weekend free-for-all – March 10-11, 2018

This 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.)

Book recommendation of the week: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson. This is everything you need to know about having an adult home, from how to fold a fitted sheet so that it doesn’t look like gnomes live inside it, to how to wash dishes so they’re actually clean, to where you should and shouldn’t compromise on cleanliness. This is all the stuff that possibly used to get passed down generationally but no longer does, and so many of us don’t know it, but now we will.

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

{ 1,539 comments… read them below }

  1. CatCat*

    I often wake up with neck and shoulder/upper back pain. I’ve found some good exercises to help alleviate that pain, but I’d much rather prevent it!

    I’ve tried a couple different pillows. My current one worked well for a while (it’s like a foam all around with a dent in the middle), but the pillow has not lasted that long and is kind of worn/collapsing where my neck rests. I’ve had the pillow for about 1.5 years (is this normal? I feel like it should have lasted longer, but maybe I’m off base.)

    I’m a tosser and turner in my sleep and I both sleep on my side and my back. Does anyone have recommendations for a pillow that will last longer and help someone like me? (Or any other suggestions for preventing the neck/shoulder pain!)

    1. fposte*

      Sounds like it was a pretty crappy pillow–1.5 years is not normal. If you liked that pillow, you might look through Amazon for others like it or in your sleeper category that get reviewed really well. Latex is less likely to squish over time, but it’s a taste call; I like it in mattresses but not in head pillows, go figure.

      I will throw in the possibility that neck *stretches* might also be a good thing–if your scalenes and/or levator scapulae get tight, they can pull on a shoulder. Have look for stretches with the names of those muscles and see what you think.

    2. Bluebell*

      I’m a side sleeper too and have been using the “sleep for success ” pillow for about a year. It works for me but isn’t exceptionally firm.

    3. Gala apple*

      If you want to change your life, look up Katy Bowman and her work on this. She advocates for a gradual shift to pillow free.

      1. C*

        I have crazy neural tension issues, and when they get really bad, sleeping on my back, with no pillow, is what re-aligns me best. When it gets REALLY bad, a couple of days on the floor helps as well. Also: yoga. Good luck!

    4. Betsy*

      No answers, but my sympathies! I find that the only thing that helps me is getting the right amount of sleep (I often wake up stiff if too much or too little) and regular exercise. Doing almost any exercise on a regular basis seems to cut down the neck and shoulder pain a lot.

    5. Travelling Circus*

      I’ve been having exact same issues for years now. I’ve tried…probably close to ten different pillows to try to alleviate neck/shoulder/upper back pain. My most recent pillow is a talalay latex pillow from Costco, and it’s been the best one so far. I have a lot less soreness and pain now. I hadn’t tried it earlier because I have a latex allergy, but because I don’t actually touch the latex it’s been fine. Maybe give something like a try? (My husband and I switched mattresses to a latex one, too, which has also helped because the latex mattress offers more support).

      You have my sympathies! I’ve been dealing with this for years, and it sucks. I hope you find something that works for you!

    6. Gingerblue*

      A year and a half is definitely not a normal pillow lifespan. I like either a chopped latex foam pillow or a feather pillow, depending on what mattress I’m using and how firm it is, but the bigger factor for me in comfortable sleeping seems to be exercising and stretching regularly. People have mentioned neck stretches, but I also find that shoulder, back, hip, side, and chest muscles can be tight enough to muck up how I’m holding myself in bed and how comfortable my neck can get.

      (On chopped foam pillows: they make some so that you can open them and remove foam or add it t get the right thickness for you.)

    7. CheeryO*

      +1 on the latex pillow recommendation. Nice and soft, while still having enough support for side sleeping, and they don’t break down over time at all. I got mine on Amazon a few years ago and still love it.

    8. Old Biddy*

      If your local mattress place sells pillows, they might be helpful – you can try the pillows out on a mattress similar to yours. We recently bought a new mattress and the salesperson fitted us for pillows based on how we slept/body size/etc. She had us use the sample pillows as we tried the mattresses. It did make it easier to see which mattresses worked for us. They were running a promotion that weekend so we got the pillows for free.

    9. deesse877*

      I always thought that the way to fix this was cradling and support, but ultimately what worked for me was (a) a flatter, firmer feather pillow, and (b) making sure to actually make the bed, since when I just roll in and out sloppily I tend to use less and less of the bed surface over time, and wake up tense.

    10. Star Nursery*

      I tried googling “pillows for neck support” to see if I could find the specific pillow I use. I did buy and return several that didn’t work work. I’ve had this pillow longer than 5 years and it has a contour shape so that it supports my neck and dips fitting my head lower in the middle.

      Years ago I had gone to a chiropractor for neck pain issues and he suggested rolling a small hand towel to place below my neck and then my head flat on the bed. I don’t have any good suggestions for side sleeping though.

      1. Enough*

        This is what mine suggested but not for sleeping. Just lay on the floor. It was to help keep the neck at the right alignment/curve. I found doing this as I sat watching tv worked also.

    11. Slartibartfast*

      I had a microbead neck roll pillow that was awesome, used in conjunction with a regular pillow on my side or by itself ob my back. It had a stretchy, almost spandey or swimsuit material as its casing. Alas, it split a seam and the microbeads went everywhere (1 mm styrofoam looking things). I haven’t found another pillow like it and currently use a latex foam block that has a little curve cut out of one side that’s kinda nice when I am on my side. It’s OK, but not as good as the neck roll was.

    12. Windchime*

      I usually use a Tempuroedic pillow but it can sometimes feel too firm. When my neck starts giving me trouble, I sleep on my back with only a rolled-up towel under my neck. A couple of nights sleeping like this usually sets my neck right.

    13. Bad Candidate*

      I also have neck issues. I use a Chiro Flow water pillow. It’s awesome. Best pillow I’ve ever had and my neck issues have definitely improved. chiroflow.com

    14. Faintlymacabre*

      I used to wake up with shoulder pain and found that a buckwheat pillow really helped me. I change out the hulls every year or so, it’s about 25 bucks. Not cheap, but not ruinous, either.

      1. Zennish*

        Definitely second the buckwheat pillow. That, and a firmer mattress made a world of difference for me.

    15. rubyrose*

      I’m primarily a back sleeper, with some on the side. Since I got my Purple pillow I’m sleeping so much better because I’m not constantly waking up adjusting the pillow.

    16. WideAwake*

      Curious how long people keep pillows? I can NOT find one I like. I’ve tried everything from expensive ($60) to super cheap. The most comfortable so far is a soft, fairly flat $6 side sleeper from Wal Mart. Have to replace it every 3-4 months tho, because it flattens too much.

    17. YouShallNotPass*

      I have back pain and a heated mattress pad worked wonders for me. It relaxes all my muscles as I sleep so I wake up less stiff than normal.

    18. only acting normal*

      I’ve been indulging my latent stationery addiction with Peachy Packages. Each package has a box of herbal tea, a fancy chocolate bar, some stationery and some other bits like a trinket dish or fairy lights or a pretty umbrella. All very nommy/pretty stuff.
      (Might be UK only though, not sure).

      1. only acting normal*

        Hmmm not sure why that posted here. Sorry meant for the subscription boxes thread!

    19. LBG*

      I use a memory foam pillow that is contoured for neck support. It is less than a year old but seems to be holding up well. I do find that I scrunch it up to get a bit more height, which will probably shorten the life. It was about $25 on Amazon, iirc. I used to wake up in the middle of the night with horrible headaches, but this pillow has really resolved that. I also have lower back issues and use a body pillow for additional support. Good luck finding what works for you!

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        I also use a memory foam pillow, and as a side sleeper, I find it a bit too short. I just put an old (rather flat) regular pillow underneath.

    20. TardyTardis*

      Change the height of your chair for two days a week. I ran into shoulder and neck pain due to repetitive activities at work, and if I change the height of my chair for two days a week, I use slightly different muscles and it gets spread out more so that one part in itself isn’t that bad. Also, hot baths every night where I lean back and soak as deeply as I can and still breathe works out well, too.

  2. Come On Eileen*

    Tell me about your favorite subscription box. I’ve tried several – Stitch Fix, ipsy, Mystery Experiences, Birchbox, etc – and would like to hear what you are loving right now.

    1. Nicole76*

      I was subscribed to ipsy and Birchbox for about a year. It was fun getting new surprises monthly. I particularly liked all the pouches from ipsy (I loooove storage pouches). I unsubscribed when my husband was unemployed and didn’t resubscribe once he found employment because I noticed I just don’t go through the products quick enough and am still using some!

      I am still subscribed to Walmart’s quarterly beauty box, however, because I always like pretty much everything that comes in the box and it’s only $20 for the year.

      I also subscribe to Love With Food because I have discovered some great healthy snacks from them, plus they donate money to feed the hungry with every box so it feels like I’m also contributing to the greater good at the same time.

      How did you like Stitch Fix? I’ve seen a lot of YouTubers show their boxes but I think they are little pricey for someone like me who prefers to shop for clothes at thrift stores.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I tried Stitch Fix for three months and then cancelled. It’s not that I didn’t like what they sent–although a few things were kind of eww–it was really the fit and pricing of items. It was kind of hit or miss as to what I liked and how items fit.

        I hover between a 16 misses or XL and a women’s 1X. It all depends on the cut and fabric. I found some shirts were too big in the 1X, while the XLs were a little tight either in the arms or the bust. The jeans, though, tended to be perfect. I’m tall with a 33 inseam, and they seemed to get that right every time. Buuutttt…the jeans were typically about $80 and that’s too much for me. I can pay it, but I choose not to.

        As for whether I liked the pieces, I’d say I liked most of them. Some were just not my style and the stylist kept sending them to me even though my feedback said it was too “old” for me. I tended to not like the jewelry. Big pieces that I just didn’t like.

        If I lose another 20 pounds or so, I’d consider it again. But right now the fit is just too difficult for me. I’m at a point where I really need to go to a store in person. Although, it’s improving now that I know what I like at which stores and the right size at that store.

        If you want to see my Fixes, just click on my name and then scroll down my blog page and look for the Stitch Fix label on the right.

      2. Mrs. Fenris*

        I got a few things from Stitch Fix that I loved, but a whole bunch more that sucked. They sent me some terrific pants and scarves, but most of the shirts have been ugly and cheap. The last one I got didn’t feel personalized at all-just like they threw a bunch of unsold stuff in a box. Thanks, y’all.

    2. nep*

      Interesting timing — I only just learned last week of a local place that does monthly craft boxes — different ones for various age ranges. Might start that for the toddler we take care of, once she’s a bit older.
      I’ve never subscribed to any, but when I can afford it I’d like to try Barbella Box.

      1. Book Lover*

        Look at koala box. We did kiwi crate when my son was younger and it was always really well done.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      The only one we get in our house is Gentleman’s Box. I think they’re in a partnership with GQ. Of course, most of the goodies are for my boyfriend (every month comes with coordinating socks, tie, and pocket square, among other treasures) but I’ve come away with a scarf (he’s trying to learn how to accessorize but scarves are not for him) and a cute watch that I wore until it cracked. He wore some of the pieces at my company holiday party and my boss told him he was the best-dressed guy there. :)

    4. Cruciatus*

      Well, I actually get overwhelmed by all the schtuff! that comes in boxes so I’ve actually quit most of them. It’s not that the stuff was bad, but what do I do with 50 mascara samples and 14 eye pencils? I really don’t know why I did ipsy and Birchbox as long as I did…

      However, I did enjoy a sock of the month one my sister got me as a gift. 12 months was enough though as my drawers started to fill up. But now, a few years later they are starting to wear out so it might be worth doing another 12 months of that. Another good one is LootCrate. I did also get overwhelmed with some of the stuff in there. I liked it, but their T-shirts were all too small for me (even at the size I requested). But I received Ready Player One in a box (which is how I discovered it), Princess Bride playing cards (didn’t know I needed them until I had them), and a direwolf thumb drive (and lots of other things that were mostly neat, not always with any purpose).

    5. Bluebell*

      I’ve done Stitch Fix for over a year now. I like that it gives me options I might not have thought of. I’ve never bought all five pieces though – usually only one or two. And last year I started the Sephora box. I tend to pass on at least one or two items to my teen daughter who loves makeup. I had a coworker who was subscribed to graze and it looked good but I am fine with Trader Joe’s and cut up veggies or fruit.

      1. Nicole76*

        I had Graze for awhile but felt like I could make most of those combinations on my own for cheaper, except for those sweet sweet banana dippers. I miss those.

    6. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m waiting on my second box from Fab Fit Fun which is a quarterly box of assorted goodies with a stated value of over $200 worth of stuff for $50. I was pretty happy with my first box although I do have things I don’t use. I like surprise gifts so that’s what the box is for me, and there are some opportunities for customization and ordering extras if that’s what you like. And as a bonus they have pretty good fitness and cooking videos available for subscribers. The frequency and price is about right for me and I’m happiest if I can avoid all the spoilers. The marketing skews pretty young but the membership seems pretty varied.

      I’ve tried Stitch Fix 3 times and the only thing I love about them is their ease of returns.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Reading the other comments made me realize I’ve tried others. I subscribed to Graze and Love with Food for a couple months. They were great for encouraging us to try new things but the expense was more than I wanted to pay.

        For kids I really like Kiwi Crate. Their Tinker crate and the crafty one, both for older kids, looked really good and we subscribed for about a year. And you can buy creates individually too. It’s one of the places I look when I’m doing kid shopping and they have good Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Little Passports was pretty good for the age as well and we’ve also done Highlight’s spy themed thing. But for all of these my kid got bored with them before she aged out of them.

      2. Dani*

        The only box I’m currently signed up for is GeekyStitchingCo’s club box. I signed up when I first got into cross stitch because I love the ease of getting a cute little pattern once a month that only takes a couple of hours to work up. (Actually you get three patterns but they provide everything inc hoop and needle for one). Now that I’m a bit better at cross stitch the appeal is not so much the beginner level as it is the cuteness of the little patterns.

        In the past I’ve tried the bellabox (which is an Australian beauty box) and found like a lot of people who commented that although I loved some stuff, there was a lot I didn’t use. And for a supposedly ‘personally cursted’ box, I got an awful lot of stuff that did not suit my skin type or skin tone. I have also done HarvestBox (a bit like graze) on and off and I love it and would be doing it now if I hadn’t gone keto

    7. Temperance*

      My favorite is “Smartass and Sass”. It’s basically stuff that appeals to Millenial women, but I have to say that they’ve knocked it out of the park.

      I also do “Coffee and a Classic”. It’s a classic novel, in a beautiful edition, along with a treat and coffee each month.

    8. Odelie*

      I’ve tried Birchbox for years, and at first it was exciting. But then they started adding in makeup from CoastalScents and things that I don’t use/like/want, so I stopped it. I think it’s good to get if you travel a lot or buy from their site.
      I’ve also tried New Beauty Test Tube- they include 1 or 2 full size items, but it was around$40 a month! So I stopped it.

      I like trying new things, but some of these subscription boxes are either very expensive or include items that I’ll never use. I also don’t like how some of them “re-fill” your subscription automatically and charge you!

      I want to try boxes from either universal yums or snack crates- they feature candies and snacks from different countries, which would be fun to try!

      1. Lizmk*

        Someone on reddit suggested walmart’s beauty box, and I LOVE it. It tends to be stuff I’ll actually use. They do some makeup, but a lot of it is lotions, shampoo and conditioner, that kind of thing. It’s only stuff you can buy at Walmart, which means that none of it is crazy expensive if you love it. It’s $5, and comes four times a year. Love.

    9. Book Lover*

      I have been looking at parabo box but haven’t quite taken the leap yet. It looks great though. Nice gift, too.

      Same for Lillypost. Looks lovely but I have tons of books for the kids so hesitate but might be a lovely gift.

      I did do naturebox for a while and it was great but honestly can go buy snacks from store for less, so doesn’t make sense really.

    10. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      I loooove my Ipsy. I don’t buy makeup anymore generally; I just use whatever I get from Ipsy till I run out. I used to collect all the stuff I didn’t want and take it to work (we had an area on the bathroom counter where people would bring their beauty samples and stuff they’d ended up with and didn’t want), but now that I’m self-employed I’ll probably let it gather a few months and take to a women’s shelter or something, where I imagine it will all find good new owners.

    11. selenejmr*

      I’ve been getting the Yum box for a few months. You get treats and snacks from a different country each month. I take the box over to my daughters for her, the grandkids and me to try. We’ve had a lot of fun trying so many new things! Some snacks were great (butter cookies from France this month), others nobody liked (candy made with tree sap which smelled/tasted like pine from Turkey).

    12. Little Paws*

      I am in love with Fab Fit Fun! I just received my box last week and OMG I love it. I had more than a few “add ons” with my box as well. I highly recommend FFF.

      I also subscribe to Boxycharm. It’s 5 -6 full sized makeup related products for $21 a month w. free shipping! Each month I’ve received a at least one brush. I’ve also received eye palettes, eyeliner, lip products, a decent variety. I love that it’s all full sized items. I’ve had ipsy and Julep in the past and cancelled both.

      I always give away what I won’t use. I have a tote bag with all my “won’t use/can’t use” items amassed from all my various boxes. Sometimes on a Friday I’ll bring it into the office and let the ladies have at it & take what they’d like!

      **Also, ladies, Dott Boxx is a really nice period subscription box. I received my first one a few weeks ago. It had plenty of pads/tamps, wipes, etc, but also lots of tea, some chocolate, granola bars, a heating pad, a candle, and a cute bracelet. Cheap, run of the mill stuff, but it’s a cute treat to receive each month! They also send you a survey so they can try to cater the box to your tastes.

      1. DesertRose*

        Bonjour Jolie is another period subscription service about which I’ve heard good things (their website is bonjourjolie dot com). The boxes are VERY easily customized. They also have options for trans men and genderfluid/genderqueer people who menstruate as well as an option for young people who just started menstruating.

        That being said, I haven’t tried their box (or any other menstrual-supply subscription service) because I’m in menopause. ;)

    13. Nerfmobile*

      I’ve been doing Gwynnie Bee for a while for clothing – it’s a slightly different model. I’m feeling a little tired of it though and have been trying out Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. Stitch Fix has gotten my style down pretty well after two boxes and even found pants that fit my challenging waist/hip ratio. Trunk Club did ok on the first pass, will see how the second one goes.

    14. Middle School Teacher*

      I used to do Ipsy but I found a lot of the stuff I liked was only available in the US so I couldn’t buy it here, which seemed a bit pointless. I did Birchbox too and liked it more.

      I also did a clothing one called frockbox where you returned whatever you didn’t keep. It was ok until they sent me a top that made me question their good sense (it was a t shirt in a horrible floral print with a lace overlay around the collar and shoulders… it looked like some grandma’s couch) and I cancelled. I like floral and I like lace, but I tried it on and thought, “Dear lord this is the couch time forgot…”

    15. Can't Sit Still*

      KitNipBox for the cats! I get the small box every other month, because the boxes are pretty much the same: wand teaser, bag of treats and 3 or 4 catnip toys. There’s a consistent flow of new toys, so they are replaced as they are destroyed, and the cats don’t get bored with the same old toys. I’ve discovered some new treats. You can also order the box without treats, and they’ll add another toy instead. The boxes are usually themed for the season or nearest holiday, so it feels curated, not just random cat toys in a box. One box had a bird theme, so all the toys were feathered or birds, and the treats were duck bites. Back to school had school bus and apple toys.

      I also really like Sock Panda, a monthly sock subscription. I keep thinking I’ll cancel after the next package, but the socks are so cute! Thanksgiving was socks covered in tiny, multi-colored turkeys, and the second pair was root vegetables (I can finally say I like parsnips – on my socks), February was pink socks with an ice cream theme, March is spring-themed with cherry blossoms and bicycles. I can’t stop!

      They are both so twee, but they really brightened up a couple of really awful years for me.

      1. Safetykats*

        Love the KitNipBox! The themes are fun, and the cats love the toys. My cats aren’t that hard on toys, so they are piling up, but my sister has a new kitten so maybe we will pass some along. They haven’t loved all the treats, but they are pretty picky.

      2. Feline*

        I haven’t tried KitNip box, but I did get MeowBox for a while. I loved that they personalized the inside of the box to my cat’s names every time. My cats are overprivileged and didn’t need quite that many treats, though.

        I also loved trying the CatLadyBox, which has things for your cat and for you. I still wear one of the necklaces I got from there pretty regularly. They work with a lot of Etsy sellers to make exclusive items, and even though I don’t subscribe any longer, I do try to check out stuff they sell from past boxes periodically, because my overpriveleged cats can never have too many unique toys.

    16. Pennalynn Lott*

      The quarterly Pusheen box! Pusheen pancake maker, Pusheen popsicle maker, Pusheen t-shirt/sweatshirt/tank top, Pusheen backpack, Pusheen head tingler, Pusheen LED USB string light (so cute! I have it strung up inside my car), Pusheen plushes, Pusheen vinyl figures, PUSHEEN EVERYTHING!! :-D

      1. fort hiss*

        I’m DYING to buy the Pusheen box once I’m back in the states, everything in it looks incredible.

    17. Torrance*

      I’m a huge fan of Skoshbox & SnackFever. They’re food boxes; Skoshbox is for Japanese candy/snacks & SnackFever has Korean snacks, ramen, and other stuff. I really enjoy getting to try new snacks & flavours. :)

    18. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve never done one, though I saw a really cool food-from-around-the-world one. Unfortunately, it was also really expensive. :( Someday, when I’m rich and famous, LOL.

    19. Natalie*

      So, it’s not your normal subscription box, but my friend and I get Hunt A Killer, which is a murder mystery in a subscription box. Technically you get stuff, but it’s clues rather than products.

      I don’t think I would like it as much by myself, but my friend and I have really enjoyed working on the mystery. And as we are busier and busier it’s an excellent way to make sure we get together regularly.

    20. Jane of all trades*

      I used to do Birchbox and loved it – I found a lot of brands that I enjoy through the box. I also travelled a fair amount so I would use all their little samples when traveling, and I think I probably saved money because I like to shop for something frivolous every so often and Birchbox used to fulfill that for like $10 a month.
      I stopped due to 2 concerns: I don’t think there is an option to only get cruelty free products, and I don’t want to continue being complicit in animal testing for my makeup. Also, I had concerns about generating useless packaging waste every month (trying to be more green has its costs :/ )
      BTW – if anybody is interested in exploring more cruelty free products, a lot of great brands are cruelty free. You can google that, or look at the back of the product for the label or an indication that the product wasn’t tested on animals. Sephora, Whole Foods, Ulta have a bunch of cool, cruelty free brands.

      1. RestlessRenegade*

        I am also trying to stick with cruelty free products! But I’m cheap, so I usually stick with E.L.F. or Wet’n’Wild. I want to try some more upscale cruelty free brands from Ulta though–any favorites?

        1. Environmental Gone Public Health Gone Back Environmental*

          I use Urban Decay and they state that they are cruelty-free. Dunno if they’re considered ‘upscale’, but I really love their eye products.

        2. AnonEMoose*

          Seconding Urban Decay. Their eyeshadow primer is the best. Also the All Nighter makeup setting spray. With that stuff, my makeup has stayed put in some very hot, humid conditions, without it feeling like I’m wearing a mask.

