weekend free-for-all – January 21-22, 2017

Eve on headboardThis 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 Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara. This book will wreck you, and it will be one of the best things you’ve ever read. It’s about trauma and life afterwards, and the power and limitations of friendship and love. It kept me up way too late, way too many nights, it broke my heart, and I am considering starting it all over again.

{ 1,093 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager Post author

    For anyone interested in reading A Little Life (per my recommendation at the top), I should note that one of the main characters has had a very traumatic childhood, including sexual abuse. I don’t want anyone to feel blindsided by that if you decide to read it.

    (In fact, I’m going to move this comment to the top so that it’s less likely to be missed.)

    1. Kj

      Thank you for that warning- I struggle A LOT with certain kinds of abuse being discussed in books. I can handle some if the writing is good and the focus isn’t “trauma as a shortcut to character development” but, man, that is a new trend in fiction that is hard to avoid. The Husband got me a “book subscription” for new books every month and all the literary fiction but one relied heavily on the “trauma as a shortcut to character development” stuff and I just could not read some of them.

      1. The Grammarian

        I feel the same way. I can barely read contemporary literary fiction because it seems like assault of women appears in so many books. I’ve been focusing on female-centered sci-fi/fantasy, nonfiction, and YA BECAUSE of this.

        1. The Grammarian

          I found Ayiti to be hard to read in terms of the description. Well written, but deeply frightening to me.

        2. Red Reader

          If you haven’t already read her works, anything by Seanan McGuire (or her pseudonym Mira Grant) is clear of sexual violence – the author has repeatedly stated in interviews and on her blog that she will absolutely not write such scenes. She writes urban fantasy under her own name and thrillers under the Grant ‘nym, and all of them are fantastic.

          1. CorruptedbyCoffee

            Sharon shinn, Ann bishop, Ilona Andrews (her newer series is really interesting and very woman-centered)

            1. Rebooting

              Caveat on Ann Bishop; her work is full of sexual assault, for those who don’t want to read stories with that sort of thing in them. The Black Jewels books have the most, but I can’t think of any of her work that doesn’t have some.

          2. Becky

            The audience is more YA, but even as an adult, I still love them, Tamora Pierce–both her Tortall books (Alanna’s quartet, Wild Mage Quartet, Protector of the Small Quartet, Daughter of the Lioness Duology, Beka Cooper Trilogy) and her Emelan books (Circle of Magic quartet, The Circle Opens quartet, The Will of the Empress). Lots of female characters all strong in different ways. If I had to choose my favorite books are the Protector of the Small series, but favorite character is Trisana from the Emelan books.

        1. neverjaunty

          Sure, but I think Kj’s point was that when something becomes a lazy literary shortcut, it’s hard to approach a book that does use that same theme in a thoughtful way without going “oh, here we go again”.

          1. Kj

            Yeah, that is the problem. I have enjoyed well-done stories that use this theme (see my love for A Handmaid’s Tale, below) but it has become so common and a lazy way for some writers to give “depth” to characters. I am now wary whenever I hear “trauma” in a book description.

            That said, this may be an exception and it comes highly recommended, so I might give it a try.

      2. FTW

        Westworld plays on this theme ‘truama as character development’ a lot. It’s interesting commentary.

        1. Liz2

          But I find they use it in exactly that meta sense we’re discussing here, inviting people to share those perspectives and ask those questions.

    2. Jules the First

      I did not know this when I picked the book up. Part of me wishes I’d known before I started reading, because it was a harrowing read (bordering on traumatic…)

      Most of me, however, is glad I didn’t know – because I would not have read it if I’d known, and (despite the renewed emotional baggage and sleepless nights during and after) I would have missed out on one of the best books I’ve ever read. Not sure I have the stamina to reread it, but I will cherish the story, the writing, and above all, the characters.

    3. Merely

      It’s really good. It’s not a shortcut. It deals with real feelings as a result of. And I can’t read it again. Too painful. It really does wreck you.

      1. K.

        It’s not a shortcut at all – it’s central to the protagonist. It touches the way he deals with everything around him, from his friendships to his work. It’s heart-wrenching. The book is amazing but I highly doubt I’ll ever read it again.

    4. Caledonia

      I read this book a while ago and whilst it was stunningly written, I quite agreed with several of the reviews; it was just so relentlessly miserable and sad and on and on and on.

    5. Margali

      This was a great book club book — we had the best discussion we’ve had yet about it! But it is not an easy read, and some felt that it verged into trauma-porn. I have a friend who has had a very difficult life in many ways, and when she told me this book was on her to-read list, I told her, “L, I have to tell you that the thought that constantly came into my mind as I read this, was ‘OMG, I hope L *never* reads this book!'” She took it off her to-read list.

  2. babblemouth

    I find it really hard to motivate myself to do anything in the week-ends. During the week, I think of all the day-long projects I would love to do (been meaning to finish knitting a scarf and sewing new curtains for ages), and once the week-end comes around, I end up just sitting around the house doing nothing. Any tips to get more active?

    1. Charlie Q

      I have found that I accomplish far more when I’m not alone than when I am. If I have my boyfriend over for dinner, I clean up all the dishes immediately afterwards, no problem. If I make dinner for myself, I put off the dishes until the next morning, at least.

      The same thing happens with fun stuff as with chores. If I’m alone, I watch Netflix and bum around the internet all weekend. If I want to do something, I have to make plans with someone: invite a friend over for crafts and coffee, hang out with my housemate while I work on editing and she works on her personal projects, make plans with my boyfriend to go hiking or to a concert.

      Maybe it’s some sort of inner need to prove to other people I’m responsible or interesting or whatever. Regardless, having company makes me actually do the things I want to do.

      1. babblemouth

        I have noticed the same actually. Unfortunately, my boyfriend lives in another country and I don’t have many close friends where I live. Maybe I’ll start a knitting circle with some random people :)

      2. Elizabeth West

        This is true for me as well. I find when I’m working and only have a little time each day and on weekends, I get more done–I can say to myself, “If you don’t do it, you have to wait until next weekend.” It’s very easy to get into a rut where you do nothing when you’re not doing anything the rest of the time, however. Unemployment is the worst!

      3. MsChanandlerBong

        My cousin used to ask me to come over when she had a big household project to do. She never asked me to help her; she just wanted me there to “supervise” so she’d get something done.

    2. Dee-Nice

      I’ve found putting playlists together for various tasks works for me like nothing else. I look forward to listening to the songs I’ve chosen and they create a mood which in turn inspires me to get busy with whatever task. If it’s a task I don’t find super enjoyable, I make the playlist short and tell myself I only have to go at it till the music is over. Different strokes, yada yada yada, but that’s what works for me.

        1. Charlie Q

          On this same note, for things I don’t want to do (chores or the gym or what have you), I sometimes save a podcast or new CD I’m dying to hear and only let myself listen to it when I’m doing the thing I need to do.

          1. Elizabeth West

            Yes! I found some old-time radio mysteries online. I like to listen when I’m cleaning or doing yard work (which I HATE). I finished all the episodes of BBC’s Cabin Pressure that way. I laughed so much I barely noticed I was doing chores. :)

            1. Charlie Q

              I love Cabin Pressure!! Even though I’ve literally listened to every episode at least 12 times now, it’s still great for distraction during chores.

                1. Chocolate Teapot

                  Oh yes. Hut 33 is very funny as well. It’s written by the same people as Bluestone 42.

    3. anoncmntr

      I wish I had some, because I am the same way! On a smaller scale, too — in the morning (on a weekday) I’ll make a list with boundless optimism of what I’ll get done in the evening after work… and then we just sit on the couch and watch TV. But anyway :) Something that definitely helps me is to break down every task into very small components to get some momentum going as I work through them. So it might be as silly as making a physical list: “Unpack knitting; place on coffee table; knit for 10 min; knit for 10 min; knit for 20 min; cast off.”

      The other trick is to not let yourself sit down without the knitting in hand!

      1. Jessi

        I bribe myself. Do x for 10m and then watch telly. Often by the time 10m comes round im happily doing whatever x was

    4. De Minimis

      I’m right there with you, I always have these grandiose plans and then end up napping. There’s this brief window of time in the mornings when I feel like doing something, but I usually don’t, and then afternoon hits and that’s the end of that. Bad part is when Sunday evening rolls around I feel like I’ve wasted my weekend doing nothing.

    5. Anonyby

      Same here! Sorry, I haven’t found any solution. My weekend is just one day instead of two, which makes me feel even worse when I get nothing done.

    6. Trixie

      I try to tackle some light chores on Thursdays so it’s already done before the weekend. Throughout the weekend, when I do get caught up in watching tv I also get up and do something during commercials. Maybe more cleaning/organizing, or next steps in project, or other.

    7. OperaArt

      I recently started using Habitica, a combination to-do-list/fantasy-role-playing-game app. It’s funny how collecting gold and fighting Feral Dust Bunnies can motivate a person to work on habits and to-dos. :-)
      I became a Level 10 Mage this morning because I did my (real world) morning stretches. If I get all of today’s tasks done, my Mage should be well equipped by the end of the day. I have my eye on a magic staff…

      1. Charlie Q

        I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made myself clean the litter box or make my bed or work on my personal projects just for the chance to get another egg. I have a purple lion and a purple wolf and a white panda cub and the hope for more pets is 80% of what drives me on Habitica.

    8. Not So NewReader

      Different things work on different days. Sometimes I find that if I take the biggest PITA task and do that first, I suddenly feel lighter and I zip right through easier tasks.

      OTH, if I need to get started on something over the weekend, sometimes I can set the project up during the week. Recently I wanted to paint two chairs. Not a big project but dang! why haven’t I started? During the week, I dragged the two chairs out to the painting area. I put down drop clothes and wiped the chairs down. I painted them one day and the second day they needed touch-ups. The second day involved very little time. Sometimes we have to inch our way through some projects.

      My wise friend used to say only stop working on a project when you KNOW where you will start when you come back. Sometimes this means planning your next step and other times this means solving a problem in the project.

      I would suggest this, don’t make your weekends like punishment. Naps/ quiet time should all be part of planning your day off. Know when your “house work day” ends, set a time when the project is over and it is time to do other things that wrap up your day.

    9. Cristina in England

      Is part of the problem that you’re thinking of them as “day-long” projects? That’s a big commitment. Can you break them up into smaller segments?

      Fwiw, I have never been able to finish a scarf and I have knitted about a dozen jumpers/sweaters/cardigans, hats, mittens, etc. Scarves just get me. Curtains I also dread. I second everyone else’s suggestions for fun podcasts and music to keep you going!

    10. Jules the First

      One of my friends uses what she calls a task bowl – she has a pretty bowl that sits on a windowsill and when she thinks of somthing she’d like or need to do at the weekend, she writes it on a bit of paper, folds it up, and tosses it in the task bowl. Saturday morning, she picks a slip from the task bowl and that’s the first thing she does – which usually motivates her enough to pull another task from the bowl. The thing that makes it work is that some of the slips are things she really, really wants to do (like catching up with a friend, or spending an hour on the sofa doing nothing), and the thrill of wondering what she’ll get seems to do the trick.

    11. Marillenbaum

      For myself, I tend to do better when I start my day with an event the requires me to leave the house: if I have to get coffee with a friend at 10 AM, then I know I’m far more likely to get things done for the rest of the day. I also try to give myself permission to run a little more slowly on the weekends. I’m tired, and I do need a break. That’s reasonable.

  3. Allons-y!

    Hello Sweetie. I need to get this off my chest. It concerns Doctor Who (on season 6 now). Spoilers!

    I hate River Song. There, it’s out. She could have been a fantastic character.  I mean, someone who the Doctor loves? She should be special indeed. But River Song (and their relationship) feels empty, like there should have been more to her. Instead, her whole existence revolves around the Doctor and she’s composed of catch prhases. And then the revelation that she’s the Pond’s daughter and part time lord feels so needlessly conplicated.

    Despite all of this, I still love the 11th Doctor. Okay, I feel better. Quick question: Was it just me, or in the Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, did it feel out of character for the Doctor to broadcast the death sentence of the Silence and then basically stand by while River killed them? For someone who wanted to save the Master and even Davros/the Daleks, after all they’ve done, this didn’t feel like the Doctor.

    1. Thomas E

      At the time I thought they were foreshadowing the valeyard… Basically, it wasn’t in the original character of the doctor but was a ongoing development as a result of all the moral compromises the Dr has had to make from the first Dr to the present. The doctor finally giving in to playing god.

    2. Jean

      I got a little sick of River, that’s true, and I really didn’t like the reveal that River was Amy & Rory’s child. And I love the 10th Doctor, but Matt Smith came in and immediately won me over as the 11th. Unfortunately I’m not crazy about Peter Capaldi. I’m a little done with the show, to tell you the truth.

      1. Jules the First

        I wasn’t crazy about PC either to start with, but he has kind of won me over. It helps to remember that he is MUCH older (in Doctor-verse) than the two previous ones.

      2. E, F and G

        I haven’t been a fan of the stories Capaldi has been in for the most part, but I think that is the on the shoulders of the production staff not his interpretation of the doctor. I am actually happy to have a cranky doctor again.

    3. Persephone Mulberry

      I’m with you. I always felt like the fandom was desperately trying to tie in significance and symbolism that wasn’t really there. And her character is totally flat despite the fact that her story arc spans years and years of show.

    4. Cristina in England

      Yeah, sometimes I wonder how her storyline was originally meant to be. River Song was introduced when Russell T. Davies was the showrunner, and he was super into the romantic aspects of the show (see: Rose Tyler) but Moffat just doesn’t really do the emotional stuff, so I have to wonder if originally she wasn’t going to be the Ponds’ daughter?

      That entire storyline with The Silence made no sense and got too convoluted.

      I felt so bad for Matt Smith during the 50th anniversary Three Doctors special episode because David Tennant just acted the pants off him. The first scene where they’re together, in the woods with Queen Elizabeth was just so… I felt embarrassed for Matt Smith. I do like him and think he can act as I have seen him in other stuff but he was outdone here, by a mile.

      Peter Capaldi is a national treasure and anyone who doubts that has never seen The Thick of It (or Local Hero!).

    5. Melody Pond

      Aw, I love River! (obviously, given my handle) But I understand not everyone will like all of the Doctor Who characters, ever. I love 11, too, and one of my sisters abhors Matt Smith with every fiber of her being. (Yes, before you ask, it HAS put a strain on our relationship)

      I know you’re not there yet, so I won’t say anything spoiler-y, but I really, REALLY loved last year’s Christmas special. I loved this year’s, too. I generally didn’t like Peter Capaldi’s first season, but ever since his second season I have been completely sold on him.

    6. katamia

      I’m kind of meh on Doctor Who in general, but I found River incredibly irritating. I didn’t really care about the plot elements much because I was mostly just watching because my friends did (and now I don’t even do that), but every time she showed up my heart would just sink and I’d find myself opening up a book or a bunch of Internet tabs to read while I watched.

  4. OP for the massage debacle

    My wife and I have a truly wonderful marriage, but I am struggling with something. For the past year she has been getting regular massages from a Massage Therapist and it makes me grouchy. I am not a particularly insecure person, nor do I have reason to distrust her, but when she comes home smelling of weird oils and I know that some stranger has had their hands all over her body it makes me really grouchy and I am not dealing with it well.

    I don’t have these issues with her medical appointments, etc. it is just the massages for the following reasons: 1) massages are for pleasure 2) given by a stranger 3) she sometimes mentions something about the masseuse which makes it clear that they are chatty/friendly before, during, or after the massage 4) the weird oily smell and feeling of another person’s hands on my wife’s body.

    My wife has offered to take a shower as soon as she gets home to help with #4 and she has asked “do you want me to not go anymore” to which I obviously WANT to say yes, but I know that that isn’t appropriate or reasonable. She has tried different masseuses, which makes it a little easier for me because it isn’t the same stranger – who then isn’t a stranger – talking to and touching her regularly, but it isn’t as effective for her because masseuses have such different styles.

    I’ve lived with this for a year and it creates a weird feeling between us every time she goes (I tend to withdraw from her – in a coping way, not a passive-aggressive way, though perhaps it is that anyway).

    Suggestions?

    1. babblemouth

      You’re going to have to spend some time deconstructing why this makes you jealous. Your wife is entitled to having a relaxing moment once in a while (it sounds like you agree with this fact, so that’s a good start!), and if she gets along with the massage therapist, that increases that relaxation for her. She’s tried a few accomodations, and if they’re not chnging anything, it means it’s up to you to change.
      Have you been in relationships where your partner was unfaithful before? Or have friends/family who marriages were broken up due to cheating? That could be one of the reasons why you can’t let this go. Try to spend some time finding the root of your discomfort, and you might be better able to get over it.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        Thanks so much for the reply, babblemouth. I read your response right after you posted it and I had to think about what you wrote and asked. I had immediately had a very defensive feeling about “… why this makes you jealous.” I started making all kinds of rationalizations in my own mind to counter your statement and about your questions. I have more thinking to do now that I have stopped freaking out about the mirror you held up for me.

        1. babblemouth

          Glad I could help a bit. Good luck! Introspection is not easy, and it takes courage, but you have already taken the first step :)

      1. nep

        That might still be asking the wife to sacrifice something that brings huge pleasure and relief. (Which, of course, she might want to do as a way of giving/compromising.) For some people a big part of what makes going for a massage special is the setting, the ‘me’ time, the thing of putting oneself in the care of a professional masseuse for a few moments…It’s not the same dynamic when it’s one’s partner.

        1. OP for the massage debacle

          nep, You expressed exactly what I couldn’t find the right words for – thank you!

        2. Thomas E

          The benefit I see to this is that you will quickly find that after studying how to do it (which no doubt involves a course where you practise on people other than your wife) you will get a new appreciation of the fact that for a masseuses this is difficult work that is entirely nonsexual.

          It’s not so that the OP can do it to his wife but it is a way of replacing imagination with reality.

    2. TNJ

      You say you have no reason to distrust – but is that accurate? My first thought upon reading was that maybe something has happened before that has made you wary and now the massage situation is exacerbating that. Is there a habit of your wife getting too close to someone in a service position?

      Also, I was wondering if there were other factors making this uncomfortable for you; Is it the frequency with which she goes? If it was once a month, that doesn’t seem excessive. If it was once a week, maybe that would give me pause (although I think I would love a weekly massage!). What about cost? Are you maybe annoyed that she is spending so much money on this type of service. Perhaps those are clouding your feelings a bit as well.

      Can you offer to give her the massage? Buy some nice smelling oils and offer to rub her down yourself. Or maybe go with her occasionally and do a couples massage. Maybe just being involved in this will help the feelings!

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        oh, TNJ, you’ve really hit on something here. WOW. You made great connections throughout your post, but the first paragraph really hits home in this situation. It’s obvious now that I think about it (having read that paragraph), but oh my. I do have reason to mistrust and there is a history of that – with me! ouch! We met while working together in the service industry and neither of us were looking for a new relationship or even friendship really and we gradually just became very close and fell in love. My wife was in a relationship when we met and even though we have had 20 very happy years together, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over the fact that it started with her cheating on someone else. This really helps to put my feelings into perspective – thank you, TNJ!

        1. nep

          Wow — that piece of history is quite something. Sounds like you’re doing some good soul-searching here. All the best and keep us posted.

          1. OP for the massage debacle

            Thanks, nep! You’ve been a huge help on this today – I truly appreciate your insights and support.

    3. Dee-Nice

      I love massages and I have a husband who also feels somewhat uncomfortable with my going, though to my knowledge not to the point where he would want to ask me to stop. I do understand your dislike of the fragrance; as one who dislikes fragrances myself I actually asked my husband to switch shaving creams to an unscented version.

      I think if you ask your wife to stop going, even if she has offered, you will both be in an uncomfortable situation. I do think it’s reasonable to ask her to shower the fragrances off before you interact closely, and maybe even tell her that you don’t want to hear details about her massages.

      Do you feel the same way about her going to the doctor? Getting her hair or nails done? Someone else preparing food for her that she then takes into her body? Not trying to “challenge” you, just trying to pinpoint the source of your anxiety about this, because there are many other services people provide for one another that are equally intimate.

      There’s a saying (and I don’t know where it originated) that “massage is a necessity disguised as a luxury.” Can you think of it as a form of therapy for her? For those of us who enjoy it, there are some things it fixes that nothing else can.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback, Dee-Nice. I totally agree with nep’s reply here – the last part about it being a form of therapy – that is so helpful. A few of the replies here have offered this kind of objective, practical shift in perspective that has already (!) helped me to start to re-shape my thoughts about this.

        This AAM community is amazing. Grateful.

    4. Myrin

      Would it help at all to reframe your thinking of massages being “for pleasure”? Because as the child of a masseuse, I can say that generally, they’re a medical tool and as such, if done right, aren’t really pleasurable most of the time; they’re actually supposed to hurt a little. That being said, you obviously know whether your wife is getting these massages because of back problems etc. or because she wants to have a relaxing time but really, they’re often only relaxing per their results and a day after the fact.

      1. Mela

        To piggyback, would it help to recognize that for the masseuse, it is no where near pleasurable? It’s their job, and it’s hard, physical work. Think of a gynecologist. Sure, they look at vaginas all day, but no one is having much fun. The same goes here, and I’m sure you don’t picture your wife’s gynecologist’s hands in the same way.

      2. Franzia Spritzer

        +1 As a lifetime athlete I’ve never in all my 35+ years of receiving message therapy has it ever once been pleasurable. Ever. It’s a deeply painful yet necessary part of recovery.

      3. Clever Name

        This. I have a fused spine to correct for scoliosis, and I get regular massages because otherwise I have near constant, sometimes severe, back pain. It is definitely medical, even though there are essential oils and New Age music involved. ;)

    5. A. Non

      Have you ever gotten a massage yourself? If you haven’t, perhaps it would be helpful to go get one and see firsthand what the experience is actually like so you’re not guessing or imagining any more. Massages are a sensory experience, but so is going to a concert. (If your wife is getting massages to deal with pain issues, it’s not even that – it’s more like really aggressive physical therapy.)

      This might also be a good thing to go talk to a therapist about – they’re literally professionals at helping people unpackage stuff like this. There’s no rule that you have to have major issues to talk to a therapist – they’re much like physical therapists, sometimes they’re helping people walk again after a car crash, sometimes they’re helping with that click in your elbow that is messing up your golf swing. They can provide way more advice in a session or two than strangers on the internet can.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        Several comments have asked about my getting a massage or couples massage and these questions have helped me to (just now!) realize that I’ve had a HUGE blind spot about this whole thing: I have never, would never, had a massage. I am sensitive about being touched (childhood baggage) and I avoid being touched by or touching anyone except my wife and so I would never get a massage.

        I didn’t realize that this is part of why her massages feel like a violation of our intimacy – she is the only one in my safe touch zone, but she touches and hugs other people (which I’m fine with), but the massage is at a whole other level that I would never consider for myself and thus has been such a stretch of my comfort zone for her to do it.

        AHA! This really helps – thank you so much for all of the feedback and support!

        1. Not So NewReader

          Wow. OP, I am really impressed with your willingness to look inside yourself.

          May I suggest going and getting a ten minute chair massage? Find a reputable practitioner, this step is important. With a chair massage you won’t take off any clothes and she will only do the easy things like shoulders, arms. My friend does massage, if you lived near me I would tell you how to contact her. She did a demo where she massaged my arm between the elbow and the wrist. Man. She was GOOD. I just about fell asleep and I was STANDING in a room full of people! ha!

          What you need to know, massage gets things moving in the body. So after a massage, drink plenty of water and even plan for a nap. A good massage therapist will show you little things to do to help yourself. For example let’s say you get a particular type of headache on a semi-regular basis. She should be able to give you some pointers to help with relieving that headache.

          And yeah, a lot of clients do chat with their therapists. Massage is a release, it’s pretty normal for people to start talking about random subjects. Some folks believe that emotions trigger or start certain types of muscle pain. So part of the massage IS talking about random things as muscles unclench.

          1. OP for the massage debacle

            Not So NewReader,
            Thank you for the great reply and feedback. What an interesting suggestion. I’ll bet anything that a chair massage would likely be the starting point for activities in cognitive therapy as another comment suggested! You even did the unthinkable: you made massages sound appealing! However, the thought of even doing the chair massage makes me want to hide from the whole world under a blanket, but it is a really good suggestion nonetheless.

            hmmph, talking. *sigh* I’m an extraordinarily private introvert (except when reasonably anonymous online obviously!) and the whole talking element makes it far more uncomfortable to consider (if I were to get a massage) and to understand (my [mildly] extroverted wife’s ease and openness to the talking to a stranger who is massaging her naked body – omg! who does that?! willingly!? I would never, never, never do that).

            1. Ktelzbeth

              I get massages semi-regularly and never want to talk to my massage therapist. It takes away from the me time for me. Don’t worry that you have to talk if you get a massage.

                1. Ktelzbeth

                  Depending on your therapist, you may have to explain this to them. Some like to talk. I’ve had to explain it to a couple of people. I was afraid of offending them at first, but finally decided quiet was part of the service I was paying for.

        2. nep

          Interesting and food for thought for many, probably. A friend gave me a gift certificate for a deep tissue massage a couple years ago, and I never used it. As much as I love a massage and know it’s good for my health, I can’t bring myself to have a stranger’s hands all over me. ‘Intellectually’ I know it’s therapeutic and just a person’s profession. But I don’t want it. I think it’s to do with a couple of incidents in my past.

          1. Not So NewReader

            Not a big fan of deep tissue massage. It can be quite uncomfortable and it can cause difficult/conflicted emotions to bubble to the surface. I think you are wise for not using the gift certificate.
            HOWEVER, like we always say, YMMV. I have a friend who wants someone to dig into his muscles until they reach China.
            My thought on massage is that it should be easy, relaxing and enjoyable. If you feel you want/need deeper work then learn to drink water on a regular basis. Let your body flush out what it needs to get rid of and stick with the lighter massages. JUST my opinion though.

        3. Dee-nice

          Whoa, insight! I really respect your willingness to be introspective about this. I don’t mean that patronizingly– I wish more people I know irl would examine their anxieties so closely.

          1. OP for the massage debacle

            You’re so sweet, Dee-nice! Thank you so much for your support and advice today –

    6. bassclefchick

      I guess the question I would have is are you upset because she sees a male masseuse? Would you have the same issue if she saw a female? I know you mentioned she has switched masseuses, but you never mentioned gender. Personally, I love getting massages. She’s already tried to accommodate your feelings, but this just might be something that you have to work on. Do you have these feelings when she gets a hair cut? Because it’s the same concept, really. Most women I know are chatty with their hairdresser, it’s given by a stranger, and the hairdresser touches your wife. Obviously, not in the same way, but just the act of washing someone else’s hair is rather personal.

      1. Massage Fan

        Respectfully, and not trying to be nit-picky, but a masseuse is a female. A man who gives massages is a masseur.

        1. Sparkly Librarian

          You can avoid a number of issues (gender, conflation with sex work, confusing French spelling) by using “massage therapist”.

      2. nep

        Also not looking to be nit-picky, but I don’t think we know that OP and massage therapist are male…?

        1. Lissa

          Since it says that she’s gone to several different massage therapists I’d assume that they weren’t all the same gender, so I’m not sure if that is the issue.

        2. OP for the massage debacle

          bonus points to nep for social awareness ;) OP, wife, and massage therapist are all female

            1. OP for the massage debacle

              it’s all good, bassclefchick – I was being intentionally vague so that the focus would be on the issue, not genders. It actually made me laugh (out of surprise) when I read nep’s post that he/she questioned it :)

    7. Temperance

      For the massage therapist, it’s just a job. They’re chatty to make her more comfortable. It’s akin to your nurse or doctor making small talk while they are doing an intimate exam.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        I hadn’t thought about it from the massage therapist’s perspective – you’re so right – I have to do this at work too, but I’ve had tunnel vision on this and couldn’t see that. Thank you, Temperance!

      2. dawbs

        This is a touch late, but on the ‘just a job’ front, they’re also chatty because , depending on the location, they’re paid (at least somewhat) in tips.

        That’s not a huge thing, but, it’s rather like the waitress who is chatty with tables who want to chat and who are formal with the tables who want to be formal.
        The chatting is friendliness and relaxing…it’s also part of getting that extra pay.

        1. OP for the massage debacle

          A great point, dawbs – as I’ve never had a massage, I hadn’t thought of the tip part. If I ever get one I’ll let the massage therapist know that the less they talk, the bigger the tip LOL

          1. OP for the massage debacle

            The incessant chit chat at salons and at the dentist drives me bonkers too. I wish there were a way to politely shut it down.

    8. Anonacat

      I love my massages. I get them from men and women and yes I chat, plus I’m naked under those sheets save for some underwear. I also nurse in the OR, which means I see naked people all the time, sometimes I have to handle their junk to sterilize it or put dressings on, or just to check it’s not squished by body position. I also have this magical ability to see naked people everywhere, at the beach, at a lake, in the ocean, if there is an accidental or intentional flash I see it.

      Is my husband jealous, nope its a part of life. If I were you I would examine my own feelings and see where your insecurities are coming from. Yes cheating does happen. I have friends who cheat and they tell me about it. That does not mean I will cheat. However, if you were to suspect me of cheating, I would suspect that you are cheating and try and find fault in me to justify your own actions.

    9. bunniferous

      This is not the same but may help a little-years ago I went to art school and part of it was drawing naked people. Both men and women. I found it interesting that when they were posing we looked at them the same as we would a bowl of fruit. One day a female model was rushing to class and her robe flapped and exposed a breast outside. My classmates were gossiping about it and shocked, etc. I laughed because we drew those same boobs fully exposed in class and no one was shocked, offended or tittilated because of the context.

      I shared that story to help you understand that for the massage therapist it is strictly business, they are performing a therapeutic function, and in that context should be thought of just like a doctor appointment, etc. On the other hand, you may want to think of WHY you are struggling with your wife getting massages and I suspect the issue may be something that is NOT in the massage room but rather in your relationship. Only you would be able to answer that question, probably.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        omg, that’s so funny!

        I think you’re right that the issue isn’t in the massage room, but I think it is actually about me and not the relationship. I’ve realized through the feedback here that I’m projecting my own sensitivities about touching, cheating, boundaries, etc. onto the situation – all of which except what I noted in the first reply/comment is (I think!) totally unrelated to my wife and our relationship. idk. so many new thoughts about this generated by all of these thoughtful comments! What an amazing community and resource this is.

        1. Not So NewReader

          This actually makes sense. If we don’t like X ourselves, how do other people manage to like it? Then someone explains why they like it and that light bulb kicks on.

    10. Bonky

      Your insecurity is on you, not on your wife. I hate to be that person, but you need to deal with it yourself. Telling her to stop, to try different therapists, to wash the aromatherapy oils off: you’re laying your insecurity and irrational jealousy on her and turning it into guilt. That’s a sucky thing to do to someone you love.

      I have had regular massages for getting on for fifteen years now. One of my favourite therapists was male: not because he was a guy, but because he was exceptionally good at his job (he’s since moved from the area). Why do I have massages? I have a high-stress job, and they enable me to switch off completely for an hour every couple of weeks, which I would be unable to do otherwise. They help me to sleep, help me to focus, they fix incipient muscular problems in my back and shoulders, and they make me feel good. My husband doesn’t turn an eyelid because we have a trusting, reciprocally loving relationship.

      I’d imagine the same goes for your wife. It is not a judgment on you that something somebody else does makes her feel good. Many things other people do – cooking great restaurant meals, writing and performing great music, writing great books – make her feel good too. Do they make you jealous and insecure too?

      So for god’s sake, go and see if you can find a talking therapist, a counsellor, or something similar. Go together if you want – but you yourself should definitely go. This situation is of your making, and it can’t be good for your relationship.

      1. Allypopx

        I feel like that’s a little harsh. They’re acknowledging this is a problem and asking for support in how to begin dealing with it.

        I also disagree with the premise that this isn’t the wife’s problem to deal with at all. She obviously isn’t doing anything wrong, but when the OP is clearly struggling with something, even if it’s a personal problem, it makes sense to try to address it within the bounds of the relationship. It’s important that they’re talking about it openly and trying to come up with solutions together.

        I agree the solution shouldn’t be for her to stop and probably involves some therapy but to me your comment comes off as an attack on someone reaching out to the community for help.

        1. OP for the massage debacle

          Thanks, Allypopx. I was really taken aback by Bonky’s aggressive response. I appreciate your take on it.

          You’re exactly right on. Now that I think about it, my wife’s offer to not go (which as I said in the original post I would never, ever take her up on, Bonky) actually is reassuring and calming for me and I think demonstrates the love and commitment we have for each other – both that she offered and that I would never take her up on it even though it would alleviate my angst.

          1. Allypopx

            I agree, that shows you both have an open mind and respect each other a lot. You’ve taken feedback here really well and seem ready to work this out. I think you guys will be fine – you should report back if you make progress! Good luck!

      2. OP for the massage debacle

        I have never asked her to stop, try different therapists, or to wash the oils off. I have shared my angst with her and she has volunteered these things in order to try to find a way for her to have the benefits of the massages, while trying to make it more comfortable for me.

        Eating at a restaurant or attending a concert doesn’t involve a stranger regularly touching my wife’s naked body, so it is an illogical analogy.

        Literally all of the other replies to my post have been thoughtful and helpful, but yours is judgmental and harsh. Are you always this insensitive or did my post hit a nerve for you personally?

    11. neverjaunty

      It sounds as though you’re latching onto the ‘for pleasure’ as a proxy for ‘intimacy’ – you feel that the massage therapist is sharing intimacy with your wife in a way that, say, her gynecologist isn’t.

      I’m wondering if this in part stems from assumptions about what exactly a massage entails – there are fragrances and chit-chat, so you’re probably envisioning the stereotypical Hollywood low-light sensual ‘massage’ that ‘s really an excuse for sexual activity, or a sleazy prostitution front. When actually it’s more of a kind of physical therapy; there’s a reason many people refer to this as “bodywork”.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        “you feel that the massage therapist is sharing intimacy with your wife in a way that, say, her gynecologist isn’t”
        YES!

        Thank you for the objective comparison to physical therapy – that is extremely helpful actually. I’ve had difficulty understanding why her gynecologist appointments don’t bother me, but the massages do and the point about PT really challenges that. PT has a lot of touching and contact and often seeing the same person and I think I’d feel comfortable if she had to do that, so I think you’re spot on about the intimacy point.

        Your comment really helped – thank you!

    12. Merci Dee

      Another thing to keep in mind … massage therapists in my state are required to be licensed by the Board of Massage Therapists. They must meet certain educational requirements to attain licensure, and then must complete continuing education classes to remain in good standing. And because of the way they’re serving the public, the ethics code put into place for these people is insane. They are dedicated professionals who realize that the health of every patient is in their hands, and they can literally mess people up for the rest of their lives with one careless move.

