salad with vinaigrette, feta or other tasty cheese, candied nuts. No onions. No shallots in the dressing. I would’n’t eat salads when I was a kid; I never understood why my mom people put onions in salad and every main dish. Who knows, you might turn someone in the family on to salads.

    14. Emma*

      Roast acorn squash – can be done savory (with butter and black pepper) or sweet (with maple syrup).

      Cranberry sauce, or apple sauce. Bourbon peaches. (I know, I know, but fruits are delicious.)

      Garlic-mashed potatoes. Potato pancakes. Corn pancakes. We have serious arguments each year about which pancakes we’re doing.

      Roasted parsnips. I don’t think I’ve ever done them the same way twice – all involve roasting, but with various other things on top for flavor, like cranberries or onions.

      Onion soup.

      Sweet potatoes. I honestly prefer them just baked – the marshmallow casserole thing is way too sweet for me. They’re really good with some black pepper on them.

      Stuffed tomatoes – we stuff them with a mix of parmesan and spinach, but I think everyone I know uses different things.

      Garlicky greens – literally just spinach (or other greens) sauteed with garlic.

      If you do want a salad, arugula (or other greens) with lemon vinaigrette is a big hit around my house.

      Miso-glazed eggplant. My nephew hates this, but I have to lock my brother out of the kitchen if he’s over when I make them.

      Zucchini fries.

      …I should probably stop before I list every veggie dish I’ve ever made for the holidays.

    15. Colette*

      Salads – broccoli/cauliflower, tomato with cheese and dried bread with olive oil/balsamic vinegar/fresh garlic dressing, coleslaw, spinach/butternut squash

    16. Jenny*

      Green beans and almonds (beans almandine) is delicious and you can toast the almonds and prep the beans before hand and then steam when you get there if there is space. I like butter and salt but olive oil is traditional in my family.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Olive claims the tree* every year. We have a faux-fur tree skirt, and she sleeps in it from the day the tree goes up until the day it comes down. None of the other cats join her under there, which is disappointing to me!

      This year they haven’t attempted to destroy it, which is a relief. Last year, Olive and Eve were constantly climbing it, attacking ornaments, creating large holes by displacing branches, and generally making me want to get rid of it. We even bought something called Tree Defender, which is a barrier that goes around the trunk about two feet up and is supposed to guarantee that your cat can’t climb past it. An hour after putting up, I found Eve had climbed above it and was sleeping on top of it like a shelf. But this year, they have left it alone, with the exception of occasional batting at an ornament while in high spirits.

      * As a Jew, I must state that this is my husband’s tree, although I find it quite enjoyable to look at (and I may have bought a large number of ornaments of animals wearing human clothing for it).

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I finally gave up on having a tree skirt because my cat keeps wrestling it into a wadded-up mess under the tree. Every time I straighten it out, she pounces on it and wrestles it back into submission. And then, a couple of days ago when I was trying to straighten it out, I found that she has been peeing on it. So now the tree is just bare underneath.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          Our cats have been pretty good, but I was ready to kill one of them this morning. There is a hole in the underside of our mattress. Sometimes the cats hide there when scary people (like the UPS driver) come to the door, or when it thunders. This morning, around 5:15, the fattest cat wedged himself in the mattress because he was trying to chase one of the ornaments he knocked off the tree. He batted it under the bed and then would not leave it alone. Today was the ONLY day I had this week to sleep in (until 8:00), and he just had to come in and bother us less than three hours before I had to be awake, so I was pretty grumpy.

      2. Al Lo*

        Under the tree is Owsin’s current favorite place to sleep. She’s snoozing there right now. Forget all the soft pillows and couches and beds that she usually sleeps on… this year, she’s all about the very thin tree skirt as enough padding for her. We’re lucky she’s never tried to climb the tree or bat the ornaments around, and we get a real tree every year.