        3. Jane of all Trades*

          Hope I’m not too late – here are a couple of favorites: for hair care I loooove oribe. It’s ridiculously expensive but if you’re wanting to splurge, especially their dry texturizing spray is great and smells fantastic. MoroccanOil is also cruelty free and one of those products you can get in any store really. A couple other shampoos are Giovanni and Wen. For makeup I really like Tarte and Kat Von D, both have great products. Bareminerals and Urban decay are also great and cruelty free. Not at ulta, but also cruelty free – the bodyshop and Lush. And as for more affordable brands, ELF is also cruelty free. When in doubt you can check on the back of the product for the image of a little bunny, which indicates certified cruelty free. I’ve also found some sales consultants to be very helpful and knowledgeable resources. Happy shopping!!

    21. Lurkersbelurkin*

      Real pet food has monthly dog treats for my dog. It’s all unprocessed and handmade treats without all the crap that big manufacturers put in it. Sometimes the contents gross me out as a human, but doggie LOVES them. Things like rabbit ears I mean.

      I subscribed to birchbox for a year, but like someone else said, it’s hard to get through all the products in a timely way. And then I just ended up donating them when toiletries ended up being needed due to a natural disaster not far from me.

    22. anon24*

      I do the mighty fix from mighty nest. It’s $10 a month and you get a “green” household item worth more. Some stuff I use all the time and others I don’t ever, but it’s a fun surprise every month. I’ve gotten wool dryer balls, glass storage containers, facial lotion, cleaners, bamboo utensils, a silicon sandwich bag, stainless steel drinking straws, a dish brush etc.

      1. Fellow Traveller*

        I got my sister in law this for Christmas and she seems to like it. I almost got a subscription for myself too- they have so many things in their site that I want to try incorporating in my life.

    23. BetsCounts*

      I’m using Gwynnie Bee, which is sort of like Netflix for clothes (back when Netflix actually mailed DVDs) and am super pleased with it. I also subscribe to Sephora, which is pretty cute and only $10!

      1. JewelryLover*

        I do Bijoux Box – for around $30 a quarter. If you love jewelry, it’s a good box. I find I rehome a lot because it’s gold tone though – I’m a silver kind of girl.

    24. Trixie*

      Beautyfix from Dermstore, I think $25/mo with subscription. Predominantly skin care products. Every month at least one full size produce and other deluxe sample sizes. Serums, toner, sheet mask, etc. Found it through Youtube channel I follow and thoroughly enjoying it.

      1. work in skincare*

        This is the one I would recommend for anyone wanting to try good skincare affordably. I get so much free product that I can’t justify spending anything on more, but I subscribed for a while because I love skincare and trying new things, and I think this one consistently has the best quality and value for money.

    25. Peggy*

      I was an early adopter of both Birchbox and Ipsy many years ago. I cancelled Birchbox when I realized how frustrated I was with having a lot of tiny samples of things that I liked – I’d use them, enjoy them, consider buying the full size version of some, but then I’d have all these other tiny samples to use up. So I never ended up actually buying the products I liked, and I didn’t like switching up my routine on a weekly basis when the samples would run out. I had Ipsy for a really long time but they sent me blue nail polish like 6 months in a row and I hate blue nail polish. I’d put it in every feedback channel, send emails, mark it as “hate this product, hate this color” on all my surveys, and every single month… I also found they sent a lot more “young” items that I wasn’t using – like bright green eyeliner and things I can’t pull off.

      I’ve done Glossybox (enjoyed but was a little too fancy for me), Allure (both the monthly box which was great for a long time but I kept getting broken items and their customer service wasn’t helping, and the huge tri-annual box which was full of more drug-store items and less specialty high end items but I always loved the deal for how much you’d get), Bijou Box (loved the style of jewelry but the clasps always broke), PopSugar (loved it, still love it, just don’t have budget for it anymore), and a few others I can’t remember.

      I’ve done one month or three month trials of Graze, that Love Food one I can’t remember the name of, a coffee sub that isn’t around anymore, a few jewelry/lifestyle subs that aren’t around anymore, a spice blend one that I didn’t care for.

      The only one I get now is Boxycharm which I think is the best value and best product choices of any box I’ve ever tried. But I’ve been a subscriber for years and I am amassing a stockpile of eye shadow and brushes that I’ll never ever ever use so I’m considering canceling that one too and looking for a skin care one. It’s really the only product I get super excited about now – expensive skincare surprises in my mailbox for a deep discounted subscription I think is where I’m at right now.

      I’ve never done a clothing one before because I used to be very, very overweight (size 24). Now I’m just regular overweight, a size 14, but I have enough clothing that I don’t really need a monthly delivery.

      We’ve also tried a lot of the cooking ones – Blue Apron (we found the recipes to be appealing on paper and kind of meh once cooked), Home Fresh (ironically never fresh when it arrived to us and poor customer service dealing with rotten food issues like “sorry you couldn’t make the meal we sent you because of rotten produce, here’s a discount for your next order for the value of the rotten mango and cilantro which we value at $2.30.”) Sun Basket was fine but had delivery issues. We tried a low carb one and realized it wasn’t cheaper than just going and buying steak and veggies, and it wasn’t creative enough to justify the cost of getting it shipped. We love Plated though – home runs almost every time, great customer service (if something has gone bad they will give you a free box or a free meal in your next box!), our type of recipes, stuff we end up making over and over again. We get it when we’ve been eating out too much and want to get back on track with cooking – every couple of months we’ll do it for a week or two then we’ll get inspired to come up with our own recipes and be back in the swing of cooking every night. It’s cheaper and healthier than eating out, but more expensive and not as healthy as how we cook when we’re “on track.”

      As I type this, I realize how much I enjoy getting “presents” in the mail. I miss the excitement of these boxes! For the record, have never gotten more than 1-3 subs at the same time so it’s not like I had a $1000/month budget for all these, haha!

    26. Half-Caf Latte*

      Thredup has a stitch fix- esque box. You can pick a theme, I think like office, casual, or dressy? And then it’s 10-15 pieces.

      I loved it, got a few great things, and felt it was less $$ than stitch fix would have been.

      Planning on doing it again soon to build my work wardrobe.

      1. Arjay*

        Thredup emailed me about the subscription box, so I went to check it out only to learn they aren’t supporting plus size boxes at this time. Then they sent me a follow up email reminding me that I hadn’t signed up. I happily provided feedback on that one.

    27. Pathfinder Ryder*

      I’m enjoying My Treat’s underwear box, though I was a bit nonplussed when the first one came with a face mask and a magazine as well – there was a reason I didn’t get the combined underwear and beauty box and that reason is I don’t use beauty products.

    28. fort hiss*

      I use Pipsticks to get stickers for my students! They always send me a delightful collection, from cute artsy stickers to classics like scratch and sniff style. Love them. They’re very communicative and helpful too.

      The only other box I’ve ever subscribed to consistently is graze. Graze are way better than other snack boxes in my opinion. I’ve tried some of the others and they’re good, but graze is KILLER. It’s more readily available in the UK but they do have a US arm!

    29. Teach*

      I love Ipsy – cheap, but they send stuff I love. I have it set for my age and preferences but share with my teenaged daughter. She goes through A LOT of black eyeliner and mascara, so it all gets used.
      Loot Crate was fun – my son would love to get that one again.
      Plum Deluxe Tea has been a very successful gift at least twice now.
      This is a dangerous thread!

    30. Arjay*

      I did ipsy for a while, but ended up with way too many tiny mascaras and eyeshadow brushes. I quit a couple months ago and just recently went through all the products to sort out what I might actually use from some of the other stuff.
      I love Gwynnie Bee and they just expanded into straight sizes so they’re now inclusive of size 0 – 32.
      I have mixed feelings about my Splendies underwear subscription. Three pairs a month, you can specify if you do/do not want thongs, for about $17. The fit has been kind of all over the place for me. Some of them are soooo soft, but also have a tendency to fall off! The thing that’s keeping me enrolled now is that they do such cute holiday themes. I loved Halloween and Valentine’s Day. I hope to get some shamrocks for March.

    31. Skunklet*

      No one has mentioned TARGET’S box? It’s similar to the Walmart/Birchbox/Ipsy beauty thing, but it’s $7, not $10, and it includes a $3 off coupon (off your $15 beauty purchase) so it really practically pays for itself! The downside? It’s not technically a subscription box, you have to go on their website monthly to get the box, and it usually sells out quick. Otherwise, it’s similar to Walmart in that most of the items are practical and you’ll use them too.

  3. Laura H*

    Hope y’all have a good weekend.

    And (as applicable in most of the States) remember to put the clocks forward an hour so you’re not late. (I’m Not fond of the time changes but yay for the phones and computers that do it kinda automatically.)

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I despise the whole concept of “changing” the time by an hour twice a year, but at least I seem to have fewer and fewer clocks that actually require changing every year. Right now I think it’s just our old 2006 Honda’s clock radio, our stove clock, and my old alarm clock, which was hard programmed for the old time change before 2007.

      1. fposte*

        My problem is a supply of digital items with one-button time changes, because it often turns out that somehow I’d set them up in DST and the one button toggles them an hour back. Other than that I don’t really mind it.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I have three clocks that will need changing–big wall clock in the living room, small wall clock in the bathroom, smaller wall clock in the kitchen. The rest are digital. The alarm in my bedroom updates itself, and my travel clock is keyed to the atomic clock so it also does itself.

        OH WAIT MY WATCH. And the one I always forget—the one in the car!

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I actually have an analog watch, but the battery is dead because I’ve been wearing my Android smart watch for a few years now.

      3. DesertRose*

        I think I lucked out in that my car has about the world’s easiest car clock as far as time changes go. The clock itself is slightly to the left (driver’s side) of the middle of the dashboard, and above the display, there are three buttons, helpfully labeled H, M, and Reset. Press the H button to change the hour, M to change the minute, and Reset to start from 12:00. But the buttons are located under a slight “lip” of dashboard so it would be really difficult to hit them accidentally.

        The car is a 2002 Mazda Millennia P (which was the last model year for that particular model); I don’t know why more cars/car manufacturers don’t adopt that design.

        1. DesertRose*

          The car clock and my wristwatch are the only clocks I have that require me to change them at all, and I don’t bother with the watch since I don’t wear it that often and the battery is dead.

          That being said, time changes are a royal pain in the backside. Can we please just pick one and stay there year-round?!

    2. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

      Every year when Daylight Saving Time happens, I have to wonder why on Earth it’s still a thing when it doesn’t actually give you more sunlight. That’s not how the Sun works.

      1. blackcat*

        I wondered until I moved to Boston. Either move us over an f-ing time zone, or keep daylight savings. I do not want the sun to rise at 4am in June. 5am is early enough.

        (Personally, I’d vote for changing the time zone. It would also help with the “What a lovely sunse–wait, it’s 3:45 in the afternoon!” moments in December.)

      2. Former Employee*

        It’s also confusing because Arizona, Hawaii and I believe that part(s) of Indiana don’t change their clocks – they have opted out.

        Back when I dealt with people in AZ and HI, I always had to stop and think about the time difference.

        1. Another person*

          Indiana changes now! They used to not (except the part of Indiana that was in Central time zone, because Indiana is in two zones) which made it extra confusing for the people I knew who lived in one time zone and worked in another.

      3. Oxford Coma*

        It’s stupid and dangerous, according to several studies. I wish it would be federally removed so everything would stay consistent in the U.S.

    3. Nicole76*

      I enjoy the sunlight later in the day but otherwise I’m not looking forward to losing an hour this weekend. I wish they would just leave the time alone.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        I’m so with you. I’m not a morning person, so having it feel like I’m trying to go to sleep an hour early and get up an hour early is truly miserable until I adjust.

    4. OperaArt*

      Eleven for me. Bedroom, bathroom, other bathroom, thermostat, oven range, microwave, answering machine, dining room, living room, car, sprinkler system. And probably something I’m forgetting.

    5. Lady Jay*

      I’m always the odd one out: I’d prefer to have more sun earlier in the day than later in the day and would be thrilled having standard time year-round. 9.00 PM is simply too late for there to still be broad daylight outside in the summertime! I like the peacefulness and quiet of night and would have more of it if possible.

      That said, I sympathize with those people whose sun is rising at 4.00 am. What a wake-up call.

      1. Laura H*

        I’m with you on the standard year round camp- this change to DST is the one I do not like (which is also why I’m going to Mass tonight- because I work tomorrow and uh really don’t wanna deal with an earlier thing on an already weird day.)

      2. Sherm*

        I’m also with you. It makes a little more sense to have standard time, since it means the sun is halfway through at noon. But I could live with permanent DST. It doesn’t actually save electricity, but I could do away with the increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, and auto accidents that the time changes cause.

      3. Parenthetically*

        My folks are on the far eastern edge of their time zone and they LOVE the spring forward, otherwise it would be broad daylight before 5 in high summer. We’re on the far western edge of our time zone and… you know what? I still love it. It’s the signal of the end of my seasonal depression and the coming of warmth and all sorts of nice springy summery things that I adore. I get why people hate it, but I love it.

    6. Dawbs*

      There were states (Indiana) that claimed dst was too hard on the cows as their excuse for not doing it…I eye rolled about that.

      until I was pumping/nursing. Bodies do NOT like this stupidity, and convincing baby AND my body that milk should come an hour different was incredibly problematic and contributed to mastis, and the next time change I moved 15 minutes a day for 4 days instead.

      Can we just get rid of it? It’s heck on the time clock and overtime for 24 hour services too

    7. Temperance*

      The only fun piece of DST, for me, is that every single year, I reach out to my sister, and we jointly complain about how our mean mother wouldn’t let us skip church on DST Sunday. We used to get up at 6 AM to walk across the street for a 9:30 AM service, so we were cranky and tired and bored as it was, and DST stealing an hour of sleep just make it worse. LOL

    8. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I lost the manual AND the remote for our bedroom clock radio when we moved last year, and couldn’t figure out how to change the time on it without them, so it’s been off for an hour all winter. Then I moved it yesterday (our cleaner had accidentally knocked it out of place) and discovered there’s a simple toggle switch on the bottom! I’ve never had to use it before because I used the remote, but that’s pretty handy – just wish they’d put it somewhere more visible.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        Oh, and I am very much looking forward to lighter evenings. Lately my bike ride home has been in twilight, which I find more dangerous than either full daylight or full dark; my bright colours, reflective strips, and lights are all less effective in half-light. I left early one day last week and it was glorious to be riding in full sunshine! Worth losing an hour of sleep tonight, for me.

        1. RestlessRenegade*

          Agree! I get off work at 5:30pm and it is so nice to have some sunshine after work. I am one of those strange people who likes DST!

    9. gsa*

      Does anyone own a wristwatch or more, anymore?

      Not to out do Nicole 76, But I have what she has plus another vehicle in a half a dozen wrist watches.

      It really doesn’t bother me. It’s just another thing we do.

      I’m off to run errands in what is becoming a lovely day.

      1. Drama Mama*

        I do! But I teach in a room without a clock and I need to be able to pace myself without pulling out my phone all the time.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I do, but I don’t wear it very often. Mostly when I’m traveling and know I won’t be able to get to my phone easily. I keep my phone put up most of the time when in airports, etc. so it doesn’t get snatched.

      3. Parenthetically*

        My husband has one that he wears for fashion reasons! And I’m planning to get him another one for his upcoming milestone birthday, one that looks nice and works properly, unlike his current one.

      4. ChildlessbyChoice*

        I have several watches, and I’m always wearing one. I’ve been wearing one since I was about 10 so I feel a bit undressed without it. Analog and digital, and I had a nooka until the battery died :(

      5. gsa*

        First watch was cat in the hat watch. Wish I still had it.

        We both have gifted each other watches. Mine was for a milestone anniversary and hers was for a milestone birthday. To me, going out of the house without a watch this like going out of the house.

    10. Mike C.*

      This time of year drive safe me batty because I’m finally starting to see daylight on my way to work and now it’s going to be another month of darkness.

      And since I’m in bed earlyish, I can’t take advantage of the extra light!

    11. Feline*

      I always thought I didn’t need a reminder for this, but in the autumn, it was Tuesday before I noticed the analog wristwatch I wear was an hour off. I apparently only ever look at the minute hand.

    12. Rather Be Reading*

      It’s not often that I say, “Thank goodness, I’m so glad I live in Arizona,” but it happens at least twice a year on time-change weekends!

    13. Mimmy*

      I used to not mind the changes, especially the spring time change since it stays lighter later, but now it’s beginning to irk me. It’s nearly 6:00 pm here in NJ, yet I keep thinking it’s still 4:30-5:00. I think the change is just too quick and disorienting, if I’m being honest.

      If memory serves, it’s darker in the mornings for a little while – tomorrow is gonna suuuuuuuuuck!!!

  4. HannahS*

    Book thread! What have you been reading this week, and how do/did you like it?

    I read the whole Rashi’s Daughters series, which is historical fiction about the three daughters of the (very important) 11th century French Talmud scholar/vintner Rashi. He taught his daughters Talmud, which was forbidden to women for a long time (and still is, in some communities). It was definitely interesting and engaging, and I feel like I was able to develop a picture of what kind of lives Jews lived in that time–a period of peace and prosperity ended by the First Crusade–but I had mixed feelings about the whole second book and some of the writing was uneven.

    1. I Love Thrawn*

      Allison’s book choice for this week looks really intriguing. I have to check that one out.

      1. Gala apple*

        I own this and it’s a great resource. Checked it out of the library first, and realized it’s pretty much a home encyclopedia. I suggest trying to find one used if it stricks a chord with you.

    2. Sesame Plexer*

      I jut finished reading Working With People I Want to Punch in the Throat and it was hilarious. I know we don’t talk about the w word on weekends but that’s what I just finished. Can’t wait to read more by this author!

    3. Sugar of lead*

      I’m slowly chewing my way through The Name of the Wind. According to a cashier at Panera, I’m in for a real treat.

      1. oranges & lemons*

        I really liked it. I’m looking forward to starting the sequel–it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while.

    4. dr_silverware*

      The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker! Kind of a necessary read for an advice column addict. Felt a little dated, and there were a few areas I wish he’d explored more, but overall I thought it was fascinating.

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

        I found that after reading Carolyn Hax for years (and seeing it mentioned here, but I’ve been reading Hax since she had a column), The Gift of Fear was a bit of a letdown because I felt like she’d covered a lot of the major points in her column over the years. Not sorry I read it, but it wasn’t the life-changer I expected it to be either.

        1. dr_silverware*

          I did think it brought up a lot of new stuff, but I was surprised by how much advice column advice just came directly from it.

    5. Gala apple*

      I am on a Terry Pratchett kick! At my current rate I’ll finish the Discworld series mid-year. Favorite characters right now are Sam Vimes and Death, of course.

      1. Mephyle*

        I’m slowly working my way through them, too. Limited by how quickly I can acquire copies, which in turn is controlled by my self-limitation on spending more than the minimum amount; i.e., tracking down the cheapest copy possible.
        I’m currently enjoying Small Gods a lot: as well as the print book, I have the BBC radio play version and the full audiobook and I’m relistening to them a lot.

      2. Book Lover*

        Sam Vimes of course. The guards books are my favorites though actually I really loved the first two Moist books also.

      3. Librarygeek*

        Hooray! I love that series and make sure that every library I work at owns his stuff.

    6. Middle School Teacher*

      The Ninth Hour. I can’t remember the author but it starts with a man who kills himelf to prove “his time is his own” and a nun who shows up in the aftermath to manage things (she’s a nurse), and moved on to the lives of the man’s descendants and how they’re involved with the nun’s order. I’m enjoying it.

    7. Bluebell*

      I just finished John Hodgman’s Vacationland. Funny, with detours into some serious topics. And including lots of places I’ve been before, from Downeast Maine to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Loved it.

    8. neverjaunty*

      Working my way back through the Parker series by Richard Stark (actually Donald Westlake under a pen name).

    9. Lady Jay*

      I started Octavia Butler’s book, Lilith’s Brood. In essence, the story is about a human woman chosen (by aliens!) to restart the human race after they nearly destroy themselves in a nuclear holocaust; the novel begins with her waking up on the alien ship.

      This is, hands-down, going to be one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a very long time. But I like the characters; they’re well-rounded and hard to put into boxes.

      1. SineNomine*

        Lillith’s Brood really, really hit me hard. It was super disturbing, but obviously incredibly written. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for quite a few days after I finished it…but I also couldn’t bring myself to keep reading the series, tho0ugh I hope to eventually. I guess that’s the mark of a great book in how much it affected me.

        1. Lady Jay*

          Did you read all of Lilith’s Brood or just Dawn? The copy I have includes all three Xenogenesis novels (my impression is that they’re meant to be read together, so I got them combined). It is disturbing, all the more so because (at least at the point where I am now, about 150 pages in, the aliens are not malicious in what they do.

          1. SineNomine*

            Sorry, just Dawn, mixed up the names. I wasn’t able to keep reading through Adulthood Rites and Imago.

            And yeah, thats absolutely what makes it so disturbing. There are no easy answers about how to feel because, like you said, the aliens aren’t malicious at all. And they have a point. And nothing is FORCED on Lilith, which makes it so much worse because the choices she has to make are just absolutely awful. Trying to think of what I would do in her situation just really, really affected me.

    10. Not That Jane*

      I just finished SPQR by Mary Beard. A history of Ancient Rome that I really, really enjoyed – partly because it gives the atmosphere of the times very vividly.

    11. Temperance*

      I just finished “The Last Olympian” by Rick Riordan earlier this morning. I really love YA fiction. I try to read more highbrow stuff in between for some balance.

    12. SineNomine*

      I’m about to start Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer, the third book in his epic fantasy Stormlight Archive series. I have just been putting it off a bit. Having to wait til 2020/2021 for book 4 is just absolute hell and it’s caused me to sort of drag my feet and delay reading it, ironically, because I know I am gonna love it too much. That’s weird, isn’t it?

    13. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m making my way through Evelina by Frances Burney.

      It’s an 18th century book that talks about one woman’s experiences in society and was a major influence on Jane Austen’s writing. It’s actually very relevant to what we’re experiencing today with the MeToo movement and Time’s Up because Evelina’s experiences are things that I’ve gone through myself and it’s fascinating (and a little disheartening) to read about it from 300-ish years ago.

      It does make me want to scream at certain points though. Some of the characters behaviour is just so embarrassing that I have to put the book down and just breathe.

    14. Book Lover*

      I am impatiently waiting for The Rook and Into the Drowning Deep. In the meantime have been reading Belgarath to my son and spending too much time messing around on iPad.

    15. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I have different books in each main reading room of my house, plus one on my Kobo for the bus.

      Currently reading:

      Ibid, by Mark Dunn. The conceit here is that the author’s editor accidentally destroyed the only copy of a biography manuscript, but that the extensive footnotes (which were sent separately) survived. As an apology to the author, the editor published the footnotes anyway as a stand-alone text. So you’re reading the story of this (fictional) person’s life from the snippets presented in the footnotes, inferring the gaps as you go. I’ve only just started but it’s very cleverly done so far!

      The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber. A very earnest and well-meaning Christian pastor is sent to a distant planet, as a missionary to the alien natives. I’m about a third of the way through and it feels like it’s really just starting to get into the meat of the story. I’m enjoying it but not loving it.

      A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, by Adam Rutherford. Human evolution and modern-day genetics. None of the subject matter is new to me, but it’s presented very well; I particularly enjoyed the section on direct-to-consumer genetic testing such as 23andMe, and the comparison between the very rigorous work done to positively identify the body of Richard III and the sloppy, sensationalist Jack the Ripper “identification”. However, a few chapters seem like they needed an extra round of editing – there are some sentences that you have to re-read before you can parse them correctly.

      Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural, and Epidemiological Perspectives, by James Waldram, Ann Herring & Kue Young. (For work). Very informative, meticulously researched and referenced, a bit dense and dry.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I read The Book of Strange New Things and was decidedly underwhelmed by the end of it. It was an interesting concept but I felt the execution was lacking.