      When I worked as an auditor with the state, I had to examine the Board of Massage Therapists. I was extremely impressed by their rigorous standards. Also a little surprised by the number of complaints filed against licensees by spouses (mostly husbands) who were griping about some dude putting his hands all over their wives. Must be something more going on, because, hey … it’s a dude with his hands on my wife. The director of the board told me that they were required to investigate every single complaint, and that 99% of them had no basis. Said their biggest problem was getting the public to understand that their services constitute medical intervention, and that they have nothing to do with the old days of masseuses in satin robes giving “happy endings” to all the business travelers that stumble through their doors.

      I suspect that, even if Alabama is able to recognize the need for licensure in such a profession, many other states have, too.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        Merci Dee, Thank you so much for your reply and for looking at it from a different vantage point. Your points are things I hadn’t thought about at all and is more concrete, objective data that helps in considering this topic that involves feelings and insecurities. Grateful.

    13. Elizabeth West

      I’m glad you realize that this isn’t appropriate or reasonable. That’s a big step in being able to resolve this, because you already know it needs to change.

      It sounds like you’ve already discussed it with your wife and it hasn’t made you feel any better. Sometimes, for reasons that don’t always make sense, we get stuck in weird patterns of thinking and they’re hard to shake. I suggest seeing a therapist as your next step. Cognitive behavioral therapy could be good for this kind of thing–it’s short-term and focused on changing thought patterns and behavior. Look for a therapist who has experience with it.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        Thank you for your kind and thoughtful feedback and recommendations. You’re so right about getting stuck in weird patterns. I am usually very logical in my reasoning, so having these goofy sensitivities is so frustrating and feels unmanageable.

    14. EA

      Due to long-term back pain, I see a chiropractor regularly. The office I go to also has massage therapists on staff, and will include a 15 minute massage under the same copay. I typically find that I have less pain when I have a massage coupled with a chiropractic adjustment, vs. just the adjustment alone.

      Because of this, I typically see the massage as part of a Dr’s visit, rather than anything out of the ordinary. The therapists are professionals, and although they are friendly, I (nor my wife) have ever felt that any personal boundaries are being crossed.

      (Yes, I realize that this could just be placebo effect, and no, I don’t care to get in a debate as to the relative merits of chiropractic as a “legitimate” form of medicine)

      1. Not So NewReader

        Sometimes people’s muscles are so tight that the chiro can’t work on the person. The bones won’t move because the muscles are more like concrete. So the chiro will send a person to get a massage or two or more, so that the person can receive chiropractic care.

    15. Not So NewReader

      I have a suggestion for you that you might enjoy. Why not learn about oils and fragrances?
      An easy one is peppermint oil. You can use that for headache pain, shoulder/other muscle pain. You can get some peppermint oil for around $10 at a health food store. Put a drop on your finger tip and apply it to the sore muscle or headache area.

      This one is a sneaky one. If you are using oils on yourself, you will eventually connect that smell to a relief in pain. Which might make you less wary of your wife’s scents when she comes home, because you would know first hand the relief a person can get from this stuff.

      I use lavender oil on my hyper dog. I put it where he can’t lick. It’s to the point now if I pull out the bottle he just starts wagging. He knows I am getting something out for him and he knows he will feel better. Even animals enjoy this stuff.

      One last thought: If you google around you might find instances where massage therapists have sent people to medical doctors and in doing so the therapist saved the person’s health/life. They can find joints out of alignment and they can identify other abnormalities that may need immediate treatment.

      1. OP for the massage debacle

        What an interesting idea, Not So NewReader. I actually use Tea Tree oil on my dogs when they have skin irritations, so this wouldn’t even be a reach for me to try! I love that your approach in these suggestions is basically making new associations to break the thought patterns that another reply mentioned, and scents are such a powerful tool.

        Your “last thought” really provides meaningful perspective – particularly by taking it beyond the squishy, hard to quantify qualities often associated with the benefits of massage. My wife is an absolutely amazing person and I would do anything to support her medical needs and long-term health, so taking your last thought into account, it could make it easier for me to stay out of the tunnel vision that I had prior to all of these extraordinary replies, suggestions, and comments today.

        Thank you for all of your support and feedback today, Not So NewReader! You’ve made a huge difference! Very grateful –

    16. MaddieB

      Seriously get a good counselor for this one. Feeling jealousy over a massage therapist who just sees your wife as another customer is very off.

    17. OP for the massage debacle

      THANK YOU TO EVERYONE for your support, suggestions, and feedback! It has already made a meaningful difference and I’ll keep working on it – I’ll follow up in a future Open Thread!

      THANK YOU TO ALISON for hosting this truly amazing website / resource / forum and the Open Thread sessions, and for providing answers to so many questions that so many of us have had in our professional lives with no one to ask. So far, I’ve read nearly half of all of the archived questions and answers and it has been so enriching and interesting! It’s my go-to whenever I need a break from the giant pile of to-do’s on my desk at work! Hmm… let’s see if AAM has anything new!

      1. Harriet

        This may be too late to be seen, but I wanted to give my perspective as someone who used to shudder at the thought of a massage (childhood issues) but who now considers them essential.

        What changed for me was seeing a physiotherapist for back pain, caused by stress and my muscles all being locked tight, so that I was in pain and my movement was restricted. I saw the physio weekly and she did a lot of hands on manipulations to physically release the muscles. We also chatted a lot, partly about what had been going on to cause the problems (things like I was working in 3 cities last week and spent hours crammed into trains and planes), and partly just chit chat – which was basically to help me relax and to take my mind off the fact that what she was doing really, really hurt.

        I now see a massage therapist in the same practice for the same reasons – to release the muscles, and to keep my mobility. It really hurts. And I chat with the massage therapist a lot – again, partly health, partly her taking my mind off it. It’s like when the doctor chatters through your smear test to put you at ease.

        The massage therapists in the practice are highly trained, and their job is keeping sportspeople, dancers, and those with chronic conditions moving. The oil is essential to allow them to get into the muscles, and the nice smells help me relax, which in turn makes their job easier (same for chit chat).

        I never ever thought I would be someone who would crave massages. Even just the thought of a head massage used to squick me out. And I don’t think I could handle it being a male. But, for what it’s worth, that is my experience.

        1. OP for the massage debacle

          Reading your post about your journey from where I am today to where you are today is genuinely inspiring, Harriet – especially where we share(d) the same root problem in avoiding massages! Thank you for your story, I truly appreciate it.

        2. Project Manager - Pharma

          Massage therapists practice in a wide variety of offices. Some of them are in salons and some of them are in more physical therapy/chiropractic offices. Many MT provide services out of more than one office. Would seeing a MT in a more physio-oriented office be different to you than seeing one at a spa?

          1. OP for the massage debacle

            A great point, Pharma. My wife was seeing a massage therapist that worked out of her home and that really exacerbated my insecurities (especially because they’d sit and talk afterward!).

    18. Graflex

      I like what Babblemouth said.

      I’d also add : Try one. (A massage.) Maybe its not your thing, and that’s that, or maybe you’ve found a new thing you could occasionally do as a couple. (Not all the time – I still believe its healthy for you and your wife to have some alone time doing your own thing.)

    19. Anonenony

      Would it help to go with her and watch her get the massage? Then you wouldn’t have the insecurities of speculating about what goes on. If massage is too squickie for you, you might not be able to try this. But it could be a feasible intermediate step short of couples massage.

      1. No, please

        I was thinking this. I once had a massage therapist that would come to my home. It was super relaxing for me and OP could easily observe and then walk away when bored/comfortable. This is an easy way to be there but not too overpowering (if that’s the right word?).

        1. OP for the massage debacle

          A great suggestion actually. What’s funny about the idea is that I would never (way outside my comfort zone!) actually decide to go with her, but simply knowing that I could do that makes it feel less closed off and intimate somehow. Thank you for your comments!

  5. Courageous cat

    Loved A Little Life. I read it about a year ago and I still think about it. Really sticks with you.

    1. Elizabeth H.

      I couldn’t put it down. (A lot of spoilers below about themes of the book) I loved it so much and related to it so much too in many ways. I’m not a writer at all but I used to have impulses to write things when I was a younger teenager. It really spoke to me because it reminded me so much of the kind of book I would have wanted to write and the kind of emotions I would have wanted to explore and describe.
      I don’t think this is a comment on the quality of the book but I think because of its subject matter there’s almost an arrested development quality to the characters’ journeys. Like it is sort of always revolving around where the book opens, that weird early 20s period of your life. I also liked how, and I really don’t mean this as a criticism, but it’s not really committed to the characters development into emotional maturity (like as opposed to something like Jane Eyre for example) or extreme realism – much of what happens to the characters is kind of idealized (in really extreme extremes in both directions) or almost fantastic – and I like how it just goes for it. Also how long it is, that it doesn’t try to be moderate or anything. It’s good to have some of that mixed in with all our moderate art.
      I read it knowing absolutely NOTHING about it – I picked it up off the library shelf just vaguely remembering that it seemed interesting in a book review and really liked going into it like that.

  6. Loopy

    Does anyone else have weird or fun rituals? I’m not sure thats the right word. Maybe habit or routine is a more accurate one. I’ll give an example:

    I work an office job but every Saturday I volunteer outdoors and I move around all four hours. So every Saturday I come home and reward myself with a PB & J sandwich. Only after my Saturday volunteering though.

    I so look forward to my weekly PB and J! Though today I was out in the rain and finished up soaked through so I’m warming up with some tea first :)

    I’m a creature of habit and routine and sometimes my routines make me really happy ( like my PB and J!) anyone else have anything like that? A Friday treat? A weekend reward?

    1. Windchime

      I don’t really right now, but when I had kids at home, we had a special lunch that I would make on Saturdays. It was macaroni and cheese (Kraft, of course, but with extra cheese added) and tuna patties. Mmmmmmm. Totally unhealthy but it was our Saturday thing.

    2. Buggy Crispino

      Have you ever tried a grilled PB&J? Just like you’d make a grilled cheese, make the PB&J sandwich, then butter the outsides and grill it! You’d get that warm toasty feeling and still get your PB&J reward.

      1. Jules the First

        Mmmmmm….grilled PB&J. My family always thought I was weird to prefer it to grilled cheese…

      2. Loopy

        OMG no! That sounds awesome though. I wish I had seen this before I had mine. Next time I will definitely try this!

      3. Cristina in England

        I recently made a grilled strawberry jam sandwich and it was amazing, it was so much better than the sum of its parts! The inside was pillowy and sweet but the outside was crunchy and a little salty. Yum.

      4. Lady Julian

        I only eat PBJ as toast, which creates pretty much the same effect: melty PB and cool jam. Wonderful.

    3. Kj

      Every AM, I get up, eat the same breakfast, then put on my robe and feed the goats a handful of sunflower seeds. Then I feed them their hay. I have to feed them, but I could wait until later, when it was light. I just like to see their faces waiting for me in the dark and they are always excited for the AM seeds.

      1. Aurora Leigh

        I love that you have goats! What breed?

        I have 2 Nigerian dwarf goats that live with my parents right now. They are so cute and sweet!!

        1. Kj

          My are Nigerians as well. One was a bottle-baby, so she is very loving and wants to be with me all the time. The other is more stand-offish. We got them from a rescue that was closing down. When I sit in my home office, they can stare right at me and I can watch them It is fun.

    4. Jules the First

      I only eat cookies on Saturdays. I’m a total cookie-holic, and can’t stop eating them once I start. So once a week, I make a tiny batch (4-6 cookies) and eat them all with a pot of tea.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        What you could do is make up a whole batch of dough, use a small ice cream scoop to make individual dough balls, freeze them on a cookie sheet. Pop them into a ziploc when done. On weekend, pull out 4-6 to bake (pretty sure you can bake from frozen). That way you can control individual amounts and only make dough ONCE.

        Source: worked in cookie shop in high school :)

        Also – the blog Chocolate Covered Katie has a lot of smaller batches. I also have a Small Batch Baking cookbook on how to make individual cakes using tin cans, etc but now you can easily get smaller baking utensils.

        1. Jules the First

          Oh, I wish the freezing trick worked. Sadly, baking is not enough of a barrier to the production of more cookies (yep. I’ve actually put part of a batch in the freezer, eaten some, then got the rest out of the freezer and baked and ate those too. I literally have zero self-control in the face of cookies.)

          Vegan cookie recipes are the easiest to scale down (no eggs to quarter!), but to be honest, every cookie recipe is scalable once you twig that you can halve (or quarter or whatever) an egg (break it into a little bowl, beat gently, and pull out however much you need. The rest goes in tomorrow’s scrambled eggs).

        2. Nicole

          Why didn’t I think of that? I’m totally doing this because I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but the recipe I use makes 3 dozen!

          1. Chocolate Teapot

            In a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, Nigella Lawson advises baking half and freezing half. If memory serves, it only needs one egg for the mixture, so it can’t really be halved.

    5. Colette

      Fridays, I buy my lunch, and I usually get the same thing. When my team goes out for lunch, I’m a little disappointed to miss my treat.

    6. Elizabeth West

      Just a morning one. I make a huge cup of coffee with milk and sugar and flip through websites in a particular order:
      –MSN UK
      –MSN US
      –Facebook
      –Buzzfeed
      –NOAA’s weather page

      If I don’t get my coffee and internet ritual, I get cranky. Since I almost always travel with my laptop, I will even do this in hotel rooms.

      1. nep

        Me.
        Wherever I am, I do my (black) coffee and news first thing. (Well, after my warm lemon water, which is the first first thing.)
        I feel quite off kilter when I can’t start the day that way.
        For me it’s: Guardian UK, BBC, NY Times, and weather — then a couple fitness/weightlifting sites

    7. Jen RO

      On Saturday mornings, when my boyfriend sleeps in late, I wake up at 8, as usual, and I have breakfast in the other room by myself. The even better version is when Amazing Race is on and I get to watch that too. Being all alone after a week of talking to other people is so good.

    8. Liane

      College Son and I like to go to McDonalds after church. We usually bring home food for the rest of the clan too.

    9. Lemon Zinger

      On weekend mornings, my boyfriend and I sleep in, then I walk the dog while he showers. Then we make a delicious breakfast together (extra special because during the work week, we both eat at our offices). Today I made soup (I’m recovering from a cold) and he made breakfast tacos.

      Then we eat while catching up on a show. This morning we watched The Last Ship– so good!

    10. JJtheDoc

      We have a homemade pizza for dinner every Friday night, with a shared bottle of wine. Just on Fridays – the pizza is just on Friday and my mouth is watering for it as I drive home. Wine, on the other hand, is shared 2-3 times a week.

    11. HannahS

      My breakfast every weekday is two scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast (with two pats of butter), and two cups of tea. At this point, I can make the whole thing in about six minutes, and I get to sit and eat a hot breakfast every morning. I love it! It really helps me feel like how bad could the day possibly be? I’m eating a proper, sit-down, hot breakfast. It helps me face the day :)

    12. Marillenbaum

      Friday pad Thai. I started this at my old job living in North Carolina; there was a good Thai place nearby and I would order for myself in the evenings. Now that I’ve moved to DC, I still keep it up; it helps that the class I TA meets that day, and I find the professor…challenging, to say the least, so it still feels like a good treat.

    13. Clever Name

      My life is full of routines. I don’t know if I could type them all out. I had the exact same breakfast (hard boiled egg and whole wheat English muffin) for 5 years. Now it’s grape nuts. I also always try to do things in the most efficient way possible. When something messes up my routine or plans, it’s distressing. I suspect I may be somewhere on the spectrum.

  7. Anonymous for the Weekend

    I feel self-conscious writing this and asking for advice, but there’s no one I can chat with in real life about this at the moment and I’m wondering if anyone has had a similar experience or has some wisdom to share.

    So, right now, my father is in a hospice dying from an aggressive form of cancer. I always knew that I’d be sad when either of my parents died, but I was not expecting to have so much anger. Thinking about any aspect of my father’s disease makes me so angry. I’m angry at doctors and nurses, even though they’re doing their jobs and trying to be helpful. I’m angry at my father for “getting” sick. In particular, my father was a big procrastinator in his life and now there are all these things that he should have done before his illness became so bad, but now they’re my responsibility. I am so bitter and angry at him for dumping all of his problems on me like this.

    I am so angry that I can barely even visit him, because when I do I want to confront him about everything. When I went to see him a few days ago, I got into an argument with him at the hospice!!! I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to be a nice, gentle, loving daughter who takes care of their dying father. I am just enraged when I see him and I can barely control it.

    I am in therapy, but I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how to deal with this anger? Like, I don’t want to be so angry at my father when he dies, but I don’t know what to do.

    1. Dee-Nice

      Hey. I don’t have any advice except to say I’m sorry, and the whole situation sucks, and honestly anyone would be angry. None of this is f*cking fair. Anger is a reasonable reaction. Work on your anger, yes, because being angry feels terrible, but don’t beat yourself up about it. Internet hugs to you.

      1. Jeannalola

        Talk to the hospice social worker and/or chaplain. The anger you feel happens to many people. They should have expertise in helping you with this.

    2. Anonymous for the Weekend

      Ugh and can I get one more thing off of my chest. This might make me sound ungrateful, but I am so exhausted by people who offer help and seemingly want to help me… but aren’t there when I actually need help. The other day someone who previously told me that I can chat with them “any time” told me to see a therapist and that “talking with people is good” when I expressed how sad and incompetent this situation makes me feel. Why offer your shoulder to someone when you aren’t willing to actually do that?

      1. Allypopx

        None of this sounds ungrateful. You’re in an emotional, frustrating, and overwhelming situation. A whole range of reactions is totally normal.

        You really need to talk to people who specialize in grief. Therapist is great, stick with that. The hospital chaplain was also a good suggestion above.

        You’re going to go through a whole range of emotions and they aren’t always going to seem rational or helpful. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

      2. Dee-Nice

        I don’t think you sound ungrateful. I think when something this big and awful happens in your life it feels incredibly lonely because very few people understand or even know how to help, even if they wanted to. I have loved ones who are mentally ill and though it’s not the same situation as yours, I feel really lonely a lot of the time because the truth is, no one CAN help. If I need to talk to someone and I’m just looking for someone to listen, I try to specify that I’m just looking for a sympathetic ear and they don’t have to say or do anything. If I can think of something practical someone can do, I try to be specific about what I need. But the crappier your situation is and the worse you feel, the harder it is to have the wherewithal to even delegate. Maybe you feel this way too.
        If your friends are actually flaky and just don’t show up when you ask them to, then that sucks and I’m sorry. :(

      3. DoDah

        My father died from an aggressive form of cancer My mother has mental health issues so she wasn’t very helpful and my sister was 14. My father left a big mess for us to clean up. He created a will with the hospice worker the day before he passed. He refused to get life insurance because, ” when I die, I don’t care what happens to all of you.” It was a mess—the debt, the paperwork, everything. I didn’t get angry until after he passed, but I empathize. I’ve come to realize that he was what he was–and he did what he could, weighted down with severe, lifelong, untreated depression and an abusive childhood. Like others suggested I found hospice and therapy very helpful. I’m sorry you are in this situation and I’m sorry you aren’t getting support.

      4. Observer

        Nope, not at all ungrateful.Gratitude is for when people actually do things for you, even if it’s “only” a shoulder or listening ear. Offers that don’t materialize because the offerer didn’t come through don’t require gratitude. Sometimes people are sincere when they offer, even when they fall through, so I wouldn’t conclude too much about them (unless they have a tack record of offering help that fall through). But I still wouldn’t expect gratitude.

    3. A. Non

      I’m so sorry, what a difficult situation. I’m told anger is a normal part of the grieving process – not one that’s talked about much, for the reasons you’re giving here, but you’re not bad or broken to be feeling it. Can you give your therapist a call? They’re often happy to take phone calls or set up an appointment on short notice for helping with things like this. If you can’t get in touch with your therapist, the hospice people can probably refer you to someone if you need to talk (and if you haven’t had the chance to yet, I’d recommend it). They usually have resources for family members and see caring for the family as part of their job.

      And, end-of-life stuff is a LOT of work. It put a huge strain on my family when my grandparents died, and they were responsible, organized people and we had half a dozen adults to help with it. There was plenty of anger to go around, though we mostly directed it at each other. This stuff is just inherently difficult and angry-making. You have all my sympathy.

      Best wishes to you and your dad.

    4. Thomas E

      Actually, this is a very common reaction to the situation you’re in.

      It doesn’t make you a bad person.

      It shows you are human.

    5. neverjaunty

      This is very, very, very normal. Talk to your therapist about it; it doesn’t make you awful or a bad daughter.

      And expect that people who offer vague help are doing so because they think it’s the thing to say, not because they are helpful.

    6. SophieChotek

      I am sorry you are going through such a difficult time. You have my sympathy.
      For what its worth, and echoing a lot of what others have already said, anger and frustration seems pretty normal reactions.

    7. De Minimis

      We had a similar situation with my father-in-law. He sounds a lot like your father as far as not taking care of things. All I can say is that the feelings you are going through are normal and there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.

    8. Kj

      This is very normal and human. To help, could you try writing everyday about your anger? Like, open a blank word doc and just let yourself spill, no filter? It would do two things: 1, let you vent in-between therapy and 2, maybe give you some ideas of themes to talk to therapist about. Sometimes our brains have a lot of “noise” and getting it out on page can help us see patterns. If you are artistic, drawing about your anger could help. However you can externalize your anger is good. When I get really upset, I draw about what is upsetting me.

      1. StrikingFalcon

        It can also help to schedule this time and set a timer. “Ok, for the next x minutes, I’m going to sit with my anger, but then I will try to put it aside and deal with life again/find a distraction.” Sometimes when we feel emotions we think we shouldn’t, we try to just not feel them, but then they are always cropping up in our thoughts. This way you can say “ok, I’m angry, I’ll think about that more tomorrow morning, but right now I need to deal with x.”

    9. Camellia

      Whenever I have anger to deal with, I get in the car, turn on loud heavy rock-type music, and yell out every thing I want to say to people. I yell as loud as I can (the music both masks and encourages the noise), and I say every last thing I would ever want to say to them if only I could.

      Not sure why, but this really helps. Afterwards I don’t feel nearly the urge to yell/say those things to the actual people.

    10. Tala

      It’s normal and natural but it will also eat you up so do look after yourself. You’ll have a lifetime to deal with and wade through the anger but you don’t have much time with your father, so I would say try and contextualise it if you can. I went through a similar thing with my dad a couple of years ago and am about to go through it with my mom and I have some regrets about letting stupid things get in the way of just caring for and being with him toward the end.

      I don’t know how close you guys are but with regard to the procrastination – some people are just lousy organisers! They do the best they can and it’s still terrible!

      If I’m allowed to recommend another site that might be of help it’s Aging Care – google it. It has lots of articles as well as support forums when you can rant, vent and be among ‘friends’ who have walked in your shoes. I’ll be thinking of you OP x

      1. De Minimis

        Yeah, I wanted to say that too, even if it’s difficult try to spend time with him as much as possible.

    11. EmmaLou

      You are right to be angry. You have good reason. Cancer is a merciless, evil monster. It maims, kills and destroys. We throw money, study, intelligence, stamina, health, unflagging perseverance at it and still, it continues. And I am still angry at my parents for checking out early. Darn it, I still need them and they chose a ridiculous bit of burned weeds and some paper over us. And it killed them. So, own that anger. Put names on it. Take walks. Take deep breaths. And realize that at the base of it, is love. Deep, abiding, strong love.
      I am so sorry you are going through this.

      1. Student A

        “Darn it, I still need them and they chose a ridiculous bit of burned weeds and some paper over us.”

        Are you referring to cigarettes? Hope you don’t mind me asking. My parents are smokers and it makes me angry as well.

        1. EmmaLou

          Yes, cigarette smokers all their lives, but I choose ding-dongs and KFC so… I’ll just sit here in my glass house.

          1. Student A

            Ha! I had the same thought earlier today. I have an emotional eating problem and try to cut them some slack.

    12. Gene

      Go to the bookstore or library and get the Kübler-Ross book, On Death and Dying. It’s not a panacea, but it may help you understand your totally normal feelings.

    13. Alexis

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My dad died of pancreatic cancer and I was so angry at the situation and lots of random people and I think anger is a normal, if very difficult, part of grief for many.

      I spoke with the hospital social worker which was therapeutic, and continued seeing my psychologist. Seeking out friends who were good listeners and non judgemental, as well as people who had lost a parent, was also helpful for me.

      I think writing a letter to your dad may help. Once I wrote lots of little post it notes with hard things and threw them off a bridge (oops littering) but that was hokey and completely therapeutic.

      Lastly, I’m sorry about your friends not being there in the way you need them to be. I found the same- and I found even when I could ask for specific help like, can you come help me clean my house, people sadly didn’t follow through. It took me a long time to be very open and specific about my needs (“Can you make sure you specifically ask about my grief when we get together because that’s the only way I feel open to talk about it”, making requests for help etc) and when I did, things improved somewhat. <3

      1. Sunflower

        So kind of a follow up on this…How would you recommend asking someone about it specifically? I’m trying to be better about checking in with friends some time after their loved one has died. ‘How are you doing’ is not even a question nowadays. I’m nervous to say ‘It’s been about X time since your parent died, how are you doing with that these days?’ because I don’t want to bring it up if they don’t want to talk about it. I’m like you in the sense that I would need someone to ask me specially about my grief before I talked about so I’m trying to balance the line between caring and not pushing someone to talk when they don’t want to.

        1. Alexis

          You are so thoughtful and considerate! Having friends check in was so big for me.

          For me, it really helped when friends would say something like “How are you doing with your grief?”, or “I know it was Christmas/your dad’s birthday/your promotion/ a family gathering recently. How was it without your dad there?” They also said, “if you don’t mind me asking”, or “if you feel like talking about it today” and had grace when I said I didn’t feel like talking about it.

          These basics would drive the conversation and help me open up. You’re such a considerate friend to be following up and showing you care!

        2. Jersey's mom

          It depends on the person. I have a girlfriend and both parents died within a year or so of each other. She liked to talk about them and would bring them up in conversation.

          Another girlfriend lost her 16 year of daughter unexpectedly last February. We live 1000+ miles away, so our contact is more limited. I put notes in the cards I sent for her birthday and Christmas, talking about her daughter and trying to provide some tiny consolation in loving words.

          The one year anniversary is coming up, and I plan to send a card simply saying “thinking of you and sending positive thoughts in your direction.”

          Maybe a card near (not on) a holiday, birthday or some significant day – simply saying “thinking about you and X, and if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here”. This lets them know that yes, you are aware and thinking of them and gives them the choice of what they want to do.

          Some of my friends I’ll talk to about very personal loss, and other friends, I’d be mortified if they brought it up in person.

    14. NarrowDoorways

      I HATED my mother when she almost died two years ago. I was just so full of anger at everything, even though I knew it wasn’t really her fault. I saw a therapist and that really helped me. We met about 3 times and that gave me the tools to approach the problem myself.

      Good luck.

    15. Elizabeth West

      *hugs* I had the same reaction when my dad had cancer surgery at the time I was living in his house (he’s fine; this was quite a few years ago). I was angry at him for getting sick and angry because my mum was working in another city and I had to do stuff SHE should be doing. It’s totally normal.

      If you feel you’re having trouble coping, call your therapist. That’s what they’re for.

    16. Sunflower

      I don’t have much advice but I do have sympathy. Lately, it seems I’ve had way too many friends losing parents and it’s incredible to see how tough it is on all of them and how differently all of them have been affected. I think the anger is totally normal and it’s also maybe something that people going through this don’t talk about too much. Like you said- you expected to be sad, but didn’t expect the anger and I think a lot of other people are blindsided and confused by those feelings.

      I was recently dating someone who’s parent was dying of an aggressive cancer so I did a lot of internet researching on the feelings and emotions of those going through this. There seems to be a lot of information and support groups online for this kind of thing. Maybe your therapist can recommend a particularly helpful one?

      Hoping you are talking to your therapist about this and they are helping. If you’re new to therapy, don’t be afraid to check out other therapists if you feel yours isn’t working. Good luck and don’t forget to take care of yourself.

    17. Hey Annoy-nonnie

      I know it doesn’t help much but this is a super normal reaction.
      When my daughter died I was angry at everything and and nothing. What are you supposed to be angry with when someone dies from a fatal genetic disease? It’s been almost a year and this morning I lashed out at my husband with what I’m sure was still anger from that. Not fun or nice but at least he gets it because he’s there too. Look into if your employer has an EAP that you can get counseling through, you can find out if counseling will help you cope better. (Incidentally counseling helped hubs but made me angrier, I ended up going to a women’s group for women coping with child loss. The hospice would be a great resource for that kind of group and if they don’t have one you should push them to start one, IME part of hospice care is to support the family of the ill person and provide them support and continuity.

      1. Observer

        I think your point about the effect of therapy is not so incidental. You clearly did get a therapist that was right for you. That’s not on you, maybe not even on the therapist, either. But a reality, and one that’s pretty common. A LOT of people need to go through different therapists and / or modalities to find what works for them.

    18. AnyPenny

      You have my sympathy. My father-in-law died 2 weeks before Christmas 2016 from Stage 4 Prostate cancer, at diagnosis, and my husband had A LOT of anger, both towards his father and his mother. He had a year and a half to come to grips with his anger and I think it has finally dissipated. He regularly checks in with a psychiatrist. What seems to have really helped him with his anger towards his father was to view the whole situation as his father’s final life lesson. I don’t think I’m articulating it well but he turned his perspective away from the the aspect of neglect and ignorance (specific to our situation) and instead turned it towards embracing opportunities and enjoying activities (also specific to our situation). Maybe look at what, specifically, makes you feel the anger in your situation and see if you can find a secondary, positive lesson from it.

    19. Observer

      Talk to your therapist about this. I’d be willing to bet that it’s NOT about anything your father did / did not do. After all, the medical personnel are not doing anything wrong, you know that – and yet you are angry at them, too.

      The fact that there are some somewhat objective issues here obscures the fact that you response is not in sync with what is actually happening. Once you realize this, though, it becomes clear that your anger is a mask for something else. What, I don’t know. It could be fear, sadness that you don’t know how to deal with, anger over an older unresolved issue, anger at the fact that this is happening and you are being “too accepting”, or something I haven’t imagined yet. Your therapist should be able to help you unpack this and figure out how to deal with whatever you dig up.

    20. Not So NewReader

      Anger is a normal part of grief. Yeah, feel like punching holes in the wall? That’s pretty normal for a lot of people.

      Exercise when you can. Taking walks is really good, it will help dissipate some of the excess energy from anger and it will give you time to think through what you want your real answer to look like.

      Cry when you can. I know. It’s much easier to be angry. Often times behind anger is tears. So when you feel the tears coming up, let them flow. Crying helps to trigger chemical reactions in the brain that keep the brain healthy. If you do end up walking or other exercise, then you might find it easier to cry because you have gotten rid of some extra energy.

      All his problems. I totally get the anger there. phew. yeah. Okay so delegate as often as possible. At first this won’t be easy because who is there to delegate to? In my experience it’s total strangers. When the nurse asks if you would like a cup of hot tea, tell her yes. If a doc agrees to meet with you and asks what time is best for you, tell him a time that is actually best for YOU, not what you think is good for him.

      It sounds like you are on your own taking care of him? Tell people that! Tell the docs/nurses/other staff. Or let’s say your family is tiny, just say, “It’s me and my sib. I do most of the leg work because sib is on the opposite coast.” Let people know how much of a load you are carrying so the professionals can gauge their suggestions and support accordingly. When my father was dying, I told the nurses it was just me and him, he had no one else locally. What happened next made me cry. Every time I went to see him there was one or more nurses in the room talking to him, what are the odds of that? I believe the staff paid more attention to him because they knew it was just the two of us. This is what delegating looks like. It means telling professionals where things are at so they can better support him and know what to expect from you.

      In short a good response to being angry at all the work is to start delegating the work as much as possible. Once you start you will think of more ways as you go along.

      Self-conscious PLUS anger. The part about feeling self-conscious (which is probably a nice way of saying feeling guilty) is to just acknowledge that it feels weird to be so angry. Look in the mirror and say to your reflection, “I am really fn p.o.’ed and it feels sooo very weird!”
      Think about layers of the onion’s skin.
      Self-conscious
      Angry
      Tears

      Self-consciousness blocks you from feeling angry. Once you get down to the anger the anger is blocking your tears. Decide you are human, decide you have many emotions all at the same time. It’s not wrong to have a lot of emotions. Repeated: It’s not wrong to have a lot of emotions.
      It’s how we handle our emotions that matters. Do you have holes in the walls of every room in your home? NO? Good. You are handling your emotions. Talk nicely to yourself. Tell yourself it is okay to feel guilty/angry/ weepy. Because it IS okay to feel guilty/angry/weepy. Acknowledge the emotion or feeling, don’t brush it aside and don’t sit there as judge/jury/executioner either. Just feel the feeling.

      I have had luck with homeopathic remedies for calming. Maybe you would be more interested in a drink with electrolytes in it. Grief drains vitamins and minerals out of our bodies and minds, you can look for ways to get good stuff into you. This will help also.

      Come back and let us know how it’s going with you.

    21. the gold digger

      I am so sorry to hear this. My father died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He left his affairs in great order, but I was still very very angry that he was dying. I think your anger sounds like a very natural reaction, especially considering you know that you are going to be stuck dealing with things he should have resolved.

      Sending you a big hug. I know what you are going through is awful.

    22. Clever Name

      Grief rage. When my niece died before she was born there were times when I just wanted to SCREAM my rage to the universe and beat the ground. I’m not sure I have any advice, but you aren’t alone.

    23. I Miss My Pops

      It’s totally normal. My dad had cancer and at the point where he was diagnosed, it was far to late to do anything. He thought he’d had arthritis. Sheesh! After he passed, I went through another phase of anger and sometimes I still have flashes. I mean, I absolutely seethe with anger. It’s not healthy but recognizing it and working through it is a positive.

      I’m sorry you have to go through it, hang in there. Enjoy the time you have left.

  8. HelloWorld

    I’ve been getting “out there” more, meeting more people to collaborate on artistic projects with. But I find myself suffering from embarrassment after the fact. Actually what it is, is I think of them and think, “WHY DO THEY HATE ME!!!” I mean, they clearly don’t “hate” me, because they’re still helping me out and introducing me to people. I don’t know… it’s like, a certain group of people who are helping me out, but I’m not bffs with them. I think of them, and I feel like they hate me. Maybe it’s because I feel like it’s not really a balanced relationship? I guess I’m offering them… kindness and gratitude and… people like to help people and give advice? I don’t know. It’s been coming up more and more, and I feel so awkward and uncomfortable, and no one has been anything but super nice to me. It’s a new thing too. I’m really social and friendly so I don’t know how to get over this weird feeling!