        Our previous cat would leave all of the ornaments alone, as long as there was one on the floor for her to play with. If we didn’t leave one off the tree, she’d bat at the tree until she knocked one off, and then she’d be perfectly happy.

      3. Natalie*

        I feel very lucky that our cat is afraid of the tree. She actually hugged the wall and skittered away the first year we brought one in, and this year she hasn’t even gotten close. And the dog doesn’t seem to care either. Phew!

  17. The Other Dawn*

    My brother was diagnosed with cancer a couple weeks ago. The CAT scan revealed a couple spots on his stomach and liver. Now we’re waiting for news on what the treatment plan will be.

    To give some background, I’m 42 and he’s 60. He was in prison for most of my life (30 years; not rape, murder or child-related) and got released 12 years ago in 2004. He got married in 2007, has his own home, a truck, 2 cats, and has a steady job he’s been at for about 8 years. He’s always doing something, whether it’s camping, kayaking, visiting family, whatever. So now he gets hit with cancer. Esophageal cancer, and they found a few spots on the stomach and liver.

    So, how do I feel about it? Hmm. I’m sad, because I know this it’s advanced (however I see up thread someone’s dad beat it, which gives me a lot of hope). But I’m more sad for him. Yes, he’s been a heavy smoker for many, many years, but it’s just so unfair to him. He was in prison for half his life, has 12 awesome years of living, recovers from Hepatitis C, and now gets this giant kick in the balls. I just can’t imagine how blindsided he probably feels and that’s what’s hard for me. To be honest, he was gone from home as long as I can remember. And although I visited him in prison, he’s really only been truly in my life for 12 years. So, I imagine when he’s gone it’s likely to feel like it did most of my life. Does that make sense?

    I’m trying to keep my mind off it, since we don’t have any details and won’t until later next week. And I’m trying to remember not to worry about things I can’t change (my motto; not that I don’t worry, but I’m trying not to obsess over details I don’t yet have).

    1. Emmie*

      I am really sorry to both you and your brother. Many well wishes his way. Sometimes people in tough situations feel like bad things keep happening even when they turn their lives around. If he ever feels that way, remind him that bad things happen no matter what and his positive life choices will help him recover faster. But, big well wishes.

    2. Gaia*

      I’m sorry for your brother, you, and all of his loved ones. Cancer is the literal effing worst. It is cruel and it doesn’t care what good or bad or neutral you’ve done.

      I hope his prognosis is good and that treatment goes as well as it can.

    3. SophieChotek*

      I’m sorry to hear about this too. Best wishes and hopes for better outcome.
      Virtual hugs and keep us updated.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks, everyone. Trying very hard to get in the Christmas spirit, but it just isn’t happening. I just to stop obsessing until he has his appointment Wednesday and we hear something. I really hate this uncertainty.

    5. SeekingBetter*

      I’m sorry to hear this. Your brother sounds like he was doing good until the diagnosis. Many well wishes to your brother.

    6. Rahera*

      I’m really sorry to hear this, and I’m thinking of you and your brother. I hope you soon have some more information and can begin to work out the next steps for his care. Such a hard time for both of you. All the best, please keep us posted if that’s helpful to you.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh. This stuff is tough. Some people just seem to have really rough lives more so than other people. Where it is hard to watch this unfold, it is almost impossible to make some kind of sense out of it all. One day at a time, you know the one day at a time thing. Stuff like this can really remind us to get the most out of each day, that is the only part of the story that we can really impact.

      Will keep you and yours in my thoughts.

    8. Anono-me*

      Good energy to you and your brother.

      Keep in mind that the guesstimated average prognoses are based upon the past and every single day new advances in treatment are being made.

      It is okay to be sad about this and spend some time grieving for the time you will be losing with your brother (and for the time you already lost). But as trite as it sounds and as hard as it is to do: Please try to find as much joy as you can in today.