        Also, how in the blazes are you able to read all those books at once? I can only read one book at a time. Any more and my tiny brain gets confused.

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          Ugh, I had the feeling this book might not be worth it. Oh well, I will persevere.

          I’ve almost always had multiple books on the go at once, since I was a kid. My Mum and my sister are the same way (my Dad is not, and was constantly frustrated by how many books there were lying around the house!). I don’t see it any differently to being able to watch Game of Thrones, Westworld, and other shows on different nights of the week and keep all the stories straight! I guess early training is key, lol

      2. Lady Jay*

        I did not care for the Book of Strange New Things. Gave up on it shortly after the pastor meets the alien race; it was kind of . . . dull.

        That said, if you like mixing religion with your science fiction, I recommend Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, about a group of Jesuits and scientists who make First Contact, and everything goes wrong.

        Here’s the prologue:
        It was predictable, in hindsight. Everything about the history of the Society of Jesus bespoke deft and efficient action, exploration and research. During what Europeans were pleased to call the Age of Discovery, Jesuit priests were never more than a year or two behind the men who made initial contact with previously unknown peoples; indeed, Jesuits were often the vanguard of exploration.

        The United Nations required years to come to a decision that the Society of Jesus reached in ten days. In New York, diplomats debated long and hard, with many recesses and tablings of the issue, whether and why human resources should be expended in an attempt to contact the world that would become known as Rakhat when there were so many pressing needs on Earth. In Rome, the questions were not whether or why but how soon the mission could be attempted and whom to send.

        The Society asked leave of no temporal government. It acted on its own principles, with its own assets, on Papal authority. The mission to Rakhat was undertaken not so much secretly as privately–a fine distinction but one which the Society felt no compulsion to explain or justify when the news broke several years later.

        The Jesuit scientists went to learn, not to proselytize. They went so that they might come to know and love God’s other children. They went for the reason Jesuits have always gone to the furthest frontiers of human exploration. They went ad majorem Dei gloriam: for the greater glory of God.

        They meant no harm.

        1. Sparrow*

          This is one of my favorite books of all time! (part of the reason for my commenting name, although there’s more to it also) :)

    16. Enya*

      I just finished Zoe Heller’s “The Believers” – I really enjoyed it. I always love novels about strange or dysfunctional families.

    17. The Other Dawn*

      I’m reading A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. It’s the third in the Kingsbridge series and I’m enjoying it so far. It takes place in the mid 1500s and is about the war between Protestants and Catholics.

      1. Mrs. Fenris*

        I liked that one a lot. The Pillars of the Earth was one of my favorite books of all time, and I don’t think the other two are quite at that level but still really good. The last one actually reminded me more of the writing in the Century trilogy-I guess it focused more on the history of the time, using the characters as examples of the people affected by it.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I just finished the Century trilogy. I really enjoyed it, but found parts of it really difficult to get through, like the Cuban Missile Crisis. It also was a bit hard to follow the family lines by the third book, since it was the third generation. Still a good series, though.

          Yes, I loved Pillars of the Earth!

      2. Ann O’Nemity*

        I love Follett’s historical novels. Anyone ever try his earlier thrillers? I haven’t, but I’m curious.

    18. Pam*

      Just pre-ordered a bunch, and I am re-reading Jo Walton’s Thessaly trilogy- Àthene and Apollo start Plato’s Republic forrwal. Complications ensue.

    19. anonagain*

      “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” by Frans de Waal, which I LOVED, and “Main Street” by Sinclair Lewis, which I’m sure I didn’t fully understand but still liked well enough.

      I’m not sure what I’ll read/listen to next.

    20. Liane*

      Got through several books this week.
      1. Dawn of Rebellion. Latest release in the Star Wars roleplaying game line. Focuses on Rogue One movie and Star Wars Rebels TV series. Going to be interviewing one of the writers/game developers who worked on it, once I come up with questions! He is a friend, so will be extra fun.
      2. Star Wars Poe Dameron: Legend Lost. Marvel graphic novel comprising several issues of the comic book series. Poe & Black Squadron steal starship fuel from the First Order, while helped/hindered by a journalist. Pretty decent.
      3. Burn Brightly. Fifth full novel in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega urban fantasy series. Love this series and the Mercy Thompson series it was spun off from, and this one was great! Released Teusday, downloaded it early that morning onto my Kindle, finished it before noon (working afternoons is wonderful), an considering rereading it already.

    21. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      Stuff for grad school. :( But I bought a few French-language versions of books I liked in English (Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance Dance Dance and the first book of Lev Grossman’s Magicians series) and would like to reread, so I’m looking forward to reading those when I have some time.

        1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

          I have the first season of the TV show, but I haven’t watched it yet. I wanted to reread the books (in English) first.

    22. Elizabeth West*

      I read City of Endless Night, the latest Pendergast novel from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It was pretty decent–Pendergast and D’Agosta up against a really baffling serial murderer without a lot of personal distractions. Just a straightforward police procedural, a nice respite from the soap opera drama in which Pendergast has lately been immersed.

    23. Hana*

      I’m reading ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’! I haven’t been this excited about a book in years.

      1. copier queen*

        That is a great book – probably Fannie Flagg’s best. I like her writing style and tone – most of her books are really enjoyable!

    24. Former Employee*

      I recently read “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore”. So many people were saying how good it was. I had so many problems with it because (to me) it just didn’t hold up to any scrutiny. You have to believe that people would act in ways that make no sense. I don’t mean the sorts of things we see here where people can’t believe they will be fired when they are told that if they don’t improve or if they continue to do X, Y, or Z, they will be fired and they make no changes and are fired (surprise!). I mean the kinds of things that are obvious deal breakers in their relationship where the character isn’t doing it to get the other party to break things off with them because they don’t want to be the bad guy. It also doesn’t help that the detective who was assigned to the long ago crime that is at the center of the book seemed obsessed with the idea that a particular person committed the crime. Even when we find out “whodunit”, some of the particulars don’t really add up, either.

      Anyone else read it and have a similar reaction?

      1. Ann O’Nemity*

        It was just okay. I think I read too many glowing reviews and had high hopes. My biggest problem was that everything tied up too neatly in the end, with the characters being double- or triple- connected in ways that just weren’t plausible.

    25. AcademiaNut*

      I’m two thirds of the way through the Three Body Problem series by Cixin Liu, and quite enjoying it. It’s a hard scifi first contact series written by a Chinese author. In addition to being a good read, it’s interesting to read sci-fi written with a very non-Western set of cultural references and assumption.

    26. Babs*

      I am still reading The Wheel of Time series! Just finished The Shadow Rising (book 4). Potential spoiler: The chapters about the history of the Aiel gave me chills. The writing, everything, was so beautiful I was almost overwhelmed and had to take a break before finishing that section.

      I’ll be starting medical school in the fall, so I’m trying to finish all 14 books before my schedule gets crazy.

      1. GiantPanda*

        Me too!
        Most of it is a reread, but I remembered last week that I never got around to “Memory of Light” (what was I doing when it came out???). Going to finish “The Great Hunt” (book 2) tonight.

    27. phyllisb*

      I just finished Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and really liked it. I’ve always enjoyed books about Asian culture; Pearl S.. Buck was one of my favorite authors when I was young. I have read many books about Chinese culture and some about Japanese culture; but this is the only book I have ever read about Koreans. It goes into a lot of historical detail about the Koreans in Japan and how they were treated by the Japanese. Very educational but entertaining at the same time. Last week I finished The Last Mrs. Parish. It was well written and I couldn’t stop reading after I got into it, but if I had known what it was about I never would have started it.

    28. Elaine*

      Trying to read “Irene Iddesleigh”, but holy cow! This is some of the worst writing EVER, and I’m including the Elsie Dinsmore books in that. Direct quote: “So soon may the house of gladness and mirth be turned into deepest grief! How the wealthiest, through sheer folly, are made to drink the very essence of poverty and affliction in its purest form! How the golden dust of luxury can be blown about with the wind of events, and is afterwards found buried 54 in the fields of industry and thrift! Their names, which were as a household word, would now be heard no more, and should sink into abject silence and drowned renown, leaving them to battle against the raging war of ruin and hunger, and retire into secluded remorse.”

      THE WHOLE BOOK is like that.

      1. TardyTardis*

        Someone besides me has read the Elsie Dinsmore books? I found the whole series electronically (and read some of them on my phone while standing in line at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, which was a smidge surreal…).

    29. Jen Erik*

      Happiness for Humans by Kate Eberlen.

      I wanted something light-hearted and the reviews seemed to suggest this was the thing – a sort of rom-com of a book where an artificial intelligence decides to match-make for the woman who has been working on improving his conversational skills.

      And it was probably fine, and I can see how people could enjoy it, but it was a bit of a miss for me – I didn’t feel moved by the romance, or enjoy the comedy.

  5. I Love Thrawn*

    All Things Thorin and Thrawn.

    1. I was asked why I was/am so enchanted with Thorin, King of Dwarves. The Hobbit is my all time fav book, so I was already pre-disposed towards the movies when they came out. Richard Armitage did a phenomonal job portraying him in the movies – dark, brooding, that fire simmering just below the surface, absolute determination to take back his birthright for himself and his people. He’s a natural born leader, charismatic. And of course they made him very handsome. He probably does have a big fandom out there, but I don’t usually look for stuff like that. While we are talking dwarves, it irritates me to no end that they are considered “greedy” simply because they wanted their own back. If someone walked in and kicked you out of YOUR house one day, wouldn’t you want it back??

    2. Grand Admiral Thrawn. YES I am very excited for the new book!! I’m still appalled that they had (spoiler alert) freaking space whales take him away at the end of Star Wars Rebels recently, but at least he’s alive and officially back in canon. Ezra, you are a little jerk, you know that? (And did it ever occur to you that there may be unintended consqueneces to something as dangerous as time travel? *****Or that maybe you were even manipulated into it?) Yep, I’m an Imperial chick through and through (Thrawn, Eli Vanto, Cpts Canady and Palleon, Col. Yularen, Agent Kallus , Gen Hux….). BTW, name dropping Pelly at the end of Rebels was seriously awesome fan service, THANK YOU, Dave Filoni.

    ……..Not originally intended but after this week’s letter about dating fictional characters – I have always had at least one crush going on a fictional character, and it can get intense but I’m fully aware of reality. Never claimed to be dating or engaged to any of them, just enjoying the fantasies that may or may not come with. Pretty much your standard crush.

    ***** I was thinking Wrinkle in Time, the Nothing. What if Ezra’s stunt was designed to attract and or bring the Nothing into his universe? Just because you CAN do a thing does NOT mean you should do a thing. But it was the only way he could beat Thrawn, because the blue guy is just.that.awesome.

    1. Reba*

      LOL Because of the soft-focus close ups and so on in the films, I always referred to him as “Beefcake, Dwarf King” or “Thorin Oakenshield, Dreamboat.” The way he was filmed made me laugh, but indeed, Richard Armitage, WHEW!

      I do think the Dwarves are greedy in a sense because they really covet treasures — but it’s also not greedy, exactly, because they don’t care about it as *money* but rather as something priceless that they have some deeper kind of affinity for.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        Exactly! They were created by Aule, who was about all things metal working. He passed that on to his creations.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Hi Hobbit fan! I’m a LOTR fan overall. Also a Star Wars fan, but very much not caught up with current canon. I’ve seen part of Clone Wars (animated). Hope you have a great geekout session :)

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        I’ve only seen parts of the Clone Wars myself. It’s a much bigger scale, lots of big battles and wars. I like the smaller scale Rebels. Though CW did have Maul. I love Maul too but that’s an entirely different thread.

        1. SineNomine*

          I think that the real joy in Clone Wars isn’t so much the epic battles but more the character development of Ahsoka and Anakin through the series. I’ll always love it just for actually realizing Anakin’s character infinitely better than the movies. They actually managed to make him sympathetic and a convincing war hero in ways that the movies never were able to either due to time constraints or poor writing.

          And Ahsoka started out pretty annoying in a “Yup, this character is just for kids to relate to” way but hoo boy. She ended up being an amazing character, one of my favorites in all of the franchise. I actually haven’t seen much of Rebels, but knowing that she appears in it has made me super interested. I’m scared to ask but…do they show what happens to her vis a vis her obvious absence in the universe during the OT?

          1. I Love Thrawn*

            She is a great character. Really don’t like the kid version of her but the adult is seriously a force of nature. You will be happy to know that she is alive and kicking still. Her story gets complicated, with several plot twists, but worth watching.

          2. Amadeo*

            Yeah, I was glad of the Clone Wars series for the simple fact that it didn’t leave me wanting to beat Anakin with a shoe. It absolutely did save his character for me.

    3. Dr. KMnO4*

      I LOVED Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Thorin. Up until the live-action movies I actually didn’t much care for Thorin, but I thought Armitage really brought a humanity and vulnerability and regal nature to the character that had never come across for me before. I thought that Jackson overdid the paranoia and transformation to a**hole at the end of the movie.

      The whole “greed” thing also drives me up a wall. If you want to talk about greedy how about looking at Thranduil? Exactly what claim did he have on the treasure? How much help was he to the dwarves when sh*t was going down? None. Maybe some of the pieces in the mountain were things he’d commissioned, so okay he had claim to those, but that’s not the way he was approaching the situation. Also, how is Thorin greedy for wanting to reclaim his birthright? He was kicked out of his home, saw his family killed, lost his father to Sauron, and somehow he’s greedy for wanting to reclaim his home and status? I’d like to see how Thranduil would react if he’d gone through everything Thorin and co. did. And if dwarves were straight motivated by greed then Dain wouldn’t have reacted the way he did to Sauron’s messengers when they showed up offering to give back the dwarven rings of power. Dain was having none of it and sent them packing.

      Another thing that irritates me is the way that Gimli was basically comic relief in the LOTR movies. And the whole Moria thing- in the book Gimli knew damn well that nothing good was going to be found in Moria. They hadn’t heard from Balin and co. in ages- he was very realistic about what they’d find, not all “roaring fires” or whatever his line was.

    4. Countess Boochie Flagrante*


      What I actually mean by that is that Thrawn has been my example of a perfect villain for… let’s see, I started reading Star Wars books in middle school, so that’s about 20 years now? I love having him be nu!canon, and since it looks like the new book is going to be him dealing with The Skywalker School of Being Absurdly Extra™, I’m pretty beside myself.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        See, I don’t think of him as a villain. His primary motivation, originally, was to protect his people at all costs. Past that, he just does what he has to. And he would have ruled the galaxy well, I think.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          I mean, he’s a villain in the general sense of being the antagonist and working for the recognized bad guys of the series. He definitely had (at least in Legends canon) some tendencies that would not have been considered part of a free and democratic society.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Richard Armitage, yum yum. ;)

      I wish they’d just done two films for The Hobbit. The story is much smaller in scale than LOTR and the third film was god-awful in both pace and repetition. They could have chucked that entire Necromancer thing and shortened the whole last battle (it just went on and on and on). I would have liked it a lot better. Three films was a money grab, plain and simple–it didn’t need the epic treatment LOTR got because it was a shorter story. You didn’t need to establish any prequel to LOTR because the mere existence of the One Ring and Bilbo finding it IS the prequel

      And don’t even get me started on Tauriel. >:(

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        Not a Tauriel fan?? :) I don’t mind her, but if they’d tried to pair her up with Thorin, my head would probably have exploded. I agree three films was too much, and those battle rams… !!! I think P Jackson was and is a bit too in love with his CGI.

        BTW, I think you are in England, aren’t you? Any thoughts on Welsh actor Mark Lewis Jones? I saw him in The Last Jedi, Cpt. Moden Canady, and he’s so cute. I’m starting to search out his other appearances, but since they seem mostly to be UK and I’m in the US, not always easy.

      2. Dr. KMnO4*

        Two movies would have been way better, I agree. I wish they’d let Guillermo del Toro do it, I think his version would have been really cool and much tighter.

        >:( Tauriel…grr…I can almost forgive having Legolas in the movie since he is Thranduil’s son, but he didn’t need to be there really.

        The worst part of the trilogy for me was the part with the giant gold statue and the whole weird battle scene in the mountain. Also, there was too much Laketown drama. Waaayyyyy too much Laketown drama.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yep. So far, I have not disliked one single del Toro film I’ve ever seen. I think his Hobbit would have been awesome. And I LOVED The Shape of Water. Also that a fantasy genre film won Best Picture. When Return of the King won, that was a huge nerd victory, but now we’re getting more appreciation for genre stuff and I am ecstatic. I mean, Get Out was also up for it and it’s a horror film!

    6. DoctorateStrange*

      I’ve developed such a fondness for Thorin as well; not going to lie, but it always made me uncomfortable how, in a lot of ways, the dwarves were coded a certain way that Tolkien unconsciously wrote. Lindsay Ellis did a great analysis on that and other fantasy titles in her review of that Netflix movie, Bright; the movie was not great, but Lindsay Ellis skewering it in her video essay is hilarious.

    7. HSavinien*

      Hello! Would you like fanfic recs (if so, what ships)? Or links to fanart? I’m very fond of Tolkien’s dwarves and involved in the fan community, though I focused on Bofur, the Ri family, and expanding the roles of lady and nonbinary dwarves.

  6. Fake old Converse shoes (not in the US)*

    My favourite tv show (The Return of Superman) has been blocked for my country for the past three weeks. Apparently the channel wants a three week delay between airing and posting on Youtube for the US, but instead they set the restriction for the entire continent. People are definitely not happy about it.

  7. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

    Crafting thread, anyone?

    This weekend will be my first time blocking knit pieces, and I’m so worried I’m going to screw it up. The fiber isn’t completely wool, which is what’s making me nervous. But I’ve been working on this sweater for more than two years, and I’d like to finish it so I can actually get to wear it.

    1. Laura H*

      Firstly excuse me as I giggle at the pun… I love puns.

      And while fanficcing doesn’t entirely fit in with the crafting theme except for uber-loosely, I’m hopeful to get a wee bit of that done today.

      1. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

        I didn’t notice the pun at first. Ha!

        What are you working on? It’s been years since I’ve written fanfiction, and I have a lot of fond memories of it.

        1. Laura H*

          Honestly the plot bunnies have gone so into hibernation that I’m really just hoping to get something added. Thankfully I’ve got several options to choose to try tackling- I don’t have to deal with the insertion point of mockiness.

          I’m not terribly comfortable exposing my fandom of choice… apologies for dancing around that.

          1. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

            That’s okay, I understand that.
            I’m working on a play with some friends that technically should have been finished last night, but I was recording a podcast into the wee hours, so I’m hoping to get some work done on it this morning before I get my hair cut and colored.

    2. HannahS*

      If I can bring myself to pull out the tweezers and re-thread my serger, I can work on skinny-ing up my boot-cut jeans. I finally realized I was the only person still wearing them, and I hate how they drag in the slush. I have four pairs of jeans, and I’ve only done one pair so fair. It’s easy, and mending/alterations definitely saves money, but darnit it’s not very exciting!

      1. Mephyle*

        It is, though, so satisfying when it’s done and the garment is better for it.
        I sometimes finish raw seam edges with zigzag if I want the thing to be done and can’t be bothered to fiddle with the serger. But if I do have to re-thread, it’s much easier to tie the new thread onto the old one and pull it through (for the looper threads) than to thread from scratch – do you do that?

        1. HannahS*

          I do! But what happened is that I got some extra fabric caught in the serger. The jeans sort of folded over the presser foot and got dragged back under, so I had to cut them out of the machine. It was all in the seam allowance, so it’s ok, but the threads were cut/snapped.

        2. Owler*

          I darned some Smartwool socks on a car trip, and I’m still on a mending high from finishing them.

    3. Cristina in England*

      Re:blocking, go for it! If you mess it up you can re-wet and re-block. What are you blocking?

      1. Cristina in England*

        (I know you said a not all-wool sweater but I meant what pattern if you are happy to share, and congrats on finishing!)

        1. Cristina in England*

          Oh wow that’s gorgeous. I honestly didn’t know there was a non-wet way to block it, so I say go for it. :-) If you need some help for the how-to, I am sure the Ravelry technique forum or YouTube would be a big help. For something that thick I would soak it in the bath, hand-squeeze most of the water out, lay it on a big towel, roll up the towel and step on it, leaving the vest only damp, and then tug the vest gently into shape and lay it flat to dry. Good luck!

        2. Red Reader*

          I block pretty much everything by spritz – pin it out to the mattress how I want it, then spritz it down. Can always spritz more. :) But with silk in the blend, I’d be hesitant to do a full-on wet block personally.

          But yeah, if it doesn’t work the first time you can always let it dry and go again! :) Be the boss of your string!

          1. Cristina in England*

            What is the reason for not wet blocking silk? Presumably it will be washed at some point down the road, and isn’t dry-clean only.

            1. Red Reader*

              Oh, I fully acknowledge that I err on the side of overcautious with my hand-knits personally :) But my general thought is not to handle it any more than absolutely necessary when wet, because in my experience some silk yarns are more delicate than others.

              1. Cristina in England*

                Ah cool. Yeah it’s good to be cautious after all that hard work! I would hope that it would be ok in a blend but I would maybe add to the OP, definitely don’t wring it or otherwise twist it when squeezing out the water, just gently squeeze and don’t let the whole thing hang from your hand when wet. Or maybe soak it in the tub and run it in the spin cycle on your washing machine? To me that is more gentle then squeezing it and stepping on it in a towel but others may disagree.

                Blocking is definitely a job, that’s for sure.

                1. Sapphire (formerly EnobyPro)*

                  I ended up just soaking the pieces briefly, rolling them in a towel, and pinning them on the blocking mats. They should be dry by now, hopefully.

        3. Searching*

          I’ve blocked a shawl that had silk in it and it worked out great (I think it was only 20% silk, with 20% cotton and the rest acrylic – I usually avoid any acrylic like the plague but I was away from home and needed something relatively cheap). I’ve started wet-blocking just about everything that isn’t a hat. For a vest or sweater I think it’s the secret to making the pieces fit together properly. Just make sure you _really_ support the pieces when you pull them out of the water. The hard part is being patient while it dries, because it seems to take forever.

    4. Pollygrammer*

      I’m experimenting with resin jewelry making this weekend! I love the idea of being able to make any image into a professional looking piece. But it’s a little bit of a steep learning curve and it’s not cheap.

        1. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

          Me too! I started painting a few months ago and have really wanted to try out epoxy resin but haven’t made the investment yet. Happily, I’ve found I can get a really similar effect by layering a lot of glossy Mod Podge on top of a piece… it turns out really great and stays clear even if you’re pouring it. I’ll try out resin eventually, but for now, this is within my capabilities. :)

    5. Travelling Circus*

      I’m hoping to finish crocheting my Slytherin scarf. I’m going to join a crochet along next week, so hopefully I can get at least this scarf out of my WIP bag!

      I’ve blocked 100% acrylic pieces before with no problems, but if anything goes wonky you could probably just re-wet and re-block. And congrats on finishing!

    6. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m finally quilting my daughter’s quilt. As in sewing the 3 layers together quilting. It’s nerve wracking and I totally see why some people just write a check for this part. But it’s also fun and relaxing. I’m just doing a basic free-motion stiple. I’d love to be doing something more pointier, I’m learning that my brain sort of jerks at times and I’d love a design that can sort of incorporate that and make it look on purpose, but this is what she wants and it’s great practice. I was having trouble getting the tension right and I was so close to dropping everything and taking it in to the repair shop, which is 40 minutes away, but some little instinct said call first and see if you need an appointment. I’m so glad I did! They’re on vacation and won’t be back until next week. So I fiddled with it and got it to work. Now I think I’ll bring it in before I go on vacation. It’s really due for a tune-up. And I’d love a machine that is made for quilters with all basic settings that makes the job easier. I love the romance of being one of those people who used an old machine or a basic machine, but I’m also a big fan of having the right tool for the job and if I’m going to keep doing this then it’s worth spending the money on a nice machine that will last.