    1. Camellia

      Hmm, I’ve experienced this a couple of times and I discovered that I was actually hating myself for having to depend on and/or get help from people. And if it’s not quite that, continually having to feel gratitude can begin to grate on me and make me feel quite grumpy.

      Does either of those ring a bell for you?

      1. HelloWorld

        Hmmm. I think maybe the first thing. Like it’s weird to get help from someone I’m not paying by the hour…

        1. Josie Prescott

          Sure, there’s a line where you’re taking advantage, but if folks are offering to help and seem happy about it, they are getting something valuable out of it.

          Maybe you need to find a way to pay the favors forward so you can experience the other side of this type of interaction? I can’t tell you how much it boosts my self-confidence and general well-being to be able to help someone else in a meaningful way. I am especially grateful for the opportunities I get to help others navigate the career challenges I struggles with most.

          1. Not So NewReader

            Bingo. As you are looking for ways to pay it forward, OP, try to think about them looking for ways to pay it forward. Then, ah-ha, they found you! Oh boy, an opportunity to pay it forward! They must have been relieved to find you.

            Sometimes the most selfish thing we can do is cut off people’s ability to do something for us. Kind of a mind-bender, eh? When we allow someone to give us something it’s not always about us, sometimes it’s about something inside them.

    2. Basil Thyme

      Are you making time to spend time with friends? Like, your real friends? And also making time to rest and be on your own and recharge? Because socialising for networking or collaboration can feel like a kind of faked, forced friendship (like the way you feel you have to listen to That One Coworker and laugh at their jokes) and Being Nice is a form of emotional labour.

      And if the emotional labour is unbalanced (where you’re carrying conversations, always having to be nice, and constantly displaying proper levels of gratitude) then your feelings may well be valid, at least on that level. I mean, if you need to collaborate and the people you collaborate with are hard work (emotionally), there may not be anything you can do about that, but recognising that your feelings are valid can help.

      But also maybe look at your personal issues, if you have any? I have a history of being bullied and ostracised, and it makes me weirdly twitchy with coworkers and service people, like I’m always double-checking their reactions to me, becauese for years that was a survival strategy that I needed to have. Recognising what I’m doing hasn’t stopped me doing it, but it is easier to cope with now.

  9. Abigail

    What face creams do you think are best? I’m looking for a daydream with spf and a night anti-wrinkle cream. (You can use anti wrinkle cream with moisturizer right? I was using basic stuff before so I’m new at this.)

    1. babblemouth

      I’ve tried a few, and I keep coming back to Nivea being my favourite. The most basic in their line is fantastic, and does a better job that some of the more expensive ones from other brands.

    2. Mazzy

      For night wrinkle cream, I use ROC deep wrinkle daily moisturizer. It has retinol, from which I understand is the only thing that actually reverses aging. No need to combine it with anything else.

        1. Mazzy

          Oh I never thought of that, that isn’t an issue I have. I noticed this cream helped though with crow’s feat and lines in the forehead. I’ve been using it for years and I am almost 40 and have no lines on my forehead and no smile lines even though I do smile:-)

        2. Grey

          If you want good information, go to The Beauty Brains blog. They’re cosmetic chemists, so they know their stuff.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Will that work for sensitive skin? Concerned about the retinol irritation.

        I’ve been using Emu oil since I got a bunch from my mother last summer (note: she has super sensitive skin and this irritated hers) and it works well, but not every night. I also use a gentle face wash in the morning (Lancome has some thing that works great, though Aveeno has a foamy wash I like too) and sometimes wash with honey in the evenings. Yes, thats right, a little warm water on the face, a little bit of honey massaged in like a normal face wash, and then rinse. Makes your skin baby smooth. And then of course a moisteurizer after.

    3. ThatGirl

      I use a generic sensitive skin moisturizer with spf during the day (the Target version of Olay) and Olay Regenerist serum at night. So far so good.

    4. Camellia

      The Olay Regenerist line is fantastic. I used the fragrance-free versions and would order them on-line from Ulta if I couldn’t always find them in the drugstore. The SPF 50 serum also doubles as a great primer under foundation.

    5. Bonky

      I’ve been a disgustingly-expensive-products person for years, then two years ago I found my £100 pot of face cream wasn’t helping at all when I went skiing in the US and my skin decided to turn into cornflakes. It being a bit of an emergency (I was turning into the Lizard Queen moment by moment), I just grabbed the first promising thing I could find at the supermarket: a bottle of CeraVe lotion.

      It’s phenomenally good. Hydrates without greasiness, works under makeup – and killed those flakes overnight. There’s no spf in it, but I use a separate one (Shiseido) so I can control exactly how much spf I’m getting.

      I use it at night too. If you’re after an anti-wrinkle thing, look at products with retinol in them (like the ROC cream others are recommending here) and either use them with it, or instead of, every other night.

      1. Anxa

        I went through a face where I pretty much stuck to ‘natural’ lotions and such, but cerave was my one transgression. I don’t use it all year, or even all winter, but just using it for a week or so really helps my eczema. It really works better than anything else. I should get a new tub as I’ve moved away from my warmer location.

      2. Clever Name

        I’m laughing a little at this I live in Colorado, so I slather my entire body with lotion every day and use heavy face cream. Woe betide me if I leave the house without chapstick and hand lotion.

    6. Merci Dee

      I am a disciple of Burt’so Bees intense hydration mask for a good moisturizer. Directions suggest using it once or twice a week, but my skin is so dry and sensitive that I use it daily. Burt’s Bees also has a phenomenal line of anti-wrinkle products. I’ve recently gotten the eye cream, so I can’t give a full recommendation just yet. But Burt’s is the only line of products in use on my face (cleanser, rosewater toner, lotion, eye cream, lip balm). I love that their products are 99% natural, and not terribly expensive. Check out their website. http://www.burtsbees.com

    7. Elizabeth West

      I’m poor so I just use the generic version of Olay with SPF during the day (I make sure to get my neck as well as my face) and Pond’s Dry Skin Cream at night. The Pond’s is a bit heavier. I stay out of the sun as much as possible, too.

    8. Libervermis

      I love CeraVe AM and PM lotions. I’ve also slowly been getting into Korean skincare, which can be super overwhelming when you start (still is for me) but has lots of little things you can incorporate as you wish to. Big emphasis on moisturizing and being gentle with your skin. SokoGlam is a good place to start reading about it, though the products she curates tend to be on the expensive side.

    9. Stellaaaaa

      I’m a bit of a skincare junkie but I recently pared back. A lot of products that target specific issues come with their own set of problems, and you need to use other products to resolve those, and then those ones introduce new problems too. It wasn’t worth all the hassle and expense for a maybe 5% improvement. Richer face creams tend to contain things like shea butter, castor oil, or coconut oil, and those aren’t things you want to put on your face if you get clogged up easily. Lately I’ve been using argan oil. It contains a bunch of anti-aging stuff and it doesn’t trigger other issues.

      I personally have had issues with retinol in the past. I don’t have sensitive skin at all but retinol makes it really fragile. Retinol also needs to be used in perpetuity for you to maintain the results, and I know that puts some people off. I prefer glycolic acid products because they’re gentler on the skin and more brands manufacture them. It’s easier to shop around for a product that’s in line with what you want.

      If you just want basic products that are easy to use, CeraVe’s AM moisturizer is pretty good. Aveeno’s Smart Naturals SPF30 has a better ingredient profile but can be harder to find. I don’t like CeraVe’s PM moisturizer. It feels silky going on but it’s all silicone with a few science-y ingredients mixed in. It makes your skin feel and look smooth on the surface but your skin will be dry underneath that film.

      Sorry for the novel! I just find that it’s helpful to explain my thought process for why I like or dislike certain types of products.

      1. Merci Dee

        I agree with the idea that using some products cause problems in other areas, and with the idea that you have to keep using a specific product or ingredient to see the same results. I used to have a book called “The Handbook of Natural Beauty”. It had a bunch of great recipes for facial products that used all natural ingredients. But it also talked about some of the problems that synthetic ingredients can cause, in particular the problems with mineral oil/petrolatum. Mineral oil, frequently listed as petrolatum in the ingredients list, is a by-product of the process that refines crude oil into gasoline. It’s incredibly cheap, so it gets dumped into just about every body lotion on the market. Mineral oil works by pulling moisture from deeper layers of the skin to moisturize the top. So you have to keep using it to see the same results. If you stop, you’re left with alligator skin. The only body lotions I’ve found that don’t have mineral oil are the Jergens original cherry-almond formula, and the Equate version of the Jergens formula that you get from Walmart. Everything else I’ve looked at has mineral oil or petrolatum listed as one of the top ingredients. I was shocked to find it in Aveeno and Curel lotions, though less shocked that it’s in less expensive lotions. Now, I look for formulas with avocado, olive, or jojoba oils because those are natural humectants that pull moisture from the air to your skin. Honey does the same thing, like the comment further up. Wash your face, rub on raw honey and let it set for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing. Rubbing a handful of coarse salt and a good drizzle of honey into your hands works wonders on dry, winter skin, too. In all cases with honey, follow with a good moisturizer.

        1. Stellaaaaa

          I just read through the ingredients on my Burt’s Bees lotion – no mineral oil! I also loooooove the body butters by Nourish Organic.

      2. Anxa

        I love CeraVe’s regular cream, but do lament the actual ‘carrier cream’ itself, as my skin’s not a big fan of dimethicone and/or other common ingredients. I had an allergic reaction to aloe last year, which was heartbreaking. I’m hoping I was allergic to this particular brand or the preservative (I think it was vitamin C related). I have been chicken to front the cost of a new bottle, but I really hope I can do aloe still.

        I think one day I’m just gonna get the ceramides and stick it in another lotion. Or maybe I won’t have to as more and more creams contain them.

        1. Rana

          Yeah, I have that problem with the CeraVe. Anything with dimethicone turns out to aggravate my eczema on my hands in really strange ways, which is disappointing because CeraVe is great on other areas.

          I’ve found that moisturizers based on things like olive oil (DHC has several nice ones) or avocado or sesame oil aren’t nearly as irritating, though it’s sometimes hard to find a formulation that feels pleasant.

    10. Chaordic One

      I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturize Broad Spectrum SPF as my go to everyday moisurizer. I never go out of the house without wearing it.

      I alternate between ROC Retinol Conrexxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, L’Orea REvitalift Night Cream, Garnier SkinActive Ultra Lift AntiWrinkle Firming Night Cream and Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream during the night. After I apply the Night Crearm, I apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over top of the night cream under my eyes to seal it in.

    11. Not So NewReader

      If you are worried about wrinkles make super sure you are drinking good amounts of water daily.

      My friend had an apple-doll face- very wrinkly. One day she had a heart event. She was rushed to the hospital. They concluded that she was wildly dehydrated. They forced hydration. When I saw her next she looked 20 years younger. The difference floored me. I always knew water was super important. I never realized how much water played with the aging on our faces. My friend when from looking like 70 plus years old down to her real age of mid to late 50s. The change was that dramatic.

      1. Stellaaaaa

        Water is so, so important. It’s not a miracle cure but you won’t even know what your skin naturally looks like if it’s dehydrated.

    12. Sami

      The thing that will make the most difference for your skin in the long run is using sunscreen and/or staying out of the sun. I look at pictures of friends I graduated high school with on Facebook and it’s very evident who is a sun worshipper and who isn’t (or is at least religious about using sunscreen).

      Use beautypedia (dot) com for everything else.

    13. Starley

      There are two I really love. One is Lush’s Enzymion. I have bad problems with dark circles under my eyes so I’ve been using Clark’s Botanicals anti-puff eye cream with great results. It’s more than I like to spend but a bottle lasts me six months. Skincare is one of the only things I splurge on, though.

    14. Blue_eyes

      I like Cetaphil’s face moisturizer. It has SPF and is not oily. I use their face wash too because it’s very gentle.

    15. Spice for this

      I recommend Dr. Hauschka. They have been in business since 1967 and it is a clean and natural skincare line. Please remember to check the list of ingredients on your skin care products to avoid chemicals especially:
      Parabens
      Synthetic colors
      Fragrance
      Phthalates
      Triclosan
      Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)
      Formaldehyde
      Toluene

    16. Clever Name

      I live in a dry climate but have oily skin. I’m also pretty fair with sensitive skin. I’ve had serious reactions (benzoyl peroxide makes my entire face swell) to products in the past, and I’m sensitized to formaldehyde, which is a component in a lot of cosmetics and fragrance. So I’m really careful with what I put on my face. I use Jason vitamin e cream morning and night. I also use oil of Olay sensitive skin with spf 15 as a light sunscreen. I also use sibu eye cream. I don’t have an anti wrinkle cream, and I’m not sure I’ll use one ever, given reactions I’ve had in the past. Stuff tends to make my face burn. Not fun.

  10. carmine

    That book was incredible. As a contemporary art lover, I was drawn to it as one of the characters is a painter.

  11. Anontomatic

    Have any of you been diagnosed with Arnold. chiari malformatin 1 – where you diagnosed by chance?

    1. Jenbug

      One of my dear friends had a chiari malformation and had to have surgery about 12 years ago. From what I remember, she started to have trouble walking and speaking, went to a neurologist, and they determined that her brain was pressing on her spinal cord. She has a metal plate now to keep her brain where it’s supposed to be.

    2. Cristina in England

      Someone close to me has it, and they were diagnosed by chance while having an MRI for something else.

      1. Hey Ahnold

        I was diagnosed after I had an MRI. I fainted at school and the emergency room doctor wanted to see if there was a cause. And there was! About two months later, I lost the ability to move my right arm and massive headaches. I went to Mayo Clinic and had a decompression surgery. After months of occupational therapy, I am back at 85% strength and 95% movement. Best of luck with your care!

  12. Windchime

    Eve has such a sweet little face.

    I’m looking for a new book to read so I’ll take you up on your recommendation, Alison. I love a good book that wrecks me. There are some books that I have only read once because they were so good that I didn’t want to ruin their memory; there are movies like that, too. One of them was, inexplicably, “Lost in Translation” with Bill Murray. I know, that seems weird. But at the end when he ran after her in the crown and whispered something in her ear, something that was only for her and we (the audience) didn’t even get to know–man, that gutted me. So good.

    1. Dr. KMnO4

      I know what you mean about not wanting to ruin the memory of a book! The first Ann Patchett book I read was Bel Canto. I swear it put me in a trance. It remains one of the best books I’ve ever read, but I can’t bring myself to read it again because I know I won’t feel the same way the second time.

    2. Quaggaquagga

      If you like devastating books, I recommend “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan.

  13. Allypopx

    Not a political conversation, just an I-feel-left-out thing: there’s a lot of activity in downtown Boston today and I have to work around it and don’t get to participate. It’s really bumming me out.

    1. Maxwell Edison

      I hear ya. I had plans to attend similar activity in L.A. and they fell through; now I’m feeling vaguely guilty even though there’s plenty of people there and one person wouldn’t be missed.

      1. Allypopx

        Yep. I know I won’t be missed, but I hate missing the opportunity to be a part of something. And so many people close to me are going (including my boss, who just called to tell me about it) so I’m having major envy problems.

        1. Lily Evans

          CNN had a helicopter over Boston and they were covering Elizabeth Warren’s speech. Buzzfeed actually has a good compilation post going covering several of the major marches. I’m in Boston but at work too, and we were watching some of the livestream earlier.

    2. Temperance

      A lot of my friends (and coworkers!!!!!) are at the Philly march. I am home with not-quite-bronchitis, so I feel you.

    3. Bonky

      Same here: there’s a march in London I would absolutely have gone to; but I’m pregnant and I have SPD, so I can’t really stand for a very long time, let alone march. My friends have been sending me pictures all day. I also feel left out.

      1. Marzipan

        I didn’t realise there was a London march until a couple of days ago; I’d have gone if I’d known but I’m on call this weekend and I didn’t really have time to both get cover and sort out a way of getting there.

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Ive got a nasty head cold (thanks other half!) but Im not a big fan of political marches at any rate. However, OH showed me live photos from Chicago and it was unbelievable how many people were out.

        Yesterday there were a bunch of people on the Millennium Bridge and Southwark Bridge, London Bridge and I think all the way down to Tower Bridge in an Anti-Isalmophobia protest. They had a few boats and banners on the river too (with the police boat following at a sedate pace behind)

      3. Legalchef

        Same here. Being 19 weeks pregnant and exhausted and needing to pee every 45 minutes doesn’t really mesh with marching. But I have a ton of friends there who know I am with them in spirit, and I’m participating vicariously through their Facebook posts.

      4. MommaCat

        I feel your pain; I’ve got a brand-newborn, and while I think I might be healed enough to march, I didn’t want to chance it. That, and I don’t want to expose BabyCat to a mob of germs.

      5. Amey

        Ahh, solidarity! I’m also in the UK, heavily pregnant with SPD and so wish I could have been in London yesterday. I’m from the US originally so particularly felt it and my news feed was full.

      6. Rana

        Yup, the logistics of doing it with a 3-year-old (like hours on public transit, where are there bathrooms, how would she handle crowds) was just too daunting. So I’ve been binging on my friends’ feeds instead, and planning what comes next.

    4. neverjaunty

      I hear this so much. I was all geared up to head to an event today, and then yesterday one of the kids came down with That Thing That’s Been Going Around.

    5. NarrowDoorways

      Most of my friends are in Boston today but I just couldn’t. I went to the Love Rally in the Common back in November and was really proud at how wonderful everyone was being, but I worry about things getting out of hand with this sort of things. I heard there’s been some clashes in D.C. this morning.

      1. Allypopx

        I heard there was a police action on the red line earlier but I’m not 100% positive it was related. Overall everyone has seemed pretty chill that I’ve seen.

    6. Boston

      I went in Boston and it was great but I started getting anxious trying to leave the rally. There were so many people and it took well over an hour to get out of the common. Skipped the March part but I am still not home – walked awhile to get some food and now I’m waiting for a bus to take me the rest of the way.

    7. Production Manager/Producer, non-profit arts

      I was at the Calgary march, in solidarity with our American sisters. I’m actually a dual citizen and voted in this election, so it felt particularly important to be there today.

      Did you see the pictures of the march in Antarctica?

      1. Al Lo

        Urgh. Add me to the chorus of “I haven’t posted from this computer since the salary thread, and I needed to change my display name”!

    8. Sibley

      Same boat. Massive gathering in the big city near me. I wanted to go, but my mom is in town and I have a regular volunteering activity Saturday mornings. Decided that I should do the concrete good and not break a commitment that I’ve made. Still wish I could go.

    9. KR

      I missed the black lives matter protests in Boston after Mike Brown was killed and the initial protests in Boston when the election results came in due to work. Both were instances where I simply couldn’t get away from work. It was so disappointing at the time

  14. Mazzy

    Does anyone have any tips on dining with the super wealthy? Sometimes I get nervous because they mention either places, foods, drinks, schools, or vacation spots I’ve never heard of. Does anyone have any idea where I can look up information or things they’d learned in the past by hanging out with the super wealthy? I’ve learned where St. Trope is and Whistler ski resort, for example, by talking to people who went there and I’ve never heard of the places.

    1. neverjaunty

      No need to prepare. Just ask them to tell you about it! “Wow, I’ve never been to St. Richelieu Island, it sounds amazing. What’s your favorite thing about it?” Think of it like an interview.

      They’ll come away believing you are a wonderful conversationalist.

    2. Mela

      Think of it as cultural differences instead of class to feel more confident in the moment. And even rich people don’t know all these things. That’s why they talk about them lol. Depending on who these people are and the power dynamics, you might be more able to just ask in the moment than you realize. This is esp. true of drinks, foods, because you can sound excited about a new thing to try.

      Schools I’m not sure–are these private prep schools or university? Prep schools I think you’re safe to not know. Just assume they’re all pretty much the same hah For places/vacation spots, try those top 100 vacation spots in 2016 type listicles. Or, search for “top ski resorts” or “top beach holiday spots”

    3. Dan

      What is the relationship between you and the wealthy (i.e., why are you dining with them?) That might give a little context. As in, are they your dad’s friends? Your CEO’s associates? Are they peers of sorts, or are they “above” you, for lack of a better way of putting it? (I relate to rich people differently if I’m on the clock, so to speak, as opposed to being at a bar.)

      If it helps, I used to do ground handling for private jets. Them rich people? Their poo stinks too. I know, I’ve cleaned their toilets.

      Rich folk are human. The ones who are complete dicks with their money? They’re dicks without money too.

      I’ve met some super nice rich folk over the years. TBH, after having to deal with them (and their pilots) every day for several years, the “OMG” feeling wears off. Also, the nice ones certainly get that not everybody is loaded (1% is 1% for a reason) and won’t look down on you for not having the material things that they do.

      Step 1: Be comfortable with yourself first and foremost. It’s a must.

      Step 2: Believe it or not, a lot of “rich people” hot spots are regional. As in, when I worked in LA, I knew where the rich people who lived out there go. They go to “Cabo” a lot, they don’t head down the Caribbean. What I’m saying here is that what you’re really asking to do is get familiar with the places that rich people in your area go to. As in, it’s not being “rich” that makes you know where Whistler is, it’s being a skier that does.

      One thing you can do is discreetly write it down and look it up later. Second, a “normal” rich person is going to let you relate your experiences to theirs. If you ask what it’s like staying in a $1k/night chalet at Whistler, they’ll tell you. And if you want to know how it’s different/better than the local ski hill, they’ll tell you that too.

      Finally, a lot of wealthy people are wealthy because they *don’t* constantly spend their money on high-end material things. When I worked in LA, Range Rovers, BMWs and Benzes were the cars of choice for my clientele. It was rare to see an Aston Martin, Ferrari, or Lambo. Don’t get me wrong — these guys were flying on multi million dollar private jets, so it’s not as if they couldn’t afford to buy the cars if they wanted to. They just didn’t. (Lots of them are money pits…)

      1. Mazzy

        Thank you for the comments. It always makes me feel out of place when I don’t know something, I remember feeling awkward when I didn’t know the difference between prosecco and chardonnay and champagne for example. Or know every caribbean island so I knew where people were going on vacation, or knew every good college in the US and Europe so I knew where there kids were going. Everyone else is always like “wow” or “nice” and I am like “where is that” “is that a good school”

        1. this

          I suspect that a lot of those going wow and nice are just covering up that they don’t know either. Just remember that no one knows anything until they do. You aren’t born knowing these things.

        2. LCL

          Ha. Whistler vacations are definitely a regional thing here and not considered elite. It’s assumed if you ski, you will go Whistler occasionally.

      2. fposte

        You made me curious, and I looked up car purchases; a 2011 study found that only 40% of people with income over 250k per year were driving luxury brands like Benz, BMW, or Lexus. Honda, Toyota, Acura, even a Volkswagen were right up there in the top ten and took up more market share.

    4. Jules the First

      Old money prides itself on either a) going places which are so popular that you’ve heard of them (it’s just that the wealthy own somewhere to stay there, instead of renting or borrowing), or b) going places that no one has ever heard of, because the only way you get a hotel room at one of these spots is because your family has been spending the same week there every year for the last half-century. They won’t be insulted you had to ask where it is – just flattered.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        Places that are so popular now… but they’ve been going for years and bought when real estate was cheap (think: Aspen)

        Try reading Travel and Leisure (website or mag) as they tend to cover the super hot places that are ridic expensive.

    5. MaddieB

      I’ve had to dine with multi-millionaires. Just be low key and yourself. You won’t be able to make organic conversation with them based on things you read in books. They truly are different but they are people. Just like with anyone else just make polite conversation and ask them a little about themselves. You’ll do fine. If you are unsure about the formalities of dining, just follow their lead.

    6. stevenz

      First point of advice, avoid being phony. They know you’re not “one of them” and it won’t do you any good to pretend you are. If these are work-related dinners then work is always a safe subject. My approach to these situations, and I have a long history of working with very rich people, is to ask lots of questions. That has two effects: it strokes their ego and it keeps you from having to sound knowledgable. If you travel a bit you can think of some questions that are pretty standard for talking to anyone about their trips. You can even be a bit cheeky (jokey-like) – “is a $600 bottle of wine that much better than a $15 bottle of wine? ha ha ha”. Another category of questions is to ask about their business or business in general. “How do you make a (padlock, running shoes, canned tuna, whatever)?” If they’re going or just went skiing at Whistler, ask about what kind of skiing they like, or how the snow was, or their favorite apres-ski drink. If you ski you have things to talk about too. Many of the men like to talk about sports as much as any man or the occasional woman. As with any first date, avoid politics and religion.

      I have lots of experience at this, as I said, but I have also found myself sitting on the outside of a lot of conversations that weren’t over my head, just not considered part of the circle. That’s not a good feeling, but like anyone else, they are more comfortable in their own company. In that situation show an interest in their conversation and listen to them attentively. Throw in a question now and then. Don’t drink too much wine (but drink some if that’s your pleasure), and enjoy the food. You’ll get better at this. And you may be surprised, as many other commenters have said, that they can be just like normal folks because some of them are in spite of their success. Don’t assume that they are all happier than you, though.

      And remember an old saying, “Never talk about money with anyone who has a lot more of it or a lot less of it than you do.”

  15. Lissa

    Sometimes I feel badly for people in the 5 questions posts when there’s 1 question that gets 90% of the comments, and it makes me want to go and comment on all the other ones! I restrain myself because I try not to post when I don’t have anything to say, but it’s one of those little silly things! I took so long to get over my fear of posting anything at all that for the longest time I would only ever reply to comments as opposed to starting my own “thread” too. (obviously this isn’t a question, just a thought about my weird posting habits.)

    1. Colette

      I know what you mean! But like you, I try to post when I have something to say, and often I have nothing to add to Alison’s answer.

    2. Tabby Baltimore

      Same thoughts here. I have zero corporate experience, and very limited city/county/state/federal work experience on which to draw for comments. I only comment if I think I can provide some practically useful information or insight. I, too, feel bad for people who get no feedback. But readers have the option to–and often do–repost their question the following week if getting a nibble is really important enough to them. Most of the time I’m just lurking, and learning.

    3. Em too

      I was one of those! But I got a few comments which were nice and supportive and helpful as well as Alison’s advice, and really I’m just grateful not to have the sort of problem which results in huge comment thread – as well as grateful to have my question answered at all.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        Ha. Good point: I, too, would rather have the kind of problem that is easily addressed by Alison and a couple of commenters than the kind of sticky widget that gets hashed out in hundreds of comments.

    4. sophieChotek

      I agree.
      I wish I could offer something to some of those posts but often I don’t have anything to say

  16. De Minimis

    Anyone live or have ever lived in Albuquerque? Probably going to apply for a job there soon. I’ve never lived there, just been through it a lot and know Bugs Bunny always made a wrong turn there.

    1. Forrest Rhodes

      Apologies up front for the length of this post, but here goes: I loved my almost-decade in Abq, and even now I miss the place every day. (One caveat: I left New Mexico in 1994, so what follows may be old news.)

      The sight of the Sandias on the east and the volcanoes on the west; the different kinds of activities, music, events—it was terrific. And the history—yikes. My regular haircutter was a direct descendant of one of the Spanish soldiers who arrived in New Mexico in 1607 (1604?) with Juan de Onate. A friend at the University of NM took time off every spring and fall to return to the reservation to help her grandmother trail the family’s sheep herd from winter pasture to summer, and vice versa. Another UNM friend was a Zuni who was not only studying anthropology but also becoming a tribal teacher and religious leader—something of a contradiction. People I encountered daily, who became friends, were all types: the “big three” (Native American, Hispanic, Anglo), but also Turks, Sikhs, Greeks, Thai, Korean, German, Scandinavian—there was a wonderful mix of flavors.

      For several years I volunteered at every year’s Balloon Fiesta, and outside of the fiesta I crewed for a balloon-pilot friend, which led to me taking several flights myself—amazing experiences. I was also a long-time volunteer with New Mexico’s Commission for the Blind, spending a few hours each week recording the daily newspaper so vision-impaired people could dial in and hear the day’s news. Hardest part of that was recording the grocery ads …

      The Natural History Museum lets you travel through time and science, and heck, New Mexico itself is like a living geology book.

      Abq has just too much good stuff to list here, but one drawback was that—at least, at the time—it had its dangers: as a single woman, I often went places alone, and there were times that people misconstrued or tried to take advantage of my being solo; I quickly learned to deal with it appropriately. Also, people who are intimidated by or angered at non-English speakers didn’t do so well there; my little bit of Spanish served me well, and actually improved during my time there.

      I can’t address housing prices or jobs or such; I lived mostly in a little adobe house in the (semi-rural) North Valley part of the city, with landlords who were fair and kind and became my good friends. I’d sit outside in the evening and after a rain it wasn’t unusual to see a double (or even triple) rainbow.

      One of the best things for me was the depth of time and history in Abq, and in New Mexico itself. Old Route 66 is now part of Central Avenue, and some of the buildings there date back to the 1920s and ‘30s. In Petroglyph Park, on the west side of the Rio Grande, the images in the rock go back a thousand years and more. And there’s even greater history available within a short drive any direction outside the city.

      Okay, I’m sorry about all this talking. I guess it’s true that any place is what you make it, but a person who goes to Albuquerque with an open, curious mind will find it to be a fascinating place. (And I didn’t even mention the food: stuffed sopaipillas, and fry bread, and walk-around breakfast burritos at 5 a.m. at the Balloon Fiesta … Great, now I’m homesick AND hungry!) As far as I’m concerned, Bugs Bunny shoulda stuck around a while—and I really hope you enjoy your time there.

      1. De Minimis

        Thank you so much for the lengthy response, that is very helpful!

        I hear so many different things about the crime there, that is my big concern. Before we moved where we live now we lived in a city that had bad crime stats only slightly better than Albuquerque but it never really affected us because we were able to live in a nicer area. But I’ve heard the thing about Albuquerque is there’s not a lot of division/distinction between “good” and “bad” areas the way there often is in other cities.

        I’m intrigued by it, I think the main risk is that I’d probably be committing to at least 5 years living there [need to stick with my next job at least that long] and it’s rough if that turns out to be someplace you don’t like.

        Thanks again!

        1. Forrest Rhodes

          My pleasure, De Minimis. My first year I did live in an apartment on Albuquerque’s east side before finding my little adobe hideout on 2nd Street, so it may take getting to know the city a bit before you too find what you like. (One place I really wanted to rent was a block or so from the Rio Grande Zoo; I imagined being lulled to sleep at night by the sounds of lions, tigers, and bears.)

          As far as crime/crime areas go, yes, Abq is pretty much like most cities; maybe a little rougher because there’s some genuinely wild country just outside the city limits. And certainly Abq’s east side had gate-guarded residence complexes even during the years I was there. But—again, as a solo female—I did find many neighborhoods that were decent to live in; that included people from varied economic statuses, ethnic makeups, and education levels; and that were really a pleasure to be in and around. I really enjoyed that mix, that balance; I knew people who were less comfortable with it.

          I don’t know if clicking on my screen name will lead you to my email address, but if so I’d be happy to talk further on the subject. Either way, I wish you the best on your move!

        2. NM Anon

          I lived in ABQ from 2005-2008 and am still a NM resident, though travel a lot. I’ve lived on the west mesa, very close to downtown, and on the UNM campus. You’ll definitely be able to tell the good areas from the bad! The so so areas maybe more difficult. The city does have its shady areas with bad crime. The east end of central Ave is sketchy; street walkers at night and the surrounding areas aren’t very good. We had our cars egged on the west side (just south of central Ave off 98th), but never had any other issues. When I lived near downtown, I had awful apartment building neighbors. Someone broke into my jeep and since they couldn’t find anything good to take, decided to slice up the soft top and break a tail light. This is the location I felt lease safe. It was west of I-25, just north of central and east of the zoo. I never felt unsafe on the UNM campus. I’d say the safer places to live are in the NE/Taylor Ranch, maybe the east heights, and nobhill near UNM. I worked in the city and went out by myself all the time. I never really felt unsafe, but I avoided places like the east side of central. My biggest piece of advice for someone moving to NM, make sure you have an exit strategy and money in savings to follow through with said plan. Many of us who live/lived there refer to it as the land of entrapment for a reason and it isn’t because it’s so great you never want to leave.

              1. De Minimis

                Thanks! Depending on if I get the job or not of course, we’ll probably look at the NE heights area.
                Rio Rancho is tempting, but I know the commute will be a lot to deal with, even though I’m already pretty used to bad commutes [I live in the Bay Area currently….]

                We are in a good situation as far as being able to leave if it doesn’t work out, but I definitely see how people can get stuck.

  17. SophieChotek

    Inter-related health questions

    1) Any recommendations for moisturizing gloves you can wear at night? I have some cotton ones but by the time I put Vaseline on my hands and then put the gloves on the gloves are jus soaked and wet with vaseline — is there something that would make me feel like I was putting on wet greasy gloves (and that everything I touch would be greasy too)? I like how my hands feel in the morning but I don’t like the greasy wet cotton glove feeling!

    2) Any suggestions for how to strengthen fingernails? I had some weird sort of autoimmune thing that attacked my nail beds to the point that my grow very brittle and split the long way — so even if I put by hand in my pocket and there is a loose thread it can get caught in a crack in my nail or if I put a glove on it can crack my nail in half sort of thing so its all kind of painful when that happens. I’ve been to several dermatologists and they all agreed about what caused the situation but said there wasn’t much to be done..

    thanks!

    1. WellRed

      Not sure how much it will help your particular situation but check out the nailtiques products. Local drugstore

      1. 2e

        +1 I really like Nailtiques formula 2 for strengthening weak nails.

        Instead of Vaseline, you could try Cerave Healing Ointment – it’s similar but less greasy, it sinks in better, and has some added nice ingredients like ceramides. I use it to moisturize my cubicles and nailbeds and it seems to help keep them in good shape.

    2. Temperance

      Have you tried Biotin? It has helped my nails and hair get stronger. My nails used to kind of peel, and now they do not.

      1. chickabiddy

        Yes — I took prenatal vitamins for many years after I gave birth because they did great things for my hair and nails.

    3. Camellia

      Vitamins can help hair and nails but it does take time.

      Naproxin, which is the ingredient in Alieve, makes the skin on my fingertips crumble right off. When I have to take it, I slather my fingertips with Vaseline and wear non-latex gloves at night. They come in sizes (S, M, L) and also one-size-fits-all. I have small hands so the S fits me perfectly and snug against my fingertips, which to me is preferable to a size that is too long in the fingers. It can’t stop the skin from crumbling but it does prevent the ‘crumbles’ from getting ripped off and start bleeding.

    4. Beaded Librarian

      For one I wouldn’t use vaseline. I worked in a job that required frequent hand washing but disallowed the use of hand lotion at work (food prep) for years and I overall had much better luck with various lotions. I’ve used Burts Bees, Aveeno, and other with great results. With them the gloves often did get soaked but didn’t feel greasy or gross. So maybe try a different moisturizing element?