  18. all aboard the anon train*

    What are your favorite desserts this time of year? I don’t really celebrate any holidays, but I do enjoy attending holiday parties and baking for them. Growing up, my family would always have a huge New Year’s party and there was always an abundance of kolaczki and chrusciki, so those are my go-tos when baking for parties. They’re always a big hit.

    What do you all enjoy or what desserts come to mind when you think of the holiday season?

    1. Amadeo*

      Apple pie! I don’t even care about the turkey or the ham at Thanksgiving and Christmas so long as there’s an apple pie available for dessert.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Popcorn balls…I can’t remember the last time I had one.
        Maybe I’ll hint to my mom she can make some.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      An entry for both this thread and the “unpopular opinions” thread above: I freaking LOVE fruitcake. I would eat a pound for breakfast every day if I thought I’d survive more than a week!

      And stroopwafels. I usually let myself have some on New Year’s day or my birthday with my morning coffee.

      Apparently I prefer dessert for breakfast. :D

    3. Mela*

      I love cranberry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I once tried a pumpkin cheesecake pie (half cheesecake, half pumpkin pie) that was delicious and I’ve been meaning to try my hand at it. I think I’m also going to try baking with pears this year as well, we’ll see how it goes.

    4. Girasol*

      Fruit crisps made from apples and summer fruits from the freezer. Christmas cookies, especially butter spritz sandwiched with icing in between.

    5. SophieChotek*

      Krumkrake (sp)? Not sure it’s quite a dessert – but it sounds good.
      Maybe I should try to make some for my new neighbors. (I like this idea. Anyone got a good recipe?)

      1. Meg*

        Isn’t that just the norwegian name for crumb cake? I had it while I was there and it was a simple yellow or white cake? (Don’t remember exactly). May also just be Scandinavian?

        1. Sheep*

          It’s not, actually! It kind of looks like a tortilla, but hard, and it’s made on a special iron. So yummy with ice cream! (Says the involuntary gluten-free Norwegian. Makes me sad!)

    6. zora*

      I make double-ginger cookies every year, they have tons of fresh ginger in them and are chewy and spicy, love!! In fact, I need to get on that, i haven’t made a batch yet.

      My mom always used to make real pfefferneuse cookies growing up. Also, Pioneer Woman’s Nantucket Cranberry Pie has become a staple in our family. I usually make some kind of shortbread, and I make hot cocoa as often as I can. I also like a good pecan pie, but I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t really love most of the traditional holiday pies. So, I just make as many cookies as I can make and eat. ;o)

    7. Anonyby*


      My grandmother’s sugar cookies (the kind that you roll in balls and press, not the ones you cut out with cookie cutters). Ginger snaps. Snickerdoodles. I have a recipe for peppermint pressed cookies that I ADORE, but I seem to be the only one who does. :( Sometimes I’ll sub almond extract for the mint and they go like hotcakes, but it’s just not the same.

    8. Emilia Bedelia*

      Cookies! My family always started baking in early December and made tons of cookies. My own specialties are linzer cookies, pizzelles, and chocolate orange biscotti, but we’d always have at least 4-6 varieties of cookies by Christmas.

      I recently made a ginger spice cookie from Epicurious (just search “ginger spice cookies Epicurious”) that I can’t recommend highly enough. They were truly delicious, and I think they’ll be entering the Christmas cookie rotation as well.

    9. Ann Furthermore*

      Pumpkin pie truffles! I found a recipe a few years ago and tried them as a Thanksgiving dessert, and people went insane over them. Now I make them as goodies for friends and neighbors. They’re not hard to make, look/taste incredibly decadent, and one batch of 30 makes 3 nice little packages of 10 for gifts.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Ohhh, do you have a preferred recipe for the pumpkin pie truffles? I usually make truffles for gift packages, but I’ve never done a pumpkin pie one!

    10. Stachington*

      Pralines! They ship really well and most people go crazy for them so I make a ton and ship them to friends and family each year. They’ve become my “thing”.