      1. Laura H*

        As a former quilter’s kid, I hope your daughter loves the finished product for many years to come- as I do the quilts my mother made for me when I was younger. Super thankful for the one that was for my full size bed… makes my now twin size bed extra cozy!

      2. Jemima Bond*

        I’ll be quilting later too! Two baby quilts to bind and some hand quilting on another. And planning my next project – deciding on design; maybe cutting fabric.

    7. Gingerblue*

      I have free time for the first time in a while, and I’m hoping to get back to some of the half-done knitting projects I started over Christmas. Looks like another round of hats and scarves I won’t actually wear until next winter!

      I’m also getting back to doing some gaming, and building a tiny little treehouse village in Terraria is so very satisfying.

    8. CheeryO*

      I have a Bloomsbury (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bloomsbury-7) that I’m working on in a really pretty cerulean color. It just needs sleeves. It’s only my second fitted sweater, and I had a lot of trouble with the sleeves on my first coming out way too big, so I’m procrastinating until I figure out if I should use DPNs or magic loop or just buy a tiny circular needle.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Ooh that is so pretty! Do you want to talk through your sleeve situation here? How did you do the too-big sleeves? I used to do sleeves on DPNs but now I prefer magic loop. I have a tiny circ, which is sometimes annoying because a ten inch circ is great for most of the sleeve but not all the way down to the wrist. For a top down you might start with magic loop and move to DPNs for the cuff. For bottom-up, the reverse. What do you think?

      2. Dr. KMnO4*

        You could buy two circular needles. That’s how I make my socks – one circular needle for the front half and one for the back half. The knitting doesn’t fall off the needles and it doesn’t matter how long the cables of the needles are.

    9. Cristina in England*

      I have had lots of crafting energy lately, and managed to finish a bunch of projects. I am most proud of my two scarves for my mother, made from silver silk bought in China 14 years ago. I did one rectangular scarf and one infinity scarf. I also finished off a couple of hoodie to zip-hoodie conversions, and I knit a neck warmer. I am working on a hat made from sock yarn at the moment.

      I am a bit stuck on refining a cape, mostly because I don’t like the collar and I am not sure what to do with it. I might add a second layer to it like this wool coat I have and love.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Ugh, re-lining a cape not refining it, though that isn’t technically wrong I guess

    10. Bullwinkle*

      A question for any expert sewers out there: I learned how to sew as a kid, and am getting back into it recently. I would say I’m an experienced beginner. I’m interested in learning how to make tailored button down shirts, but not sure where to start. I’m a woman, but I prefer men’s styles for the most part. Shirts I have that I like are typically a more conservative woman’s cut, ie not super fitted/darted etc, or a more slim fit men’s cut (though men’s shirts are often too small at the hips. I wouldn’t describe myself as especially curvy, but apparently more so than the average dude.) I assume whatever pattern I pick, I’ll need to make some adjustments, but I’m wondering if I should I try a men’s or women’s pattern and go from there? Try to go off a shirt I like the fit of? I know this is a challenging project and my first attempts will probably not go well, but have to start somewhere!

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        There is a blog called Male Pattern Boldness where he has done men’s shirt sew-alongs before. ALSO he is a gay man who sews women’s clothes and wears his creations out and about as his “cousin Cathy”. Sometimes he will do vintage patterns. Give it a look and see if there are some past posts that may help!

      2. Slartibartfast*

        It wouldn’t be too hard to alter a men’s pattern if you just need hip room. Mark on the paper where your widest hip measurement is, then mark your natural waist on the pattern’s pre-marked stitch line. Draw a straight line from one mark to the other, that’s your new stitch line. From the hip mark, draw straight down to the hem line. Remember to add your seam allowance before you cut, I like to use a 3/4 inch instead of the usual 5/8, to have a little bit of wiggle room to make alterations if needed. I have wide hips and a Beyonce butt, so I sometimes need extra fabric there.

        1. Bullwinkle*

          That’s a good point, the shoulder/sleeve area seems like the part I wouldn’t want to mess with too much but adding fabric to the bottom seems more straightforward.

      3. Cristina in England*

        I would start with a pattern and some cheap muslin so you can make a mockup and adjust the fit that way. Unless you have broad shoulders and or a flat chest or it would probably be better to look for a women’s pattern that isn’t very fitted.

        Also for any pattern you do find, do research on it. Do a google image search for it and also check out pattern review dot com. On that site people post pics of their finished projects and comments on what the pattern was like to use. It’s really helpful! Good luck.

      4. Catherine from Canada*

        I actually teach shirtmaking at the store I own, so I can help you here. I am a bit passionate about sewing and shirt making in particular, a well fitted shirt makes your life so much easier. I’ve probably made 15 to 20 shirts over the last three years. I’m recommending two independent pattern designers, because their instructions are really good, especially for experienced beginners. They will build your skills.
        For a looser more relaxed fit shirt, I like the “Archer Shirt” from Grainline Studio. https://grainlinestudio.com/shop/women/archer-button-up-shirt-paper/ (Ignore the collar setting instructions, I’ve recommended a better method below).
        For a more fitted shirt, with lots of accommodation for curvyness, I recommend the Harrison Shirt from Cashmerette. (Ignore her cuff instructions though, they make no sense.) Even though her patterns are designed for curvy women, the Harrison fits from a size 12, cup size C to a size 28, cup size H.
        Both of these patterns are available as paper or PDF.
        For your first shirt, choose a nice stable cotton, like a quilting cotton or at most a lawn. The Archer makes a nice flannel shirt too! Anything else is going to be too shifty and hard to handle until you get more skill.
        The best way to set a two piece collar can be found here:
        Don’t bother to mark or sew buttonholes until the very last. Try the shirt on, and pin it together right between the fullest part of your breasts. Pin about three inches above and below this point too, then go to a mirror and flex to see if you have gaping. You probably won’t, but if you do, adjust that first pin up or down a bit. Then mark all your buttonholes three inches on centre from that pin. No more gaping front!
        If your shirts always drift backwards (you always have to pull the collar forward) look up “forward shoulder adjustment.”
        If your shoulder seams are too high up your shoulder, or dropping off your shoulder, look up “wide or narrow shoulder adjustment”.
        Hope that helps, email me if you want any more advice.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          How do you make sure sleeves are set in properly so they don’t bind when you try to use your arms? I have many women’s dress shirts where apparently nobody checked to see if the wearer could raise their arms above shoulder height. I’m so tempted to cut out the sleeves and reshape, but I don’t want to make the problem worse! Is it mostly in the sleeve’s shoulder curve?

          1. Catherine from Canada*

            Believe it or not, making the armhole bigger will make the binding problem worse. You’d be “lifting” even more of the shirt. If anything you need to
            If your sleeves are binding, you need one or more of these adjustments:
            Wide shoulder adjustment
            Full bicep adjustment
            Wide back adjustment (basically slash and spread to add to the centre back without increasing the neck diameter.)
            And – I don’t know what it’s called but I have to do it on a lot of patterns because I seem to have deeper arms than most – lets call it a deep arm adjustment. I draw a line perpendicular to the grainline through the arm hole on both the front and back pieces and -for me – add an inch. I also cut across the sleeve head and add an inch. This makes sure that the diameter of the sleeve and the arm hole still match and deepens the curve of the sleeve head. Seems to work.
            Hope that helps! (I love teaching this stuff!)

            1. The New Wanderer*

              Thanks, that’s very helpful! I think it’s that last bit that would do it for the sleeves I’m thinking of.

    11. SAHM*

      I’m going to attempt to cut vinyl with my Cameo this weekend to do the second step of my “hot mess” project. I painted two canvases weeks ago and am finally (hopefully) going to actually do it, or maybe I’ll finish cutting out cardstock birds for the baby’s mobile, or maybe I’ll make the soap I promised the local preschool for teacher appreciation week (beeswax & honey for a Pooh Bear soap) and I definitely need to get the tomatoes and basil I bought yesterday planted, and the sunflower, beans, and peas seedlings repotted…… :-) My life is so full of wonderful things!

    12. Rookie Manager*

      I’m planning to chart a cross stitch design for my friends wedding. 2 couples in the same group are getring married this year so I can’t just recycle the last one. She’s a music teacher so doing something based on a song they are having in the ceremony.

    13. Red*

      I’m currently knitting a bunch of squares to join together to make a baby blanket because my sister-in-law is pregnant, but omg they keep coming out different sizes somehow and it’s driving me batturd insane! I just keep reminding myself it’s for a baby and the baby ain’t going to know it’s not supposed to be that way.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Since I have quit skating, I’ve realized I need to get rid of my unused fabric and trim, etc. I don’t really waaaaaaant tooooooooo……I guess I could sell it. But I’m not going back to it anytime soon, and I can make over dresses if I have to (not getting rid of those just yet). If I keep the patterns, then if I do decide to go back, I can still make dresses and just get new fabric.

      Besides, it will make room for my miniatures crafts, which I’m not ready to give up yet. I know I’ve said this before, but I intend to finish the two dolls houses that are sitting in there, in the way, and maybe do something with the bigger one. It’s amazing how much room that stuff takes up.

    15. Dr. KMnO4*

      I’m making dishcloths. I’m holding cotton dishcloth yarn with the scrubby cotton yarn. It makes it a bit thicker and sturdier.

    16. The New Wanderer*

      I’m about halfway done with a quilted faux chenille blanket (using the tutorials that come up when you search that phrase). The stitching took for-ev-er! Currently, the cutting is taking a while too but I’m over the halfway point. Then comes binding… It’s pretty heavy too, with three flannel layers and two thin cotton layers, but it was a great way to use up old flannel bedsheets.

    17. Amadeo*

      Soaped the last batch that’ll be ready in time for a con this afternoon. I’ve also been doing glitter tumblers with resin for the same thing and played around with a Dollar Tree glass with the resin and alcohol ink. The effect is really neat! There’s a brief video on my page linked in my name. I think I shall keep that one and call it mine, LOL.

    18. Searching*

      I took a class in Encaustic Painting today! Lots of fun, but it’s harder than I thought to get the encaustic medium (wax) to spread smoothly and evenly. It’s a 2-part class and next week we’ll incorporate photos into the medium, which I’m really interested in.

    19. Moving Out*

      I am SO CLOSE to finishing a Hudson Bay inspired baby blanket for my forthcoming niece of nephew! It’s not perfect (there’s some holes to patch, and one of the colored stripes ended up with 2 extra rows) but a) babies don’t care, and b) it’s my biggest project to date at looks pretty good!

      I bought the yarn to make a similar one for a good friend who’s ALSO having a baby (seriously, is EVERYONE pregnant right now?!) but this one took me since October…. so maybe that baby will get a blanket after s/he’s arrived

    20. Environmental Gone Public Health Gone Back Environmental*

      Unless it’s 100% acrylic and you’re steam blocking it, you can always reblock. I’ve done that a couple times.

      I just got my Addi CraSyTrio set, so now I need to get these socks off my HiyaHiyas so I can try out the Addis! I also just got lovely squishy mail for a knit platypus and a sweater. There’s a few custom requests (including the platypus) that I would like to just get out the door.

    21. oranges & lemons*

      I’ve recently taken up pottery and the learning curve is tough. Three months in, I’m starting to get to the point where my bowls are mostly bowl-shaped but everything is looking pretty “artisanal” still.

  8. AnonForMed*

    Anybody else here diagnosed with interstitial cystitis? I’m still sorting out how to eat given the long list of food restrictions. Thank goodness for the thorough online list of usually safe, usually unsafe, and give-it-a-try foods.
    Eating out is starting to become possible again if I’m very careful.

    1. Nicole76*

      I have it, but I’ve been told it’s a mild case so for the most part I eat what I want. The exception is drinks with fake sugar, such as Crystal Light (or any of those powders you add to water), because it irritates my bladder so much it’s not worth it. I also stay away from pop for the most part. I read you shouldn’t eat rye bread but I still do it because it doesn’t seem to bother me much. In fact, it hasn’t been hurting me too much since my last round of Elmiron several years ago.

    2. WG*

      I was diagnosed with IC in the early 1990s. At that time, there was advice to start with a very restrictive diet – only a few of the safest foods – until symptoms were under control and then slowly add back in one food at a time. This could make it easier to determine which foods/drinks most exacerbated symptoms.

      While a tedious, time consuming process, that really did help me better understand how I could control my symptoms with diet. I spent decades using only diet modification. I can still eat some “forbidden” foods, but I only do that at a time and place of my choosing, when a minor symptom flare wouldn’t be too impactful to my schexule.

    3. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      I don’t have it, but have experience with people who have food restrictions for various reasons. The best advice is don’t try to eat like you have. Figure out what you CAN eat, and just go with it. IE, if Indian food is generally pretty safe, then figure out a bunch of recipes that you like and can eat and that’s what you eat going forward. Just give up on trying to find safe replacements for unsafe foods, it’s more work and probably more expensive.

      I have a friend with multiple food allergies, and she basically doesn’t eat American food. It’s just easier and safer for her to eat dishes that happen to originate from India, China, Thailand, parts of Africa, etc. Because those dishes simply do not include the things that she can’t eat. I think the process of finding and learning to cook these dishes was tough, but it got easier over time. Now, she’s just got it down and her food is amazing.

    4. fposte*

      I was briefly but it turned out it was just irritable bladder. My impression from what the urologist said is that the two aren’t well differentiated by front-line carers. It’s pretty easy to manage now that I know what the problems are, and even the problem foods I have *some* tolerance for.

      1. Lujessmin*

        My irritable bladder is triggered by allergies, so spring in the OK is always fun. I take an generic form of Allegra to combat it, but the spring and fall are more intense.

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        I went to a urogynecology specialist doctor for extreme pain a couple years ago and she told me that interstitial cystitis wasn’t a real thing and that it was pelvic floor muscle spasms. This seemed consistent with both the literature she gave me and my experience. As such I highly doubt that dietary changes could have any effect at all except for the fact that caffeine and extremely acidic food or beverage can slightly irritate the bladder and potentially exacerbate some discomfort. I was pretty convinced by the medical literature that “interstitial cystitis” is not a real condition and that diet has nothing to do with it at all. That’s my 2 cents. The treatment is physical therapy or stress reduction. Or time.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, that’s really interesting. (Caffeine and citrus are my two biggest offenders for irritable bladder, so there may be some comorbidity as well as confusion there.)

        2. Teach*

          That is REALLY interesting – I was diagnosed with IC, then referred to the most amazing pelvic floor PT for incontinence. She found all kinds of muscle spasms and tight spots, and fixed everything with trigger point massage, biofeedback, and muscle strengthening.

      3. Bibliovore*

        I have had it. The number one issue for me was coffee AND I only had one cup a day. Cut out cafienne for almost ten years. Now I have one cup of coffee in the morning or black tea.

    5. Traveling Teacher*

      My doctor was worried I had IC after a string of not-getting-better UTI symptoms some years ago. While I was on the restricted diet, though, I found it really helpful to call ahead and just tell servers that I was on a strict elimination diet (which was pretty much true, I didn’t want to get in to the gory details…) when I had to go out for a couple of friend’s birthdays. They were really nice about it and helped me to double check ingredients and pre-plan my order so that I wouldn’t have to give a big spiel in front of the party group.

      In my case, a couple of months later, it turned out to be a sensitivity to the heavy amount of chlorine in the local tap water! I can’t imagine living with those symptoms long-term—I really hope that your symptoms are decreasing with your treatment plan!

    6. AnonyAnony*

      A few good, reputable resources for information about the condition, treatment options, and diet modifications are IC Network and Confident Choices.

    1. Laura H*

      Sounds like an acceptable way to spend part of a birthday.

      I hope you have a great day- and enjoy the sleep. :)

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Happy birthday! Hope you have a great day. and yes, going back to bed is AWESOME.

      1. Lady Alys*

        Happy Birthday! Agree with Hellanon, 50s have been fab so far! Enjoy the start of yours!

        1. Cristina in England*

          You posted just in time, it will be tomorrow here in less than three hours ;-)

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Happy birthday! I’m getting close; I’m at the point where I’m thinking about whether I want to have a party for my 50th (with more than just my immediate family), and one of my childhood friends has already scheduled hers.

      1. Anon For This.*

        We were supposed to havea big party tonight, but have to postpone because of the weather :-(. I’m a bit down about this, been planning and looking forward to it for ages.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Aw, I hope you can move it to another date without any hitches! Better to have it when everyone can make it safely, right?

    4. Casuan*

      Happy, happy!!

      Do what you want today. At 50 you deserve it!!

      I’m going to celebrate your birthday with some ice cream. Which will be the appetiser for my brunch.

      1. Anon For This.*

        Well since I don’t have to do last minute party stuff I might read a book (without feeling guilty I’m ignoring the kids) , it’s my second favorite thing to do. Enjoy the ice cream, it’s my favorite too!

  9. fposte*

    This might be too work-related (it’s *his* work), but I was really bummed to see that Brian Wansink, the food behavior scientist, is the latest social scientist to get caught goosing his results big time to get noteworthy findings. With Amy Cuddy and the power pose it at least seemed more self-deceit than intention, but with him it seems pretty outright.

    1. Reba*

      Yeah, it does not look good. I wasn’t really aware of his research (I think–it’s likely been reported in the news but I didn’t recognize his name or the ideas when I read about the house of cards coming down). But I feel bad for his students.

      1. Jill*

        I have his book. And was just beginning to think about reading it in more detail and implementing some changes. *sigh*

        1. fposte*

          I do find that some of it works for me; a lot of it accords with the animal training dictum of “make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard,” and he’s very clever in conceiving ways of doing that. He didn’t make up *everything* he did, but it’s going to be tough, without diving into the original scholarly literature and the takedown, to know just what can be relied on and what can’t.

    2. dr_silverware*

      Ugh, I know. I confess at this point I have a hard time trusting social psychology findings at all, particularly when they’re the type to get any press. Though maybe it’s also because social psych was the least rigorous psych course I ever took, and that continues to prejudice me a bit.

    3. neverjaunty*

      At this point in my career, I have cynically come to believe that ethical scientific researchers are in the distinct minority. There’s just too much industry money to be had, and for those who aren’t in the pocket of corporate interests, the pressure is enormous to get publications and page hits.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        Add to that the fact that no journals want to publish negative or inconclusive findings, even though those findings are still invaluable to future research. The system is just broken.

        It’s like the whole world has become clickbait.

        1. fposte*

          I just had a new and trademarked PT treatment suggested to me, and when I decided to go research it I thought about that damn negative results problem.

          1. Dead Quote Olympics*

            There is one publisher that will publish (open access) negative results, but it is of course a minority practice. “PeerJ judges content only on scientific and methodological soundness. It does not, for example, reject articles based on lack of novelty, interest or impact.

            It places an emphasis on research integrity; high ethical standards; and constructive peer-review.”
            It does publish medical articles (although it’s newer and therefore smaller, but with big ambitions.

            This is a legitimate open access publisher, for those aware of the predatory publisher problem.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Right on.
        I try to read the actual study when I can. Some are laughable.
        It’s sad though because there are people out there who have staked their careers or their lives on those studies.

      3. The New Wanderer*

        Or (speaking from experience) having your work not matter because you didn’t solve an intractable problem in 1 year with limited budget and come out with a handy dandy marketable gadget. Sorry, industry, either fund what it takes to actually solve the problem, or be stuck with flashy tech that doesn’t do anything useful.

        Sample interview question: but what products did you make?
        My honest answer: I made a lot of scientifically founded recommendations for next steps. There are no products because nobody cared about the recommendations.

      4. catsaway*

        So do you think that most researchers are intentionally dishonest? I think that’s overblown. Full discolsure, I’m currently on the basic research side of a STEM field but looking to move into more applied directions in the future.

        From what I’ve seen there are a couple of main issues, besides money, that lead to later retracted/disputed results. One is when a field is very new, so people have no idea what they don’t know. This leads to a lot of exploratory studies where results are mostly descriptive and the correlation/causation error can come up. I know people in one new field and I’m certain that some way they are studying/reporting on results now will be shown to be wrong in the future. And I know that when these folks write up their results they are being truthful given what’s currently known but it’s a field where stories can get picked up by the media and that’s where distortions tend to come into play. (Even there I don’t necessarily think there’s intentional distortion of a story of any kind, broader media distortion will happen when you distill a study that probably took at least a year to do into a paragraph).
        Another factor, in regards to repeatability in science, is that very small changes in methods can drastically change results. For example, I heard a story about how 2 cancer researchers tried to replicate their studies, where in theory they were doing the same thing but getting different results, and it turned out that, once they did the protocol side by side that there was one step where they handeled the cells differently and that led to different results. So,was either being dishonest or deceptive in any way? Whose result was correct? Do we even care about that level of repeatability?

        1. Mike C.*

          I always though it would be amazing if there was an AmeriCorp type organization for new grads that was dedicated to repeating the experiments in previously published papers.

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      I saw this and I was so disappointed. His book Mindless Eating was so good and I found it so easy to apply the ideas.

    5. Sylvan*

      Same. I heard a lot about his research in school (around the same time we learned about Paul Rozin, who does all this cool research on eating) and it was very interesting. I’m sad to hear about this.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I love Paul Rozin too! I like his work on disgust–that’s such an interesting human phenomenon.

        1. Sylvan*

          It is! He also has a son who studies music, and he has sort of either been inspired by or collaborated with his son to look at the structure of a meal. He compared it to the structure of a performance. He looked at which parts people were interested in, or which they responded to, and which they remembered most.

          1. fposte*

            Oh, I haven’t seen that–I’ll have to look for it! I’m interested that he has never done the mass-consumption take on his work that so many have–it seems ripe for it, but I can also see a lot of good reason to choose not to do that.

            1. Sylvan*

              He talked about it in a speech, so unfortunately I can’t link to articles. IIRC he talked about publishing something on it. It was neat, though.

              I’ve wondered about that, too.

              I want him to write a book. Not on, like, diet advice, but on international food culture, disgust/enjoyment, and psychology.

    6. Casuan*

      This is disheartening, especially since legitimate results can have such a positive effect. :(

    7. Mike C.*

      The worst part is that all the folks who breathlessly reported on his “findings” likely won’t be there to report on the retractions. And then folks get mad when others report contradictory findings and stop trusting scientists and research institutions all together because to the lay person, what do they know?

      Ugh, f!ck this guy.

    8. Irene Adler*

      Ouch! Not the way to start a Sunday morning.
      Dang, I really enjoyed his work. Not any more.

    9. Owler*

      I highly recommend listening to a recent Planet Money episode on this topic: Episode 677: The Experiment Experiment. It talks about this problem of replication, and how science is driven by publishable results. Positive results get published; negative (No, we didn’t find anything”) don’t. There is also a lack of a pre-registry, so that researchers might expand the scope of testing after starting a project—which can increase the chance of getting a significant event by chance alone.

  10. Struggling Domestic Goddess*

    Looking for a large art piece for a big space in our dining room without breaking the bank. My style is pretty modern and I’ve been looking at doing one big piece or even six or nine smaller pieces. It’s the main point when you walk into our house and I’m just stumped and not good at this stuff! I did paint it light gray but that’s it. Any advice or websites would be appreciated.

    1. Espeon*

      I’m a fan of a large piece of artwork – people are sometimes a bit scared of going big in a small or ‘regular’-sized home (assuming that’s what you have) but I think that only helps it to look even better if you’ve got the courage to go bold.