    5. AJaya

      I’ve always had weak nails as well. Vitamins don’t seem to help. The only thing that I’ve seen make a notable difference is OPI’s clear nail strengthening polish. You can wear it on its own or as a base coat.

      1. nep

        Yes to coconut oil. It’s all I use as a moisturizer and it has done wonders for my skin. (Aquaphor is worth its weight in gold too — for chapped, stinging skin.)

        1. Stellaaaaa

          Aquaphor contains lanolin, a derivative of lambswool. I was surprised to find out that i was allergic to it and that it’s actually a pretty common allergy. Aquaphor actually made my hand eczema worse :/

    6. Observer

      No idea on the nails. But for moisturization, try something like olive oil or vitamin e oil. You rub that in, wait a couple of minutes, and the oil is absorbed to a large extent, so the gloves don’t feel greasy. Something else that you might want to try. If you wash stuff by hand, you might want to try putting some olive oil on your hands with rubber or latex gloves before you start washing. Not only does the washing not dry your hands, but it makes oil more effective.

      In general, vaseline (or any non-organic / mineral oil based product) isn’t going to be all that moisturizing.

    7. SAHM

      Collagen. A lot of people I know throw a tbs or so in their coffee. You can get Integral collagen on amazon or your local health foods/ vitamin store. It not only helps with nails, but hair too and it’s considered a healthy protein source.

    8. Not So NewReader

      Hands: Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Add healthy oils to your meals. Check your dish soap. I used to use a much loved, well-known product. Both my husband and I had cracked, bleeding hands. I changed to a milder dish soap- the store brand version of organic dish soap. I learned to soak things in vinegar or coat them with baking soda to get things cleaned. I have not had a problem since. Some dish soaps are brutal and will cause a dire response such as gloves and Vaseline at night.

      Since Vaseline is a petroleum product it will tend to dry your skin out more as you use it. There is a post above that does a good job explaining the process.

      Nails. Calcium and vitamin D to help with calcium absorption should help.

    9. Paquita

      Try some Hoofmaker. It was made for horses’s hoofs but you can find it in a tube marketed for human nails. Also Mane &Tail shampoo is great.

  18. Kj

    So there are two mini-series based on books that are coming out soon that excite me. First, there is the wonderful-looking A Handmaid’s Tale by Hulu AND, then my husband told me that BBC/Amazon are co-creating a series based on Good Omens! I am really psyched for both of these, although I know I will feel traumatized watching A Handmaid’s Tale- I love the language in the book and the voice of the narrator is very powerful, but it makes me upset every time I read it. But is is a good upset, like I am suddenly more attuned to the world.

    Any way, anyone else excited for either of these? Or is there another book you wish TV would tackle, in a good way? I love the just-out Netflix show Series of Unfortunate Events, so I am hopeful TV can translate some wonderful books to screen and maybe get more people to read the book too.

    1. Jenbug

      I am equal parts excited for and dreading A Handmaid’s Tale. It is a tremendously powerful book and I don’t want it to come true.

      1. Kj

        Yeah, with the current politics in so many places, the book reads as very prescient. Not my favorite thought, but a wonderful book none the less. I also hope the miniseries will gain Atwood wider exposure- I’m surprised at how many folks I know (who are otherwise well-read) haven’t read her.

        Maybe they’ll tackle Parable of the Reaper too, if “female-center, slightly depressing, adult speculative fiction” becomes popular. I’d love to see Octavia Butler get more exposure too.

        1. Mrs. Fenris

          The only thing I’ve read of hers is the Maddaddam trilogy, and I don’t know why. I really like her writing style.

    2. Jen RO

      I am looking forward to both of those, and also the American Gods series! I’m not really getting my hopes up for Good Omens… I don’t think it will translate well to TV.

      1. periwinkle

        Agreed. It’s a complex story and you’ve got these distinct sets of characters which don’t fully intersect until the end. On the other hand, it’s a lot of fun and I’m curious to see how they’ll handle (or not) the auxiliary characters such as the satanic nuns. I hope my favorite side character makes it in – the janitor who helps the indoor tree by nudging the roots to soil and then breaking the windows. That’s a short and unessential yet joyous scene, and would be a stunning visual.

        1. Kj

          I think they might be able to make it work, since BBC is involved. The BBC did well with Hogfather and that had some big challenges as well. I agree the side characters make the book in a way. I also hope they case Crowley and Aziraphale well; those two are very well-described and very important.

    3. Manderley

      Super excited about Good Omens, which was the gateway book to both authors for me. AHT was really difficult to read but I’m interested to see what they do with it.

    4. Manderley

      The Bartameous Trilogy would be great on screen. Also, a silly serious called Clovenhoof (the devil retires to Birmingham, England) would make a great show.

    5. katamia

      Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. Apparently a miniseries has been in development for over a year now, but not much seems to be happening with it. I’m also interested to see how The Dark Tower movie(s) turn out–I’m not a King fan at all and couldn’t make it through the first book, but it’s the kind of thing that seems like something I’d like if I actually could get through it, so maybe the movie(s) will be more to my taste.

      I’d also love to see someone attempt a House of Leaves miniseries. I don’t think it would be good, but I’d be so interested to see how they’d try, especially if Danielewski were involved and had some degree of creative control to try to keep it weird.

    6. all aboard the anon train

      I’m somewhere in the middle about ASOUE. It’s been hard for me to get past NPH because I keep seeing him and not the character.

      I’m hoping A Handmaid’s Tale is good since I still remember that really bad movie version. I have high hopes for American Gods because Bryan Fuller has created some of my favorite shows, and I think he’s the perfect person to handle it.

      Good Omens I’m a little worried about because there’s so much going on that they either won’t be able to portray it in the right way or things will get cut.

      I’d really love to see a miniseries of His Dark Materials. I didn’t mind the movie that came out, but I think it’d be better suited to a TV series. And as much as I love the HP books, I’ve always thought they’d work better as a TV series than movies (not that I want anyone to remake them, but the movies condense so much of the personality).

      Oh, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I know there was talk of a TV adaptation after the movie adaptation fell through, and I think it would be a beautiful TV series.

  19. Marcela

    Last week somebody asked about sending money to our relatives. I did not say anything because that’s such a complicated thing. But now I find myself in this spot because of DH and I’m very conflicted.

    I told you about my SIL weeks ago. She lives off my FIL, and works doing all types of small business that do not cover her family needs. It actually angers me very much when my MIL tells me my SIL works SOOO hard, for I have a friend recently separated, who does not have an education and of course, no father to mooch, but she needs to work, so she washes veggies to make salads in “ferias” (non hipster versions of farmers market, where things are way less expensive than in supermarkets). My SIL would never do that. As soon as any job shows her the need to do non fun stuff, she stops.

    Well, the point is that this year his son will need to apply to schools. And in my country, being successful begins before you learn to read. She told DH, who is visiting, that they don’t have any money so my nephew will go to a public school. DH was outraged. And he wants to pay for our nephew’s school. I do not want to. I truly understand the need for a good education. But we do have a niece too, and while we can pay now, can we pay for 14 years * 2of school, and later for their universities? I can’t see my SIL and BIL stepping up at any point. They will see the money as “yeah, your rich uncle and aunt in the US will give you money for anything school related”. We are not rich by any means, only if you compare our salaries with our country’s. We don’t have pensions or anything for our future, except anything we save now. And we live in the Bay Area!

    So I am very conflicted. I love that good heart of my husband. But I do not want to give money to somebody who uses facebook to rant about science, technology and medicine, claiming we were better before. Yeah, right, in that better times one of my uncles died as a baby because they could not treat what he had, something that now even my country can treat. My point is that even if we pay for the most expensive education ever, if my SIL and BIL do not do anything to help for my nephew and niece education, they will accomplish nothing anyway! My nieces, on my side, are an example of that: decent but not outstanding schools, a disinterested mom who even did their homework to avoid problems, and guess what? The small one has a horrible school records and claims she hates studying and reading (this is the pregnant one) and the other only got to study after two years of washing dishes convinced her that we were right, without education she would not get fun/good jobs.

    It’s good my husband is on the other side of the world now. I feel selfish, even evil. But I can’t stop thinking this is going to be a huge mess, and we’ll regret bitterly being involved.

    1. Temperance

      I agree with you in part. I wouldn’t pay for the child’s schooling. If his lazy parents don’t want to support him, and you and your husband aren’t there to provide a good influence, it’s not like they’re going to encourage him to take full advantage of his opportunities. You would be flushing money down the toilet. He’d do as well in public school.

      HOWEVER, I have to say that some children do so well even with lazy, uneducated parents, so don’t write off your nephew as a future loser quite yet. My mother is a high school dropout and my dad barely graduated and has some sort of computer training, but not a real degree. I have a JD and a BA that I earned without their support (and honestly, with their active, open disapproval).

      1. Marcela

        That’s exactly what worries me, Temperance. We should not punish the children just because their parents are lazy. I just don’t know what to do to avoid a mess. DH told me he is thinking of offering to pay half of the school, but that doesn’t solve anything, for if my SIL claims they don’t have money, what we will do? Stop payments and remove the child from school? Once we start, DH’s family is never going to let us off the hook. I can very well see that after the children finish university, my SIL and BIL will pretend we should keep giving them money, because if we have been able all these years, why can’t we keep going? Even my FIL said to DH that we are going to be responsible of my FIL when he is gone (and DH, good to the point of being dumb sometimes, didn’t reply “hell if you think we’ll take care of them”).

        1. Temperance

          Also, knowing that his family isn’t in the US, how could you even know that they’re taking the money for tuition and not just spending it themselves?

          I’m with you 100% on this one. I wouldn’t give them one thin dime, especially because his sister is a lazy person and not likely to ever get motivated.

          1. Marcela

            Absolutely! That actually opens us a can of worms about how we send them the money. It would be dangerous to open credit cards for them. I am 100% sure they will use them to the max. Other family members are already in deep debts because they don’t know how to use credit cards. Transfer money is expensive. Leaving money every time we travel would mean we don’t have any way of knowing they are actually spending it in our nephew’s education.

            1. Hellanon

              Maybe you could take the amount you would be putting into their primary/secondary school & put it into a college fund instead? Let the kids know that the money will be there for college in the States *if* they work hard and get the grades…

            2. Observer

              Is there any way for you to pay the school directly? I don’t know what part of the world your family is living in, but MANY places will be very happy to take your money directly. So, if you can arrange to actually pay the tuition, that would help.

              And, you ALSO make sure to be in constant contact with the kids. That does two things. One is that you just might make a dent (no guarantees, but if you do it right, it can’t hurt). Secondly, you make sure that they understand, as they get older, up until where your help goes.

              I’m not saying that you are obligated to do this. Just that if you want to help, these are things that could help deal with some of the specific issues you are looking at.

        2. Rusty Shackelford

          We should not punish the children just because their parents are lazy.

          Declining to pay their tuition is NOT punishing them. Your choice is not punishment/reward. Your choice is whether to play fairy godmother to these children. Are they going to have horrible lives if you don’t step in? Are they completely incapable of changing their lives on their own? I suspect the answer to both of these questions is “no.”

      2. Dan

        I’m not sure if this changes any part of your thought process, OP’s relatives aren’t in the US, so it’s hard to say how good the public schools are around there. If they were in the US, I’d pretty much agree with you 100% — I tend to think those elite prep schools are a complete waste of money.

        1. Temperance

          Oh no, I’m totally aware that they aren’t American. That doesn’t really do it for me, except convince me even more that the money would be a bad call. Since they aren’t local, they can’t exactly enforce the child going to a good school.

        2. Marcela

          Well, public schools in my country are awful, except some exceptions you can count with your fingers. And of course, getting to one of them means you need personal connections or that your child has more than excellent records. It is very, very hard to go to these schools, but given they tend to aim to produce students for the big professions, such as medicine, engineering, law, I can’t see my “oriental medicine is better than western, chemicals are bad, technology is destroying personal relationships” SIL would try to put our nephew there.

          1. sophieChotek

            Maybe I missed this…and I saw below about some of your other discussions but in regards to the actual school tuition could you just pay the school Directly? That was you know it goes directly to tuition and nothing else?

    2. Dan

      Money is a huge, huge, huge thing in causing divorces in the US. I don’t think you’re overreacting about this at all. You guys would be committing money for a very long time, and from the sound of it, money you don’t have. I grew up poor in the midwest, and now live near a high COL metro area. I make $100k a year. Where I grew up, that’s a lot of money. But it’s not here — it’s below the median income for the county. I can’t talk about money around my mother, because she thinks I’m loaded and I’m not. I’m not struggling — but definitely not loaded. (Based on my upbringing, as in not having much, it’s really foreign for me to give away stuff, i.e. money, right now.)

      I think you are absolutely right in thinking this is going to cause a huge mess. And I don’t think you’re the one causing the mess.

      I also think you have some tough questions to ask yourself, because I don’t think you want to be broke and divorced, or constantly fighting with your husband down the road. I would suggest going to a marriage counselor with your husband now, because you guys need to be able to communicate about all of this stuff up front. It may not be a bad idea for you guys to go see a financial counselor too, because if they say you can’t afford to give anything, that should inform your thinking. It also may not hurt for you to see an individual counselor, because I think you need to be able to set boundaries for yourself, back them up, and be comfortable with it. (IOW, going along with your husband now just to be miserable later solves nothing.)

      BTW, it’s ok to feel selfish.

      1. Allypopx

        +1 to “it’s ok to feel selfish.”

        It’s so nice that your husband wants to be helpful, but you’re also right that there’s a lot of baggage and expectation that comes with this kind of thing and taking that burden upon yourself is a really big decision, that you both need to be 100% on board for, otherwise there’s a big opening for resentment in the future. This is not your obligation, and the cost to you could be much more than the dollars involved.

        1. neverjaunty

          All of this. “Wanting not to be broke and desperate in old age” is a good kind of selfish.

      2. Temperance

        This is a really kind comment. You brought out another side to this issue that I admittedly wasn’t thinking of.

    3. fposte

      Can you approach this a different way? Maybe lay out a budget and projection for your future and retirement, which is something you guys should do anyway; then from there figure out how much money could be spared as discretionary, and decide if you want to divvy it up so if he chooses to send his to the family and bring packed lunches every day instead, that’s on him.

      My guess is that it’s not that simple, but even there that makes the conversation a lot clearer, because it concretizes the loss of supporting the in-laws as well as the gain. If we give $x to the in-laws that means we retire only on Social Security; if we pay $x to tuition that’s instead of traveling to see family for two years. Make the tradeoffs visible.

      I totally get your irritation here. I understand his feeling–he really wants to be the guy who meets family expectations of support–but right now he’s not facing that he’s asking *you* to sacrifice so *he* can be that guy. And that’s not a fair way to approach it.

    4. neverjaunty

      We don’t have pensions or anything for our future, except anything we save now. And we live in the Bay Area!

      Whoa, full stop RIGHT there. This isn’t about your husband having a good heart. This is about your husband placing his niece’s and nephew’s future above your future. He made a choice to marry you, and therefore has an obligation to your shared lives together, now and in the future. It’s not selfish, let alone evil, to expect that he place some value on that, instead of sacrificing that so he can enable his sister’s dysfunction.

      In your shoes, I would put my foot down very hard on this. He sounds like he is falling into a dysfunctional family dynamic where he is the Good One who gets guilted into spending energy and money fixing everybody else’s BS. His freedom to do that ended when he chose to tie his life to someone else’s.

      1. Marcela

        I can see why you see it like that. Perhaps all I need to do to see it your way is to sum the very low monthly payment to the very end.

        But do not think we were just lazy about our money. It’s just that as scientists, we just live on very small salaries until we get tenure or permanent positions. We have lived in 4 countries too, so nothing we did in our country would matter: the system there is crueler than the American one, and we were students when we left. Then we moved to a country were social security is great, but we only contributed two years, which is nothing for retirement. The same happened with another country. And then we moved to the US, where DH was hired as a postdoc, no pension. Only last year he got the position with a decent salary and a 401k. As a trailing wife, all this time I got into jobs that did not give me any benefits but money. Only 5 months ago I started a decently paid job, and only next month I’ll get my 401k.

        What I mean is that this is the nature of the beast for foreigners scientists. That’s why we’ll get the financial advisor, because no matter where we go, we lost our 20s and 30s, and we need to take care of that.

        1. neverjaunty

          I really apologize if I came across as critical of you – definitelty did not mean to imply you are lazy! Just that saving money for your future is going to be impossible if that money gets re-directed to your SIL’s children.

    5. Marcela

      Thank you so much. You have given me a lot of different ideas and things to think about before I have a conversation with DH about it.

      I told you about not having anything but what we can save now, but I hadn’t realized that it’s very possible that we cannot afford our current train of life. I mean, we spend so much money in stupid things from Amazon, that the US $200 that school costs would not mean a thing. I paid more than that in one pair of boots that I did not *need*. But perhaps I do *need* to save that money and I just not know it. We are going to look for a financial advisor: my company is going to offer 401k starting next month, so we’ll need to understand them and organize my husband’s. We also want to be able to buy a house here, and another in our country, because it’s getting harder and harder to go there and have no place to be in peace. For many different reasons, we are not comfortable in any of our relatives’ homes. So we’ll need help to navigate how to make all that possible, and since we are both kind of lazy, we want to have somebody doing most of the heavy lifting for us.

      However, to tell you the truth I am not worried about future discussions with DH about this money. We are good to sort difficult stuff. We learned very early in our relationship that we are two different people with two different sets of experiences and that there are times where we just don’t agree, and that is perfect. It was imperative, for I am the trailing wife of a scientist, and being able to decide together what to do, even if we can’t get 100% happiness with the decision, is the reason we have been together almost 15 years in 4 countries. Honestly, if we decided that the risks of giving money are less important than the chance of ruining our niece’s and nephew’s lives, I will be fine with it. I don’t have to like every decision I take. I’m more worried about the toll this is going to have on DH. He is a generous guy. But he can’t agree with his parents about how they made his siblings these lazy children who try to live off them for as long as they can. He is getting more and more resentful that he is expected to pick it up when his parents are gone. And being absolutely incapable of saying things to their faces (partly because his father will pretend that nothing is wrong, why do you ask?, and mom loves tantrums and crying when things does not go her way), he is swallowing all that. So when the mess comes, I won’t be able to tell them anything, because that’s our superficial relationship, and I’ll get to pick up DH from the floor.

      Anyway, as always, as all the other times, thank you so much. Having your advice means a lot to me :)

      1. fposte

        On the financial advisor: Remember that financial advising is largely a sales position. Most of the shopfront advisors make commissions off of you, and the DOL rule that would make them have to put your interests before theirs likely not going to be enacted–which means it’s perfectly legal and acceptable for them to sell you stuff because they make money off of it, not because it’s the best thing for you. Even if you absolutely refuse to do it on your own, you don’t have to pay commissions and a several percent fee every year (which, guess what, you pay even if you lose money). The Garrett Planning Network has a good reputation for being a fee-based hourly planner that doesn’t handle your investments and therefore doesn’t profit from where they steer you, so maybe start there rather than Merrill Jones Lynch Edge types.

        But I would also recommend that you Google “William Bernstein If You Can” for a great free starting guide, and then look at the Bogleheads wiki and forums for the best source of free financial advice on the net.

        1. Tabby Baltimore

          Fposte highlights an important caution; I would also encourage you to seek out a fee-only planner who is not beholden to selling you specific types of financial instruments. Michelle Singletary, who writes the personal finance column in the Washington Post, has in the past recommended the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (napfa.org) as a place to go to start finding a planner. NAPFA has sections on how to find an advisor, and provides a list of questions you should ask an advisor to help potential clients determine whether there’s a good “financial fit” between them. Also check with your local public library’s reference staff to see if there’s a librarian somewhere in the Bay Area’s library system who functions as the “business librarian.” This person might be able to give you additional leads of free financial services in your area.

        2. Trillian

          Agree with this. My first encounter with a financial adviser was through my bank while I was a postdoc, trying to get started in investing. This was before the web became ubiquitous, so I had few information sources. I just knew I ought to do it. Advisor sold me a 25-year vehicle, front-loaded, so the first 2 years would go entirely to fees. I was on a 3 year contract. I wised up and cancelled after 3 months. Wasn’t the only bad move I made during those years, through ignorance.

          A good financial advisor will expect you to do some heavy lifting — working out your financial goals, setting targets. They’ll assess your individual risk tolerance, not just apply a formula. In the meantime, yes, get a book on basic investing.

          Once you have looked at the estimates required for home purchase, home maintenance, taxes, your own children (should you so choose), saving for emergencies and periods of unemployment, saving for retirement, supporting causes that are important to you, travel (sounds like his family expects to put in all the mileage), you will know how much you can put towards your nephew’s and neice’s education.

      2. Not So NewReader

        This might be more about setting boundaries than it is about the money. When does the responsibility stop? At what point will your hubby say this is enough. Right now it looks like you guys are well positioned to hear, “Oh yeah, and then they need clothes, supplies and there is a club that they want to join and….” Where is the line for it all?

        The biggest trick with money is not to make money decisions based on emotions. Ask your husband to look at things logically, tap his habits as a scientist. How does he remove emotion from his work?
        Just food for thought, no need to answer these questions, if you don’t want to.

      3. notgiven

        Maybe you should visit less often and use Skype or telephone calls instead. I don’t think you can afford to maintain 2 houses and still fund your retirement.

        It has the added benefit of tantrums being broken up by static or an iffy internet connection. So sorry, can’t hear you, we’ll call next month.”

    6. Anxa

      FWIW, my mother paid for my university. Sometimes I feel okay about it, because otherwise that tuition money may have been in the 2008 crash (my tuition was paid for by then, I paid my last class in Fall 08). But it also contributed to her selling her house, which still, STILL keeps me up at night.

      My education hasn’t helped me financially in the least. The year I graduated HS, kids without extracurriculars and middling grades and without great references (I would imagine, based on their behavior) were getting FT bank telling jobs right out of high school. I would have been SO much better off.

      As well intended as it was, and as much as it’s my fault I didn’t amount to much despite family sacrifice, that money spent on me still haunts me. I feel far more responsible for my mother’s retirement situation now.

      I guess what I’m getting at is that if you can’t really afford it easier, you can be giving your nieces and nephews a pretty heavy burden instead of a leg up. Education is absolutely no guarantee of future financial success in my country (US), although maybe it really is that different where your family is.

    7. Jersey's mom

      Marcela – there’s a lot of posts regarding the financials, so I won’t discuss that.

      If DH is so very concerned about nephew, one thing you can both do is to create a relationship with him. Send a letter every week or two (and maybe one to the nieces too). Show him your encouragement and love. Talk about the things he could do someday, ask him what is happening in his life. Set a time to call or skype him every week or two. Read a short (quick) story over the phone. You have the opportunity to set a great example for him, even long distance.

      One of my girlfriends had a child, and wasn’t even sure who the dad was, drank and did drugs while pregnant (we found out later). We created a relationship with her boy (and so did other friends). I like to think this inspired him to do well in school (as well as seeing a mom that he did not want to grow up and emulate!). He graduated a US high school (in a poor neighborhood) and managed to get a scholarship for tuition to a US college. I’m proud to be able to help him financially with his “room and board”.

      Looking back, (at least here in the US), I like to think that it was our friendship and encouragement (and his brains!) that helped him want to try harder and excel. I don’t know that paying for a fancy school would have made a difference, because I think all our friendships made him WANT to try harder. If he got a free ride to a fancy grammar school, would that have made him try to excel and get into a good college?

      1. Not So NewReader

        It’s amazing what people can do when someone gives a crap.
        Great story, thank you for sharing. It makes my day.

  20. Ruth (UK)

    Last week I said I’ve taken up running and did a 5k, and I’ve been running again! This week I did my second park run (5km) in 28:25 (so I’ve improved by a minute and 42 seconds). Not that I think I’ve got that much fitter in one week, I think I was just less scared to run a bit faster. Last week I didn’t know how fast I could go without burning out so I played it a bit safe.

    Despite my faster time, I actually got a worse place-ranking (more people finished ahead of me). However, I think more people were there (last week it snowed in the morning which probably put some people off).

    My training plan remains super vague (the plan so far has been to just run for a random amount of time whenever I feel like it).

    I’m training (well sort of) for a half marathon, which I’ve entered for April (despite having never done any running event of any distance before, not counting maybe 100 metre spring in primary school…). The longest distance I have run in one go (so far) is still just the 5k so I guess I really need to find some time to do some longer distances!

    1. Lady Julian

      I want to know if you wore cords again! :) J/k. Wear what makes you comfy. I like to do my weekend runs in floppy yoga pants; the looseness around my legs is great, but I have friends who *do not get* how this is good running gear.

      When I was training for my first half, I ran a long run every weekend, adding an extra mile every week. So the first week I ran five miles, then six, then seven. Maybe you could do something similar?

      1. Ruth (UK)

        Yes I wore my cords again! I wore purple ones this week (navy blue last week). BUT I had running shoes this week (last week I just wore black shoes, which were sensible comfy lace up shoes but not really trainers). I got a pair of new balance running shoes in TK Maxx (called TJ maxx in america) for £22 (apparently 27 USD at the current exchange). I checked the model number on the New Balance website where they were £64 ($79) so I’m feeling super pleased with my bargain.

        Here’s some real feedback/comments I’ve had this week:
        “You run like Phoebe from Friends” and “Here comes the corduroy runner again” (both were said by someone I know and it was friendly teasing, not insulting).

        I will definitely try a longer run next weekend (I’m busy tomorrow all day). I am thinking of doing a sort of broken-down half marathon distance across the day. Eg. Do the 5k park run in the morning, come home and have a snack, then go out for several runs across the day, each of 3 miles or so (at an easy pace), until it adds up to the distance. I live right by a river which has a path I can run along, so it’s easy to start and end my runs almost right outside my flat building. Does this seem like an ok idea or not?

        1. Lady Julian

          Your place sounds like a great spot to run, a river with a path! How lovely! :)

          A lot of people will split a long run up into two different chunks. So if your training plan calls for you to run six miles, you run three in the morning & three in the evening. This is an okay way to build fitness, and if it’s cold, or you’re busy, it’s certainly better than skipping the run!

          But (and you probably know this) since you’re eventually going to run 13+ miles in a single go, you’ll need to practice running long distances in a single go. As you get closer to the race, the long runs that you do should usually be a single run, to help you adequately prepare, physically and psychologically, for the distance. I started doing long runs 10-11 weeks before my first half-marathon, working up from 5 miles at the start to 12 miles two weeks out from my half. You could start with a week or two of doing these broken-up runs, and then move into long runs that you do all in one go as you get more comfortable with distance?

          Don’t forget to leave yourself a week to “taper”, or slack off before the race. So if your race is on, say, the 14th of the month, your last long run will be on the 1st; the 7th will be a gentle, mid-distance run.

          There are a lot of good training plans online; you might try Googling them & seeing what you turn up with.

    2. AJaya

      That’s great! Have you heard of Couch to 5k? It’s interval training to work you up to longer distances. I believe they have a C210K app as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a program for half marathons.

      Do you stretch before you run? I’ve never been a runner and get terrible shin splints whenever I try. I’ve been told that I need to stretch more beforehand.

      1. Ruth (UK)

        I’ve heard of it, and I could be wrong but I was under the impression it involved having to listen to something while I am exercising? I can’t stand earbuds and kinda find headphones annoying too. I haven’t looked into it that closely tbh. I am a little biased and got put off because it’s a mobile app and I don’t really fancy having to take my phone with me and try and manage working out how to put headphones in it while running and stuff. If it’s a plan I can look at beforehand and then use I might try it. (I wiki’d it and I’m not 100% clear from the article how it works).

        Anyway, I don’t stretch before I run, but I do start slow and then get quicker as I warm up. I noticed in the park run, a lot of people overtaking me at the start, but I was overtaking a lot of people towards the end. I think a lot of the people there started faster and slowed down and I did it the other way around.

        To be honest, I am not the best person to mimic though when it comes to things like this (eg. stretching). I have terrible flexibility and my lack of stretching is largely due to laziness, not because I have actually researched the benefits of stretching or not in any way.

        I know about shin splints – I’m a northwest (morris) dancer which is done in wooden soled clogs. Luckily I don’t have them yet but it’s a common problem for NW dancers.

        1. fposte

          The research suggests that pre-workout stretching doesn’t help reduce injury anyway (even though huge numbers of people still do it). So a victory for laziness!

          1. Ruth (UK)

            Thanks, though gosh it seems complicated. I guess it’s not really it just seems like a lot to remember / keep track of. I don’t think it would work for me personally as I don’t really want to do any/much walking and 5k is a distance I can already run in one go. Not super fast but I guess I’m planning to train for distance anyway. . .

            I might go with Lady Julian’s plan above (increasing my run by a mile at a time on a weekly basis). :D

            Good to see what the plan looks like though, I was curious

    3. SeekingBetter

      It’s great to hear you did a 5K, and I’m wishing you the best on training for a half marathon!!

    4. LadyKelvin

      Can I recommend that you find a training schedule and use it to get to the half-marathon distance? I have found that 1. they are really well put together so you reach the goal of running 13 and its not terribly difficult to do and 2. it really helps you have a plan and run regularly. I’ve done ones as short as 8 weeks and as long as 22 weeks. The important thing is to not increase your total milage from week to week by more than 10%. So if you ran 10 miles this week, run no more than 11 next week, etc. You can google and find a bunch, but here are a couple I recommend, most assume you can run 3 miles at the start (which you obviously can).

      12 week training plan
      http://www.halfmarathons.net/half-marathon-training-schedule-for-beginning-runners/

      8,9,10,12,14,16,18, and 20 week plans here:
      http://www.halfmarathons.net/training-tips/

      I usually arrange my schedule so its convenient for me (i.e. 2 runs on the weekend and the other 2-3 during the week and on days which I know I will be able to run. I try to keep to the same pattern as the schedule and the same number of runs, and be sure not to run more than 3 days in a row. You need some days off between runs as well to recover.

  21. bunniferous

    Question-do using certain words on this site automatically trigger moderation? I am fairly new here….

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes (for example, “idiot” and “snowflake” since those have a high likelihood of coming up in comments that are going to violate the commenting rules). But also the spam filter makes its own judgments, some of which are mysterious to me.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          I added it when the post over the summer about the interns petitioning for a different dress code went viral, and lots of people were showing up to call them special snowflakes :)

  22. FishCakesHurrah

    I have to put a closet rod up and I’m not handy at all. My plan is to use some snap toggles, since my clothes weigh a lot and there are no studs in the closet. However, I don’t have a drill and don’t have the cash for one at the moment. Can I use a large nail to make a hole to put the snap toggles through or is that a terrible idea?

    1. Glenn

      I would worry that it would be hard to get a large enough hole that way. If you have a large enough nail, I can’t think of a reason it would be a terrible idea. I wouldn’t start trying to use a nail to chip out a hole by bits and pieces though.

      Alternatively, do you know anybody you could borrow a drill from?

      1. FishCakesHurrah

        I only know one person and I’ve been asking him about the drill for a month now (my landlord. I gave up asking him to put up the closet rod), so I’m just going to act like that isn’t an option. You’re right about the chipping. It’s cheap drywall so that would probably make a great big hole.

    2. super anon

      Home Depot does tool rentals. It’s great if you ever need a drill or other tool but don’t necessarily need to own one yourself.

    3. Zanar

      I expect you need a 1/4″, 3/8″ (or something similar) hole. You could also trace the size hole you need & hammer in a small nail to work your way around the edges until the drywall is weak enough to pop through. Time consuming, but perhaps not as much time as trying to locate a drill would be.

    4. Someone

      This may be unusual, but my local library has a tool check out at one of its branches. If yours doesn’t, they may still know if there are any such resources in your area.

    5. Sunflower

      Honestly your local hardware store may lend you one for free. Once I went in to mine looking for something to fix my ikea furniture and the guy there offered to come fix it for free. So it’s possible!

  23. Lady Julian

    Is it too political to say that I’m going to a women’s march today & am actually pretty excited about it? I’m in my early 30s, and this is one of the first protests/rallies I’ve ever been to, beyond a few events that my parents took me to when I was a teenager. It feels good to stand up for something I believe in!

    1. Anonyby

      Have fun! There’s one going on near me that I wish I could go to, but I’m working today. Oh well.

      1. blackcat

        One of my favorite signs I saw at a march today was a dude, holding a sign saying “My wife wanted to be here but she is busy earning the big $”

        1. esra (also a Canadian)

          My favourite that I saw said: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds”

    2. Lady Julian

      Thanks, all! I stayed for almost 90 minutes. I really enjoyed hearing people’s experiences supporting diversity & respect for all in my community, and I was impressed & encouraged by all the different kinds of people that turned out, from the LGBTQ people to a little group of local Catholics. Plus, seeing everybody’s signs was great fun! Somebody turned up with a Firefly sign that read, “You Can’t Take the Sky From Me,” which was great. :) I *almost* went with one that read, “We aim to misbehave,” but decided for a different message.

    3. LadyKelvin

      My husband and I went to the DC march today. It was pretty incredible. Also incredible because we ended up walking from L’Enfant to Crystal City to get home (from which we were able to get on a metro, finally). I have never seen so many people peacefully protesting. People were so happy!

      1. Overeducated

        I went too! I planned to leave early but with so many people there was not really any leaving early. We had to walk up to McPherson to get a train out. It was a long day but I am glad I went.

    4. Jillociraptor

      It’s making me so happy to see all of my friends’ Facebook and Instagram feeds of them at marches all across the country. I had to forcibly drag myself out of bed to be there (anxiety is FUNNNN) but I’m glad I was part of it.

    5. LCL

      I know I’m often the dissenting voice, but I mean this sincerely and I’m not trying to troll here. I don’t get the point of marches that aren’t directly related to the problem addressed, I think they are morally questionable at best. Sit ins at lunch counters? Good protest, the direct connection is obvious. Paralyzingly the downtown of my city, walking on the freeway, just inconveniences people and wastes public money.

      And my other objection is that deliberately blocking peoples’ path is an inherently violent act. Not much of one, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being murder, blocking my path is about 0.5. But it is the start on the continuum of violence, so I don’t understand why marches that take over the streets and prevent free movement of traffic and peds fall under first amendment ‘right to peaceable assembly’ guidelines.

      I hope everyone had fun and nobody got hurt.

      1. Natalie

        Eh, every damn time we have a home team game people are inconvenienced and it wastes public money. All-American baseball in particular in my city.

      2. Lady Julian

        We were actually in a local park, so we weren’t blocking anybody’s path or snarling up freeways! Also, there were a few people protesting us protestors on the outskirts & they were welcome too. I was impressed by the kindness with which the organizers handled the difference of opinion.