  19. fposte*

    Weird emotional ride from Google stuff lately. I looked up one really nice kid I’d known when I was little and found he’d died a couple of years ago; the cause wasn’t stated, but it sounded from one guestbook entry like he might have been ill; he’d also lost his partner a few years previously, though, who sounded like the nicest guy in the world. So I’m hoping his life was happy with his partner and despite his loss.

    And then I looked for articles on a cousin’s friend, who’d been in a car wreck that eventually killed him in college, decades ago. Or so my cousin thought–it turned out he’d only died a few years ago, and when you read between the lines it was a heartbreaking obituary, with highlights of his life stopping in college and a thank you to the staff of the medical institution where he presumably had been living for all these years. Doubt I’ll tell my cousin this info, but I’m haunted by it.

    1. Myrin*

      Wow, both of those stories really hit me right now and I’m not even involved with them whatsoever.

      My mum – whose mad Google skillz I incidentally just mentioned in another reply to you like what are the odds – periodically googles people she used to know spanning from her years being a kid to in her mid-thirties when she moved and had me. And it’s rare that she doesn’t find anything about someone whatsoever but one of these elusive people is her first boyfriend. She literally split up with him forty years ago and from what she tells me he wasn’t a very nice guy or good partner but he does have that weird special place in her heart that I gather first relationships often do for people. And whenever she talks about that, she gets this kind of faraway look and has a feeling that he isn’t alive anymore which is weird because, as I said, they broke up 40 years ago, haven’t been in contact since, and weren’t really a good match anyway, but it almost brings her to tears every time. She knows from his father’s obituary that he’s been alive in 2007 but she says he’s absolutely someone who would definitely have some kind of internet presence and that it’s weird that he couldn’t be found anywhere if he were still on this earth. It’s a strange thing really.

      1. fposte*

        It’s the curse of being a Google detective, I think. The first guy was actually a friend of the same cousin, and I also found that this cousin’s beloved first high school girlfriend died a few years ago. He’s not a chase-the-past kind of guy so I don’t think his life will be enhanced by being told, so I end up as the keeper of sad information that isn’t quite a secret. I bet your mom is finding out a lot of things about people’s lives, histories, and families that she ends up carrying, too.

        But finding out this guy had spent thirty years in what sounded like brain death or nearly so made me very appreciative of the comparative smallness of my problems.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      People used to just disappear from our lives and we could assume they “lived happily ever after”. The net changed all that. When my husband passed someone asked me “Did you say to yourself, ‘This is marriage? This is all there is to it?’ ” Yep, I sure did. But I found that I use this format for many similar questions, “This is life? This is all there is to it?”

      There is more to the story than what we see in papers and online, we know that but sometimes we have to remind ourselves. Yet at the same time, I am amazed by the amount of sadness and suffering I see and we are supposed to be a strong nation. I cannot imagine what it is like elsewhere.

      I used google to go through the streets of the town I grew up in. I ended up crying. I said nothing to my cousin. She went there and drove the streets of our town, she ended up crying and had to leave. Nothing has changed in the 30 plus years we have been gone. I mean that in a sad way. I knew it wouldn’t that was part of the reason I left. Their problems are entrenched.

      Yep. These stories are haunting. I think we are supposed to be haunted, we are supposed to grow restless and want to do things differently or advocate for changes, etc. The mind-bender I ask myself is “now that I know this new-to-me piece of information how will I allow it to change me or what I am doing?”

      Clearly that is a private answer not for the internet. And it’s unique, you’d pick something different than what I would pick and we would both be different from yet a third person. Annnd there is no “correct” answer, which is really not helpful, at least to me.

      I will say this, you are very smart, creative person and IF you decide to change something or impact something I already know it will be in a very interesting and insightful manner ;) .