      Why not paint something yourself? It’s way cheaper, you can colour-match to your decor, change it up when you want (paint another), and it makes a talking point. If you like modern anyway, something abstract is totally achievable.

      You can frame other stuff too – a wallpaper you like? Frame it. A fabulous fabric? Frame it.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I looked into DIY wall art and leftover house paint is awesome. I used several colors from our various rooms in one set of canvases so they could go anywhere. I went small though to try it out. I’ve done stenciling on closet doors, but stencil on canvas would be pretty cool as wall art. Hmm…

        Wall paper, fabric, art paper all make good framed objects.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Any trips planned? A lot of places have art galleries at many price levels, and it makes a talking point for that reason, too. (One of my favorites was a big painting in classic Chinese style of crustaceans, which turned out to be done by his mom. But if you don’t have artistic relatives…)

    3. Bluebell*

      Is there an art school in your area that has student sales? That might be an option. Or open studios. Giclee prints would probably be more economical. Most of the art in my house is either posters I picked up in my 20s and just don’t want to give up, combined with prints and paintings from open studios.

    4. fposte*

      I love art and buy both online and at art fairs and sometimes Etsy. I love a big piece, but your challenge is likely to be transportation–it’s going to be costly to ship and may be challenging to get into a vehicle. Some media can be shipped rolled–watercolors, hand-pulled prints, and giclee prints often will be–but they’re less likely to be really big.

      If you look at a site like saatchiart dot com, you can search by size, subject, and color; that might at least start to give you some ideas of what you like, even if you don’t find the exact thing you want to buy. I’d also recommend looking at Etsy, since it sounds like you’re looking more for visual impact than investment quality. But we’re getting into art fair season, and I think that’s really worth considering–you can usually look at least some of the artists up online in advance, you can often arrange a studio visit if you want to look at their full range, and they’re usually really eager to make sales and pack stuff for travel.

      (What roughly is your price range, and how big is big?)

    5. Kj*

      Is there a store that re-sells home stuff? You could hand a door or factory mold or something very modern from there. Could you find a tapestry that you like? Apartment Therapy has some stuff about how to DIY large wall art.

    6. Chaordic One*

      I’ve bought some nice prints of well-known paintings from Posters-dot-com fairly cheaply. (I usually buy what they have on sale.) After I ordered something, I get like 3 emails from them every day and it is like they are always offering 50% off.

    7. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      I fully support painting one yourself! You can buy really big stretched canvasas on Amazon or Blick online, and then just cover them with whatever colors you like! You’re still paying a bit for shipping and the cost of the canvas, but saving money and getting something really personalized. And, painting is fun!

      1. fposte*

        I also think if you’re going to do this it’s perfectly kosher to echo something you’ve seen that you like rather than starting completely from scratch. I just searched “How to paint a big canvas” on YouTube and found a bunch of videos that can give you ideas about what techniques produce what kinds of looks.

    8. Book Lover*

      Tapestries are usually reasonably priced and easy to hang cheaply. Cheaper than framing large pieces. Large canvas pieces can be inexpensive depending where you buy.

      1. fposte*

        Ooh–which reminds me that you can get stretcher bars inexpensively from craft stores (if you’re looking for over about 26″ on a side, Amazon has them) and do a fabric hanging. Marimekko is a popular choice for those since they tend to have very big prints, to the point where shops like kiitoslife dot com have preplanned kits for wall hanging (you can also trawl eBay for vintage flavors).

        There’s also at least one Etsy shop that sells really cool furoshiki and hanging kits, which would be a similar approach.

        1. fposte*

          Okay, I am seriously overexcited about your art prospects, but I also wanted to mention artfulhome dot com–it has a lot of giclee and other prints if you’re keeping the price point down but also a lot of other cool stuff, and sometimes it’s worthwhile to separately Google anybody you find there who seems promising; they’ll often have more stuff available on their own site.

    9. Junior Dev*

      Society6 has the option to buy art pieces as wall tapestries; I don’t know if they make them big enough for what you want.

    10. Fiennes*

      Don’t neglect thrift stores! While your average Goodwill may have pretty slim pickings, secondhand shops that are only marginally more upscale sometimes have amazing art on sale for very reasonable prices.

    11. Pam*

      Perhaps something made of cloth? Tapestry, quilt, etc? I have a nice hand-woven piece I got in Vietnam. I hang it over a curtain rod.

    12. Lady Alys*

      Try IKEA?

      (Secretly I want to suggest that you frame all the NASA art-deco planet posters and use them, but it doesn’t sound like that’s your style.)

    13. Struggling Domestic Goddess*

      Y’all are wonderful! I would have never thought of any of these ideas. I’m kind of inspired to paint one myself… I have an unfinished basement so why not.

    14. The New Wanderer*

      Oh, I should have mentioned, all the big art in our house are framed or canvas enlargements from photos we took. You need a high res photo but if you have some ones you really like, it’s a great look.

    15. Jane of all trades*

      I love Joss and Main (its a website) – check it out? They are affordable and I have made good experiences with their products. Plus I find that when I go to a furniture store to get inspired I kinda forget what my home looks like, so shopping online from home helps visualize ;) Good luck!

  11. AvonLady Barksdale*

    The house on our north side finally got rented after being vacant for four months. Our last neighbors were horrible, loud and obnoxious. Anyway, this new neighbor seems very quiet and respectful– he’s a single guy in his 40s or early 50s, and he’s been very nice to us and our dog– but he either has a hoarding problem or he’s using his porch to collect stuff to donate/dump. He’s been there for a week, and every day the porch gets a new “gift”. First it was a haphazard pile of old books. Then it was tubs full of papers. Then it was three or four box fans. Then it was a faux leather loveseat. It doesn’t directly affect me (at this point anyway), but my curiosity is raging right now.

    1. nep*

      What a huge relief to have an apparently quiet and respectful neighbour after dealing with loud, obnoxious ones.
      So is this stuff accumulating on the porch, or is it there for a bit then goes away?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        It’s accumulating, which is why I’m so baffled. At first we just assumed he was cleaning while unpacking and not being very neat about it, but then a truck rolled up, dropped off the loveseat, and left. Then he brought over a station wagon and took stuff out of it, most of which he left on the porch.

        It is definitely nice to have pleasant neighbors, that’s for sure! Our south side neighbors are wonderful, the ones across the street are a pain but manageable. This guy seems fine, it’s just this trash business. Granted, he’s only been there for a very short time, but if the stuff is still there (rotting in the rain) by the end of the month, I’ll be kind of weirded out. (Full disclosure: I am by no means spotless and clutter-free, but hoarding is one of the few conditions I simply do not handle well. Watching the show Hoarders spikes my anxiety.)

        1. nep*

          Well you’ll have to keep us posted. Hope there’s a somewhat reasonable explanation and that it doesn’t turn into a problem.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Hopefully he’s just trying to organize inside and will move everything in soon.

    3. I like French braids*

      Maybe there’s something going on with the house? Like he’s waiting for a repair before moving in too much stuff?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Not likely! He already moved in three U-Haul loads of stuff before the porch stuff appeared. This whole thing fascinates me.

        1. Elizabeth West*


          Hoarding. I’d bet money on it. There are (or were) a few hoardy houses in my neighborhood, although they’ve been cleaned out. One is abandoned and tagged. The board was off the door when I walked by the other day, so either kids have been in it or somebody’s squatting at night.

          *sigh* Crappy houses (including mine) and scattered rubbish seem to be characteristic of this neighborhood. Is it any wonder I don’t pay any attention when I take my walks? There’s nothing to see but paper, liquor shot bottles, syringes, cups, little pieces of paper, and other assorted detritus. Well, the cute pitties make up for it, I guess.

    4. WellRed*

      Call me pessimistic, but people that will pile a bunch of crap on their porch when they move in, are likely to always have a bunch of crap on their porch, especially if it’s winter or winter-ish out now.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        And therein lies my fear.

        Bright side: I can probably use this as a negotiation tool when our lease is up.

    5. Mrs. Fenris*

      Oh, dear. I hate to be That Person, but is there a Code Enforcement in your area? You might be able to call them.

      (This is a subject that is thoroughly giving me the icks right now. A family member turned into a hoarder, totally unknown to the rest of us, and her house was ultimately condemned by her local code enforcement. It was horrible all around.)

    6. Peggy*

      I don’t know about your neighbor but I can tell you why my porch is full of furniture and boxes. I bet my neighbors wonder about us too.

      It’s because we’re renovating our very large old house room by room. Some of the furniture is REALLY heavy and belongs in a room that isn’t ready to be renovated or is in a stage of partial renovation. The porch has a desk, a few chairs, a long dresser, a bureau, some mirrors, a few shelves, and a stack of boxes full of items that will go in those last few rooms.

      We go in and rearrange things and take things out as we finish a room and are ready to furnish us. The porch (only entry point is our dining room, no external doors) is all glassed in on 3 sides with large panels that can be removed in the spring/summer since there are also screens in place. It’s going to be the last space we renovate – we replaced the roof on it last year but still have to replace the ceiling, paint the aluminum siding of the house that makes the 4th wall of the porch, and refinish the floor before we can furnish it. So it’s the perfect place for storage, EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT OUR NEIGHBORS PROBABLY THINK WE’RE CRAZY TRASH PEOPLE. :)

  12. Sir Caroline*

    Okay, this is kind of TMI but I’m at the end of my rope.

    I am absolutely done playing host to this unwelcome monthly visitor. I’ve gone through four pairs of underwear 24 hours, and resorted to setting an alarm to wake me up at night at regular intervals to go to the bathroom and clean up the blood, because whatever I use it’s going to leak and I can’t ruin another set of sheets. I’m debating buying a pack of adult incontinence products so I can sleep tonight.

    My question is, does anyone know of a form of (affordable) birth control that will make me lose my period? I’ve opted out in the past because I’d heard it can make your breasts bigger, and I’m 125 lbs and a G cup already, but at this point I don’t care; I just don’t want my life interrupted every month by this horrible houseguest.

    1. Alex*

      Have you been to your doctor? Because that situation could be a sign of a medical condition, like fibroids or other conditions. If that is the case, treating the condition might be your best option.

      I don’t have experience with birth control, but from what I hear, not everyone loses their period with them–some people do, some don’t.

      1. Laura H*

        I second the doc visit suggestion. Even when I was pre-birth control, it wasn’t that bad- but every person’s period is different. Is that how it’s always been for you or is it fairly recent? (No answer needed, just a factor worth acknowledging)

        I’ve been on my regimen for about a year (oral 28 day) and I have not skipped a period yet.

        It prolly varies based on type/ need.

        Good luck

      2. Thlayli*

        I’m a third for having a talk to a doc. Having to change your pad four times a night is not a normal level of flow. I’ve been on the pill and off the pill and regardless of whether I’m using hormonal contraception or not, I’ve never had to change my pad during the night.

        You must be losing so much blood it’s probably dangerous for your health. Please see a doctor.

    2. Anon For This.*

      I can’t do BC so I suffer with the same issues (except I naturally wake up every 2 hours to change during that time). My dr has talked to me about a procedure that will scrap everything out (like, but not a DC, abulation?). But I’m past childbearing years so don’t know if it’s a solution for you. I hope you find something soon, it does affect your quality of life.

      1. Pam*

        I had the ablation after years of problem periods. It permanently removes the lining of your uterus. I have had no periods or problems since in 12 years. It’s usually an outpatient procedure- essentially amore extensive D&C. It does mean you can’t allow pregnancy.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        I’ve had an ablation. I had already had my tubes tied, so no worries about losing my fertility. It was an outpatient, took a little nap and it was over. The recovery wasn’t even half as bad as a regular period at that point, and haven’t had a period since. Bonus, I also no longer get homicidal PMS, no more gas and diarrhea because no more cramps, and my migraines went from 3 to 4 per month to 1 or 2 a year. 10/10, would recommend.

        1. full speed ahead*

          Another who has had the ablation. It was life-changing. If you are done with child bearing, I recommend it 200%. I had the same experience as the other posters – minimal pain after the procedure and NO MORE PERIODS. It’s been 11 years for me amd I’m still thankful. My periods were heavy like yours and my cramps were just terrible. And those also came with stomach upset and diarrhea. All of that is gone and has been.

    3. Reba*

      Consider the hormonal IUD! I haven’t had a period since 2010! (it was light before that, though)

      I’m in the US, it was totally covered by insurance as preventive care. So far they’re good for seven years.

      I’m really an IUD booster so feel free to ask questions. It’s also come up before on open threads so you might look for those.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Seconded. Since I got mine things have been way lighter (not that they were heavy to begin with, but now they’re practically non-existent — I got a diva cup last year and now I hardly need to use it at all).

      2. hermit crab*

        This is my vote too. I had life-disruptingly heavy periods beforehand and now it’s like two days of spotting each month, or sometimes nothing. My life has been made so much easier! I also have not experienced any of the side effects I had on oral contraceptives. YMMV of course, but something to look into.

      3. EB*

        I’m an ovarian cancer survivor– due to unusual circumstances I still have my other ovary. When my period came back after chemo it really came back with a vengeance. I had never had heavier periods in my life, I was actually leaking through heavy pads to underwear like OP describes. I also had extremely painful cramps I’d never had before.

        I had been told in the past by (bad) practitioners that I couldn’t get an IUD because I was childless. Yeah, that’s very much not a thing anymore except in rare cases where your anatomy can’t support the IUD. So if you want an IUD and get push back you may need to see another doctor. YMMV with that, I’m in the midwest so there are a shocking number of doctors that insert their religious beliefs into medicine still, I guess.

        My oncologist was totally on board with it though and I have the mirena now.

        It’s been SO GOOD. I had the nuvaring before and it made my pre-cancer periods heavier and crampier. I’ve had the IUD for a year and I went from bleeding through pads to not needing to buy pads AT ALL. I repeat, AT ALL! Woo! I keep some light day pads around for when I have kind of heavy spotting, but that’s as bad as it gets. There was a transition period (pun intended?) where I still got periods but they were noticeably lighter.

        I can’t recommend the IUD enough!

        1. Slartibartfast*

          In some states, it’s illegal to get an IUD if you aren’t married with at least one kid. I know, because I had a friend who wanted one and her doctor agreed it was her best option, but couldn’t give her one.

          1. ThatGirl*

            I…. don’t think that’s true? Some doctors prefer to only give them to women who’ve had a kid, but there are newer smaller ones meant for nulliparous women. I can’t find any source that there are birth requirements in any US state.

          2. catsaway*

            I really don’t think that’s currently true. I’m pretty sure all the laws on birth control and marital status were done away with a while ago (in the US). Assuming you’re in the US your friends doctor might have been very mistaken.

      4. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

        I have a hormonal IUD and have had a similar experience as others here. It really does help! The big downside for me though is cramping; naturally, I have bad cramps and I’d forgotten about it because I was on the Depo shot for 5 years, which basically got rid of cramps.

        So, while the IUD is great, I personally preferred the experience of the Depo shot, just because it got rid of cramps and actually fully got rid of my period (its still super light/mostly just occasional spotting, but it’s been creeping back since I switched from Depo) so I’m going back to Depo once my IUD runs out of juice in November.

      5. Julianne*

        Loooooove my IUD. I got it a year ago January, and I’ve been loving the period-free life. Insertion was challenging though; I went to my regular doctor and they were not able to insert it with the equipment they had abailable (apparently my cervix is super narrow), so I had to go to the large hospital affiliated with my health care network where they had some more powerful cervix-opening thing (or so I gathered). BUT, it was well worth the hassle and the temporary pain!

      6. Nye*

        Cosigning this all the way! I have a Mirena, and it’s possibly the best thing I have ever done for myself. After years of being period-free, I don’t think I could ever go back. It’s been a massive improvement in my quality of life. Not to mention, planning is so much easier. I backpack and travel for work (fieldwork and conferences), and I don’t have the logistical headaches that come along with, say, having your period in the middle of the woods 50 miles from the nearest bathroom.

        1. hermit crab*

          I so agree with this. If I’d had mine ten years ago, I very well might have continued doing fieldwork (which I loved) instead opting for a more sedentary career.

      7. CheeryO*

        Yep, I’ve had my Mirena for a little over five years and have had zero issues with it. Doesn’t seem to affect my mood like the pill did, and my period is completely gone, although I do have some extremely light spotting here and there. I think there are some smaller hormonal IUDs now, so I’ll probably go for one of those next time since the insertion was pretty painful (but still very much worth it!).

            1. Nye*

              I’ve had mine for nearly 8 years, still going strong. Whenever I get to the “end date”, it keeps getting shifted based on newer research, which is great. Also I pay more attention to the European guidelines, since they’ve historically been much more progressive about IUD use than the US. (Apparently the Dalkon Shield fiasco made Americans pretty nervous about all IUDs.)

          1. Natalie*

            The effectiveness timeframe seems to be longer, FYI. I think the current “official” time is 7 years.

      8. ThatGirl*

        I love my Mirena. Need to get it replaced this year and gonna go for the good drugs this time (insertion was over fast but it really hurt).

      9. Short & Dumpy*

        I have the same problem (along with cramping that leaves me writhing in pain) and am NOT on team iud. I had nothing but problems with mine and basically bled 20 out of 30 days. I let them talk me into leaving it for over 2 years and it never got better.

        I find taking the regular (NOT mini) pill continously works great. I’ve been doing it for a decade and it’s a miracle drug for me. That said, it does very very slightly increase your risk of uterine cancer to take it continously. But, I’ve had multiple doctors agree that for me, a very tiny increase in an originally very low risk is well worth it. Occasionally when we move & I have to find a new doctor, I run into one (universally male & over 60) who tries to telll me it can’t possibly be that bad & it’s not worth any risk. They are assholes & I immediately find a new (usually female) doctor.

        When I’m having issues, I use one of those waterproof mattress pads & white sheets so I can throw the sheets to soak in large amounts of OxiClean in the washing machine during the day. (Doesn’t work with the he front loaders but this house has older appliances anyway)

      10. Elizabeth H.*

        Did any of you with Mirena gain weight (or have trouble losing weight) or have emotional or skin related side effects?

        1. PX*

          I get a very slight outbreak now around when my period would be (a couple of pimples but thats usually it) but my best friend who also has one definitely had more outbreaks with hers. Strangely enough what they recommended for her was to get it changed and a new one put it, which seems to have done the trick?

          I also noticed when mine was new I felt more emotional for about 2-3 months after, nothing massive but as someone who is usually pretty mellow, it was more like…I felt my emotions more? And I felt like they swung a lot more too. But that seems to have settled down now. No weight gain issues but that is one of the common complaints I do see online.

        2. ThatGirl*

          I don’t get my period anymore but I do sometimes still get PMS and it tends to take me by surprise. I did have a bit of an adjustment but nothing big, though I’d been on the pill before that for years.

        3. Girlwithapearl*

          I got a Mirena and had immediate relentless insomnia. I got it out a few weeks later. Bummed! Insertion was a breeze for me.

    4. Molly*

      I don’t think the incontinence products will work because they are made for liquid stuff and a period is thicker. You can try, of course, but I won’t hold much hope.
      I don’t know if you have to pay for your doctor’s appointments but s/he will be able to answer your questions about side effects. There are a lot of different products so it should be possible to find one without the side effects you are dreading.
      (Just an idea: maybe a diva cup will help you? And there are blood-absorbing pants you can buy which I believe also donates something to women in poor countries)

      1. Jill*

        Depends worked perfectly for me postpartum- I imagine they would work well for a period too. (They also worked great when I was in labor and my water broke… I had to change every 10-15 min but that was the best option I had!)

    5. Nicole76*

      I second Alex’s comment below about first seeing a doctor to rule out a medical condition. I realize everyone is different, but that sounds like an awful amount of bleeding.

      As for your question – I found this on Google:

      Lybrel is a no-period birth control pill. It is the first low dose birth control pill designed to be taken 365 days, without a placebo or pill-free interval. Seasonale has 12 weeks of estrogen/progestin pills, followed by 7 days of no-hormone pills — which means 4 menstrual periods a year.

      Good luck!

      1. RestlessRenegade*

        I third the idea of going to the doctor. That is pretty serious bleeding.

        I take the pill for BC and to treat my PCOS. My periods were never really that bad before (and were actually nonexistent for a few years thanks to my condition) but they are might lighter now. I take a generic form of Seasonique which means I only have 4 periods a year, which is plenty. I have noticed some side-effects like weight gain and breast tenderness, but it’s better than letting androgens wreak havoc on my system. :3

    6. Chris*

      I had luck years ago with the injection- I didn’t lose my house guest every month, but the months it did make an appearance it was super light and only lasted a day or two.
      Hope you find something that works for you!

    7. dr_silverware*

      That’s really heavy! I’d check with your doctor first of all—bring up anemia in particular.

      A hormonal IUD can really very much reduce blood flow. Also maybe consider a diva cup/moon cup. It might not be quite enough for the amount of flow you have but may help with management.

      1. Elf*

        Yeah, I have never been as heavy as that, but I always had a thing where it would be super heavy for like a day, almost stop for a day or so, then be very heavy again at the end, which was unpredictable enough to lead to a lot of wrecked underwear. I’ve found that a cup in combination with a heavy pad will deal with anything for 12 or so hours, so even if you bleed a lot more it might still let you get 8 overnight.

    8. CatCat*

      Do you have medical insurance in the U.S.? The pill should be covered, if so.

      If not, check out whatever discounts may be available through pharmacies near you. When I was uninsured, I was was able to get generic birth control pills at RiteAid through a discount they offered for under $20/mo.

      My period has never gone away on this pill (even if I don’t take a break in them), but it lightened them tremendously. I used to have really heavy periods and now they are more moderate/light and also last for a shorter period of time. It can take several months to get those results, but imo, it has been worth it. I only take the pills to control the my period!

    9. Nonnon*

      I don’t know about affordable, because I’m in the UK, but progesterone-only hormonal bc can stop/reduce bleeding and doesn’t have the effects of breast growth. I’m a trans man and before I went on testosterone I used the progesterone implant and it worked pretty great for me.

      I’d suggest getting it checked out by a doctor in case there’s something else going on, though, because that sounds like an alarming amount of blood.

      1. Anon for health stuff*

        Just want to say that different BCs have different effects on different people because I currently have the progesterone arm implant and I have been bleeding for like 7 months straight and did have a slight increase in breast size. The amount of blood is typically very low, but it’s been almost every single day, which is annoying. It did get rid of my absolutely horrendously bad cramps and I’m happy with how my boobs look, so I’d say it’s been a net positive but I was really hoping for a complete loss of my period which has obviously not happened.

        1. Nonnon*

          Yeah, my first implant cleaned everything right up, but my second implant (which was apparently the exact same thing but had a different applicator or whatever it’s called so had a different name) did cause nonstop slasher film underpants until I doubled up with the progesterone-only pill. From there on until I started taking T (and thus stopped using hormonal BC) I didn’t have any bleeding.

        2. Implant advice*

          If you have prolonged bleeding on the implant, you can ask your healthcare provider for a short course of BC pills with estrogen. The estrogen stabilizes the lining of your uterus and stops the bleeding. (I used to work in an OB/GYN office and the doc prescribed this often)

          1. Anon for health stuff*

            I also get aura migraines so based on what I have read estrogen is not recommended because it can increase the chance of having a stroke. I’m planning on going in to chat with my doctor soon to see if there are any other options, but I can live with the bleeding if not.

            1. Implant advice*

              Maybe progesterone-only pills would work too, based on what Nonnon said above. I hope you and your doctor can talk through the options and find a solution!