        I think that one reason the rallies have been a good outlet is that they’re an excellent way to publicly express disapproval of the new president, especially his misogyny but other issues (climate change, health care) as well. We voted against him, he got elected anyway, and with no vote for at least two years, this is a good way to announce that we do not support the issues he stands for & plan to work against him. There are more ways in a healthy democracy than voting to make your voice heard!

      3. Sue Wilson

        Well, oppression is a inherently violent act, you know? And on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being murder, it’s 11, because it’s systemic dehumanization and therefore carries all acts of violence 1 through 10 as part of it’s tactics. And because it is systemic, it is being committed by society as a whole (which is to say, that you (generally) as a person in society cannot divorce yourself from perpetuating that oppression), and therefore resistance that to you seems violent, is a reaction to continuous, consistent, and unrelenting violence.

        It also has the benefit of strengthening resistance communities and alerting oppressive communities to the strength of the resistance. It’s psychologically stressful to resist without support. In an election cycle in which dehumanizing things were said by a candidate who then won, it can be difficult to know who is going to support you if the state is catalyzed to specifically do violence against you. Will your neighbor turn you into the gulag is an actual thing people are asking, and so something that signals that these people won’t is really good for continued resistance. Something the signals to oppressors that the enaction of state-approved violence will lead to civil disobedience and disruption is also to make it clear that that has to be factored into the calculus of whether state-approved violence is effective.

        Also, I mean, the founding fathers destroyed almost a $1m worth of property (tea) and we literally celebrate that every July 4th so I’m guessing the first amendment anticipates that (there’s also probably a SCOTUS case that lays their reasoning out). Also, the 1st amendment has never stopped police from arresting and harming protestors when they wanted to. And the civil rights March on Washington was pretty effective, even if “equality” and “freedom” and “jobs” isn’t directly connected to disrupting traffic to you.

        Finally, oppression usually continues because resisting it is decidedly uncomfortable. It is convenient for those with privilege to let it remain. Inconvenience is, to be quite frank, the point of resistance, to make the benefit of public roads not worth the inconvenience of resistance to oppression. It is saying, you cannot continue in comfort, while I remain in chains. Does that help a little?

      4. Mela

        But how do you come up with a “good” protest that has a direct connection in this case? It’s a protest against the new president, and there are literally dozens of issues people are protesting. Since people aren’t allowed near him, what would you have them do? What would people do for the specific issues like healthcare? Hospitals and medical facilities aren’t the problem, so where would they go? Insurance offices? lol

      5. Overeducated

        I think of it differently when it comes to blocking paths being violent. The vast, vast majority of space in our cities is private and there is nowhere for people to physically come together as citizens and organize. But we all have a right to the public spaces we own and fund, from streets to state houses to the national mall. Saying that these spaces can only be used for their everyday personal or commercial uses is cutting us off from our own land and ability to come together as MORE than individuals. Preventing people from using public space for political purposes seems like an even greater example of blocking people’s paths as a form of violence, because it would be using government power to block political speech and association. (That’s why, for example, there is huge outcry against Turkish plans to build a huge mall in Taksim square, turning public gathering space into semi-private commercial space, and why building the national WW2 Memorial across the centrally axis of the National Mall was controversial around 15 years ago.)

        Whew, sorry for the length. I find the link between public space and free speech fascinating because the way we design our cities and parcel out land has such a gigantic impact on expression.

      6. Mike C.

        In watching the political talk shows on Sunday, people are taking serious notice of what’s going on and are better listening to what is being said.

        Also, these marches received permits and what not.

    6. PB

      I’m out of town for a conference, but popped out to go to the Atlanta women’s march. I’m so glad I did! I didn’t know a single person there, but it was the most amazing outpouring of support.

  24. Shayland

    I’m having a really hard day today. I couldn’t go to the women’s march because of my health. And my health has been really poor. We’re changing up my medication because it may have caused seizures and the side effects have been horrible.

    1. Allypopx

      I hope you have the opportunity to do some physical and emotional self care today <3 I'm sorry you're feeling so poorly.

    2. Temperance

      I’m commenting to let you know that I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m home from the march, too, but am really jazzed to see how many men and women around the world and stepping up in our place.

      I hope that your medication issue gets sorted out soon, and you get back to your wonderful self soon.

    3. SeekingBetter

      I’m sorry to hear about your bad day! I’m having kinda a bad day too. Hope your health improves and that you feel better soon!

  25. Huh

    Does anyone have practical tips on when kids have a huge tantrum? My 6 yo will go from 0 to 10 in a second over trivial events. He thrashes, hits, kicks while screaming.

    I have a referral to see a psychologist but expecting it to take weeks where we are. In the mean time I would really appreciate some advice on how other parents respond when the tantrums occur.

    1. J. F.

      My kids do this sometimes. Do you see any pattern? Is it when you say no, is the kid hungry, is it right after school? I find if I give the kid a protein snack right after school it cuts down on it some. Sometimes, whatever it was isn’t the cause for my kid, but more of a last straw.

      I also think it’s appropriate to gently restrain a child who is hurting others. If a kid’s hitting people, that doesn’t have to be okay; I have held down an out of control child on more than one occasion.

      We also practiced a lot of breathing and “try again” and my kid went to therapy for a while. I have a friend who sends hers out to run laps.

      I hope your psychologist comes through soon and has more to offer.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        My mom would either hold me gently on her lap and let me thrash it out for five minutes or, as above, make me run laps. I must have been one hellion as a kid. Even as an adult I can feel when anger comes on I really need to get the excess energy out OR take a time out alone in a different room.

        Are there any trigger foods? Too much stimulation?

        1. TL -

          Five minutes is nothing. My temper tantrums would easily last over an hour and if my mom held me down, I’d just start up again as soon as she let me go.
          After a while, my parents just let me cry it out. I grew out of them/learned to control my emotions better as I aged.

    2. IowaGirl

      I’ve always found that the key to dealing with tantrums is to stay somewhat detached.

      When my kids were small, I’d say “I know. It’s hard when you don’t get what you want.” And then just walk away.

      With an older kid that is hitting, it can be scary, but I’ve taken the same approach of just staying calm and as uninvolved as possible. Think of it like a thunderstorm. It’s loud and scary, but it also isn’t about you and it won’t last long. You don’t need to DO anything except move yourself away from it.

      (I’m glad to hear that your seeking medical help because 6 is a little old to be asking for tantrum advice, but IME if it only happens very very occasionally, it may just be a thunderstorm).

    3. HelloWorld

      Maybe you could try validating him But maybe if you say: it’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to be angry. Why are you upset? If you tell him to stop, he’s likely to feel invalidated and scream louder.

      You’re giving him permission to feel what he’s feeling. It might be scary at first to do, but… when you validate how you feel, the emotion goes away super fast.

      And then you can teach him: it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel angry. Here is a healthy way to deal with these emotions. Feel them. Own them. They’re yours.

      And then set YOUR boundaries. It’s ok to kick and scream. But you have to go in your room and you can’t hurt anyone else. Here’s how to hit a pillow.

      But you could also ask him why he does it (when he’s in a better mood). “Why were you upset today?” “What do you think would make it better?” Let him come up with the solution.

    4. LilyLou

      Hi! I’m dealing with similar issues, and I just want to send some empathy your way. This is so hard. Hang in there! I generally have to physically restrain my kid until the storm passes. Starting therapy soon, and hoping it helps.

    5. Sarah

      If it’s the really intense 0-10 type of tantrum I think it’s just important to remember that the kid doesn’t want to be behaving that – he just has no control over himself at all. After it’s done you can try to talk about what happened, what caused it, what you can do next time to help. My son just needed to be left alone until he was done. My daughter needed hugs.

      You can try to look at the bigger picture when the tantrums occur. Is he hungry, tired, stressed? Is it always the same time of day, some place, etc?

      It gets better. :)

      1. TL -

        Yeah! I don’t remember many of mine (I was very, very young) but when I think of them, I have this vague impression of having a lot of feelings and just being completely overwhelmed and losing it.

    6. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

      A friend of mine has a child (also 6) struggling with this some and his teacher recommend blowing bubbles. When he starts a tantrum, my friend tells him to go to his room to blow bubbles until he is calm enough to talk about it. The point of the bubbles is really to get them to breathe to calm themselves down. He now will occasionally let her know that he needs to go blow bubbles or he’ll just go to his room on his own to calm himself down.

  26. AJaya

    Does anyone have any recommendations on a good Korean Drama to watch? Ever so often I am in the mood to binge watch a new series, but never know what is popular and usually just pick something at random. I prefer the more light hearted ones.

    1. Turtlewings

      A friend has been trying to get me to watch Coffee Prince, but I don’t think it’s especially light-hearted.

    2. SeekingBetter

      If you haven’t watched “Secret Garden” with Hyun Bin and Ha Ji Won, you really should! It’s a romantic drama with excellent character development :)

    3. super anon

      It’s not new by any stretch of the imagination, but I really enjoyed Fugitive Plan B when I watched it when it came out in 2009. It’s a primarily a treasure hunt with some love story thrown in (and of course, the overwrought inevitable nonsense death that manages to happen in every single Kdrama ever). It’s pretty light hearted and fun – and I’m not someone who likes Kdramas much because I don’t usually like the story lines them employ.

    4. Haru

      Sungkyunkwan Scandal maybe? If you like humour and fusion dramas. Its definitely lighted hearted. Its 6 years old. Same teams made Hwarang which is airing now, but that’s 50% light hearted. You can skip any of the crying and political scenes and still enjoy watching Hwarang

    5. Kara Zor-El

      You’re Beautiful was very light-hearted and cute! The main character is an innocent young nun who pretends to be her twin brother to join a boy band… hijinks ensue. :)

    1. Lissa

      Oh wow, that was so good. Fascinating. I had no idea so many people wrote to the president! I wonder if that happens in Canada where I live but I sort of suspect not, as there’s not really the same personal connection with the prime minister that Americans often have with their president. It’s so so interesting, the personal stories — some seem to be writing to make a point or have a personal anecdote to lend power to what they think the president should do, but other people really seem to feel that the president has failed if their life is personally not what they want.

      Also, the letters from the man whose partner, then husband, is a male soldier before and after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell made me sniffly-eyed! wow.

    2. Dr. Doll

      It was fascinating and I thought the historians, sociologists, etc., would have a blast, if those letters are kept and become part of the public record.

      1. Another Speechwriter

        Super late to this and hopefully Dr. Doll will see this.

        They do! Everything that comes into the White House is archived and, ultimately, searchable by the public.

        This was my world in a previous administration and I loved sending these letters over to the President.

      1. LCL

        Best-ski lesson day.
        Worst-got ran down and knocked flat by a baby boarder. But we’re both OK, so an awesome day anyway.

    1. Bonky

      Best: I’ve just hit the third trimester!
      Worst: I’ve just hit the third trimester! I am huge, I am so uncomfortable I can’t sleep, I can’t walk, I’m having trouble keeping food down because there’s so little room for my stomach in here…and there’s another three months to go.

      I am spending this evening sorting baby clothes by size and reminding myself that in three months I’ll feel loads better *and* have the little girl we’ve been trying for for years.

    2. Bad Candidate

      Best: I had a job interview this week. And while it would be less money hourly, a monthly bonus would make up for it, plus it seems like a much better culture than where I am now. I assume I won’t get it, but having one was the highlight of my week.

      Worst: I have lymphedema in my lower left leg and it’s been leaking fluid all week. I have to be very careful that it doesn’t get infected or I could end up with cellulitis. I can’t take sick time any more and had to apply for FMLA since I’m not sure when it’s going to stop and I can’t really have a leg leaking at work where I can’t elevate. It’s just been a real hassle this week to deal with. And I don’t even have a wound, it’s like a pore just opened in my leg and started seeping fluid out.

      1. LCL

        Maybe a physical therapist could help? My family member had trouble with lymphodema in her leg. Her physical therapist prescribed some kind of spandex brace and it helped. I’m sorry you are going through this.

        1. Bad Candidate

          Yeah, I’ve been to one. Two actually. Long stories. First one helped, second one didn’t really. The issue is in part, compliance. Which is my fault.

    3. coconutwater

      Best: This community/Weekend free-for-all! I think it’s so crazy/awesome that such smart people ended up on here and are so supportive and helpful of everyone.

      Worst: Sometimes I forget to visit =p

      1. Happy

        BEST: paid off 89% of my credit card debt as of Thursday

        WORST: credit card debt has been causing me anxiety and I’ve been sleeping horribly

    4. Jen RO

      Best: My work BFF is coming back from maternity leave next week, can’t wait!
      Worst: Not much really, it’s been a chill week.

    5. Trixie

      Best: My raise for added duties at work kicked in with this week’s pay check. Goal is to set-up IRA this weekend with that extra income. Also, little luck shopping and found one new piece to bring home.

      Worst: The week leading up to Friday’s events. Hoping the momentum is maintained over the 2-4 years and results in more participation/action.

    6. Elizabeth West

      BEST: Someone here reached out to me with help in my job hunt. Thanks to their encouragement, I kind of feel like I have more to offer than just answering the phone. You know who you are. ;) Thank you for your assistance; it is so incredibly appreciated. xxxxx

      I also went to the doctor and he doesn’t think the lesion on my ear is anything to worry about. He said to keep an eye on it. I bought a Water Pik to help me floss, since I don’t have any dental right now, and we discussed safe ways to use it for ear lavage as well. It’s basically no different than what they do.

      WORST: Do I even have to say it? #TheEvilPumpkinandtheRuthlessGhost
      Also, despite warm temperatures, I am SO SICK of the clouds I could just scream. I need sunshine NAOW. I need to walk every day if I’m going to lose any weight and it will. not. stop. raining. I cannot afford the gym.

      1. NaoNao

        Hey there, I tried to reach out a couple open threads ago but never heard back. I don’t have any specific job openings in mind but I’m part of a major mega corp that has offices/openings all over. You name the place, they likely have an office there (or something!). If you want to contact me, message me back and I’ll see what I can do! I’m also close with most of my former bosses and recruiters and can “crop dust” LinkedIN for openings in your field if you like!

    7. Amadeo

      Best: Week was preceded by a nice four day weekend!
      Worst: realized my first scratch on my brand new truck actually runs all the way down the side, from head light to tail light. Hoping it’s light enough that my local body shop can buff it out and it’s not going to involve an insurance claim instead of just paying him for a wash and wax/buff. Feels worse to know that it’s probably from someone who attends my TKD class, as that’s the only place where I am forced to park too close for comfort to other folks. This is why we can’t have nice things.

    8. Jules the First

      Best: it was sunny and cold this morning and I got to spend it with four good friends and some exceptionally well-behaved ponies!

      Worst: my regular transport is suspended this weekend for upgrades. Again. So my 45-minute trip to the ponies took 2 hours each way.

    9. Miss Mia

      BEST: I got a full time benefitted job offer! I’ve got tons of running around to do and I have to pay all the background checks up front (direct support job) but they will reimburse my costs to get them done. Also, found out I actually qualify for food from our local food pantry. So until this new job starts, I don’t have to worry about food.

      WORST: Blew a tire so now I have to get a new one. Probably won’t be able to make rent this month because of the injury last week on the job. But I’m not giving up yet.

    10. Aurora Leigh

      BEST: Today! Lovely day with warm weather and sun. Spent the afternoon with like-minded friends laughing and catching up. We had lunch at a cute local coffeeshop and went to craft stores. It so wonderful having friends like that in my life!

      WORST: Yesterday. I’m a political outlier at work, and my boss and co-workers who sit close to me were bashing the idea of protesters and saying some pretty spiteful things. It was very othering, and I didn’t feel free to voice my opinions, especially since my boss was the most outspoken. It makes it somehow worse that we’re all women.

    11. Lissa

      Best: Got offered some work from an organization I’ve been wanting to work with for awhile but timelines and schedules have never lined up. (also they are paying me more than expected!)

      Worst: anxiety!! I can’t meet up in person because of timing, so I have to submit everything online, fax/scan etc., and stuff like that always makes me ridiculously nervous that I’ll get something wrong.

    12. Becca

      Best: My brother-in-law’s fantastic fantasy novel (Silent Hall by N.S. Dolkart) is in audiobook production!!
      Worst: I suddenly got the urge to paint a portrait of every ruler of one of JRR Tolkien’s fictional kingdoms (with 25 monarchs), and it’s getting in the way of my life. On the plus side, the art is coming out well! My name’s got a link to the art so far… We’ll see how many more I can do by next week!

    13. Mimmy

      Best: Being invited to apply for a position in my field and actually being comfortable enough to accept and send my resume. Even just a year ago, I probably would’ve said no. Go me! lol.

      Worst: Let’s just say that this weekend on social media has me walking on eggshells!

    14. copy run start

      Best: Marched today at my state’s capital! Felt good to be seen. Also found out that my dad marched with MLK and saw his “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington.

      Worst: Serious confusion over my father never telling me he saw MLK speak. I don’t know why he feels like that needs to be a secret. I know his political views are probably very different than when he was in his youth, but really?

    15. SeekingBetter

      Best: I managed to somehow shed one pound without really trying :)
      Worst: My father has offered to buy $20,000 worth of furniture for my sister-in-law’s new house, which he would never do for me if I bought a house.

    16. Anonyby

      Best: Got to try out a new cake pan, and all of my friends loved it and were amazed. :D

      Worst: Feeling a bit left out as many went to an event yesterday, but I couldn’t go as I’m still working weekends for the forseeable future.

  27. Gene

    Just a few updates for things I’ve talked about here.

    The Opae ula tank is cycling well, the brackish water snails should be delivered today. I’ll order shrimp in about three weeks, assuming the water tests good.

    The new range is wonderful.

    I finally got a decent shot of my stage exit from Worldcon Masquerade photo. https://www.instagram.com/p/BOqZZxBAgFB

    1. Clever Name

      Ah, cycling a new tank. Are you graphing the different constituents? It was so cool to see the ammonia and nitrates do their thing through the nitrogen cycle. What are you using to cycle the tank? I used pure ammonia, which was effective, but I think I still have a huge jug of it left, and it’s been 7 years.

      1. Gene

        I’m just going bare. Since this is a brackish tank specifically for Opae ual, much of the rigmarole associated with salt water tanks doesn’t apply. Like, I never have to do a water change – barring some sort of catastrophe. I just made up the water to 1.011 specific gravity with Instant Ocean, filled it up, added coral sand and lava rocks from Idaho, and let it go. No heater, no filter, just light on 12 hours per day.

        I tested this weekend after two weeks and it’s 8.0 pH, 0 NH3, 0 NO3, and 0 NO2. So if the Post Office ever finds my package with my snails in it, I’ll add them to give the process some push.

  28. Abigail

    One of my friends is going through some medical issues that make him kind of crazy. Like literally… psychologically, he’s having some bad effects.

    I feel really uncomfortable talking about it, but it’s all he wants to talk about. Any time I set a boundary, he gives me an excuse why he probably won’t be able to abide by it because he’s mentally unstable and I should be patient.

    I’m sick of this. I don’t want to be compassionate if it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to be friends with someone who treats me poorly, whether it’s their “fault” or not. Has anyone dealt with something similar?

    1. Allypopx

      “Any time I set a boundary, he gives me an excuse why he probably won’t be able to abide by it because he’s mentally unstable and I should be patient. ”

      Nope. Nope nope nope. Not valid. Not acceptable.

      Sometimes people going through mental or emotional issues do have trouble remembering boundaries or adhering to them, so you should be patient and they sometimes need a lot of reminding, but that means “I’ll try, please be patient and remind me as necessary I’m sorry if I screw up sometimes” and not “this hardship I have gives me a free pass to ignore your boundaries.”

      A lot of people close to me have mental health issues. I have mental health issues. My partner has mental health issues. Boundaries are so super important. And it’s okay to say you don’t want someone in your life who is unhealthy for you.

      If it’s medical and it’s something that might be gotten under control with time, maybe take some time away from this person and check back in after awhile. Space might give you a chance to gather your thoughts and find a new way to approach him, or give you some refreshed resilience to be part of that relationship. Don’t stress about being a fair-weather friend. Your first responsibility is to yourself and no, you are under no obligation to let yourself be treated poorly.

      Having boundaries is okay and knowing when to say when is okay too. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’m sorry your friend is going through this now, but he needs help to get the tools he need cope, not to use it as a blanket excuse.

    2. neverjaunty

      Your friend is an ass. This isn’t about his being mentally unstable; it’s about his not wanting to make any effort to respect boundaries you have set. People can be mentally unstable AND jerks.

      You have every right to distance yourself from this person. If he is unable to respect your boundaries, then the decent thing for him to do is not to put himself in a situation where he will violate them.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Agreed. He has basically said, “I have very little intention of helping myself and you gotta put up with it.” No. That is not how friendships work. If he were endlessly borrowing money from you the answer would be more clear, I suppose. But the general idea is that people cannot take and take and take without ever giving. That is not friendship.

    3. MaddieB

      You have to make it clear to him in a calm but firm way that you are neither a doctor or a psychiatrist and you are not qualified or comfortable going into depth about his issues. If your friend cannot accept this, distance yourself. Good luck.

    4. Rebooting

      I’ve been on the other side. I have a personality disorder that is hellish for everyone involved when it’s not treated, and of course, when I was undiagnosed, it wasn’t treated. When I eventually got diagnosed and started treatment, I did tell my friends that I was aware of the problems and was working to fix them but that the fix wouldn’t happen overnight, and some of them didn’t want to stick around until I stopped sabotaging my relationships in an attempt to “prove” that my friends did or didn’t care about me.

      And you know what? That sucks, but I understand it and I don’t blame them. Some of them reached out later, when I had things under control, but some of them haven’t and that’s their prerogative. It’s not selfish to distance yourself from someone whose mental health is having a bad impact on yours. It’s not selfish to not want to be friends with someone who can’t respect your boundaries.

    5. Girasol

      I thought that boundaries were set with a consequence for violation. “It bothers me to discuss X. If you talk about X I will go home.” Isn’t that the gist? (Just asking; I’m no great shakes at boundary setting.)

        1. Rusty Shackelford

          Keep that up. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with saying “I’m sorry, I told you I wasn’t willing to discuss this, so I’m going to hang up now. Bye.”

    6. Jersey's mom

      You must consider your own health first.

      If he will not listen to boundaries, and you want to try to continue the relationship, consider meeting in a public location; if he violates the boundary that you set, you can simply leave.

      Trigger warning: mental health
      Slightly off-topic, you may be interested in reading “The Center Will Not Hold” by Elyn Saks. She is a highly intelligent person with multiple degrees who also has a mental illness. She is quite frank about describing her illness and how she felt/thought. She also discusses her circle of friends, how it affected them, and how they interacted. A truly fascinating book that made me think very differently about people with mental illness issues.

  29. SeekingBetter

    I have to dump this out of my system or I’ll have it bottled up in me! I just overheard my dad talking to my sister-in-law yesterday and he eagerly offered to help her buy $20,000 worth of furniture for a new house she bought because she can’t afford to furnish the dang place with her own money!!! My dad, who I’ve known my whole life, would have NEVER offered to help me buy a home or help me with buying furniture or anything else for it. In fact, while I was growing up, he even told me that I should always save up my own money to put a down payment on a house one day. Not like that’s ever going to happen anytime soon since I’ve been underemployed for over a year now……

    I’m just really frustrated and angry, y’all!

    1. NarrowDoorways

      I WOULD BE TOO!

      I went to someone’s home for a pre-Christmas party and her furniture was crazy expensive. Like—place looked like a magazine ad, which was insane because she lives in a very expensive neighborhood and on top of that, I know the cost of that furniture is about half her yearly income. (So, yeah, about 20k.) Could not figure out how she could afford all that.

      1. Ruffingit

        She’s probably up to her eyeballs in credit card debt, lines of credit at the furniture store, etc.

        1. SeekingBetter

          Ummm, actually no. My sister-in-law can’t afford the new furniture because she only makes around $20K a year and blew most of the savings on the down payment on this *erherm* expensive home in the suburbs.

          Because she wants her future child, with my blood-relative brother, to be able to go to the nice public school in the city they bought it in.

          1. Ruffingit

            I was responding to Narrow Doorways comment about the home she went to for a pre-Christmas party.

            1. SeekingBetter

              Oh, sure and thank you for letting me know. I agree how some people are up to their heads in credit card and other debt but that’s how they can afford expensive stuff.

      2. Alston

        Maybe she bought it used? Most of my furniture would be quite expensive new, but I’ve bought it used for 1/10th-1/2 the price on Craigslist.

    2. Jules the First

      Sooooo…to offer a different perspective: Mine always said that we should be financially responsible and look after ourselves and that we couldn’t count on their financial help, so I didn’t…and then when I did scrape together the money for a down payment and announced that I was buying a home, he got very quiet, then a little teary, and told me how very proud he was of me for doing this all by myself. And then he wrote me a very large cheque. Which I did not see coming at all, and am still (more than a year later) a little embarassed to have cashed.

      Just saying that Dads can get a little wobbly when mortgages are involved.

      1. SeekingBetter

        Thanks for sharing your perspective! It’s nice to hear that your dad was so proud of you when you did it all by yourself!!!

    3. Bomb Yogi

      I would be seriously frustrated. It reminds me of my mom and her family. When she graduated from high school, her parents bought her a 20 year old used car. When her brother graduated, he got a brand new Corvette. He is the youngest and only male child. Dont get me wrong, my mom appreciated her gift, but when Baby Brother got his Corvette, it hurt her feelings.

      However, my mom (the oldest child) is seriously self-sufficient and works very hard. The very few times she asked for help from her parents, they have said no. My uncle is basically still a teenager who cant make any life decisions. He is currently living with my grandparents due to a divorce and having to sell his home. Basically, he doesnt want to “waste” money on rent.

      I told my mom that I think her parents know that she is self-sufficient and dont truly need their help, and that they know my uncle just isnt capable of taking care of himself. Regardless, it still really hurts her feelings.

      1. Aurora Leigh

        Your last paragraph really resonates with me. I mean, my parents were really great to helping me transition into the adult world, but my younger sister is totally just coasting along. She graduated high school 4 1/2 years ago and still has never held a job or gone to college.

        While I get that it takes some people longer to grow up, it bugs me that I might end up having to support her when they’re gone if something doesn’t change.

          1. SeekingBetter

            Agree. Yes, you don’t have an obligation to support her. But I can see why it’s hard not to especially if you still care about your sister. Maybe you can have a chat with her to see if that’ll help her help herself.

            1. Aurora Leigh

              Yeah . . . logical brain knows that. Big sister brain, not so much.

              Believe me I’ve tried talking to her, but it gets me nowhere. I honestly don’t understand the mindset. I think anxiety may be playing a part. But she also believes that I had some kind of charmed life that she doesn’t. While it’s true I got scholarships for college and landed a part time job in high school before I was even really looking . . . I still worked hard to keep and make the best of those opportunities. She won’t even try because she’s so sure she’ll fail. Which is of course sad, but also incredibly frustrating to watch.

    4. Sled dog mama

      Right there with you. My parents said all the do it yourself things, they paid the part of college not covered by scholarships for me and siblings but I’ve been financially independent from them since the day I finished college. Bought a house, moved, sold it bought a different one, replaced cars for myself and my husband, been the sole income for my family for three and half years.
      For the births of both my children (their first and second grandchildren) they did nothing not even a baby blanket. My youngest brother and his wife are expecting, are both lawyers and (according to my brother) “doing well financially.” Found out at Christmas that my parents bought them their nursery furniture set.
      Not mad at all (she says dripping with sarcasm) but my husband and I did make a note that no matter their age kids will keep score.

      1. SeekingBetter

        Yes, as always, kids do keep score forever :)

        I can’t believe that your parent bought a nursery furniture set for your well-to-do youngest brother and wife though. You’d figure your parents would at least return the favor and get you something for your kids!

    5. SeekingBetter

      Thanks so much for the replies so far, everybody! I’m feeling less of an urge to go and smash an expensive vase or piece of china to vent. ^0^

      I really wish I had a large punching bag at home that I could wail on!

    6. Jersey's mom

      Totally getting it.

      A few years ago SIL called me and DH and asked us to GIVE her $35,000. We kinda assumed it would be for something like a liver transplant or adopting a baby from a foreign country……

      Nope. She just had a lot of bills after buying a new car, loss of money due to a poor “flipping” of a house, and just, oh STUFF, she bought to feel better. She ended up getting a few thou from Mom and Dad who felt bad for her. Because she was poor. Because she never worked hard a damned day of her life.

      I get your anger. I suggest going home depot and buying a bunch of lathe (thin wood stick), then going in the basement or outside and beating the crap out of the wall or a rock/ground. The lathe is cheap, will give you an outlet to let out that anger, and you can then recycle the busted up wood. Or going to the gym and a good punching bag.

      When I am that seriously p’d off, I need something physical. Kudos to everyone who can release the anger with thought, meditation or forgiveness. I’m not at that level yet. :)

      His parents also seriously discussed leaving their entire estate to her (since she “needed” it), and nothing to my DH, since he was self sufficient. He pointed out to them that yes, he didn’t need or want their money (and in fact, they should enjoy spending it now, since they earned it!), but to simply leave cash to his sis would be pouring it down the drain.

  30. NarrowDoorways

    Anyone who’ll commiserate with me about the difficulties roommate hunting?

    I have a fantastic place in Boston with a really low rent price, but I’m getting such dud applicants. So one woman, a lawyer, asked me if my cat was “negotiable.” Whaaaat? No, I’m not getting rid of my cat b/c you don’t like pets. Don’t live here, duh…. The ad specifically said, “Must like cats because I have one.”

    Another man asked if his girlfriend could come to the walkthrough, which was fine. I figured I could ask where she lived and ask how often she’d be over or if they’d chill at her place half the time. Turns out the two live together now but she’s moving out of state for a job thing for nine months. So when I said, “Oh, so you’re only looking for short term? Because I said in the ad I was looking for long-term,” they just awkwardly looked at each other and didn’t respond. THEN as I’m trying to usher them out, the boyfriend says, “Oh, it’s cool if she’s lives here for a month and a half, right? Her work thing doesn’t start until a month and a half after our lease ends.” *Proceeds to look at me expectantly, while not offering that they’ll pay more rent or split utilities three-ways*

    Frustrating!

    1. Allypopx

      Ugh. Yes. Time of year makes a huge difference in Boston. September 1st leases are so competitive you’d have your pick of wonderful people (especially with a good rent price). February 1st? So much harder.

      1. NarrowDoorways

        Well, it’s for April, so I’ve got a bit of time. But it’s true most everyone either has June or September leases. I was hoping by starting the hunt last month I would get the great people that plan ahead and not just those with recent bad breakups or screaming fights with roommates that create an unexpected lease exit.

        I’ll just keep trying. I’ve been talking to a guy for the past week trying to set something up, but he only answers his email once a day at 11am, so no matter how quickly I reply, it’s a 24 hour wait. What’s up with that? I gave him the address Thursday for a showing this morning, but as soon as I did, his next email (yesterday) said he was too sick and he needed to reschedule. Now I’m concerned it was some kind of weird scam or robbery thing.

        1. coconutwater

          I haven’t lived in Boston, but at least in NYC… these types of things happen SO last minute. You would not believe.

        2. Ms Ida

          Could you look for a short term roommate and restart the hunt when the June or September folks have their leases coming up? You might find someone that’s otherwise a good fit but not looking for long term or someone you can out up with for a few months :)

    2. Lily Evans

      Is it possible that it sounds almost too good to be true cheap? I was on the other side of apartment hunting in Boston and would actually set the craigslist filter above a certain price because anything lower than that was such a bargain I didn’t trust it. But everyone I know who’s looked for a roommate for an already established apartment has had their troubles. One of my friends combated duds by basically writing a novel about what she was looking for in a roommate so the replies she got either really really didn’t read it, or they did and still genuinely thought they’d be a good fit.

      1. NarrowDoorways

        Ha! It’s funny because I actually marked it up by $150 so it’d look like the norm rate and I wouldn’t get the people who were so broke they could barley make ends meet.

        1. Alston

          You might check the Housing Wanted section of Craigslist, there’s also some facebook housing groups for students (the Harvard Housing one caters almost exclusively to grad students and post docs) so you might find someone there.

    3. sfffs

      Have you tried listing on the Listings Project? It’s $30 to list but I found that the applicants were wayyyy better than craigslist.

  31. Sunflower

    Can anyone recommend some of their favorite self-help books- particularly ones that helped you make an important change?

    I’ve posted on this quite a bit but I’ve been in a rut for a while that I’m finally ready to make the leap to get myself out of it. Problem is I’m struggling with what exactly to do. I’ve never really thought about what I actually want or the kind of person I am. I’ve always just kind of floated on and done what I thought was the right thing because it’s what other people thought was right (fwiw I grew up in a home where travel and exploring different things wasn’t discouraged). I have a few ideas- all involve getting out my city which I’ve wanted to do for some time and traveling more but they are very different. Everything ranging from moving to a new city to moving to a different country. I recently realized that I’ve never really made a true sacrifice in my life because I’ve never really wanted anything that required giving up other things I wanted. It’s tough coming to the realization that making one choice means giving up another. There’s a lot of emotions and thoughts flying around in my head and I’m just trying to get them in order a bit.

    I’m looking for books that might help me figure that out but any books that have helped with any issues you might have would be great!

    1. coconutwater

      I’m actually working on writing one! =p

      But it depends what you’re looking for. My favorite is Deliberate Receiving. I don’t know if you’re spiritual, but even if you’re not, there’s some really practical advice about how your mind works and how to get out of ruts and feel better.

      If you want a “Get out and do stuff” book, The Four Hour Work Week.

      I tend to be more inspired by books that are like, “This is how I did it,” rather than books like, “This is what you should do,” because then I can take the evidence and come to my own conclusions. If you’re thinking about traveling, read some books about people who traveled. =)

      Also though, you don’t HAVE to “decide” who you are. Just go out and do stuff. Have fun. Don’t define yourself first and then decide what to do. Do what’s fun.

    2. Not Karen

      Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live by Martha N. Beck
      any of Chris Guillebeau’s books or his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity

    3. The RO-Cat

      My interest revolves around “personal development”, a.k.a. “take your lizard brain and smash it into submission to the rational brain”, so the books I like might not be your cup of tes, but here they are:
      – “The Power Of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. A very well written book, almost novel-like, about what makes us tick without us ever knowing and how to manage your habits
      – “Thinking, Fast And Slow” by Daniel Kahnemann. Nobel Prize winner for economy (the only psychologisy so far to have won the prize), Kahnemann explains the science behind cognitive biases, snap judgements and bad decisions that make you feel good.
      – “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. A nice little guide about getting better at being human, imperfect and happy
      – “Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink. Or go see his TED talk on what motivators really are made of.
      – “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Helped me in a very dark moment. I wasn’t really into it all the way, but there is a serious dose of truth there.
      – “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He is the father of scientific mindfulness meditation, in the form of MBSR. Worth a read, though I didn’t find it an easy read.
      – “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal. Her TED talk about stress is also fascinating.
      – “Mind Gym – Achieve More By Thinking Differently” by Octavius Black and Sebastian Bailey. Nice exercises-packed guide for identifying cognitive habits and changing those you don’t like or aren’t helpful
      – “Nudge – Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth And Happiness” by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. It’s the seminal book about “nudges” and “choice architecture” – ways to trick your mind when you hace no other solution
      – “Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine. A nice, easy to understand metaphor about (self)-criticism and building warmer, kinder relationships
      – “Search Inside Yourself” by Chade Meng-Tan. The Google “mindfulness officer” explains the program Google sells for sh|tloads of money to companies around the world – because it works
      – “Small Move, Big Change” by Caroline Arnold. How she used micro-resolutions to improve health, eating and life, really
      – “Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath. Nice book about habits, bright spots and ways to herald change to change-averse worlds.