  20. Legalchef*

    We had our 12 week sonogram yesterday! The tech said everything looks good, and it was so cool to see the baby flipping around inside of me and stretching out his/her teeny arms and legs. And so weird to know that someone is swimming around inside of me and I can’t feel it!!

    Also we are having friends over for dinner tonight and I made a mushroom bourginion (to be served over parsley-chive egg noodles) -and chocolate stout cake (to be served with fresh whipped cream and raspberries).

    So all in all, I’ve had a pretty good couple of days!!

  21. katamia*

    What’s everyone reading this week? I’m rereading Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem so I can read the other books in the trilogy. It’s just as good the second time around so far, and I hope the sequels are also this good.

    1. Allypopx*

      I’m taking another stab at the Wheel of Time series. I read the first three books a few years ago and I can’t say I retained much of it. My boyfriend mentioned it a week or so ago and I got the urge to try again.

      I also read “2 A.M and the Cat’s Pajamas” this week which is a cute quick read.

    2. Chilleh*

      “A Gift From Bob” by James Bowen – Just needed an uplifting story right now and stories about cats typically make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

      Also reading Old Man’s War, and so far it’s a lot of fun. I really like the idea about a lot of seniors going out and saving the world, though I imagine the story will be more nuanced than that.

    3. Mints*

      I just finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (the first three ending with The Hero of Ages) and the ending was mind blowing but so so well written.

      I’m going to start 100 Years of Solitude again

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I just started Preston and Child’s Gideon Crew series. I’ve been sitting on them for a while, but now I’m caught up on the Pendergast books. Though I haven’t got very far, they seem fun. I am getting kind of tired of James Bond-level protagonists who literally know everything. (Pendergast is a special case.)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I want to start on Gideon Crew, also, but I’ve had several people tell me they didn’t care for them. BUT that comes after reading all the Pendgergast novels and those are a pretty tough act to follow, in my opinion. I haven’t read the Obsidian Chamber yet; however, it’s on my list to do so soon. I’m actually trying to wait until I have my surgery in February so I can have something juicy to dig in to.

    5. SophieChotek*

      Just picked up the first book of the Maggie Hope WWII mystery series – “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary” is the first book I think.

    6. Oryx*

      I”m reading an Advanced Reader Copy (benefit to my job) of a non-fiction book about Jonestown. It’s incredibly well written and very engrossing.

    7. GiantPanda*

      Frank Herbert “Dune”. I have joined a reading challenge where you read SF/F/H books published from 1950 to 1999, one or two per year, in order. The 1960s part ends in three weeks, and I am only in 1965…

    8. Claire (Scotland)*

      “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, but the recent news that Lin-Manuel Miranda will produce a movie and TV series based on the Kingkiller Chronicle series (of which this is the first book) got me to finally start it.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Oh my God, Claire….I literally almost wrote the exact same thing, just about verbatim! I just started reading it earlier this week. Someone told me about it years ago and I downloaded the sample on my Kindle then forgot about it. Then I see LMM is going to do something with it and *NOW* I’m all “gotta read it!!” I’m less than 100 pages in but I like it so far.

        1. Claire (Scotland)*

          Hee! LMM has a lot to answer for. I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it, especially some of what it’s doing with the idea of storytelling.

    9. New Bee*

      “The Mothers” finally came in for me at the library, and I am about 80% of the way through. It was worth the wait!

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I finally started Zadie Smith’s new book, Swing Time. I’m mostly enjoying it so far, but I’ve been so sleepy this week, I have some trouble focusing. I just finished Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, which I liked a lot.

      At my new company’s holiday party, I learned that the night always closes with a small group of employees and spouses (all women) trading book titles and talking about what they’re reading. I work with people who read!!! This is a revelation.

    11. acmx*

      I tried the Three-Body Problem and didn’t get far unfortunately. Might give it a shot again. Tangentially, my new library seems to have a really good selection (I did check out the TTBP from my former library).

      Currently reading The Graveyard Apartment