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      Hormonal birth control can absolutely level out a lot of things, including too heavy flow and too long periods. I had really long, really heavy, horrible crampy periods throughout my teens, and going on the pill (because I was seriously dating someone) was a revelation. Damn. I wish I had mentioned these problems to a doctor, years ago, and they had said “Oh there it totally a well-tested treatment for that, you don’t need to just bleed through and take it.” Generic pills (or shot or inserts or whatever) should be very affordable–on our eh insurance they are free, and generics should be cheap. Planned Parenthood is a great affordable (sliding scale) source of women’s reproductive health care, exam and bc prescription.

      As for side effects–some people get none, some people get positive ones, some people get negative ones. That last group is small but if you’re in it, try a different formulation. (For example, some people do have a diminished sex drive. Twice as many have an increased one. And most people have no change. But it’s the first group who get hauled out in “oh noes not the pill” discussions.)

      In the meantime, find a collection of Connie Willis short stories and read Even the Queen, which deals with this exact problem.

    11. HannahS*

      Yeah, I’m on one called Lolo which is a fairly low-dose, but I take it continuously and at most I have a wee bit of spotting for a day or two. I barely need pads/tampons and can get by with just pantyliners. I don’t know how much it costs in the States though. I definitely used to take one (Alesse maybe?) where I recall that the generic was 7$. Talk to your doc, explain that you need something cheap, and hopefully they’ll have ideas. I used to go around with a heavy flow pad and a tampon and have to change them at least every 2 hours, so I feel you. To sleep, I’d basically plaster my underwear with pads and it would still leak! I would have no un-stained underwear, because my periods lasted for so long that I couldn’t have period-dedicated underwear. Tampons helped a lot. In terms of saving your sheets, I can also suggest laying a big, dark-coloured bath towel down and sleeping on that.

      1. Molly*

        Oh, to the last one: you can buy incontinence sheets which is just for one use and then you can throw it away.

    12. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      First, doctor visit, STAT. You need to at least rule out physical causes.

      IUDs can have that effect, the ones with a small amount of hormones. They can stay in for several years at least (depends on the type). Some versions of the pill do as well.

      Re the sheets – assuming you still have the ruined set(s), just use those. If it’s already ruined, a little more isn’t going to matter. Throw an old towel down to protect the mattress if you need to. It’s ok to have clothes and sheets that you only use during your period.

      1. Clever Name*

        Definitely. Before I went on birth control I kept old underwear to use as my period panties.

      2. Observer*

        Definitely to both. Please see your doctor IMMEDIATELY. And if you don’t get a serious and respectful response, find another doctor.

        Sometimes birth control is a good method for controlling the problem, but even then often having a diagnosis for the underlying problems is useful.

    13. Betsy*

      I’m on Microgynon and it stops my periods, at least if I take it continuously, skipping the sugar pills . I’ve been told by my doctor that that’s fine for me to do.

      I think it may have made my breasts a little bigger, but really not by much. It seems to have cleared up a lot of awful lower abdomen bloating I had, on the other hand.

    14. ainomiaka*

      sympathy. I can at least get through the night with an ultra tampon (they make sizes about super +! That was a revelation for me) and a huge overnight maxi pad layered together. That’s the only thing that works the first few days. And really the only advice I can offer. I see all the continuous hormones. My personal experience with that was that it did lower the intensity of the flow, but at the cost of basically 6 months of continuous bleeding before I got fed up. YMMV.

    15. Kj*

      Go to the doctor. If you are in the states, your insurance MUST cover birth control. I had AMAZING results from an IUD, loved it so much.

    16. FrontRangeOy*

      An IUD helps many women.

      I have implant BC (“toothpick” implanted in my arm) – the adjustment period can be pretty rough but 3 to 4 months in, everything settled down and it’s great.

    17. Odelie*

      I’m sorry- I feel your pain. That’s why I miss being on the pill- it didn’t stop my periods, but it definitely made them lighter and more tolerable. (And cleared up my acne!) As others have said, it might be helpful to see your doctor about it. There are generic options which are definitely cheaper!

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I miss the acne-clearing from the pill SO MUCH. The IUD is not nearly as effective for that. My doc had to put me on a super low dose of accutane to help, because my face (and back, and neck, and hairline…) was out of control. My teens were a while ago, and not so awesome I want to relive them.

          1. Middle School Teacher*

            Ehhhh? It’s ok. Things aren’t getting worse, which I guess is a good thing. I mostly keep forgetting to take it, since it’s only twice a week. I haven’t noticed any negative side effects, it’s a really low dose (10mg/ twice a week).

    18. Ali G*

      I agree with seeing your doctor. She/he is also the person that can recommend a pill or IUD that can work for you. I have chronic issues so I can’t do an IUD, but I take a 90-day pill so I only have 4 periods per year. They’ve gotten much lighter, although every once in a while I’ll have a really heavy period.
      Modern pills are much lower dosages that previously so I wouldn’t worry about your breasts getting bigger – but if you are worried make sure you ask your doc about that too.

    19. Kuododi*

      I’m afraid I can’t give specific recommendations as my experience with BCP was back at the dawn of time. ;). I also had nightmare periods and was on BCP the majority of my life until the cancer DX and hysterectomy. (I will spare y’all the details!!!). I will also strongly recommend a check up ASAP. Mine finally caught a raging case of previously undiagnosed PCOS as well as uterine CA. I would suggest you look into the big box stores…(Costco, Sam’s) Their pharmacies do not require club membership and offer significant savings for out of pocket drug expenses. (ie I get an anti nausea med at my local Costco pharmacy. Retail price for 30day supply…$150. Costco price, $23.). Best wishes!!!

    20. Clever Name*

      Do you have insurance? I think hormonal birth control is still free if you have insurance. But I agree with the others, I’d see a doctor, as a period that heavy may be a medical symptom.

    21. Red Reader*

      I’ve been on Depo since 2002 (yes, I know the recommendations, I have been under a doctor’s care the whole time, doc and I are fine, not willing to discuss that part) and can count the number of periods I’ve had since 2004 on one hand. It’s been glorious. (I’m horrific at remembering to take pills, so I wanted something that required much less effort from me, and I had other issues making an IUD not an option.)

      1. dawbs*

        I know so many people who have hated Depo…and I would chop off my left pinky if I could go back on it again. (Can’t. or, at least, it wouldn’t be wise for a bunch of medical reasons)
        It eliminated periods, masked migraines, didn’t affect my drives or weight–all around it was awesome. (It did take me a year+ to get back my fertility once I went off-as I was warned when I went on)
        Not that it doesn’t have a reason for some people to hate it–and I do understand why people hesitate to take something they’ll be stuck with for 3 months if they hate it, but man, it was great for me.

    22. INTP*

      Most birth control pills can make your period much lighter or be taken without an off week to make it go away. If you have US health insurance, several should be available for free, or some have very cheap generic cash prices. (Others are not so cheap even in generics so research what will be affordable for you before asking a doctor.)

      There are of course other options like hormonal IUDs and I’m not suggesting BCP are better, just suggesting them as the simplest and possibly cheapest option.

    23. EN*

      Definitely talk to your doctor. I also recommend “The Period Repair Manual” by Dr. Laura Briden. Before going on birth control, I had very heavy periods and terrible cramps. At least once or twice a year, they would be so bad, I’d see stars and nearly pass out. Her book helped me realize how not normal that was and identify some potential contributors to the problem. In most cases, she heavily pushes non-hormonal birth control (copper IUD, etc.) because it will still allow your body to ovulate, but that’s not the best solution for heavy bleeding and bad cramps. I’ve been on the Skyla IUD (smaller version of Mirena) for a year and it has made a huge difference for me. I’d tried the Nuvaring and a few different pill options before, and I’ve had the fewest side effects and lightest periods on Skyla.

    24. Superman’s Wife*

      I’m on blood thinners due to a clotting disorder, which also prevents me from using any type of hormonal birth control. My periods are a mess and very heavy. I use Depends and they have been a life savior. No more leaks or ruined underwear! I highly recommend them.

    25. Melody Pond*

      First, I second all the suggestions to go see a doctor. I went to go see a naturopath, specifically, because I was looking for ways to reduce the intensity of my period without introducing hormonal birth control.

      (The naturopath I saw suggested the Gaia Herbs brand of Vitex Berry. Two pills a day, every day, all the time. It took a couple months to build up in my system, but really helped. She also made several suggestions relating to changes in my diet that have helped.)

      Second – I completely understand the frustrations around periods that are just way too effing heavy to deal with, without destroying your underwear/clothing/sheets/towels/etc. Have you looked into reusable menstrual products? Depending on your anatomy, there are menstrual cups out there with amazing capacity – but even better, there are huge cloth pads out there (like, post-partum sized), with waterproof backings and insane levels of absorbency, like way more than you could ever get with a disposable pad. I also find they are way more comfortable to wear than disposable pads, particularly when you’re sleeping.

      There are also types of period-specific underwear out there, made with waterproof linings. THINX is kind of expensive because it’s also absorbent, but I believe Anigan makes a brand of period-specific underwear that is not absorbent, just waterproof and a great back-up to something like a cloth pad.

      I used to be really squicked out by the idea of reusable cloth pads, until one day I realized that I bleed on my underwear all the time, wash it/stain treat it, and then wear it again. So that’s not really much different. Also, my mom used cloth diapers, and cloth diapers seemed like a completely normal thing, and I find those, um, bodily substances to be WAY more squicky than blood.

      Good luck!

      1. Karen the Librarian*

        Thank you for recommending the Gaia Herbs Vitex Berry. I’m at my wits end with my period like Sir Caroline, but am TTC, so no birth control for now. I’m willing to try anything at this point and am ordering it now!

        1. An anon*

          Hey, I would do some research on the ingredients and consult your doctor before taking anything new while trying to get pregnant. If this stuff does anything, it’s going to be affecting your hormones or uterine lining or whatever… and that could potentially affect the likelihood of conceiving (and the health of any resulting pregnancy, because it seems likely there’d be a period during which you could be taking it before you know you’re pregnant). Be cautious with herbal supplements that haven’t been rigorously scientifically vetted!

    26. Red*

      Go to your doctor and ask for a cheap generic pill. Then just skip the hormone-fee week. That’s what I did and I haven’t had one single period in years.

      1. An anon*

        FYI if you didn’t know about it, there’s a generic, year-round pill with no inactive pills, available in the US (at least)! The brand name is lybrel, and the generic (or possibly one of multiple generics) is called amethyst.

    27. IT Squirrel*

      Lots of suggestions already, but I wanted to chime in and say – if you try one and it doesn’t work, don’t give up. Just try something else! Everyone is different and it may take a little bit of trial and error to get the mix of hormones or find the right product or treatment that works for you, and it may take a while to settle into each one. It may also change over time so you might have to revisit even after you find the one that works. Don’t despair! There will be something that works for you even if it takes a while to find :)

      1. Short & Dumpy*


        What is one woman’s dream solution, will make things infinitely worse for someone else (case in point, the IUD for me…I’d quite possibly kill myself if I was forced to have one of those because I was in agony 20 of 3o days for the entire time it was in)

        At least until they manage to repeal ACA, birth control is still totally covered so most of these options will be very affordable.

    28. Perilous*

      Lots of great ideas here (I’m team Mirena myself), so I’d like to address the affordability part. I had this exact issue, and when I couldn’t find an ob-gyn who was accepting new patients, it suddenly hit me that this is exactly what Planned Parenthood is for. I think I paid about $300 (sliding scale) for my implantation, which comes out to $60/year.

    29. Nails PhD*

      Definitely talk to a doctor first to rule out things that are problems vs. things that are just horrific periods. I am so, so sorry you have to deal with this.

      I am a long time (10+ yrs) user of continuous dose birth control pills (on a low-dose pill, just skip the placebo line until I have breakthrough bleeding, ~7 months at a time). I love it and it’s never given me issues. I would strongly suggest trying continuous dose pills for a while for a while, simply because they’re easier to jump on and off of than an IUD, but the hormonal IUDs (including the new ones targeted for the non-child-bearing of us) or Nexplanon will likely also do what you want. FWIW, continuous dose can be done with lots of BCP as long as they only have one dose level throughout the month, you don’t need a brand name pill.

      I’m not sure if this has been mentioned (I skimmed), but if your doctor/OBGYN provider pushes back against the idea that you shouldn’t have to deal with this, FIND ANOTHER PROVIDER. This is a problem for you and you have the right to have it fixed if an urgent medical cause cannot be identified.

      1. Betsy*

        I agree about pushing back if your doctor doesn’t agree. I had one horrible woman who was extremely reluctant to give me birth control despite a previous diagnosis of a condition that’s very similar to endometriosis. Other doctors have had no problem at all with prescribing the pill.

        The first doctor really irked me at the time, because I was in so much pain, yet if I’d gone in and just said I wanted to have heaps of unprotected sex with a partner, she probably would have had to prescribe it to me.

    30. WillyNilly*

      I used Seasonale (a Pill) for years. 4 periods a year, and they are super light – like pantyliner only. No weight gain or breast increase for me. I truly lived it and as soon as my youngest stops breastfeeding I will be resuming it without hesitation.

    31. WideAwake*

      Yes! I haven’t had a period in 10 years. I took DepoProvera injections every 3 months for 7 years (my hubby injected me in the hip), and have been on Heather BC pills for the last 3 years. Both of these are recommended if you have a history of blood clots in your family.

    32. Belle di Vedremo*

      Not what you asked, but I learned fairly late that hydrogen peroxide takes blood out of fabric. I’ve done multiple applications when necessary, without running the item/s in question through the dryer. Just be careful as it can also bleach out color, but it’s been great for keeping necessaries in better order.
      Hope you find a good solution to your issue.

      1. Teach*

        Table salt is also very effective! Wet with a little cold water, dump on heaps of salt, let absorb, rinse with cold water, blot/wring, repeat salt until clean.
        This was very handy knowledge on Prom Night circa 1991 when my bff and I met a sobbing girl in a white beaded gown in the bathroom at dinner…

    33. Close Bracket*

      You want a form of hormonal birth control with constant hormone levels. You have several choices, and they don’t all make your breasts bigger. I’ve been through a few, and I’m the same size.
      You can take monophasic pills continuously. Monophasic means they have the same levels during all the weeks, unlike triphasics, which increase the progesterone each week. Continuously means you throw away the dummy pills at the end of the cycle. If you are taking a regular four week supply, you will need more than the usual 12 refills. If you are using insurance, this can be a problem. You will probably have to talk to the insurance company and also to the pharmacist to get refills every three weeks instead of every four weeks.
      Some brands come in a three month cycle, so you only have dummy pills every three months, or four times a year. You could skip those dummy pills as well, and you would have to talk to your doctor about making sure you have 52 weeks worth of pills. A lot of women experience in later. On birth control pills regardless, so you might be OK with four periods per year.
      Another option is the implant or the IUD. While birth control pills have both estrogen and a progesterone, The implant and hormonal IUD’s have only progesterone. Most women experience later periods, but they don’t always go completely away.
      A copper IUD will not work! It will probably make things worse. You need hormones.
      A third option is Nuvaring. This is a hormonal he implanted ring which sits inside your vagina near your cervix. It contains both estrogen and progesterone. You get a new one every month. Standard usage is to leave it in for three weeks and leave it out for one week. To stop your periods, you would use it continuously for four weeks and put a new one in immediately. Nuvaring is really expensive, but it’s really awesome.
      I’m not sure whether the patch is still available. There were some problems with it, And I can’t remember whether that resulted in new prescribing guidelines or if it’s just not on the market at all anymore. The patch is a sticky patch, like a smoking cessation patch, That you stick on your body. You replace it every week. You would have to talk to your doctor about making sure you had 52 weeks worth of prescriptions.
      The implant, the IUD, and Nuvaring are the only ones that don’t cause a problem with the number of refills your doctor orders.
      Good luck!

  13. Alex*

    Anyone for a “making friends after 30” post? I know this is talked about a lot on here.

    I’m feeling really bummed because someone I thought was becoming a good friend over the past six months has seemed to lose interest in our friendship. I find that in my post-30s, post having-roommates life, I can’t keep up the momentum of friendships without feeling like I’m pestering someone. The last real friend I made was a roommate, and before that all my friends were from school programs. How do you do this in Real Life?

    1. Kat*

      I’ll bite! I had a similar issue with a friend recently, except he was my friend for years. I guess a new girlfriend is much more exciting! I never had roommates, really, and didn’t go out much at university, so I’ve never had a big circle. Other than work, I’ve found the only way to really meet people is to go to a class or do something you enjoy that involves others (e.g. I’m considering a running group) and that way you’re already entertaining yourself and you end up eventually chatting to likeminded people. I find this takes time so don’t expect it overnight, but it is possible. I still haven’t got that many friends, but that’s my current approach (as I say, it takes time!).

      1. Alex*

        The problem I find I encounter isn’t meeting other people, it’s getting over the hump of “person I know from X” to “person who is my friend.” As in, someone you go out with and talk to and have a friendship with.

        I thought I’d gotten over that hump with this woman, but she said she was busy the last time I invited her out (and the time before that was also at my invitation), and then she never reciprocated/brought it up again. So I feel like I have to let it drop, and I’m so bummed. I really wanted us to be friends.

        1. Betsy*

          I feel this too. I think I’ve put quite a bit of effort into trying to cultivate relationships, but a lot of them fizzle out. Or they’ll be friends for a year or so, but then disappear. I don’t think I’m doing anything objectionable, and I’m generally quite sensitive to others’ feelings.

          My perception has been that many people at our age are happy with their pre-established friendships from high school or college or spending time with partners. So I don’t really take it that personally anymore, because so many people I know don’t actually need new friends. I find befriending people who are new to cities can be good, and the activist groups I’ve been involved with have been great for meeting people.

          Sometimes I want to give up, though. I’m in a space in life where I’d love new friends, because I’m single and some old friends have moved away or drifted away recently.

          1. Tris Prior*

            This sounds familiar. Boyfriend and I were just talking today – hours before his planned milestone birthday party that we’re terrified no one who RSVP’ed is actually going to show up to – about how we’ve had trouble turning “occasionally hang out” friends into more meaningful friendships. A lot of our budding friendships fizzle out. But I think the main thing that bugs us is that it seems like we’re doing all the inviting and suggesting…… but it’s rarely reciprocated. We think of inviting others to things, but no one thinks of us.

            At one point during our conversation I said something like, “the problem is, we don’t know how to get people to CARE about us!” And then I realized how codependent and needy that sounded. But really, what we are missing in life now is local people whom we can share things with and whom we can count on (and vice versa). We have people like this but they have all moved away to places that are cheaper to live and have less harsh winters. I can’t say I blame them.

        2. hermit crab*

          it’s getting over the hump of “person I know from X” to “person who is my friend.”

          Ooh, I feel ya on this. I am involved in a bunch of volunteering/community activities so I feel like I know – and am friendly with – lot of people. I know general things about their lives and have a pleasant time spending time with them in the context of whatever activity we’re doing. But it is always “Jane from the museum” or “Jane from the League of Women Voters” and not “I’ll call my friend Jane and see if she wants to get coffee.”

        3. Kat*

          Is there an upcoming event you could invite her to? A group thing? Maybe give her one more chance (a decent time after the previous invitation) and then let it go. Only because some people really are not great at planning or reciprocating.

          My problem definitely *is* meeting other people outside work.

          1. Alex*

            Ok, I have to come clean and say that this person is from work…..which is why I don’t want to put extra pressure on her to be my friend if she doesn’t want to, because we do need to have a comfortable working relationship.

            I do somehow manage to “meet” people. I’ve taken classes and been chatty with people, or even people who live in my neighborhood. I’ll chat for 20 minutes when I spontaneously meet someone who is taking out the trash at the same time as me, but somehow that’s always the end of the interaction…

            Definitely for sure you have to make an effort to interact with people if you want to see people you don’t work with and you live alone.

            1. Kat*

              It’s hard though! Cause even if you chat to someone taking out the rubbish you have to think of a way to link that to doing something else, or ending the conversation with something that opens things up, and that isn’t always easy.

              Yeah, I try to take classes to meet other people. Even if they don’t end up best friends with me, it’s nice to interact with others.

        4. The Senior Wrangler*

          Definitely know the feeling here. I go out and do plenty of stuff but finding someone who you can just invite round for a glass of wine and a chat in the evenings is surprisingly difficult.

        5. INTP*

          This is my deal too. I feel like usually people cross this hump in contexts where there’s a sense of community building, like in churches and parents with kids at the same schools, sometimes roommates or coworkers. I’ve met acquaintances, had fun and gotten out of the house through topical meet ups or taking classes but people aren’t really in a making-new-close-friends frame of mind there in my experience, it’s not a good way to build a social circle especially when you aren’t someone that just easily forges connections with people everywhere you go.

          I don’t have a religion, kids, coworkers, or roommates and the “new in town” meetups are hard for me to go to (restaurants above my price range, downtown where I have to take a train that runs once an hour to get to). I’m kind of stuck, thinking about trying Bumble BFF or something instead of group activities.

    2. Espeon*

      I don’t really have advice, only commiseration(?). I’ve accepted that if – goddess forbid – anything happened to my H2B, I would become that old lady that no one notices has died for three months. I’m blissfully introverted and chronically independent – utterly screwed in the long run basically!

      I have no idea how people get human friends, let alone convince them to stay! Propped shoebox with a bit of cheese? Do you have to keep the windows closed so they don’t escape? Are they self-cleaning? What do they eat??

      1. Sylvan*

        Haha. +1, minus the SO.

        I joined a bunch of clubs in college, but the clubs for adults in my city are significantly less cool. :'(

    3. Triple Anon*

      I don’t know. I have noticed the same thing. People in their 30’s and 40’s, generally speaking, seem more reluctant to make new friends. I think it’s because that phase of life brings an intense focus on family and career. They’re becoming successful professionally and/or raising children or helping relatives raise their children (being the cool aunt/uncle who’s there every weekend) or there’s another big commitment that takes up a lot of their time and energy. It’s not the people; it’s the phase of life.

      So I’ve been befriending older and younger people. In doing so, I meet other people my age who are also looking to make new friends. It helps if you meet people through common interests that bring people together across all age groups. The older I get, the less I identify with my chronological age anyway. I mean that there are more important things. And I think my life is better, having people of all ages in it.

        1. Former Employee*

          If anyone lives in the Los Angeles area and wants to get together for an AAM Fest (I just made that up), let me know. I am the older person, probably your mom’s age and a definite introvert. However, I think it would be fun to have a random group gather and use AAM as a jumping off point.

          Of course, I have no idea ow anyone would contact me since I don’t want to post my real nam/email address online. Hmmm…

          1. Not That Jane*

            Take a look at the way the Captain Awkward meet ups work! I bet you could set it up pretty anonymously (so only the people who show up would know your real name).

          2. Someone else*

            The way I’ve seen this done you don’t even necessarily need to give your name or email. You could just designate a very specific location (like…the fountain in front of the BLAH BLAH building on WHATEVER St) and a time, and then people just sort of congregate and folks basically just show up and say “Are you here for the AAM meetup” and if a person says “yep” great you found each other, and if they say nope, you just keep waiting until others show up who are.

      1. Alex*

        It is true that a lot of the people I used to be close to now have families and not only does that take their time, but I feel like I just don’t relate to them in the same way. One even told me that she just wants to be friends with other moms now.

        I think one thing is that people my age (mid 30s) tend to be focused on DOING THINGS. Raising a family, working on a career, even volunteering or just being involved. So much energy is put into these activities that there’s not the emotional bandwidth for establishing new relationships other than their SOs and children and family members.