      1. fposte

        Dude. Between this and the mindfulness I now have to make a folder of my bookmarks for your comments.

        1. The RO-Cat

          [emoticon:smile] It’s not my fault! My parents made me this way!

          On a more serious note: I’m an avid reader. I made – out of curiosity – my DISC profile on Tonny Robbins’s site and it said I learn for the pleasure of learning, which is true. My spouse calls me “Google on two feet”. My bookmarks folder in Firefox hosts several hundred pages. All this is to say: you are always welcome to ask for info, books, websites, whetever. I don’t guarantee an answer, but I guarantee the effort.

          Besides, research on the Net is the second-best part of my work. I get paid for it (indirectly), so I’m happy to share. I strongly believe in the freedom of circulation for information and I’m never bothered to share.

    4. Jackie

      Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne W Dyer came out in 1976. You might be able to get it from the library. It was one of the best self books I have ever read.

      1. The RO-Cat

        Seconding that! Also, I forgot:
        – “With Winning In Mind” by Lanny Bassham. The story of a champion enrooling mind in his quest for victory (and making, as I understand it, quite a living from the techniques he developped)
        – “Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You” by Marc Schoen. Why you eat (or do anything else) when you know it’s bad for you and what to do.
        – “Chasing The Scream” by Johann Hari. A diffent outlook on addictions – one that seems to be supported by science and new drug policies around the world
        – “You Are Not Your Brain” by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding. The title is self-explanatory.

    5. Bunny Purler

      I love Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It’s about habits, and how you can learn to use habits to help you improve your life. I think it might resonate with you because of what you said about not knowing the sort of person you are. To her, knowing this is hugely important if you’re going to make improvements in your life, and the book has some great ways to think about who you are.

  32. Posting anon for this

    My brother has decided to get his PhD. He has a B.A. in History of Ideas and two M.A.’s in History of Ideas and Digital Humanities. He has been a full time student for nine years, since he was 18 years old. He admits that he has never had a clue what he wants to do with his life or what kind of work he wants to do. His PhD will be in the History of Ideas.

    He still lives at home with my parents in their basement. He has never had a job before. My parents pay all his bills (phone, car etc.) and give him money for things. He doesn’t have to worry about his paying back his student loans as long as he is a student. He does the bare minimum for school to get by and have good enough grades to keep going.

    I’m so frustrated because I’m only a year older and I moved out at 18 and not been supported by my parents for 10 years. My parents say that my brother is smart and misunderstood. He gets his laundry, cooking and cleaning done. He has complete freedom and no responsibilities. Now he has committed to more school that will take years. He’s the only male child on my dad’s side and the baby of the family so he is the favorite and gets away with things. My brother, family and parents wonder why I moved and barely talk to them or go back home.

    *I don’t mean to disrespect anyone who has a PhD or is working towards one. Or anyone who lives with their parents. My vent was about my situation only.

    1. Marcela

      I posted about some thing slightly similiar, a SIL that lives off my FIL, also being allowed to do anything they want, while my husband has been taking care of himself and me for 10 years. I do not have any advice to offer, just a hug for this is a crappy situation to be.

    2. Not Karen

      Ugh, this sounds like a bad idea for everyone involved. If you’re going to go through all the work, time, and money to get a PhD, you really need to be clear on your career goals… WTF does someone do with a PhD in “the History of Ideas”?? (What does that even mean?) And not that a PhD in what is usually seen as a floozy field is inherently a bad idea – I knew someone who got a PhD in Mythology, but he was 100% certain he wanted to be a professor so it worked for him.

      1. Ruffingit

        Yeah, a Ph.D. is the kind of thing you do when you know what you’re looking for. A friend tried to talk me into a Ph.D. and I was all kinds of NOPE because I don’t need one for my field and after two grad degrees, I have zero interest in that.

        Also, the thing about this situation that I seriously wonder about is what your parents think your brother is going to do when they’re gone? He has no means of supporting himself at all having zero work experience and nearing 30. Do they think he’s going to get a fabulous job as a professor or something? Cause…yeah. Have you seen the academic job market recently? Are they planning to leave him a ton of cash? I don’t know…it just makes me wonder what parents are thinking by enabling this kind of total BS.

      2. So Very Anonymous

        “History of Ideas” is a a real field (intellectual history) but it’s not necessarily a super-marketable one these days, even within academia. Getting a humanities PhD these days is kind of a bad bet even if you want to be a professor, since the job market is terrible (and things like the NEH and NEA potentially losing all their funding are not going to help, since NEH is one of the major grant agencies for the humanities, and some universities measure value by the amount of grant $ you bring in). There’s a lot of talk now about how to make PhD students better able to get jobs outside of academia (digital humanities is one of the areas that gets praised for that, so, maybe?). But these days you have to be really, really aware of what the job market is like and what your other options are/could be if you’re going the PhD in humanities route.

      3. Posting anon for this

        He doesn’t have a clue what he wants to do with his life or what kind of job that he wants. The only reason he picked History of Ideas as a major for his B.A. is because my parents said he could only stay at home if he was either working full time OR going to school full time, and he admitted to me that it was the easiest ‘bird’ major he could find. Same reason why he got his first M.A. in it and is now getting his PhD in it. He picked Digital Humanities for his second M.A. because it was the closest thing he could find nearby that was easy and related to his other History of Ideas degree.

        My parents will never kick him out. They do think he will get a great, well paying job once he finishes school, but he is talking about more school once he is done his PhD. My mother is 50 and my father is 52, they are both in excellent help, the house is paid off, and my father has a pension and some retirement savings. My parents think that by the time they get to ‘old age’ he will be making big money in a good job but that there is lots of time because of their ages and my brother’s age (he is 27)

        1. Not So NewReader

          I don’t know if you can make this work for you but it sounds like your bro could be their aging in place plan. He can help pay bills as prices increase, he can help around the house snow blowing, lawn mowing (skip the part that he does not do that now, he will magically change.)
          Try to picture your brother 58 years old driving your elderly parents to and from the doctors as necessary and him crying to you that he is stuck. He can’t find a job and the only work he can find is driving your parents around as needed. Maybe you can work with, “Gee, Bro, I am so glad that you are there all the time to take care of mom and dad so I can go, you know, have a life.”

          This stuff will eat you if you let it. And it can gnaw on you for the rest of your life. Find ways to turn the situation back on itself. Yes, it’s hugely unfair. It’s even more unfair if it takes up residency in your mind and impacts your life.

          1. Posting anon for this

            I do see what you are saying, especially with your last paragraph. Thank you.

            My brother will never be their caregiver. He is too lazy and my parents would never allow it. They don’t see him in that role because he is male. That role should have fallen to me, except that I am the black sheep daughter who left home to work instead of getting married and staying close to look after them in old age. My mother had dental surgery and was still doing his laundry when she was supposed to be in bed resting. She sees it as her duty to care for him, not the other way around and my father agrees. They would go live in a retirement home and leave my brother the house if their health declined to a point where they couldn’t look after themselves. My brother currently does not do any chores and I don’t see that changing. My parents once went away for 10 days and he let everything go to hell (laundry, the lawn, cleaning etc) and did the bare minimum to survive. My parents did the chores when they got back. They didn’t mind because he has school work to focus on.

        2. Not So NewReader

          Wanted to go back to something I mentioned a while ago. The people who were in the party crowd for years eventually reach 40-50 years old and are SHOCKED to realize that they cannot even do most of basics in life, such as have a couple of friends over for dinner, because they do not know how to plan and cook a meal for company.

          It won’t be that long and your bro will realize that much of life has passed right by him. His peers are out there learning life skills that he will not have learned.

    3. fposte

      I know this isn’t the real point here, but has he actually gotten admitted into a program? He doesn’t sound like much of a doctoral prospect.

      1. So Very Anonymous

        Sadly, I know of a local department that would probably take him; I have the strong impression that this program is accepting students because they need the bodies and the money.

      2. Posting anon for this

        He has been accepted into a program. He doesn’t want things to end, so he fakes being interested about school to the school and does enough to pass and keep going and not get kicked out, but away from school he isn’t passionate and does not go all out. He is smart enough to know that his ride will end and he’ll have to start paying those loans if he flunks out or gets kicked out. He wants to stay in school.

        1. fposte

          Takes a lot of work to fake admissions-level interest for a PhD. Sounds like that may be the one thing he actually does put effort into.

          1. Posting anon for this

            I agree that he puts effort into school, but he only does it so his ride won’t end. He doesn’t do it for passion or because he cares about the subject. He would be the same no matter what the major is. When I said he fakes, I meant that he pretends to be passionate about his major/what he studies so the school will think he is a committed student. He actually doesn’t care about it at all and would study any subject at all to keep his ride going.

    4. danr

      He’ll be a professional student until he’s out of the house. And he might find a way to continue anyway.

    5. Stellaaaaa

      Is his actual lifestyle something you want though? I’m sure you could move back home if you agreed to stay in school forever. I doubt you want that.

      1. Posting anon for this

        My parents would push or arrange for me to get married. I wouldn’t be able to live with them with no prospects to get married. And they wouldn’t be supportive of me going to college for anything other than a MRS degree, and certainly no graduate school. I don’t want to live at home faking interest in school, even if I’m jealous of his freedom and lack of responsibility sometimes.

        I’m just frustrated because despite rising through the ranks of the army and receiving commendations, I am the black sheep of the family over my brother who smokes pot almost 24/7 and drinks and parties with no ambition in life.

        1. LCL

          Everyone I have known who smokes pot 24/7 is damaged, somehow. Your brother might never have been capable of functioning independently. All you can do is help yourself, and decide how much assistance you will give him and your parents when the time comes. Be glad your parents have assets; otherwise bro would be living in your basement.

          1. Not So NewReader

            Thank you for saying this. While OP does not have to provide basement space for her bro, the general idea holds true. Expect less and you will be less disappointed, OP. Bees sting. It’s silly to think that bees don’t sting. We know they do. Bro is lazy and a leach. It’s “silly” to think that he will be a major contributor to society, eh,right now it’s looking like he won’t contribute anything to society.

            Sometimes the best we can do is let people sort their situations out themselves. Matter of fact, our intervention can actually slow down their sorting process. I think your reaction to leave was the perfect response. You are most fortunate to have a clearer vision of what life is actually about. You have created more of your own good fortune by making wise choices in life. Continue doing this. Continue making wise choices about your life. You can use your bro to remind yourself or move yourself along by saying, “I am not ending up like THAT! I am going to continue to invest in me and grow ME.”

            And grieve. At the bottom of all this is a huge sadness for these three people. Life does not have to be this hard and we know it. But people are allowed to make their own choices, even though we already know how their own poor choices will play out. This is tough stuff, OP. It’s really hard to watch people unravel themselves.

            1. Posting anon for this

              Thank you. This advice is so helpful.

              I’m thankful to be military so I don’t have a place where he can come live, although I have made it clear that since I am the black sheep in their minds there will be no assistance to anyone under any circumstances, and I won’t be chaining my mind.

              Thanks again.

              1. tigerStripes

                If it helps at all, they are enabling him to a point of helplessness. You got out. You succeeded. He may be feeling comfortable now, but he can’t take care of himself. You can take care of yourself.

    6. Observer

      I know this is super frustrating. But, don’t kid yourself, you are MUCH better off than your brother. I’ve seen this pattern before, and although your brother is getting his cooking and laundry done, it’s not much of a life. Sure, it’s better than being on the street, but still.

      1. Posting anon for this

        I appreciate you saying this. I know you are right. It’s just frustrating that despite rising in rank in the army and being independent, I am the black sheep that no one talks about while my brother slacks off, drinks, smokes pot and does as little as possible and is the favorite, golden child.

        1. Not So NewReader

          There are two types of families. Our biological family and the family we chose. If you have not started, then start building a family you chose. This can be a group of friends and colleagues who lift you up and lift each other up, in other words a positive group to be with.

          Our families failures hit us the hardest and we remember those failures for the rest of our lives. The tricky part is to deliberately look for what is missing in our lives and get it for ourselves from another source.

    7. blackcat

      I have an older brother who is over 30 and still mooches off my parents for everything. I’ve been financially independent of my parents since I finished college at 21. At the time, my parents made it clear that if I was going to move in with a boyfriend, they wouldn’t support me. That boyfriend is now my husband. For what it’s worth, the last 10 years includes the time that I have been pursuing a PhD, though I am in the sciences and am paid moderately alright. Right now, my husband makes a lot more than me and “supports” me, but before I started grad school, the situation was flipped. So I haven’t been totally independent, but I have been independent of my parents.

      It frustrates me to know end that my parents support my brother in a way that they never would for me. No advice, just sympathy here…

    8. Also Anon

      I a few families in the same situation. They are currently trying to teach their sons basic life skills in his mid-thirties or later. They have only come to this realization that something needs to be done only in the past few years, pushed by the realization that they are not going to be around forever. Something will happen for your family as well. Probably when they try to encourage a marriage for your brother and every “eligible” (in their eyes) candidate – educated, earning, and capable – will take one look at him and refuse.

      Yes, it would have been nice if your parents had supported you because it did take a tremendous toll on your energy and mental state. You feel that you could have done so much more if you had that support. But, really, anything your parents could have done for you would have come with strings.

      You have skills your brother does not have: grit and independence. These are valuable and will serve your well in this world.

  33. Elizabeth West

    I have stuff I need to do today, but U.S. Nationals skating championships are on TV. Since it’s three hours away from me and I didn’t get to go (ARRRGGGGH), I want to at least watch–some of the kids from my old club are sweeping. One of them is skating in the Smuckers Spectacular (that will air next week, Jan. 28 at 2:30 ET on NBC). Her name is Hope, if you’re interested in checking her out. I’m jelly because they all got to meet Johnny Weir and Scott Hamilton. :P

    And of course, Gracie Gold, and her sister Carly, who is doing photography for the event. I used to skate with them–they started at our rink. Ladies free skate is on tonight at 8 pm ET, NBC. :D I’m kind of ticked that they don’t show the short programs anymore. Now if you want to see everything, you either have to have Universal Sports on cable, or a subscription to icenetwork.com. >:(

    Let’s see if I can watch without wanting to skate again. If I can, I’ll know I’m truly done, at least for now.

    1. Bomb Yogi

      Im watching as well. Nationals is the only thing that gets me through January. Im ready for some good skating tonight and tomorrow.

  34. Amadeo

    Ahh, one of those days when there are a million and one things I could do, like work on my cosplay, or make bling shirt designs, or soap, or even just do some house keeping, which I suck at so bad but I can’t be bothered to leave the chair at the moment! I guess at least it’s a weirdly nice day (70 degrees in the middle of January!) and I can open the windows.

    Also, have some Strider themed soap with the swirl that didn’t turn out quite like I intended it to. (I think the batter got too thick). Scented with warm tobacco, bay, leather and just a drop of vetiver to ground the lot. https://www.instagram.com/p/BPh-8uqFJZ3/?taken-by=rusti_knight

    1. Anonyby

      That soap looks awesome though! Great job! It’s been the better part of a year since I soaped (discounting a quick batch of soft shave soap I did because a friend was out). I still have to wrap & label the last two batches I did last year so that I can put them out for friends to take…

    2. SAHM

      Nice! I’ve been trying to get up the energy to soap. I shaved down some scraps/extras and made a couple loafs out of it, bought a double boiler to do it too! But I really want to make FRESH CP, with drop swirls, hangar swirls, etc. Just haven’t been feeling it lately, maybe I’ll clean out my office and try for some soap later this week.

  35. MsChanandlerBong

    I’m thinking of making an appt. with a chiropractor. The thing is, I have had surgery on my spine four times. I am not interested in any “adjustments.” I want to go there specifically for medical massage. Is this a thing? Or would I have to have adjustments if I wanted to take advantage of the massage therapy? My insurance covers chiropractic care.

    I’m not trying to scam my way into cheap massage therapy just for the heck of it; I actually think it will benefit me. In the last year, I had two occasions where my lower back muscles went into such a spasm that I was unable to walk normally (I had to shuffle along by taking teeny-tiny steps) or even breathe without pain. Both times, I had to go to urgent care (my doctor didn’t have any available appointments), costing my insurance company several hundred dollars each time. Additionally, my trapezius/neck muscles tighten up so badly, so frequently, that I have to take Flexeril just to function. It makes me groggy, and I am not a fan of taking stuff like that long-term. I am thinking if I get a massage once or twice a month, maybe I would be able to prevent these problems, get off the Flexeril, and stop having to go to urgent care for Prednisone every time I can’t walk.

    1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Can commiserate – I had two spasm episodes this year that were mighty painful and now Ive got muscle relaxers in case they happen again.

      Not sure if a chiro would help in this instance (and its so hard to find a good one) especially with the back operations. In fact, im not sure I would risk it. What about more of a sports masseur or physiotherapist? Alternatively if you have a chiro oor a recommendation for one, you could try calling their office and see if they can recommend someone (or have someone on their staff). Chiros are more for the structural things (bones) anything else like nerves or muscles require someone else.

      Also – are those muscles going into spasm because they aren’t strong enough and get easily tired and overworked?

      1. MsChanandlerBong

        I’ll be honest. Part of it is because I don’t work them enough. I have joint problems, so there are days when just standing makes me feel like my ankles are about to crack. I also have arthritis in my knees, spine, and feet (plus a bone spur on the bottom of my left foot). I KNOW I need to exercise more, but it’s such a struggle just to stand at the counter and chop vegetables some days that I don’t have it in me to go walking around the neighborhood. Plus, the muscles in my lower back have been sliced open a few times, so they are weak to begin with.

    2. fposte

      Have you checked to see if your insurance covers massage therapy? Mine will with a doctor’s prescription. It just sounds like that’s what you really need and that a chiropractor is not ideal if you can get coverage for the right thing.

      My massage therapist is a working partner in my health; she’s the health-related person who sees my body most often and most thoroughly. I’m only two spine surgeries to your four, but between spine stuff, aging, and desk-bound work stuff gets crazy, and I’ve learned a ton from her as well as been helped by her more times than I can count. I go weekly; some years I deal with insurance and some I don’t. It’s a significant piece of my budget but it’s worth it.

      1. MsChanandlerBong

        I will call tomorrow and ask. I used to be able to get massages using my HSA money, but we no longer have an HSA (because our insurance improved drastically, so now our deductible is only $600). If I can get coverage, I will definitely pursue that instead of the chiro.

    3. Jules the First

      I won’t see a chiropractor (too many horror stories of adjustments gone wrong), but I see my physios at least a few times a year. There’s the generalist, who looks after my back, hips and ankle, and then the specialist who takes care of my hands. The initial sessions (weekly for a year for the hands, every six weeks for a year – plus homework – for the rest) were covered by my insurance; I mostly pay out of pocket for the tune ups these days because my insurance only covers regular visits.

      1. MsChanandlerBong

        That is something I didn’t know existed, so I will call my insurance tomorrow and ask about it. The thing that really stinks is that I moved to a house that does not have a bathtub (showers only). When I took daily hot baths, my muscles were nowhere near as bad. Now that I only have a shower, I don’t get that good hot soak that relaxes the muscles and eases pain. We’re looking to buy this house from our landlord, and installing a bathtub is priority one on my “things to do when we own the house” list, but it will be a while before that happens.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

          You should be able to – I know my dad suggested I get one but I didn’t for various reasons. Check online for sources, I seem to think you can get them from Walgreens but dont quote me on that!

          A physio should be able to show you exercises to strengthen the areas that get tight. For my second spasm its because I was standing too long at a concert and I wasn’t strong enough to do that. Now I religiously do my bird dogs and stretches and its helped immensely to strengthen the tiny muscles in the core and lower back so I don’t feel nearly as fragile as I did before that second episode. It also meant that I am able to walk more and further strengthen everything.

          Are you able to sit on a giant yoga ball at work or do they have any adjustments available for that? That is another good way to help build up the core muscles. But yeah, try the physio first and see what they say.

        2. Not So NewReader

          Put the pads on either side of the spasm.
          Don’t not put the pads on the spasm itself.

          I had a nifty spasm running from my shoulder down to my waste, parallel to my spine. I put two pads on either side of the spasm. It was a flippin’ miracle. The pain was gone.
          This was a spasm that was so jumpy, my own clothing bothered the spasm. For a little thing, I wanted to climb out of my skin.

          It took a few days with the TENS unit. I have a battery recharger and I just kept swapping batteries.

          There is also a tapping procedure my chiro uses. I did not have as much luck this time with tapping. But it has worked other times.
          If you can reach you can tap the muscle yourself or have someone help you. The first step is the hardest part, find the area that seems to be the most sensitive. Poke at your back. This is the hardest part but it does not take long. Once you have found that most sensitive part tap it with your fingertips. Pick a steady, slow pace and count the taps. Gently tap it oh 50-80 times, slowly. Sometimes you can con a muscle into relaxing that way.

          One more then I’ll shut up. You can make yourself an electrolyte drink. Use a 1 quart jar of water. Add 1/4 tsp each of sea salt and baking soda. Shake it up to mix it. Drink half in the morning and the other half at night. BE SURE to drink plain water during the day.

          When muscles act up it can be the lack of minerals. If that is what is happening with you, adding minerals in should help calm the situation.

    4. Chaordic One

      My G.P. gave me a prescription to see a physical therapist and I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the results. The PT had me exercise to both stretch and strengthen my muscles and strengthen my core for about half an hour. It was surprisingly physical.

      Then she’d do therapeutic massage for a second half hour. She was quite gentle and afterwards I was tired, like you would be if you’d been to an exercise class. I was also a little sore, but again, it was more like you would feel after you’d been to an exercise class.

  36. Bomb Yogi

    I consider myself a pretty frugal person. I made a lot of stupid financial mistakes in the past and have learned from them.

    However, I find myself being very judgemental of others who make big financial mistakes and I really dont like that about myself. For example, a friend of mine bought a house last year that has proved to be a real burden for their family. She borrowed against her 401K to buy it when it didnt appraise for their accepted offer. They have been hemmoraging money ever since (her words). Yet, they continue to eat out, spend a ton of money on clothes and toys for their kids, and accummulate more debt (they have huge car payments, student loans, and credit card debt).

    I havent tried to give her any advice because frankly, it is not my business and they dont seem to want to change. But still, it is aggrivating to hear her complain about their money issues and then in the next breath talk about their upcoming vacation.

    1. danr

      People like that never change until they almost lose the house for the third time (or do lose the house). Just sigh and change the subject. And don’t lend them money.

    2. sophieChotek

      I hear you! I guess you can just try to be a friend and whatever complaints you can take … and if you need to be less available?

    3. Tabby Baltimore

      Ever tried following your usual sympathetic response with “I understand how aggravating this is. What are you planning to do about it?” Of course, that might end the friendship right there, so it’s your call.

    4. Temperance

      My in laws. They’ve requested our help. I feel like they could support themselves on a budget if they tried.

      1. Bomb Yogi

        I read the thread you started above…you have my sympathies. It sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. :(

    5. MsChanandlerBong

      I completely understand. My finances are in shambles due to my huge medical bills from a few years ago. I know I could have prevented some of the fallout if I had been more diligent about saving in the past, so I’m not entirely blameless, but it kills me when I see people making big financial mistakes. I love my cousin dearly, but she is so codependent and such an enabler. Her sister is a total mess (financially and otherwise), but she keeps bailing her out. I feel like saying, “She’s almost 50 years old. If she isn’t “with it” by now, I don’t think she’s going to improve much. I’m talking “hide the gas bill under the couch cushions and pretend it doesn’t exist until the balance is $1,300 and the gas company is threatening to shut off service” irresponsible, not just “spends too much” irresponsible.

      1. SeekingBetter

        A friend of mines is just like your cousin’s sister: half a century old and can’t ever figure out how to pay down her debts and instead, just lets all her bills lapse so she has to pay late payments + interest and not only that, she continues her lavish and fun lifestyle despite it all. My friend’s had her electricity shut off by the electric company at least six times in the past eight years.

        1. the gold digger

          I don’t understand those people. What is their backup plan? Are family members supposed to bail them out forever? There is nobody whom I could ask for money if I didn’t have $1,300 to pay my gas bill. I mean, I guess I could ask my mom now, but I wouldn’t because I am adult and I have my own job and it is not my mother’s job to take care of me.

          Thirty years ago, I could not have asked my parents because they would not have had that money to spare. (After my dad retired from the air force, he worked as a contractor in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen. My mom also worked when they were in KSA. But it wasn’t until then, when I was out of college, that they were able to save any money. There just wasn’t anything extra to save when my dad was making about $30K a year as an air force officer.) It never occurred to me that parents should bail out their adult children because that is something that never happened in my family.

          1. MsChanandlerBong

            I am pretty sure that the plan IS for her sister to bail her out forever. However, the responsible cousin hates the irresponsible cousin’s husband (he’s just the worst), so she may be getting fed up enough to cut them off.

    6. Merci Dee

      My sister drove me semi-crazy a couple of weeks ago. Her husband passed away last February, and didn’t have any life insurance, etc. for my sister. He’d bought a car in his name only, and she couldn’t keep up the payments toward the end of the year. Car got repo’ed on the 4th, and I offered to hook her up with a friend/family discount through my employer for a new car on her own credit. She didn’t want to spend more than $400 a month, but ended up with a $500 payment. Because she “needed” a car that she enjoyed driving, and something that wasn’t too small, and something that …… I told her about a special a local dealership was running- a 2016 Kia Soul for $13,998. Nope. She doesn’t like the way they look, not big enough, yadda yadda. So she goes with a $30k car, instead. I figure it’ll be about another year before this one is snatched away.

      This is the same sister who spent $137k on a house that’s about to fall off its foundation (literally- my dad fixed a 2 foot hole in the foundation wall back before Christmas), and she’s been throwing good money after bad to keep it from falling down for the past 14 years. Owned the danged thing 14 years, and found out LAST MONTH that the heating and air conditioning were 2 different systems, and that her heat actually works! She’d beend running space heaters during the winter, paying power bills that were almost $700!!

      She’s killing my little accountant’s heart with all her money escapades.

      1. the gold digger

        That would make me crazy, too. I have a dear friend who grew up with money and has never learned to think on a budget. She will buy designer clothes for her kids (I suggested buying at consignment and she almost passed out), buy sliced organic almonds in little serving-sized packs from Whole Foods rather than whole almonds in bulk for like 1/1,000 the price, and was very stressed trying to replace her dishwasher when it broke, even though she had a ten year old and a 12 year old in her house at the time.

        1. TL -

          I just found out that my coworker (who can’t afford much and is always broke) spends $10/week on face wash, which she also uses as hand soap, and buys her paper towels and toilet paper in the 2 packs because they’re heavy.

          1. Not So NewReader

            I just noticed a crazy thing in my store. The more rolls in the pack the more the cost per square foot (or whatever their unit of measure is) goes UP. Now one would think that buying a bigger pack would be cheaper. Nope. The cheapest unit cost is to buy the single roll. I wonder how many people noticed.

    7. Raia

      I would get pretty upset hanging around this person if that was their primary topic of conversation. If you’ve already clearly told her that her complaining bothers you for XYZ reasons and she keeps doing it, I’d steer clear…

      +1 on not lending them money ever.

    8. Not So NewReader

      Is it the financial mistakes that bother you or is it being used as a dumping ground so she can unload her current batch of upset and go home to make another batch?

      Why not tell her that it pains you to see her worried about this so much. Tell her that you are willing to help her build a plan for that when she is ready but you really need to talk about other things until that happens. Understand of course that she may not have too much else to talk about.

      I listened to family members talk about X problem for almost 30 years. One day I realized it was not getting better, matter of fact it was getting worse. I felt like I had enabled them to keep doing what they were doing by allowing myself to be their sounding board. A while back I decided to go on my merry way. I hear problem X is STILL going on.
      The conversation was mostly about problem X all those years. If I mentioned something in my life, it was mostly ignored. Conversation felt similar to drowning.

      Decide how much you will put up with and for how long then change what you are doing in some manner.

    9. balb

      My family spends more money than I can fathom, but I don’t really say anything. It’s hard to talk about without talking about my glaring underemployment or anything that could be political, like student loan policies or the stock market.

    10. Jersey's mom

      Are you talking about my SIL? Are we somehow related?

      Similar type of stuff aggravated DH and I. We tried to give advice. We refused to give money (I know a rathole when I see it).

      DH and I finally have a long cathartic talk — we are not their caretakers. We can’t control their money, budget or how they live their life. We will not get involved in their finances. We now look at them the same way we would watch a TV soap opera.

      OMG, do you see what she paid for that vacation?! And how he went and bought that sports car?! What will they do next?! We have found emotional freedom with this — they will not take our advice, so we no longer give it. They want to complain about their money, so we set a boundary — “it’s boring to talk about money, what are you doing next week”. We just view their lives like some crazy soap opera. We are no longer emotionally involved. If we miss a week (and don’t find out where they’re going on vacation), we don’t care. It helps. At least we don’t go home aggravating about it for a couple hours.

  37. Anonyby

    Since I enjoy food threads when they come up…

    What are some interesting/fun foods that you do for friends/family?

    Last night I baked a buttermilk pound cake (Good Eats recipe) that I’ve done before that’s a good solid stand-by… but this time I used a new ThinkGeek pan in the shape of a dragon brooding its eggs. :D I’d been eyeing it for a while, and a friend saw some in a store near him and got a couple for me as a gift. This is my first time baking with it. :D And the pound cake was the perfect size recipe!

    1. Ann Furthermore

      Tonight I’m making sausage and egg grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I tried them about a month ago. Soooo good! I love breakfast for dinner every once in awhile. It’s my new favorite comfort food.

    2. Lady Julian

      Mmmm, pound cake. :)

      I’m not sure this counts as “fun” but I really enjoy making my own granola. I prefer mine to be heavy on the nuts, so it’s nice to tweak the recipe to my own preferences. This Christmas, I made a babka (yeast bread rolled with a chocolate filling and baked in a loaf pan) for my family!

      1. Anonyby

        Granola! One of the many things I’ve wanted to try making for a while now. :) And babka sounds soooooo good! I’m going to have to look up recipes! (Unless you have one you want to share? ;) ;) )

        1. Lady Julian

          I actually don’t use a recipe for granola anymore, it’s so easy! But sans recipe, here’s what I do:

          I combine rolled oats (not quick-cooking) with raw chopped nuts of whatever kind I prefer (usually a combination of pecans, almonds, walnuts, and those green pumpkin seeds you can buy in bulk from the organic section of a grocery store). I generally aim for about a 1:1 ratio of oats & nuts, though it might be slightly heavier on the nuts.

          Then I shake in coconut until it looks right. :) I’ve used both unsweetened and sweetened coconut.

          When everything is mixed together, I add coconut oil (but nearly any oil will work) and honey (though you could also use maple syrup) to taste. I warm both up first so they flow easily, and I aim for a 2:1 oil to sweetener ratio, and I add just enough of both to lightly coat the granola ingredients when you pour the oil & sweetener over the granola and stir. I also add about 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

          Then I spread it on a cookie sheet & put it in the oven at around 250, stirring occasionally until the coconut is browned. Take it out & enjoy. It’ll last 6 weeks in a covered Tupperware.

      1. Anonyby

        Yay for canning! I’ve given away jars of jam and jelly as gifts before. How are pickled green beans compared to other pickles? I’m not a fan of the standard cucumber pickles, but once I tried pickling jalepenos (without any additional flavorings, just a basic brine with white vinegar) and those came out well.

    3. Lemon Zinger

      I have a really wonderful pumpkin coffee cake recipe that I like to make every once in a while. My boyfriend loves it, and so do I!

    4. chickabiddy

      I made a “Hawaiian-style” pork roast in my Instant Pot today. It was tasty, but I was impatient and opened the valve too soon and created a meat fountain all over my counter.

    5. LCL

      Alton Brown’s beef jerky, recipe doubled, minus the onions, and cooked in a food dehydrator for 3-4 hours instead of his Mad Max contraption. The household celebrates when it’s jerky day, especially the dog because he gets samples.

      1. Anonyby

        His beef jerky is another on my list of things I want to try! I don’t have a food dehydrator (or space for one), and I’ve never managed to find the proper filters in stores, so it’s been backburnered for years.

    6. Kj

      Homesick Texan’s Texas Sheet Cake. It tastes like my childhood. In fact, my brother baked on for my college graduation as I love it so much.

      1. Anonyby

        Oh man, I haven’t had texas sheet cake since I lost my grandma. But it was soooo good! I really should make it sometime soon…

    7. Chaordic One

      Some of the more traditional foods that my family loves include: rivvel soup, cabbage rolls (that are more like dinner rolls with cabbage and hamburger and spices in the middle), and pasties (which are sort of like homemade hot pockets).

    8. Gene

      Every couple of years I make fruitcake using my variation of Alton Brown’s Free Range Fruitcake recipe. I have to remember to do it around Halloween for Christmas gifting so it can age.

  38. Trixie

    I think last Sunday was the season finale of Sherlock here in U.S. , and I absolutely loved it. Enjoying the first three seasons on Netflix. Still working my way through hidden surprises in season four, things I missed. Such a great cast.

    1. Cruciatus

      I really disliked it. At first I was into it and willing to go along, then when it all switched up I felt it was just a huge fluster cluck. The girl on the plane wasn’t a girl on a plane. Redbeard. Five minutes alone with Moriarty lead to all that? Everything. It’s never been an easy show to watch, but this felt much more self indulgent on their parts (the whole season, really) and even more unbelievable than usual. I’m still into the show, I just feel let down by this season.

    2. Cristina in England

      I almost didn’t watch it because I was so angry about the Emilia Ricoletti episode.

      I liked this season more than season 2, but the third episode was… stretching my suspension of disbelief. I think it was the men on ropes, moving right on cue, that got me. And then all of a sudden, we’re off the island and in a fake house? And we’re still on the phone but she’s in the house and then all of a sudden a hug and it’s all over? And John is chained so what use is that rope to him? No! It was so silly.

      The whole time I was thinking how Eurus looked like Zooey Deschanel.