      2. Nina*

        IA. I’ve been trying to be closer friends with the people I work with, but their either engaged, or they have kids. Neither of which apply to me at the moment, so we don’t have much in common right now. And I kind of feel like I have arrested development since I’m not there yet.

    4. Nicole76*

      That’s a good question. I can relate to feeling like you’re pestering someone. I don’t consider myself a particularly needy friend but everyone I hang out with doesn’t seem particularly interesting in “keeping up the friendship” via messaging/text between hanging out in person (which tends to only happen a handful of times a year as it is). I’ll try to start a conversation but they tend to give very short answers with nothing said to move the conversation forward so I give up. It’s possible they just aren’t big texters, but I wish I could keep a never-ending open chat with some of them like I have with my husband and one brother but I get the sense I’m bothering them so when I see something that reminds me of them or that they might like more often than not I don’t bother saying anything.

      It’s a delicate balance, of course. I had this one coworker friend about 18 years ago who I’d chat with all day at work and on breaks/lunch who also wanted to talk for hours on the phone after work. It got to the point where I wouldn’t pick up the phone. Instead of leaving a message she’d just keep calling back. No thank you! Like I said, I don’t need to talk to anyone daily, but it would be nice to keep up inbetween events where we see each other in person.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        My boss suggested we play Scrabble. If I ever get a phone that works here. (We get along well and we both know she will win. But it will be fun anyway.)
        But maybe someone will play a game like that with you.

    5. Little bean*

      Haha I’m planning a wedding now and my mom was confused about why the guest list is so small. I’m like, those are all my friends, Mom! They’re all from high school or college. I haven’t done this but I think the best way to make friends is to have some regular activity where you see the same people a lot. For the fiance, most of his friends are from his softball team.

    6. PX*

      So first option is things specifically geared towards meeting new people and making friends aka Meetup. I’ve found it depends a lot on the specific groups and and areas, sometimes you need to go several times before you find someone you click with or till people ‘open up’ as it were. Bumble (BFF) is also an app geared towards making friends.

      But basically once you meet someone who you seem to click with, dont be shy about putting yourself out there. I’m usually happy to just say: ‘You seem like fun and I’d like to keep in touch. Can we exchange numbers?’; and then usually invite them for dinner/drinks once or twice, see if it gets reciprocated and see if you can actually keep having a good conversation. If they respond positively and you enjoy their company – yay, new friend! If not, repeat the cycle. Am currently on the cusp of asking someone from a class I’m taking if she wants to hang out sometime because we seem to get along quite well and I always like new friends.

    7. Odelie*

      I’ve met people through work, classes, professional organizations/associations. You could also volunteer and meet people that way. I’m very introverted, so it’s hard- it’s helpful to befriend someone extroverted who can connect you to other people. I’ve never been to meetups or anything like that, but that could be another way.

      As others have noted, try to be patient as it can take awhile. Some people might drift away, while others may stay.
      I prefer closer friendships with few people, but this isn’t always possible. (Those take time and people can be busy with families, kids, life, etc.) So I’ve had to change my expectations a little.

    8. Not That Jane*

      Yeah! It can be hard. I agree that the barrier for me isn’t in meeting people, but in going from acquaintance to friend. For me, part of it was in redefining what friendship was… so, in college it was seeing someone multiple times a week for meals, hangouts, study sessions, etc. Now, on the other hand, I only see my closest friends once a month, and less close friends maybe a few times a year, or more frequently but in larger groups. I still find it really satisfying. I just try to make sure I have at least one social event per week.

      As for how to get there…. I did find that just putting myself out there, a la, “I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you, do you want to hang out again sometime?” has helped me go from acquaintances to friends. People kind of love being told that their company is enjoyable. And if they don’t respond with an enthusiastic yes, well, it does sting a bit, but there are also other people to hang out with.

      1. Alex*

        I think it is especially hard for introverts like me. Not only do introverts not tend to put themselves out there, but the kind of interactions that are satisfying are harder to develop. Like, I don’t want a friend where we just go see a movie or talk about our favorite books or something. I like friends where we have in-depth conversations about The Meaning of Life and stuff. I tend to want to just jump into those kinds of friendships really quickly because I’m so uncomfortable with the “let’s talk about our favorite books” level of friendships. I think that may be where I go wrong…most people need time to get there.

        I do have one of these friends, but she lives far away. I talk to her a lot, but it isn’t the same as having someone you can see in person.

        1. Kat*

          See, my introversion definitely doesn’t want to be that in-depth with someone I don’t know very well. I’ll quite happily circle around the ‘shallower’ chats before I get to the more ‘personal’ stuff. I don’t think being introverted makes it harder, necessarily. I’m sociable and I can make small talk pretty easily.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          The Meaning of Life Stuff gets ever scarcer with age. I am in my mid 50s and I frequently meet people who do not want to sort it all. Their parent was crappy, they got a way from that and no point to talking about it.
          They have other reasons for not wanting to review life, such as a bad car accident, loses in deaths, big fires and so on.

          So yes, people need time to get to the point where they will talk about the meaning of life, but some folks never will. With these folks what you see is what you get.

          Definitely brush up on talking about day-to-day stuff. This actually opens a bigger door in some ways. I learned how to fix my old fridge when it peed on the floor. I also learned the best place to buy appliances when the washer went. I found a little trick to keep my dog from slipping his line.
          It’s almost like trading how-tos replaces the Meaning of Life conversations. Ironically, people can be so damn helpful, it’s like finding the Meaning of Life. “Just help me with Current Issue”. In my mind reading this blog almost verifies my theory. Readership keeps going up and up. I believe in part because people are finding some types of answers so they can move their lives forward in the ways they choose.

    9. Overeducated*

      I’ve come to think that the pace of friendships in your 30s is much, much slower than when you’re younger. People have more obligations, tend to live further apart (vs seeing each other every day in school, or living on campus or group apartments downtown), go to bed earlier on weeknights, and generally just have to squeeze most of the social life stuff in amidst errands on weekends. Groups splinter more so you can’t see a bunch of people at once as easily. I used to see my good friends at least every week or two, now it’s more like every couple months at best, or even a few times a year. We schedule dinners nd such weeks out. Iand one od my husband’s old friends do most of the reaching out of everyone we know, and honestly people are glad we do because otherwise we’d see each other even less. I don’t take one “I’m busy then” and a lack of reciprocation as a sign someone doesn’t care about being friends, in most cases, and will often reach out next time if they seem generally interested.

      I know this sounds kind of grim but I’m saying it to say I think the rules are different now and you may not be doing as badly as you think. Just keep trying, eventually it makes a difference.

      1. Betsy*

        Thanks for this! It’s reassuring. People often tell me it’s hard to make friends in your thirties, but I still need reminding more often that it’s not just me.

      2. Elf*

        I would find this reassuring, except that I’ve been stunningly unsuccessful at making friends at all ages.

    10. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I have an extremely gregarious friend who approaches this the way most people approach dating: if she meets someone she clicks with, she’ll straight-up say “I’m always looking for more friends, and you seem like someone I’d like to spend more time with – would you like to go for a coffee next week?” When I asked her about it she’s like “but I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do this! They do it if they meet someone they think they might want to sleep with!” I met her through work, but she has a huge group of friends who she met on a bus five years ago or at the supermarket or at a class.

      I don’t have her confidence, sadly, but I’ve done things like invite potential new friends to join my book club or a board game day I was planning with existing friends – something low-key and in a group – and see where it goes from there. I recently met and really clicked with the wife of one of my husband’s work friends, and after she came to book club for the first time we made plans for coffee with just the two of us. Other times it hasn’t worked out but that’s OK.

      I also work in an industry where people move a lot, often for 2 or 3 year contracts, and you get really good at forming awesome-but-temporary friendships really quickly with people in that situation. I was actually just out last night with one such friend who I first met 15 years ago – she finally moved back here permanently, so we just started hanging out again as if she hadn’t been away for 12 years!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I am not sure if it is confidence or resilience. What do we do when someone says NO. It would be interesting to hear her answer. I bet part of her answer is, “I ask so many people that if half of them say no, it does not matter to me.”
        She has a resilience about her. And that has something to do with her decision how to handle it when someone says NO.

        I hope you can ask her and post what she says. NO pressure, of course, it would just be an interesting contribution to the conversation.

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          She’s pretty busy getting ready for her first baby right now so I don’t want to bother her, but I’m 95% sure she’d say pretty much exactly what you guessed she’d say!

    11. NicoleK*

      Most of the friends I’ve made in my adult years have been coworkers or former coworkers. It does get harder to make friends and keep friends as you move through the different stages of life.

    12. Lissa*

      Yes me too. Part of the problem for me is I just don’t like that many people quickly. It takes me a verrrry long timeto want a one on one hang out. I am bad at what I think of as solo friendships and do way better with a big group I can slowly get to know people over months. And that is harder now. So many of my good friends have moved away and there aren’t a lot of new folk coming in.

    13. PickyD*

      I’ve had this issue my entire life. I tend to have one close-ish friend at a time, but have never found a long-lasting, permanent friend. That said…

      Recently I realized there were a couple other women in my area that I really like and seem to really like me, but for whatever reason, we never get together on a regular basis. (“OMG It’s been so long since I saw you! Why haven’t we gotten together before this?! So much to talk about!”) So I decided that since I’m such a terrible communicator (hate phones, but not good at remembering to text lol), I would solve the problem with tech,.

      With both the women, I said, “Hey! I’m wondering if you’d be up for something different. Would you be ok if we set a date every 3rd Wednesday, say, and if it works for both of us, we do something? No pressure! I’ll set an alarm on a repeating event and check with you the day before, but if we both add it to our calendars, it might actually work out!”

      Both of them have very flexible schedules. With one, we do lunch every other Wednesday. The time and place changes, but we just check the night before. The other woman is one I love but we don’t have kids the same ago so there’s less to talk about. I go to lunch with her once a month. Since it’s on both our calendars, it’s easy to work around. If one of us is out of town or can’t meet for another reason, we skip that one and don’t worry about getting together until the next regularly scheduled time.

      You could do something similar with drinks, coffee, etc. It takes the friendship to a much deeper level. NOTE: Right after the lunch, I try to think about anything I recommended during lunch and look up a helpful link. I send it along with “Great to see you today! Looking forward to our next regularly-scheduled outing lol!” or something similar.

      1. PickyD*

        I’ll add that NO ONE thinks I’m an introvert, which shocks me. I enjoy being one-on-one with a nice person and can talk for hours, but I absolutely cannot stand parties, and often find interacting with even only 2 other people difficult.

        One time on a college break, I happily spent 9 days in my apartment without seeing anyone else or going anywhere. Good times…

        1. Lissa*

          I think this type of thing is the origin of “introverts=rare”…because when we see other people, we see them when they are being social, but won’t see them when they’re hiding in their house reading for days on end! We compare our own insides to other people’s outsides and assume we are much more introverted than the norm without realizing other people often feel the same way.

    14. SeekingBetter*

      I actually had an easier time making friends after college and high school, and after the fact I stopped working a job that required me to be there 70 hours a week. Most of my friends now are from my exercise classes. I think it is easier to make friends with people you see on a regular basis. Of course, I’m not friends with everybody who goes there but there’s quite a few I love hanging out with.

    15. Teapots for Llamas*

      I have found a couple of apps invaluable for this. Meetup and BumbleBFF. I joined a meetup book club first, and it was scary to go to the first one, but once I did that, I loved it. I picked a low interaction threshold activity for my first event, which helped.

      Bumble BFF is really like a dating app for friends. You get a profile, add a couple of pictures, and set your preferences/distance. Then you see other people’s profiles, and you swipe left or right. You can only message each other if you are both interested. It sounds scarier than it is!

      I’ve met really cool people through both, and gained three close friends, plus a couple of people who I know are generally good grab-a-coffee or see-a-movie friends.

  14. Molly*

    Does anybody have tricks for getting rid of the smell of scent sticks? I stayed in a B&B last week from Tuesday to Sunday and now all my clothes smell of that stuff. I immediately hung it all out and after a couple of days the smell was still there so then I washed it and hung out again and the smell.is.still.there. It is driving me nuts especially because it is a lot of my fave pieces because I was staying there to help the bride and be maid of honour that weekend. So my new dress I’ve only worn for that occasion smells too… Luckily not as much because it was hanging in its bag except for the last night. Sigh. I am apparently more smell-adverse than I originally thought. Advice is much appreciated!

    (On another note, the wedding was absolutely perfect and everything was right!)

    1. Nicole76*

      Have you tried using white vinegar diluted with water in place of the fabric softener? I find it usually helps getting rid of unwanted odors.

        1. CatCat*

          Seconding white vinegar. I often put it in the rinse water cycle in the washing machine. You can also spritz it on the clean fabric as well and that might do it without having to rewash.

          We keep a spray bottle of the stuff next to our laundry and workout clothes get spritzed before going in the laundry bin to keep the laundry bin from getting stinky. Love white vinegar!

          1. Nicole76*

            It really is great, right? And so inexpensive! I use it in place of fabric softener on my towels and my dog’s blankets. I also use it to clean the floors so it’s safe for my dog who licks the floor.

              1. CatCat*

                I do 1/4 to 1/2 cup in the washing machine.

                I do full strength in the spray bottle and mist things that need it.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Dump a cup of white vinegar in to the rinse cycle. For things that can’t be washed, spray with diluted vodka.

  15. Nicole76*

    Our neighbors are moving this weekend (spotted the U-Haul last night in their driveway) and I’m a little bit sad, but mostly nervous, because we they were perfect – non-smokers, quiet & kept to themselves, and other than leaving their garbage can out for days at a time when they first moved in (that stopped once they got fined), weren’t annoying. Not knowing what our next neighbors will be like is making me super anxious.

    We’re in a townhome with a shared wall and it’s a rental next door. The neighbors before them were very loud and obnoxious. Our living room wall is shared and they would have their subwoofer on too high and the walls would thump. On top of that they smoked out back so we could never open up our patio door on nice days because it would smell inside our house. Plus they had a loud dog who would bark at everything which was ok except when they would take him out super early or late at night when we were trying to sleep.

    *Fingers crossed* our next neighbors are as good as the current ones.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      See my post above, and know that I hear you and completely sympathize. I’ll cross my fingers for you. I will say that I was really nervous about who would move in next door, but one of the things that helped ease my anxiety was that the “For Rent” sign had a phone number on it, so I felt like this time, I knew who to call if I had an issue. If you see one of those signs, write down that number. But I hope you never feel compelled to use it.

      1. Nicole76*

        I haven’t seen any signs, unfortunately. I think they might be forbidden by our association. Thanks for crossing your fingers for me!

    2. nep*

      That’s such a crazy feeling — the waiting to find out who the next neighbours will be.
      At one point the houses immediately to our left and right were for sale. We really lucked out — the families in both houses are kind, decent, and quiet (!), thank goodness.

    3. Typhon Worker Bee*

      Our townhouse neighbours are moving out soon too. They’re very nice but they have four kids under the age of five (two sets of twins!) and a bouncy dog, so the new neighbours will almost certainly be quieter overall (I refer to their house as the Shrieking Shack right now). On the other hand, all the noise from them is early in the day and we’re early risers too – less noise but later at night would almost be more of a problem. I just hope the new neighbours don’t have kids who cry during the night – the current neighbour kids do occasionally (maybe once or twice a month, and only for a few minutes at a time), so it’s not very disruptive, but years ago we lived in an apartment next to someone with a newborn and it was Not Fun.

    4. Triple Anon*

      I think it’s interesting that a lot of colleges house students together based on preferences like loudness and smoking, but I’ve never heard of that anywhere else. It seems like kind of a no brainer.

      Where I live, there are a lot of big apartment complexes. Often, one company will own, say, ten of them in this city (and more in other cities). You’d think one of them would try having themes – pet lovers / no pets, kid-friendly / adults only, non-smoking, quiet / loud, and so on. I know that in practice, it isn’t perfect, but it would solve some of the neighbor issues that seem to come up again and again.

    5. June*

      Could you buy the place next door and then rent to whomever you want (quiet, non smokers, etc.)? I know there’s a pain factor in being a landlord but it might be worth it. We are thinking of buying the house next door to us for the same reason (get a better neighbor!).

  16. noName*

    Recently the plush toy that was one of my first gifts from my partner and that I’ve taken everywhere I spent a night for the last several years disappeared. As best as I can tell, it fell in the trash near the bed and I didn’t notice before taking the trash out (and my apartment building takes the trash out of the building basically every morning) – that night I assumed it’d ended up somewhere else in the room and figured I’d find it in the morning.

    Even sadder, the place the plush was bought from doesn’t have the same thing available right now, and as far as I can tell, it might not be in stock again. It’s silly, but I just want it back.

    1. Pollygrammer*

      I’m sorry. :( It’s not silly. Attaching emotional value to objects is absolutely human nature.

      If your partner gives you a new plush (even if it’s not the same design) is there a way to give it some kind of connection to the first one, make it a kind of reincarnation?

      1. noName*

        I’ve been thinking about that. It was a plush of a character from a webcomic and the character is an AI (to comfort me my partner told me to think that the character’s consciousness could be downloaded into a new body), so I’m trying to think of a way to make that work.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      aww. Do you know the brand name? Maybe you can find it online?
      Maybe the place would custom order one for you if you asked. I would definitely ask, when something means something like that it’s worth the extra effort.

      1. noName*

        I could ask them! It’s a plush of a character from a webcomic, so it isn’t sold widely. I tried to see if I could find anybody reselling it on EBay but had no luck.

        1. Former Employee*

          I always suggest ebay, but when they don’t have something at the moment, I do a “saved search” so you get an email when one is listed.

          Best of luck.

      2. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

        Not exactly the same, if the company won’t special order you one, could you try one of those places that makes a stuffed version of your dog/cat/whatever pet, or one of the ones that brings a stuffed animal to life based on a kid’s drawing? Incredibly expensive, but they basically custom make every plush they send out so I think they would likely agree, and it sounds like it might almost be worth it to you for sentimental value.

    3. Lcsa99*

      I would definitely try to find it online if you can. When he proposed, my husband had gotten me a cute stuffed animal that plays a song, and got the second of the set of three of them shortly after that. Years later he mentioned he was disappointed that he never got the third when he had the chance, but we were able to find it on eBay.

      1. noName*

        It was originally bought online – but I’ll keep searching. And like Pollygrammar suggested, I might be able to find a way to make a new plush (even of a different design) feel connected. It was one of a pair to begin with; the other member of the pair just inherently isn’t cuddly because it has an internal rod, so it isn’t good for a sleeping pal.

        I’m glad you were able to get the third part of the set!

    4. ..Kat..*

      Not silly. Special and nice.

      The ‘accidentally fell in the trash and not realized until too late’ is how I lost my first wedding ring (I think). I was pretty upset and thought my husband would be angry. He laughed and said, “nice try; we’re still married!” Thank Dog for his sense of humor!

    5. Elizabeth H.*

      First of all, I’m really sorry.
      You can find so many things on the internet. Look on ebay, write the place it came from, Google it, etc.
      Also, depending on how long ago it was, you could dumpster dive in your apartment complex. I have done that in our apartment complex and found the missing thing before.

      It also might turn up somewhere. You never know!
      I (30 y/o) have multiple stuffed animals and really sympathize.

  17. dr_silverware*

    Is there anything you just recently discovered that’s amazing and you can’t believe you didn’t use/do it before? I was thinking products but it could be anything. For me, if it’s not too TMI, it’s poo-pourri. I live in a tiny apartment with another person and it’s a godsend.

    1. CatCat*

      I discovered this week that the handles on the lid of the InstantPot fit inside the the handles on the side of the body of the InstantPot. No more awkward drippy lid taking up space on the counter.

    2. nep*

      I hope I’m going to have that experience when I bite the bullet and make an appointment for a massage — I’ve got three gift certificates for a local chiropractic office that gets rave reviews. I’m really apprehensive but my back is causing me a lot of problems so I’ve decided to go for it. (I’ve yet to make the call.) I appreciate all the advice and suggestions people here offered a while back.

      1. nep*

        I just made the call. I got all choked up just talking to the person to make the appointment. Pretty sure I’m going to cancel it.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Aww. I think you have mentioned this before. It sounds like you are torturing yourself with this. Can you get one of those things you put into the tub and make it into a whirl pool? Or how about a shower massage?
          How about one of those electric pads that you lean on in a chair and the thing vibrates? I am trying to think of things that you would be in control over.

          I like massages. I tried a massage chair and it really did not cut it for me. I mean, I will use one if it’s available but I would never buy one.

          I like arnica gel, too. That is great for going to work- no scent. But it’s also good at bedtime because it stays with me while I sleep.

          If you think you have a muscle in spasm, you could try tapping it. My chiro will tap a muscle and it seems to get that muscle to behave. Here at home I take something that extends my reach such as a hairbrush and tap a muscle that is acting up. He said to tap it about 60 times, I usually do 80. Seems to help.

          1. nep*

            (Arnica oil is worth its weight in gold, seriously. Love that stuff.)
            I really want to do this. I even told the woman on the phone — OK, thanks, we’ll see how this goes.
            I just don’t want to get in there and be all emotional on these people — that’s not what they’re there for and they sure don’t need that.
            But I really would like to push myself past this block and see how it goes. The appointment’s a week and a half away. If I cancel, I cancel. If I decide to go in, I might abandon ship early, or I might stick it out, I think depending on how I’m feeling on the day. I’d like to work past this.

            1. fposte*

              In case that concern really is a factor: my massage therapist, who has terrific sympathy for her clients, takes big emotions in stride, and I think that’s pretty common. They know people are there to get what they need and that that’s a complicated thing.

            2. Sweat Band*

              Speaking as a massage therapist – don’t worry about them. They will have seen it all before. I’ve had clients cry, have panic attacks, laugh uncontrollably, you name it – massages can be an intense and intimate experience for people, and emotional reactions are quite common. You do not need to worry about them. They will know how to handle the situation, and they’ll have plenty of experience doing so. In a sense, that IS what they are there for.

              I hope you are able to go and get something out of it. But either way, I hope you feel better.

            3. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

              I’m rooting for you! But I do want to push back against the idea that “they don’t need that…” Every massage therapist I’ve ever met has been REALLY interested in making the experience as positive and comfortable as possible. Maybe if you tell them you have anxiety around this, they might already have things in mind that could help? Or they might make sure to assign you to a masseuse that works well with people who have similar struggles, or suggest something you can do before or during, or ask you if there’s some favorite music you could bring… idk, I just think that people who get into massage are very into making the experience worthwhile for their patients, and might be more interested in partnering with you on this than you’re thinking!

              Relatedly, if you have several certificates, and if they do have various ideas on how to maybe help you out, it might be useful for you to schedule several appointments at once (like, set up one a week or one every 2 weeks or month or something until you’d have used up all your certificates). It might help you make at least one appointment, but it also gives the office more reason to work with you in particular on your anxieties. Instead of your being a one-off patient with issues, you’re a new regular patient who may need some iteration on what works and what doesn’t over time.

              Good luck!!

              1. Not So NewReader*

                I love this answer.

                Nep, I have sat and cried at the MT. And I like massage. It seems that sometimes our emotions get locked in our muscles. Okay that is a very stupid explanation of a more complex process. However, the MT would be working on my arm or my back or whatever and I would get to thinking about something that upset me and out came the tears.
                I am not saying this to scare you, I am saying this to emphasis drinking water. Drink plenty the day or two before you go and then drink plenty when you come home. This keeps the organs working so if you do hit a bump it might not be as difficult.
                When you get in the MTs office you will probably notice a box of kleenex. They know they need to keep one handy. Many folks cry at the MTs.