      1. fposte

        I thought it had the cheesiness of classic Star Trek, and I don’t mean that in a good way. It was also so *static*–the appearance of Moriarty brought such sudden energy that it reminded me of how much fun the series could be and currently wasn’t.

        1. Chocolate Teapot

          I watched the 3 episodes and as the final credits rolled, all I could think was “What the hell was all that about?”

          Like most people, I thought the best part was Mrs Hudson’s driving in episode 2.

  39. Sled dog mama

    This happened at work but isn’t really work related.

    At my new job the co-worker I work with the closest and I were talking yesterday about all the hoops we’ve had to jump through to get me setup which evolved into differences in companies and benefits. At the end of the conversation he offered to help me manage my 401k since he has “doubled the return on that fund they automatically enroll you in the last four years” which is awfully nice of him. Problem is because of some generous gifts from my grandparents my financial advisor refers to me as his 30 year old with a 55 year old portfolio and I’d really rather not disclose that I manage my 401k as part of my overall portfolio. Any advice on how to address this if he brings it up again?

    1. Jules the First

      I usually go with a breezy “oh thanks, but I don’t mix money and friendship” if it’s someone I genuinely want to be friendly with. Alternatively, you could just be non-committal and say “thanks, but I’ve got it covered”. Or you could make a (slightly snarky) comment about how you appreciate the offer, but after four years of market-beating returns, he’s clearly overdue for a bad year, and you’ll take your chances on your own.

    2. BuildMeUp

      I would just say thanks, but you already have a financial advisor that you’re very happy with!

  40. Legalchef

    I’m 19 weeks on Monday! It’s kind of surreal – 6 months ago I had barely recovered from my miscarriage and here I am now! I’m feeling large and uncomfortable (and I know it will just get worse!!!!). And every twinge or feeling I get I wonder if it’s baby saying hi. Can anyone tell me what kicks feel like?

    Also, I’m meeting some ladies due around the same time that I “met” on a local parenting email list tomorrow, so maybe I will have friends to hang out with while I am on leave!

    1. Cristina in England

      For me my babies felt like… You know when you run your fingers over something ridged like corrugated cardboard? It kind of felt like that happened on the inside. Or sometimes like there were bubbles inside. Occasionally when my son was nearly ready to be born he would stick an arm out and it would feel really weird like a poke and a tickle.

      1. Legalchef

        I feel like I might have felt the ridged cardboard feeling but only a couple times. I want to feel more!

    2. Adams

      I’m 20 weeks on Tuesday! (And had a miscarriage 5 months ago). I think kicks feel like a flutter or poke, but I also figure if I think its a kick and its really just gas, who cares! I hope your pregnancy goes really well. I just put on my first pair of maternity jeans today :)

      1. Legalchef

        Wow, I’ve been wearing maternity stuff for a while! It’s just way more comfortable. I also got super bloated basically immediately so regular pants weren’t really doable for me.

    3. Jessesgirl72

      Congratulations! Our surrogate is 13 weeks today, and it was a terrifying week because she started to bleed last Sunday morning and has been on drips and bed rest all week. The doctor gave the all clear yesterday that the risk of placental abruption is (mostly- no guarantees with any of this) gone and everything looks normal again. Our surrogate coordinator is beside herself with stress, because another surrogate had to have a D&C this week after the baby stopped developing at 11 weeks.

    4. Aunt Vixen

      Baby Vixen is two months old tomorrow. Back when he was the size of a bell pepper on the inside, a friend of mine told me that when she was pregnant the kicking felt to her like socks in the dryer – and that was a pretty good description. I started feeling that faintest fluttering at about 18 weeks. For a little bit I wasn’t positive I wasn’t just feeling digestion; but apparently a lot of people have this uncertainty, and along about 21-ish weeks you’ll feel some baby wiggles that will make you realize that’s what you’ve been feeling all along. :-D Later on you will be able to see the kiddo squirming from the outside. Quite surreal.

      Congratulations!

    5. waffles

      congratulations! i don’t have a good way to articulate this, but the baby moving around was more something i felt on the front rather than in my guts. it also was for me more lateral movements (my baby sits laterally a lot) rather than something traveling from top to bottom.

    6. Clever Name

      Feeling my son move inside me was kind of surreal. Like I had an alien parasite. :). I got kicked in the ribs a fair bit, and felt “bubbles” and “flutters”. I remember my OB telling me to count kicks/movements, and that I should feel about 10 in the span of an hour or so (I think that was the time interval). I gave up after I realized that I could count 10 kicks within about 10 seconds, and I really never went long periods without feeling him move. On a possibly unrelated note, my son, now 10, has ADHD. :)

  41. Trixie

    I’m not happy with my stylist these days. I don’t feel like he understand blending or creating layers with a guide section of hair. I’ve been watching youtube videos to see if I can better explain what I’m looking for in my pixie cut. It’s been over a year and he seems to understand short and shorter but that’s about it. I usually end up looking like I have a bowl cut/layer, and more frumpy than anything. I say my old stylist a couple months ago and she confirmed she had to do some major clean-up/reshaping.

    1. periwinkle

      So leave! It’s a business arrangement and you are free to find another stylist who can give you the cut you want. You wouldn’t keep going back to the same restaurant if you didn’t like the taste of the food.

      I was seeing a stylist/colorist who decided what she wanted and wouldn’t vary from it. It wasn’t what I wanted so I tried out a stylist/colorist elsewhere and have been happy with the results. That one has decided to step away from her career for a while so I’m in search of a new stylist. It’s just business.

      1. Trixie

        I’m always comfortable leaving but he’s the best I’ve found in my area. It’s more trying to show him what I’m looking for and specifically how to get there. It’s made me wonder if stylists have different techniques they prefer, versus what they were originally trained in.

        1. Jersey's mom

          Maybe go to your old stylist, and ask her to specifically describe the cut as she’s going it. Take a ton of photos of the cut right away. Then you can go to new stylist and explain/show exactly what you want. If your new stylist is offended by this, then it’s not — s/he is supposed to help give the customer the cut they want.

          Stylists are as individual as fingerprints. You have to find one that understands your hair and your style. And focus on discussing the cut as it’s occurring – tell him/her that you want layers/cutting length a little bit at a time/cutting bangs after the hair is dry — whatever.

          1. Trixie

            I’ve brought in pictures of styles I like and myself with the cut/style I want again, but in the end it’s not it. Unfortunately, I’ve learned you can ask for a pixie cut and just get shorter hair that’s actually too long on top and without layers. Which brings me back to how my former stylist actually cuts my hair compared to this newer person, different techniques.

    2. Overeducated

      I hear you. I went from an experienced stylist who gave me great short hair to a much younger one whose cuts make me feel older and less feminine (because I moved and the experienced stylists cost 50% more here – my old one was already really at the top of my budget, new one only charges 20% less). After a few months I think I might just have to start growing my hair out again and seeing if the annoyance of styling it is worth the tradeoff of looking prettier.

      1. Trixie

        I’m thinking next time I’ll try someone new and first go with a consultation, asking them to walk me through what they would do.

  42. Sandra dee

    I have been feeling crummy for a while, and finally decided to go to the doc. Turns out my gallbladder is not functioning like it should, which makes my food choices limited, and i never know what the next food is that will set my system in turmoil. They want to take it out, but also discovered some irregular cardiac issues, so until I am cleared by the cardiologist, I get to continue with gall bladder pain and issues. I hate playing food roulette. Almost afraid to eat for fear of how my body will react. And of course, I haven’t lost any weight. That at least would have been a bright spot in this mess. See the cardiologist the end of the month. Hopefully I will get answers and relief soon. I’m getting really tired of chicken broth.

    1. Dr. KMnO4

      When my gallbladder stopped working I was extremely nauseous every morning, which was only helped by dry Cheerios or oyster crackers. I found that high fat foods just made the pain worse, so I stuck with a high carb diet (when I felt like eating, that is). YMMV. I hope you get cleared by your cardiologist soon. Even though having my gallbladder out led to some complications it was definitely the right decision.

  43. LawCat

    Geocaching!

    I gave geocaching a try last weekend and I loved it! So fun! I found a local geocaching club, but they haven’t been very active since the fall, but I’ll keep an eye on it and maybe it will pick up in the spring!

    Other than geocaching.com, are there any other sites I should check out to learn more about geocaching and connect with the geocaching community?

    1. Cruciatus

      Honestly, I think geocaching.com is a really great resource. I also like them on Facebook (and I’m sure they are on Twitter, etc. as well). I think they explain all the rules well on the website. There are national/worldwide events, like CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) where people get together to clean geocaching areas (parks and such) every so often. That’s a way to meet people in your area. I get emails about it and they post on Facebook about it as the events are coming up. Keep checking on your local group. I know my motivation to geocache goes way down in winter! Also, it’d be impossible to find any too far off of roads due to the snow (I live in the snow belt).

    2. TeaLady

      Try Facebook for groups in your area – I’m in the UK and we tend to have them at the county/regional level, plus there are groups for those interested in specific types – such as Earthcaches, puzzles, Church Micros (a big UK series).
      Our local cachers are very, very sociable and we have regular meet ups – sometimes in pubs, sometimes in coffee shops, often in the open air so look out for events happening in the listings. If you become a premium member on geocaching.com you can set notifications of new caches and events up. Events are great for finding out more about the game, the equipment, and getting help with the tough ones!
      I took up geocaching in 2012 and it’s safe to say my partner and I are hooked. We’re heading for 3500 caches, and compared to some of our even more addicted friends, we’re mere amateurs! We love it. We’ve visited every county in England and Wales caching, we’ve cached in Europe, we’ve been to fantastic places and learned lots of history and geology (even of places we know well) and we’ve made some good friends too.

  44. Carmen Sandiego JD

    This past week, I spent oodles of time working overtime, so by Friday I was drained, and of course did the weekly phone call to the mom. I told her life was good, etc. then she started in on the “if he doesn’t do X, Y, or Z, your SO is not welcome in the family.”

    I guess I kinda reached my limit–3 three-hour work presentations, 18 hours overtime, and going to open houses/properties, and doing phone screens for top-20 consulting companies. I ended up screaming at her that 1) she has no say in determining my future kids’ last names and 2) she is not acting as my chaperone to visit my SO if he were away in postgrad school (which n/a anyways bc it’s his life and career etc), that 3) it is not up for her to look a gift horse in the mouth and say “I don’t like where your money is coming from, I want it to be from X not Y career path” and 4) the kids and chaperone comments were the last straw that showed me it wasn’t the career path, it was that she wanted control over my life and that wasn’t going to happen.

    (I also blurted out her comments about my fertility/eggs were unappreciated–she spent 80% of the last convo talking about my fertility, not *me* as a person). Then I also blurted out it didn’t matter about “not join the family” or whatever–we’re planning on getting engaged this year. Then she asked why he didn’t seek my dad’s input. I told her my dad refused/made excuses lately to not show up, as did she, (so tough cookies basically). She sounded resigned at the end and told me she felt hollow. I countered by saying–now you know how I felt–I do not respond to threats, I do not enjoy feeling like I have a pre-stomach ulcer, life is crazy enough as it is. Plus I said it’s my relationship with him, not her with him, and that she’s losing sight of that, plus her bombarding me means I can’t even hear my own internal compass sometimes so I need a breather.

    Tl;dr: I set boundaries, I lost my temper, I wish I hadn’t lost my cool….is there/would there have been a less dramatic way to do things like this ? :S

    Also–the SO showed me a picture of the gem for the e-ring(!!!) I noticed when I looked up that same gem now, the price is in red. Does this mean its in someone’s online cart? (Curious either way. Plus between drama and cancer/family member re-hospitalized I need all the internet good vibes I can get) X(((

    1. Stellaaaaa

      Are you completely independent from your parents? Could you recalibrate your relationship with your mom without risking losing financial support or anything like that? I won’t suggest cutting her out completely because that’s easier said than done but there’s no need to keep up with weekly phone calls if they only make you feel bad. You get nothing out of your interactions with her and your frustration consumes so much of your emotional energy. You’re never going to get her to change her mind – stop trying to reason with someone who isn’t reasonable.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD

        I’m just about financially independent. Sometimes I feel guilty I only call once a week. Then I realize, once a week is literally all I can handle from her. I am a gainfully-employed attorney, I pay my own rent, own and pay my own phone, everything. I do my best, SO does his best, we’re doing great, and I told her–it’s sure a shame she can’t see that, and how she never will. It’s all “what society thinks.”

        1. Temperance

          Being gentle here, it sounds like you’re already financially independent of your mother. Your mother is using “society” as a cover for her own hateful opinions.

          I have a momster, so I am incredibly sympathetic to your position. My mother destroyed my relationship with my family, though, and I’m largely okay about it. It took me a while.

    2. Sibley

      Sounds like your mom kinda asked for some boundaries to be placed. Was it the best way? Probably not. But people get yelled at all the time and they survive it. Case in point, I yelled at my mom for being bigoted, intolerant, irrational, and unsympathetic earlier today. Didn’t get anywhere unfortunately. There’s a reason I don’t talk politics with her.

      Also, read some Captain Awkward. Sounds like you could use some validation/suggestions/Jedi hugs.

    3. Not So NewReader

      She is bombarding you so that you do not have time for your own thoughts. She only wants you to have HER thoughts. The way to accomplish that would be bombardment.

      This has been building for some time. I would not be surprised if you will have to revisit this conversation with her again. And I am not surprised you were screaming. Sometimes that is the only thing people can hear. And they did that to themselves.

      It might be time to bump to calling every other week. It’s her contrived drama, it does not have to be yours. The only way I see to prevent this is to not call at all. Your mother is not logical, you will never win here. Stop wanting her to be something she is not.

      Good vibes for everything, sincerely. You could really use some smooth sailing for a while.

    4. tigerStripes

      I totally understood why you screamed. I agree about cutting down on how often you connect with her. Captain Awkward would probably recommend saying goodbye and hanging up on her whenever she hits a sore spot, and that might work to train her to not say that stuff.

      Congratulations for getting out of that situation and finding your own path!

  45. Vanilla

    Question for parents: If you had the chance to take an almost free vacation out of the country but had young children (under the age of 2), would you do it?

    I have a friend who got a free cruise through his work. He and his wife have three children under the age of 2, including a newborn. They have asked various family and friends to pitch in and watch the kids while they are away for a week.

    When friend first told me about it, I was seriously angry because i couldnt imagine going out of the country when my kids were that little. I was equally annoyed when i found out that they expected everyone to pitch in so they could take a vacation. I said that I imagined people were trying to plan for their own vacations so it might be hard to find people to help out. Im sorry but I think thats a lot to ask of people, and im curious about others opinions.

    1. Cristina in England

      Wait, they aren’t taking the kids with them? Not even the newborn? That would not be me. I can’t imagine wanting to be away from my newborn overnight, let alone for a week, what??

      1. Stellaaaaa

        I can understand it. It’s not something they overtly planned. They were given a cruise that might only allow two people to go for free. More people would cost more, there’s a time limit for taking advantage of the prize, and you don’t want two toddlers and an infant on a cruise ship anyway. I’d feel differently if this wasn’t a free trip that they had no part in planning, but eh, I don’t think it’s egregious that they wouldn’t want their kids on this trip.

        1. Cristina in England

          Eh, I would turn down the trip and try to give it to someone else. It would cost me a lot more to take it than to leave it (in ancillary/prep costs and energy-wise), and it certainly would cost more in stress than it would give in relaxation.

    2. Stellaaaaa

      Eh, it’s not anyone else’s place to judge whether or not anyone should travel while their kids are young, and it comes very close to being a gendered debate: no one thinks anything of men traveling for work with babies at home, but if the mother of three very young children wants to go on a free trip and recharge and reconnect with her husbnad, suddenly she’s subjected to all sorts of aghast reactions.

      I would take the trip in a heartbeat, provided I could find childcare. When’s the last time they took a trip without having to change a diaper? When will be the next time that happens? Many, many kids spend full weeks with grandma or cousins so their parents can take trips or travel to care for their own parents. Did your parents never go anywhere without you when you were little? I promise you, family members care for each other’s kids all the time for free.

    3. Haru

      I don’t think there anything wrong with not seeing your kids for only a week, especially when they’re under 2 and won’t have any recollection of this missing week. A week is such a small length of time. Why is this something to be angry about?

      And for the second part, it would depend on which friend is asking. If you had asked your for a similar request, would he/she say yes?

    4. Sunflower

      I’m not a parent so maybe my answer is slightly skewed but I don’t really see the big deal here. Parents take trips away from their kids and I know plenty of people who have offered to watch the kids. I think the biggest issue is a week is a little long to saddle someone with kids but I assume that’s why they asked multiple people.

      I agree that you can’t judge someone for when they are ready to take a trip away from their kids. I’m 100% positive if my parents were in this situation, they would be trying to get on that trip if they could.

      1. the gold digger

        Not a parent either, but I am thinking I would jump on an opportunity like this and would not judge anyone else for doing the same. My parents went out when I was a kid and left us with babysitters and it was fine. They even took long weekends without us. I didn’t like the sitter they left with us because the sitter made me drink canned orange juice, which I hate, but other than that, I am unscarred.

        Also, to the gendered point – I am sure nobody was asking my dad, when he was sent to Vietnam for a year when I was five, or when he was on his frequent month-long trips my entire childhood, “But what about leaving your children?” You’re right – people don’t ask men about that.

    5. chickabiddy

      My kid had some food/eating/sensory issues and was still primarily breastfed at age two, so it would not have been a good choice for me. I would not be excited about taking in a baby or toddler for a week, and I might be unhappy if they were applying pressure or if they were unwilling to consider trading any favors in return. But if they’ve accepted that you don’t want to provide childcare and found other safe care for their kids, I don’t see any reason why you or anyone else should be “angry” about these parents’ plans. This may not be the way you parent, and it isn’t the way I parented, but it isn’t abuse or neglect.

    6. Observer

      I probably would not take the trip. And I probably would not take the newborn for a week, even if it meant that the parents couldn’t take the trip.

      On the other hand, I probably would not be friends with someone who got angry at me if I did decide to take the trip. Her decision to go is NONE of your business, and “being seriously angry” is utterly out of line. She doesn’t owe it to you to think the same way you do, nor to make the same kinds of decisions you make.

    7. Maya Elena

      My mom would not only watch the hypothetical kids, but wrest them away from me, steal my house keys, and say “get the hell out of here and don’t appear for a week” if I threatened not to go.

      Different strokes for different folks…

      1. KR

        This ahahaha. My parents went on vacations when I was younger and I would spend a few days at an aunt’s house, a few days at a grandmothers house, so on. They loved getting a vacation and my family liked getting to see me for a few days at a time.

    8. Elizabeth West

      I think you’re over-reacting a little. It’s only a week; they’re probably thinking that with three kids, they might never get to do this again until they’re ancient. If people are willing to help, then what’s the problem? If you wouldn’t do it, that’s fine, but this is their choice and they’re choosing to take the gift that’s offered.

    9. Mela

      Your friend and his wife should rock on. I think it’s awesome they’re taking advantage of a *free* trip and using it as an opportunity to recharge! You don’t go into specifics, but I can’t imagine a shortage of grandparents, godparents, friends, aunts/uncles who would be DELIGHTED to get to care for the little ones for a week. And if not, it’s up to them to set those boundaries.

      My parents left my then-infant brother with his godparents and took toddler-me to the Caribbean. They left us with our priest’s family to look for houses in a cross-country move. They left us for long weekends with church friends so they could go to a jazz festival. As teenagers, we were left with a cousin and an uncle so they could celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with a proper holiday. And you know what? They never had empty nest syndrome and are still happily married for almost 40 years. This cultural idea that you need to be a slave to your children 24/7 is what’s contributing to so many people delaying or not having kids.

    10. BRF

      I think that’s a great opportunity for them, and they should grab it with both hands. If any of my friends or family with small kids were in a similar situation, I’d be delighted to help out so they could take advantage of the opportunity.

      Getting angry or seriously annoyed seems like a weird over-reaction to me. Is there something else going on with your friendship that might be affecting your response?

    11. Junebug

      Honestly, unless they’re asking you to help out, you don’t need to have an opinion about this. (And if they are asking, and you don’t feel like you’re able to help, say, “Sorry, I’m not able to help.” Heck, drop the “sorry” if you’re not.) You obviously made choices that you felt were right for your family when your circumstances were similar, but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to make the same choices you did.

    12. The Unkind Raven

      Goodness, what a reaction! Trying to say this gently – I think you need to step back and examine yourself here. I’m reading so much judgment in your comment. Is that judgment necessary? Is it your place to judge?

    13. AdAgencyChick

      I wouldn’t judge them for taking the trip, but I would be very annoyed if there were any sense of entitlement to the request to take care of the kids.

    14. Jules the First

      Nope. When the kids are older (like 7 or 8?) sure….but under 2s are still small enough not to understand why daddy can’t be here but are big enough to understand that daddy isn’t here. Part of parenthood is taking a pass on these things to spend time with your offspring. The first time my parents left us solo, we were 5, 4, and 6-months, and it was one night (NYE), and we were upstairs in a hotel room with grandparents while Mum and Dad were in the ballroom downstairs. A couple of years later they sent the elder two on holiday for the summer with grandparents (five weeks), but that was because they couldn’t afford the childcare. And even then, Mum kept the youngest at home (she was maybe 3?)

      1. TL -

        I don’t think that’s part of parenthood -it’s just one week and the kids will be well taken care of elsewhere. I’d happily take my cousin’s kiddos for a few days, as would many of their relatives. A one week vacation will probably leave the kids happily spoiled and the parents happily relaxed. There’s nothing wrong with it.

        1. Observer

          More importantly, this is Vanilla’s issue to take up. You can see it from either direction, but being angry is way out of line. It’s one thing to be angry when a parent abuses a child. It’s quite another to get angry when another parent chooses to do things differently than you.

  46. Damn it, Hardison!

    Does anyone have any recommendations for blogs/websites/books/tools for saving money/curbing spending? I’ve found that my lifestyle has generally expanded as my paycheck has and I’d like to be more responsible with my money. I’m doing some things well – paying down my student loans more quickly, putting 15% in retirement. But I’m not saving like I used to; my savings balance has been pretty steady over the last two years. I know I’m spending pretty thoughtlessly (thanks Amazon Prime) and need some tough love and motivation to change my ways and get me back on track.

    1. LawCat

      I like Mr. Money Mustache’s site. “Mustachians on Facebook” is also a good source (followers of Mr. Money Mustache’s ideas.)

      Marie Kondo’s book also helped me spend less on “stuff” because it changed my relationship with stuff. I really think about things and why I’m acquiring them before doing so. That’s not a finance book, it just has had a beneficial impact on how I approach the acquisition of things (and in doing so, I acquire less!)

      1. Viola Dace

        YNAB is amazing. On the surface, it appears to just a budget program, but it’s a LOT more to it. There is a whole philosophy behind it and once you grasp the concepts, everything you’ve been doing wrong with money becomes very clear. I love YNAB. I can budget, track, set goals, view reports, etc. It is invaluable for anyone who wants to get better with money. FWIW, I work in finance.

    2. Come On Eileen

      Dave Ramsey! He has a radio show/podcast, several books, classes, and other tools to help people get out of debt, save more, and stick to a budget. He recommends a (free) budget tool/app called EveryDollar. If you’re not familiar with him, check out his radio show or his books. I love him and his methods have helped me seriously get my money in line.

    3. NaoNao

      NonConsumer advocate is funny and down to earth. I also like Gretchen’s Closet (which has a section on “reformed shopaholic”), Into Mind (which is another shopping for clothing mindfully website) and “Be more with less” (most of those have a “blogroll” which lead me to other money-saving blogs, too. For a very interesting look at a slightly more extreme “money saving” lifestyle: “Things I find in the garbage”. The guy is a full time garbage picker as he only way to support himself!

    4. Dan

      I’m gong to rain on the parade and say that if you know what you’re doing “wrong”, then what you need isn’t a website, but discipline.

      I mean, if you’re spending thoughtlessly on Amazon, do you need a website to tell you to stop doing that?

      If you’ve never done a budget before and need to get a handle on your finances, that’s one thing, but if you’ve been through this before, then you just need to buckle down.

      One tip to budgeting: Budget for something that you can actually stick to, because if you aren’t going to follow it, it’s pointless. One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I tend to get really conservative at the end of the month, and then when the next month starts, I loosen up too much. It took me awhile to realize that I was just reinforcing that cycle. I got a healthily raise this year, so I allowed a bit more more slack in my budget.

      *Says a guy with $14k in credit card debt and $71k in student loans, so it’s not like I’m talking from a position of piousness here.

      1. Allypopx

        Yeah but sometimes having the numbers of a budget laid out in front of you saying “the money in your bank account isn’t spendable, you literally can’t afford this” can help. Some people need tools to help develop discipline, and that’s okay.

    5. SeekingBetter

      I like Two Cents from Lifehacker.com. Site’s got great tips on training yourself to save money.

    6. Jules the First

      Moneyboss is my go-to…the your-life-as-a-business approach really resonated since I have the same problem – it’s not that I can’t spend, it’s that I shouldn’t.

  47. Sorgatani

    What an interesting week it’s been!
    Job provider meeting didn’t turn out as badly as it could have; they want to enroll me in an 8 week “pre-employment” course. I’ve been warned by a few people that I might hate the course or find it unhelpful. My view is that I need to make changes this year, and if this is one of the changes, so be it. I can’t tread water indefinitely!
    Got to see La La Land finally, and I can see why it’s done so well. It was one film that didn’t seem to impact much over the course of itself, but resonated afterwards. The piano solo from City of Stars won’t leave my brain, although I wonder if it shares chord progressions with certain tracks from Annie.
    Booked my tickets to see Book of Mormon in April. Even that far out, getting tickets has been difficult.

    Melbourne has been scary this week. 2 days ago, a man drove a car through the CBD at full speed, and ploughed into pedestrians. Deliberately. People had to dive into shopfronts to get out of the way. Among the dead/injured were a 10yo and a baby.
    I do not live in Melbourne, and I believe I would have learned by now if any of my Melbourne-based relatives were affected, but it is scary knowing that this happened in places I have been to, and tend to frequent when I am in the area.

  48. regina phalange

    Anyone else struggle with claustrophobia? I’m the worst on planes. Weirdly, this never used to be an issue and I honestly don’t know what triggered it (though it was around the time my Dad died for what it is worth). As long as the plane is moving, I’m fine. It is the stuck at the gate waiting to push back/tarmac delays waiting to take off that cause me stress and internal panic. I do have Xanax for these situations but hate to rely on it. Other thoughts/suggestions welcome!

    1. LawCat

      Deep breathing. Check out “One Moment Meditation” (http://www.onemomentmeditation.com/) and get the free app. It’s perfect for situations like this. It’s the only thing I ever got that was useful from a workplace wellness class. A nurse came and explained the science behind it. Basically, the focused and deep breaths help calm fight or flight responses in the brain. I checked my heart rate before and after when first trying it out. Was shocked that it really has been effective with only a minute.

    2. FDCA In Canada

      I get mildly claustrophobic on planes when I’m on them for more than two or three hours. I flew Toronto to San Francisco this summer and it was…a challenge. Part of the jittery feeling I get is because I feel trapped in my seat, and one of the things that helps is doing “airplane yoga” (no! Don’t leave yet!)–which is mostly very small stretching and breathing exercises that help take the focus off of my jittery limbs and onto a more relaxed feel. Google “plane seat yoga” and there are some good ideas for exercises, and you can do them while stuck waiting to push back or deplane!

      Also helpful: Gravol/Dramamine, the kind that makes you drowsy, which helps when I can just zone out. Distractions: a REALLY good, really engaging, really juicy book or audiobook, or music that I really love. Deep breathing/tiny meditation exercises. Weirdly, one of the things I love to do the most on planes is make up backstories for everyone around me, so I’ll glance at the person across the aisle and make up an entire life history for them. I make them really soap-opera-y and dramatic. It passes the time!

      1. EmmaLou

        Ha! I do that at the mall or anywhere there are a lot of people actually. It’s just incredible how many international art thieves there are out there!

        1. FDCA In Canada

          Also plenty of spies, plenty of people traveling to meet long-lost lovers, elderly people traveling to their grandchildren’s weddings or college graduations or to meet their great-grandchildren, people setting off on their Trip of a Lifetime, people traveling smuggling jewels on the black market, you name it. The best is when I’m traveling with my husband and we can (very quietly) make up stories about people in the departure lounge.

    3. Perpetua

      My mom had issues with claustrophobia in elevators (she couldn’t take an elevator by herself, but she’d be fine if there was someone in there with her), as well as fear of flying, and she had some really good results with hypnosis. In about two or three sessions she got the elevator thing “fixed”, meaning she could use it on her own without any issues, so it was truly a great improvement for something that bothered her for years. Since then, she got stuck in an elevator once, which brought some of her fears back, so the method isn’t foolproof, but still, even if it helps a little, I consider it a good thing.

      Of course, for that you need to be open to such a form of therapy (some people think it’s something much more mystical than it really is, and some just have an aversion to it) and have a hypnotherapist you can go to.

      1. regina phalange

        I have the exact same elevator issue. I have never considered hypnosis but maybe it is something I will look into.

    4. Lily Evans

      I have horrible claustrophobia on planes (and any other mode of public transportation) and it always helps to be near a window. Feeling not too constricted by clothes also helps, so I always wear loose layers so I can strip down to just a t-shirt if need be, and being cooler also helps! Other than that, reminding myself to breathe, taking sips of cold water, and chewing gum have also proven helpful.

    5. Jules the First

      Premium class helps (if you can afford it) so you can have more personal space; if you can’t, I prefer an aisle seat so you can hop up and pace for a while if necessary. To do this without getting yelled at by the flight crew, ring your call button after you get settled (but before the safety demonstration) and just let them know that you have claustrophobia and may need to pop out of your seat and pace if the flight gets held at the gate (and promise to respect the seatbelt sign while in-flight).

      Striking up a conversation with your seatmate can help as well – most people are quite happy to distract you if you admit to being a nervous flyer who needs distracting until take-off. (Again, make it clear that you only need their help until the flight is airborne – some people are nervous, especially on long flights, of getting stuck making conversation for hours with a stranger).

      Deep breathing and visualising your happy place can also help, if none of the above is an option. And for what it’s worth, I sympathise – I get panic attacks on planes (I spent too many years in a job where I travelled 150 days a year and had a few emotionally scarring experiences) and they just get worse with every new (smaller) seating configuration the airlines launch (though again, not-flying is not an option).

      Also, you should know that you’re not technically obliged to be in your seat and belted up until a) a crew member specifically asks you to or b) the pilot says ‘arm doors and cross check’ (whichever comes first). For safety reasons, you should absolutely be seated whenever the flight attendants are seated; if the flight crew are still moving around the cabin, it’s not guaranteed to be safe but any injuries you do incur will probably not be life threatening (although they prefer you don’t set a bad example for other passengers).

      1. regina phalange

        Thank you for all of those suggestions. I would have no problem asking a seatmate to distract me. I also talked to my mom about it (she’s a retired nurse) and she suggested taking a Benadryl to fall asleep and then hopefully wake up once airborne. I’m flying in a couple of weeks and made the mistake of looking at the airline’s mentions on Twitter and seeing how often delays/being stuck happens. Big mistake. Big. Huge!

    6. Gene

      I do a little bit. But I have to be physically constricted, I can be at the bottom of a 20-foot deep manhole with no problem. An hour inside an MRI tube, no problem.

      I know exactly what triggered it. As a kid I used to cave crawl and squeezes never bothered me. In my early twenties I was trapped between a truck and a loading dock.

      I have no advice, good luck. Nothing wrong with using a Xanax if it gets you through the situation.

    7. sfffs

      I hate hate hate planes too for this reason (especially takeoff – I have to count to 5 minutes during because I know statistically that the most accidents happen then) and I really benefit from taking a magnesium supplement called Natural Calm. It doesn’t solve 100% of my anxiety but it noticeably helps and also makes me a bit sleepy which is good on planes too. It even got me through a recent flight where someone a few rows back had a medical emergency and we had to abort our takeoff…!

  49. Mari D

    I know I’m late, but I would like some advice.

    I will be in Shanghai in mid-march and I’m looking to book an hotel, do you have any recomandations ?

    I’d also apreciate any advice for this stay.

    Thanks

    1. Yolo

      I love the Astor Hotel, personally – it’s just off the Bund, and is kind of retro/historic/shabby chic.

    2. It happens

      Shanghai is a huge city. Hard to recommend a hotel without knowing a lot more about your visit – what you’re going for, what you want to see/do… I suggest consulting the lonely planet thorn tree thread on Shanghai to get the flavor of different neighborhoods and itineraries, and then finding a place to stay. Also, I recommend a nighttime bike tour – lots of fun and you’ll a very different face of the city. Have a great trip!

    3. Lily Evans

      I’ve never been, but all the travel blogs I read highly recommend agoda.com for booking hotels in Asia. The site also has good breakdowns of different city areas if you haven’t decided exactly what neighborhood you want to stay in.

      1. AcademiaNut

        I second agoda.com. It’s the default I use for Asian bookings – I think it might be owned by the same company as booking.com (if not, it’s a very similar setup), and it’s got a good English interface. Google translate might help for reading reviews, which tend to be multi-lingual.

        Other than that – plan for smaller hotels rooms that you might be used to in the US.

        1. Mari D

          Thanks,

          I’ve been looking and they have good deals. I’m not sure if we now want to rent an appartement or an hotel.

  50. FDCA In Canada

    Since the beginning of the year, my husband’s work has been: putting him on a deployment. Taking him off a deployment. Putting him on a different deployment. Putting him on the first deployment, but a different time frame. Taking the entire battalion off. Putting them back on the second one. Taking them off that entirely. Putting them on predeployment training in April. Changing the timeframe. Changing it again. Taking them off. Discussing putting them on a totally different, third one.

    The goals this year were to attend a family reunion in the summer and have our honeymoon (3 1/2 years late!) over Christmas 2017. Tentative goals! I don’t know. Every day is a new adventure.

    1. jamlady

      Oh yeah. We never made plans after the first year of marriage (during which deployment plans suddenly appeared, then disappeared, then appeared, and so on). I’m a planner and I love to travel. Our deal was that I would travel where I wanted to go, and after he got out, we’d make real plans to where he wanted to go. He got out in March and we’re going to Alaska and Iceland this year (his dream).

      I sympathize – especially with the stress of deployment and never know what’s going to happen with that side of things. Not being able to plan anything is horrible, but when there’s a deployment added to the mix… Ugh.

      Big big hugs from the desert! Hopefully you guys can have your honeymoon!!!

      1. FDCA In Canada

        My family wants to do a family reunion this summer, and some of them got pretty bent out of shape when I said I’d be happy to go but my husband was going to be a game-time decision since we have no idea what his year will look like. “Oh, but we want to see him!” Do you think I don’t?!?!?

    2. Jules the First

      Awwww. Military life as a trailing spouse sucks – you can never make plans and you never know what’s about to happen next. A friend of mine is dating a guy in the Household Cavalry and says she’s had to stop complaining about getting up early, because he never gets duty roster for the day until he’s dragged his butt out of bed at 5.30am, mucked out his horses, and reported for duty.

      1. FDCA In Canada

        Hilariously, my husband’s shift usually doesn’t start until fairly late in the day, so he complains about me waking him when I go to work. I tell him this is payback for the many, many, many days he’s spent waking me up instead!

  51. Aurora Leigh

    Computer shopping!

    I want something cheap. I do most of my internet browsing on my phone these days as my old laptop has been barely limping along for years now. I would like a little bit bigger screen sometimes though. And I want something that can run Microsoft Word and has a real keyboard. I haven’t written for fun since college, but I’d like to again. I might occasionally stream Netflix.

    So I don’t need a high powered machine!

    I’ve been looking at the Dell 2-in-1 tablets/laptops that are around $200. Anyone have any experience with these? Or other suggestions?

    1. Damn it, Hardison!

      Thesweethomedotcom has advice for tablets/laptops in a variety of prices ranges and uses. I got an Asus Zen based on their recommendation and it’s been great.

    2. Red Reader

      My experience with the 2-in-1’s in that price range is terrible, personally. But if you’re open to refurbished machines, there’s a TON of lower-to-midgrade options for refurb Dell or Lenovo machines on Newegg for $200 or less, and they tend to be solid little workhorse machines. I got this one for a class that required Windows-only software, and it works great for basic internet, word processing, and some basic video streaming.

      https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834313597

      It’s obviously not going to be any sort of high end gaming machine or anything like that, but for the use you’ve described, it’ll do alright :)

    3. Temperance

      My husband is a huge computer guy, and he informed me that the reviews/ratings for 2-in-1s are terrible back when I was looking. We have serious laptops, though, FWIW. Do you game at all, or just use Word?

      1. Aurora Leigh

        Not a gamer at all. My phone actually handles most of the things I used to use the laptop for. I’m really just looking for a keyboard and the ability to run Word. Those are the only things I’ve missed.

        1. Colette

          You can get wireless keyboards that work with tablets, and tablets can run the word app. That might not be enough for what you want, but it’s worth considering.

    4. Anxa

      No suggestions, but I’m about to jump on the market for a new computer. I love the one I have right now, but sadly it’s a 2008 and the hardware isn’t compatible with new software updates. I’m pretty sad, because I’d much rather spend a lot of money upfront for a computer that lasts, but the industry is friggin’ crazy and thinks a five year old computer is old. It’s pretty depressing because my little laptop is still going great guns and the only problems I’ve ever had with it are related to it becoming outdating. My boyfriend as the same model, but one version newer, and is on the other side of the cutoff for “old” and “kind of old, but we’ll still support you.” However his trackpad is weird.

      I’m considering getting a desktop instead. I really like having a bigger screen.

  52. Aurora Leigh

    A question for the great cat people of AAM!

    Do your cats wear collars? How did you get them to do that?

    Kitty#1 wears her collar now with no trouble. She used to “accidentally” lose it around the apartment but she seems to have forgotten it’s on.

    Kitty#2 is only half grown. I’ve tried getting her to wear a collar but she doesn’t take it off like Kitty#1 did. She gets her collar stick in met mouth and panics.

    I’ve given up trying to make her for the time being. They’re mostly indoors cats. (Kitty#1 loves the outdoors though.) I just worry about her escaping and no one knowing that she has a loving home and someone looking for her. I know I could get her chipped, but that’s only helpful if she gets turned into animal control and they check.

    Tips?

    1. Jessesgirl72

      My cats have always worn collars. The how is just that I put them on and don’t give in to their unhappiness about it. Some have “lost” theirs, and I find them and put them back on. For the one who was the worst about that, I got her a collar that WASN’T a pull apart cat collar. Then I she learned how to undo the buckle and I had to rig it so she couldn’t get it undone. She was inside only and if she disappeared, I went hunting for her. She never did get stuck, ever. If the half grown kitten is getting hers caught in her mouth, it’s too loose- tighten it so that can’t happen. I’ve had it happen- I just fix it and put the collar back on and send the cat on its way. And you might want to experiments to see if she needs leather (or pleather) or cloth and see if that makes a difference, but honestly, they outgrow it.

      Of course, the one and only time I had a cat escape and go missing, he managed to “lose” his collar too. The neighbor spotted him 10 days later and came to get me (he did NOT want to come, and sulked for a week, the blighter!) only because we’d asked her to keep an eye out for him.

    2. Bad Candidate

      I have the same problem as your Kitty #2 with my current cat. Previous cat wore a collar with no issue. This one is full grown and gets her lower jaw caught in a collar. I don’t know what to do. She’s chipped, so there’s that. If she gets turned in to the humane society she’ll find her way home. She had been abandoned previously so I know she could live on the street if she really had to. Just not sure what else to do.

    3. Red

      My cat wears a collar. She came from the SPCA with one on, I replaced it with a more “stylish” one, and hasn’t been without it since. I think cats just get used to things if you give it enough time.

      You may want to get your cats microchipped, if you haven’t already. It won’t come off like a collar will!

    4. Belle

      We had to get a collar with the phone number sticthed on so nothing was hanging off it. We figured out the tags hanging off were causing issues for our kitty to eat and drink. Once we did this switch though he quit messing with it.

        1. Belle

          We actually bought ours through Amazon. I will post the link to it as a reply (since links get moderated).

    5. Not So NewReader

      I’d let it go for a month or two and then try again. Just be careful in the mean time. I keep spritzers of water near my doors. If the animals get out, I just grab my spritzer and run after them.

    6. Emlen

      My reply somehow posted as its own comment below:

      My little wanderer of a cat hates collars and will ditch hers within an hour. Outside, where we will never see it again. She is microchipped, however. We just have to be satisfied with the facts that (1) our cat is wily as hell, (2) our town is a big outdoor cat kind of place, so nobody will think she’s lost, and (3) if said townspeople thought she *was* lost, they would post her picture all over facebook, then bring her to the local shelter, who would scan for a chip.

      You could try just leaving the collar nearby while she’s getting affection, giving her a treat if she sees it and doesn’t run. When she gets used to having it around, put it on her like it’s nbd, give her a treat, then take it off immediately, and give her lovins. Get her to associate it with positive things, and incrementally increase the duration you leave the collar on. I know people who’ve had luck with this technique, for both cats and dogs. Ours is just set in her ways.

      1. fposte

        Yes, train her to wear the collar rather than just putting it on her. Right now there’s nothing in it for her, and worse, she’s had bad experiences with it. I would even put in intermediate steps between treating her for approaching it and putting it on her; I’d reward her when she touches it, reward her when she accepts your touching her with it somewhere low-key, reward her when she accepts your touching her neck with it; if it’s a buckle collar, reward her for letting you buckle it not around her neck, and if it’s a slip-on collar, reward her for letting you put it near her face and progressively farther along.

    7. KR

      Well a) I would urge you to get them microchipped. If she does get turned into a shelter it will be so helpful, or say someone finds her on the street and takes her home the vet will check for a chip and see your information when they take her for a checkup. My cat hates collars. She scratches at them until they’re frayed and resists me putting them on. Most cat collars are break away collars so if your kitty gets out and loses her collar the chip could be her only chance at getting back to you.

  53. Special Snowflake

    How do you deal with family that keep hitting your sore spot?

    I grew up rural and poor, but with a “boot-strappy” work ethic. My older sister did well in school, has her MBA and a loving family. My older brother went into the military, has had a successful career and a loving family. I studied hard, got my PhD, have worked multiple jobs and have now landed in what I hope is my career. I’ve always been self-sufficient, am not a burden to my family, and respect the choices that they’ve made (mostly in the family side of things – I’m single and childless). I try to be a kind person, open to new ideas and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    My family will not shut up about me being an “urban elite”. Well, okay, sometimes they call me an “ivory-tower elite”, but it amounts to the same thing. They keep implying that I don’t know the “real” America, like they do, and so therefore I am wrong on everything from domestic tax policy to international relations. For the past 15 years I have worked with the poor and disadvantaged, both rural and urban, but that doesn’t count because I’ve lived in 2 big cities and went to a so-called liberal university.

    When I’ve told them in the past that it’s not only inaccurate, but hurtful, I’m told that I’m too sensitive, I need to be able to take a joke, etc. If they’d just say that they disagree with me, then we could have a discussion or even an argument. But how can I say anything when everything I say is automatically dismissed by how they’ve labelled me? I’m at the point where I just don’t want to interact with any of them at all, because it’s such a downer. If it helps, I’m the youngest.

    Meanwhile, I have older friends/mentors who are of completely different political/religious/philosophical viewpoints than mine where we disagree – but I never feel put down when we talk. It’s an issue of respect, but how do you gain respect from people who don’t value your accomplishments, your actions, or your thoughts?

    1. Anxa

      Oh man. I can kind of feel this. Not at all the same background, but I cannot talk about politics or issues of any substance with my family anymore, because they simple refuse to respect that my view could be valid at all.

      My family will never respect my point of view on anything like that, and I’ve just sort of made peace with it. I figure it makes no sense to ever engage, as any view that comes from my mouth will just further de-legitimatize that view, by virtue of it being mine.

    2. TheLazyB

      “yes, I’m sensitive about that. Thanks for understanding, I know you don’t want to hurt me.”

      “You say I need to be able to take a joke. I don’t understand why it’s funny, can you explain?”

      They may or may not work but it’s worth a try. Alternatively there’s “wow”, ten second awkward silence, then change the subject. And the obligatory recommendation to read captain Awkward.

      It sucks when family do this :( you’re not being unreasonable, fwiw.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Love these suggestions for what to say.

        It’s hard because when words hit us we can’t always come up with what to say. I think planning your responses before your visit it the route to go.

        Sometimes in situations like this one person is driving the group behavior. If you can figure out which person maybe you can have a quiet chat with them. “I don’t think you realize how your comments are making me feel like I don’t fit in or I don’t belong here…”

        I have problems with “oh it was just a joke!”, too. You can look them square in the eye and say, “I am asking you not to make jokes like that about my work and my life, can you refrain from that?” The idea here is that just because it’s a joke does not change the picture. It allows you to skate by the whole discussion of ,”Well that did not sound like you were joking when you said it.” You just go with what they say and then move to the next step in logic. “Okay. It’s a joke. I am asking you to stop joking like that.”

    3. LCL

      It sounds like you are the youngest, and so are still seen as the baby in the family. If you had stayed home and shared their environment and politics, they would still be dismissive of your choices. Unfortunately I have no solution, I am the overbearing eldest in my family. I had to make a conscious decision to be respectful of my sister and her life choices, I realized that I was being a bit of a jerk to her in my early 20s.

      1. LCL

        I just had to add, I never made fun of my sister’s choices. I just thought if she did things my way she would have been better off financially. But those were her choices to make.

    4. Natalie

      For whatever it’s worth, someone that’s rudely dismissive of your choices and opinions and refuses to quit when you ask them to is being a jerk, family or not. That doesn’t mean they are jerks 100% of the time, or destined to be jerks forever, but in this area they are behaving poorly. It doesn’t have anything to do with your age or your choices or your position in the family.

      What I found helpful is to stop playing along and just passively accepting it. I used scripts like the ones TheLazyB suggested, combined with a willingness to cut a conversation or visit short if I wasn’t respected. If they want to spend time with you, they *will* learn to cut it out if bad behavior causes you to hang up/leave.

      And keeping spending time with those other people you mention. Continuing to have multi-generational interactions where everyone is respectful is both gratifying personally, and (in my experience) strengthens your confidence in yourself and makes it easier to reject poor treatment.

    5. fposte

      I once heard somebody say, “Once is teasing; twice is mean.” I liked that. Anything that can pry their fingers loose of the “I’m a jokester” self-claim is useful.

    6. Kj

      Oh man, this hits me too. I’m from a poor southern state and while i grew up in a city, my Mom’s family are from a small town and LOVE to smear the big city as dangerous, horrible and filled with elites. Then, my parents sent me to private school in my home city as I was struggling in the public school system and then, to top it off, I went away to college, got a BA, then moved to the north for a MA and married a yankee. So they assume I am horrible and elite and somehow, living in small town, makes you a better person? I don’t know, that still confuses me.

      Two ways to approach this: limit contact. I don’t talk to my mom’s family except when it is unavoidable. And most things are avoidable. Now, my parents are reasonable, so this is easier on me than it is on others, but you have every right to limit your time with your family. Second option is to refuse to discuss things if they won’t honor your opinions as equally valuable. This is hard to do and involves A LOT of biting your tongue, refusing engage at all. You can make a mild statement if they say something objectionable- “Well, that is one way to look at it,” with an internal eye roll, but do not engage further.

      I suspect your family is somewhat intimidated by you- you went to a good school! You have lots of degrees! If they can dismiss you before the argument starts, they don’t have to worry about ‘losing.’ Your not engaging or avoiding them lets you re-set with them. If they question the change, you can say calmly “I felt disrespected when you dismissed my options because of where I live, so I am choosing not to talk to you about these subjects/come to family events.” Then shut up and listen to them. If they say “it is/was a joke” you reply, “nonetheless, it hurt my feelings.” And don’t apologize for not engaging or having hurt feelings. I-statements are your friend here. When you _______, I feel __________. They put the burden on your family to talk about how their actions affect you- not how they are joking. You are making a statement about how something affect you. Period.

      1. Anxa

        Of course the irony, that I’m sure they are incapable if seeing, is if anyone’s being an elitist about this, it’s them.

        I find that often a lot of sneering about urban or coastal elites comes with some type of class assumptions that just boggle my mind. If you compare the difference between the median rents in an urban/coastal area with that of a more rural one and then compare the minimum wages between the two, it’s pretty obvious that living in an urban area is no smooth sailing.

  54. Gingerbread

    Some of my family just moved to the US from a third-world country. They are a big family, with kids ages 1-18. I will buy the younger kids toys, but what gifts should I get for the older kids (boys and girls 14-18)? All but the oldest don’t speak English, so I was thinking of buying them something that will help them learn the language, but any other ideas would be appreciated!

    1. Aurora Leigh

      What about low end tablets (my 12 yr old bro has a Fire tablet that he got for $50 and really loves)? It could be a little pricy depending on how many kids there are, but you could preload them with educational apps.

      Or a new clothing item?

      Also, sign them up for library cards! :)

    2. LCL

      School clothes to help them fit in. It will help with their language if they don’t hate school. Or, let them know you will pay their fees for any activity they want to join.

    3. Emilia Bedelia

      I think taking them on some kind of outing would be nice- maybe take them on a shopping trip and pick out some clothes, visit a tourist location nearby,go out to eat at your favorite local restaurant, or go to a museum or aquarium or zoo or something. Not sure what language they speak, of course, but I’ve seen a lot more museums with Spanish signs these days, so it may be worthwhile to check if any places near you have non-English options.

    4. Mela

      A cheaper pre-paid smart phone! So vital to how teens communicate and it can have apps like duolingo to help with language stuff.

    5. chickabiddy

      In an odd coincidence, another friend of mine is in a similar situation and I picked my almost-15yos brain. She recommended Kindle Fire because there are some apps/games that are primarily visual and lots of books at all reading levels for when they start to learn language. She also suggested a nice set of colored pencils and an adult coloring book (adult like artistic, not adult like “adult,” though I learned that those do exist as well) which they can do on their own or even with other neighborhood or family kids without a need for shared language.

    6. Natalie

      Will they be using public transportation? A transit pass and a map in their language (if available) would be a nice way to have some of the independence teenagers love.

  55. TheLazyB

    It’s 2.46am. My grandparents’ funeral was on Friday (for those who missed it my nanna and grandad both died in the space of 2 hours on 6th Jan). I still haven’t cried for them. I really thought I would at the funeral. I sang all the hymns, saw their coffins, saw my family crying, shared memories and photos of them. Nothing. I’m very sad, but I am also really fine at the same time.

    I think I don’t really believe they’re gone. Losing them simultaneously seems ridiculously improbable.

    When my husband’s grandparents died we saw them at the funeral home. It was a shock, I’d never seen a dead body before his grandma, but it was the first time we could stop and feel the loss. It helped, you know? But my grandparents were both closed caskets; my nanna had had morphine, apparently it can be very disturbing. I wanted to see them.

    When my grandad (dad’s dad) died I was only 14 and wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral. I didn’t cry for years. Literally years. I don’t want to wait even another day.

    I literally couldn’t stay awake at 7pm so I went to bed. I woke up at 9.30 and haven’t been able to sleep since.

    I thought about writing this in my journal instead of here but I’m hoping someone can relate or maybe even offer somecomfort. Or hey, call me a horrible person for not crying (maybe if you do that and I get angry I’ll be able to trick myself into crying…!).

    1. NaoNao

      I can relate. My father and I are both not very high on the showing of emotion scale. Crying is not the only way to feel sorrow, it’s only one way. When my maternal grandfather died, everyone was very visibly upset except for me and my dad and I’ll always be thankful for his remarks that day “It’s important to have someone else there not crying to show it’s okay” (he felt that he’d been criticized in the past for being cold).
      With grandparents, it’s sometimes more a bittersweet milestone of life, especially if they were very elderly or ill, or if the death was somewhat predictable. It’s not often the waves of loss, shock, anger, and harrowing grief that one feels when one’s parents, children, or contemporaries dies. It’s still very sad, but it feels more…natural, I guess?
      There likely will come a time when something unexpected makes you cry, and you’ll be like ‘why am I crying over this turtle eating a leaf video? Oh, hello grandparents!’
      My mother lost both her parents at a relatively young age and she says that she gets “messages” from them: when her pocket gets caught on a doorknob, that’s her mom. And when the sky is pink, yellow and blue in a sunset (“skybluepink”) that’s her dad (his favorite color was “skybluepink”).
      Maybe deciding on the “messages” will help a tear or two to drop when it’s time but I’m here to tell you it’s okay. We all feel grief differently.

      1. TheLazyB

        Yeah, they were very old and very ill and in pain and scared (they had to move into nursing care in November). It wasn’t a surprise at all.

        My grandad’s sign is a rainbow, he told me that there’s always a double rainbow, you just have to look for it. Not sure about my nanna yet but there will be something.

    2. Alice

      Sorry, I am not going to call you a horrible person for not crying!
      I’m sure you know this already – there’s no “right way” to grieve.
      I suppose I had the opposite reaction to you; I still cry today if I hear the music from the funeral of a family member. I also cry at memorial services for people that I’m not close to (not that I crash strangers’ services, just not very close). I hate that because I feel like I’m drawing attention to myself.
      Of course in reality I don’t think anyone else really notices or cares about whether I’m crying or not. And anyone who would notice or criticize you for not crying yet would be a jerk of the first order.
      Maybe you can persuade your mind to give yourself a break if you frame things as “I’m not crying now; I probably will later, but for now I can focus on comforting others”?
      I’m sorry for your loss and I’ll keep you in my thoughts this week.

    3. Not So NewReader

      The quality of our character is not measured by the number of tears we cry.

      You are not a horrible person for not crying as expected by others. If anyone expects you to cry on command they are the horrible people not you.

      I can be a delayed cryer. I think I get lost in the busyness of funerals or something. With some folks, it can be as much as two weeks after the funeral before I’d cry a tear. I think it depends on the individual and the circumstances. People I am not close to or people that caused me a lot of work, seem to be the ones where I cry two weeks later. Just seems to be the way it goes for me.

      I know your question about the timing of their passing was meant to be rhetorical, but from what I have read the answer is actually that the chances are HIGH.
      Spouses become very connected to each other and they feel the loss quite heavily.

      Statistically, the surviving spouse has a significant probability of passing within TWO years of the first spouse passing. Interestingly, this is across any demographic you can think of- age, race, income level, geographical location, gender and so on.

      On a personal level I understand this. When my husband passed I started in on irregular heart beats. If the heart is not pumping correctly a person is more likely to fall/stumble. I was very good at catching myself so I never hit the floor. What shocked me was that I understood what was happening and why, AND it STILL happened. Grief is a very powerful emotion. I got some vitamin B, put the flip flop type shoes away for a while and worked on being careful. The stumbling stopped, my heart straightened out and it is now fine. And I was in my mid 40s at that time.

      There are no set rules for grief, that is part of what makes it so hard. We don’t know what to expect and we don’t know when we will see it. As you mull things over, consider getting a book on grief and learning about the grieving process. Learn the symptoms of grief (hello, insomnia/drowsiness) , the reasons for grief (not just death, but also includes lost jobs/pets/homes/etc) and the stages of grief (you can be in more than one stage at the same time). You maybe at a good point to do this, it’s really hard to learn this stuff when you can’t stop crying long enough to read the words on the page. And it may tend to satisfy some of the questions and restlessness that you feel.

      Most of what I read had religious overtones which won’t appeal to everyone. It’s actually better to go and pick out a book yourself. Read the inside cover, read a few pages. At some point you will probably find a book that resonates strongly with you. It feels like the author knows you. That is your book.

      FWIW, you sound pretty normal to me.

      1. Aurora Leigh

        I don’t want to hijack this post, but thank you for mentioning that we can feel grief for other things. In the span of about 9 months I lost a job I loved and my parents sold the house I grew up and moved out of the state. It was incredibly rough time for me and my mom especially thought I was overreacting. I only recently realized that the emotions I went through were very much the stages of grief. Thank you.

        1. TheLazyB

          Yeah those two things at the same time would be very hard to deal with. I’m sorry your mum thought you were overreacting :(

        2. Not So NewReader

          This is an important point, I have cried harder over lost property or pets than some of the people I have lost in my life. I have cried over the passage of time and the close of an era. I have cried because someone is ill or in jail.

          Feel the emotions- acknowledge, “my stomach aches because I am so upset over X.” (then grab some Pepto or whatever stomach remedy you prefer). It’s one thing when people around us think little of our emotional upsets. It’s a whole higher level of problems when we don’t acknowledge our own issues to ourselves. Sometimes the only person who needs to know our level of upset is our own self. If we understand, “Oh!I have a problem here!” then we can take action to help ourselves. The action does not have to be hard, it could be sitting quietly for a bit. It could be journalling. Some folks may see counseling as a good avenue. The action plan does not have to be elaborate or costly.

          1. TheLazyB

            I think last night’s insomnia might be related :-/
            I really want to talk to my doctor and my counsellor.

      2. TheLazyB

        I have a book on grief that has really helped me in the past. I’ll get it out.

        My nanna passed second. She hadn’t been aware of her surroundings for days and hadn’t known anyone for nearly a week, but I am certain she understood that my grandad had gone and it was safe for her to die too.

        Oh. And my lovely line manager also left work this week. So yes it feels very much like a time of goodbyes right now. Maybe there is too much going on to process right now.

        Thank you NSNR, as always.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Yep, she knew it was safe for her to journey on. No doubt in my mind.

          Manager. I don’t know why this stuff comes in clusters, but dang! it sure does. While you are acknowledging your losses also acknowledge any confusion you feel. “Yep. I am feeling confused about all this.”
          It sounds odd to say but sometimes I would cry over something like losing the good boss harder than I would over the people who passed. There is logic to that, but it’s not immediately apparent. The quickest way to handle it is to decide, “I am not going to waste a bunch of time trying to figure out why I feel this way. I am sad about X, so I am just going to allow me to feel sad about X and see where that puts me.”

          I realized that I lost huge chunks of time trying to figure out why-why-why. And once I figured out why, I still had to grieve. So I thought, I might just as well cut to the grieving part because that is the root of matters. You might be grieving all the changes around you and the passing of time, that might be the important grieve to deal with. I have no way to really know, but I’d encourage you to go with the flow.

    4. ..Kat..

      People grieve differently and at different rates. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Be good to yourself; be kind to yourself.

    5. Temperance

      I didn’t cry when my grandmother died. I didn’t cry when my husband’s grandmother died. I don’t think it’s necessary, or makes you a bad person. It’s a reaction. I will always remember my mother giving me crap about not acting properly depressed about my grandmother dying, which is why I’m giving you exactly no crap about it. (She had lung cancer after heavily smoking for most of her life. She smoked around me, which made me sick very often. It was hard to be sad.)

      I cried a lot when I found out that a friend’s dad, who is a wonderful, kind man, was dxed with pancreatic cancer. I cry whenever an animal dies on TV. I cry at the end of Toy Story 3 when all the toys hold hands at the end. I cried when Andy gave all his toys to Bonnie.

      1. Anonsie

        “I cry at the end of Toy Story 3 when all the toys hold hands at the end. I cried when Andy gave all his toys to Bonnie.”

        Well, you’re only human.

      2. TheLazyB

        Oh god. Toy story 3. I might send my husband and child out this afternoon and watch that. I sobbed at the TS3 bit of Disney on Ice.

    6. Anxa

      I don’t think I’ve ever cried over anyone I knew dying. But I cry at commercials. It’s just the way I am. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, and I’m a pretty emotional person.

      1. TheLazyB

        My mum cries at anything and everything, both profound and ridiculous. I haven’t let on to her that I haven’t cried as I know she found it weird that I didn’t cry when I saw my nanna a while ago when she’d deteriorated a lot.

    7. Anono-me

      Condolences on your loss.

      Please try to stop worrying about not crying.

      It might be that you are still in shock and will feel the need for tears later. (Be aware that it might be something as trite as a tissue commercial or a dropped glass that triggers it.)

      It might also be that you will not express your grief via tears. That is fine.

      Again my sympathies

      1. TheLazyB

        I managed to read that as I might cry over a dropped tissue!! And I can totally imagine myself crying over that :) thank you.

    8. chickabiddy

      I am so sorry for your losses.

      FWIW, my crier appears to be broken. My eyes will leak at the most inopportune moments and then when I’m truly grieving, nothing, even when I want to. I am not a horrible person (at least not for this) and you are not either.

        1. Observer

          So, why do you want to cry? If it’s because you are “supposed” to cry, then forget about it. It’s a hugely variable and individual thing, and “supposed to” just doesn’t fit here.

          On the other hand, if crying helps you release / deal with the pain or grief – which really works for some people – then maybe you can “trick” yourself into crying. Is some reliable tear jerker that you can listen to / watch / read?

          1. TheLazyB

            I need to. I feel like there’s a deep pool of tears that I can’t find to let out. Gonna have to try the tearjerker thing I think.

            I needed to cry when my other grandad died and it took I think five years. I can’t wait that long :(

            1. Not So NewReader

              I put on some sad music to push the tears out. “Amazing Grace” makes me cry, but I think it’s supposed to make us cry. There was another one I was using, but I forget what it was now. I have also read some short stories in the Chicken Soup books, that worked too.

    9. TheLazyB

      Thank you all.

      One of my aunts died at the end of November. I wasn’t very close to her, but I cried both before and at her funeral. I think that’s one of the things that makes me feel worse about it… but maybe this loss is just too profound for tears right now.

    10. Colette

      I didn’t cry at all when my dad cried – and then a couple of months later I was sobbing over a song on the radio. Crying does not equal grief or love or anything else. Maybe you’ll cry later, maybe you won’t, and it’s ok either way.

    11. Allypopx

      When this happens to me it’s almost always been a self-defense thing. I’m a huge crier. But sometimes when stuff gets too real I just can’t! Even if I want to. I think it’s a subconscious emotional shield thing. But then I’ll misdirect it and cry over something like, as someone else said, a dropped tissue, or really cute cat cuddles, or stress from work, or something else totally unrelated.

      Feeling are weird. Grief is hard. You sound normal.

      I’m so sorry for your loss!

    12. Jules the First

      I don’t cry well in front of others. Unfortunately, that means that I look scary-together at funerals, and end up being the rock that everyone else leans on.

      For me, the key to unlocking it is being alone (trans-Atlantic flights with the lights off are my Waterloo….I’m helpless to resist). A sappy movie might help, but you should also make that call to your counsellor and try to unpack why you think you have to cry – when we lost my mother’s mother, I didn’t cry, because I’d done my mourning six months earlier when I was flying home after the visit where we put her into hospice care. I didn’t cry at the news, or at her funeral and I haven’t cried (seven years and counting), because I’d already worked through the loss before we actually lost her.

    13. Elizabeth West

      You’re not horrible. You’ll cry when you cry. It’s not a requirement.
      If I feel like I need to cry and I can’t for some reason, I watch a sad movie with animals or something I know will always trigger me.

      And *BIG GIANT INTERNET HUGS*

    14. TheLazyB (UK)

      The answer, it has just occurred to me. I’m on sertraline (I think that’s aka zoloft). Apparently it can make you numb and stop you from crying. Since my aunt died and I cried at her funeral my dosage has gone up. Definitely time to speak to my doctor. I don’t want to stay like this but I don’t want to go back to how I was either.

    15. SOMA

      Late reply but I just wanted to say that you’re not a terrible person for not crying. When my grandfather passed away, we all knew it was coming. The news wasn’t a surprise at all. I was with my mother, grandmother, and aunt through most of the funeral prep the day before. We were organizing photos for a collage and they kept crying over them. I just held them, brought tissues, and kept them on track (which is exactly what they asked me to do).

      It was at the funeral service where I lost it. (And I’m tearing up now even writing it out) At the end of the mass, when they carried my grandfather away, one of my little cousins, too young to understand what was happening, tried to follow the bearers out. When he was stopped by his father, he asked loud enough that the whole church could hear, “Where’s Poppy going? I want to see see Poppy.” That’s when my emotions rose up out of nowhere and I started to cry.

      Sometimes tears take you by surprise. Since we all knew he was nearing the end of his life (it even became a family joke because we had a good five years of ‘this will be Poppy’s last Christmas’), I didn’t think it would hit me so hard. I thought I’d get through with dry eyes.

      As other said, there’s no right way to grieve. Some grieve for openly and freely for a long period of time, some are struck only by certain triggers, and some grieve without tears. Don’t feel bad at all.

  56. SL #2

    You know those friends of your friends that you just… can’t stand? The ones where every time your friend mentions their name, you have to work really, really hard to suppress your eye-rolling? Yeah, that’s no fun. I will never make any comments about her to my friend because I don’t want her to pick between us or push her away either, but that other friend just really, really, really grates on my nerves.

    1. Red Reader

      One of my dearest friends has pretty much not a single friend that I can even stand. Made her wedding – for which she asked me to be her day-of assistant and all the people I can’t stand to be bridesmaids* – very trying. :-P

      *Which is fine – if she had asked me to be a bridesmaid I’d have begged off anyway, I’m much better at logistics – but when part of my job was to wrangle, organize, take care of and feed the people I can’t stand …

    2. Allypopx

      Unfortunately this is me with almost all my boyfriend’s work friends (which comprises a large amount of his friend group). It’s hard.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Ugh, mine too. I recently realized that I can barely stand to be around half of my boyfriend’s friends in his cohort. It’s gonna be a rough couple of years, especially since the ones I do like are getting ready to graduate.

    3. Jessesgirl72

      My best friend since kindergarten has a friend from when they were in utero, and we have hated each other from our very first meeting, which I still remember clearly almost 40 years later. Only my friend knows how we feel about each other, because kids don’t hide things like that very well. ;)

      There was some kind of Facebook meme was along the lines of “if you’re still friends with your best friend from 3rd grade , tag them” My friend tagged me, and passive aggressive petty drama immediately ensued on the other side. I thought (but didn’t say) that she’s been pulling this crap for almost 40 years, and when in the heck is she going to just stop.

      So I blocked the drama queen so I don’t have to see her drama.

      1. SL #2

        Thankfully, the other friend does not have social media accounts, so I rarely have to hear about her other than when they hang out (which is… every weekend……….).

    4. The Other Dawn

      Yup, I got me one of them, too. I used to like the other friend, but she treats my friend like crap and I’m at the point where if my friend is going to continue to accept that treatment and be ok with it, then I don’t want to hear a word about that friend. I told my friend I don’t care what jane does to you, says to you, or says about you, I don’t want to know about it. It’s been wierd I think for my friend but she’s abiding by my wishes.

      1. SL #2

        Yeah, that’s sort of the boundary I put in place with my friend. I don’t want to hear about her and I don’t want to know what you guys do when you hang out every weekend and if you do try to tell me something about her, I’m not going to respond with anything more than a “oh, that’s nice.”

    5. Felicia

      I definitely know those friends. Makes occasions where we’re both invited to the same events super awkward.

      1. SL #2

        That’s only happened once for me, which was the first time we met. She was just so…… standoff-ish? Like, come on, put in the effort and try to pretend like you want to be there, sheesh. But I’m also the type of person who puts a lot of stock into manners and being a good host/guest and I get annoyed when people don’t abide by those social niceties. My friend does not place importance on that sort of thing, so I think that’s why they can be friends and I want to scream every time the other friend is mentioned.

    6. Natalie

      My best friend’s husband. Thankfully she knows and is mostly okay with it.

      (Obviously we’re both adults and are civil to each other at parties and such. We’re just never going to be friends with each other.)

  57. Emlen

    My little wanderer of a cat hates collars and will ditch hers within an hour. Outside, where we will never see it again. She is microchipped, however. We just have to be satisfied with the facts that (1) our cat is wily as hell, (2) our town is a big outdoor cat kind of place, so nobody will think she’s lost, and (3) if said townspeople thought she *was* lost, they would post her picture all over facebook, then bring her to the local shelter, who would scan for a chip.

    You could try just leaving the collar nearby while she’s getting affection, giving her a treat if she sees it and doesn’t run. When she gets used to having it around, put it on her like it’s nbd, give her a treat, then take it off immediately, and give her lovins. Get her to associate it with positive things, and incrementally increase the duration you leave the collar on. I know people who’ve had luck with this technique, for both cats and dogs. Ours is just set in her ways.

  58. Alinea

    What’s your favorite family car that isn’t a minivan?

    I’m hoping to win the lottery and get a Tesla Model X with those falcon doors (drool)…a girl can dream.

    I don’t have children but might start in the next 1-3 years. I see the practically of those sliding doors but ugggghhh minivans, uuugghhh. I’m going to start my search with Subaru’s (Forrester or Outback) and go from there.

    1. SL #2

      A mid-sized SUV would be your best bet. I love our CRV (2007) but my cousins have ventured into Toyota Highlanders as well.

    2. chickabiddy

      I have had and liked Subarus. Since you are talking about kids, I will contribute unasked that I was a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (carseat checking and installing volunteer) and the Outback is oodles more carseat friendly than the Forester.

      1. Alinea

        You read my mind! My second concern (main one being safety ratings) was where I would put a hypothetical car seat. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    3. Cristina in England

      We have a Ford Mondeo. FWIW, growing up my parents had VW Golfs and Jettas. You don’t need a massive car! Just one w 4 doors and great safety ratings.