                Give you and the MT a fighting chance at success. Tell her that this is your first massage EVER. Be sure to say that.
                You can tell her where not to massage, for example, I really don’t like people messing with my feet. A good massage therapist will respond with, “That doesn’t matter, I know how to massage your legs to help your feet. I don’t have to touch your feet.”
                And if you are ready you can tell her that you are afraid. This would be very good, because then you would be giving her a big chance at helping you the most.

                And one last tool. I am not sure if you have a half hour or hour massage. So either way, tell yourself that you only have to tolerate it for 15 minutes. Tell yourself at the 15 minute mark you are going to decide whether or not to do another 15 minutes.

                Worst case scenario, you are in it for 15 minutes and you decide you absolutely cannot do one more minute.

                Then you tell the MT to stop. It’s pretty easy. They always stop when they are told to stop. If you think about it, this makes sense, they pretty much have to stop when told to stop. This is good to know, the patient has not lost control here. You are in control the whole time you are there.

                Sending reassuring vibes you way. Let us know how it goes.

                1. nep*

                  Thank you so much. This is very helpful.
                  ‘Give you and the MT a fighting chance at success.’ You really nailed it.
                  One time a guy friend with whom I share a really nice friendship started rubbing my hands to begin a spontaneous massage; I got all teary. It was the combination of the release as well as just ‘being cared for’ in the way he was doing in that moment.
                  This all reminds me of the first time I did pigeon pose — we tend to hold a lot of tension in our hips, I guess — I softly wept. Not sadness, just release.
                  Thanks, all. Really — much appreciated.

                2. Elizabeth West*

                  Definitely lots of water–it will also help keep you from getting a post-massage headache.

                  All this–they’re used to all kinds of reactions from all kinds of clients. Massage can really be lovely and relaxing. I wish like hell I could afford one right now.

            4. Reba*

              Is there someone who could go with you? Just to accompany you to the office, or to schedule an appointment at the same time? the first time I got a massage it was with a friend. I felt so weird, but my girlfriend was in the next room and we met back up in the little waiting area, which was soothing.

        2. June*

          Please don’t cancel! My first massage, I could not relax (all too new to me) but I tried it again and wow, did I get better. I had a single mastectomy and I truly believe that the chair massages help speed up the recover for my arm. And tell the dr you are nervous. They understand that everyone has different anxiety levels and will work with you. My massuser did. Even when I cried a few times (breast cancer is emotional, what can I say…). So keep your chiropractic appt and treat yourself to something special afterwards (mine was a cup of tea in a quiet shop so my nerves would calm down). You got this!!

      2. nep*

        I’m in tears reading these responses. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights, and for the support. Really helpful and heartening.

        1. ..Kat..*

          I suggest two things:
          -start the massage. Give it 5 minutes or so. Then, if you can’t stand it, call a halt and leave. You can leave as much of your clothes on as you want. Or ask if it can be a chair massage instead. You are being touched, but through your clothes. This might make the ‘stranger touching you ‘ more comfortable for you. (Obviously, warn the massage therapist that you might call it off, so she isn’t startled.
          -I think you are female. You can ask for a female MT. For me this made it easier (I have special issues in my past that have left me unable to handle a male therapist. My problem. Just don’t want to derail the conversation with this).

          I am encouraging you to try it, because I think you might get some good benefit from massage therapy. I’m glad I tried it so many years ago even though the first sessions were very difficult for me.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          My motto is if people are talking about a problem they are half way DONE solving it. The worst situations are when people won’t say they are having difficulty. You are half way done solving your problem, even though it may not feel that way right now.

          1. nep*

            I think you’re right. It is a barrier overcome just to have made that phone call.
            Thanks, all.

            1. Belle di Vedremo*

              One of the things you hear around massage and bodywork people is, “the issue’s in the tissues.” We can carry around so much. It’s part of why massage therapists generally have tissues available, it’s so common to find that as the tissue is released/given permission to let go that emotions/old things can surface. This often happens as a part of the process of letting those go, too. I say this just to point out that some of your concerns and experience are common.

              I have a massage therapist who talks with some clients about the first appointment being for the client’s body to decide whether or not to trust her. Once that trust is established, the next appointment is very different. If the client doesn’t (or isn’t ready to) trust, then the next appointment is cancelled.

              You’ve talked about taking some new or challenging steps for yourself already this year, kudos to you for doing those things. We’re pulling for you, internet strangers though we are.

        3. Teach*

          For what it’s worth-
          I had huge anxiety about getting a massage. I had some irritable bowel stuff and googled around and realized that people who massage other people’s bodies have seen everything bodies might do. So my intense fart fears were probably unfounded.
          Also, my massage women keeps everything pretty dark. I also start face down. So any tears are soaked up by the sheets or the amazing heated sheepskin table cover. Muscles hold emotion – if I know this and have cried during yoga classes, I have to believe massage therapists have seen this.
          If you can, tell them you have some fears or anxiety. Via email, even. Any time I’ve been able to state that I’m anxious, my provider has calmly offered everything they can do for an anxious client. (Dental office, included!) You are not the most anxious person they’ve encountered!
          Massage feels great in the moment. You might also frame your thinking as others have suggested – talk yourself into it, not out of it. Tell yourself there will be a few moments of not knowing what to do or being awkward in exchange for knowledge of your muscles and what to do to help them.

      3. Cowgirlinhiding*

        If the massage scares you because you have to be undressed, ask them for the option where you can stay dressed. They should have something that will help you feel comfortable.

    3. HannahS*

      Meal planning on a white-board next to my fridge. Oh my goodness. So, so helpful. I have breakfast and lunch written out (I graze for dinner and have a big lunch) plus snacks, and then a grocery list in one corner and what’s-in-the-freezer in the other.

      1. dr_silverware*

        Holy shit that sounds really helpful. I know that basically any fore-thinking about meals helps me a ton when I’m like “UGH now WHAT do I EAT??” and a whiteboard like that sounds awesome.

    4. hermit crab*

      I recently got a smartphone for the first time, and now I have an app that tells me when the bus is coming in real-time. Before this, I was literally that person with a paper copy of the bus schedule (not that the bus really runs on a schedule, but they publish one anyway). I feel like I’m living in the future! (even if it is the future of, like, five years ago)

      1. Laura H*

        Smart phone/ tech epiphanies happen!!

        I forget that this can do so much beyond its role as my electronic babysitter. (My as in for me. I don’t have any kids of my own.)

      2. Lady Alys*

        Android Pay on my phone – I can pay for things without hauling my shoulder bag into the store! It’s magic! The only thing better would be if the charge never actually showed up on my statement, but no luck with that yet…

      3. Gingerblue*

        I held off on getting a smartphone for a long time, but can’t imagine going back now. For me, Google Maps was the real game changer–I am so much more relaxed driving now that I can get updated directions fed to me in real time.

    5. Pollygrammer*

      LeVar Burton Reads! How did nobody think to tell me that there was a podcast of LeVar Burton reading awesome short stories for adults??? It’s a beautiful feeling to have him reading to me again after a decade.

      1. Nicole76*

        Whaaaat? I must check this out! Although who knows when I’ll get to listening to it since I am subscribed to way too many podcasts at the moment and am binge-listening to all the back episodes of My Favorite Murder.

    6. periwinkle*

      Dutch oven. Seriously, how have I spent multiple decades on this planet without ever trying one? The Kitchen recently had a series of articles touting the wonder of Dutch ovens, and I finally went to Target and bought the Lodge 6-quart in blue.

      OMG y’all.

      1. Red Reader*

        My husband got that one for Christmas, it was one of the things he really really wanted. I was kind of teasing him about it a little bit, like “we have a thousand pans, what do you need that for.” A couple weeks later, I was trying to describe a shape of pan that I wanted for something in particular, and his grin was just getting bigger and bigger, and finally I was like “What??” and he goes “You realize you’re describing my new dutch oven, to a T, right?”

        (I’ve still only used it the once though.)

        1. periwinkle*

          Line the bottom with thick slices of onion and fresh herbs. Season a chicken (whole, thighs, split breasts, whatever) and place it on top. Cover and roast @ 350 for 30-45 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until a thermometer says it’s done. Juicy perfection, no brining required. That alone is worth the price of admission.

    7. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      Not exactly an object, but I have a trackball mouse and I’d been considering replacing it with a standard mouse because it had become intolerable to use. I mention this offhandedly to my teammate, and he’s like “have you cleaned it?” It had never occurred to me to clean it. So one lazy morning I look up how, it took about 3 minutes, and now its gliding like new again. I cannot believe I almost threw it out! And I can’t believe I tolerated how terrible it had become for so long!

      1. Red Reader*

        I have a couple reports I run for work on a weekly basis, and now when I kick off the report process, while I wait for it to run, I pop my trackball ball out and both wipe down the ball (usually just on the hem of my shirt) and use a q-tip to clean out the contacts in the divot – I used to forget to do it all the time, but making it part of the weekly routine helped a lot :)

    8. Sylvan*

      Four-pound boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda.

      This is a deeply boring comment, but I use baking soda a lot to clean. Sprinkling it on the carpet 20-30 minutes before I vacuum makes my apartment smell great but makes me go through a little box of baking soda SO fast!

      Apparently the brand also makes resealable bags up to 13.5 pounds, but I haven’t seen them yet. I only found the four-pound boxes in one grocery store in the pet supply section away from the rest of the baking soda and cleaning products.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Try a pool supply store. Its used to adjust the pH, so people need a lot for thousands of gallons of water.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        Costco too. Also, giant bags of salt, which you can use to refill the smaller container that has the spout.

    9. Lily Evans*

      I just started sleeping with earplugs in within the last year and it’s been a gamechanger. I’ve always been a light sleeper and somehow I never thought of trying them before then. I lose so. much. sleep. when I was living in college dorms and my parents’ house, when the solution was simple all along. I’d worried that I wouldn’t be able to hear things like my alarm or the smoke detector, but had never bothered testing to see if that was true.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Is there a product that will vibrate the bed when it is time to get up? I had a friend with hearing impairment and I think he had something like that. Or you could set 2 alarms so it is super annoying.

        1. Lily Evans*

          I meant that they don’t actually keep me from hearing my alarm, as long as the volume is set high enough I can hear it no problem! I’m just annoyed that I assumed for years that it wouldn’t work instead of actually trying them out. So many sleepless nights could have been avoided!

    10. The Senior Wrangler*

      I am seriously hoping that the Iud I’m having fitted in a couple of weeks is going to be like this…

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        If it works for you, it can be life-changing! Just don’t make my mistake and read the stories on the internet. They are of course 90% frightening horror stories, which got me super stressed out, and it actually was really fine. Not fun, of course, but way better than I expected. My doctor is really experienced at inserting them, and her nurse told me the doc can do it in 2.5 minutes, so I kept an eye on my watch, which helped distract me.

    11. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      Oh, a big one for me is a leg pillow! Like, a U-ish shaped one that you put between your knees or thighs. It’s made a world of difference in my sleep.

      The other big sleep one is breathe-right strips! They don’t really help with snoring or anything, but dang, when I put them on I feel literally like I forgot how great it feels to BREATHE.

    12. Typhon Worker Bee*

      Electric assist bike! I live in a very hilly city, and my house and both of my offices are all quite high up on different hills. I moved house and job last year so my commute got longer and hillier, and I decided it was time. So. Much. Freaking. Fun.

      1. Cristina in England*

        You know, I should consider this. I live in a really hilly place and I love to ride but I grew up riding along the beach. I am not into torture.

    13. Fiennes*

      I’ve been using Simple Habit, a guided-meditations app. I got it with a fair bit of skepticism but have really found it helpful over this past month, especially for coping with anxiety.

    14. Extra Vitamins*

      An alarm clock that slowly turns on a light. It actually wakes me up gently instead of the startlement of a sound-based alarm. It is the bessstt.

    15. Parenthetically*

      I make my own deodorant and I will NEVER. EVER. EVER go back to store-bought.

      Also (TMI alert): luna cup. I mean I have a 7 month old, so obviously I haven’t needed it in a while, but I just don’t dread shark week like I used to.

      1. Elf*

        How do you make your own deodorant?

        Also, totally with you on the cup (whichever brand) and I am jealous about the not needing it because my period came back immediately despite exclusive breastfeeding :(

        1. Parenthetically*

          It’s about 50/50 baking soda/cornstarch, with enough coconut oil to make it the texture of toothpaste, and a tablespoon or two of melted beeswax. Plus a few drops of whatever essential oils you like/have — I usually do tea tree and lavender because I always have those around. I make a big batch and keep it in a pint mason jar, then warm it and pour it into an old deodorant container as I need it. It works incredibly well.

      2. Birdie*

        I love my luna cup and have been using it for over 4 years. Never running out of tampons :) .

      3. Roja*

        Yep, my Diva cup has been the same thing for me. I held off buying it when I was in college because my mom convinced I would think it was gross and too hands-on, but I finally got one five years ago and have kicked myself ever since for waiting. It would have made college SO much easier. The only way I’ll part with it is if someone pries it out of my cold, dead hands.

    16. LilySparrow*

      A potato fork (garden implement).

      We have incredibly dense, matted grass and heavy clay soil in our yard. We’re trying to convert some of the lawn to garden and have dug out the beds several times, but the nightmare grass keeps growing back. And it’s just so heavy & hard to break through.
      I recently inherited some old garden tools from my aunt, and decided to try the fork on my next assault on the grass.

      Oh. My. Gosh. It cuts in and flips that stuff up like butter.

    17. DietCokeHead*

      A Tub Shroom! I bought it because I saw a video online and we needed some sort of stopper for the tub. Seriously, the Tub Shroom catches so much hair, it is amazing. And it’s super easy to pop out and clean off.

        1. Gingerblue*

          They’re so awesome! If you want to try one, Office Depot, Staples, and Levenger offer mutually-compatible discbound systems. I find most of the existing covers for them kind of dreary, so I just bought a small laminator so I could make my own from pretty cardstock. (Staples does carry some Martha Stewart branded notebooks which come in cheerful colors, and the “Happy Planner” brand makes bright covers and rings, though only their letter-sized notebooks are compatible with the other brands.)

    18. Nina*

      Man, I wish Poo-pourri had existed when I was in college. One of my roommates had some digestive disorder, and you could always tell when the poor girl had been in the bathroom. Hell, I have a bottle in my own bathroom right now.

    19. oranges & lemons*

      Wireless headphones! I share a small apartment with my girlfriend and I like to listen to podcasts when I do housework. It’s nice to be able to do that without bothering her.

    20. Pathfinder Ryder*

      I write the meat, produce, and leftovers I have on the doors of my freezer and fridge with the dates I bought/cooked them so I can easily see what I’ve got without having to look inside.

  18. nep*

    Alison’s book recommendation is always one of my favourite things about the weekend free-for-all. Love the writing.

  19. Talia*

    Since the “ask friends for recommendations” suggestion isn’t working, anyone have any tips on how to find a lawyer? Preferably one that isn’t too expensive?

      1. neverjaunty*

        Yes, this is going to matter a lot – some types of cases cost you nothing because the lawyer works on contingency.

      2. Talia*

        Landlord-tenant lawyer, to see if I can get out of my lease (and if nothing else, if I can tell the ex-roommates “I’m not paying utilities now that I’m not living there” even if I’m stuck with the lease, so as to get them to stop sabotaging my attempts to get someone to take it over).

        1. fposte*

          In my area, you’d likely be able to get a free consultation for that, either in person or over the phone, and the lawyer would give you a rough idea of what would be done for you and what the rates would be.

          My state bar association has a lawyer search, and I suspect that’s pretty common. I’d do a search in my area for landlord tenant law and cross-check it against lawyers.com and avvo.com and pick a few to start with.

    1. K.*

      Start with your local bar association. When I was laid off a few years ago, I wanted a lawyer to review my severance agreement & found one through mine.

    2. Undine*

      Again, depends on what you need. My town has a “Lawyers in the Library” program which gives you someone who can talk to you about your question & then refer you (they might not be a lawyer who has expertise in your area). The nearby city has a program (during work hours) where you can drop in and talk to a lawyer about a range of questions, like name change, rental stuff, various other topics. Those might be places to start.

  20. FrontRangeOy*

    A friend of mine is in surgery this morning. It can be a up to a 12 hour affair depending on the specifics. I’ve got a dozen things to do but what I really want to do is wallow on the couch and think about my friend.

    1. HannahS*

      I’m sorry :( I was in your shoes a few months ago. It sucks, and I hope your friend is OK.

  21. Little bean*

    Who do you invite to a backyard wedding with limited space? Family and close friends is already over 100. What about friends who invited you to their wedding years ago but you don’t really talk anymore? What about people who used to be really good friends but now they live far away and you never see them?
    If they are extended family, can I invite some but not all (e.g. can I invite my mom’s aunt and uncle without inviting all their adult kids and grandkids)?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You can invite whoever you want. It’s your wedding. I would not invite people who I do not see or talk to anymore. I would not invite family of a close person if I am not close with the family, I’d just invite the close person plus one.

      I would invite the people who have been the most supportive of the relationship. This means, they are active in my current life, this means they have some understanding of me and who I am and this means that they like my person.

      You don’t “have to” invite anyone.

    2. Ali G*

      We had this issue when my husband and I got married. Complicating the problem was that we were relatively “old” (I was 35 and he was 40), so there were kid considerations, everyone is married, etc.
      What we decided on for friends that live out of state was (with only one or two exceptions) if the other person hadn’t ever met the friend, then they did not get invited. So my friend from my past job didn’t get invited, because in the 4 years we were together my husband never met her. That made some decisions a lot easier.
      And you certainly can prioritize family too. It’s hard, but try to remember this is YOUR wedding and you deserve to have the people there that YOU want – not those that think they should be invited.
      As a side note – we decided no kids because our budget would be severely impacted by feeding everyone’s kids. There were some hard feelings about this (someone RSVP’ed for their entire family even though our invites were addressed on to adults) and then decided not to come if we wouldn’t invite their kids, etc. This crap happens and just remember to have responses prepared ahead of time when pushy people try to force you to do what they want. I swear weddings make people CRAZY.

    3. Kj*

      You don’t have to invite adult kids. You don’t have to invite relatives unless you want them there. You don’t have to invite people who invited you to their wedding. Invite who you want. Don’t feel obligated.

      I had a wedding with 50 guests. Period. We ruthlessly handled invites, with the least drama possible. We wanted a small wedding, so we invited only those we really wanted (except for one Aunt who my parents insisted we invite. I’m still mad I caved on that one).

      1. JewelryLover*

        We had to be ruthless with our wedding too. We found on my side, that first cousins was a good cut-off, and on his side, he only invited the first cousins he had actually seen in the last few years.

        If you haven’t seen or really socialized with someone in years – don’t worry about inviting them. For the most part, unless they are really petty, they aren’t really going to care.

    4. Jane of all trades*

      You should invite those people you most want to share this moment with. According to the Emily Post podcast people should not assume they are owed an invitation, because weddings are such complicated and expensive events. If I were you I’d suggest talking to people you are close to, and who might expect an invitation but who didn’t make the list, and tell them in person. That should alleviate any hurt feelings.

    5. LilySparrow*

      You certainly don’t have to invite everyone whose wedding you were ever invited to, even if you aren’t close.

      In terms of family, it’s a nice guideline to have some consistency. So for example, if you have five aunts & uncles, invite all of them or none of them. Invite all the first cousins or none. The exception would be if there’s a huge disparity in closeness. Like if you were raised with one first cousin as an extra sibling, but your family hasn’t spoken to another set in ten years.

      But the only real hard-and-fast rule I can think of, is that you don’t invite one half of a couple and not the other.

    6. Natalie*

      Yeah, you definitely don’t need to invite anyone’s kids *and* grandkids just because you invited them!

      For friends, invite who you want. Who you used to be close to or who invited you to their wedding doesn’t matter one bit. For family, people sometimes say you should invite everyone in one category, but I disagree. I have a huge family (20+ aunts/uncles not including spouses, 40+ first cousins) so I only invited the relatives I was close to, which was 6 aunts/uncles (and their spouses) and 2 cousins. (And it would have been one cousin but one came in place of an uncle, which was a weird little bit of finangling we did on purpose.) That said, if people are long-term-partnered, you have to invite their partner in all but extreme circumstances, like there’s only one more space on the boat or whatever.

    7. WideAwake*

      We had 75 people. Invited closest family- parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, adult first cousins, and closest friends. As in, the friends we actually saw regularly or kept in close touch with if they lived elsewhere. All singles were allowed a plus one, of course. No kids under 18. This caused some people to decline, but whatever. Our venue and evening wedding wasn’t child friendly.

      We did send a few courtesy invites to elderly great aunts as keepsakes (they asked, for a family keepsake album. They weren’t able to travel anymore), etc. We said no to MIL’s list of friends she wanted to invite. Our wedding, our dime, only OUR people.

  22. HannahS*

    Chronic illness vent:
    I had a rough week. I was in a lot more pain than usual, slept through my alarm almost every day, missed mandatory classes, fell behind on everything, and generally felt awful about it. For weeks, I’ve been telling myself, “Well, when I’m feeling better I’ll [be a better student, keep my apartment less gross, exercise more, etc.]” and then this week, when things got a bit worse, I once again realized that this is not going to end and I’m never going to be healthy again. I feel like it’s fairly common to have this feeling go in cycles–it’s been almost a decade, and for the most part I’m used to how my body works and my normal just feels normal. But every so often it hits me how much function I’ve lost. I try to be solution-oriented, and I do have some plans in place for the next few weeks to try to get myself to function a little better with my mom’s help, and on top of it my general function is miraculously good, but I think I need a bit of grief-crying while I do the dishes. I don’t really have a question, but talk to me, my sick peeps.

    Also, if you suggest that I try yoga/gluten-free/stop-eating-dairy/have-you-considered-meditation/but-the-thing-I’M-suggesting-is-supported-by-evidence I will mail you a turd.

    1. fposte*

      Hey, Hannah. That’s a sucky moment. I’ve been there and return there. I’ve got a bedroom floor currently carpeted with clothes from a similar period.

      Please remember also you’re in freaking med school. A lot of your cohort are also going to have gross apartments and no exercise happening, and those that manage better often have somebody on the homefront doing the heavy lifting for them. So while mourning the loss is absolutely legitimate, try not to turn it into belief you should be leading a life that very few people are actually leading.

      1. HannahS*

        Thanks, you’re so right. I was telling my mom yesterday that every time I get moany-groany to myself about how I’m not managing, I can’t do it, I hear her voice in my head going, “Hannah, you ARE doing it” because we’ve had that convo out loud many times. And it’s true. I’m plodding along. And frankly, I’ve been untidy and unenthused about exercise since childhood.

    2. SineNomine*

      I’m with you all the way. I got diagnosed with severe UC about a decade back and my life was completely wrecked. I wish I had some sort of answer to being able to keep up with the important things when feeling shitty, but I’ve got nothing. I don’t think people that haven’t experienced something similar can ever truly understand what something like that does to you. It’s not just “feeling shitty”, you can cope with that to an extent…it’s the unending nature of it, you know? It wears you down in ways that are hard to express. All you want is a break from it, and being chronic means you will never get one. Which can be absolute murder on your hope for the future and desire to do…well, anything at times.

      And yeah, the well-meaning friends and family that apparently understand your condition better than you despite it being your body and your life…Ooof. I love them and all, but I can only do so much non-committal replies while wanting to scream that I’ve had plenty of experience and probably know better what has an effect and what doesn’t.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There is a psychological component that is almost as wearing as the illness itself. I have often wondered how much that psychological component exasperates the symptoms.